Friday, December 28, 2012

Thank You Grammy Ann!

The Zoomlians have been opening your presents!

Real thank you notes to follow, but I thought you'd like to see the pictures now.

Mxyl got a cool black fedora.

Klenda is wearing her new chic cloche hat.

Zorg is wearing his mohawk wig.

Leena is showing off her pretty boots.
Choclo got a penguin pirate balancing game, and Oob got a game which involved an alligator knocking monkeys off a bridge (which I spent a chunk of the afternoon playing with him, until he decided he wanted to play it by himself!).

All in all, a very successful round of presents!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Boar's Head

After years and years of singing The Boar's Head Carol, we finally decided that serving a boar's head "bedecked with bays and rosemary" for Christmas was the way to go.

The careful observer may note that the boar's head in the picture is not actually the head of a boar (as the actual preparation of the actual head of an actual boar seemed too actually icky for Christmas).

It is, however, from a boar, if not from the front half of the boar...  OK, I guess we don't know for sure if it was a boar or a sow, but you can't very well walk into the dining room singing, "The sow's haunch, in hand bear I.."

It is, however, artfully decorated to look like a boar's head, and we did all sing as the Emperor bore it in!

If you have no idea what we are talking about and think, perhaps, we are making it up, you can find a fair rendition of the Boar's Head Carol with lyrics here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Choclo's First Communion

 Choclo made his First Communion on Christmas!

Mumpy and Pa were visiting for Christmas, so they got to be there, too. 

It was so beautiful!  You can't get a better Christmas present than Jesus!!

Choclo told me afterwards, "It feels like getting a big hug from Jesus!"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Sculpey

 A Sculpey, Christmas, anyway!

I can not tell a lie, it's all cheap imitation Sculpey, but my kids don't know, so don't tell them, okay?

Sculpey is an oil based clay that doesn't harden unless you bake it.  It holds a much finer detail than play-doh, and is much harder to get off your good shoes.

The thing I like about it, is that it lasts forever and encourages creativity for all ages.

Hmm.  That being said, I think Klenda actually made all of these.

But it was Choclo who was so excited he made me take pictures!

He's holding a penguin, and, yes, over the wreath, that is Jabba the Hutt in a Santa hat.

Speaking of odd things, I just noticed the crutches in the background!  I'd actually forgotten, but part of our craziness for the past few weeks was that Klenda  sprained her ankle en route (with the Emperor and the rest of the Youth Group) to a Toby Mac concert.  She's totally fine now!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Catching Up

 I really haven't blogged much lately: St. Nicholas Day was way back on the sixth!

The kids put out shoes on the stairs...

and woke to find them filled with goodies.

More on our Santa/St. Nicholas thoughts here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bazillionaire's Disease

Do you suffer from Bazillionaire's Disease?

Do you, when you find a sudden windfall of time, plan to get a bazillion things done, actually get a bazillion things done, and then realize: you had TWO bazillion things to do?

Thank You!

If you prayed at all for Choclo's super important meeting on Friday, thank you so much!  The meeting was a great sucess, and that means...

Choclo will be receiving his First Communion on Christmas morning!!!

He is so excited!  Before he knew, he told me he would rather get to receive Jesus than get Pikmin2 and Pikmin3 for Christmas! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

O Antiphon House

 Most years we make O Antiphon posters, but this year has been super crazy.  I didn't want to miss the O Antiphons, though, so I decided to make a house instead.

It took about ten minutes to make!

I took a sheet of construction paper and folded it in quarters.

I printed O Antiphon images (scroll down the page) and cut them out with a paper cutter.

I made a template a little smaller than the image (on an index card) , and marked out 8 doors going around the house.  For my actual house, I marked the doors with pencil, and just put the dates with silver marker.

I cut out the doors with a razor, and taped the images behind them.

Then I folded the house around, taped the seam, and made a roof.

We put a jack o lantern light inside to glow through the windows, but it's not really necessary.

We open a door and read the O antiphon from a list.  This one is taken from here at Catholic
O Sapientia (December 17) O Wisdom (Eccl 24: 5), you came forth from the mouth of the Most High (Sir 24: 30), and reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly (Wis 8: 1). Come, and teach us the way of prudence (Isa 40: 14).
O Adonai (December 18) O Adonai or O Lord and Ruler (Exod 6: 13) and Ruler of the house of Israel (Matt 2: 6), you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exod 3: 2), and on Mount Sinai gave him your Law (Exod 20). Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us (Jer 32: 21).
O Radix Jesse (December 19) O Root of Jesse, you stand for the ensign of all mankind (Isa 11: 10); before you kings shall keep silence and to you all nations shall have recourse (Isa 52: 15). Come, save us, and do not delay (Hab 2: 3).
O Clavis David (December 20) O Key of David (Apoc 3: 7) Scepter of the house of Israel, you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens (Isa 22: 22). Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107: 10).
O Oriens (December 21) O Rising Dawn (Zac 6: 12), Radiance of the Light eternal (Hab 3: 4) and Sun of Justice (Mal 3: 20); Come, enlighten those who sit in darkness & the shadow of death (Ps 107: 10; Lk 1: 78).
O Rex Gentium (December 22) O King of the Gentiles (Hag 2: 8), Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one (Eph 2: 20). Come, and save poor man whom you fashion out of clay (Gen 2: 7).
O Emmanuel (December 23) O Emmanuel (Isa 7: 14; 8: 8), our King and Lawgiver (Gen 49:10; cf. Ezek 21: 32), the Expected of the nations and their Savior (Isa 33: 22): Come, and save us, O Lord our God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crazy Busy!

