The Reason For Christmas Presents and the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th

From The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

Why are we making gifts for each other two, three, four weeks ahead of time? Working as hard as we can to make something beautiful? To wrap it beautifully? To tie it beautifully? To think of something full of love to write on the card that goes with it? Because we know that Christmas is coming.

That Jesus should become man and save us from our sins is more than good reason to prepare, to anticipate. We want everything to be perfect for Jesus and for our beloveds when Christmas comes.

Just so, God the Father prepared for the coming of Jesus. He prepared for His divine Son a perfect Mother through whom He could come into the world.

This is how He prepared: God the Father knew that when the time came, from our Lord’s death on the Cross would flow graces that would never end, that would make it possible for Godlike powers to be given to men.

For example, He knew that our Lord would institute a sacrament through which grace would come to wash away the Original Sin inherited from Adam and Eve, and to fill the soul with marvelous beauty where God Himself could dwell.

In creating a Mother for His Son, God used this grace ahead of time – not to wash away Original Sin but to make a Mother whose soul was untouched by Original Sin.

This is what we mean when we speak of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, the name she used for herself when at last she told St. Bernadette who she was.

God does not live in time. He invented time for us so that we could keep track of ourselves, but He has no need of it, and in the foreverness of Heaven, He used all the magnificent graces His divine Son poured forth from His death on the Cross in time to merit for our Lady a perfect soul from the instant He breathed it into being.

That is why, when Gabriel came to her in Nazareth, he could say, “Hail, full of grace….” That is why, when Mary went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth could cry out, “Blessed art thou among women….”

This does not mean that our Lady was conceived in a miraculous manner, as her divine Son was conceived.

She was born of the lawful union of Joachim and Anne, loving husband and wife. It does mean that at the moment the seed of life that was to become our Lady was united to her immortal soul, it was to a soul God had created perfect.

Our Lady was made immaculate so that when the time came for the plan of the Redemption to unfold, her pure and holy body would be a perfect resting place wherein the love of God – His Holy Spirit – would breathe and His divine Son would begin to live. This beautiful doctrine explained to the children on the vigil of her feast will help form the spirit in which the entire family will assist at the Mass in her honor and receive Holy Communion.

The great Advent mysteries in the life of our Lady relate in many ways to the knowledge we must give our children about their bodies.

Now we see again why we must have reverence and awe for our bodies. They are made for great and holy things.

All the little girls in the world who will grow up to discover that God’s will for them is to be wives and mothers will, as mothers, carry their babies the way our Lady carried her baby.

Every mother we see who is expecting a baby can remind us of our Lady. It is so good of God to have His Son come to us this way, and so sanctify the bearing of babies.

He could have come in thunder and lightning. He could have come like a wild storm riding the sun, driving the moon and the stars before Him.

But, loving us in our littleness and our struggles and our pains and worries, He chose to be like us in all things save sin, so that we would always know that God knows what it is like to be a man.

If we have children for whom it is time to learn something of the way babies are born, Advent is an especially appropriate time to continue with that part of sex instruction.

This carrying of babies within the mother’s body, is it not beautiful? This is how our Lady carried her Baby, close to her heart, protected and sheltered there by her own pure body. This delivering of babies, as we call it – the emergence of the baby from his mother’s body – is it not wonderful? It is God’s way.

He decided it was to be like this. If there were a finer way for it to be, He would have it be that way.

“Let us pray tonight and ask our Lady to help us have reverence for our bodies, and for the bodies of others, and never to do anything with them God does not want us to do.” These things and a host of others relating to the meaning and spirit of Advent make beautiful, rich, prayerful conversations that go with the making of gifts.

Some are for parent and child alone, some for the group; both ways, the treasury to explore is inexhaustible.

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A Prayer in Honor of the Immaculate Conception

ANT. This is the rod in which was neither knot of original sin,
nor rind of actual guilt.

V. In thy conception, O Virgin! Thou wast immaculate.

R. Pray for us to the Father, Whose Son thou didst bring forth.

Let us Pray

O GOD, Who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst
prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son, we beseech Thee, that as
by the foreseen death of that same Son, Thou didst preserve her
from all stain, so too thou wouldst permit us, purified through
her intercession, to come unto Thee. Through the same Christ our
Lord. Amen.

Prayer to Our Lady Immaculate

Most holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His
Mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look
kindly on the wretched who implore thy powerful patronage. The
wicked serpent, against whom was hurled the first curse, continues
fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. Do
thou, then, O Blessed Mother, our queen and advocate, who from the
first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of the enemy,
receive the prayers which, united with thee in our single heart,
we implore thee to present at the throne of God, that we may never
fall into the snares which are laid out for us, and may all arrive
at the port of salvation; and, in so many dangers, may the Church
and Christian society sing once again the hymn of deliverance and
of victory and of peace. Amen.


In Thy conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for
us to the Father, Whose Son, Jesus Christ conceived of the Holy
Ghost, thou didst bring forth.

“The key to accepting our husband is humility. We must realize that we have human faults and limitations….that we, too, are not the perfectly virtuous individual. Remember, the only person we can change is ourselves. It takes humility of spirit to have a successful relationship. As for the rest, we must pray…..” -Finer Femininity

A sermon for you today:
Our Lady trusted in God & kept Him on her mind all the time. She is the greatest follower of Christ.

Coloring pages for your children…. (click on picture to get full view)

In this joyful and charming book, Maria Von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.

Mary Reed Newland wrote numerous beloved books for Catholic families, but The Year and Our Children is her undisputed masterpiece. Read it, cherish it, share it, put it into practice and give your kids the gift of a fully lived faith, every day and in every season.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Showing Up for Life

A good reminder…. Reading this again makes me want to try harder to live in the now….to make time for the priorities. When we are on our deathbed, it won’t be how much we have accomplished, how clean our house is or how many Christmas cookies we baked….  It will be: Do I go to the door to greet my husband when he comes home? Do I take the time to listen to him? Did I take time out to look and listen when the kids were talking to me? Did I read them a bedtime story? Did I make sure they said their prayers? These are the priorities.

A lot of the women I know are very busy. They have a God-given gaggle of children, many of them young. They are up night and day, doing the things that mothers lovingly….and sometimes not so lovingly (but always trying)… do.

Many of us can’t change the fact that we are busy….and really, we wouldn’t want to. But we must take time to smell the roses (or evergreens) along the way….we must take the time to BE.

One of my favorite books is Achieving Peace of Heart which was written by a Jesuit priest and Catholic psychologist in a day when these could be trusted. He helped so many people and his main theme and way of recovery for small anxieties right through to mental disorders….his way of teaching the secret to happiness…was living in the present moment.

“In conscious life there is a lack of clear consciousness, or of adequate response to impressions received. A victim of this escapes from reality and from society into egocentrism. He neither lives in nor enjoys the present; he does not pay full attention to what he sees or hears. He lives in the past or the future, far away from his physical location, wrapped up in sadness, scruples, or worries…..” Fr. Narciso Irala, Achieving Peace of Heart

And an excerpt from the book Hands Free Life – Rachel Macy Stafford:

“Although we’ve been led to believe that our fondest memories are made in the grand occasions of life, in reality, they happen when we pause in the ordinary, mundane moments of a busy day. The most meaningful life experiences don’t happen in the ‘when,’ they happen in the ‘now.’ This concept is not earth shattering, nor is it something you don’t already know. Yet we still continually put off the best aspects of living until the conditions are right.”

