Gift of Gracias book we are using for our book study this week. Then, the kids stretched one of these out on the table and we decided to hang another above it (with double stick tape on the wall) as the sky. Luke remembered that we had a star paper punch, so I got some strips of yellow cardstock – by Nina’s request – and white – by Luke’s – which we punched. The punching was a little tough for the kids, so I ended up “helping” to punch the stars out while the kids enjoyed using their pincer grasps to pick the tiny cut-outs up to attach to the bits of double stick tape I had put all over the scarf. Thus, we made a night sky that the kids declared "beautiful!"
At this point, Luke said we needed a picture of Our Lady, so we all went to the computer to find one online that we could print. The kids liked two, so we printed both – one for a frame, which we draped with a rosary, and one to hang in the sky. We also found a line drawing which we enlarged so Luke and Nina could color it. I thought we might hang these coloring pages near our display, but one page ended up becoming cutting practice for Nina, while the other became a gift from Luke to his GG, who just returned from the hospital to her nursing home – praise God! (Granting the kids choice and affording them opportunities to practice practical skills like cutting or spiritual ones, like compassion for the sick, sometimes must supercede Mommy's ideas for finsihed displays!
Thus, the scarves and Our Lady images set, and the coloring pages spoken for, I began to envision making an thank you tree out of a bare branch, glue, green streamers and consturction paper oranges with the kids as a project later in the week to add to the display. I also thought about putting a basket of oranges out. When I mentioned the basket idea to the kids, they got excited. Nina immediately chose a little basket, but Luke balked, quickly taking the Gift of Gracias book, flipping through it, and pointing out that the basket pictured in it is quite large. So, he insisted we use a large basket.
Not wanting to forgo an opportunity to practise conflict resolution, I encouraged the kids to come to a compromise. they did -- of sorts. After a visit to GG and a trip to the store, we ended up filling one small basket with clementines and one larger one with oranges to put on the table as part of our display. With both baskets there, little room remains for an orange thank you tree... That’s okay! That was my idea, and the kids are happy with what we have as it is. Plus, we are simply thankful for Our Lady’s intercessions and for all the graces God grants us, thank you tree or none.
One such grace, of course, is the fun of using our imaginations and the kids' increasing skills to work together on the creation our liturgical displays. Another is the joy of celebrating our Catholic feast days. What a rich heritage we are part of!