Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus {Book Review}

Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus by Maura Roan McKeegan

Catholic author Maura McKeegan once again invites readers to explore the biblical prefigurements of Christ. Maura brings biblical academic scholarship and research to an enjoyable and understandable level for any reader. Here, we explore Old Testament Joseph the shepherd as a prefigurement of Christ, the Good Shepherd and see how indeed God weaves with a golden thread. Do not miss this experience!

Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus
This is one of the books in our 2022 Advent Book Basket!
I’m giving away another copy over on Instagram!  Click over if you’d like to enter.
Ends 12/19/2022 at 11:59PM PST.

The Great O Antiphons, The Golden Nights

Ever since our oldest children were very little, we have been implementing an old monastic custom in our home by providing special treats, representing each of the “O Antiphons” on the days leading up to Christmas. The O Antiphon prayers begin on December 17th and end on the 23rd, which is the last Vespers of Advent, since the evening prayer on the 24th is the Vigil of Christmas.

The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

Each night, following our family rosary, we pray the O Antiphon for the day, sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, which was inspired by this ancient tradition, and then give the children a special treat.

(Picture from a past Advent Season) 

The “treats” have varied from year to year. Some years it has been little gifts or activities for the family, some years it is all food related, and some years it is a mix of both, depending on our schedule and budget. It doesn’t need to cost much or even anything at all! Be creative!

Sometimes the treats are a bit of a stretch, but my goal is try and find gifts that will either help increase our faith (Catechism books, holy family, saints, prayer, etc) or encourage family time (games, puzzles, going to look at Christmas lights, etc). You can find some of our past O Antiphon treats by scrolling through the archives and visiting Catholic Cuisine.

Our family loves this tradition. It is such a fun way to teach the children about these beautiful prayers of the church and also increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer.

In case you are looking for some inspiration, I’ve listed some of the treats I’ve given my family over the years (along with my picks for this year)… Special food ideas, activities and gifts (or you can simply decorate chocolate coins!) for each of the O Antiphons can be found below.

Once again I am hosting an O ANTIPHON GIVEAWAY! One lucky visitor here at Shower of Roses will receive a gift package including seven Cookie Stamps, one to represent each of the seven O Antiphons!  Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the details and to enter.

.: December 17th – O Sapientia (O Wisdom) :.
Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, I usually choose a new Catholic book for our family. 
Coffee from Patris Roasting Co. would be perfect to pair with a book! (I first mentioned this coffee in this post – it’s now available to purchase! Save 5% with coupon code FRIENDS)
O Wisdom Ideas from Over the Years:
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!
.: December 18th – O Adonai (O Lord) :.
“Burning bush…” or maybe a bonfire!  Perfect evening to pray the family rosary around the bonfire and maybe roast some marshmallows afterwards! 
In the past we would always emphasize the word “house” in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread Houses or Gingerbread Cookies on this night.  Now that we have two birthdays this week (and two birthday cakes to bake and decorate!) we usually wait until Christmas or New Year’s Eve, or sometime during the 12 Days of Christmas to decorated Gingerbread Houses. 

O Adonai Ideas from Over the Years:

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
.: December 19th – O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) :.
Our 2022 Family Ornament will be wrapped up for the 19th!
O Root of Jesse Ideas from Over the Years:
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.
.: December 20th – O Clavis David (O Key of David) :.
The boys arrive home from college on the 20th this year!!!
As St. Padre Pio, said: “Prayer is the best weapon we have. It is a key opening God’s Heart.”  
We are planning to take our children to Mass or Adoration and then pick up a Key Lime Pie from Birdie’s Pie Shop to enjoy after dinner with some Sparkling Cider!
O Key of David Ideas from Over the Years:
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
.: December 21st – O Oriens (O Dayspring) :.
We’ll once again make hot cocoa, and we’ll pile in the car (or two!) to go look at Christmas lights downtown weather permitting! I might give them their Christmas PJ’s (purchased last Jan on clearance or save them for Christmas Eve depending on whether we plan to go to Midnight Mass or Mass at Dawn). 
O Dayspring Ideas from Over the Years:
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
.: December 22nd – O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) :.
O King Ideas from Over the Years: (many are perfect for Epiphany too)
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! 
O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!
.: December 23rd – O Emmanuel (O With Us is God) :.

Once again we’ll bake our Christmas Cookies, fill a box/basket to take to Carmel, and maybe even pull out another Christmas puzzle (from our now large collection) to get started on!

O Emmanuel Ideas from Over the Years:
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

Win a Set of Cookie Stamps

Here are the cookie stamps I picked out to go along with each of the O Antiphons.
The winner will receive one of each!

Wisdom: #460 – Triune God
House: #214 – Home Sweet Home
Root of Jesse: #520 – Willow Tree
Key of David: #543 – Key to My Heart
Dayspring: #291 – Moravian Star
King: #448 – Norwegian Wedding Crown
Emmanuel: #368 – Nativity

(7 cookie stamps with recipe booklet @ $12.99 ea = $90.93 value)
Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box below: 
Once again, send me an email if it doesn’t work for you and I’ll add you manually! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read more about our family’s traditions here:

Rorate Caeli Mass in Honor of Our Lady

Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum, 
aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, 
and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened 
and bud forth a Saviour.
– first words of the Introit from Isaiah 45:8
“The Rorate Caeli Mass is a traditional Advent devotion wherein the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Advent is offered just before dawn…

…The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet. In the dimly lit setting, priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.” FSSP

We braved the falling snow (fishtailing only once on the drive home!) and made it to the beautiful and inspiring Rorate Caeli Mass at our parish early this morning. Perfect way to start the day and pray for some special intentions! Deo Gratias

Our 2022-2023 Curriculum {And How We Homeschool High School}

We are wrapping up our first semester of this school year! At the beginning of the year I promised that I would share our curriculum this year and I’m finally getting a chance to finish up this post… This year we have a 12th grader, 9th grader, 7th grader, 5th grader, Kindergartner and Pre-schooler!

Pictured above:  Rose Floral Clipboard, Homemade Checklists, an outdated Teacher Lesson Planner (I didn’t use it much last year so I’m re-dating some of the weeks to use this year instead), and a beautiful 2023 Catholic Planner (I was given the planner as a review copy and love how beautifully it coordinates with my other planning tools). I haven’t started using it yet! This past year – with my right hand in a cast like brace for a few months and still not fully recovered – I’ve found myself opting for my phone calendar instead of having to write… Looking forward to using an actual planner again!

Here’s how we homeschool high school…

Before I start with the specifics I want to share a little more about how we have been homeschooling for high school. That seems to be what I’ve been getting the most questions about! It’s always nice to have someone share what’s worked for their family to help inspire you with your own… As the oldest of twelve, I was able to watch how my mom homeschooled all of my siblings (over many years with different styles/curriculums) and I have a dear friend with young adults a little older than mine who has been a huge inspiration to me. Maybe hearing what we’ve done will help you figure out what is best for your family!

Like my youngest two brothers (who are now 26 and 28 – our oldest son is four years younger than my youngest brother!) I’ve enrolled our first four children with Kolbe Academy for high school. It was mainly for the paperwork/transcript side of things in case our teens decided to pursue college sports like my brothers. I have loved the flexibility offered by Kolbe and that we can continue tailoring our curriculum to our family’s preferences and our students’ needs. I submit graded samples twice a year and they keep all the necessary records for the transcripts. So far we have had three Kolbe Academy graduates and will have a fourth this upcoming spring!

We actually decided not to enroll our new high schooler this year due to the extra cost… With the cost of everything going up (and our grocery and gas bills skyrocketing) I opted to put our limited homeschooling funds towards a few live high-school classes and some dual-enrollment college courses instead of the enrollment fees. (Thankfully we live in a state that gives parents total freedom over home educating, and doesn’t have a set curriculum that must be followed, so I don’t need enrollment for any of those reasons.)

My hope is that our current freshman will actually graduate with (or very close to) an Associate’s degree by the end of his four years of high school so I’m not as worried about having that official high school diploma this time around.

Kolbe no longer has it on their website, but our first four high schoolers all worked towards Kolbe’s old Magna Cum Laude Diploma.  The courses I’ve chosen to complete the requirements prepared them all well for college.

*Kolbe’s current options are a little different, it looks like they are no longer requiring that extra year of English/Literature (my kids all completed at least 10 semesters) and Foreign Language (now it’s two years instead of three). Here is their current college preparatory recommended track.

NOTE: Any one semester college course counts as a full YEAR of high school credit. For example this school year our daughter is taking 4 college classes in the fall and 4 in the spring. This will equal 8 high school credits on her high school transcript (as well as 24 college credits).  The college classes are taught at a much faster pace than a typical high school course.

Here’s an overview to give you an idea of how I plan high school courses for our students and minimum graduation requirements for each subject:

Theology – 4 credits

Our current senior completed the first three and then took Christian Moral Principles from FUS. She is actually planning to get an AA in Theology from Franciscan and will be taking more Theology this upcoming semester and next school year.

Our current “freshman” has already completed Understanding the Scripture and Intro to Catholicism so this year he is taking Apologetics as you’ll see below.

English & Literature – 5 credits (including at least 2 credits of Literature) 

Pretty sure our kids have all exceeded this requirement, taking both English and Literature courses most years. We use Institute for Excellence in Writing for English and a few Homeschool Connections and/or Lukeion live courses for Literature. My current college students have told me that IEW’s The Elegant Essay was especially helpful for college. You can find my IEW page here!

History – 3 credits (World History, US History, History Elective)

Our students have typically completed the three years of history and followed it with Government and Economics their senior year. Our current senior is the first to take history as a dual-enrollment class and has really enjoyed the course!

