The Crunchy Catholic Mother’s Day Gift Guide

you are lovely

Mother’s Day, you guys! It’s right around the corner. Growing up I feel like this was kind of always a big deal. Maybe because I just really and truly have Theee Best Mother on The Planet, but, anyway. I’ve seen so many great things lately and thought, “Ooo! That would be a fun gift!” I thought I’d do a little collection and share in case any of you ladies out there need help dropping some hints to your peeps.

  1. The Blessed Is She Planner – On my wish list. I know ladies who have this and absolutely love it. It runs August-July, and pre-orders are open now, which means it still has a pre-order price. So…now’s the time to snag.
  2. The Catholic Catalogue – This book. I had it on my list for a while, then saw it in a store. It’s a beautiful book. Just, so lovely. Very satisfying to hold. I’ve had guests pick it up and say, “Wow, that’s a pretty book!” And this one is safe to judge by its cover: it’s an absolutely delightful read, and a terrific resource. I love sitting down with it, flipping to the right section of the year, and seeing what I can bring to our home life. It’s a treat for sure.
  3. BC Body Luxuries Gift Set – Feeling the need to splurge on someone (or yourself)? I gotchu. This right here. A scrub, a butter, a cutie pie canvas tote. Now you’re totes covered. (See what I did there?)
  4. Glory Design Crochet – I won a thing (Me! I won!) and part of the prize was a Rosary teether from this delightful Etsy shop. It arrived a few days ago and I’m still swooning over it. Now I want a bunch of other stuff from her shop. Tiffany’s work is beautiful and she herself is a lovely lady. Get thee over to the internets and buy all the things from her.
  5. Brick House in the City – if you’ve never heard of this awesome shop, you clearly don’t follow me on any form of social media. Lauren is a such a gem, and her work is spot on. She somehow gets better all the time, and I keep being amazed that’s even possible. She just released Mommy & Me tees and I want. Much. Also this one. But you kinda can’t go wrong with anything she makes, so…go browse. And buy.
  6. BC Lip Products – This is what MY mama is getting! (Hi, Mom.) We just released new colors in our gloss, sheers, and lipsticks so there’s pretty much a thing for err’body. I don’t know if I want Azalea or Poppy first…decisions.
  7. Ponder by Take Up & Read – I started doing the Scripture studies from Take Up & Read this past Advent, and I can’t get enough of them. Every morning I look forward to snuggling up on the couch with my Bible and these books. The newest one just released and I’m itching to get my fingers on it.
  8. Garden Rose Linen Apron – Sneaking suspicion this is what my peeps are getting me. Like, I have the inside scoop. Had my eye on it for a while and the reviews are great. Besides, who doesn’t need a pink linen apron? Nobody, that’s who doesn’t need it (Double negatives for the wiiiiin…)

Now that it’s all rounded up, I realize this is all a big reflection of my crunchiness and Catholic-ness, so I think I’ll go change the post title and just offer more clarity in the world. Or something like that. What was the post titled before?

We’ll never know…

Anyways. Go, do the shops, get the things, be prepared, all the good stuffs. I’d say write a meaningful letter but YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW TO DO THAT and also gifts are fun for moms. So, write your letter *and* get the mommy a nice gift.


Some links found in my posts are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you for helping support our family!


The Misadventure of the Salt Pot

Miss A woke up yesterday morning feeling vurrrrry emotional. I try – with occasional success – to respond gently and compassionately. This particular time, I recalled something my own awesome mama used to do when her batch of babies came down with a bad case of grumps: a mental health day.

That’s what she called it when it looked like the best response was to chuck the schedule and settle down to some serious leisure. Not laziness, leisure. We would pull out the craft supplies instead of school supplies, or pack picnics, or head out to impromptu field trips…one of the many joys of being a homeschooled child.

So, I figured if I wanted to do the best I could, doing like my mama was, as usual, the way to go. I chucked the chore list, abandoned the laundry, used up whatever pre-prepped food we had, and settled in for a good time.

We colored with our shiny new box of 96 crayons.


We did FaceTime with the aunties. We broke into our new bag of paintbrushes.


