Pre-Holiday Links and Resources -Advent 2018 and Christmas

With Thanksgiving this week, Advent is following quickly behind it!

But besides the busy preparation for Christmas, there are a lot of things we can do to really observe the season of Advent! Over the years I have collected links and resources for the holidays that I thought would help me and my family prepare our hearts and spirits to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.  I haven't done everything on this list.  Some of it is a wish list, but there was something in every link that I thought was worthwhile.

Perhaps first on the list is actually getting our homes ready for the holidays:
Holiday Grand Plan or join their Yahoo Group E-mail List Declutter and Clean!
Also DeClutter and Organize on Facebook. 

and get your planner ready~  Advent and Christmas Planner from Catholic Icing or Advent Planner from Wildflower and Marbles. 

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7-Quick Takes

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1.  We took our annual long weekend to the west side of Michigan last weekend. For the last three years or so we have been pitching our tent in a great camp site in Manistee called Insta Launch. It's called that because boaters can put their boats into the little tributary at the camp site that gets them right into the Manistee River and then quickly into Lake Michigan. 

We don't have a boat. We just have a tent so we get a rustic campsite for only $25 per night. Just for fun, we usually pitch it right beside the train track. For a couple of years, the train would go by at 2:30 a.m. or some other ungodly hour and it was really an experience to be laying in the dark, in a tent, with all of that power rumbling loudly past you. Sometimes, a couple of our kids slept right through all that noise!  

But this year, I was able to grab my camera and capture the train as it went past in the day time. This is what it looked like. 
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2.  We go up for my family reunion. This is the reunion I wrote about in The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. 

The big draw for me is finding some time to visit with my 96-year-old great Aunt Dot.  
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Aunt Dot is my grandpa's baby sister. She is the youngest of 10 siblings born to Daniel and Lowerta. She is also Aunt Opal's sister. 

She had a little more trouble walking this year, but she does still walk under her own power. She also has a great memory and attitude. When I think of women I would like to emulate, Aunt Dot is at the top of the list!

3.  Aunt Dot is the last of 10 siblings, but just about every branch of that great family tree was represented at this year's reunion.   Here's the thing  - Mr. Pete and I have been going to this thing for decades. We've missed a few years, but not many. After a while, you start to have relationships with these folks -even though you only see them once a year. They look forward to seeing you, and you look forward to seeing them. It really is a family. Next year, it will be the 70th annual reunion. I think that's quite a record!
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4.  Since I've been contemplating the extended blessings of a long marriage, I'd like to post this. This is the marriage certificate of my great grandparents from 1899.  So beautiful and hand written. Quite a contrast to what we give couples these days. Nonetheless, their marriage brought 10 children and numerous grandchildren and their children. The living testimony of their love and union goes on. 
Dan and Lowerta Marriage Certificate

5.  Of course, I was on vacation with Mr. Pete and our daughters. For 12-year-old Rosie, it was all about swimming in Lake Michigan. And the fact that it was only 65 degrees while we were there didn't discourage her one little bit. 



By the time we left, the waters had calmed, the temperature had risen -(a little),and she had a great time too. 


6.  It was a very short vacation - only 5 days with two of those spent driving. But it was perfect. 

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7. So now it's back to reality and planning for the next school year. I am only homeschooling one this year - which will be a piece of cake considering at one time I had a whole houseful to teach! But she's entering 7th grade and I know now that I have to make plans now that will affect her future in high school and college. 

When I was first starting to learn about homeschooling high School, one of the very first webinars I listened to was Lee Binz's  5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School .   It's today's Friday Freebie!  Learn how to avoid the biggest homeschool high school mistakes in this free workshop! Just click, and listen.