Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Blog - 2015 Year in Review (all the posts you might have missed ;) )

I really enjoyed looking over the posts I wrote at the end of 2014 and thought I'd do the same this year.   Here's a month by month peek at some highlights in case you missed a couple.**

For the most part, the things I've shared here are posts that were the most thoughtful.  Like they had actual content.  If you want to go back and look through the things I wrote that were book lists, curriculum recommendations, quick updates, and "hey, look at what I crocheted!" you're more than welcome to!!  Those you can find by clicking on the month headings or on the "Also of note" items listed at the end of each month.  But (with the exception of the soup and pancake recipes!) the majority of the links here will take you to the more substantial things I wrote :) 

Thanks for joining me for 2015 Year in Review :)  Can't wait to hang out some more in 2016!

** I'm not really that delusional ;)  I know no one's really wondering they missed here.  It's mostly for my own enjoyment - taking a look at what I did here this past year.  But in case you're wondering what you may have missed here.....  hehe :)


Woah!  I wrote 21 posts in January???

Oh, right.  Most of them were soup recipes.  If you missed the 10 Days of Family Friendly Soups recipe series you simply must check it out!  All the recipes are here on the Soup Savvy Page :)

We started off the new year with a dinner of Chocolate Pancakes with Raspberry and Bacon (warning - photos guaranteed to make you drool on your keyboard).

I mused on Christmas carols - The Theology of the Third Verse 

...and grocery shopping for a large family - It's the Club Pack Life for Me (Adventures in Grocery Shopping)

And one of my favorites (because it's one of our favorite family traditions!)...
How I Host a Casual, Family Friendly Soup Party

Also of note: Top 10 Family Picture Books, Crochet Dishcloth Pattern


I hosted a super fun blog hop and link-up showcasing what an ordinary day of homeschooling LOOKS like for many different families.  Check it out!!
See Me Homeschool

 Our First Baptism Day Celebration (new to us this year).

I wrote, "I should not grasp at holiness in spite of my vocation, but run toward and throw my arms and heart around the opportunities for holiness in my vocation," and need to re-read it often in Lift Up Thine Eyes: This is Sanctifying Work.

His, Hers, Yours, Mine, Ours (How We Handle Private Property in our Large-ish Family)

Also of note: 7 Gifts for the Youngest Jane Austen Fans, Chunky Crochet Cowl Pattern, 10 Lessons in 10 Years of Marriage, Beautiful Alphabet Books

I sort of fell off the grid...  Nothing to report... Nothing of note.


In honor of our 10 year anniversary I wrote about How We Kept Our Wedding Small, Thrifty, and Really Special.

And even though I'm totally committed to my husband, I also love Martin and Chris Kratt --
6 Reasons to Love (I mean REALLY love) Wild Kratts

In June I wrote the post that I think has garnered the most attention from fellow bloggers to date.  (That was an honor.  And fun!)  It was my book review of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up in which I came to the conclusion that I Want the Tidying Up, But Not KonMari's Brand of "Life-Changing Magic"

And I also chatted about why I think it's so important to keep taking little kids to Mass even if they're squirmy, fidgety, shrieky.  What I Wish I Said to the Mom Who Approached Me After Mass.

Dear Catholic Parishes, Give the Sacraments of Initiation Back to the Community was an open letter I wrote explaining why I was so happy that my son received his First Holy Communion not at the parish special FHC Mass and why I think more Sacraments should be celebrated at regular weekend Masses.

How do we keep a house reasonably clean and operational while homeschooling and life-living with five kids??  Our Chore System is Use ALL the Chore Systems.

This post, Today I Told My Children About Abortion, was one of the hardest things I've ever written because I wish it never had to happen in the first place.

Also of note: The Best (FUN) Math Apps for Summertime Review

Oh man.  THIS ONE STILL GETS TO ME.  I was weeping like a baby.  Heaving sobs, snot dripping from my nose.  I'm still pretty upset about the whole thing... definitely HAVE NOT made peace about the read-aloud rights I was cheated out of :( :( :(  
Exhausted Mom Syndrome, Narnia Read Alouds, and Why I Was a Big Fat Crying Blubbering Mess Today

Creative and Contented: Large Families Living in Small Homes (a Mini Series!!)  This was such a wonderful guest series with lots of insights and encouragement from moms making smaller homes work for their families - lots of clever practical tips and wonderful words of wisdom about attitude and gratitude.  I encourage you to check out the whole series!