We had been trying watercolors but she wasn’t really interested. Then we tried washable paints, making little puddles of each color on her giant pad and letting her mix and spread and get her fingers in it…she likes that approach. We were having a pretty big time. Also, circle sponges on a handle are pretty awesome. She really liked those.


Then she asked if we could bake. We have some new cassava flour so I looked up a sugar cookie recipe and laid everything out for her to pour and mix to her little heart’s content. Because I’m tryna be like a cool mom and also get a fancy snap of the whole heartwarming experience.


Pretty, yes? I was quite proud of this picture. She even stretched her cute little arm over and I was like, “Awwww!”


We were having, I thought to myself, a Real Good Time. It was all getting to be a bit much, really.


Then, things got real. The recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I had already put it and the baking soda into the flour.

I forgot to move the salt pot back to its place by the stove.

Let’s revisit that first cutesie pic just right quick and I’ll show you the salt pot:


I walked away. For less than 90 seconds. To take pictures of the painting experience for posterity and Pinterest and whatever.

I returned.


She’d dug in. I told her she could, you know, get her little fingers in there and have some tactile learning experience or something like that.

Keen observers will have noticed that although, as I said, I forgot to replace the salt pot, it is NOT in the picture with her cute floury fingers.

But where could it be?

Come to find out, she’d dumped it in. With her other little containers of cookie paraphernalia. All. Of. It.

Now, I dunno if you guys ever bought cassava flour or coconut sugar, but, they kinda pricey. And the problem with baking with them is, once you have put in your cassava or your coconut, you sort of feel like it’s a financial investment.

I didn’t feel like we could start over.

I reflected, staring at her cute ever-so-slightly-pudgily-precious fingers working away, that the whole point was for her to have a fun, relaxing day with me. And I was the one who left the salt there.

So, we added a little more sugar. A little more butter. Another egg. Lots of cocoa powder. Definitely no more salt.


We put them in cupcake tins.

They weren’t bad, really. They were smallish and dense and lumpy and…briny. I called them Salty Hydration Cupcakes. Because you were sure gonna get yourself hydrated after eating one.

But she had a great time. She was relaxed and chipper and chatting away. We had fun. We ate the Salty Hydration Cupcakes with Kerrygold, which covereth a multitude of sins.

And next time I maybe remember to put the salt pot back on a different counter.

Crafting My Why {giveaway!}

I have lots of amazing friends doing amazing things for their families by working from home. I’ve often heard this affectionately referred to as “the side hustle.”

I’ve watched these ladies gain confidence, financial freedom, and more, and have so much admiration for their hard work and moxy. I see so many of you doing such great things. I heard several people share their “why” stories, their reasons for diving into a home-based business and signing up to share the products they believed in.

I love “why” stories. I love cheering my friends on in their enterprises, and it’s a deep wish of mine that I have made them FEEL that I love cheering them on.

Yet, while using several of these products, I never could quite picture myself distributing any of them. You guys probably see this coming a mile off now, but go ahead and cue the dramatic music: until now. (Dun dun duuunnnnn!)

About a year ago, I saw a friend share a new-to-her skincare and makeup line, focused on “cleaner, safer beauty.” Anybody who knows me knows that “cleaner, safer” is pretty much a surefire way to grab my total attention, and this was no exception. I was on the hunt for a tinted SPF moisturizer, so I checked out my friend’s spiffy link, and sure enough, there it was. A tinted SPF moisturizer, right in this magical new world called Beautycounter.

I also discovered a thing called Rosewater Mist, which I quickly realized I should not have been living my whole life without. I was seven months pregnant in Texas and I NEEDED THAT STUFF. I wish I could give a bottle to every pregnant/postpartum mama I know because BLISS.


I started nosing around into the company itself, and realized that this company prided itself on being not just about makeup, or even about skincare, but about changing the beauty industry itself, leading by example. Activists. They were activists, focused not on beauty products alone, but on building a movement. Another not-surprise for everybody that knows me, as soon as I realized that, I was all: “MY TRIBE.”

