Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday–Epiphany Edition

How was your week? This last week has been wild and busy for our household. So, I thought I’d do a Flashback Friday. It’s been awhile.

  1. Last Wednesday–the 6th–was Epiphany. Did you celebrate? We did, and it began on the 5th with the traditional blessing of salt and water at St. James the Less Catholic Church. If you’ve never attended this traditional blessing, you’re missing out! The prayers are beautiful and powerful, especially the exorcism prayers. If you’d like more about it, click HERE wherein Fr. Zuhlsdorf shows pictures from his church and explains the ceremony.
Getting set up at St. James for the blessing. The servers are organizing everyone’s water and salt. We brought 4 gallons of water and 2 containers of salt to use throughout this coming year.

The above photo shows the water and salt that families brought in to be blessed. They will use this water throughout the year to bless their homes and their children. The salt can be used likewise, and in cooking.

2. Of course we went to Mass on Epiphany Day too. Then afterwards we had friends over for a meal and then later, we prayed the traditional blessing of the home while my husband chalked the front door with blessed chalk, which our parish provides. (If you’ve never done this, it’s not too late! Click HERE for more information.)

Inside of our front door. You’ll notice that the first two numbers and the last two numbers are the current year. The three middle initials stand for the Magi, separated by crosses.

3. Also on the evening of Epiphany, our family chooses a new Saint of the Year. This is just a custom that we’ve done over the last ten or so years. In short, everyone is supposed to prayerfully pick a saint to submit to the hat. My husband invokes the Holy Spirit and asks Him to choose a saint for our family. Then I draw one from the hat.

Last year was St. Miguel Pro, which one of my sons had submitted. This year? The Holy Family, which one of the Little Girls had submitted. She afterward explained, “Well, I wanted Jesus, Mary, AND Joseph, so I put in the whole Holy Family.” And the Holy Family it is!

We’ll invoke the Holy Family to pray for us all year long, especially at every meal.

4. Did anyone eat anything interesting over these holidays? We’ve been eating dove lately, as our boys are making use of their Christmas pellet guns.

It’s not bad eating, really. Chop it up and saute it in olive oil with garlic and onion. You can’t go wrong.

5. I caught the Little Girls playing with toothpaste again. Seriously, this is a problem. I had to clean it up off the bathroom floor and counters. But I guess it makes for good soup or whatever the Little Girls are serving up in their restaurant.

Caught her red-handed. Notice the measuring cup of toothpaste? What I want to know is, what happened to the toothpaste that was obviously IN the cup?? Did someone eat it? Gross.

6. Lastly, dear Readers, Paul is scheduled for another surgery this Monday. If you think of it, remember him in your prayers. He’s doing well, but the swelling in his spine has grown to alarming levels, and we’ll need to experiment with another shunt that can hopefully manage the fluid in his brain better.

7. Oh, but I can’t leave you on a negative note. If you need a bit of encouragement, read Psalm 139 which begins, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me…you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” It’s so beautiful. We are meant to live here and now, and God will never leave us; He is great and powerful and reigns forever!

Most Popular Posts

Looking Back: Most Popular Posts of 2020

I had fun looking back at my stats for 2020. There were a few surprises, which I’ll get to in a minute. In all, though, what a year of revelation, for the Church anyway. Catholics quickly figured out how much the sacraments meant to both themselves, their pastors, and the State. Unfortunately we were devastatingly and deploringly deemed nonessential by most.

I wonder, how will this eventually pan out?

In any case, it was a year of clarity. Look, does the spiritual life matter to me or not? Yes? Then families will be seeking out churches that didn’t close during this hyped-up mania and will be finding pastors willing to teach the hard truths. There is nothing more important than our eternal salvation. Nothing.

Which reminds me, have you gone to confession yet in the New Year?

Most Popular Post of 2020

This leads me to my Most Popular Post of 2020: The Communion in the Hand Debacle. I can’t say I’m surprised by its popularity. The Holy Eucharist is our lifeline, so to speak. We cannot live without it, and furthermore, we have a right to receive on the tongue, no matter the circumstances.

Second Most Popular Post of 2020

My Second Most Popular Post of 2020 was Should One “Stockpile?” I thought this was interesting, as I didn’t expect that great of a response to it. For the record, I’m still inclined to say yes, it might be prudent to “stockpile” or have an extra supply of those things one normally consumes. I don’t think, however, one should obsess or go overboard.

