Small Success Thursday

You all know I love a good link up! This week I am participating in Small Success Thursday, over at Catholicmom.com, stop by and check out all the other amazing linkups, and share yours!

So often we get caught up in the day-to-day chaos, and forget that even the smallest moments can count as successes. I know I often focus on the negative parts of the day, and end up grumpy by the end, because I have forgotten those perfect little moments that happened in between the chaos. It is so good for the soul to remind yourself of the good in your day-to-day life.

Success 1: Dancing! Sherry over at Catholic Mom posted about stopping to dance around with one of her kids, and I did that too. In fact, we do this nearly every morning when the kids watch Thomas the Train, and they play a fun song between episodes. We all get up and dance around the room like fools, and it’s one of my favourite parts of the entire day!

Success 2: Helping! My son has started helping his little sister get her winter gear off, without even being asked! If he sees her struggling, he stops what he is doing to help her. It warms my heart seeing him being so nice to her, and so loving.

Success 3: Just Because! I love doing things just because, something fun and unexpected for no real reason at all. Yesterday I took the kids to the mall, after school, when it was packed with Christmas shoppers and teenagers. I didn’t have any errands to run, or presents to buy. The only reason we made that trip, was for the kids to check out a car that had been made to look like Lightening McQueen! It was parked inside the mall, as an advertisement for a local dealership (I think, honestly I didn’t really pay attention to why it was there), and the kids were blown away.

Success 4: They were Good! Last Sunday at Mass the kids were fairly well-behaved. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, Mass is actually really enjoyable for my husband and I. We went in thinking the worst, since it was going to be 1 hour at Mass followed by going out for lunch with all my husbands’ family for his birthday. The kids (our 2, plus 2 nieces and a nephew) were all well-behaved at the restaurant too!

I would love to hear about your blessings and small successes from this week. Don’t forget to check out the other posts that are linked up over at Catholic Mom.

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Keeping Christ in Christmas

As Catholics, it’s very easy for us to understand what the Christmas season is all about. But it is also so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of it all. From shopping, and decorating, to cleaning and preparing for guests, we can forget that this special season of Advent is celebrating the birth of Christ. Or maybe you don’t let the over commercialization of the season over shadow the true meaning, and in that case I am so happy. We try so hard to keep it all about Him, but it’s hard when the neighbours turned their lights on last week, and the stores brought all the Christmas stuff out before Halloween was ever over!

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Here is how my family keeps Christ in Christmas:

Advent Wreath – We have a very simple Advent wreath that we keep on the kitchen table. We light the candles and say the prayers as the weeks pass, and the kids just love it.

Celebrate the Feast of St Nicholas – We have taught our kids about St. Nicholas, and how he relates to the modern day Santa Claus. And because of this, we celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas (on Dec 6th) and we give each child a small religious gift, usually a new prayer card and a book or small toy.

No early Decorations or Music – We hold off on decorating the house, and turning on the outdoor lights until right before Christmas. We even waited until Christmas Eve to put our tree up one year. The day has changed each year, usually do to what day of the week Christmas falls on, but we usually deck the halls the weekend closest to Christmas Day.

Nativity Displays – We have two. And are thinking about buying a large wooden one for our front lawn. My mom bought me one the other year, that is ceramic and I display on top on my china cabinet in the kitchen. The other is a Fischer Price Little People Nativity toy we keep on the floor so this kids can play with it. We keep baby Jesus out of both sets, and when the kids come down on Christmas morning, they love go and finally see him sleeping there. This year, hopefully, I will add a third one to our collection…if I ever finish sewing it. Oh, and I have a snow globe with Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus.

Bible Stories – We read Bible stories each night before bed to the kids (we love these ones by Arch Books). And during Advent, we read the Advent ones to them.

Catholic Gifts – We love to give each other gifts that are Catholic (like books about Catholicism or by Catholic authors and prayer cards) or specific to Christmas, like new children’s bible stories and toy sets, or nativity ornaments and sets.

We also attend Mass (but that should be a given) and of course the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. In the future, once our kids are a little older and will understand a little better, we’ll do charity work and volunteer with them. And I would also love to have a Jesse Tree too, if I ever get that felt Nativity finished that is.

I would love to hear about your family, and your traditions surrounding Christmas, and how you keep Christ in Christmas, and please let me know if there is something I am missing out on!

For a post on how to have a Frugal Christmas, check out my post on my blog Not A Coupon Queen.