Mathematics – 3 credits (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra II or higher)

Our second son completed Advanced Math his senior year. The girls opted to finish with Algebra II. One daughter finished with Foundations in Personal Finance her senior year. Our current Freshman is already working through Algebra II and I plan to put him in dual-credit Pre-Calc/Calc classes etc as soon as he is old enough. One son got his Geometry credit by working through Saxon Algebra I, II and Advanced Math.  Another son and one daughter completed Teaching Textbooks Geometry on top of Saxon Algebra I and II, and one daughter completed Jacob’s Geometry in addition to Saxon Algebra I and II. As you can see it has varied depending on the student.

Science – 3 credits (Biology +Lab, Chemistry +Lab, and a Physical Science)

We have used Taylor Science  for high school biology and chemistry for our older students. I prefer having two siblings take it together when possible so they can work through the experiments at the same time. It was nice having the older boys go through high school science together and then the older two girls. It’s harder now that we have bigger age gaps with the younger ones.

Foreign Language – 3 credits (2 credits must be in the same language)

We now start with a Grammar Intensive in 8th grade, followed by Latin online with The Lukeion Project. We’ve had four students take Latin from Dr. Sue Fisher and we love her so much! Charlotte was the one to introduce us to Lukeion and the live classes my high schoolers have taken have all been excellent.

For students with auditory processing challenges/dyslexia, ASL is an excellent foreign language option.

Our first completed 1 year Latin, followed by 2 years ASL.

Our second completed 4 years of Latin.

Our third LOVES ASL so she also choose to take it on top of Latin.

Our fourth completed 2 years Latin + 2 years college Spanish (6 high school credits all together since each semester of college counts as a year of high school credit)

Our fifth is taking his first year of Latin now.

To quote Lukeion: “There are many programs now available for younger students. In our experience, however, these programs demand a lot of busy work but deliver very little in the way of learning the functional nuts-and-bolts of Classical languages. Students are not generally prepared to master these languages until they have reached the logic stage. You will accomplish much more in a fraction of the time if you wait until your student is 12 to 15 before you start formal instruction in Latin and Greek. Better still, waiting to start these logic based languages may mean your student will enjoy them more.”

I’ve found this to be true and no longer attempt to teach Foreign Language to my younger students. It’s just not worth the effort, time and frustration.

Academic Electives – 2 credits (we have always exceeded this requirement) 

This is usually additional Math, English, Literature, Philosophy, and Government/Economics – lots of options! Academic areas only.

Visual/Performing Arts – 2 credits (Kolbe would allow them 1/2 credit each year) 

Choir, drama, art, music lessons, etc

Physical Education – 2 credits (Kolbe would allow them 1/2 credit each year) 

Our high schoolers have all participated in our local public school(s) sports.

  • Captain- Varsity Hockey (2 years), Varsity Golf (4 years), Varsity Soccer (2 years), Ski Lessons
  • Ranger – Varisty Hockey (2 years), Varsity Golf (4 years), Junior Varsity Basketball (1 year), Varsity Soccer (2 years), Ski Lessons
  • Twinkle Toes – Varsity Golf (4 years), Varisty Soccer (1 year), Ski Lessons
  • Chiquita – Varsity Golf (1 year), Ski Lessons (both girls were in Irish Dance for awhile too)
  • Scout – Junior Varsity Golf (just completed his first year), Hockey, Ski Lessons

We’ve been grateful that we live in areas (both in Southern Oregon and North Idaho) that allow homeschoolers to take advantage of the public school sports programs.  It’s usually right around $100 for the season (when else can you golf nearly daily for a 2-3 months for so affordably?!) and thankfully the hockey and ski options here are fairly affordable too.

Home School Help!

Homeschool Connections

We’re still paying the monthly fee for access to all of their recorded classes which the kids can take at their own pace. Middle School favorites have included science classes with MacBeth Derham and history classes with Philip Campbell. For high school we have loved Joseph Pearce, Gregory Pyne (Screwtape Letters), and Eleanor Bourg Nicholson’s literature classes, as well as American Sign Language.

My high schoolers can’t get the “Kolbe designation” on the non-Kolbe courses, but they still qualify for high school credit (the high school level courses do anyway, with pre-approval from Kolbe) and they have worked well for us!

This is our very first year using LIVE classes from Homeschool Connections! Our 15 year old is very excited to be taking America History from Philip Campbell and his older sisters are a bit envious that he gets to take literature live from Elenor Nicholson (they loved her recorded classes).

Franciscan University of Steubenville Fast Track (11th-12th)

I wish our oldest children would have had access to these dual-enrollment online courses! We could never make it work for them, since we didn’t like the idea of community college classes, plus they never worked with their sports schedules anyway. Our current high school senior will have completed at least her first three semesters of college (with great content/courses!) for so much less than what we are paying for our other college kids. Spring registration will open on December 15th for dual-enrollment students so her course plans for spring aren’t confirmed yet.

Holy Apostles Take Credit! Program (11th-12th)

The price for the Take Credit! Program unfortunately went up this school year… It was more affordable last year, but it’s still worth it and I just enrolled her for two more courses this upcoming spring. (Still need to pay the bill though…) I’m grateful to have dual enrollment options from faithful Catholic colleges! As I mentioned above our daughter highly recommends Rhetoric with Patrick Reilly!

Math Tutor – I really miss having a math tutor.  If we could afford to add anything right now (we’ve had way too many medical expenses and college expenses the past couple years) another math tutor would be at the top of my list.  I loved having someone (from outside our home) come once a week to review all completed lessons, the weekly test, and go over any questions and mistakes. It really helps keep my kids on track having them accountable to someone other than mom! We are managing without the help, but the middle/elementary kids are slipping a bit behind where I’d like them to be and they will most likely be finishing up in the summer (again) this next year to make up for weeks of sickness, ski days, etc…

English Editor – I also love having someone edit IEW papers for me when I can get the extra help… Right now our 9th grader emails his papers to our oldest son who is off at college and once it’s edited I send him a little payment through Venmo… I get help and he gets a little spending money at college. Win win!

Moving on!  Here is a closer took at what we are working through this school year…

.: High School :. 

I asked Chiquita to take a few pictures for me to include in the post!
Chiquita :: 12th Grade
She had the option of graduating a year early, but we decided to take advantage of dual-credit courses for her senior year to offset some of the expense of college. She’s currently enrolled in classes at Franciscan University and Holy Apostles for this school year and is on track to graduate with 45 credits, basically just one semester away from completing her AA through Catholic colleges! This girl has been so busy, working hard, and doing amazing. So proud of her!
Theology: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits + 6 College Credits)
Foundations of Catholicism (THE 101) Franciscan University, Online – Spring 2023
Sacred Scripture (SAS 101) Holy Apostles College, Online – Spring 2023  
  • Faith and Revelation ‎
  • Catechism on Scripture CCC §§ 101-141 (onlne link provided)
  • Dei Verbum (onlne link provided)
  • Interpreting the Bible in the Catholic Church (onlne link provided)
  • Verbum Domini (onlne link provided)
*This may end up changing… She is also considering Logic and Intro to Sociology. 
Philosophy:(Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits + 6 College Credits)
Philosophy of the Human Person (PHL113) – Franciscan University Online – Summer 2022
Foundations of Ethics (PHL 212) – Franciscan University, Online – Fall 2022
English/Literature:(Dual Credit: 2 High School Credit + 6 College Credits)
Epic and the Person (ENG 210) – Franciscan University, Online – Summer 2022
History: (Dual Credit: 1 High School Credit + 3 College Credits)
American History (HIS 100) – Holy Apostles College, Online – Fall 2022
Math/Economics: (Dual Credit: 1 High School Credit + 3 College Credits)
Economics (SOC 275) – Holy Apostles College, Online – Spring 23
Foreign Language: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits – 6 College Credits)
Intermediate Spanish I (SPN 201) – Franciscan University, Online – Fall 2022
Intermediate Spanish II (SPN 202) – Franciscan University, Online – Spring 2023
Fine Arts: (1/2 High School Credit)
Gregorian Chant Choir
Physical Education: (1/2 High School Credit)
High School Golf (Varsity Team)
Alpine Skiing
* I haven’t shared our curriculum from last year yet… The other college classes she completed last year included:  Human Biology, Elementary Spanish I, Elementary Spanish II and Catholic Moral Principles from Franciscan University. She also took Rhetoric from Patrick Reilly (founder of the Neumann Guide) over at Holy Apostles which has been her favorite college class to date!
Scout :: 9th Grade
Theology: (1 Credit – Apologetics / Recorded Classes with Homeschool Connections)
Confirmation Classes at our parish
Introduction to Catholic Apologetics for High School Students with Gary Michuta
Theistic Apologetics – Other Evidence for God (Miracles and Other Phenomenon) with Gary Michuta
English: (1 Credit – Introduction to English Composition I)
Literature: (1 Credit – Victorian Literature / Live Classes with Homeschool Connections)
The Nineteenth-Century Novel (Victorian Classics) – Fall 2022
The Victorian Detective (Modern, Victorian Mysteries) – Spring 2023

We’ve used the recorded courses many times in the past and we’re excited to try live courses this year!
World History: (1 Credit – American History / Live Classes with Homeschool Connections)
Early American History (1492 to 1763) with Philip Campbell

U.S. History: Revolution, Republic, and Union (1763-1865) with Philip Campbell

Mathematics: (1 Credit – Algebra 2)

Science: (1 Credit)
Introduction to Computer Science
*He’s already completed his High School Physical Science and Biology… taking a break this year to focus on Computer Science before moving on to Chemistry. 