I know this is weird but I had so much fun conducting the comparison and writing about it :)

Also of note: My Homeschool Curriculum Favorites,  All the Homeschool Extras that I Love,    If it's Late August, I Must be in the Throes of a Panic Attack

Hmm, sort of a slow blogging month.  I wrote a little about my weight loss and health improvements on a meal plan called Trim Healthy Mama (unfortunately.)  If you're into that sort of thing, you're welcome to click on over and check it out :)

We're also big on using audio resources for learning, so I wrote My Favorite Audio Learning Resources for Homeschool


In late September we found out we were expecting a baby and miscarried in quick succession.   I was so very touched by, and grateful for, the total outpouring of love, prayers, and sympathy I received from friends, including those I've made here through blogging.  I loved writing this post, as it actually brought me a lot of comfort to share my thoughts on the little one we lost.
Thoughts on Loving our Recently Miscarried Baby


November got away from me.  I had intended to write a few posts for Diabetes Awareness Month, but instead I wrote one.  I hope I get to write more, especially since Aaron started on an insulin pump in early October and our diabetes journey has been very different, but for now, you can read about why juice causes such upheaval in my soul each time I go grocery shopping :)
Guilt and Misunderstanding in the Juice Aisle (Diabetes Awareness Month, Nov 2015)


So, I wrote a couple posts about Sants Claus... like Why We Don't Tell Our Children that St. Nicholas is Santa Claus   and then a sort of follow up about why we don't "do" Santa at all and how Not Believing in Santa is Not Ruining Christmas for my Kids.

And I wrote a couple posts about having a c-section or two.  Or five.
If Practice Makes Perfect, I Might Be A C-Section Expert (in which I felt like I shared a big, tender piece of my heart by posting pics of all my c-section babes and me in the surgery) and So You're Having a C-Section (Tips, Tricks, and "Expert Advice")

So now you're up to date.  Anything remotely worth reading from this past year is here at your fingertips ;)  I imagine that "worth reading" is subjective....  But it really was fun for me to go back and look at all I typed out this past year, especially when I came across something I totally forgot about!  

Thanks so much for being an Ordinary Lovely reader!  If you're new, I'm so happy to have you, and you're welcome for giving you all the links you need to get caught up on all the juicy stuff from 2015 ;)  And if you've been a reader for a while... I'm truly flattered and grateful!  It's so wonderful to have friends here!

Want to make more fabulous friends!  Head over to Like Mother, Like Daughter.  I'm linking up with their Favorite Posts of 2015.  Thanks for hosting, ladies!!

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Theology of the Third Verse :: Thoughts on Christmas Carols (from the archives)

This was something I wrote last year, but I wanted to share it again :)  

It's the twelfth day of Christmas!  Are you still singing carols?  You can, you know!  I am.

There's no rule that says the carol-singing has to stop when the sun sets on Christmas day.  In fact, if you're a practicing Christian who's paying attention, you probably already know that "Christmas" is often considered atwelve-day ordeal - a dozen days of Christmas!  If you're a really attentive Catholic, you may know that the season doesn't officially end until the the Baptism of Jesus (celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany).  And some people who really really like to extend their celebrating, keep it all going until the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple (all the way out there on February 2)!  

But even these Feasts and dates don't "contain" Christmas.  

Christmas isn't merely about celebrating the birth of Jesus on one particular, finite day over 2,000 years ago.  That was one day.  We cannot "be" there.  We can imagine it - all that there was to see, hear, smell - the stable, the hay-filled manger, the baby's soft breathing and tiny cries, the mother rocking, the skies filled with angels and light, "Glory to God in the highest!!,"  the astounded shepherds, the bleating of their sheep, a blinding star.  Indeed, we know these sights and sounds well from Scripture and from Christmas carols.  

For the most part, not exclusively, but for the most part, the first and second verses of the well-known Christmas carols tell the story - the one with the angels and shepherds and kings.  