I was already aware that our labeling standards here in the great US of A are, shall we say, subpar. I already knew the EU had banned literally hundreds of ingredients in food and health/beauty products that weren’t remotely restricted here.

Specifically, 1400 ingredients are banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union. While the USA has only banned 30, Beautycounter has gone above and beyond by crafting a “Never List” made up of over 1500 ingredients, among them many known endocrine disruptors and cancer-causing carcinogens which are used commonly in other American personal care products. Beautycounter never uses these ingredients, and continually tests products for things like trace heavy metals. Cleaner, safer beauty.

Also gorgeous packaging, in case you judge books like that.

If you’re like me, after all this research the big question became, “So, does this stuff even work anyway?”

You guys. It performs like nothing else. I can’t even with how good this stuff is.

I tried one Beautycounter product after another, slowly building my collection through birthdays and special events. (Budgets, I know them.) Every thing, every single thing performed. Every single thing was a delight to use.

Then, several weeks ago, I said to the stud I married, “My birthday Beautycounter order is coming up! You know, if I ever signed up to sell anything, that would be it.”

“Well,” says he, in his studly way, “Why don’t you?”

Me, blankly: “What?”

Gorgeous Husband: “Do you want to?”

As it turned out, on reflecting, I realized I did. I sorted through all my questions, researched more, started a novena…you get the picture. In the end, I did it. I almost didn’t because when I was making my lists of “fors and againsts” I finally admitted to Alex there were two reasons I could find to not do it:

  1. I might be terrible at it and annoy somebody and also fail hardcore.
  2. It might be selfish to do because it sounded just like a lot of fun for me.

Devastatingly Attractive and Insightful Spouse’s response: “Those sound like reasons TO do it, not reasons NOT to do it.”

So, I did it.

And I came across this idea I’d seen in the work of so many friends: share your “why.”

Why Beautycounter?

As you can probably tell from this quickly-got-way-out-of-hand post, I think there are lots of reasons. Most important of which is, after discerning, it seemed like what God was leading us to do. And because this is worth sharing. It’s worth me getting out of my comfort zone and giving up naptimes and some free time and worrying about what people will think.

It’s worth it to me if it helps somebody feel like they know how to have better control over the toxins in their home. If it helps somebody feel pretty because the product doesn’t feel like cake batter on their face. If it helps somebody grow more confident because their skin tone evens out. If it soothes your worn-down heart because you can have a spa night at home…and if all this can be done in a cleaner, safer way…I want in. Because all that would be worth it.

So, here we are.

Oh, you know the whole point of this was to say I’m so excited about this I’m doing a GIVEAWAY! YES! Like a real adult blog! Or something like that…anyway. I have a full-size product gift from me, a No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask, for the first person who signs up to host a social with their friends. If you’re long-distance we can do it online and I’ll mail your gift! If you’re in person I’ll bring all my goodies to your house! You’ll get all the regular Beautycounter hostess benefits (discounts! free products! Can we tell I’m excited!?!) and also the free full-size gift from me.


There’s more.

I also have gifts for the second and third hostesses who sign up, a trial-size tube of Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion, which is pretty spiffy stuff you maybe want to get your hands on. Just sayin’.

I’m excited, you guys. And I’d love to share more about this with each of you, so, you don’t be shy and I’ll try not to be shy and we’ll get this conversation going. Let’s grow this movement for cleaner, safer beauty.


P.S. One way to learn more about why I chose Beautycounter is to join my new Facebook group, bloom Wellness & Beauty.


We’ll talk Beautycounter and lots of other healthy living goodness. Hope to see you over there!


Books For Bebes

Books for Bebes

It’s been a string of rainy days around here. Which, being a good pluviophile, I mostly don’t mind. I actually don’t mind any weather that doesn’t include horseflies and ticks, so…it’s fine. It also makes snuggling on the couch to read a lot of fun, which inspired me with the brilliant idea of asking my peeps to make a list of ten favorite books to share with ye ol’ blog readers. It took them approximately three minutes to rattle these gems off. Each one is a regular request from Miss A, and each one is also a book these parental units don’t mind reading twice in a row.