Foreign Language: (1 Credit)
Last year he took and loved Witty Wordsmith and Barbarian Diagrammarian: Visual Grammar for the Bold and Daring in preparation for Latin I. 
Physical Education: (1 Credit)
High School Golf
Cristeros Hockey
Alpine Skiing
.: Middle School :. 
Rose :: 7th Grade
St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism (with Dad on Sundays & Class at SJA)
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Highway to Heaven Series Book 7/8)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets
Language Arts:
*Find my IEW page here!

Literature: (recorded classes with Homeschool Connections)
Anne of Green Gables, Part 1 with Emily Henry
Anne of Green Gables, Part 2 with Emily Henry
History & Geography: (recorded classes with Homeschool Connections)

Middle School U.S. History: Part 1 (1492-1847) with Phillip Campbell

Middle School U.S. History Part 2 (1847-1990) with Phillip Campbell
(My kids like listening to the audible text while looking at the textbook and working on their journals.)

Physical Education:
Alpine Ski Lessons
.: Elementary School:. 

Bud :: 5th Grade

Before Christ Came (Highway to Heaven Series Book 4)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets
Supplemental Readers and Additional Literature
The Best of Children’s Literature with Kevin O’Brien – Fall 2022
Here is what he has been reading this semester. 
Some were read online, linking favorite editions we own: 
Still not positive for spring semester… Considering:

A Mastery of Mysteries for Middle School with Kevin O’Brien

or maybe some American Historical Fiction.

History & Geography:
Saxon 6/5 with Solutions Manual and Tests/Worksheets
Saxon Math 6/5 Homeschool: Saxon Teacher CD ROM


(My kids like listening to the audible text while looking at the textbook and working on their journals.) 
*Might move on to TAN’s new Science books next!
Physical Education:
Cristeros Hockey
Alpine Ski Lessons

Grace & Joy :: Ages 5 & 3 (Kindergarten/Pre-school)

One of the things I love about homeschooling is that we really don’t need to assign grade levels, at least not until we hit high school sports. Our five year old (who turned 5 over the summer) may end up spending two years in Kindergarten. I suspect she may have some auditory processing challenges/dyslexia but we’ll see how it goes!

Seasonal Picture Books
Lots of fun learning Toys and Puzzles
Occasional Crafts and Baking with Older Siblings

Primary Arts of Language:Reading & Writing
They each have their own Phonetic Farm.
I tried starting Math Mammoth’s Little Blue Series (I really love this for 1-3 before switching to Saxon in 4th grade), but I don’t think my current 5 year old is quite ready for it yet.

Little Saints: A Catholic Pre-School Program

I’m just choosing a couple themes each month as time allows… In September we completed I Belong to God and Alphabet Fun! During October we moved on to Colors/Guardian Angels and Fall is Here! For November it was Number Fun and Thanksgiving.  This month I’m taking a break from Little Saints and we are focusing on Advent – reading books, bible stories to go along with the Jesse Tree, and celebrating all our favorite feast days. I’ve used parts of this curriculum enough times to know that’ll I’ll most likely never complete it in full, but I enjoy using some of the themes as inspiration and a starting point for themes for my little ones! 

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery– the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.” – The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Her Dear Juanito

I mentioned this sweet new picture book in this year’s Advent Book Basket post . Our little ones will discover it when they unwrap it on December 9th, the feast of St. Juan Diego, days before this year’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. In the meantime I wanted to share our review and few more pictures with you all! 

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Her Dear Juanito is a retold version of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s appearance in Mexico, 1531 A.D. The colorful illustrations will captivate the mind of the young reader as well as the rendition of the tender dialogue between Our Lady and Juan Diego, as if a mother is speaking tenderly to her beloved child. Parents and youth alike will grow in deeper love with Our Mother that God Himself has sent to the entire human race as a source of solace and comfort.

The indexed prayers and factoids at the end of the story, explaining the miraculous image of Our Lady on Juan Diego’s tilma, provide a glimpse into the delicate weave that only God Himself would include in the image. Fascinating!

Our 2022 Advent Book Basket and Printable Labels {Plus Giveaway!}

Advent Book Basket

Is it really Advent already? How is that even possible?!? This month (year!) has flown by…

We have had our college kids home all week which has been wonderful! I sure love it when everyone is home and I am already looking forward to having them back for Christmas break in a few weeks. They drove home last weekend and had been planning to drive back to school this weekend, but another couple snow storms are hitting and we decided to book them one-way flights back to school instead of having them risk the long drive over multiple mountain passes… Hopefully they will have safe flights (early Sunday morning) and not end up stuck at their connecting airport! 🙏

It was such a nice Thanksgiving! I’ve been enjoying lots of family time and staying busy in the kitchen which hasn’t left any time for sharing online (or preparing for Advent!)… I snuck away for a little while this afternoon so I could finally decide which books to include in this year’s Advent Book Basket. I’ll probably wrap them up tomorrow afternoon after Mass and try to round up the rest of our Advent decorations to start setting up while our little girls nap.

The length of Advent always varies from 22-28 days, beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (November 30th) and embracing four Sundays. The first day of Advent can fall as early as November 27th or as late as December 3rd. This year Advent begins on Sunday, November 27th and we get a full four weeks of Advent!

Every Advent our family counts down the days until Christmas with picture books, Advent Calendars, and the Jesse Tree. Years ago, when we didn’t have enough Christmas themed picture books to wrap one for each day of Advent, I would check some Christmas books out from the library just before Advent began, using Christmas Mosaic as a guide. We have added many books to our home library since then, giving one Christmas themed book to each of our children on the feast of St. Nicholas, and our collection has definitely grown.  (You can find this year’s St. Nick books here!)

In the past I have filled our Advent basket with Christmas Mosaic titles and our children’s 35 Favorite Christmas Picture Books (or at least what they were back in 2014!). One year I picked twenty-six of my favorites (although I still find new favorites to add to my list each year!) and one year I left the choosing up to my husband and our oldest daughter. You can find even more lists here: 2017201820192020 and 2021 or by scrolling through all past Advent Book Basket posts.

This year I decided to focus on our collection of picture books from Catholic publishers.  I also included some that tie in to our Jesse Tree readings for various days throughout Advent. 

Here’s what I’m wrapping up for this year:


Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

November 27 – 1st Sunday of Advent: – The Curious Christmas Trail(NEW) – set up Advent Calendars, Advent Wreath and Jesse Tree

November 28 – The End of the Fiery Sword: Adam & Eve and Jesus & Mary

November 29 – Little Star

November 30 – Feast of St. Andrew: A Child’s Christmas ABC Book (or direct from TAN)

December 1: A Child’s Christmas Counting Book(or direct from TAN)

December 2 – First Friday: God the Father’s Loving Plan

December 3 – First Saturday & Rorate Mass at Dawn: Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus (NEW)

December 4 – 2nd Sunday of Advent:: Saved by the Lamb: Moses and Jesus

December 5: – The Night the Saints Saved Christmas – write letters to Christ Child/Saint Nicholas, bake Speculaas or St. Nicholas Cookies, and decorate St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins to give to others

December 6 – Feast of St. Nicholas: Santa’s Priority: Keeping Christ in Christmas (or direct from TAN)

December 7 – Feast of St. Ambrose: The Miracle of St. Nicholas – Bake a Honeycomb Cake

December 8 – Immaculate Conception: Our Lady’s Picture Book – Decorate Christ Candle

December 9 – Feast of St. Juan Diego: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Her Dear Juanito(NEW) 

December 10: The Beggar and the Bluebird

December 11- 3rd Sunday of Advent/Gaudete Sunday: Bambinelli Sunday

December 12 – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Our Lady’s Wardrobe – Our Lady of Guadalupe Brunch

December 13 – Feast of St. Lucy: Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb

December 14 – Ember Wednesday: The Grumpy Old Ox

December 15: Guess Who’s in the Manger

December 16 – Ember Friday: A Little Camel for Baby Jesus

December 17 – O Sapientia and Ember Saturday: Ishmael: The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem

December 18 – 4th Sunday of Advent – O Adonai: Spider’s Gift: A Christmas Story

December 19 – O Radix Jesse: The Shepherd at the Crib and the Cross (NEW) 

December 20 – O Clavis David: A is for Angel: The Alphabet in Sacred Art (or direct from Holy Heroes)

December 21 – O Oriens and Winter Solstice: Joseph’s Donkey

December 22 – O Rex Gentium: The Wise Men Who Found Christmas

December 23 – O Emmanuel: The Spider Who Saved Christmas

December 24 – Vigil of Christmas: Bethlehem (Catholic Edition)

Many years ago I switched from our original purple and pink wrapping paper to brown paper with purple and pink ribbons (I save the ribbons to reuse each year). Sometimes I recycle brown paper bags and sometimes I pick up a roll of brown craft paper from the craft store to use along with our ribbons and homemade labels.

As always, we’ll unwrap and read one book each night during Advent, following our family rosary. The rest of our book collection will be placed in additional baskets to read during the seasons of Advent and Christmas.

If you’d like to use my little labels too, you can download my Advent Book Basket Labels for 2022 over at Dropbox.


Prize #1: Planner & Calendars from Sophia Institute Press!

Includes: Fiat: Traditional Catholic Planner and The Illustrated Liturgical Year Calendar Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany 2022 – 2023 (value $67.94) 

Congratulations, Anna!

Prize #2: Blindside Series Books & Gifts from Leslea Wahl!

This prize includes a signed copy of the award-winning Catholic teen series by Leslea Wahl along with several related items. (Signed copy of The Perfect Blindside, signed copy of eXtreme Blindside, signed related short story One Blessing at a Time, a St. Sebastian prayer card and medal, a metal bookmark, lip balm, sticky note pad, and an inspirational magnet.) (value $51.00)

Congratulations, Elizabeth!

