Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrating the Feast of St. Anne

On Monday, the Church celebrated the feast day of the parents of the Virgin Mary, Saints Joachim and Anne. We have been trying to celebrate this day especially the past couple of years ever since I came across the idea for celebrating "namedays" for the children; that is, celebrating on the feast day of the patron saint of the child. We chose St. Anne as Caroline's patron because her middle name contains "Ann," and before I even really noticed that, Caroline already had chosen St. Anne as one of her favorite saints.

We started the day with a new St. Anne holy card at Caroline's spot at breakfast. Then, we prepared some snacks to share with friends who were coming over in the afternoon!

Making watermelon lemonade... which Caroline calls "watermelon smoothies." We got the idea for the watermelon theme from Catholic Cuisine, suggesting to use a watermelon theme for the feast of St. Anne since it falls during the summer and traditionally, she is portrayed as wearing red and green clothing.

I forgot to take photos of the girls rolling and cutting the dough and putting on chocolate chips, but here they are with a batch of cookies about to go into the oven. They look kind of ladybug-like before the green frosting! We used a box of organic sugar cookie dough mix and then ruined the nutritional quality of it by adding red food coloring... still wanting to get some all natural food dyes, because that would encourage me to do more fun baking projects like this one.

The girls were able to do the green frosting for the rind almost completely on their own... they just had to dip the rounded side of each cookie and rock it back and forth a bit, and then I scraped off excess frosting and set them on a platter. I would recommend putting them on a cooling rack or wax paper first, because they stuck to the platter since the frosting was wet...

Completed cookies! And as a random side note (because that is how I write, as you may have noticed!), see the bags on the counter in the background? Those are full of figs. Our fig tree is going nuts right now... we have one or two of those bags full of figs each day, and that doesn't include the ones that are on the top of the tree where we cannot reach to pick them...

I found the watermelon plates on clearance at Tuesday Morning a month or so ago and thought of them for this purpose... and I remembered them too, yay! Sometimes buying way in advance means I will just forget about it by the time the day rolls around... But I love Tuesday Morning - what a fun store. I love the song, too... I always think of it when I go to that store! Just another random tangent thought for ya... ;)

We were going to have 15 children in all, between the ages of 1 and 8! So, with that wide range in mind, I tried to come up with some activities that could appeal to at least most of the older ones... but it turns out that even the two year olds got interested in the crafts a bit! I got the coloring sheets of St. Anne from Waltzing Matilda - she has all kinds of hand-drawn saint coloring pages available for free! I also laid out supplies to be used for making St. Anne holy cards: cardstock, images of St. Anne found online, copies of short St. Anne prayers, glue sticks, markers, glitter, scissors, and colored pencils. My almost four years of elementary school teaching paid off with the scissors... I have a stash of about eight pairs of kid scissors from kids in my classes who lost theirs and never claimed them!

Here's a sample holy card I made so the kids could get an idea of what to do. I figured out how to put two images side-by-side in Blogger, and it wasn't even hard to do - yay!

Cecilia was the first at the craft table... is abnormally into arts and crafts for a two year old, but hey, I'll take it! I loved this kind of stuff as a kid, so maybe I passed that down to her. She just has such early pencil control, completely on her own with no "here, hold the pencil like this" from any adults... a correct pencil grip has always come naturally to her - so strange!

We had four families over besides our own. Here are several kids working at the big table... I love the looks of concentration! ;)

We had stuff on the small table too, so we could have more space. I was a bit concerned that with the age spread we might have some issues with a lack of age-appropriate toys, so I wanted to be sure to have the crafts on hand... but the kids played so well together, having fun with all ages mixed up, even with limited toys (I have a new toy policy with less toys out at a time, and maybe one day I'll get around to sharing that...). Less is more, right?

Working around the little table some more... you can see that we are severely unbalanced in terms of gender: mostly girls among our Catholic friends! And we also invited another family with three children, all girls, who weren't able to come. So out of 20 kids, only four are boys!!!

Seeing this photo reminds me of that sippy cup that was left here after the get-together... anyone want to claim it?

Caroline with a completed holy card

Cecilia, back at work again

The snacks - the other families brought pretzels and lots of fruit with a yogurt dip!

Yum!! We had lost of fun having so many friends over at once! The kids get to play while the adults got to chat - at least a little, in between monitoring the kids!

Here are the girls after everyone left - just before a HUGE thunderstorm! - showing their finished craft projects.

Thanks to all our friends for coming - we'll have to do it again in the future!


Cassie said...

The holy cards are sooooo cool! I cant wait to do things like this with my son.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having us, so much fun! We definately should do that more often. Now if I could just get my house presentable. We made fig jam with your figs which we will share if you want a jar, Heath canned them. I'd love some more recipes and we are going to try to plant one and see what happens. I have actually never shown any of my kids how to hold a pencil. Weird huh! I guess I never gave it much thought. I wonder how they pick that up. They all hold it right (except Alex). I guess they just watch us or each other. I wish I had noted when they picked up that skill.

Erin said...

I'd love to have the fig jam recipe, Beth... we still have figs coming out our ears! You are welcome to come by and pick some more this week if you want! So far they have all been going in the dehydrator - most recipes call for using them dry and reconstituting them in hot water... although I have a fig cookie recipe that I'm going to make this week that uses them fresh.