So….we need to consciously practice pulling ourselves back to the NOW until we become experts at it! We need to quit thinking so much of what we have to do….running, running, running. Let’s do the job we are doing, let’s do it well, let’s think about living each moment IN the moment.

This takes some effort, it takes a mindfulness that may try to elude us…. but we mustn’t let it. We need to begin to show up for life. This mindfulness will help us with our family life.


When those little…or big…. feet come running up to us and their eyes peer into ours, let’s take the time to really listen and look at them. Let’s BE…..for them. So what if we are mopping the floor and want to get it done NOW! Let’s put the mop aside and spend that 5 minutes listening to the latest escapade of what happened when Johnny tried to climb the tree or Susie tripped over her skip rope. Those 5 minute snatches can mean so much to them…..and to us.

When hubby comes home from work, let’s take the time to stop what we are doing and greet him with a smile and a kiss. Isn’t he worth it? Yes, he is worth it. If he wants to talk about his day, let’s try to stay focused and listen. It won’t take much of our time and it sure is a lot more important than getting those clothes off the line….we can do it later.

When 14 yr. old Jenny wants to tell us about how her book ended, or about the movie she watched (Ugh! Don’t you dislike listening to someone retell a movie??), let’s listen….not just listen….let’s hear.

Whether we are married or single, no matter what our life occupation is, we must take time for our loved ones. This doesn’t change no matter what walk of life we are in. We want to be able to go to bed at night knowing that we have spent some time putting first things first….our husbands, our children, our siblings, our parents, our friends.

The people in our lives are so important….much more important than any chore or deadline we may think we have. We can get back to that. Let’s just be there for them. Let’s live in the present…..the NOW….for us, for our families.

So, for today, we will work on doing what we are doing….doing it well….and embracing those “distractions” and “interruptions” with patience and love. Let’s walk with a peace, the peace of doing God’s will in the moment and not letting our mind wander too far away from the NOW. Let us BE…it’s up to ME!

The Important Things- Leane VanderPutten

(based on “Keeping Track of Life Manifesto” – Rachel Macy Stafford)

Not the skin-deep beauty of face and figure

Not the fullness of our bank account

Not the speed at which I get my housework done

Not how nice my vehicle is

Not the cleanliness and beauty of my house

Not the number of chores I do each day

Not the events on my calendar

Not the number of church functions I am involved in

Not the text messages or emails I feel I need to respond to

Instead….I’m paying attention to the important things in life

I am going to live in the present, I am going to BE

for the hugs

for the conversations

for the exchange of laughter to heal my anxious soul.

I am finding happiness in living for the NOW

In the sit-down moments after meals

In the raucous joy of children and grandchildren

In the exchange of knowing looks that come between my husband and I

I’m living for the NOW

By taking the Hand of my Lord

Looking at Him when I feel frenzied

When I feel worried and disillusioned

So I may be present for those I love

my children

my husband

my grandchildren

my friends

By basking in each moment as I pause along the way

I’m living for the NOW

Because I know that there are more important things than accomplishing each task on my list.

Because I don’t want to miss a childhood, a wedding, a friendship

Because I want to be able to lay my head down at night knowing I have connected with those things that matter most…..

Because when my life is at its close it can be said, “You have run the race, you have fought the good fight.” and I will be remembered, not for what I have accomplished,  but for HAVING LOVED WELL…..

Share interests together. As many as possible. See how you can join him in his hobbies and invite him to share in yours. Even if you don’t both enjoy the same things, at the very least you can be interested and enthusiastic about what interests him. And then look for activities that you can both learn to enjoy together as well. Start something new if you have to. -Lisa Jacobson

Check out my book, Cheerful Chats for Catholic Children here! 🙂


“I’ve long been wanting a book on various virtues to help my children become better Catholics. But most books focused on the virtues make being bad seem funny or attractive in order to teach the child a lesson. I’ve always found them to be detrimental to the younger ones who’s logic hasn’t formed. This book does an awesome job in showing a GOOD example in each of the children with all the various struggles children commonly struggle with (lying, hiding things, being grumpy, you name it.) But this book isn’t JUST virtue training… it’s also just sweet little chats about our love for God, God’s greatness, etc…

And the best thing of all? They are SHORT! I have lots of books that are wonderful, but to be honest I rarely pick them up because I just don’t have the time to read a huge, long story. These are super short, just one page, and very to the point. The second page has a poem, picture, a short prayer and a few questions for the kids to get them thinking. It works really, really well right before our bedtime prayers and only takes a few minutes at most.

If you like “Leading the Little ones to Mary” then you will like these… they are a little more focused on ALL age groups, not just little ones… so are perfect for a family activity even through the teenage years, down to your toddler.”


Vintage Christmas Apron! Feminine and Beautiful!

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Why do we call Christmas songs carols? And is the Christmas tree a pagan symbol? Were there really three kings? These questions and so many others are explored in a way that is scholarly and yet delightful to read. Enjoy learning about the history of the many Christmas traditions we celebrate in this country!

Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost Hole in medieval churches? How did a Belgian nun originate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament? Where did the Halloween mask and the jack-o’-lantern come from? Learn the answer to these questions, as well as the history behind our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving, in this gem of a book by Father Weiser.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Feast of St. Nicholas with Recipes and Songs

Feast of St. Nicholas, Dec. 6th…

Saint Nicholas has been for hundreds of years a popular saint in the East and in the West, greatly famed as a worker of miracles. There are many charming legends concerning him.

One tells of an occasion in heaven when all the saints came together to talk and to drink a little wine. Saint Basil filled the golden cups from the golden jug, and everyone was deep in conversation when it was noticed that Saint Nicholas was nodding. One of the blessed nudged him until he awoke, and asked why he was slumbering in such good company.

“Well, you see,” he told them, “the enemy has raised a fearful storm in the Aegean. My body was dozing perhaps, but my spirit was bringing the ships safe to shore.”

Saint Nicholas is the saint of mariners and also of bankers, pawnbrokers, scholars, and thieves! But he is especially the saint of children, and is known among them in various countries as Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel.

There have even been invented servants to accompany him and to deal with the children who have been bad.

Saint Nicholas is considered too kind to give scoldings and punishments, so, in Austria Krampus, in Germany Knecht Rupprecht, and in Holland, Black Peter goes along with him, armed with a stout switch, while Saint Nicholas himself simply gives and gives.

Another very old legend tells us of the saint’s kindness to the three daughters of a poor nobleman. They were about to be sold into slavery, because they had no dowry, when Saint Nicholas stole to their home and on three nights in succession dropped a bag of gold down the chimney. This is said to explain why three balls are the pawnbrokers’ sign and why the saint drops gifts for children down the chimney.

Devotion to Saint Nicholas began in Asia Minor, where he was a bishop, and it was brought to Russia by an emperor who was witness to some of his miraculous works. It spread through Lapland and into Scandinavia, to other European countries, and finally to America.