Prize #3: Set of Three Christmas Books from Ignatius Press!


Ishmael: The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem

24 Christmas Stories to Welcome Jesus

The Christmas Star

sponsored by Ignatius Press (value $38.97)

Congratulations, Melodee!

Prize #4: Two BRAND NEW books from St. Paul Center!

Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus and

The Shepherd at the Crib and the Cross
sponsored by St. Paul Center (value $35.90)

Congratulations, Michelle Fol!

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

Note: If you have any trouble with Rafflecopter just send me an email or message with your name/email address and I can add you manually. I’ve been looking for alternatives, but haven’t found a free option yet that offers what I need for these annual giveaways that I love hosting for you all! I may not be able to personally respond to every email but I’ll be sure to add all the entries before drawing names.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

For additional Christmas book suggestions you can find some of our lists in the archives: 

Feasts & Seasons :: Advent & Christmas Collection

Feasts & Seasons :: Our December Book Basket

35 Favorite Christmas Picture Books for Children

Last Year’s Advent Book Basket

December :: Month Dedicated to the Divine Infancy

Christmas Mosaic :: A Review & Featured Book List

You can find the rest of our booklists here.

P.S. There is still time to enter the St. Nicholas Giveaway and the huge Christmas Giveaway!

Regina Martyrum Productions Cyber Monday Sale

I’ve shared many times over the years how much we love Regina Martyrum Productions! You can click back to this post for a few of our favorites. I also will be playing some of their Old Testament stories (this short story bundle and this short story bundle) for our children to go along with our Jesse Tree this Advent. 

They are having another amazing Cyber Monday Sale!
60% to 70% OFF EVERYTHING for 24 HOURS on 11/28/2022 ONLY
Option 1: Buy individual stories marked 60% OFF.
Every story is marked down from $19.95 to only $8 per story!
Option 2: Buy the whole collection bundle for ONLY $192.00!
32 adventures. Over 25 hours of Catholic stories – a lifetime supply of entertainment.
Save $369.40 by getting 70% OFF! Offer is limited to one day per year – Cyber Monday!

Also available is 4 interest-free payments of only $48.00 when you use ShopPay at checkout.
No coupon codes required. 
Plus a bonus! 3 chances to win $150 in Amazon gift cards. 
“We’re also adding a bullet-proof money-back guarantee. 
If you (or your family) aren’t 100% happy, email us and we’ll give you a full refund.
 No questions asked. Simple!”
Download or stream your stories – and enjoy forever!
Please note: Anyone who wins these prizes (or one of three $50 gift cards in the giveaway here at Shower of Roses!) but also purchases during this Cyber Monday sale, can also receive the Gift Card amount credited back on their payment method. 

2022 Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers {Plus Another Sleighful of Giveaways}

It’s time for our annual list of Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers including another Sleighful of Giveaways! This post always takes so much longer than I think it will, but I really love being able to bless so many families (29 this year!) with the gifts donated by all the generous sponsors and help with shopping ideas at the same time. You’ll also find many coupon codes listed below to help with your Christmas shopping!

Grab a cup of tea or coffee when you have a few minutes and enjoy browsing our online gift guide and the incredible websites of all the various sponsors.
You can also find my lists from the last seven years here (2021)here (2020)here (2019)here (2018)here (2017)here (2016) and here (2015)  as well as even more Catholic gift ideas listed in my past Easter posts as well: 100+ Easter Basket Stuffers & Catholic Gift Ideas and Easter Symbols: Catholic Gift Ideas.
Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of 29 PRIZES with a combined value of $2,600! Please keep these Catholic businesses and authors in mind when shopping for gifts this Christmas season! 
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 
Links to St. Augustine Academy PressEtsyChewsLife, Saintly HeartHoly Heroes and Socks Religoius are also affiliate links. 
Christmas morning 2021

.: New Finds For Advent & Christmas 2022 :.

  1. Rorate Coeli: Marian Sounds of Advent CD from Clear Creek Abbey
  2. The Poorest Shepherd by Maura McKeegan Roan
  3. Advent Mug from The Little Rose Shop
  4. The Curious Christmas Trail by Haley Stewart – BRAND NEW release from Pauline Books and Media. This is the second in the series following The Pursuit of the Pilfered Cheese.
  5. Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus also by Maura Roan McKeegan! I have loved all of her books and excited to add this to our Old and New Series collection.
  6. The Wise Men Who Found Christmas – I posted our review here.
  7. Floating Pine Christmas Candle from Truck + Barter – I just picked up one of these limited edition candles from my sweet friend Julia. Love it! Use code “Jessica” to save 15%
  8. Christmas Nativity Rosary from Rugged Rosaries – They have a beautiful 2022 Limited Edition Christmas Rosary too!
  9. Christmas Notecards from Regina Sanctorum – Her candles are gorgeous too!
I’ve updated some of our feast day favorites for you again this year: 

.: Feast of St. Nicholas :. 

  1. St. Nicholas Block or December Saints from Almond Rod Toys
  2. St. Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins – Review can be found here. Find my list of all St. Nicholas books here. We also really love The Miracle of Saint Nicholas and The Baker’s Dozen.
  3. St. Nicholas Printable Candy Cane Treat Cards, Instant Download from Catholic Paper Goods
  4. A Visit From St Nicholas Print from Sleightholm Folk ArtNotecards available too!
  5. Editable Letter From Saint Nicholas – We bought and used this great letter last year
  6. Santa and Holly Matches from Truck & Barter – Use code “Jessica” to save 15%
  7. St. Nicholas Notecard Set from Santa Clara Design
  8. Kids St. Nicholas Socks and Adult St. Nicholas Socks from Sock Religious
  9. St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins (Here is my FREE document for this new updated version! You can find my original St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins in the archives.) 


.: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe :.

  1. Guadalupe Mysteries: Deciphering the Code
  2. Our Lady of Guadalupe Swaddle from The Little Rose Shop – we also love her Vintage Guadalupe Inspired Short Sleeve T-shirt
  3. The Virgin of Guadalupe (1000 Piece)
  4. Our Lady of Guadalupe Candle
  5. Our Lady of Guadalupe Gown and Bonnet From the shop that has made all my favorite baby gowns. I would have loved this for our little “Christmas Rose!”  Hard to believe she turns 13 this December! Her leggings and OLG twirl dresses are darling too! Coupon code SHOWEROFROSES will save you 10% in her shop!
  6. Our Lady of Guadalupe Tote Bag
  7. Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosary from Come Holy Spirit Rosaries
  8. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pop-Up Book – You can get a peek at the inside here.
  9. Cloak of Roses – Our Lady of Guadalupe from Regina Martryum Productions
We usually celebrate with an Our Lady of Guadalupe Brunch or Dinner after Mass!

.: Favorite Nativity Sets :.

These are some of the nativity sets our family has collected over the years. 
We have Fisher PricePlaymobil and Shining Light Doll Nativitiesand the Nativity Fabric Advent Calendarbut I especially love our wooden versions including the ones made by Ostheimer! We also have the Schleich Nativity but it’s hard to find, same with A Child Is Born from Naturally Catholic
  1. Kurt Adler Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar with 24 Magnetic Figures
  2. Joseph Walking and Mary on the Donkey
  3. Ostheimer Nativity Miniature Set
  4. Ostheimer Nativity Set Full Size – The started set of nine figures a number of years ago and we’ve slowly been adding to the collection ever since. Additional pieces can be found here. The last couple years they have unfortunately increased by about 40% and can be hard to find in stock. 
  5. Full Nativity Block Set from Almond Rod Toy – You can also buy the Nativity Craft Sheets and make your own blocks! 
  6. The Giving Manger – I place this little manger at the end of our little path that Joseph, Mary and Donkey travel during Advent.
  7. Saintly Heart Nativity Playset sponsored by Saintly Heart
  8. Playmobil Nativity
  9. Shining Light Dolls Nativity Collection
In the past I have tucked our mini Ostheimer nativity figures into the pockets of one of our Advent calendars to pull them out one by one each day and countdown to Christmas.
Once again our children helped again with this year’s post. I had them each list nine gift ideas for me to share with you all. Most are things they own with some wishes thrown in too. Here are their answers:

Please note: Our children usually unwrap three gifts from my husband and I on Christmas morning- something they need, something they want, and one other gift which is usually faith based. We draw names on the first Sunday of Advent for Christkindl and end with a family Christkindl gift exchange. It’s always the first thing they want to do after our morning prayers (or morning Mass if we didn’t make it to the Midnight Mass) on Christmas Day! They also receive books on Epiphany (which often include many books that have been given to me to review, or school books for the next semester). The gift suggestions listed below have been received over a number of different years/occasions (the more expensive items are typically a birthday gift), handed down from older siblings, or on their wish list.

.: Captain’s Picks – Age 22 :.

Once again I asked my college “kids” to help with the gift guide again… 

Here is what James sent me when I asked for his list: 
“These are getting harder and harder for me to do. 😜 
Spending time with family and friends are the only things I need.”
  1. A gym/ small duffel bag. Something like that would be nice that way you don’t keep having to empty your school backpack every time you go to the gym or on a weekend trip somewhere.
  2. A nice pair of sunglasses. I personally have always loved aviators… even before seeing the top gun movies. 😎😂 Which -by the way- if you somehow haven’t seen the new one, would HIGHLY recommend.
  3. Charlie Brown Christmas Sweatshirt. I have always loved Charlie Brown. Plus having something that reminds you of your childhood keeps you from taking life too seriously 😜
  4. It would be wrong if I didn’t include something Patriotic 🇺🇸 
  5. Sandals/REI gift card – Before going to the Holy Land this past summer (link other posts 👀) mom and I went to REI to pick out some stuff like a pair of chacos! Absolutely love em. I say gift card too because that is an awesome store! I remember going in there with mom trying to find stuff for dad but as a young adult now that’s definitely where I would spend my money if it wasn’t all going towards school. 😂😭😂 
  6. Honestly something to read for fun like Moby Dick (great book!) or something more motivational.
  7. Religious Book. Gotta keep up that spiritual life 🙏
  8. Sturdy/durable water bottle. Hydro Flasks are the first thing that come to mind.
  9. Gym membership!! Gotta get em gains!! 💪💪 the gym at UMary is great but I’m only there for one more semester 😭

.: Ranger’s Picks – Age 20 :.

