Ria and I spent about five hours at the parish gym yesterday decorating and rehearsing for the Christmas Eve "overflow" Mass. Despite an assortment of mishaps and glitches, it looks really beautiful and I wanted to especially thank a dear online friend who made a generous donation to the poinsettia fund - thank you SO much!!!
I'll try to share a picture later. In the meantime I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going well and that you are able to eagerly anticipate the arrival of the joyous event! Today we've been busy with baking for the big extended family party on Sunday night. Terri is making more St. Lucy's Day buns (miniature versions this time - the originals were HUGE!), Ria made a braided wreath bread, Gus made a cranberry orange loaf (and is planning on making a second) and I hope to find a scrumptious recipe for some sort of rosemary onion bread on the Internet very soon. Honestly, I haven't spent any time baking as I've been in the busy shopping scene for a large part of the day. I am pleased to report that I was greeted with many Merry Christmases in a variety of stores (and, by the way, I like Kohl's Christmas theme this year - "Love Transforms Everything").
Advent is almost over and we're doing our imperfect best, as usual. Our Jesse Tree blocks didn't quite work out and we didn't do many of the Jesse Tree readings, but we made a special effort to start a new tradition which is working out quite well this past week. Night time prayers have been dwindling lately with the kids saying them together in their room. With the beginning of the "O Antiphons" (and with the help of a little furniture shifting), we've been bringing everyone downstairs to pray the O Antiphons, read about the Saint of the day, a short Bible story and nighttime prayers together. Naturally, this has included all of the usual pushing and shushing, but overall it's working out quite nicely and is making us feel so much more prepared for Christmas as a family. (I appreciate all the inspiration from various Catholic homeschool blogs). I hope to keep up this tradition of nighttime prayers together even during and after Christmas.