Up to that time Saint Nicholas had been pictured as a lean and ascetic bishop. In America, he became fat and jolly, and his miter was turned into a winter cap, his vestments into a snow suit. But he has kept his reindeer from Lapland, his propensity for chimneys acquired in Asia Minor, and the generosity of his heart.

A French legend tells that long ago Our Lady gave Lorraine to Saint Nicholas as a reward for his kindness to the world. He is still the special patron of that province and on his eve children hang up their stocking, saying:

Saint Nicolas, mon bon patron Envoyez-moi quelqu’ chose de bon.

In Holland Saint Nicholas puts in an appearance on the eve of his feast. As the children sing, the door flies open and on the floor drop candies and nuts–right on a white sheet that has been spread out just in case.

And after he has gone, there is hot punch and chocolate and boiled chestnuts served with butter and sugar. And in the morning, children find in the shoes they have set before the fire toys and many other good things–candy hearts and spice cakes, “letterbankets,” which were candies or cakes in the form of the child’s initials, ginger cakes or “taai-taai” in patterns of birds and fish and the form of the saint himself. He also brings a hard cooky, called “Speculaus.”


1/2 cup butter 2-1/2 cups cake flour 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 egg 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 lemon rind, grated 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg, and continue beating. Add the grated lemon rind and the flour sifted with the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Let the dough rest overnight in a cool place. Roll out as thinly as possible– about the thickness of the back of a knife blade. Cut into desired shape and bake at 350 degrees F. for fifteen to twenty minutes.

In Switzerland Saint Nicholas parades the streets, his arms full of red apples, cookies, and prunes for the children who crowd to him. In Austria and Germany he throws gilded nuts in at the door while Rupprecht and Krampus, the spoilsports, throw in a few birch twigs.

In Poland if there is a red sunset on Saint Nicholas’ Day, it is because the angels are busily baking the Saint’s Honey Cakes.

Ciastka Miodowe (Honey Cakes)

1/2 cup honey 1 teaspoon soda 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 egg yolks 1/4 teaspoon cloves 4 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Warm the honey slightly and combine with the sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Sift the flour with the soda and spices and stir into the honey batter thoroughly. Let the dough rest overnight. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; cut out with a cooky cutter. Brush with the slightly beaten white of an egg, press half a blanched almond into each cooky and bake at 375 degrees F. for about fifteen minutes.


Below is two renditions of the St. Nicholas song courtesy of the St. Nicholas Center. I always liked the tune of Jolly Old St. Nicholas but the words are silly. So here is a chance to sing it with some good words!

Song 1:

Saint Nicholas Song
Song tells the story of Saint Nicholas

Thankful Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
when he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
Rich folk came to Nicholas,
Bringing wealth to share,
so it could be sent to those living in despair.

Three maidens husbands could not find,
their father was so poor;
No dowry was available, to tempt a suitor’s lore.
Word came to youthful Nicholas,
who acted in good taste,
In darkness threw three bags of gold,
retreating in great haste.

Zealous Bishop Nicholas,
born in Pa-tar-a,
Was the Bishop of My-ra
in times of great trial.
Who suffered prison for his faith,
Through torture still held firm,
Released by Constantine the Great,
to My-ra he returned.

Holy Bishop Nicholas,
The sailors patron saint,
saved the storm-tossed mariners
from a salty fate.
Who at Nicea formed the creed—
but jail became his fate,
He punched a pastor in the jaw,
so heated the debate.

Patron Saint of children,
Saint Nicholas did become,
giving gifts at Christmas time,
a special act of love.
His style was different from his peers,
as they would often see,
“Give to the truley needy ones
with a-non-ym-i-tee.”

Gentle Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
When he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
We too must always seek to share,
our means with those in need,
God help us imitate this saint,
on Advent winter eves.

Song 2:

The Song of St. Nicholas
To the tune of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”

Once upon a long ago
Very far away,
In the town of Bethlehem
Lying in some hay,
Jesus came for you and me
Bringing heaven’s love
As a gift for us to have
From the Lord above.

In the town of Myra once
Also long ago,
Lived good Bishop Nicholas
Hair as white as snow.
Nicholas loved Jesus who
Loved and helped us all.
“I will do the same,” said he
“Helping great and small.”

Thankful Bishop Nicholas
Friendly, good and wise;
When he could, helped the poor
Always by surprise.
Rich men came to Nicholas
Bringing wealth to share
So it could be sent to those
Living in despair.

We should be like Nicholas
Thankful, good and kind,
Loving those who need our help
All the ones we find.
Jesus and Saint Nicholas
Taught us how to give:
Share but never seek rewards,
That is how to live!



“Cultivate kindness of heart; think well of your fellow-men; look with charity upon the shortcomings in their lives; do a good turn for them, as opportunity offers; and, finally, don’t forget the kind word at the right time. How much such a word of kindness, encouragement, of appreciation means to others sometimes, and how little it costs us to give it!” -J.R. MIller



A great Christmas gift idea… The Catholic Boy’s and Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journals! Let’s keep our youth engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their lives, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them… Available here.

Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.


St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6th – St. Nicholas vs Santa Claus


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Tomorrow is the feast of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas Day has always been a special day around here. We often would have a puppet show, inviting the cousins or grandchildren over to join in the fun. But even if that wasn’t on the “menu” we made sure and had our stockings ready to be filled!

Here is the link to the Puppet Show.

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

On December 6 comes the feast of the Christmas saint, St. Nicholas, although most of our celebration of this feast comes on his vigil, December 5.

We find a puppet show a delightful way to tell his story, explain his relation to the Christ Child, and introduce the hanging of stockings for his feast day.

St. Nicholas was really a Turk born in Asia Minor. For a long time he was Bishop of Myra (near the southern coast of Turkey to the right of the Island of Rhodes – in case you look for it on a map).

An orphan, he grew in love of God, became a priest, and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to venerate the places of our Lord’s life.

On the voyage, a terrible storm threatened to sink the ship, but by his prayers all were saved.

For this reason he is venerated as patron of boatmen, fishermen, dock workmen, and sailors.

Returning to his native land, he was made a bishop; his generosity and love for the poor and for children, as well as his many miracles, endeared him to Christian people all over the world.

He is also venerated as the patron of scholars, coopers and brewers, travelers and pilgrims, those who have unjustly lost a lawsuit, and as patron and annual benefactor of schoolchildren (especially boys), and is invoked against robbers and (in Holland) for protection of seafaring men.

Many legends surround St. Nicholas, among them the one saint story I personally cannot abide: the tale of the three little boys murdered and salted down in a tub is too much.’ We never tell it.

The story we like best is the well-known tale of the three marriageable daughters who were nevertheless unmarriageable for want of dowries. Hearing of their plight, the saint went silently by their house one night and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the oldest, who not long after found a husband for herself with no trouble at all.

Then he crept by a second time and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the second daughter, who likewise was suddenly at no loss for suitors.

As he was about to toss the gold through the window for the third daughter, the father of the girls caught sight of him.

Throwing himself at his feet, he thanked him, confessed his sins, begged his blessing. Plainly it is from this story that the tradition has grown wherein St. Nicholas is said to leave gifts, candies, and sweets on windowsills, in shoes, and even in the stockings of good little children.

