Our Jesse Tree

If I had to pick a favourite from our family’s Advent traditions I think the Jesse Tree would probably be it. Before we were married I used to imagine one day doing it with my husband and children, I love it.


This is our Jesse Tree. I made it out of felt in 2009 when Mary was 2. I used giant panels of felt from our fabric store.


Our ornaments are also made out of felt. I didn’t follow any specific templates, I loosely based them off of Jessica’s examples.
Our children are only 5.5, 3.5, and 1 so we use a simple illustrated children’s bible (which appears to be out of print now but I really love it).

It’s got short, simple stories for every night, that are easy for our little one to understand.

For Mary we are going to stop our normal school routine for Advent and start working on a lapbook and the Jesse Tree study guide instead. I think she is ready for something a little more challenging this year. She has inherited my love for traditions so I know it’s going to be lots of fun.

Linking up with the Jesse Tree Link Up at Shower of Roses


Jesse Tree Link Up

My wonderful sil is hosting a Jesse Tree Link Up on her blog Through the Thorns to the Stars. We have been loving our Jesse tree this year, Mary is really old enough to take in the bible stories and we have had some very interesting discussions… “but Mommy, why did God make the world round?” “Why did they have to blow trumpets to make the wall come down, why couldn’t they use saxaphones?”

Here is a picture of our Jesse tree as it looks right now:

Oh my daughter is *so* type A… just like her mother. We let her choose where to put the ornaments and this is what we have so far. After this picture was taken she was all “stop! The burning bush is crooked! Take another one after I fix it!” Last year all the ornaments were spread out over the tree like a normal Christmas tree… I don’t know what we are going to do in four days when she doesn’t have any points left. We’ll see!

Advent with Littles: Our Advent Wreath

This is our Advent wreath. I hope to have a really beautiful one some day but this one will do for now.

The Advent wreath is such a beautiful tradition, like so many things in our Church it is filled with symbolism. Made of evergreens to symbolize continuous life, the prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, thecircle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ.

CERC explains the candles well:

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.

We will light our candles every night during dinner and say a short prayer. I wanted to find a short one that Mary and I could work on together and one that she would be able to understand. I settled on these prayers:

First Week

O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ,
desire of every nation,
Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell among us.

Second Week

O King of all nations, Jesus Christ,
only joy of every heart,
come and save your people.

Third Week

O Key of David, Jesus Christ,
the gates of heaven open at your command,
come and show us the way to salvation.

Fourth Week

O Wisdom, holy Word of God, Jesus Christ,
all things are in your hands,
come and show us the way to salvation.

Advent with Littles: Ready to go!!

So I spent the day going to craft fairs with a good friend (for whom I am incredibly grateful for today because she fed us and made the day go by so much faster) and completely forgot tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent until I was on my way home at 6:30. So I swung by Tim Hortons and got coffee because I knew I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to get done before tomorrow morning and I was already ready for bed!

I managed to get everything done that I wanted to and I’m pretty excited for Mary to get up tomorrow morning and see everything. I thought I would give you a sneak peek of everything set up around our home. Excuse the quality of the pictures, it is dark and I had to use flash… I also didn’t check them before I uploaded them to my camera so some are a little blurry.
This is the Advent wreath I made (full post on this coming tomorrow), I think it looks so festive on our table.

I’m super excited about how Mary’s reading corner turned out. I think she is going to love it. I moved those two baskets on the bottom, I’m going to stick the beanbag chair in that shelf when she isn’t using it.
I moved our coffee table over against the wall and set up our big nativity there. There is no baby Jesus yet and the wisemen aren’t there because they are still on their journey. We will add them in on Epiphany.
You can see the kings on the fourth shelf here, I love it! Her Little People Nativity set is out too, she hasn’t seen it yet and I know she is going to be thrilled.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an Advent wreath post and our first day of the Jesse tree! πŸ™‚

Advent with Littles: The Jesse Tree

If you have never heard of a Jesse Tree you can go to Wikipedia and read more about it here.

There doesn’t seem to be a specific set of readings/symbols, the point from what I understand is to learn more about the geneology of Jesus.

I love the idea of a Jesse Tree but I wasn’t sure Mary would be old enough to really get it this year. I was going through her books trying to see if we had a kid’s bible that I could pull the stories from so that it would be easier for her to understand.

When I found the God Loves Me Bible I knew I could make it work. The bible is set up in character format, each page looks like this:
It is nice and short and simple. The only problem with this bible is that it is protestant so it’s missing some rather important people! πŸ˜‰

We will read a page out of Mary’s bible every morning and I’ll give her the symbol to put on the tree. We’ll do this after our morning prayers. I’m going to try and read to her out of my bible too if she is interested. I’ll put up a picture of our symbol and reading every day during Advent. πŸ™‚

Advent with Littles: Our Advent Basket, part 1

Now that we have our living room re arranged I have been able to put Mary’s seasonal book basket in a much more appealing location. I emptied out the bottom shelves and made her a little reading corner. A bean bag is on my sewing list for her corner, something comfy.

Here is what is in our Advent Basket this year:

Touch and Feel Baby Jesus Is Born: This is a sweet book, it has cute pictures and Mary loved it last year. The story is simple and easy to understand for little ones.

Little Donkey’s Christmas Story: This is the Christmas story told by a donkey, it’s a great book for younger ones, the donkey helps keep them engaged and listening to the story.

The Nutcracker: I *love* the Little Golden Books series. Especially the old ones. Whenever I find them in a thrift store or at garage sales I snatch them up. They often have the most beautiful illustrations and the sweetest stories! This book is all that. It is obviously very simplified but a very cute story.

Little Mouse’s Wonderful Journey: This is a Christmas story told from the perspective of a mouse. Mary loves any story with an animal in it right now, I’m excited to read this to her.

Baby Jesus ABC: Another old book with delightful illustrations.

One Tiny Baby: This is another simplified Christmas story. Mary has been asking a lot of questions about Christmas and I’m hoping these books will help bring the story down to something she can understand a little better.

These are the books that are going to start out in our basket. I have more to add through out Advent as we read them together.