Third Most Popular Post of 2020

My Third Most Popular Post of 2020 was actually from more than a year ago, which was a complete surprise, as I only include the clicks from this year. That means that I have multiple people every day still clicking on it. It’s Kim, Why Do You Always Wear Skirts? Women must be absolutely fascinated with this topic. Perhaps I’ll expound more on it later, for I do love my skirts.

Happy New Year!

As always, if there’s ever a topic you’d like to hear my thoughts on, be sure to drop me a line.

Life is Worth Living

Merry Christmas! Photopost

Merry Christmas! And a happy feast of St. Stephen! (We’ll be singing Good King Wenceslaus all day in St. Stephen’s honor.) As I have a few moments before driving off to South Dakota, I thought I’d post a few photos from the last few days.

Decorating the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve.

Midnight Mass at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on St. Mary’s Ridge, WI. It was a lovely TLM with a magnificent choir.

First Breakfast on Christmas morning.

Opening Presents

Older brother gets a new pellet gun. Younger brother received older brother’s BB gun.

Trying to get a nice family picture!

Minutes ago. Geared up in NDSU attire, ready to hop in the van–hopefully void of all rodents–and meet staunch SDSU cousins.

Merry Christmas!

Life is Worth Living

Buying a Christmas Tree 2020

Now that we live in a forested area, naturally we drove to a Christmas tree farm to hunt down a tree for 2020. In order to do this, however, I broke one of my Advent Rules and blasted the Christmas music from the speakers of my Sweet Ride, for one cannot possibly buy a Christmas tree without listening to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “O Tannenbaum.”

But let me back up. In order to cut and buy a Christmas tree, one has three preparatory things to do first:

  1. Prep the van. As our van does not have a rack on top, we had to remove a row of seats to make room for the biggest pine tree we could possibly find. (Kids will just have to double buckle. There’s no other way.)
  2. Make coffee. Naturally one must prepare a thermos of hot coffee for such a stately endeavor involving hand saws and tree trimmers and loud, ecstatically excited children.
  3. Get the Christmas music playlist ready to blast in the van, as I already mentioned.

After accomplishing the above, we were off, singing gleefully, for it was a joyous occasion. The children had great fun running around, sizing up all the pine trees and pointing them out to each other. I ambled behind and snapped a few photos for fun, which I’ll post below, but not before I mention something a friend had said to me a few days ago, as I was expressing my sadness in killing a live tree, which we do every year…and will continue to do…

She said, “Kim, Christmas trees are meant to be a living sacrifice to God. We give Him our best. We pick out the most beautiful offering, pay for it, and kill it. Christmas trees are sacrifices and gifts to God in thanksgiving for His Son. So quit feeling bad about it.”

Yes, you are right, dear friend.

This one, perhaps?
She wanted this huge monstrosity.
The Little Girls thought this baby tree was cute.
The boys cutting down our 11 foot tree.
Our tree is so tall that my husband had to use his 8 foot ladder to string the lights. We’ll wait until Christmas Eve to put the ornaments on though.

As I likely won’t write anything for a week or so, Merry Christmas, Dear Readers!

Life is Worth Living

A Mouse Tale: A Tragedy and A Triumph

Look, things got pretty desperate around here the other day. I was parking my Sweet Ride, picking some children up from school, when I noticed something. Something so repulsive and grotesque that even the most manly of men sometimes tremor in disgust: Mouse Droppings.

Yes, Mouse Turds. Right in my center console, where I keep my sunglasses and extra napkins.

See??

I cannot even begin to describe my feelings and emotions when I first saw those two Offensive Poops. All I can say is, I got out of my van quickly.

But then, as I reached back into the van to grab my purse, I noticed something even more horrible. So horrible that I grabbed my phone and immediately called my sister in sheer revulsion and horror. There were numerous Mouse Craps on my chair! I SAT on mouse CRAPS*! Unbelievable!

I sat on this. I can’t believe I sat on this. (Yes, those are crumbs in the background. No wonder the mouse defecated all over my chair.)

I immediately hit Speed Dial to my sister, “Katie, you won’t believe it. I just SAT ON MOUSE TURDS IN MY VAN!”

Without pause, and as cool as a cucumber, she calmly responded with, “Burn it. Just burn it.”

I thought about her advice. It was good advice, for it would surely kill any infestation of rodents. But then, I hesitated. Buying a new van would be kind of pricey, and who has that kind of money? No, something else would have to be done and meantime, I had to get these kids home. So I grabbed a napkin and brushed The Offenders into the street, calling on my Guardian Angel to protect me, and formed a plan.

