Sunday, July 26

St. James Day

July 25th
Sangria- celebratory and in western tradition James brought the gospel to Spain 

Shell- the symbol of James the greater because according to western tradion he traveled by sea to Spain. It also reminds us that he was a fisherman before Jesus called him. 

St. James - Another attempt at a photo copy to wood transfer. On a scrap of chicken coop, this one is our favorite so far. 

Thursday, July 23

A Garland for Ordinary Time

I saw a multi colored leaf Garland like this on Pinterest and knew I needed to make one in the greens of ordinary time.  It was a super fast project. I used the machine to sew the felt/fabric leaves together, but it could be hand sewed by little hands.  I love that it is fun and understated at the same time, making it perfect for ordinary time. 

Mary Magdalene Day

I would love it if anyone who grew up in a family that lived out the Episcopal or Catholic church year would let me know what that looked like.  Having grown up in a conservative church with little sense of the church year (we celebrated Christmas and Easter and maybe did something for advent), I would love to have more ideas on what this might look like.  I love the planning and figuring out, the gathering of ideas and information.  I'm happy to creatively come up with what I can, but it would be fun to hear more traditional ways of doing things.

Today is the feast day of Mary Magdalene and I'd love to share what I've learned about her and her feast day.

There are several Marys in the New Testament: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany (sister of Martha and Lazarus), the Other Mary (mother of ) and Mary Magdalene.  

Mary Magdalene is best known for being the first to see and hear Jesus after his resurrection.  "Mary" he said and she knew it was Jesus.  She has been called the Apostle of the Apostles.  She was with Jesus through his earthly ministry and witness the resurrection.  

There are differing views on which Mary doused Jesus' feet with perfume and wiped them with her hair.  Traditionally this act was also attributed to Mary Magdalene.

So in preparing for the day I found that Mary Magdalene's symbols are a box of ointment to represent the feet washing story and a red egg.  There is a story surrounding the red egg in tradition, but most importantly the red represents the blood of Jesus, the egg symbolizes new life in Christ and the cracking of the eggs represents the breaking of the gates of Hades and Christ's victory.   I gave the boys wooden eggs to paint red (looses the cracking portion, but is a nice symbol.)  Next year I want to save my onion skins to make red boiled eggs for part of a meal on this day (see tutorial here)

I tried to find a Madeleine pan, but I was unsuccessful.  A pan is now on my wishlist and in the meantime, I chose to make rose cupcakes.   The name "Mary" and roses are linked in my brain.  Traditionally the rose is a symbol of Mary the Mother of Jesus not Mary Magdalene, but we're going with it and saying that it symbolizes the garden where Mary encountered Jesus after His resurrection. 

I used a photocopy of Fra Angelico's painting Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and this tutorial to make a self standing image of Mary and Jesus (I actually made three to figure out the process, but the larger ones on darker wood didn't turn out nearly as well.)  This is a fun way to bring great art into our celebrations.  I would love to purchase real icons of all the saints, but we'll be building that collection very slowly as finances allow.  This is a great 'in the meantime'.

Wednesday, July 22

Celebrating the Saints

There are two saints days this week and I'm gathering and getting ready.  I have a goal to celebrate all the main feast days of the episcopal church this year.  I'm counting 33 in the prayer book, but that doesn't include moving holidays like Easter, Pentecost, Ascension, etc.  In the Episcopal church the major feast days commemorate the apostles, a few other key figures, and the main events in the New Testament Narrative.

So what does it mean to celebrate a feast day at our house?  It certainly doesn't mean a traditional food feast in the full sense of the word.  Often it means a special food and maybe a craft.  It definitely means that some items will be set out to remind us about the person or event the day commemorates and we will talk or read to learn about the event or biblical character.   I love living the biblical story through the church year and am excited to add in the apostles days and a couple others this year as a way to celebrate this great story we are part of and learn together.

Tomorrow is St. Mary Magdalene Day and Saturday is the feast day of James the Greater.

(The links will take you to some pintrest boards I've been compiling in the past couple days.  We won't do half of what I pinned, but it is always fun to plan...)

Thursday, July 16

Summer is for Literary Teas

When I was little we had literary teas in the summer.  Which basically meant that mom made something yummy and we all sat and read our own books.  Because this is such a delightful childhood memory, I try to have literary teas from time to time with my boys.  So far, that means I'm reading out loud, but I'm looking forward to days when we all read our own book (give it six years).

One challenge is finding something that everyone is interested in.  The first week of Summer we read a stack of Cinderella stories from around the world I found at the library.  Jonah was off to read another book (he had already read the Cinderella stories when we brought them home from the library) but the younger boys finished tea and then did ink and watercolor paintings of Cinderella with me.  

