Our Little Calendar Time

I meant to show this to you a few days ago with the Advent wreath but it slipped my mind. We have been doing a little “calendar time” with the kids for a few years now.

(I think that makes it sound so much more involved than it really is, but that’s what we call it, so there you go.)

We used to have this just pinned on the wall next to a big classroom calendar but I was kind of over the calendar itself. When we moved over the summer, I decided it was a good time to change our set-up a bit. It wasn’t exactly on the top of my priority list, though, and I couldn’t decide how I wanted to do it. My son Joshua started asking about it a few weeks ago, so I promised him that I would get it together in time for Advent.

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I still hadn’t really figured out what I wanted to do when suddenly it was the Saturday evening before Advent. (Typical last-minute me.)*

*Side note: Speaking of last minute crafting… The first Lent we did this, I thought I had made the Lenten sign ahead of time. But when I went to look for it on Ash Wednesday, it was nowhere to be found. (I’m pretty sure now that I never did really make it. I just thought about making it.) So I loaded up the kids and went to Hobby Lobby and made it later that afternoon. The kids don’t remember that it was late. They just remember that we did it!

Anyway, I kept going back and forth between a few different ideas when I realized that I needed to just do SOMETHING and I could always change it later. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

I rummaged through my craft supplies and found some stick-on magnets that I had saved from a (failed) project a few years ago. I had just enough to attach these guys to the side of the refrigerator. This is directly across from our dining table so my people can see it clearly during meals and otherwise running amok. It’s a high traffic area of the house. :) We usually do calendar at breakfast time but sometimes it happens later in the day if we are too busy or forget in the morning.

Here’s what we do:

  • We name what liturgical season it is.
  • We change the liturgical color the priest is wearing on major feast days and solemnities (if I remember and/or we have been to Mass so the kids happen to know that the priest was wearing a different color.) My children like to know if it’s a feast day because those are the days when we get treats. :)
  • We talk about why the color is what it is. For example, purple is for times of preparation, red calls to mind the Blood of Christ, etc.
  • We tell a little bit about the saint of the day and say a brief morning offering.
  • When we had the big classroom calendar up, we also counted up to the current date and pointed out any special days coming up (birthdays, anniversaries, trips we were going on, etc). I still don’t have a plan for doing that again in the future, despite Joshua’s insistence.

I used this printable craft to make the priest activity. When I got it, I think it was just a free printable. I think you might have to sign up for email updates now or something. We use it every day, though, so it would be worth it to me.

Anyway, this very simple activity has helped our children to learn the liturgical seasons and to remember the saints in our daily lives. I just wanted to share it with you!

 

 

 

 

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Our Advent Traditions

I have been trying to get here all day to share with you a few pictures of our Advent thus far. The encouragement to keep a simple, liturgical Advent first came to me through this classic Like Mother, Like Daughter post so I think it is very fitting to join in on the Advent link-up today.

I have gone back to that post often. I really took Leila’s words to heart and have found that she is right.

Simply by lighting a candle, we really can begin to inspire wonder in our family…

 

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We did not grow up with Advent traditions so we have started slowly. For eight years now, this is the main tradition we have cultivated. We light the candles before dinner as we sing one verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

That is it.

There is something very wonderful about this simple act.

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(Funny side note- My son said he was holding that ruler to measure his personal space.)

It isn’t always perfect. Sometimes the baby is crying. Sometimes I am antsy to hurry up and sing so we can eat because I am getting cranky. But it is always a good to see the children’s eyes light up with the candles and to make an act of trust that “Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

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This year, we found ourselves ready to add the Jesse Tree to our family traditions. The kids are keeping strict tabs on whose turn it is to hang an ornament on the tree each day. The devotional reading that goes along with the ornaments is brief enough for my three year old.

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I have Advent music playing around the house as much as I can. I have a stack of picture books waiting for me to pick up at the library tomorrow. I’m trying to remember to pray the St. Andrew Novena prayer daily, if not fifteen times a day. These things are so lovely, and I’m enjoying their addition to our Advent.

But, if all else fails,  in the evening, I light a candle for hope.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” – Psalm 33:20