Monday, January 5, 2009

11th Day of Christmas

Happy 11th Day of Christmas! We are back at it with the boys' schoolwork. Thankfully, there has been almost no trouble at all getting back into the swing of it. We are beginning the fourth quarter of the school year, so we have lost a little ground. We were a full two quarters ahead of the regular school schedule, but have been taking our time with the schoolwork this year. Particularly, I find that it is taking much more of my time in helping them with their creative writing assignments. More is expected of them in terms of content, grammar, length, vocabulary, etc.

It is time to start taking down the tree. It is a pitiful, dried-looking thing today. I have been somewhat afraid to touch it the past couple of days for fear that all those pine needles will fall in a shower.

One this that does seem to have helped this year is that we did something a little different on our tree. A family tradition that my father carried out while I was growing up (and even still) was to whip up Ivory soap to make a concoction that looks rather like meringue and then slather it onto the branches to make it look like snow. Once it has dried, it looks quite realistic and does seem to hold the needles onto the tree a bit.

To make ivory snow for your tree:

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Put the lights on your tree first before you begin this!

Grate two small bars of Ivory soap (use the finer grate for best results)
and put into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of boiling water (you may need more)
and then beat well until the soap (or most of it at least) has dissolved and it looks like
stiffly beaten egg whites.

With a rubber spatula, slather a bit of this stuff onto each branch of the tree.

Let the soap dry completely before you add ornaments... It looks great and gives
a very unique smell to your home (in a good way).

I suppose I should have shared this recipe during Advent, but now that I have the results of how it went this year, I can give a total report! We'll most likely begin doing this every year, so next year maybe you'll get a photo before the tree is completely dead!

There is an ice storm going on here. My husband will be home shortly, as they dismissed them early from work to avoid driving when it gets worse. Outside the trees are completely covered with ice, which is beginning to build up. It is looking like I will have to cancel our schola rehearsal this evening because of it... I'm very sad to cancel a rehearsal! Happily, we are ready for all the music for this Sunday, I was working on music for Ordinary time, though, and had lots to do!

Yesterday we sang for Epiphany:

Opening: The First Noel
Kyrie VIII (de angelis)
Gloria VIII (de angelis)
Responsorial Psalm (Arlene's chant tone version from Chabanel)
Alleluia (simple chant tone)
Offertory -- Puer Natus (chant hymn -- and we even got to the verse about the kings)
Sanctus XVIII
Our Father, chanted in English
Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion: Viderunt omnes (Proper for Christmas)
Post Communion: Anima Christi
Closing: We Three Kings

This was our first week to sing the Anima Christi. We are planning to make that a weekly occurrence during the ablutions. With a bit of time, I am sure the people will pick up on it.

I hope all is well in your corner of the world.

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