Plan to Get Rid of Mouse:

  1. Bribe the boys to deep clean the van. Obviously with 7 mostly young children, we eat in the van, and clearly the thing is a mess and desperately needs attention. “Boys, $10 to each of you to clean this thing out! There will be Candy Bonuses if done to my satisfaction and you douse the thing with Holy Water.”
  2. Relate my feelings and emotions to my husband immediately upon entering the house, where he is currently “working” from home.

And here’s how that conversation went:

Amidst slamming of van doors, banging of house doors, and children laughing and shouting, I desperately yelled up the stairs, “Dearest! We need to talk. Right now! I just sat on Mouse Turds, and this is unacceptable, and I have to go take a hot bath. I need a glass of wine. And you need to get that mouse out of the van immediately. I don’t care if you have to use Vacation Hours to go buy mouse traps. I’m not setting foot in the that thing again until there’s a dead mouse in a trap. Even then, I’m not so sure. What was that about wine? No, I don’t care if we gave up wine for Advent. This is an EMERGENCY. Now where’s my glass?”

Well, enough of this saga. Being the good husband that he is, though, he took an hour of Vacation, drove to the hardware store, and bought 8 mouse traps. (Which I thought was a bit stingy. I told him to buy fifty.) Then he dutifully set the traps, and the next morning, we had a very dead mouse.

Here are some photos to document the Tragedy and Triumph:

Loyal and Devoted Husband setting traps. Bless his soul!

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me sons to clean the van and check mouse traps.

Disgusting. Just disgusting.

In the Name of all that is Holy and Clean and Rodent-Free, may this never happen again. Amen. Alleluia.

*I am sorry for the vulgar language, but truly, this is what I thought. A stronger foul word may have entered my head too, but good Catholic that I am, I quickly rejected that word.

Motherhood & Parenting

Little Twins Laid to Rest: Photo Post

Dear Readers, today I offer a few photos from a week ago, when we were able to lay the miscarried twins to rest at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Here is Mary’s fountain. She watches over the Memorial to the Unborn and all the little babies resting there.

Standing near Mary, looking at the Memorial. The small tombs are in the walls and marked with granite slabs.

One of the Shrine fathers–Fr. Joachim here–leads our family to the twins’ resting place where he will lead us in prayer and the blessing of the tomb.

The twins are entombed in one of the middle granite slabs. You can see they are not alone.

We wrote a little note for the twins on the underside of their box, wherein they lie.

The Holy Angels watch over and protect all the little babies.

Life is Worth Living

Dishtowel Embroidery is Not a Craft

Now most of you know that I am not a crafty person. Just the thought of beads and hot glue guns and decorative paper and stamps–and whatever else–gives me hives and my whole body revolts and my eyes bulge out and I can only think, “Where’s my coffee? Somebody, help.”

That said, there must be something out there that one can do that is not a craft, and I’ve discovered it: Dishtowel Embroidery.

Reasons Dishtowel Embroidery is a Not a Craft:

  1. There are no hot glue guns involved. Or anything sticky, syrupy, or sparkly.
  2. There are no beads. Or buttons or stickers or markers or crayons or paint.
  3. Absolutely no neat and pretty handwriting is required at all.
  4. In fact, no creativity is involved whatsoever. Just grab a flour-sack towel, a frame, a needle, and some thread. Then follow the pattern.
The Eldest’s embroidery.

Some of you might point out that a little creativity is actually required, as one must chose one’s thread colors. Well, you’re wrong. Just follow the colored patterns on the covers of those embroidery books at Hobby Lobby, if need be.

Copied the color scheme on Hobby Lobby book cover.

Benefits of Dishtowel Embroidery, Especially in the Wintertime

Of course there are benefits to embroidering these flour-sack dishtowels, and I’ll obligingly list them below for you.

  1. Embroidery provides a perfectly legitimate excuse to stay indoors on a freezing, cold day.
  2. One can listen to excellent audio books while embroidering, like Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham. (Hilarious.)
  3. One may still enjoy a large glass of wine while steadily stitching away in front of a roaring fire.
  4. Dishtowels make wonderful Christmas gifts. My boys even stitched one for that very purpose. (I guess even boys need an occasional break from wrestling, playing football and ping pong, tearing around the yard, and tormenting their sisters.)
  5. If one is feeling put out and incapable of producing productive work, one may simply hold the frame and stare at the unfinished pattern and appear to be in deep contemplation. This gives passersby the allusion that one is fearfully busy, which is sometimes necessary after a difficult day of yelling at redirecting the children.
  6. And did you know, that one’s feet can be massaged at the same time as one embroiders? Heavenly. (I hope my husband reads this.)

