Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lighting The First Candle

Happy Advent!

Truly one of my most favorite times of year, despite the chaos and stress that it seems it inevitably brings. How could I not love a season of preparation, baking and gift giving? All of those things that are near and dear to my heart.

In an attempt to actually get a post up on my new background and feel like an ACTUAL blogger again, this is gonna be quick.

Advent seemed to sneek up on me despite my planners heart. Oh sure, I read your posts and your wonderful ideas and longed to do such beautiful things in our home this Advent. However, keepin' it real is how we roll lately and with a bout of a series of colds in our family, I just plain ran out of time.

And then Jamie's post arrived in my reader. She's inspirational, that Jamie. And practical. That's exactly what I've got to stick to right now. Her post that had photos of an easy Advent countdown that gave ideas for each day was right up my realistic alley.

Away I went, cutting and creating our own Advent coutdown on Friday. With some of our own creativity and help from the big kids, we came up with a number of simple ways to prepare our hearts, our home and our days.

Our completed countdown serves hangs on a cupboard in the kitchen and serves well as Chrismtas decor too.

A few items from our list:

Several other ideas we came up with included:

-a couple of baking days for the kids and I

-preparing a plate of goodies for a family member in assisted living

-praying for certain intentions

-celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe

-purchasing items for the food shelf

-the kids' Christmas piano recital that is at a home for elderly

-going to confession as a family

-driving around looking at Christmas lights

-watching a Christmas movie as a family

Jamie even did a follow-up with her list so I could fill in where my feeble mama brain was lacking. Thanks Jamie! Check it out if you haven't already.

Another Advent favorite has been the St. Andrew Christmas novena, which we started on Friday. We have so loved making this an Advent tradition in our home over the last few years.

Tonight, as we lit our first purple candle, we also began our Advent family story book. This year we continue through the books by Arnold Ytreeide and are reading Tabitha's Travels.

Finally, in order to give our Advent a fun jump-start we had one of our diocesan seminarians over to visit this weekend. He came yesterday evening and stayed until after supper this evening. You can't believe the fun our kids had with him! He had my big kids kept busy with card games, board games and Wii while it allowed for Reed and I to catch up on odds and ends around the house. Of course, we visited with him too. Hopefully he felt right at home, because we felt right at home with him here. Hey, he was a cheap 'nanny' for a day! I sure wish he wasn't going back to Rome to study after his pastoral year this year. I would hire that guy for my 'manny' in an instant. I guess God has other plans for him instead.

I hope that all of you are enjoying the beginning of Advent in your home as you celebrate this beautiful season of preparation.


  1. Sweet and simple...I like it that way as well. And I'm so glad that you had such a wonderful house guest! The kids will remember that forever :) May you and your family have a very blessed Advent, Sarah!

  2. Oh, my gosh you kids are so cute, I think Margaret is as big as Gianna!! They are adorable. My first daughter had a ton of hair like your Margaret, and people always thought she was so much older, now seeing yours, I see what they meant, she does look older with that beautiful hair!

    Love what you did with your countdown!! We already did Confession before Advent started, last week, but I should have added that one to go again right before Christmas....Great one!

    This year was a hard one for me, I can't do as much with Simeon's surgery coming the week before, glad you got that. (that it was easy to do)

    We read the Jotham book 2 years ago....but again, with Sim's surgery, just couldn't start the 2nd book, and last year didn't start it because of his birth coming. Next year. I've been saying that a lot lately. We did start a jesse Tree book though....hopefully the kids can maybe call me at the hospital and we can read it over the phone or something...

    I've heard that the 2nd one and 3rd are just as good as the first...and the Easter one too!

    That Seminarian was at our VBS this summer!
    You are so blessed!

  3. What wonderful ways to celebrate Advent with your sweet family Sarah! Thanks so much for always sharing your great ideas! Have a happy Monday!

  4. You say that you are barely keeping up - but look at that awesome Advent list! Amazing. We are just trying to light the candle at dinner and read the 5 minute book that goes along with it. I even have an Andrew and didn't do the Novena. I guess God knows I need room to grow and he's helping me get there slooooowly :)

  5. Can I sign up for a seminarian too?

    We are on the Tabitha book this year as well. Nothing is lost on the kids, they are enjoying how it all ties in with the other two books.

    Wishing you a blessed advent!

  6. I'm so impressed. Gleaning lots of ideas for next year!

    Your children are SO beautiful. Margaret reminds me a bit of my Ava.

    1. That's funny, Marijanna. I often think the same thing about our girls. It's a hair thing :)

    2. All your kids are super cuties, but that Margaret has my heart BECAUSE she reminds me of my own! Boy would they be great friends or what? How old is she now? And Gianna... I think my girls will be similarly spaced. I'm due in 2 months. Ava will be 16mo. when the new baby is born!


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