He’s taking 20 credits this semester to graduate early!!!
… yet, despite how busy he is, he was the first one to send me back a list when I asked! 
  1. Maybe Fishing Gear (fly fishing pole 👀) Or just lures, tackle box –  (I ran across this t-shirt when looking for an image to go along with his list… After surgery and six months of his right hand in a cast, I might just have to get it for him! I don’t know the first thing about fishing, so if you have gift suggestions please send them my way!)
  2. Ski stuff – Goggles, mask or gloves
  3. Maybe a good shaving kit (electric, like beard trimming)
  4. Squatch Soap
  5. Dress shirts and ties
  6. My Timberland Boots were a good gift, I like those esp. for cold weather
  8. Books about architecture, or law, or religious… the Grisham books are fun too.
  9. Pickle Ball Paddle
  10. Bubble wrap so I don’t break no more bones!

.: Twinkle Toes’ Picks – Age 19 :.

Here is what she sent me to include: 
  1. Blue Marion Necklace from Telos Art Shop  – This necklace is so lovely and very chic! It’s simple yet stylish and (my favorite part) it has our mother Mary on it!
  2. The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time  – This book is an absolute game changer! Being kind is something that everyone has to work on, no matter how kind you are, you can always be kinder! I love this book because it explains how you can become a better person just by changing only your mindset. St Teresa of Calcutta once said “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
  3. Brown Buffalo Leather Hobo Purse  – This purse is SO amazing! It’s cute, spacious, and very comfortable! I never have to worry about there not being enough room.
  4. Ski – Literally anything outside winter sports related is amazing! A pair of ice skates, a pair of gloves/mittens, a beanie, a ski helmet, etc are all great ideas!
  5. Celtic Knot Ring – This ring that is made in Ireland is so beautiful! It’s simple, yet so elegant in design. I never thought I would be a ring person until I got this ring last Christmas!!!
  6. Strong + Courageous Mug – A friend gave me this mug earlier this year and I really love it! Also I don’t believe one can have too many cute mugs 😉
  7. White Rose Computer Messenger Carry Case – This computer case has been a life savor when I work out of the house! It has multiple pockets inside of it and such a beautiful print!
  8. All Creatures Great and Small TV show – An absolutely hilarious TV show about an Irish assistant veterinarian. Below on Chiquita’s gift list is the book which the TV show is based on. I’m just now starting to read and am loving it so far!!
  9. Reading pillow – Comfortable, warm, fluffy, AND pink!!! I don’t think it could get better! I especially love it since I have a computer job which requires a lot of sitting so it’s SO nice to have a cushioned pillow that makes it more comfortable to sit!
(Last Christmas the older three girls all found a ring in their stockings, and actually so did I!  I originally bought our oldest daughter an authentic Irish Celtic Knot ring at All Things Irish in downtown Coeur d’Alene, and then found the Cross/Rose ring above and Rose ring (in our soon-to-be 13 year old’s list) down below online.  Telos Art Shop has some beautiful ring options too!)

.: Chiquita’s Picks – Age 17 :.

Here is what she sent me to include: 
  1. Cross and Rose Stirling Silver RingThis I think is my favorite piece of jewelry that I own! It’s sooo pretty and a good reminder of Christ’s suffering and how we ought to always follow His example.
  2. Who’s Your Hero Heart Fleece HoodiePerfect for the Idaho cold and a great addition to my Chai/Book duo!
  3. Kala UkuleleMy ukulele is so pretty and, though it’s larger than most, I love the size. I especially recommend the Kala Klipz Clip-On Tuner to go along with it!
  4. BenedictusThe Benedictus consists of daily morning and evening Divine office prayers, mass readings for every day of the month, daily meditations, and weekly fun facts about the faith. It’s great!
  5. Vintage TypewriterThis gift really caught me off guard last Christmas! I had been joking (but sort of not) that I wanted a typewriter, but knew that it was just too crazy of a gift to expect… then I unwrapped it!!! I love it! It makes all of the special typewriter sounds that I have always loved (the little ding at the end 🤩), it’s not all plasticky and cheap, and it looks sooo cool! Thanks again, Mom and Dad!
  6. Miraculous Slider Necklace from Telos Art Shop – Another one of my favorite jewelry pieces! It’s super pretty and I wear it with pretty much everything. On the inside, the Lord’s Prayer is inscribed. Every time I wear it, my baby sister slides it open and asks “What does this say, Clare?” She knows that it’s the Our Father, but she asks just to recite it with me. The only downside to this necklace is that it patinas so I would recommend getting something for it. The website recommends EverBright.
  7. Pilot FriXion Colors Erasable Marker, 6 Color Set – I especially like the pastel 6 marker set to go along with my Academic Planner cover for this year! It takes the staying organized to a whole ‘nother lever…
  8. All Creatures Great and Small Book Set or start with the first and add to the collection! – It was so funny when my older brother saw me reading the book and was like “Wait.. it’s a book?” Then he saw the author and was like “Wait… JAMES HERRIOT IS AN ACTUAL PERSON?!? They’re such fun books, nice and relaxing (after all of my Dickens!), and chock full of stories.
  9. Leather BootsThese are my FAVORITE boots (partially because they add an inch or two to my height 👀), but also because they are just so cute and they go along with so many of my dresses. Although they aren’t sold anymore, I would definitely recommend boots like these.  (Mom here to add: I bought these Born Mallory Boots and a pair of black ones just like them many, many years ago on clearance from Garnet Hill. They were my favorites too, until my back and stability issues couldn’t handle heels any longer!  My girls, who now happen to fit them were each handed down a pair this past year… How’d they grow up so fast?!? Don’t tell her, but she’s getting these for Christmas – I ordered them when they were 60% off – and I think she’s going to love them too!) 

.: Scout’s Picks – Age 15 :.

  1. Mandalorian Playing Cards
  2. Gabb PhoneWhen it’s the Gabb Phone or nothing, the Gabb phone is pretty cool! 😉 Our 17 year old refers to hers as “a disabled Android…” He and our 17 year old each got one last Christmas with them both playing sports this year… We already have 5 iPhones on our Verizon plan and I wasn’t adding another… This is a affordable and safe alternative, perfect for them being able to have access to texting and to be able to call home.  I got our phones 50% off last year, but this year they are running a special for FREE phones with contract. If you’d like a referral code (free accessories added for you and free month of service for me!) just send me a message or email and I would love to share it privately. 
  3. LEGO Creator Sets and City Sets have always been favorites, but lately LEGO Ideas has been coming up with some “really cool” sets. His personal favorites are the Ship in a Bottle and the Medieval Blacksmith and now the Home Alone set has been added to that list!
  4. Basketball – Similar to Pop-a-Shot, we got his last summer for his birthday from Costco. 
  5. Ripstick – One of the older boys brought this back with them from Christendom and he included it in his list of favorites to share. I really need to stock up on some more wrist guards after so many injuries and surgeries this year… We have some pretty active children! 
  6. Ski Goggles – He also took off with skiing last year and even managed a double black diamond… Really hoping to add some ski gear this Christmas if I can find some good deals (or hit up the thrift shops up in Sandpoint!). 
  7. Wish list: Hey DudesHe has admired his older brothers’ for a while… 
  8. Bose Noise Cancelling HeadphonesFor his online Latin, Lit & History classes this year. He’s using hand-me-downs that his oldest brother won years ago
  9. Jujube Wood Rosary BraceletA gift from Grandpa and Grandma Murphy last year, with a St. Michael medal attached… He wears it every day! Lots of options here too

.: Rose’s Picks – Age 12 :.

  1. Tapple Word GameWe don’t own this but she played it at our neighbor’s home and loved it! 
  2. DIY Custom Jewelry Case – I bought hers from Costco. 
  3. LEGO Winter Village sets  – Last year she was given Santa’s Visit!
  4. Puffin in Bloom CollectionThis is her sister’s book set, but she loves it! Especially Little Women
  5. Wish List: Anything ski related and maybe some matching things for her dolls too!  – This athletic girl of ours learned to ski last year and has fallen in love with the mountain! She’s headed back for more lessons this season. All except our two oldest were new to skiing last year, so I could use any tips on how to round up ski gear for a big family… Last year it was Costco finds (helmets/goggles/gloves) + rentals that came with lessons. 
  6. Ribbed Beanie with Pom
  7. Rollerblades Adjustable Inline Skates – Last year she received these for Christmas after outgrowing her last pair which was also great!
  8. Sterling Silver Rose Ring (Size 5) – A sweet and simple rose for our little Christmas Rose!
  9. Vera Bradley XL Campus Back Pack – Holland Garden (clearance print) 
  10. BONUS:  Dashing Diva Nail StripsSo much fun and a perfect stocking stuffer! 

.: Bud’s Picks – Age 10 :.