If you’ve never embroidered before, look into it. It’s the perfect thing for these upcoming colder months, and Hobby Lobby has everything you need.

These were all done by the children. The twins did the two outside towels, and my 7-year-old stitched the middle one. Merry Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa.

Call Me Catholic

8 Things I AM Doing This Advent

Today I hope to detail a few things that our family will be doing this Advent, which officially begins this afternoon after the praying of Nones, which precedes Vespers.

I want you to remember, however, when reading this list, that this is just what works for our family. Your Advent may look a bit differently, and that’s ok!

8 Things I AM Doing This Advent

  1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This one should be obvious, except that it isn’t in our current deplorable state of affairs… Of course we’ll be attending Mass on all Sundays and Our Lady’s feast day December 8th, but we’ll also be attending Mass on December 12th, which is Our Lady of Guadalupe. There may be other days too, but these are the For Sures.

2. Confession. Again, I shouldn’t have to mention confession, except that I do because I think people aren’t going. Look, if you’re not going to confession at least every month, you’re risking your soul. We’re talking about eternal life here. I don’t care about any potential health concerns. Go to confession!

This stuff is important. It’s basic catechism. Most of you know that if you should happen to die in Mortal Sin, you’re going to Hell. But venial sins and imperfections need to be confessed regularly too, as there’s a tremendous of amount of grace given in this Sacrament. So, go to confession!

Really, there’s no excuse, unless you can’t find a priest willing to do his God-Given Duty. In that case, say an Act of Contrition, make reparation for your sins, and keep looking for a priest. There are good priests out there.

3. Fasting. While Advent isn’t as penitential as Lent, it is still meant to be a time of fasting. In our household, everyone old enough to receive Holy Communion eats plain bread for breakfast every Friday throughout the year, including Advent. During Advent we step it up a bit–no candy, sweets, or desserts. My husband–no stranger to year ’round fasting–adds an additional day of fasting from food. He normally fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays, and this year for Advent, he’s adding Mondays. I only mention this to inspire you. If you want more, watch Dr. Marshall’s short, 15-minute video on fasting and Advent.*

Me? If I’m pregnant or nursing, fasting is out. As it is, I’m not pregnant or nursing, so I’ll be fasting, but only on Fridays, which I find incredibly difficult, probably because I need more practice.

Lastly, my husband and I are accustomed to drinking a glass of wine maybe three nights a week with dinner. During Advent? We’re cutting it back to only one night.

4. I am doing additional penance. Look, I need to. Not just for my sins, but look around. The world needs Christians willing to do penance. I wasn’t going to mention it, but then I thought, hey? Sometimes it’s encouraging to hear that others are doing extra penance. So, I’m taking cold showers every Friday, which I will continue even when Advent ends. (Again, I wouldn’t do this if I was pregnant or nursing, but I’m not.)

5. Our family will be observing a traditional meatless Christmas Eve. When I was a little girl, I thought it funny that my dad’s family always ate Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve. Now I wonder, was it intentional? I don’t know, and I can’t ask my grandma because she died years ago. In any case, we’re bringing it back.

6. Advent Wreath. Who doesn’t love lighting candles in the dark? Every evening, as we gather at the dinner table to pray before eating, the children run around and shut off every light in the house. Then, they light the candles according to the week.

7. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. After lighting the Advent Wreath, we all sing at least two verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” in the dark. Maybe this year in Latin? We’ll see tonight.

8. Setting up the Nativity Set. Naturally we’ll be setting up the Nativity Set today. In fact, I’m going to cut this post short–to do just that. Maybe I’ll post a few shots of it later on. The children do so enjoy playing with all the animals and the stable. They usually can’t reach Mary and Joseph, however, as I place them high up on shelves to travel around the house.

Lastly, if you have any questions, be sure to ask. Sometimes I assume something is clear, when it isn’t…

I hope you all have a blessed Advent!

*Want another family’s take on Advent? Dr. Marshall and his wife, Joy, discuss what they do HERE.

UPDATE: A few hours later…the nativity set is out!

And where are Mary and Joseph?