I finally made a list of all the things that HAD to be done RIGHT NOW!  It was ridiculous. 

But, the fact is, I need to get the packages mailed by Saturday, which means I need to finish the things that go into the packages... now.

And I need to order everything that needs to get here before Christmas.

And I need to get wrapping so that I can move the presents out of my office before my folks arrive!

The Emperor is camping with Mxyl and Zorg this weekend, while I host a slumber party.

And Choclo has a super important meeting on Friday, and prayers would really be appreciated!

Long story short: we should be able to blog regularly again next week!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Star Wars Christmas

Did you ever see the Star Wars Christmas special they did around 1980?  It was terrible!  After all the hype, it was a tremendous disappointment.

Someone put out "The Star Wars Christmas Special Everyone Wanted" and... it is! For some reason it won't embed, but it's some of the funniest (Christmassy) 6 minutes on You Tube:

I guess I should say, "If you like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing you'll like."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Back to the Botannical Gradens

 We made our annual visit to the holiday trains at the Botannical Gardens.  This is always such a fun trip!

They run the trains through a magical landscape of plants and fairy houses made from plant materials.

This year, there was no "theme" to the houses, but we really enjoyed this tableau of the Billy Goats Gruff.

 Most of the rest were curious trolls and fairies with occasional castles.Combined with 5 or 6 train sets going at once (some of them going over our heads!), it was enchanting.
 My favorite was this Japanese castle with a dragon perched on top.  You can spy the little bug train passing in front, but what is harder to see is that it is nestled between two ten foot waterfalls in a perfectly scaled bonsai forest!

On the right, at the foot of one of the falls, is a mermaid.

All very fun, and a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Did You Know

That if you add blue food coloring to a batch of hard candy, the carmelizing sugar will turn the candy green?  Not a vivid Christmas green, mind you, more of a pretty sea glass green.

Furthermore, if you carefully cut off the messy bits from the finished candy, they will look quite shockingly like broken glass.

In addition, if you leave them on the counter, two things will happen: the tiny pieces will gradually disappear as the children pass through the kitchen, and, you can give your late arriving spouse apoplexy when he finds the kids eating "broken glass."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

It's true!  You usually only hear the St. Nicholas story about how he saved the three girls from slavery by putting money (secretly) into their stockings (which had been hung up to dry near the fireplace), but he also punched the lights out of Arius (the father of the devastating Arian heresy) at the Council of Nicaea.

Yes, the council where they came up with the Nicene Creed! 

Evidently, Arius went on and on trying to convince the Council that Jesus wasn't really God, and Nicholas finally had enough and decked him.

Mxyl: Does this mean I get to punch people who say Jesus isn't God?

NO!  Not everything every saint does is intended to be imitated.

You may, however, put all your money in my sock.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All Set Up

 Despite my extra week, I just squeaked by with getting things ready for Advent.  The last poster was finished on Sunday.

Part of that was getting a ton of Christmas shopping done last week.  We didn't do everything, but we did enough so that what is left will be fun and reasonably stress free.  One year I finished everything before Advent, then found I kept wanting to buy things!

 My biggest surprise delay was the discovery (the day before Advent started!) that Target didn't have the candles.  Oops!  Fortunately the grocery store had them.

The "wreath" is a pie plate with sprigs stuck in a circular pattern.  We used some things from the yard, and some from a hike in the woods near our house.  Choclo and Oob found pine cones and chestnut burrs to decorate the wreath.

Mxyl loaded up the Advent house for us, and that's been popular.  We upgraded the stable from the cardboard Playmobil one to this wooden one from the ceramic set (the pieces to which have all been broken over the years).

The newest thing is that I finally tried a fabulous idea that I've read many times on the internet.  I wrapped up 25 of our Advent and Christmas books.  The kid who gets to blow out the Advent candles also gets to pick a wrapped book.

This is working very well.  It's making sure that all the favorite books actually get read instead of buried in the big Bin O' Books.

You may notice that there are also unwrapped books.  That's because, as I discovered, we actually have about fifty Advent and Christmas books!  Did this stop us from getting more out of the library this week?  What do you think?

Monday, December 3, 2012


Having that extra week to plan and organize was great!  I feel more prepared for Advent than I have since...  The last time I had an extra week between Thanksgiving and Advent!  It was only today that I fully realized that the extra week there means a week less here.  It's actually a short Advent, so maybe I'm not as ahead as I think I am.

 No matter.  I have a theme.  That always makes me feel more organized.   And, this year, I got the kids to paint posters of our theme to hang in the dining room.

The theme is: Christ came in history, Christ comes in mystery, Christ will come in majesty.

Leena painted the "Christ came in history" poster.  It actually says that on the frame, but I think I need to make the lettering more prominent. She has a quirky, eclectic style that is half Byzantine icon, half Manga. 

 I find the more I look at it, the more I like it.  Maybe because it isn't the conventional arrangement, I think more about the actual Nativity, and less about the standard image of the Nativity, if you know what I mean.

 I painted the "Christ comes in mystery" one.  The mystery being Jesus' abiding presence in the Eucharist.

This has been a key focus this year because Choclo is preparing to receive his First Communion, possibly at Christmas.

Klenda and Mxyl collaborated on the "Christ will come in majesty" poster.  Actually, it started out as our Christ the King poster!

They had trouble melding their two styles, so Klenda ended up doing most of the face, with Mxyl designing the crown and details.

Jesus is holding the New Earth in his right hand (for the sheep) and a sword in his left (for the goats).

It's a good reminder that Advent is about waiting for more than just presents!