It is the Dutch diminutive Sinter Klaas (“Sant Nikolaas”) that became, by way of the New Amsterdam Dutch, the familiar American Santa Claus.

It is among the Dutch also that we find the appearance of Black Peter, his page, who follows him, distributing switches, coal, straw – whatever – to the naughty children as St. Nicholas gives treats to the good. Black Peter appeared in the Dutch festival after the invasion of Holland by the Spaniards, who brought black servants with them.

“Telling the truth about Santa Claus” need not rob children of their Christmas magic. It adds to it with another feast to celebrate, another saint to know and love, another emphasis gently persuading them to meditate on the coming of the divine Child.

And if we really fear to take away that part of it which is surprise, that marvelous moment Christmas morning when the presents are at last mysteriously there, be assured the little ones continue to pretend.

Our littlest ones, knowing the truth, continue to pretend that it is all assembled in the most mysterious and magical fashion.

“But – then – who gives us the presents?” children will ask. “Who loves you most in all the world gives you the presents.”

“Who is that?”

“You guess.”

They screw up their faces, think hard. Then suddenly all brighten: “You – and Daddy, and Grandma and Granny!”

It is like the circle that never ends. God loves mothers and fathers and gives them children they will love, and they teach the children about God, and the children love God, and since God wants them all with Him in Heaven, He sends His Son who loves them so much that He gives up His life for them, and that is so much love that it pays for their sins and buys back Heaven for them….

At Christmas everyone is so happy about all this that we all give each other presents. Shouldn’t that be the reason we give and receive presents?

It would be a little embarrassing to be asked, “Don’t you think the Christ Child is an adequate substitute for Santa Claus?” and feel you must answer no.

He really is and He must become the all of Christmas for families who are going to try to live lives of deep faith.

It is not really worth it to toss in this “little white lie” when we are trying so hard to teach children impeccable truthfulness.

Probably not all children who discover there is no Santa, when they have been told by their parents that there is, will consider their parents dyed-in-the-wool liars, but there is the danger that they will discount some of every other truth they are taught.

This is an age when accuracy and unadorned truthfulness are not particularly in vogue.

Yet a concern to speak the utter truth in everything will teach a child better than anything else how to be utterly truthful himself, how to be honest with his own conscience – which is the same thing as being honest with God.

Santa Claus is not a serious lie, but St. Nicholas in his rightful place, gazing with us at the Christ Child, is a much lovelier truth.

One thing, however, it is not cricket to do: go about the neighborhood telling all the children who do believe in Santa Claus that “there is none.”

This kind of revelation is guaranteed to leave nothing but heartache behind. Without proper explanation or background, it is really cheating a child of something he dearly loves.

Most children can learn to keep their own counsel about this; where there is disparity on the subject in the neighborhood, with love and tact the mothers can explain and help prevent unpleasant exchanges.

One of the traps into which most parents of goodwill eventually fall before Christmas has arrived is to shout in the heat of some shortness of tempers: “How do you expect to get presents on Christmas if you aren’t good now?”

No sooner are the words out of your mouth than you could bite off your tongue. But it has been said. The ugly implication is there: you might not get presents for Christmas.

St. Nicholas’s feast is an ideal time for straightening out this problem of being good and not being good before Christmas.

It is true that the issue should have something to do with the end result, but when we threaten this way, we forget that the reason God the Father sent the Christ Child wasn’t because everyone had been good, but because they hadn’t been good.

To transfer the burden of the “be good or else” problem to St. Nicholas is infinitely more comfortable.

Here the threat involves no more than a stockingful of cookies, but it is a prospect sufficiently dreadful to give them pause.

It also involves a happy solution to the naughtiness. No good behavior – no cookies. It usually works (I speak from experience).

The shock of seeing that you meant what you said, of hearing St. Nicholas warn you the night before and discovering he meant what he said, is most salutary.

Most enfants terribles will stand dolefully watching the more virtuous munching their cookies and make a superb effort to mend their ways, and yet the event is not of such magnitude that it leaves any permanent scars.

People always ask how we handle the delicate business of sharing should this occasion produce one or two malcontents without cookies.

We are all, of course, very sad to see they have no cookies, but if it is a warning and a punishment, then it is a warning and a punishment.

Character training is involved, and also your own authority. No cookies – shared or otherwise.


“Where is the busy mother who cannot find time enough to spend thus a few moments every night with each child before it falls asleep, in sweet, loving talk; and tender, earnest prayer? Far down into the years, the memory of such sacred moments will go, proving thousands of times a light in darkness, an inspiration in discouragement, a secret of victory in hard struggle, a hand to restrain from sin in time of fierce temptation.” -J.R. Miller

St. Nicholas Coloring Pages available here.

Beautiful Vintaj Brass Wire Rosaries! Lovely, Durable…

Review: The rosary is absolutely beautiful. It will be a gift for my husband. I have 2 of her rosaries, one 8 years old. They are well made, in addition to beautiful. No other rosary has survived my little ones tugs.

Available here.

These rosaries are one-of-a-kind and should last a life time…..many Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s!
It would make a beautiful gift for that special someone!

Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand.

Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent.

Because of this technique for wrapping wire around itself this craft is called wire wrapping.

Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

Advent wreaths and candles….

  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
  • A Great Family Tradition
  • 11″x14″

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Christkindl and Other Advent-y Things

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family

After our first gathering around the Advent light, and the singing of the first Advent hymn, an air of expectancy spreads over the family group; now comes the moment when the mother goes around with a bowl in which are the little cards with the names of the new saints.

Everybody draws a card and puts it in his missal. This saint will be invoked every morning after Morning Prayer. Everyone is supposed to look up and study the life story of his new friend, and sometime during the coming year he will tell the family all about it.

As there are so many of us, we come to know about different saints every year. Sometimes this calls for considerable research on the part of the unfortunate one who has drawn St. Eustachius, for instance, or St. Bibiana.

But the custom has become very dear to us, and every year it seems as if the family circle were enlarged by all those new brothers and sisters entering in and becoming known and loved by all.

And then comes another exciting moment. Once more the mother appears with the bowl, which she passes around. This time the pieces of paper contain the names of the members of the family and are neatly rolled up, because the drawing has to be done in great secrecy.

The person whose name one has drawn is now in one’s special care. From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favors for him or her as one can. One has to provide at least one surprise every single day—but without ever being found out.

This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that “a rosary has been said for you today” or a number of sacrifices have been offered up.

This new relationship is called “Christkindl” (Christ Child) in the old country, where children believe that the Christmas tree and the gifts under it are brought down by the Christ Child himself.

The beautiful thing about this particular custom is that the relationship is a reciprocal one. The person whose name I have drawn and who is under my care becomes for me the helpless little Christ Child in the manger; and as I am performing these many little acts of love and consideration for someone in the family I am really doing them for the Infant of Bethlehem, according to the word, “And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.”

That is why this particular person turns into “my Christkindl.” At the same time I am the “Christkindl” also for the one I am caring for because I want to imitate the Holy Child and render all those little services in the same spirit as He did in that small house of Nazareth, when as a child He served His Mother and His foster father with a similar love and devotion.