In addition to our collection of Lincoln Logs, Playmobil, Thomas Wooden Railway, and LEGO, here are some more specific favorites that Bud loves… 
  1. LEGO Medieval Castle – He received this last Christmas and loved it! 
  2. Ranger’s Apprentice (The Ruins of Gorlan, Book One) – We have a new fan! He’s head though the first ten books already! He’s torn between Ranger’s Apprentice, LOTR, or Hockey for this year’s birthday theme!  He’s outgrowing Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales but apparently he still needs “one more” to complete his set. 
  3. LEGO Pirate Ship  – And this was one of last year’s birthday gifts for his Pirate themed party. He would love to add the Viking Ship to his collection.. LEGO Creator Sets are always a hit! He also loves the LEGO Great Vehicles.
  4. Saint Socks from Sock Religious
  5. Yoyo StripesHe got one of these yo-yos in his Easter Basket and pulled it was also on the list when I asked him about his favorite things. 
  6. Myles Outdoor Sports GoalsWe have had plastic versions in the past… So glad to see the steel option now. 
  7. Rollerblade Fury Boy’s Adjustable Inline Skate
  8. LOTR RiskOur version is older and when I searched for it and ran across the updated version both boys insisted we need to add the new one to our collection. Maybe for a birthday gift!
  9. Gatorade Water Bottle – Hockey practice and games necessity. 

.: Grace’s Picks – Age 5 :.

  1. Pray and Play ABC Puzzle from Saintly Heart
  2. Art Easel
  3. Grow a Garden Matching Game
  4. Calico Critters
  5. Flower Fairy Costume – I still need to blog about her 5th birthday. This was the costume we gave her (along with one for her little sister) and they had so much fun! I bought this shirt for underneath and these leggings.
  6. Flower Fairies Enchanted Garden Sticker Activity Book
  7. Sophie Mouse Collection
  8. Tin Tea Set
  9. 24 Brillant Bee Crayons

.: Joy’s Picks – Age 3 :.

  1. Banwood Balance Bike with Basket
  2. PlanToys Alphabet A-Z
  3. Adventures with Barefoot Critters
  4. Wooden Toy Espresso Maker
  5. Carter’s Nutcracker Pajama Set
  6. Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set
  7. Tikiri Ocean Buddies
  8. Hydro Flask Kids
  9. Rosaries from Chews Life
My girls all really love their Catholic Dresses from Miriam Rose & Co too!
Coupon code SHOWEROFROSES with save 10% in the shop

.: Favorite Wooden Toys :.

Adding this bonus category with some of our favorite wooden toys from over the years!
  1. Fagus Wooden Trucks and Vehicles  – German crafted and made of solid Beechwood. We have been collecting for awhile and have the Limited Edition Red Fire Engine, Jeep, Snow Plow add on, Container Tipper Truck, Front End Loader, Conveyor Belt, and the Excavator, Tractors and Trailers. My little girls love them even more than their older brother did when they were younger! Look for them in the US at The Wooden Wagon, Nova Natural and Bella Luna Toys.
  2. Grimms Spiel und Holz Wooden Toys – Grimm’s Counting Rainbow (similar to this) with Grimm’s Natural Semicircles Building Set.
  3. Ostheimer Toys – Collectible hand carved figures made in Germany and finished with non-toxic stains and finished with natural oils. Collections include: Family Figures, Fairy Tale Characters, Farm Animals, Woodland Animals, Zoo Animals, and landscape pieces, such as Trees, Fences, Ponds, Grass and much more!  We have been collecting these for years now. They have gotten hard to come by the past couple years (frequently out of stock everywhere in the US) and have really increased in price, but we still love them.  You can find them in the US at the same stores as the Fagus Vehicles above.
  4. Interlocking Blocks – I keep a basket of these (2 or 3 sets of 92) in a basket in our living room and they are played with daily! I’ve blogged more about these here.
  5. Saint Blocks from Almond Rod Toys – SAVE 10% with code: MERRY (valid November 2022)
  6. Thomas the Train Wooden Train Track, Buildings and Trains – we pulled our old train set out and the girls have been loving it!  I’m planning to slip a couple new engines into their stockings, including Rosie.
  7. Melissa & Doug Medieval Folding Castle – We bought this over ten years ago and it’s still a favorite. We have (and LOVE the Princess Castle too- it was the first one I purchased of the two) but unfortunately it’s not currently available. Also, wood toys have at least doubled in price… Back then I paid around $50 for each! They have been played with by all of our children and are still getting played with frequently! We also have the Fold and Go Wooden Dollhouse.
  8. Wooden Peg Dolls – Perfect for painting dolls as gifts for younger siblings! 😉
  9. Grapat Sorting Toys – I bought a couple of these for Easter Baskets and planning to add more in this year’s stockings and next year’s Easter Baskets. Our little girls love them!  They are also great for using along with their Fagus Dump Truck, Trailers and Conveyor Belt.

.: Board Games – Family Favorites :. 

  1. Captain’s favorite (age 22) – Catan (we have this edition and pretty much every add on) followed by Settler’s of America
  2. Ranger’s favorite (age 20) – CatanTrekking the National Parks, and Ticket to Ride
  3. Celtic Kitten’s favorite (age 19) – PaydayClue Retro Edition and Monopoly
  4. Chiquita’s favorite (age 17) – Clue Retro EditionTicket to RideEscape from Colditz and Payday
  5. Snuggles’ favorite (age 15) – Escape from Colditz: 75th Anniversary Edition
  6. Rose’s favoite (age 12) – Ticket to Ride
  7. Bud’s favorite (age 10) – Lord of the Rings Monopoly (we have this older edition), WWII Axis & Allies & Lord of the Rings Risk
  8. Grace’s Favorite (age 5) – Bird Bingo
  9. Joy’s Favorite (age 3) – Candy Land (65th Anniversary Retro Edition)

.: Catholic Family Games :. 

  1. The Purgative Way – Find our review here!
  2. Catholic Playing Cards – These will be in someone’s stocking this year.
  3. The Catholic Card Game – We don’t own this one, but it looks like a fun one too!
  4. Know Thyself! – Such a fun Apples to Apples style game all about temperaments.
  5. Catholic Name-it! – Our kids love NHL. Need to slip this into one of their stockings! Also available directly from Holy Heroes.
  6. Catholic Trivia – Traditional Version
  7. Saint Cards – Enter Promo Code SHOWEROFROSES at beginning of checkout to SAVE 10%
  8. Road to Bethlehem
  9. Wish List:  Feast Day: The Liturgical Year Board Game from Holy Heroes looks fun!

.: Gift Ideas for Catholic Moms :.

  1. Cultivating Virtue: Self-Mastery With the Saints – Love this updated edition!
  2. Kenra Blow-Dry Mist and Glo Oil Free SPF 40 – Two favorites for hair and skin…
  3. Sleep Mask – Night and day difference in how well I sleep! 😉
  4. Holy Family – One of my favorite statues and always on my kitchen windowsill.
  5. Hu Limited Edition Winter Collection
  6. Large Miraculous Medal Earrings from Et Corde LLC
  7. SwiftNet 2.1 Portable Pickleball Net System – Family pickleball tournaments in the driveway are the best! We’ve used this net so much over the past few years and it’s holding up great.
  8. The Little Way of Living with Less: Learning to Let Go with the Little Flower
  9. Lucky Basel Ankle Booties
Don’t forget the Catholic Aprons over at Catholic Cuisine too! 

.: Gift Ideas for Catholic Dads :.

Here is what Sean sent me when I asked him for nine suggestions:
  1. Stormy Kromer Cap
  2. Flag Wood Wall Art
  3. DeWalt Drill Set
  4. Digital Electronic Level
  5. Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
  6. 1776 Starter Kit from Patriot Shave
  7. Three to Get Married
  8. The Prayer at Valley Forge
  9. Black Rifle Coffee Rounds

.: Christmas Puzzles :.

Our family loves putting together puzzles during Advent and Christmas. 
Here are some puzzles that are currently available to purchase: 
  1. Stained Glass Nativity (1000 Piece)
  2. Christkindlmarkt (1000 Piece)
  3. Evening Nativity (550 Piece)
  4. Midnight Mass (1000 Piece)
  5. Stained Glass Holy Night (1000 Piece)
  6. Neighborhood Nativity (1000 Piece)
  7. Christmas Tree Farm (1000 Piece)
  8. Good Will To All (500 Piece) – This 300 Piece Version is pretty too.
  9. Snow Globes Nativity Puzzle (1000 Piece)

.: Christmas Music :.

** Some of these have unlimited free streaming included with Prime on Amazon! **
  1. Sancta Nox – Christmas Masses from Bavaria
  2. Caroling at Ephesus
  3. Christmas at Ephesus
  4. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring: Christmas with The Dominican Sisters of Mary
  5. Catholic Christmas Classics
  6. In Nativitate Domini – Gregorian Chants for the Four Masses of Christmas
  7. Christmas in Harvard Square
  8. Catholic Songs for Children – includes: Gather Round the Crib at Christmas and The Best Christmas Present of All
  9. In Epiphania Domini – Gregorian Chants for the Four Sundays of Epiphany
*We also love the Christmas music from Celtic Thunder, Michael Buble, Bing Crosby and so many others! I’d love to hear your favorites!  Oh, and for Advent Music check out Legends of St. NicholasAdventus and Advent at Ephesus!

.: 2023 Catholic Calendars and Planners :.

  1. 2022 Traditional Latin Mass Calendar from FSSP (Extraordinary Form) 
  2. 2022 Saints Calendar and 16 Month Daily Planner from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form -My husband and I both use this every year!)
  3. Elizabeth Clare Planners – Very lovely planners with lots of accessories!
  4. Fiat Traditional Catholic Planner – We’ve loved our posters. Excited to see this! 
  5. 2023 Cathedrals Wall Calendar from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form)
  6. 2023 Catholic Calendar from Saints Galore (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form) 
  7. 2023 The Angels Wall Calendar from TAN (Ordinary Form + Extraordinary Form)
  8. The Saintmaker Catholic Life PlannerI’ve never seen this in person but sounds interesting!
  9.  The Illustrated Liturgical Year Calendar Subscription – Receive four 18×24 fully colored and illustrated liturgical calendar posters each quarter!

