celebrate December's saints in 5 minutes with $5 (or less)

Ahh, there's nothing like celebrating saints' feast days to make a mom feel either stressed out or inadequate! Woohoo!

But here's what I think. I've seen an exchange like this happen many times: The mom of a baby and a toddler looks at a mother of nine and says, "HOW do you DO IT? I only have two and I'm drowning."

And the seasoned mom says, "Honey, you are given the grace you need for the battle you're fighting. However many kids you have right now, that's all you can handle! We're all maxed out where we are."

I think that's it, too, for the big bad world of beautiful liturgical living. I've lived through so many Decembers during which I forgot to reserve and check out the St. Nicholas books from the library ahead of time, and also didn't have enough spare money just floating around in the budget to go buy us a copy. I didn't know how other people did it.

But you know what? The kids know who St. Nicholas is. They know he's the patron saint of children, and they know he was generous. They know St. Nicholas loved Jesus and lived his life for Him. And they know that because we told them. Not a book or a clever video. Just us, the parents. 

So, all that to say: I don't think it's all about the books you own or grab from the library, nor is it all the correct food you cook to celebrate and keep the feast. Those things are well and GOOD, really, very very good! But they're not the be all and end all of infusing home with faith. You use the grace you have right now to do what you can handle.

These are the things we'll be doing in our home:

Thursday, December 6 (tomorrow!): St. Nicholas
Do: Set out the kids' shoes tonight, and fill 'em with some treats for the morning. I've heard from moms who *forget* to buy chocolate coins that their children will still joyfully accept quarters, dimes, and stray tic tacs. (That mom may have been myself.)
Eat: Candy canes!
Read: quick read for little ears on St. Nicholas of Myra

Friday, December 7: St. Ambrose
Do: Just say it's the feast of St. Ambrose. It's a cool name to know. :)
Eat: Toast or tea with honey! He's the patron saint of bee keepers. Our little Ambrose gets to pick the dinner menu, as is the tradition of saint-name-days in our house.
Read: St. Ambrose: Strangest Life Story Ever? 8 things to know and share

Saturday, December 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Eat: Ice cream! Anything to celebrate for dessert!
Read: great read aloud here from Peanut Butter & Grace

Wednesday, December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Do: Just tell 'em what day it is.
Eat: Tacos! Burritos! Nachos! Viva la shredded cheese!
Read: Meet Juan Diego

Thursday, December 13: St. Lucy
Do: Light an extra candle at the dinner table (besides the advent candle), since Lucy means light.
Also, Lucy is (rightly) such a popular name, so tell kids that if they have a Lucy they know or in their class, wish them a happy feast day.
Read: Saint Lucy

Monday, December 17: Start the O Antiphons!
Do: Sing one verse "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" as your before dinner prayer starting on the 17th, going to the next verse/antiphon each day, until Dec. 23. Here's a great link with all of the verses and their Latin counterparts (for you fancy folk).

Tuesday, December 25: Christmas
Do: PARTY!!!

That takes us to the Christmas Octave, and that will be a separate post. Blessed Advent! 


finally pulling the plug on PBS Kids

This isn't a shocker, of course. I've already ranted on Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary about the sing-song nihilism of Daniel Tiger's little ditties in episode 31.

And, I've always had an eye out for the subtle suggestions, the little winks, the discreet nods at the liberal agenda, sprinkled in the PBS Kids shows.

But today, I didn't see a wink or a nod--no, today it was a straight up high five to indoctrinating my kids. This PBS Kids commercial aired this morning while my little ones were watching, I'm ashamed to say.

Come and see, come and see
Come and see my family
I got two awesome daddies 
And a brother who's just three
I like them, they like me
Now come and see my family

So, that's that, then! We'll be taking the same approach as we did with Netflix, and removing it from our tv immediately. Although unfortunately, we could actually cancel our subscription to Netflix, whereas PBS will continue to receive our money through taxpayer subsidies. Ugh.

Anyone else taken this plunge and gone cold turkey on PBS Kids? I put a Brother Francis DVD on for Gus this afternoon and, surprisingly, she didn't melt into a puddle of Let's Go Luna-deprived despair. So that's a win. I'd love some good recommendations for shows or DVD series appropriate for the 3-5 year old range.