Many times throughout these weeks can be heard such exclamations as, “I have a wonderful Christkindl this year!” or, “Goodness, I forgot to do something for my Christkindl and it is already suppertime!”

It is a delightful custom, which creates much of the true Christmas spirit and ought to be spread far and wide.

And there is still one very important thing to do for Advent. According to Austrian custom, every member of the family writes a letter to the Holy Child mentioning his resolutions for the weeks of Advent and listing all his wishes for gifts. This “Christkindl Brief” (letter to the Holy Child) is put on the window sill, from whence the Guardian Angel will take it up to heaven to read it aloud to the Holy Child.

To make small children (and older ones, too) aware of the happy expectancy of Advent, there is a special Advent calendar which clever hands can make at home.

It might be a house with windows for each day of Advent; every morning the child opens another window, behind which appears a star, an angel, or some other picture appropriate to the season.

On the 23rd, all windows are open, but the big entrance door still is closed. That is opened on Christmas Eve, when it reveals the Holy Child in the manger, or a Christmas tree.

All kinds of variations on this theme are possible, such as the Jacob’s Ladder shown on our illustration, which leads step by step to the day of Christ’s birth. All such little aids make Christmas more wonderful and “special” to a child, and preparing them adds to our own Christmas joy.

{Advent Calendar: Take piece of cardboard; cut out clouds, leaving them attached at one point so that they can fold out. Cut spaces in ladder as on insert so that they can fold down. Take transparent paper same size as cardboard. Paint and draw pictures of stars, angels, toys, etc. on spots behind clouds and ladder steps. For top cloud, put Christmas tree or Christ Child in crib. Paste this on back of calendar. Each day another cloud or ladder step should be opened, until Christmas Eve is reached on top of ladder.}

“Where on earth shall we find Jesus but in the arms of Mary! Was it not she who gave us the Eucharist? It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word that inaugurated the great mystery of reparation to God and union with us which Jesus accomplished during His mortal life, and that he continues in the Eucharist.” -St. Peter Julian Eymard,
Painting by Nellie Edwards,

Are you blessed by this site? Consider donating today. Our benefactors are remembered in our daily, family rosaries….

Need a unique gift for Christmas? Take a peek at my Holiday Package Deal!

Catholic Mother Goose, Volumes One and Two!

Advent Journal Printable available here!

Advent Journal Printable~Daily Checklist~Spiritual Christmas Crib~St. Andrew Novena~Advent Wreath Prayers~Blessing of Christmas Tree & More!

Review: (Thank you Annamaria!)

Love the Advent Journal. A wonderful way to keep my heart, soul and mind on the way toward Christmas …. In fact I am always looking at all the journals put together by Meadows of Grace. Unfortunately I never thought I would be able to purchase this because for Australian customers the postage costs more than than the journal!!!! So I am so grateful and delighted that Leane offers a printable version, so very happy to join with so many others following the journey toward Christmas. God bless you abundantly Leane😘❤️

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Delicious Christmas teas…. I love this brand of tea! What a great Christmas gift idea!

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

From a Mother…. Our Savior Was Born! by Theresa Byrne

A repost for Throwback Thursday…

Since this post, Theresa has had another girl and a boy and is now expecting #6! She has just spent several weeks on her couch (extreme morning sickness) and is starting to emerge to enjoy this Advent season! What an appreciation for life, for busy-ness, for hard work and for mayhem she will have in the coming weeks!


I love this time of the year…the smells, the lights, the getting ready for His coming!

Since I was a child, Advent has always started with going outdoors, into the fields and creeks, searching for bark, stones, moss and any unique berries or native grass, to make our Christmas stable.

We looked forward to this day, as kids, for many reasons….a day off school, time outside gathering neat things from nature, but most of all the tradition of putting together our stable, in readiness for the birth of our King!

The stable was a focus in our home growing up and each year we tried to outdo last year’s creation. With ponds, fences, valleys and hills in our scene, it got to where it covered an eight-foot table!

Now that I am married and we have our own home, we carry on the stable tradition, just in a smaller four-foot version.

Another thing we did when we were kids was go searching for our Advent wreath, which had been in hiding for almost a year. The first Sunday of Advent we would light the first candle. We took turns every night lighting it for Rosary time.

I am married to a carpenter, so our Advent wreath has a different look. We call it our “Advent Block”.  It is made from a leftover post, trimmed to size by my husband, decorated and holes drilled in the top, where our candles stand, purple and pink.


Usually and by now we would have made a manger for the kids. They put their straws in it for each sacrifice they make…..providing a safe and warm place for the Child Jesus to lie.

I would be organizing and getting the house ready for the great Feast Day.

We would have cookies baked and stored…Christmas cards ready to send.

My children and I would have started wrapping a few gifts, in the evenings, for cousins, grandparents and friends.

We would look forward to the week of Christmas when we decorate the house…a splash of poinsettias, lights and garlands would make their appearance!

Christmas Eve, sometimes the day before, we put on the Christmas music, haul in the tree and decorate it! Devin does the lights, the kids and I finish it off with golds, reds and greens!

This year has been very different. I am pregnant with my fourth child and very sick. This is my third pregnancy that has started this time of year.

I am overjoyed with a new soul, a new baby, growing inside me, but truth be told, it is hard on me to let go and lay sick, while I want to be up and preparing for Christmas!

I have had my times of tears, in my big chair where I am planted, knowing everyone else is preparing….baking, excited!

From a mom who loves making traditions, enjoying everything from the lights, the smells, the carols….to a mom laid out, that can’t handle the smells, can’t move to make traditions happen, sits and watches as her husband take over the house, the kids, the cooking….yes, it has been hard.

Then, the other night, it hit me! In my mind’s eye, I saw Our Lady traveling and very pregnant.


At the end of her months, with no thoughts of herself she followed her husband to Bethlehem.

I am sure the long journey was bumpy and cold. Being due to have her Child, Our Lady must have been very weary.

Her answer was, “Yes” from the time the Angel appeared and asked her to be the Mother of God to the time her Son hung on the cross for our sins…..

She wasn’t able to prepare her own home for the coming of her Child. In fact, she didn’t even know where her Baby would be born. But she still said, “Yes.”

And then, as we all know, in a drafty stable, surrounded by the sounds and smells of the animals, our Savior was born.

Our salvation was made possible because of a humble, holy Mother that said, “Yes.”

I still have my times of tears and it hasn’t gotten easier being so sick, but these thoughts have helped me and I pray to be given the grace, this Advent, to more often utter that word….”Yes.”




“Let us not forget that in true womanliness is our strength, and that the end of our being is to comfort and bless and love…” – Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893


What a great way to plan your month! Buy it, download it and you will have it for this particular month…..EACH YEAR!

December ~ Printable Traditional Catholic Daily Planner ~ Meal Menu/Homeschool Page ~ Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily Goals

Available here.

Review: “I have been looking for a couple of years at getting a pretty pricey Catholic planner. I had a very hard time justifying the cost because, “what if it wasn’t actually useful?” When I saw this I was super excited. I have a printer and the price point was perfect. Even going and buying a fancy binder and pretty paper doesn’t have me close to the other price. Some days I use every aspect and every blank and other days I’m lucky to get one line filled out. Because it is so beautiful and yet so price friendly I do not even have to feel guilty about those days I mostly miss! This has been a Godsend and I am eagerly awaiting the December download! Thank you Leane for another wonderful product!”