We read The Littles a couple weeks ago.  Rowan is the perfect age for these books and Isaac enjoyed them too.  I loved them when I was young and always went scampering off to make mini shoe box houses afterward reading them.  The books are about small people (with tails) who live in the walls of the Biggs' house and use all sorts of everyday items to furnish their miniature house and supply them on their adventures.  They are very similar to the Borrowers, but a much lower reading level.
After finishing the first book I bought the boys some baking clay as I've been saving bottle caps for awhile with visions of Little sized pies in my head.  They had a lot of fun rolling and shaping mini pies.  

This week we are reading The People of Sparks over tea and after dinner this week, which Jonah and Rowan are loving.  We listened to the Audio book of City of Ember in the spring and just found this second book in the series.   The books are really imaginative distopian novels; I'm really enjoying them too.  Isaac often plays somewhere in the room.  It is beyond his interest, but every now and then he'll ask a question, so he's listening at least some of the time.  

We still have a few more books to check off the summer reading lists, so that is probably where the literary teas are headed over the next month.  

Wednesday, July 15

Summer Sundays: The Mustard Seed

I was able to kick off the summer sundays at church with the k-5th graders.  It is a big age range because we condense in the summer.  I never even looked at the curriculum the church bought for the summer, but instead pulled out the Mustard Seed Parable from the Godly Play room (this was primarily prompted by the fact I had just taught Bibleschool all week and didn't want to prepare another lesson.  I have the Mustard Seed Godly Play session down.)

The godly play room was too small for the group, both because of the number of kids and the size of kids (the forth and fifth graders wouldn't be very comfy in our Ikea kiddy chairs.)  So for work I made three art tables in a larger room: one for copying a verse and/or illustrating; one for leaf rubbings; and one to make birds and nest out of clay (Thanks to Sheila and her wonderful blog for this idea!) 

I must admit I was blown away by the morning.  I really thought the kids would be into the clay and not so much the other tables.  But, they were excited about all the work.  Kids, who I normally see struggle to focus were totally engaged and didn't want to leave at the end of the hour.  Boys, who I would never have dreamed would want to do copy work sat and enjoyed writing out the verse (without any prompting or expectation on my part.)    

Because it wasn't a full Godly Play session I sat down and painted and sculpted with them.  At the end a few of the kids wanted to play duck, duck, goose after they cleaned up their art supplies.  I thought that sounded good and they changed the words to "bird, bird, mustard seed."  

The word that rings true when I think of the morning is delightful!

Saturday, July 11

A Glimpse of Ordinary Time

:: I'm enjoying the boys prayer flags they made at VBS.  Our church did the Mount Everest Themed VBS by Group Publishing.  I did all the Bible teaching for the week.  (I veered from the curriculum quite a bit; I was disappointed that it was theme and not narrative driven.)  It was a fun and very tiring week.

 :: Finally our chicken coop is very usable.  We still have a couple little things to finish up before I give you all the grand tour, but now that the run is attached the girls can get fresh air all day.  Until now we had to be here to check on them as they ran about the yard.
:: Hopefully we won't need much more paint as we finish up the coop.  Baby was crawling around while we were attaching the run and...
:: The garden is so much fun this year.  It isn't winning any ribbons, but we're daily bringing something for our table.  My favorite addition for the year is my fig tree (lower right corner of the photo).  We potted it so it won't grow into a massive tree.  There are already figs growing and I'm excited to have fresh figs!

:: My wildflowers didn't get replanted this year, but some of last years reseeded themselves.  The funny thing is, that while we've had a variety of types pop up, all the flowers have been yellow. 

:: Our best crops this year (carrots, beans, chard) didn't come up last year.  And the summer squash that was so abundant last summer was replanted twice and still hasn't taken off.
 :: Grandparents in town for the fourth took the boys to the book store.  Encouraged to pick something for Athan, I grabbed this year's Caldacott.  It is cute and the boys are really enjoying it (Mr. 3 is a big fan), but I'm a bit surprised it won.  Maybe it will grow on me; it is a really fun book and I have yet to read any speeches or articles on why it was chosen.
 :: Playing in the Hose, Swimming at the YMCA and a little water-table have led to wet boys all the time.  Snuggling in towels is a new normal on these hot days of summer.
:: I've been finding my way to the sewing machine these past couple weeks (it has been awhile!) and have been working my way through the mending/ unfinished project basket.  PJ pants that only needed elastic to finish them, a pair of shorts for baby, three pairs of trousers that lasted through three boys before getting holes in the knees were made into shorts, some hemming and taking in... my basket is down to one shirt Isaac requested this spring that is half finished in the basket.  
:: And just in time for no one in our immediate family's birthday... A birthday banner I began when we were living in Texas and packed up before the move.  One of the a's was lost in the move and then I couldn't find the fabric... and then the fabric paint... but finally, I've finished it!

:This is the first summer in ten years where we haven't moved or had a new baby (or both).  I actually feel like I might get a bit organized and tick off some projects.  (And hopefully be in this space a bit more!)