 Everybody knows the first verses.  Lots of people know the second verses.  But if you never make it to the third and fourth (and fifth!) verses, you're missing the whole of the Christmas message.  Because celebrating Christmas is not about one day, or twelve, or 39.  Just as the songs are not over after the second verse, Christmas is not over after the Christmas season.  To be sure, we should never stop celebrating, because Christmas celebrates much more than the one-time birth of a baby.  It is about God made man, the Savior of the world entering into that world to change it from within, and the holy anticipation, joyful expectation, and life-giving hope that He will come again.  "Christmas" doesn't end because Christmas is about our the Savior, our present-day King of Kings and the expectation of and preparation for Christ's coming to Earth... again.  

This is the message that is so often conveyed in the later verses of Christmas carols.  Sing them to the end.  Theentire message of Christmas is often contained in the entirety of the song, from the birth of the baby, to his Saving work, to his promised return.  Sing to the end!  The meaning of the Christmas "story" - the donkey, the shepherds, the star, the gifts - finds its fullness in the theology of the third verse!

  *   *   *   *   *   *

Here are some lesser known verses you might enjoy...

Hail the Heaven born Prince of Peace
Hail the Sun of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n healing in His wings
Christ the highest Heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
Come desire of nations come
Fix in us Thy humble home
Come desire of nations come
Fix in us Thy humble home

(3rd verse of Hark! the Herald Angels Sing)

*   *   *   *   *   *

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That hath made heaven and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind has bought.

(6th verse of The First Noel)

*   *   *   *   *   *

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in,
Be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
Oh, come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

(4th verse of O Little town of Bethlehem)

*   *   *   *   *   *

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found

(3rd verse of Joy to the World)

*   *   *   *   *   *

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long
Beneath the heavenly strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong

And man at war with man hears not
The tidings which they bring
O hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing

O ye, beneath life's crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow

Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing

For lo, the days are hastening on
By prophets seen of old
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold

When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing

(3rd, 4th, and 5th verse of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear)

*   *   *   *   *   *

Merry Christmas, dear friends!  He Lives.  He Reigns.  He will come again.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy Handmade Christmas, Vol 4 (2015)

Merry Christmas, friends!!  We had a lovely celebration yesterday - morning Mass with my parents, a small gathering at our house, our traditional Christmas Snack Table, and lots of delightful family time (including a walk in the late afternoon warmish weather!)  I hope you and your family enjoyed a beautiful day of merriment and joy to celebrate the birth of our Savior!!  

Anyway... Christmas Day is done, so that means I finally get to show you what I had been working on for gifts!  This year I had been working on a few crochet afghans, so I ended up giving fewer (but bigger) handmade gifts than usual.  

Over a year ago I started making afghans for my older boys.  The girls each have a quilt that I made them, so I making blankets for the boys was a priority.  They chose the color scheme themselves and then I did the "design" and work.  

Aaron chose red, orange, and yellow.  So here's what I came up with....

Oh wait - please understand that it's super hard to take pictures of blankets that are spread out on the ground.  If I was suspended from the ceiling I could get an ok shot perspective-wise, but as it it, standing on my tip-toes on my coffee table or couch, you get a picture that makes it look like all the blankets I make are trapezoids.  They are not.  It just looks like they are :)

So, here's Aaron's blanket...

Dominic chose blue and green...

We had to check Aaron's blood a gazillion times last night but it helped ease the pain and annoyance of late-night arm wrestling with a sleeping child to see him snuggled up like this :)

James didn't really have a say as to what his blanket looked like...

I suspected that this would happen, but James definitely did not want a new blanket in his crib last night.  You know how babies get used to the things they have in their beds night after night... well, it's going to take a warming up period before James is ok with adding this to his "comfort things" :)

The last afghan I gave was to my parents.  It's a granny rectangle that I started back in March.  I LOVE this blanket.  The colors!  The softness!  I'm looking forward to having one in my living room :)  It was so big that I couldn't even get the whole thing in a picture -- so you'll just have to use your common sense to visualize the rest of the rectangle...

Finally I made a few hats for the little kids...

I used this pattern for the Viking hats and this idea for the princess hat....

They're good for dress up indoors...

 Or for playing outdoors...

Or for dressing up your brother...

And the only non-yarn items were the saint dolls I painted for St. Nicholas Day.  Added to our collection this year were St. Nicholas, St. Joan of Arc, St, Juan Diego, St. George, and St. Lucia :)

So, that was it this year.  Now starts the season where I typically make something for myself.  What will it be???  Last year it was cotton dishcloths.  I think I need a new blanket :)

You may also like...

Previous years' Happy Handmade Christmas posts:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...