The Maggie B.” by Irene Haas – This. Book. A little girl makes a wish to “sail for a day, alone and free” and it comes true! She’s kind, industrious, talented, brave, imaginative, and charming. Definitely the top of this whole list, I think there’s a good chance we could relay the story with our eyes closed. Except then we wouldn’t get to soak up the delightful pictures, which I never get tired of looking at. We love it so much it’s probably the next birthday party theme. This book is so good it deserves its own blog post about how awesome it is.

The Napping House by Don & Audrey Wood – Adeline’s godmother gave us this one, and it quickly became a favorite. A good one for nap time, but also for rainy days, so it had to be on this list. Don and Audrey Wood are a great team, and we also have their King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, another fave. So, there’s a bonus book.

Eloise Wilkin Stories – we pretty much just love Eloise Wilkin. I guess this counts as another bonus because there’s a truckload of stories in the one volume. I mostly love/don’t mind them all except the endless one about Terry, which I pretty much hate for some reason and won’t read. Adeline gets to that one and says: “Mommy doesn’t like Terry. Only Daddy likes Terry.” Which is fairly accurate except Daddy doesn’t like Terry either, really, but he’s a more selfless parent and WILL read it. Everything else in there, and there are something like eight other books, is great though. Just not Terry. Unless you like Terry, which is cool, but who even are you?

Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit® Counting Primer – we have a handful of Babylit books and really like them all. I’m telling you this one because a lot of you will appreciate that Adeline calls it “Mr. Collins and Lizzy” which is hilarious and also probably what that infamous and oily clergyman would have liked the book to be called. We also love M is for Monocle and if you want to hear your toddler strolling about the house chanting, “O is for Omnibus! L is for Locomotive!” then you should own this book, too.

Mr. Picklepaw’s Popcorn – I actually don’t know where we got this from. A library book sale? A considerate and tasteful relative? Inherited? I don’t know. It’s here, though, and it’s a hoot. Adeline is a passionate lover of both popcorn and this book and I don’t know which trait is the original one, but they seem to “feed” into each other, if you’ll allow me to say so. Listening to Alex read this in his best down-home country boy voice is a real entertainment, as well.

Tomie DePaola Bible Stories – we love this one. Who doesn’t love Tomie DePaola? I really wanted a Bible for her that was *actually* the Bible and not paraphrasing, so this one is perfect and she pulls it out regularly. Actually, we were in Mass the other day and the reading was Jonah, which we had just read from her Tomie dePaola Bible quite by accident. She turned to me, beaming with excitement, and whisper-shouted, “JUST LIKE IN MY BIBLE!” Definitely one of the better whisper-shouts she’s ever whisper-shouted in church. All the parents know what I’m sayin’.

The Farmer in the Dell by Ilse Plume – this is a sweet little book. I don’t know where this one came from either, but she drags its little bedraggled self out on the reg and listening to her sing along to it is pretty stinking cute.

The Ring o’Roses Treasury – Rhymes and lovely illustrations. What else can you ask for in a book? Our kiddo reeeeally loves nursery rhymes and you pretty much can’t get better than the pictures in this collection.

A Small Miracle by Peter Collington – my ahhhmazing mama-in-love gave us this. Everybody needs one. This book is a perfect example of the expression that pictures are worth a thousand words…there aren’t any words. It’s a series of pictures that tell a very moving story. We pulled it out during Advent and Adeline had to have it “read” to her AT LEAST ONCE OR HOPEFULLY TWICE A DAY EVERY SINGLE DAY until we finally put it away in the Christmas boxes at the beginning of February. She calls it “The Chipsy Woman” because the main character is a little old gypsy lady. There’s also a bad guy dubbed “Stephen Snicklebee” by Alexander the Great Namer Of Things and hearing Adeline say “I need to see the Chipsy Woman and Stephen Snicklebee” was enough to make you curl up and die of cuteness. The illustrations are really profound and even after allllllll those readings, we were still finding new details in the pictures. All these words to tell you about a wordless book…You need it. The End.

Appelard and Liverwurst by Mercer Mayer – Ha! Sorry, that’s just what we always say when she pulls this book out. It’s funny. It’s cute. It’s charming. It’s hilarious. And there’s a sequel.

