Advent = preparation of the heart and home for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.
Here is a picture of our Advent Wreath. Different Christian denominations sometimes have different colors. Ours are 3 purple, 1 pink, and a white Christmas candle in the middle which I *still* don't have. Advent is a penitential time and thus the purple color, with pink as the third candle to indicate that this time of fasting, prayer, examination of conscience, penance, etc. is almost over and the glorious celebration of Jesus' birth will soon be here. This site explains it better:
"The Advent wreath is an old German tradition that has gained much popularity in the last few years. Most Christian homes and communities practice this custom during the Advent season."
"Fastened to the wreath are four candles standing upright, at equal distances. These candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Three of the candles are purple, reminding us of the penitential nature of the season. A rose or pink candle is lit for the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete (rejoice) Sunday. The name is taken from the entrance antiphon or Introit "Rejoice (gaudete) in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice." It is reminding us that the end of Advent is almost here, and we can hardly contain our joy. "
We LOVE Holy Heroes Advent Adventure. They have 2 daily videos with one of them being an explanation of the Jesse Tree ornament for that day, including scripture for that ornament. Even if you are not Catholic, if you are doing a Jesse Tree this year you may want to take a look at that segment each day. Scroll down to the Jesse tree video segment. It's not too late to sign up for the daily e-mail links and you can back track to see previous Jesse Tree videos.
Below is a picture of our Jesse Tree. The laminated paper ornaments have lasted for years and we remake the simple paper tree each year - it takes me maybe 5 minutes (as you can tell by the quality!). Ours is just taped to the side of our kitchen cabinet. Last year we were fairly good about reading the scripture from the Bible and putting up each 'ornament' at breakfast daily. This year I've pretty much bombed on every Advent tradition (sigh) so we catch up when we can. I share this humble Jesse Tree so you won't be intimidated by the beautiful examples online. I especially like the one in which each ornament is on a small round piece of wood. Remember: the focus is Jesus, not our pride in having the "perfect" Jessee Tree :).
I originally got the pictures for our Jesse Tree ornaments from Domestic Church. I *think* I printed them on cardstock but it may have just been regular paper. The dc colored them. I then laminated and cut out. They don't have direct links so this is how to get there: On the top bar click on "fridge art." Then under Advent and Christmas click on "Family." Once in Family click on Jesse Tree. That will take you to the page with the links to print. I used pdf but they have them in gifs also.
Our youngest donates a small baby doll cradle each year. This year it's broken but we're still using it :). Every time we make a sacrifice we cut a small piece of yarn and put it in the cradle. The idea is that by Christmas Eve the cradle will be lined with lots of yarn and be nice and soft for Baby Jesus. They really enjoy this and I've put in a few strands myself!
The picture below is last year's. I have to smile when I see it because the doll barely fits in the carefully lined cradle. You can barely see the yarn underneath. This doll is known around here as "yellow baby" because she originally had on a yellow outfit.
St. Nicholas Day:
Not technically an Advent event but falls during Advent. Our dc set their shoes out the night before with straw for the dear Bishop's horse (or grass from the back yard!). In the morning they find chocolate coins, a quarter, a candy cane, and maybe a Santa chocolate in each shoe.
I totally bombed St. Nicholas Day this year though - totally forgot until that morning. Agh!!! I've been struggling with no car, no time, no energy, no money, etc and it slipped. We're going to do it another day.
I should point out that we've always told our dc the truth about Santa. We try to watch/read a biography about the REAL St. Nick yearly but we "do" Santa for fun also.
If you haven't visited this website yet, it's a must. It is awesome with lots of info and ideas. This is a layout of the St. Nicholas presentation found there. I usually keep it in the religion cubby of our shelf work and they will pull it out and present to each other. Last year I put it up when rearranging so I need to take it out. Gee, sure would have been nice to re-present on St. Nicholas Day!
I'm bummed that I can't find Santas for my "collection" (of one!) that don't look like "Santa" but rather look more like a Bishop or of the Old World style St. Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas Lapbook:
We used info from the website above to create lapbooks several years ago. This is just the cover but if I have time and remember I'll eventually upload the inside.
The same year we did these. I need to do them again with youngest dd.
Well, when I *started* writing this post I was having a productive kitchen day - mostly because there were some things that just couldn't be put off.
- I processed all of those lovely pumpkins. The baking was the easy part. The dc helped me 'gut' them and scrape off the meat. The company was nice - otherwise it would've been drudgery. Come to think of it, dh quickly disappeared when I pulled out the pumpkins! [I'm not complaining, actually he's trying to fix the car]
- Oldest dd made a batch of cinnamon sugar cookies.
- Middle dd made another batch of the same cookies
- Youngest dd made a mess playing with her toys :). I think she got 'kitchened' out from the pumpkins.
- I FINALLY got to make a meatloaf for dinner that I had been trying to get to for days. We had mashed potatoes with sweet pototoes together. Peas rounded it out perfectly (and the dc also had bananas - I know - doesn't go at all).
- I browned another pound of ground beef for tacos/spaghetti/whatever.
- Oldest dd and I made a pumpkin pie while middle dd was making her cookies.
Last night I made spaghetti squash with pesto. I wasn't sure the family would go for that noodle substitution so I made a small pot of noodles for them with pesto and I added a bit of chicken in it. I served them the sketty squash with just butter on it. They liked it that way and I loved it with pesto. [I got another one yesterday for $1 a pound - I think I'll cook it and freeze it]
- Middle dd made blueberry muffins for a Food Show.
- Oldest dd made peanut butter ball cookies for a Food Show.
- My water kefir has been totally neglected this week and has probably turned to vinegar. I'm going to put in 1/2 juice, 1/2 water for about 8 hours to revive them a little. I have a 1 qt jar and an "experiment" 2 qt jar that I usually use for lemon/ginger. I think I'll throw them all together in the 2 qt jar for this revival. Then I'll do a plain recipe for a few cycles.