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“The Great O Antiphons” with New Printable Ornaments

Singing or reading the Great “O” Antiphons in the week leading up to Christmas has become a lovely tradition of my own that I try to observe during Advent.  This year, I plan to print these images that I painting last year, and make them into ornaments with my kids.  I share them here in case you would like to do the same. As part of our Advent devotions, we will likely cut these out, and someone will write the accompanying verse and plea on the back.  Then we will hang it on our tree, alongside the Jesus Tree ornaments we have read.  Simple, short, but a way to continue to look forward to our Savior’s arrival.  And if in the madness of life we don’t do it this year, we will try again next year. The Great O Antiphons Ornaments

From the Archives: St. Nicholas Day Treat Bag

Saint Nicholas Day has come to be one of my favorite Advent traditions.  It is a bright and celebratory spot in the waiting weeks of Advent, and it reminds us of a man of faith who loved, and brought joy to, children.  There are many great resources about Saint Nicholas: Saint Nicholas Center – A site packed full of information on “the original Santa Claus,” with lots of information on Saint Nicholas, and ideas for activities, food, and other ways to celebrate. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend – This story elaborates on the idea that Saint Nicholas’ good works and generosity all stemmed from his love for God. The Baker’s Dozen – My favorite St. Nicholas Day story, about a baker who learns to be generous and open-hearted the hard way.  The illustrations in this book are stunning. In past years, we have done homemade gifts for all of our kid friends, and delivered them on Saint Nicholas Day, with a little note.  Since we have a new baby in the house …

Advent is for Making: A Reflection

There is a special dearness about Christmas gifts that are made.  Even when they are clumsily made, they are lovely because the loveliness that goes into them is from the heart and the mind and the hands: hours and days of tacking and tying, fitting and pasting, stitching and hammering, chiseling and modeling – all of it with a permeation of love and effort that cannot be priced.  The making of gifts should be a special part of Advent; an outpouring of self into something we make for someone we love, entirely in the spirit of the remaking of our hearts for Christ, for receiving the gift Someone who loves us made for us. With this making go long evenings of work together, wonderful conversations, meditations, evening prayers.  We need only work together to have an early dinner, clear away the dishes, tidy the kitchen, get the littlest ones off to bed, keep the TV and radio turned off, and there – we have a long evening before us.  Perhaps it is not possible to …

A Holy Year Calendar

Isn’t it interesting that the Christian year begins the first Sunday in Advent?  What a lovely way to orient ourselves to a new year, by beginning with quietness and darkness, preparing to welcome the great light of Christ. I painted this church year calendar for my own children, as a way for them to visualize how the changing sundays and colors of the church year correspond to the seasons.  Now that we live on a farm, I am even more appreciative of the endless sundays in Trinity, that ordinary time, that is full of the necessary and mundane business of life.  As we approach winter, with less “ordinary” work, our time is free for celebration and feasting. Please enjoy this printable with your own family, and Happy New Church Year! A Church Year at Home  

Stories of the Saints, and Costumes!

We are slowly building a collection of picture and chapter books about important figures in church history.  It always amazes me how much children enjoy reading biographies!  Here are a few recommendations from our library: Saint Valentine – A beautifully illustrated story of a Roman Christian saint; on whom our traditions of Valentine’s Day are based.  The illustrations are done in cut paper mosaic and are very lovely. Saint Patrick – One of the many faith-based books from author and illustrator Tomie DePoala. Trial and Triumph – A great compilation of histories of people throughout church history.  Good for older kids.  Be aware there is some mildly anti-Catholic sentiments; but overall an informative and useful book, with stories from the early church through modern times. If you have a look on Amazon, you will find a larger selection of books, including these that look interesting: Brigid’s Cloak Roses in the Snow The Miracle of Saint Nicholas The Prayer of Saint Francis And….if you need some Halloween/Saints Day costumes, be sure to check out Kendra’s posts: 150 …

“Advent is for Making:” Sharing a Gift From Your Family Culture

One of the most meaningful gifts I or my family has ever received came last Christmas from some dear friends of ours.  Their family loves to read; they love a good story, fairy land and tales; and they love beautiful language and pictures. They spent time frequenting library book sales, and put together personalized stacks of books for gifting according to their friend’s and family’s interests.  It is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received; but I mostly love it because in sharing a stack of great books, it was clear to me that they were gifting us a slice of their precious family culture. This Advent, why not consider assembling or creating gifts together with your children to give to family and friends?  If you are longing to simplify gift-giving, and avoid the commercialization of the holiday season, working with your children to craft gifts is one way to take the focus off of the things they are wanting, and transfer it to considering what they could create to delight others.  Plus, …

Family Culture and Sunday Tea

Our eldest child is seven now, which doesn’t seem so old, but in today’s society means he will soon be noticing more about the culture, asking us possibly difficult questions, paying more attention to his peers, and seeing how our family is different from others.  The teen years are looming, in the not so distant future, and I have been thinking that now is the time to focus on building a “family culture” to provide a buffer between our family and society at large. What is a “family culture”?  No, it’s not a bad joke about the sharing of bacteria in your house.  A family culture is, simply, how your family differs from every other family.  I appreciate this post from Catholic All Year on this topic. A family culture mostly has to do with preferences: What does your family like?  And matters of discipline: What will you allow/not allow in your home?  And other fun stuff: How do you like to recreate together?  How do you find rest and relaxation together?  Your family is like …

Rogation Prayer Bunting

Amanda had the idea for a prayer bunting to hang in your home, or around your garden, as a way to celebrate the Rogation days in your family.  The first page has a few prayers already included on the flags, and the remaining two pages have room to write your own prayers, and for children of non-writing age to draw their prayers.  Just another visible reminder of our responsibility to pray always for our neighbors, communities, and society at large. Cut the flags and fold them and secure with tape over some kind of string.  Kabob skewers work well to hold the flags in the ground.  We would love to see some of your Rogation buntings as well!  Tag us on Instagram @thehomelyhours. RogationFlags

Our Daily Bread

Yesterday, on Holy Wednesday, the children of our church gathered to make bread that will be used for our Maundy Thursday Holy Communion service (A post on that tomorrow!). We used the following recipe from Bethany Thomso of the food blog, A Spoon Full of Yum.  Bethany is wife to The Farmer, mother of four little ones who she home schools in Tennessee, and a former dietician with a lifelong interest in nutrition. Thank you, Bethany, for your recipe and reflection! In prayer, we express our dependence upon the Lord, drawing sustenance from Him, and, just so, the very act of eating bread should remind us of how utterly dependent we are upon Christ, the Bread of Life.  Jesus taught his disciples to pray that the Father would “give us this day our daily bread” (ESV).  Hearkening back to Proverbs 30:8, we may pray: “…Feed me with the food that is needful” (ESV).   No matter our level of education or socioeconomic status, we will never rise above our basic need for food.  This should …

Homely Moments: Children and Holy Week

We thought it would be fun to launch an inspirational blog link up this week at The Homely Hours.  If you would like to share pictures or ideas of your family celebrating Holy Week, please add your link below.  It will be fun to see how others celebrate!  Alternatively, tag your photos on Instagram or Facebook with #homelyworship.  The invitation to add your link is open through Easter Sunday.  Have a blessed Holy Week. The Triumphal Entry in godly play.