Saturday, December 2, 2017

O Antiphon Ornaments & Gift Package Giveaway

Ever since our oldest children were very little, we have been implementing an old monastic custom in our home by providing special treats, representing each of the "O Antiphons" on the days leading up to Christmas. The O Antiphon prayers begin on December 17th and end on the 23rd, which is the last Vespers of Advent, since the evening prayer on the 24th is the Vigil of Christmas.
The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Each night, following our family rosary, we pray the O Antiphon for the day, sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel, which was inspired by this ancient tradition, and then give the children a special treat.

The "treats" have varied from year to year. Some years it has been little gifts or activities for the family, some years it is all food related, and some years it is a mix of both, depending on our schedule and budget. It doesn't need to cost much or even anything at all! Be creative!

Sometimes the treats are a bit of a stretch, but my goal is try and find gifts that will either help increase our faith (Catechism books, holy family, saints, prayer, etc) or encourage family time (games, puzzles, going to look at Christmas lights, etc). You can find some of our past O Antiphon treats by scrolling through the archives and visiting Catholic Cuisine.

Our family loves this tradition. It is such a fun way to teach the children about these beautiful prayers of the church and also increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer.

Once again I am hosting an O ANTIPHON GIVEAWAY! One lucky visitor here at Shower of Roses will receive a gift package which will include one complete set of O Antiphon Ornaments and one themed gift for each of the seven O Antiphons! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter. 

I have listed each of the prizes below, as well as additional ideas (food, activities and gifts - or simply decorate chocolate coins) for each of the O Antiphons: 

.: December 17th :.
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia (O Wisdom) - An Alphabet of the Altar
sponsored by St. Augustine Academy Press

Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, I usually choose a new Catholic book for our family. Last year I gave our family a copy of An Alphabet of the Altar which had just been reprinted by St. Augustine Academy Press.  It's a beautiful book and I highly recommend it! A copy will be included in the giveaway below!

"This is perhaps the most beautiful book we have come across in a long time, and it was a labor of love to reprint it for you. Each lavishly illustrated page is mesmerizing in its detail but even more so for its love of the beauty of our Faith. Printed in a deep, rich brown ink on cream paper, with a cloth hardcover and dimensional gold embossing, this is a book that will make you feel proud to be Catholic. Preorder yours today and save--this will make the perfect Christmas gift--even for those who already know their alphabet quite well."

Additional Ideas: 

Our children received An Alphabet of the Altar last Advent. This year they will be receiving the first two books in The Wonder Series: The Wonder Story and The Wonder Days from St. Augustine Academy Press. These sweet books for children are part of a set of four by the same author, which have been lovingly restored from the 1920s originals. Intended for little hands, they all have large, thick, durable pages (not quite a board book, but a step up) and lots of full color illustrations. The Wonder Story tells the tale of Christ’s coming to earth as a little child; this story is then continued in The Wonder Days, which shows us His Hidden Life in the home at Nazareth. (I'm saving the last two books in the series for Easter.) 

.: December 18th :.
O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

O Adonai (O Lord) - The Virgin Mary Around the World with two Marian Dolls: Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Czestochowa
sponsored by Shining Light Dolls

In the past we would emphasize the word "house" in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread Houses or Gingerbread Cookies on this night.  Now that we have two birthdays this week (and two birthday cakes to bake and decorate!) we usually wait until Christmas Eve, or sometime during the 12 Days of Christmas to decorated Gingerbread Houses. We have also incorporated Moses and the Ten Commandments and roasted Marshmallows in reference to Moses and the burning bush. This year I'm planning to branch off a bit and see if the kids can figure out how this Marian themed gift relates to this O Antiphon. Then we can discuss the various names for Our Lady, including House of Gold!

Additional Ideas: 

We already have the picture book included in the giveaway, but our children will unwrap Our Lady of China and Our Lady of Vailankanni to add to our Shining Light Dolls collection

.: December 19th :.
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) - Ishmael: The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
sponsored by Shower of Roses

From Jesse, the shepherd, to Jesus, the Good Shepherd...
I thought Shepherds would tie in nicely this year!

Additional Ideas:

This year our children will be unwrapping this darling Shepherd Puzzle Set made by Naturally Catholic to go along with the Nativity and Wise Men they received the last couple years. It's one of our boys' birthdays, so this gift doubles as a birthday gift too! 

.: December 20th :.
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

O Clavis David (O Key of David) - 
Catholic Songs for Children CD and Sheet Music Book and St. Cecelia Doll 
sponsored by St. Augustine Academy Press and Shining Light Dolls

This year's gift incorporates music "keys" again... 

Additional Ideas:

Includes two new songs that had not been heard since the 1960's: 
"The Best Christmas Present of All" and "I Want To Be a Little Missionary."

.: December 21st :.
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

I'm not generally a big fan of graphic novels, but I LOVE this new book from The Deo Gratias Co! I'm really looking forward to reading it with the kids and excited to be able to give another copy away to one of my visitors here at Shower of Roses! 

Additional Ideas:

.: December 22nd :.
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) - Rex Gentium and Bambinelli Nail Polish
sponsored by Lisieux

Additional Ideas:

.: December 23rd :.
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

O Emmanuel (O With Us is God) - Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story Board Book
sponsored by Shower of Roses

Additional Ideas:

We already own the picture book featured in the giveaway. This year our children will be unwrapping the Midnight Mass puzzle and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring CD which were both featured in my 2017 Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers post last month. 


This year I have an extra little gift to include for Christmas Eve from author Michele Chronister! 

sponsored by Michele Chronister

"Do you like the idea of the Jesse Tree, but don't have the time? Does your family attend Midnight Mass (or wish you could)? This prayer companion is for you! Featuring the complete text of "The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the Roman Martyrology", the chant used at the beginning of the Christmas Mass during the Night, this little book will help your child to join the Church in reflecting on the mystery of Christmas."

