Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Backyard May Crowning

We had a May Crowning at our house last week with a few friends. Traditionally, a May Crowning occurs on the first day of May, but it can be done any time during the month of May, Mary's month. To plan this event, I came up with three parts: crafts, food, and a simple program for the crowning itself. I also made up some goodie bags for each child with a Hail, Holy Queen holy card, a Hail Mary coloring booklet, and a few blue Hershey Kisses (the blue-wrapped ones are cookies and cream... I was told recently that there was a blue-wrapped Kiss with a coconut flavor but couldn't find that... does anyone know if they exist?). I made the holy cards myself (and apparently didn't save the document since I cannot find it!), and I cannot remember now where I found the Hail Mary booklet...

*Crafts and Games*

Here are the coloring pages I set out for the kids to do as they arrived: two different Q is for Queen sheets, another one from Waltzing Matilda of the Queenship of Mary, and one of Mary holding baby Jesus that I found in a Google search.

Most of the kids colored a sheet or two and then set out to do the main craft: painting flower pots. While a few painted out on the patio, others played a Feasts and Titles of Mary memory game... the oldest kids enjoyed this game. The link is to a Google Doc... I downloaded this free somewhere - i thought it was from CHC but I cannot find it there - so hopefully I am not offending by not linking to the original. If anyone knows where I found it, drop me a comment! I seem to be doing badly at linking so far in this post! ;)

Some of the younger children painted their flower pots first... I asked each family to bring their own flower pots and smocks, and I would provide paints and marigolds to plant. Marigolds are just one of the many flowers associated with the Virgin Mary.

More kids take their turns painting... we did this on the patio to limit the mess. And yes, even though I put a huge, thick smock on my kid, she still ended up being the one to get permanent paint right in the middle of the front of her nice shirt... go figure!

I really liked Briana's pot, which she painted blue with "Mary" written in large gold letters.

*The Ceremony*

After everyone had painted, we began the actual May Crowning Ceremony. You can find my original document here. I made it very basic since we had ages seven and under: singing a Marian hymn (Immaculate Mary) as we processed toward the statue, praying the Regina Coeli, a Hail Mary, and a Hail, Holy Queen.

In some traditions, the oldest girl is chosen to crown the statue of Mary, and sometimes a girl who has just made or is about to make her First Communion. We decided to do it randomly, so each child took one of the Mary memory cards, and I pulled from the matches until I got one that matched a card held by one of the kids. Cecilia ended up being the one who got to carry the crown and place it on our Mary garden statue. We made this crown for our statue last year.

All the other children placed flowers brought from home, or fake flowers I had on hand, at the foot of the statue. We did this following the singing of Immaculate Mary.

The older children each had a sheet so they could sing and pray along. Caroline led the Regina Coeli and the Hail, Holy Queen. I love this photo with all of them following along!

The crowned Mary statue with all the flowers

*The Food*

I made blueberry mini cupcakes... which are really blueberry bran muffins (although not really low fat like the recipe says, as I used whole milk!) with some frosting and then topped with a blueberry each. I found the blue muffin cup liners with the easter supplies at Wal-Mart several weeks earlier.

Here are our cupcakes and fruit salad... this yummy fruit salad was brought by one of the families and is made with strawberries, grapes, blueberries, and a can of mandarin oranges in their own juice... all dumped in together. The mandarin orange juice put a different and yummy twist on fruit salad! We also had potato chips brought by another family, and those were gone as fast as the fruit... I have a potato chip problem this pregnancy! ;)

I also made this blueberry punch... yes, it looks purple rather than blue, but it's the word "blue" that counts and not the actual color, right? ;)

Cecilia enjoys the frosting...

Many of our group wanted to join baby Annie on the blanket for their snacks.

And here we are, wrapping up the marigold pot craft by planting the marigolds with a bit of potting soil. Everyone chose either a yellow or orange marigold for their pots to take home.

Here are Caroline and Cecilia's pots and marigolds. The pretty Mary statue is new-to-me and given to me by a friend - isn't it beautiful?

Most of our group just before saying goodbye, minus baby Annie and toddler Alex.