Beautiful Blessed Mother And Child Wire Wrapped Rosary! Lovely, Durable… Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. Available here.

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you’ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support

A Beautiful Season – Busy Times Ahead

Iphone December 21, 2013 031Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas – A wondrous time for the family! Are you starting to feel some of the pressure?

Make sure you are not piling on too much. Let’s work at making this season special, but not to the point where… may be missing the point. The people in your home are most important. Take time for them…..and that is what this article is about! 🙂

Christmas Dance 2013 (26)by Charlotte Siems

Warning: busy times are ahead. ‘Tis the season for extra baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating and entertaining. Starting with the Thanksgiving holiday and ending with New Year’s, the addition of extra activities on top of our regularly scheduled lives can be a mite stressful.

I’m definitely in favor of doing the extras. Holidays mark the passing of the year. Traditions create a sense of belonging and comfort. Children relish those things that “we always do,” and the once-a-year foods and décor call up a sense of wonder and excitement like nothing else.
But here’s a reminder: Don’t forget the small hours.

Don’t lose sight of the people that you live and work with during this busy season. Life happens in the moments. There’s a tendency to get impatient and frustrated with the moments when there’s so much to do.
Changing diapers, wiping noses, taking time to listen to a co-worker or child’s story–we’re in a hurry to give it a slap and a promise so we can get to the important stuff. The reality is that the small hours ARE the important stuff.

All the little moments of life add up to memories, relationships and atmosphere. Our attitude in dealing with the little things affects the entire holiday season (and life year-round).

A certain holiday season stands out in my mind. It was busy as always, running from one activity to the next. The usual gathering of family for Thanksgiving, then before we knew it, Christmas. That year was especially hectic, as several family members were preparing to leave the very next day for a mission trip to Mexico.

I remember a poignant moment, captured on video, when each family opened a certain gift in unison. It was a patchwork quilt, crafted from scraps of Grandma’s dresses. The family had gathered for her funeral a few months earlier. The grown grandchildren examined the quilts eagerly, pointing out dresses they remembered her wearing. (Who says what we wear isn’t noticed by children?)

What I now remember is not so much the quilt, but the fact that we didn’t know it would be my brother-in-law’s last holiday with us. He was killed in a car accident on the return trip from Mexico a few days later, and life changed forever for the family.
I remember having the feeling that I wished we could rewind, like an old VHS tape. But there are no rewinds, no do-overs, no going back and stopping the inevitable after it has begun.

This holiday season, which has already begun, stay aware of the small hours. Beware the tendency to skip reading aloud and tucking in bed. Live life at home intentionally, and keep things simple. Encourage and love by the caring actions of everyday life: cooking meals, brushing hair, doing laundry. Wherever you are, be there.

Childhood and life are fleeting moments, and our lives happen in these small hours.

“Cultivate kindness of heart; think well of your fellow-men; look with charity upon the shortcomings in their lives; do a good turn for them, as opportunity offers; and, finally, don’t forget the kind word at the right time. How much such a word of kindness, encouragement, of appreciation means to others sometimes, and how little it costs us to give it!” -J.R. Miller

Do you want an idea for a simple Christmas activity? Join Angelo for a night of fun building a simple Christmas nativity scene with his nieces and nephews…

NEW! Young Miss Lovely Veil!

Old World Veil and Capelet. A beautiful twist on the normal chapel veil. Ties with a ribbon in front..made from chiffon and lace.

Will fit various ages of young girls… 6 to 16 years old.

Available here.

An Englishman living as a monk in the Italian Alps is called to England to rebut and neutralize the efforts of an aggressively hostile anti-Catholic to proselytize the English.

Seriously wounded at the siege of Pamplona in 1521, Don Inigo de Loyola learned that to be a Knight of God was an infinitely greater honor (and infinitely more dangerous) than to be a Knight in the forces of the Emperor. Uli von der Flue, humorous, intelligent and courageous Swiss mercenary, was responsible for the canon shot which incapacitated the worldly and ambitious young nobleman, and Uli became deeply involved in Loyola’s life. With Juanita, disguised as the boy Juan, Uli followed Loyola on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to protect him, but it was the saint who protected Uli and Juan. Through Uli’s eyes we see the surge and violence of the turbulent period in Jerusalem, Spain and Rome.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.


St. Andrew Novena Starts Today! / NEW! December Printable Planner

This Novena starts today, November 30th!  Many blessings abound!!

From The Rosary and Gifts

A Favorite Christmas Novena ~
The St Andrew Novena

The Christmas Novena, the St Andrew Novena  (November 30th – December 24th), is I believe, one of the most popular Catholic Advent prayers.

My family and I love to say this novena each year in preparation for Advent. We offer the intention as a family intention, one we wish to gain for the family as a whole, and also a private intention, one that each one of us would like to gain like a particular virtue or help in fighting against a vice.

Because the prayer is longer than nine (9) days, and not quite 27, it’s technically not a novena or a set of novenas, but, because it is prayed ‘novena style’, that is, repeatedly for a set amount of days, it is referred to as a novena.

In my family, we have found that we remember to say the novena best when we attach it to our daily Rosary. We set the slips of paper that we have written or printed the prayer out on next to our Rosary bowl. I do know other families say this novena with their grace before dinner while they light the candles as part of their Advent wreath prayers.

The prayer can be said at anytime during the day, but if you have a regular time the whole family is together like for the Rosary, morning/night prayers, or at meals, it might be a good idea to say the novena at a set, regular time.

Imagine a child who loves you…he is willing to do just about anything in his power to please you.

NOW imagine the Christ-Child. He too is willing to do just about anything for you. Everything is in His power to do and to give, as long as the petitioned favor isn’t contrary to what Our Lord deems necessary for your eternal salvation. This is an important caveat that I have trouble remembering! 😉

In this Advent season of preparing for Christ’s coming, the St Andrew Christmas Novena is a loving way to prepare ourselves and our families.

St Andrew holds the honor of being the first apostle to be called by Christ to follow Him.

This novena is a bit different in that it does not invoke the intervention or aid of the saint himself, but is adoring, glorifying the hour of Christ’s birth and seeking aid from God Himself!

The novena is begun on the Feast of Saint Andrew, November 30th, and is said thru Christmas Eve, December 24th.

**(If you start late, or if you miss a day do not be discouraged! Catch up by saying the extra prayers you missed along the way….Jesus will bless every effort!)

St Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and Blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.  In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Recite 15 times per day. It is permitted to break it up and pray 5x’s in the morning, afternoon and evening, but for the sake of missing one of the times and forgetting, I prefer to say them all at once.

Prepare for Miracles!

This Advent Chaplet is to keep track of your 15 Christmas Novena prayers. It has a lovely brass crucifix, is durable and wire-wrapped to last for many Advents to come! Limited quantity. 🙂   Included is a laminated prayer card with the novena prayer on it. If you are interested click here.