In a different room, making their way to Bethlehem…

Call Me Catholic

8 Things I’m NOT Doing This Advent

Advent begins this Sunday. Have you thought about it yet? I have, and I’ve come up with a few things I won’t be doing. Next week, I hope to put together a list of things I will be doing for those of you who might be curious.

But for today…

8 Things I’m NOT Doing This Advent

  1. I’m not doing a Jesse Tree.  Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I had a Jesse Tree, and the children colored paper ornaments and cut them out and decorated a dead tree branch. They had a lot of fun. This year? Nope. The Bible will have to do for making those lovely Old Testament stories come alive.
  2. I also will not have an Advent Calendar filled with chocolates marking out the liturgical season.  This is because I’d rather spend that $3.99 on a cappuccino. I guess, our 2020 “Drinking With the Monks” wall calendar from Tan Publishing will have to do.
Here is November’s picture. See the quotation in the corner? It says, “Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved.” Cheeky!

3. I’m not going to make a single cookie during Advent.  I restrained myself last year, too, and it was freeing. We will, however, make cookies during the Christmas octave and eat as many as we choose, while we lick the bowl and fight for the spatula. I do sympathize with those individuals, however, who make their cookies during Advent and freeze them for Christmas. This is laudable–and penitential too, if one doesn’t eat the cookie dough or the cookies until December 25. Oy.

4. I don’t have my box of Advent books out yet; it’s still tucked away in the storage room.  I’ve just been too lazy tired to actually walk down the stairs, turn a corner, open a door, and get it.  I’m really hoping that I’ll find the motivation to do so, at least by December 24th.  We do have some good ones. So this one probably shouldn’t be on my list of “Things I’m Not Doing This Advent.” Rather this one should be on my list of “Things I Should Get Going On By Sunday.”

5. There is no Elf on my shelf.  Nor has there ever been.  I understand this is a fun thing for some children, but mine will have to be satisfied with Mary and Joseph traveling around the house, making their way to our nativity set, which I hope to get out soon with that box of Advent books…

Kids’ bookshelf. No elf here. But there are books all over the floor…

6. I’m not going to listen to Christmas music this Advent.  Maybe.  Goodness, this is such a hard one for me.  I love Christmas music so much that it isn’t uncommon for me to blast it any time of the year.  Just ask my children.  Who doesn’t love a little “Sleigh Ride” in July? This year, however, it’ll be “Advent at Ephesus” with the Benedictines of Mary.

7. I’m not going to buy a ton of Christmas gifts, which you already know about. (See HERE for my Christmas Shopping post.)  We’ve been scaling back over the years, as we’ve found that less is more, and it teaches the children gratitude.

8. I’m not decorating for Christmas during Advent.  This one is easy to not do for the obvious reason that I don’t have to do anything.  We stopped decorating for Christmas during Advent a long time ago.  Instead it’s become a family tradition to buy our Christmas tree the last possible minute and decorate it and the rest of our house on Christmas Eve, and I can’t tell you how much fun we have!  So I’m not really worried about this one.

May God bless you this Advent!

Homeschooling

What Are the Children Reciting Now?

The children are always memorizing poetry or Scripture, but we take our time with it. In fact, we may spend an entire month on one piece, reciting it daily. The hope is that these beautiful pieces will become a part of them–lodged deep within their souls.

Right now, the older children at home are memorizing the “Canticle of the Three Young Men” from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. It’s one of my favorites, especially the line, “Ice and snow, bless the Lord.” As I detest ice and only appreciate snow–from about December 24th through December 31st–it’s a good reminder that these things are ordained by God and therefore good. (May it please the Lord to remind me of this come February.)

The Eldest, who attends a classical school, is memorizing two pieces: “A Christmas Hymn” by Richard Wilbur for her Literature class and the “Judica Me,” or Psalm 42, for her Latin class.

My other son, who also attends this classical school, just finished memorizing “The Flag Goes By” by Henry Holcomb Bennet.

And how about the Little Girls?

As they love Robert Louis Stevenson so much, they’ve been reciting “The Swing” for weeks on end. Oh, and a few nursery rhymes.

What’s coming up for December?

While every year is a bit different, we do tend to return to a few of our favorites this time of year: “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore, “Prologue to St. John’s Gospel,” “Stopping By the Woods on Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and “Wintertime” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I love the size of this little book. His last name seems appropriate for the season too…

How about you? I’d love to hear what you’re working on.

Life is Worth Living

We Love Santa! And All Other Fairy Tales Too

All right, enough of you are interested and apparently would like me to say a few words on Santa Claus.

