On the First Sunday of Advent, we set up our Advent Tree with the empty stable and Advent books underneath it. We decorated it with purple garland, purple ornaments, and a tree topper with purple beads on it.

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We’ve been preparing for Advent by doing the Jesse Tree activities

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in the evenings and reading our Advent  books, which you can see wrapped under the tree, from our Advent Library.

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This year I purchased The Jesse Tree,

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which we read after the kids put the ornament on the tree. It has 24 stories coinciding with our Jesse Tree ornaments.

I got the idea to wrap the books from Cheryl, at The Thoughtful Spot. So far we’ve collected 18 Advent books,  recommended by Elizabeth Foss. I buy 2 books every year. This year I purchased, The Donkey’s Dream, which is my favorite book of all, and Who’s Coming To Our House?.

We also light our Adent wreath,

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and pray the Advent Wreath prayers before dinner.

The kids have been filling an empty manger

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with "straw" by making sacrifices and writing them down on strips of yellow construction paper. The
idea is that when acts of service, sacrifice, or kindness are done in
honor of Baby Jesus as a birthday present, the child receives a piece
of straw to put into the manger.
On Christmas morning, we’ll put Baby Jesus in the manger.

Starting on Sunday the 17th, we will pray the "O Antiphon"  prayers and fill our Antiphon house with the cubes. Thanks to Katherine, at A Living Education for this wonderful idea. It will certainly be one of our favorite Advent traditions.

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Last
Sunday my husband and I wrapped almost all of the Christmas presents. What a relief! I found this beautiful gift wrap at
Walmart. I bought 3 rolls and plan to wrap every present with it. I
just couldn’t resist.

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We will be decorating the house for
Christmas this weekend, the 3rd Sunday of Advent. We have 15 Holly
trees lining our front yard, which we will decorate with lights. We’re
also going to put up icicle lights on our roof and lighted garland on
our front porch. We also put a lighted wreath on each of our 7 windows
on the front of the house. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

I hope we can get some baking done this weekend. I plan to make make Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies. They are the best cookies in the world. We make them every year.  My husband will also want us to make Lemon Bars. Those are his favorites.

We
were supposed to have a cookie exchange at our house on Sunday, but our
parish is having a benefit concert to raise money for our Guadalupe
Free Clinic
at the same time, so we cancelled it.

We’re going to
attempt to go to Midnight Mass this year. It’s going to be tough, since
we’re used to going to bed between 9 and 10 every night. I can’t seem
to stay up past 9 anymore. On Christmas morning, We’ll finish setting
up the Nativity Set, and then we’ll sing "Happy Birthday" to Baby Jesus, and finally open presents with the kids before my in-laws arrive later in the morning.

I
hope everyone’s Advent has been a Blessed one. I can’t wait to see how
you all have prepared for the coming of the Christ Child.

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