We’re a book family for sure, so we always love getting suggestions. What are your fave kiddo reads?


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Year In A Nutshell

I keep wanting to start this up again and I think, “Where do I start? What big cool piece could I write that resuscitates a blog from a year-long coma?”

Well…I’ll get back to you on that.

A year ago, I wrote about how we’d discerned a move to Tennessee for our little family. A year later, here we are. We love it oodles. It’s just the most gorgeous place to live. Every week that passes, I find myself thinking, “I luv ya, Texas, but dang it, YOU’RE HOT.” I do love Texas. I will always love Texas. I will always be proud of being Texan.

I am also extremely happy to be in a place with four seasons which are not “Hot, Hotter, Hot and Humid and HURRICANES, Slightly Less Hot But CEDAR.”

I’m sure you understand.

We had Autumn!


And Winter!


And we’re getting Spring-y!


It’s amazing. The light changes and the landscape changes and I never get tired of opening the door and being amazed about ALL THE FRESH AIR.

(The caps are really getting excessive, aren’t they? SO very sorry.)

I have also discovered a profound loathing for horseflies, but…all in all, I’ll still take it.

We considered sending out a little Christmas letter but just getting pictures on the Christmas card was enough of a titanic struggle, so…we did not do a letter, little or otherwise. Maybe this can count.

Let’s start with my fave, Alex – he’s super. He’s gorgeous. He’s super gorgeous.


He’s pretty much the cream of the crop at the Dad Life, and I love watching my people be together. He and Adeline make waffles every weekend, read books, build blocks, and occasionally watch some classic Donald Duck.


They have all these little inside jokes and listening to them tell each other stories is really just too much, I don’t know why my head doesn’t just explode already.


He’s amazing at his work, which he’s really enjoying. The school is a terrific fit for him in many many ways, and he really gets to shine. That’s a lot of fun to watch, too.

Then there’s Adeline. Ohhhh, Miss A.


She’s smart. So smart. She’s started telling me stories…”Mama. Mama. Lemme tellah story just right quick, mmkay?”

You betcha, babe.

She keeps up with kids much older than her, talks up a storm, and loves to be given “work.” She asks to help all the time and takes her little jobs very seriously. Her table-setting skills are nothing to sniff at. She’s got mean picking-up skills. Her tea parties are becoming legendary. And if I forget to affirm her efforts, she asks, “Did I do good work, Mama?” She loves being read to. She loves dresses. She loves going for walks. She loves visiting Daddy at school. She loves the cat. She loves to have “abbentures.” She loves pretty much everything except for getting her clothes dirty, unless it means she gets a wardrobe change, which she also loves.


Fashionable, no matter the occasion.

And our mister Magnus, he’s…pretty much the best little dude baby ever.


He’s super mellow, unless you make him mad, which takes a lot but when he mad, HE MAD. He’s just growing more fast than I can handle, and the wood floors are really pretty but also really hard, so every time he takes a spill and I hear the crack of baby head on hardwood, my heart dies in a new spot. I’m always trying to catch him and cushion him and also not be a helicopter mom and it’s all very conflicting but he seeeeeems fine. So far.


And I’m just tootling along with these folks. Finally feeling like a normal person after having-a-baby-and-moving-across-the-country. Enjoying my little New Year habits of taking any chance to beworking on photography, hand lettering, and pretty stuff. (No, really, I have a New Year Resolution to “make things pretty.” Very fun resolution.) I also have a resolution to try to be a blogger again, so we’ll see how that goes, won’t we?

There we have it! Year in a Nutshell. I think I even included some previously unshared kid pictures, whaaaaat. We all know that’s why you’re here. *wink wink*.

Ordinary Time

I’m currently staring at an unfolded load of laundry and two plastic sacks of baby boy clothes. This is not normal conditions  for my ability to write a blog post, or to think straight at all (clutter makes me semi-non-functional). However, sometimes when a thought stews a long long while in your mind and finally crystallizes itself, even clutter can’t slow it down.