Most of you know the difference between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, right? If not, there are plenty of other capable websites out there willing to chronicle the similarities and differences of these two men. (Well, one was a sainted bishop and the other a fictional, old man, likely based on the former…)

But today I’m not interested in detailing the particulars of St. Nicholas, whose feast day is December 6th and wherein many children (including ours) receive chocolate coins in their shoes to commemorate his generosity in helping out three destitute sisters long, long ago.

Rather, today I’m only interested in our modern culture’s Santa Claus–you know, the fat, jolly, old man from the North Pole with a bunch of magical, flying reindeer at his service.

As I was saying, we’re not haters around here. In fact, I like Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and Rudolf and all those hard-working elves. You may remember the charming poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore? This poem is all about Santa Claus and my children recite it every December. Why? Because it’s beautifully and imaginatively written; it’s a lovely story with a happy ending for all the good boys and girls in the world.

But it’s just that–a fictional tale that’s fun to read and dramatize in costume and song and generally just enjoy.

And like all other fairy tales, we cannot tell our children that they’re true because they aren’t, and they know it anyway.

So, for our family, we enjoy the tale of Santa Claus, while avoiding lying about his eternal, omnipresence–for he isn’t eternal or omnipresent. There is only One who is, and He was born on Christmas day, and His story is tremendously important and magical and beautiful. Happy Birthday, Jesus, on December 25th!

Now that’s a story, and a true one at that. And on Christmas morning, we don’t care to have any competition with it. So, no gifts from Santa, but…

Jesus’ birthday cake, early Christmas morning last year. The children had carried Him over from the Nativity Set and had just sung for Him. We chose 3 candles for the Trinity.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Life is Worth Living

Christmas Shopping!

Yes, we’re talking Christmas here, and it’s about the material side of things, too. Yikes! I intend to dedicate this post to Christmas shopping and Christmas gifts intentionally for two reasons:

  1. It is always a good idea to look closely at one’s finances well ahead of any purchases, especially in a season oftentimes fraught with expense. So for prudential budgeting purposes, our family actually does the bulk of our Christmas shopping in October.
  2. We also like to have our Christmas shopping done well in advance of Advent so that we can do precisely that: Advent. Who likes to rush around frantically shopping at the last minute? Not me, anyway. We prefer to attempt a slower, more prayerful awareness of the liturgical season.
Here are a couple of the little girls in their new dresses we gave them last year for Christmas.

That said, let’s look at a few things our family does for gifts.

Ah, but perhaps I should mention that we don’t do Santa Claus? On second thought, let’s not mention it and move on. Feel free to ask me to explain later, if you’re curious, and I will.

So on Christmas morning, after praying Lauds and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, our children open a few gifts from us. Our goal is to keep it simple, and so here’s what we typically give:

  1. A book
  2. An article of clothing
  3. And something else fun or useful

Now we have 7 children, and those three items add up and can be expensive, so we buy used things, if possible. For example, almost all the books are used, or I will purchase them months in advance from, say, Bethlehem Books when they have their half-off sales. Most of the clothing I purchase used too, at second-hand stores. The last “fun” gift, however, does get to be tricky and most often is not used.

Let me give you some examples of what our children will actually receive this very Christmas. (Should you happen to see the children, don’t tell them!)

The Youngest:

Second-hand dress from Once Upon a Child, used Jan Brett book purchased online, and a play skirt from Hobby Lobby

Next Girl Up:

Same as above.

The Third Youngest Girl will also receive much the same, except that instead of a play skirt, she will be getting some colorful notecards that I found on sale at Hobby Lobby. (She likes to do crafty things.)

The boys will also be receiving second-hand clothing from my cousin, the following books, which I purchased earlier this year at a Bethlehem Book sale, and one pellet gun, which they will all share.

The Eldest is getting a new dress–not used–and this book:

The Eldest loves everything Jane Austen.

Christmas Stockings and a Family Gift

Yes, we do Christmas stockings. Typically we put Christmas candy in the children’s Christmas stocking. This year I also purchased some Christmas-themed socks to stick in too.

And lastly, I purchased a Christmas puzzle as a family gift.

And what about me and my husband? Do we exchange gifts? Yes, and while I do have his gift purchased already, I cannot tell you what it is, for fear that he might actually look at this blog post.

Do You Have Any Christmas Gift Ideas?

Do any of you have any Christmas Gift ideas? If so, I’d love to hear about them. I suspect that some of you are very crafty and handy and might even be able to make Christmas gifts.