As always, the St. Augustine's children sang a beautiful concert. It is one of the highlights of my year. Unfortunately, due to a minor crises, I missed most of it this year. But I made it on time to hear all eight of my children sing Handel's Halleluja Chorus. (Each year our director invites the alumni up to sing it with the current schola, and Lydia squeezed in with Monica.)
This year we are baking a few of our regular treats and trying some new grain free, sugar free recipes to keep Kevin and me on plan over Christmas. Our regular treats are: snickerdoodles (because the younger kids love them and can do them by mostly themselves), buckeyes (because... well, yum), gingerbread for St. Nicholas Day, and traditional fruitcake (because my husband asked). Also whatever is gifted into the house.
I baked a cake and two pumpkin silk pies, chocolate cookies, fudge, cranberry wassail, eggnog, cranberry sauce (I did both,regular and sugar free), low carb sourdough for the stuffing, and keto rolls. All on plan for Kevin and I, good for the children, and, so far everything tastes very good!
I can't imagine not baking for Christmas so I'm grateful to be able to bake and cook food that is actually nourishing, and also celebratory!
Advent is such a mixture of special times, anticipation, and an impossible amount of work for moms. We have all our regular chores, lots of special events (all requiring food/gifts/time/talent), family traditions, preparations for Christmas, usually a few rounds of illness thrown in... and... we would like the peace and joy that should come from a spiritual Advent.
Doesn't happen. Unless we can relinquish our expectations and lay ourselves bare to wait on what Christ wants to show us this season.
For me His love always shows up in the little things. A thoughtful gesture from someone, reading Christmas books from our Advent basket, Saint Andrew's Novena, the scent of Christmas baking spices, prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament...
His Goodness and His Peace hit me in those moments when He is kind enough to draw back the curtain and let me feel His presence and comfort. But I can't make those moments happen. He comes to me in His time. I just have to be open.
I love Jesus.
The Christmas books wrapped and numbered to be read each day of Advent, and a few into the Christmas Octave. (You can see pink paper on the book for Gaudete Sunday. )
the fruitcake fruit soaking in rum
This is an odd Advent image. One of our Advent basket books is always a Pearl Harbor story for December 7, the day the United States was forced into WWII. Our children need to know what the generations before them suffered, and learn from those responses that were good, true, beautiful, and courageous. Advent and Christmas are always super busy for our priests so we pray extra for them. The priests who served on the battlefields, who risked it all to bring the Sacraments to our soldiers, embody the sacrificial way that our priests serve us even in peacetime. This image represents all those intentions.
Everyone's favorite Advent Saint. Here is a gorgeous old Polish St. Nicholas
All of our children learned to read from the Little Angel Reader series. I loved the snuggle-on-the-couch-teaching-reading times. OK, sometimes there were tears of frustration and sometimes the poor child had to follow me around the house while I worked so I could hear the reading lesson, but I loved every bit of it. Lydia, the baby, just finished her last lesson in the series. She is ready to move on to chapter books!
Lydia's first chapter book will be Little House in the Big Woods. (Lydia and her sweet friend, Cordia, as Mary and Laura)