Review: “Quality materials and workmanship. There will be no losing beads because the wire is beautifully woven in and around each bead itself. The box it came in had a handmade flower glued on it, inside a little ribboned gift bag with the prayer card. It could have been gifted as is. Shipped quickly.

An aside: This chaplet was quickly and accidentally adopted by my four year old because “It’s pretty so its prayers will be pretty.” Well, that isn’t quite the point but I love how little kids’ minds make connections. We prayed 15 Glory Be prayers that day, and the next day 15 little Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity.”

NEW! December Planner Printable! Print & Use each year!

~ Meal Menu/Homeschool Page ~ Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily

Available here.

Review: “I have been looking for a couple of years at getting a pretty pricey Catholic planner. I had a very hard time justifying the cost because, “what if it wasn’t actually useful?” When I saw this I was super excited. I have a printer and the price point was perfect. Even going and buying a fancy binder and pretty paper doesn’t have me close to the other price. Some days I use every aspect and every blank and other days I’m lucky to get one line filled out. Because it is so beautiful and yet so price friendly I do not even have to feel guilty about those days I mostly miss! This has been a Godsend and I am eagerly awaiting the December download! Thank you Leane for another wonderful product!”

Welcome to your Traditional Catholic Printable Month Planner! This printable is for the Month of December and can be printed and used each year! *For personal use only ©Finer Femininity
Following the timeless Traditional Liturgical Calendar, each day you will be reminded of the feast day!
Daily, you will have your hourly planner schedule that you can fill in. There is a space for Daily Goals and an “I am Grateful For” space. Also included is a Spiritual Goals Checklist to remind you of the important foundation of your day!
A Monthly Meal Menu Page is included along with a Monthly Home School Page that you can print out according to how many children you are teaching.
A beautiful quote is on each day of the planner giving you something to think about…Quotes by solid Catholics with their timeless commonsense and knowledge.
Get yourself a pretty binder and you will have a lovely tool to assist you. Your life will run more smoothly as you plan in advance your daily duties…
(Digital Items are non-refundable.)


For those who have the Advent Journal, this is your November 30th page that has the heart that can be checked when you have said your novena for that day. Don’t forget! Printable Journal Available Here.

“Children must be taught constantly from their tenderest years to have a real love and friendship for their Angels, to have boundless confidence in them. They must be accustomed to feel and realize the personal presence of their Angels, to call on them in all their fears and troubles.” -Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, All about the Angels

Leane and Theresa from Finer Femininity discuss the lovely Catholic customs and traditions in the home during the Advent and Christmas season…

A unique gift! Make a statement with these lovely and graceful handcrafted aprons….fully lined….made with care. Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! Available here.

  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
  • A Great Family Tradition
  • 11″x14″

  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
  • Sits Easily on a Tabletop or any Flat Surface
  • Folds Out to Over 18″x9″

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

A Spiritual Christmas Crib – With Printables!

Yes, it’s that time of year again when I remind you (and me) to take this season of Advent (started yesterday!) to make it special for your family! The magic and charm of Christmas comes from our Catholic Heritage!

This is a beautiful devotion that can be made simple! Especially now that I have some printables for you to make it easier!

It’s nice to follow this devotion from a book so consider getting the Finer Femininity Advent/Christmas Maglet.

OR The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal which has the devotion on each day of Advent! (Bottom left corner of each page.)

I now have an Advent Journal Printable if you are late in ordering! It is available here.

Sample page….

This is a custom we have kept throughout the years. It is a beautiful little devotion preparing our hearts for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.

You can do the special activities indicated each day in this devotion in your own manger scene, using your imagination. When my older ones were young we made a 3D stable out of heavy cardboard and added the different themes each day…whether it was drawing in the cobwebs or making paper doll figurines for the nativity scene.

Or you can do what we have done the last few years. We put up 4 big white posterboard papers on an empty wall to make a big blank paper just waiting for the crayons and sharpies to make their mark! (You can make it as big or small as you like, using just one or two posterboards.) Each morning we draw the part of the manger scene that is applicable to that day.

I usually do the drawing in pencil then the child whose day it is traces it with colored markers and colors it in.

OR, (and I wish to thank my friend, Mary Ann for for this!!), you can use these Stable printables and get your children to color them on the day they go into the stable, and voila! you can add them to your Nativity scene!

We also print out (or write out) the special prayer for the day and put the assigned one up so we can say it throughout the day.

We sometimes forget a couple days and have to back track. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a wonderful family devotion that helps to make Advent and Christmas meaningful!

Here’s the devotion:

Start on December 1.

Read the thought indicated
about Christ’s first crib.
Practice it during the day. Do this daily during
December and make your heart a worthy crib for
Christ on Christmas Day.

Frequently during the day offer your heart to the
little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home. –

Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and

See that the roof of the stable is in good
condition, so that the Infant Jesus is protected
from rain and snow. This you will do by carefully
avoiding every uncharitable remark. —Jesus,
teach me to love my neighbor as myself.

Carefully stop every crevice in the walls of the
stable, so that the wind and cold may not enter
there. Guard your senses against temptations. Guard
especially your ears against sinful
conversations.–Jesus, help me to keep
temptations out of my heart.

Clean the cobwebs from your spiritual crib.
Diligently remove from your heart every
inordinate desire of being praised. Renew this
intention at least three times today. —My Jesus,
I want to please You in all I do today.

Build a fence about the crib of your heart by
keeping a strict watch over your eyes, especially
at prayer. —Sweet Jesus, I long to see You.

Fix the best and warmest corner of your heart
for the manger of Jesus. You will do so by
abstaining from what you like most in the line of
comfort and amusement. —Mary, use these
sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in
Holy Communion.

Supply the manger of your heart with hay, by
overcoming all feelings of pride, anger or envy.
Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest

Provide your manger with soft straw by
performing little acts of mortification; for
instance, bear the cold without complaints; or sit
and stand erect. —Dear Jesus, Who suffered so
much for me, let me suffer for love of You.

Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding
your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and
thoughtfully. —Jesus let me love you more and

Provide the manger with soft warm
blankets. Avoid harsh and angry words; be kind and
gentle to all. —Jesus, help me to be meek and
humble like You.

Bring fuel to the crib of Jesus. Give up your own
will; obey your superiors cheerfully and
promptly. —Jesus, let me do Your will in all

Bring fresh clean water to the crib. Avoid every
untruthful word and every deceitful act.
Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for
my sins.

Bring a supply of food to the crib. Deprive
yourself of some food at mealtime or candy as a
treat. —Jesus, be my strength and nourishment.

See that the crib has sufficient light. Be
neat and orderly about your person; keep
everything in its place in your room. —Jesus, be
the life and light of my soul.

Take care to have the crib of your heart warmed
by a cozy fire. Be grateful to God for the love He
has shown us in becoming man; behave with grateful
respect towards your parents and relatives. —
Jesus, how can I return Your love; how can I show
my gratitude to You?

Lead the ox to the crib. Obey cheerfully without
making excuses and without asking “why.” —I will
obey for love of You, Jesus.

Bring the donkey to the crib. Offer to the Divine
Infant your bodily strength; use it in the service
of others. —Jesus, accept my service of love;
I offer it for those who do not love You.