We packed up our Christmas stuffs the day before yesterday, and as usual, it had me all kinds of sappy introspective. Normally I get pretty melancholy over boxing my beloved twinkle lights, but this year I felt ready. Ready for normal to return. Ready for ordinary.

One of the things I love most about the Church is the liturgical calendar – the rhythms of feast and fast and fortitude-in-between are so soothing to me. I can’t say I’ve ever particularly looked forward to Ordinary Time before. Isn’t that just what we do while we wait for the Next Big Thing? Excuse me, Mama Church, but…booooring.

Not this year. 

This year I was craving it. Not bored by it. Not dreading it. Craving it. 


We got a big year comin’ up here, folks. My little set of people and I, we got a big year. 

Most of you know by now about our April baby being a boy. A boy! Good grief. What do you do with a boy? I have a girl, and I always felt like I knew what to do with her. I’m a girl. I know what girls are like. But a BOY…I was a little freaked out about this until I recalled two important facts:

  1. Easy. I grow him, I give birth to him, I nurse him and cuddle him and sniff his iddy widdy widdle newborn yummy head, and then I plot my next move while inhaling the intoxicating scent of fresh baby. Yum.
  2. Better yet, I do all the above BUT I leave the plotting of moves to the studly genius I married, who is expert in boys and I will therefore simply follow all his advice. This is after all why I married him.  One reason why, anyway. One of many, many, many reasons: to replicate his amazingness as many times as possible. Having a baby boy is therefore a most excellent idea. Good job on that, God. 
  3. This is more than two facts but the first two reminded me – just pray a lot. This has worked for every saint ever and so it is a good plan for me. The end.

Still, after all this, a boy is still a boy and different and exciting as he is, DIFFERENT. New. Not my ordinary. 

Not yet.

The end of 2016 felt like revving up to 2017. It felt like a whirlwind and looking back on it, it seems like a whirlwind. For example, we sort-of-last-minute took a week-long road trip to Tennessee.

Which is a breath-taking place in November, I must say. And since it was kinda sudden, we had several friends looking surprised and asking, “Tennessee? What for?”

At the time we mostly said we were just taking advantage of Alex’s work vacation, which was partly true. The rest of true being: it was a scouting expedition. 

He got a job offer.

A really lovely one. A looks-like-a-perfect-fit kind of one. 

So we went to check it out, up close and personal like.

Also not my ordinary: living anywhere besides Texas. 

For reals, you guys, I am fifth-generation hard-core Texan. When I got married and moved to San Antonio it seemed like a major departure from normal to not be on the Gulf Coast. 

Tennessee is a lot to wrap my head around. 

Because we took the job. 

I say “we” because that’s how my sweet, sweet husband constantly viewed the whole process. He didn’t let his eye get caught by the bling of a sparkly new job that seemed custom-made for his (incredibly impressive) skill set. “Do WE want this?” he asked over and over. “Will this be a good fit for US? Is this what WE have in mind for our family? Do WE hear God calling our family to this place?”

Girls, marry yourself one of those. 

We did. We did hear God calling us to that place. To a tiny, rural corner of Northwest Tennessee. (I am not even kidding about rural you guys, I have no idea where the closest Target is and we don’t even have a stoplight.)

You know what? I freaked out. I did. I freaked out good. But now with a few months of thinking about it under my belt, a lot of praying, the dearest of husbands, and a good good Father liberally sprinkling Morning Prayer with the most reassuring of Psalms, I’m getting excited. Slowly but surely. All you need is a great family, a God with big ideas, and a spirit of adventure, right? 

I just need to work on my spirit of adventure. But we’re getting there. 

I’m thinking Ordinary Time is the perfect time to do just that: get there. To the next thing. 

Not so boring after all. 

The Annual Advent Spaz

I emerge from my blogging retirement to talk to you about my third-favorite subject. (Second being my completely perfect children, first being the major-brilliant totally-awesome arm-candy Man I Married.)

Third being Advent.

YOU GUYS. I luuuuv it so muuuuch.

In spite of my undying fandom of Advent, I will now attempt to write like an Actual Adult. 