.: A Sleighful of Giveaways :.

This year I’m giving away 29 PRIZES 
with a COMBINED VALUE OF $2,600!!! 
(Each individual prize ranges from a minimum of $50 up to $165 this year! There will be 29 winners.  You have more than one way to earn entries so you could possibly win more than one prize! Thank you so much to all these generous businesses for sponsoring this giveaway!) 
+ + +

Prize #01 – Free subscription to our 2023 Quarterly Subscription Box! Each quarter a new item will arrive in the mail with a unique piece of jewelry and a special note behind the inspiration of each piece. Centered around the liturgical seasons, boxes will be sent within each quarter (April-May, July-September, October-December) with a theme related to a special feast day or celebration. By the end of 2023 recipients will receive four handmade gifts. Sponsored by Telos Art Shop (value $165.00)

Shower of Roses readers receive a special discount of 15% with code ROSES
Congratulations, Anastasia W! 
+ + +
Prize #02 – Special SaintCards Bundle! Includes: SaintCards: Base GameDeluxe Blue Game Mat, SaintCards: Duel Expansion, and the Brand new Mendicant Orders Expansion w/Purple Game Mat from the new 2020 Collection! Total of: 212 SaintCards, 2 Deluxe Game Mats, 2 Jesus Cards, and 100 Treasures! Sponsored by SaintCards (value $155.00)

Enter Promo Code SHOWEROFROSES at beginning of checkout to SAVE 10%
Congratulations, Blair B
+ + +

Prize #03 Silicone baby rosary, our pacifier doll collection (Mary, Jesus, and Joseph), a muslin baby blanket, a Gemstone Rosary bracelet, and a rosary pouch sponsored by Chews Life (value $154.00)

Congratulations, Natalie K! 
+ + +

Prize #04 – 2023 Wall Calendar, 2023 Catholic Planner plus tabs, Rosary Flip Book, Stations Flip Book and Catholic Planner Sticker Sampler sponsored by Elizabeth Clare (value $144.98)

10% off orders of $75+ with coupon code SHOWEROFROSES
Good on Etsy or website and valid through 12/10/2022
Congratulations, Rosie T! 
Coupon Code: ROSES15 for 15% percent off thru December 15th
Congratulations, Windy! 
+ + +

Prize #06 – Handmade St. Francis of Assisi rosary in solid bronze and liturgical brocade rosary pouch sponsored by Come Holy Spirit Rosaries (value $117.00)

Congratulations, Josephine! 
+ + +
Prize #07 – 12 saint blocks of your choice (300+ to choose from!) sponsored by Almond Rod Toys (value $115.00)
SAVE 10% in November 2022 with Coupon Code MERRY 
Congratulations, Kristina E! 
+ + +

Prize #08 – Coffee and Kids Christmas give away!!!! Sit down, relax, and enjoy a cup of high quality, award winning coffee from Guadalupe Roastery while your children read an issue of St. Mary’s Messenger Magazine. This special give away includes (2) One year, quarterly subscriptions of St. Mary’s Messenger Magazine valued at $19.95 each. PLUS (2) 14 oz. bags of Nicaragua Matagalpa coffee valued at $16.95 each. Sponsored by St. Mary’s Messenger and Guadalupe Roastery (value $113.70)

Coupon Code “GET 15” for 15% off any order of Guadalupe Coffee at
Congratulations, Lindsay K! 
+ + +

Prize #09 – Five Preschool Books and Three Coloring Books: My Little Patron Preschool Practice Book, Saints & Blesseds from A to Z, My Little Patron Flashcard & Game Book, My Little Lined Notebook (your pick of color: blue, pink, purple or green), My Little Graph Ruled Notebook, Saints for Boys Coloring Book: Vol 1, Saints for Girls Coloring Book: Vol 1, and Happy Easter Coloring Book plus the Planner & Preschool Guide Book + PDF version, and a pdf of the Traditional Rosary Guide & Marian Prayers sponsored by My Little Patron (value $107.19)

Congratulations, Susan L! 
+ + +

Prize #10 – Set of 8 Cookie Stamps with Recipe Booklet (Includes: #416 – Snow Star, #463 – Christmas Ornament, #020 – Frosty, #355 – Trumpeting Angel, #023 – Holly Sprig (1), #030 – Christmas Tree, # 368 – Nativity and #271 – Jolly Santa) sponsored by Rycraft Cookie Stamps (value $103.92)

Congratulations, Megan C! 
+ + +

Prize #11 – Advent Crate sponsored by Catholic Family Crate (value $100.00)

Catholic Family Crate is a brand that creates Catholic gifts, educational materials, spiritual tools, and beautiful art to help children fall in love with their Catholic faith. Our products make wonderful gifts to children, families, and teachers for birthdays, sacraments, appreciation and so much more! From art, prayers, and stickers, to mass kits and at-home activity crates, we inspire children and families to learn and practice their Catholic faith. 
Coupon code SHOWEROFROSES22 
is good for 20% off the 1st month of a subscription OR 20% off anything in the store
(valid November 14, 2022 to December 31, 2022)
Congratulations, Tracy S! 
+ + +
Prize #12 – 3 beautiful Prayer Pillowcases plus a $50 Gift Card to help with last minute gifts & stocking stuffers. The family bundle of PrayerPillowcases includes the seasonal favorite Holy Family design with St. Bede’s beautiful prayer for family prayer during Advent, Our Lady of Good Counsel with the Hail Holy Queen, and the vital prayer all parents want their children to know and pray, the Prayer to St. Michael. Sponsored by Prayer Pillowcases (value $95.00)
BONUS: SAVE 15% with Coupon Code: ROSES22
Visit Prayer Pillowcases for grace-filled gifts and stocking stuffers (that you can personalize!)
Congratulations, Cindy G! 
+ + +

Prize #13St. Hubert Hunting Rosary from The Rose Picker (value $90.00)

Congratulations, Elizabeth (knenay)!
+ + +
Prize #14 – Hardcover editions of all five of the Old and New series books by Maura Roan McKeegan including the BRAND NEW Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus sponsored by St. Paul Center (value $89.75)
Also available from Amazon: 
Congratulations, Jennifer! 
+ + +
Prize #17 – The Purgative Way Board Game sponsored by The Purgative Way (value $79.65)
+ + +
Prize #18 – variety bundle of Catholic greeting cards, including Christmas cards, Get Well, Birthday, Graduation, etc. sponsored by Pelican Printery House (value $75.00)
Congratulations, Liz S! 
+ + +

Prize #19 All five volumes from In the Shadows of Rome series, including the latest two which were both just published this year, sponsored by Ignatius Press (value $64.95)

Ignatius Press is currently offering FREE SITEWIDE SHIPPING on orders over $50
(Ends at midnight on 11/23/2022)
Congratulations, Alicia! 
Congratulations, Kelly S! 
+ + +

Prize #21Saintly Heart Nativity Playset sponsored by Saintly Heart (value $59.99)

Coupon Code: roses15 for 15% OFF regular priced items
Congratulations, Sarah! 
+ + +

Prize #22 – Limited Edition Pine Candle, Sacred Heart Decorative Matches and Brass Wick Trimmer sponsored by Truck + Barter (value $58.25) (Update – Now Hohme Candle Co.) 

Use code “Jessica” to save 15%
Congratulations, Mimi G! 
+ + +

Prize #23 – St. John Neumann box sponsored by Saints Around the World  (value $58.00)

Use coupon code ADVENTROSE10 for a 10% DISCOUNT 
on any boxes sold in the shop. Expires December 8, 2022.
Congratulations, Lauren C! 
+ + +

Prize #24 – Lilla Rose Hair Clip (small size), featuring a rose, a matching headband, and a $17 Gift Card sponsored by Kathryn Baltrinic (value $56.00)

Congratulations, Grace M! 
+ + +
Prize #25 – Children’s First Chant, Catholic Songs for Children and The Children’s Book of Hymns sponsored by St. Augustine Academy Press (value $52.85)
Use coupon code XMAS2022 for 20% OFF everything on our website 
this does exclude Children’s First Chants which can’t be discounted
(Valid Wednesday, November 23 through Midnight Tuesday November 29, 2022)
Congratulations, Nicole E! 
+ + +

Prize #26 – $50 Gift Card sponsored by Glorious Heritage Cartoons (value $50.00)

Coupon Code: SACRED HEART for 20% OFF 
download of an Extended Length Cartoon!
Congratulations, Melissa C! 
+ + +

Prizes #27, #28 and #29 – $50 Gift Card sponsored by Regina Martryum Productions (value $50.00 each – 3 Winners!)

Please note: Anyone who wins these prizes but also purchases during this year’s Cyber Monday sale (70% OFF ENTIRE COLLECTION!!!) can also receive the Gift Card amount credited back on their payment method. So don’t let hoping to win a gift card stop you from taking advantage of their amazing sale!
Congratulations, Lora V! 
Congratulations, Desiree N! 
Congratulations, Cathy H! 
Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:
Lots of bonus entries can be earned by visiting the sponsors websites and social media accounts! Giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on December 5, 2022.
Winners announced on December 6, 2022 – the Feast of St. Nicholas! 
Note: If you have any trouble with Rafflecopter just send me an email or message with your name/email address and I can add you manually. I’ve been looking for alternatives, but haven’t found a free option yet that offers what I need for these annual giveaways that I love hosting for you all!
Looking for more ideas?
Here are the links to our 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 20192020, and 2021 Gift Lists!