Gather some presents for the Divine Infant and
His Blessed Mother. Give alms for the poor and say
an extra decade of the rosary. —Come, Jesus, to
accept my gifts and to take possession of my heart.

Strive to bring some little lambs, meek and
and patient. Do not murmur or complain.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make

my heart like Yours.

Invite the shepherds to pay homage to our newborn
King. Imitate their watchfulness; stress in your
speech and thoughts the idea that Christmas is
important because Jesus will be born again in
Jesus, teach me to love You above all things.

Provide the stable with a key to keep out
thieves. Exclude from your heart every sinful
thought, every rash judgment —Dear Jesus, close
my heart to all that hurts you.

Invite the angels to adore God with you.
Cheerfully obey the inspirations of
your guardian angel and of your conscience. —
Holy Guardian Angel, never let me forget that You
are with me always.

Accompany Saint Joseph from door to door. Learn
from him silently and patiently to bear refusals
and disappointments. Open wide your heart and beg
Him to enter with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saint Joseph, help me to prepare for a worthy
Christmas Communion.

Go meet your Blessed Mother. Lead her to the
manger of your heart and beg her to lay the
Divine Infant in it. Shorten your chats and
telephone conversations and spend more time today
thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You.

Leane and Theresa from Finer Femininity discuss the lovely Catholic customs and traditions in the home during the Advent and Christmas season…

Advent started Sunday and if you are new to using my Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal (if you are not, this tidbit is still a good reminder), you will want to peek at the following page. It will help you to get the things together you will need to do the Advent Traditions in the book. If there are some activities you are not doing then check or cross them off this list. We do them all but that is optional. Pick and choose as you see fit…

Advent Calendars (we have used the pop-up ones in the past….sweet, if you have a place to set it…can be purchased off Amazon.) The Advent candles can be bought online, too!

Advent Journal Printable available here!

Advent Journal Printable~Daily Checklist~Spiritual Christmas Crib~St. Andrew Novena~Advent Wreath Prayers~Blessing of Christmas Tree & More!

Review: (Thank you Annamaria!)

Love the Advent Journal. A wonderful way to keep my heart, soul and mind on the way toward Christmas …. In fact I am always looking at all the journals put together by Meadows of Grace. Unfortunately I never thought I would be able to purchase this because for Australian customers the postage costs more than than the journal!!!! So I am so grateful and delighted that Leane offers a printable version, so very happy to join with so many others following the journey toward Christmas. God bless you abundantly Leane😘❤️🙏🏻

Tomorrow is the start of the St. Andrew Novena! Don’t forget! Say this prayer 15 times from Nov. 30th to (and including) Dec. 24th. If you forget a day (try not to) then double up the next day…

You can print out this page from my Advent Journal and write down your petitions!

Check out my Advent/Christmas Finer Femininity Maglet here

Save when you buy all 5 Maglets here.

Perfect books for the holidays! (And they make great gifts, too!)

In this joyful and charming book, Maria Von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.

Mary Reed Newland wrote numerous beloved books for Catholic families, but The Year and Our Children is her undisputed masterpiece. Read it, cherish it, share it, put it into practice and give your kids the gift of a fully lived faith, every day and in every season.

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Where did Advent Go? – Maria Von Trapp

First Sunday of Advent is today! Maria von Trapp reminds us what this preparation season is about…


The events that come to mind when we say “Christmas,” “Easter,” “Pentecost,” are so tremendous that their commemoration cannot be celebrated in a single day each. Weeks are needed.

First, weeks of preparation, of becoming attuned in body and soul, and then weeks of celebration.

This goes back to an age when people still had time–time to live, time to enjoy.

In our own day, we face the puzzling fact that the more time-saving gadgets we invent, the more new buttons to push in order to “save hours of work”–the less time we actually have.

We have no more time to read books; we can only afford digests. We have no time to walk a quarter of a mile; we have to hop into a car. We have no time to make things by hand; we buy them ready made in the five-and-ten or in the supermarket.

This atmosphere of “hurry up, let’s go” does not provide the necessary leisure in which to anticipate and celebrate a feast.

But as soon as people stop celebrating they really do not live any more–they are being lived, as it were.

The alarming question arises: what is being done with all the time that is constantly being saved? We invent more machines and more gadgets, which will relieve us more and more from the work formerly done by our hands, our feet, our brain, and which will carry us in feverishly increasing speed–where? Perhaps to the moon and other planets, but more probably to our final destruction.

Only the Church throws light onto the gloomy prospects of modern man–Holy Mother Church–for she belongs, herself, to a realm that has its past and present in Time, but its future in the World Without End.

It was fall when we arrived in the United States. The first weeks passed rapidly, filled with new discoveries every day, and soon we came across a beautiful feast, which we had never celebrated before: Thanksgiving Day, an exclusively American feast. With great enthusiasm we included it in the calendar of our family feasts.

Who can describe our astonishment, however, when a few days after our first Thanksgiving Day we heard from a loudspeaker in a large department store the unmistakable melody of “Silent Night”! Upon our excited inquiry, someone said, rather surprised: “What is the matter? Nothing is the matter. Time for Christmas shopping!”

It took several Christmas seasons before we understood the connection between Christmas shopping and “Silent Night” and the other carols blaring from loudspeakers in these pre-Christmas weeks.

And even now that we do understand, it still disturbs us greatly. These weeks before Christmas, known as the weeks of Advent, are meant to be spent in expectation and waiting.

This is the season for Advent songs–those age-old hymns of longing and waiting; “Silent Night” should be sung for the first time on Christmas Eve. We found that hardly anybody knows any Advent songs. And we were startled by something else soon after Christmas, Christmas trees and decorations vanish from the show windows to be replaced by New Year’s advertisements.

On our concert trips across the country we also saw that the lighted Christmas trees disappear from homes and front yards and no one thinks to sing a carol as late as January 2nd.

This was all very strange to us, for we were used to the old-world Christmas, which was altogether different but which we determined to celebrate now in our new country.




“Love is the most wonderful educator in the world; it opens up worlds and possibilities undreamed of to those to whom it comes, the gift of God. I am speaking of love which is worthy of the name, not of its many counterfeits. The genuine article only, based upon respect and esteem, can stand the test of time, the wear and tear of life; the love which is the wine of life, more stimulating and more heart-inspiring when the days are dark than at any other time,—the love which rises to the occasion, and which many waters cannot quench.”
-Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894
We got our Advent wreaths out, did you? Today we light one purple candle and will say the Advent Wreath prayers from the Advent Journal!
These are our unique Advent wreaths…you can see the first one is made to hold tea lights (those are still there from last year) and the other one is our “Advent Block” decorated and ready to go!
Advent Wreath Prayers from the Advent Journal:

Advent Journal Printable~Daily Checklist~Spiritual Christmas Crib~St. Andrew Novena~Advent Wreath Prayers~Blessing of Christmas Tree & More!

Available here.

“Advent meditation on silence. How the noise of today’s society drowns out God’s voice. You cannot hear Him with all the noise in your life. Food for thought is the great saints of our day did not have mp3 players, cell phones, the internet, etc in their lives.”

Coloring pages for your children…

Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit…
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