Confession: not to spark a major controversy here or anything, but I actually really like seeing Christmas thingies appearing everywhere. I like it a super lot. I wander around gleefully ogling aisle upon aisle of glittering red and green stuffs, and I’m not particular about where. Well, okay, maybe slight preference to Hobby Lobby, (okay maybe major preference to Hobby Lobby) but I am not above something like the HEB Christmas section either. This is partly because I hate nasty Halloween creeper mask thingies and crap (sorry, Mom) hanging around everywhere and I SHOULD BE ABLE TO GO TO COSTCO WTHOUT A SPECIAL TRIP AROUND THE CACKLING WTCHES THAT FREAK MY TODDLER OUT and I am so glad they are GONE and replaced by all the pretty things and also partly because I! Love! Advent!

Oh, right, I was going to be an Actual Adult. 

Now that I’ve alienated half my meager readership by an appreciation for Christmas being out before Thansgiving and also hating on Halloween.

I’ve started lining up some activities and devotionals for my own personal most wonderful time of the year, and it occurred to me that if anybody else was looking around now might be a good time to start planning ahead. So I’ll share with the class like I know what’s up with Advent. I don’t, but I am a professional fan, so, there is that. 

Advent Calendar 2016

November 27th – First Sunday of Advent

  • We’ll start our Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath this day. This year Christmas Day is a Sunday, which means four full, complete, perfect weeks of Advent. If you don’t already have a Jesse Tree set, I definitely recommend looking around as there are loads of beautiful options. My mama bought and laminated this set I’m not sure how long ago, and it is still my favorite one out there. However, we use one I got free with my Waiting in the Word Scripture Study last year. It was a printable coloring set for children, and since my kiddo was 6 months old and didn’t care, I printed them out on purple cardstock and painted them with gold leaf and a darker purple. They turned out to be fairly grown-up looking and are working well for right now. Alex reads us the accompanying Sripture verses for each evening and we hang our ornament and light our candle/s and it was wondrous last year. 

December 1st – St. Edmund Campion

  • Working on this one, but I LOVE THIS SAINT and I always wish I had thought of something to do. Maybe this is the year…

December 5th and 6th – St. Nicholas day

  • What we do instead of Santa Claus on Christmas Day. I grew up with this tradition and loved it. We put shoes out by the fireplace on the evening of the 5th, then they are filled with presents the next morning, on his feast day. My mom had a movie about St. Nicholas that we watched and we had parties and cookie decorating and it was super fabulous. My mom was always so good at these things. I aspire to her awesomeness.

December 8th – The Immaculate Conception

  • HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION. Anybody have good ideas to celebrate Mama Mary after we go to Mass?

December 11th – Gaudete Sunday

  • Or, as you may know it, The Pink Sunday! (For the record: it’s rose.) We have worked on ironing out our Christmas traditions since we were married, and while we previously attempted saving our Christmas Tree for Christmas Eve, that got gnarly and unworkable. Read: you maybe cannot find a tree on Christmas Eve. We decided this year, we’ll go for the tree on this Rejoicing Sunday, bring it home, but not decorate it…yet.

December 12th – Our Lady of Guadalupe

  • Mama Mary again! I am working on making this a good celebration in our little family, but I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas and this feast day is a big freaking deal. Maybe this year is the year I nail it. 

December 13th – Santa Lucia

  • !!!!! I love this one. We started this last year with Adeline and I’ve been looking forward to it since December 14th of last year. We dress her in a fairly-traditional Santa Lucia costume, minus the candles on her head, invite some friends over for a small dessert party, and turn on the Christmas lights! Last year that meant our apartment patio, this year it will include our otherwise-undecorated Christmas tree. Since her name means “light”, it seems like an appropriate way to celebrate. I think her costume may actually become Adeline’s St. Nicholas day gift. 

December 24th – Christmas Eve

  • Decorate the Tree! Maybe help decorate the Church! Maybe make it to Midnight Mass!  Maybe do all the things! Maybe get sick like last year! The possibilities are endless. *wink wink*

Did I miss any big days? What about you?  Any big ideas for the pleasantest penitential season in the liturgical year?