Praline Pecan Cheesecake

We didn’t get the opportunity to have my brother-in-law over for his birthday last month, but I wanted to finally share the cake we made him last year along with the recipe for the topping. I still have some Skrewball in the pantry and might have to make this Praline Pecan Cheesecake again for Thanksgiving.  Everyone loved it and it was the perfect way to transform a store-bought cheesecake on a busy day!
Praline Pecan Cheesecake
  • Cheesecake
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and next 3 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); stir with a whisk just until sugar melts. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes (do not stir). Remove pan from heat. Stir in Skrewball and toasted pecans. Cool slightly. Drizzle caramel over cheesecake.
Note: I bought a Costco cheesecake and scraped off the top to create a flat surface.  Bourbon would also work instead of the Peanut Butter Whiskey. 
From the archives: 

New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas {and a St. Nicholas Giveaway!}

“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic God’s giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.” – St. Nicholas of Myra

The feast of St. Nicholas is coming up so fast! Now that All Saints Day and Martinmas are behind us it’s time for me to take a little break from my Thanksgiving preparations to plan for Advent and the feast of St. Nicholas which quickly follow. I sure love sharing my little plans here on the blog with all of you!

On December 6th our children always wake up to find that the letters they wrote to the Holy Child or St. Nicholas have been taken and their (sometimes new/replaced) slippers have been filled with little treats, oranges, chocolate gold coinscandy canes, and often times a note from St. Nicholas.

Most years my husband writes little notes to the kids, last year I used this fun downloadable Editable Letter to St. Nicholas to customize for each of our children.
Our children (and teens!) have also always received a new Christmas book as well, which has helped us build an amazing collection over the last 20+ years. It will be so great to pass each of their collections down to them when they eventually start families of their own. I am still looking for a few that are fitting for young adults so please send any suggestions my way!
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Here is the list of books we have picked out for this year: 
.: For Chiquita – Age 17 :.
Not exactly a picture book, but it does have pictures and she is going to love it!
“For fans of Little Women, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Christmas Carol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and more, a literature-inspired cookbook for voracious readers during the festive holiday season. Some of the most famous instances of fictional fare have become synonymous with the holidays. Who can forget the plentiful food surrounding the Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol? The simple but generous and joy-filled Christmas gatherings at the Marchs’ in Little Women? Or the Van Tassel’s autumnal feast in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Finally, these literary meals can become a reality on your table with A Literary Holiday Feast.”
So many great recipes… for the mystery lover in her!
… for the Dickens lover in her!
(Her book review of The Christmas Carol coming soon!  
She wrote if for me Christmas and I forgot to share…)
..for the Tolkien lover in her!
… and for the all things roses lover… in me! 😉
.: For Scout – Age 15 :. 
Captain received the paperback version of this back in 2013, I’m excited to finally buy this beautiful edition for another one of our Tolkien fans. Eventually I’d love to get them each their own copy!
“For fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and lovers of Christmas holidays, Letters from Father Christmas is a gorgeous, festive gift featuring a wealth of letters that Tolkien created for his children, appearing in this format for the first time. Published on the 100th anniversary of the first letter Tolkien sent to his firstborn, John, in 1920, this handsome edition will also include an introduction from daughter-in-law Baillie Tolkien, reflecting on the centenary anniversary of the letters, as well as a personal note by Tolkien himself reproduced for the first time.”
.: For Rose – Age 12 :. 
She loves all things Nutcracker and I know she’ll love this new addition to her collection.
“Jan Brett makes this classic her own by setting it in snowy Russia and adding whimsical touches to the favorite elements of the traditional ballet. Enjoying this book will be an instant Christmas tradition for families who love the ballet and those new to the story.”
.: For Bud – Age 10 :. 

“Finally, the True, Untold Story of the Wise Men… They were not three kings. Nor were they from the Far East, or even Persia. In this thrilling, visual adventure capturing the wonder of the Christmas season, New York Times bestselling author Raymond Arroyo shares the true, hidden story of the mysterious Magi, who risked everything to discover the truth. Based on new historical evidence, The Wise Men Who Found Christmas is the miraculous, untold tale of three seekers who followed a star and found themselves in the middle of the greatest story ever told. Stunningly illustrated by Diane Le Feyer, this enchanting family keepsake is sure to become part of your Christmas tradition – and a reminder that chasing truth is often the greatest adventure of all.”

.: For Grace – Age 5 :. 

I’m a big fan of author Maura Roan McKeegan, especially her Old and New Series, so I placed an order for The Poorest Shepherd as soon as it showed up on Amazon. My order hasn’t arrived yet, but I was pleasantly surprised when a copy showed up in my mailbox from the publisher!
It’s such a sweet book and perfect for our little ones!

The Poorest Shepherd

In quiet fields,
Where stars shone bright,
Five shepherds watched
Their flocks one night …

“Find out what happens in this charming Christmas legend when five young shepherds meet Mary, Joseph, and the Infant Jesus on the most holy of nights. All bring gifts, except the youngest, who has nothing to offer. But in those empty hands, the poorest shepherd receives the greatest gift of all. This heartwarming story will help children and adults alike see that our poverty is precious to Jesus and that the emptier we are, the more we can be filled by his love.”

.: For Joy – Age 3 :. 
 I purchased this on clearance a few years ago and hadn’t given it to any of the children yet.
Our little girls will both love it!

“Excitement reigns as the animals at the Zoo decorate their homes in anticipation of an upcoming visit from Santa Claus. The special 10th Anniversary edition of this award-winning book from Jumping Jack Press is a Zoo-rific retelling of the classic Night Before Christmas tale!”

I’m also really looking forward to adding the new books from St. Paul Center (pictured in the giveaway below) to our collection this year! I’ll most likely be slipping them in as new surprises to this year’s Advent Book Basket.  They are still on their way and I’ll be sharing more about them once they arrive!
.: Giveaway :. 

Once again this year I will be hosting FOUR big Advent and Christmas themed giveaways here on the blog:  this St. Nicholas Giveaway, another sleigh full of giveaways with my annual Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers post, another Advent Book Basket giveaway and finishing up with another O Antiphon giveaway! 

Here is the first giveaway in preparation for the feast of St. Nicholas. 
Enter for a chance to win one of the four different prizes below:
Prize #1 – Set of Five Cookie Stamps with Recipe Booklet 

Congratulations, Elaine S!
Prize #2 – St. Francis of Assisi Box
This box will include everything pictured plus a couple surprises too! 
sponsored by Saints Around the World (value $58.00)
ADVENTROSE10 for a 10% DISCOUNT on any boxes sold in the shop
(Expires December 8, 2022)
Congratulations, Patricia S!
Prize #3 – Two BRAND NEW books from St. Paul Center

Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus and

I’ll share more pictures of these just as soon as they arrive from the publisher! 
I’m especially excited about the release of the fifth book in The Old and New Series!
Congratulations, Elisse F!
Prize #4 – BRAND NEW book from Sophia Institute Press
sponsored by Sophia Institute Press (value $17.95)
Congratulations, Jenny W!
Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:
Note: If you have any trouble with Rafflecopter just send me an email or message with your name/email address and I can add you manually. I’ve been looking for alternatives, but haven’t found a free option yet that offers what I need for these annual giveaways that I love hosting for you all!
Download my St. Nicholas labels over at Dropbox with either Black or Green text…

And here is the link to my original St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins from 2010 
(You can find another option, an adaptation this original idea of mine, over at St. Nicholas Center.
I also just made an updated printable for this year which I will try and share soon!)

For additional Christmas book suggestions you can find some of our lists in the archives: 

Saint Nicholas & the Nine Gold Coins (Beautiful book!)

A Child’s Christmas ABC Book (Another Favorite!)

Christmas Mosaic: A Review & Featured Book List

35 Favorite Christmas Picture Books for Children

Feasts & Seasons :: Advent & Christmas Collection

Advent Book Basket and Printable Labels:
2016201720182019, 2020 and 2021
(I plan to share our 2022 Basket later this month – 2016 Labels will work for 2022!)

New Christmas Books for the Feast of St. Nicholas: 

2009, 20102011, 2012, 20132014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021Stacks of Books on Christmas Morning or Epiphany:

20132014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Even more St. Nicholas themed gifts can be found in these past posts filled with Christmas Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers from 2015, 20162017201820192020 and 2021!
Read about our family traditions here: 
A picture from St. Nicholas Day 2021 – Scroll through all past St. Nicholas posts here!
Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus {Book Review}

Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus {Book Review}

Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus by Maura Roan McKeegan Catholic author Maura McKeegan once again invites readers to explore the biblical prefigurements of Christ. Maura brings biblical academic scholarship and research to an enjoyable and understandable level for any...

Regina Martyrum Productions Cyber Monday Sale

Regina Martyrum Productions Cyber Monday Sale

I've shared many times over the years how much we love Regina Martyrum Productions! You can click back to this post for a few of our favorites. I also will be playing some of their Old Testament stories (this short story bundle and this short story bundle) for...

Praline Pecan Cheesecake

Praline Pecan Cheesecake

We didn't get the opportunity to have my brother-in-law over for his birthday last month, but I wanted to finally share the cake we made him last year along with the recipe for the topping. I still have some Skrewball in the pantry and might have to make this Praline...

Prayer of Mothers

Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

Our Family

Sean & Jessica, Captain-23, Ranger-21, Twinkle Toes-20, Chiquita-18, Snuggles-16, Rose-13, Bud-11, Grace-6 and Joy-4 (blog nicknames)

A Little About Me

Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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