The winner of the giveaway will receive a copy of this lovely little book tucked in the package along with the rest of their O Antiphon ornaments and gifts! 


O Antiphon Ornaments (Rustic) sponsored by Jesse Tree Treasures 

This giveaway is sponsored by Jesse Tree Treasures, St. Augustine Academy Press, The Deo Gratias Co, Shining Light Dolls, Lisieux Nail Polish, author Michele Chronister, and Shower of Roses.  (Combined value of $200+) 

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are looking for gift ideas, you can find my lists of Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers here (2015)here (2016) and here (2017).  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

On the Feast of St. Andrew

Baked by his sister while I was at work and decorated with an X-shaped pretzel cross & fish cookies!

Dearest Patron, St. Andrew the Apostle, in baptism I received thy name and was put under thy special care. Oh, teach me to be like thee! Help me to avoid sin and to practice virtue. Be always at my side to guide me and protect me, and bring me safe to Heaven, that I may be ever happy with thee in the presence of God.  

St. Andrew the Apostle, Ora Pro Nobis! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving Daybook

Outside my {parents} window...
Our beautiful mom with five of her six daughters on Thanksgiving Day 🍁🍂 The rain let up long enough for a quick picture outside.  You'd never know it by this picture, she always looks amazing, but our mom is recovering from a broken arm and still dealing with her brain tumor which grew a little more as of her last MRI. We are grateful that she has been able to avoid surgery so far.

I am thinking...
about Advent and hoping everyone is healthy again by next Sunday. Some of the kids were sick the week before Thanksgiving, then a few more were sick over Thanksgiving and ended up staying home, by this past weekend the rest of us were sick with this cold/flu-like virus. We all stayed home from Mass on Sunday and today is the first day my husband has made it back to work. Lots of bone broth, vitamins, and essential oils getting diffused around here!

I am thankful... 
last Thanksgiving we shared the news with the rest of my siblings that they had another niece or nephew on the way... this year we got to introduce her to a couple more of them! We are so thankful for this precious baby girl. She has us all wrapped around her tiny little fingers!

Learning all the time...
one of his favorite things to do? Stack ALL the animals! He has asked for an "All God's Creatures" birthday theme inspired by his favorite song A Place in the Choir. Any ideas?  :)

Celebrating the liturgical year...
November 25th is the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, a very special day in our home. We always bake heart shaped cake (or cakes) to celebrate. This year it was gluten-free chocolate cakelets topped with caramel.

"In Northern France it is a custom on St. Catherine's day to give heart-shaped cakes to unmarried women who have reached the age of twenty-five. The idea is to encourage them in their search for love (and a husband)." - Cooking with the Saints

Saint Catherine of AlexandriaA Story of Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Original Painting of St. Catherine by Sleightholm Folk Art
Bud (5) insisted that I take a picture of the St. Catherine block he went to find too! 

From the kitchen...
I needed to work the day before Thanksgiving so I asked our 12 year old if she wanted to get started on the food preparations... 30 minutes later... Homemade Cranberry Sauce that is AIP compliant!

Cranberry Sauce

  • 16 oz fresh cranberries (or frozen)
  • ¾ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 3-4 oranges)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2-3 Tbs maple syrup
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch cloves
  • Pinch cinnamon
  1. Add cranberries, orange juice, and water to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Let boil for 2-3 minutes until cranberries start to pop.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until sauce thickens and most of the cranberries have popped, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stir in maple syrup, salt, cloves and cinnamon.
  5. Let cool and then place in fridge to cool completely.

She loves to bake and is such a great help in the kitchen. She also baked a couple AIP Pumpkin Spice cakes with Gingersnap crusts, one to take to my parents and one to keep at home, and a loaf of Cranberry Bread (using her favorite recipe) to use up the rest of the cranberries.

I am working...
From home as much as possible. I do need to go into the office at least a few times each week, but I am so grateful for such a flexible job that allows me to work from home some of the time. I do miss the days of "just" homeschooling and having the time for blogging frequently and other hobbies, but the extra income has helped us pay off the Suburban and get back to being debt free other than our home.

I am creating...
Cinnamon Roll Turkeys for brunch on Thanksgiving Day after watching the parade! This year I did remember to pick up pretzels, but we completely forgot to use them! We used food coloring free Little Secrets and Yum Earth Candy Corn for some of the decorations.

I am going...
outside to calm the baby down with another walk and enjoying the sunshine before it starts raining again ☀️🍂🍁 #heretheycome We both love her Tula Free To Grow carrier. She's not quite big enough to use my other carriers without an insert (which she isn't a fan of) but we have gotten a lot of use out of this one!


I am hoping...
Santa Lucia day isn't until next month, but I had to make sure the sleeper I order a couple months ago is going to fit. It's still big, but it will work! I also have matching pink pajamas that I've been saving for a couple years for her sister! My favorite time of the year is right around the corner!

Pondering these words…
from Mother Teresa, Love: A Fruit Always in Season:

“At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God's own love and concern.”

I am listening…
I love it when Dad plays his guitar and sings. So do his grandchildren!

Around the house...
we are preparing to prepare... Lots of signs that Advent is about to begin!

One of my favorite things...
Chubby cheeks and baby toes ♥ So kissable!

A little peek at our Thanksgiving day...

Out of my parents twelve children, ten of us made it home this year for at least part of the day. We weren't able to get a picture of everyone all together, but we did get some pictures!


I tried to let my niece hold the baby but the first attempt didn't go too well. I told her we would try again after she nursed... Her expressions are priceless! 

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!