Caroline and Cecilia added their marigold pots to our Mary Garden after their friends had left. We had lots of leftover marigolds as well, and Chris planted them directly in the garden for me. We used to have marigolds that came back each year, but we must have accidentally pulled them up or something, because they didn't come up last year. So I was glad to replace them! Earlier this spring, we also planted a Bleeding Heart (which unfortunately died) and Columbine (which is nicknamed "Our Lady's Slippers").

Cecilia and Caroline pose by the garden. We had a fun afternoon and were so glad some of our friends could join us and missed those who were not able to attend!

Monday, May 30, 2011

U is for St. Ursula and Understanding, V is for St. Vincent de Paul and Vetch Fairy!

Getting closer to finishing the Alphabet path posts now... U and V are combined in the Flower Fairy book since there is no flower that begins with U. I am excited to share the photos from our End of the Alphabet Path Party... only W, X/Y, and Z to go now! I am also wanting to share the photos from our home May Crowning we did with friends last week... I'll get to it all eventually!

Here are our themes for the week, all of which went into the Word Box, as usual.

Our M poems for the week from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints and God's Alphabet

~Circle Time~

Caroline said this cat she brought for show and tell had a name beginning with U, but I cannot remember what that name was at the time... the names of stuffed animals and dolls change far too often around here for me to keep up! I am surprised nobody brought Una, Cecilia's stuffed bear that she named about two years ago... I think I included underwear as the item in the mystery sound pouch, ha ha.

Songs and Rhymes
Old Lady Under a Hill
there aren't many U rhymes, so we just did whatever!

Caroline counting coins at Circle Time - we do this daily

~Foods for U Week~

Not many foods begin with U... didn't make an upside-down cake - but we bought an Ugli fruit at the store! Have you seen these? They are also called Unique fruits, and they are similar to an orange...

~Letter Formation~

Making Uu out of play-dough

Cut and Paste U Collage

Punch out the letter - Capital and lowercase Uu

~Flower Fairy for Letter U/V: Vetch~

Caroline's Vetch flower fairy page from the Flower Fairies coloring book

~Saint for Letter U: St. Ursula~

Here's our St. Ursula painted saint.

Caroline does her copywork from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints... I don't seem to have a photo of the finished work or illustration

~Picture Study: U is for Umbrella~

So I am too lazy to figure out the title of this painting of the girl with an umbrella... if you really want to know, I will take the time to look it up!

~ABC Virtue of the Week: Understanding~

Well, the virtue coloring pages I'd been using have run out with letter O. So, since Caroline seems to like them, I attempted to illustrate the rest myself and come up with the virtues. So I chose understanding for U and drew a coloring page of somebody comforting and showing understanding to an injured boy. My drawing isn't as good as the originals, and I haven't drawn much in recent years, so it's nothing fancy, but if anyone has been doing the virtue coloring pages and wants some pre-made for P and on, I would be happy to figure out how to upload them to Google Docs or something. Still reading Caroline a relevant story from this sweet little book full of stories with morals to them to correspond with the virtue coloring pages.

~U is for Union~

Caroline's copywork from

And for V...
Here are our themes for the week, all of which went into the Word Box, as usual.

Our M poems for the week from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints and God's Alphabet

~Foods for V Week~

volcano mashed potatoes - made by shaping them like a volcano and putting cheese "lava" flowing down onto broccoli "trees"

Vegetable Cheesy Nut Pie

~Work Activities for V~

slicing vegetables

~Circle Time~

For show and tell, Caroline brought a stations of the cross card depicting Veronica, along with St. Vincent de Paul. Cecilia brought... a frog. The Viewmaster was in the mystery sound pouch this week.

Caroline writes the date at Circle Time.

~Saint for Letter V: St. Vincent de Paul~

Caroline does her copywork on St. VdP from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints

painted St. Vincent de Paul

Caroline's finished illustration. Not sure where she came up with the phrase she wrote at the bottom, "The colors of the poor." Sounds like the name of a Phil Collins song or something!

~Letter Formation~

Playdough Vv

writing Vs in cornmeal

Cut and Paste V Collage

~Picture Study: V is for Vegetables~

Caroline illustrated this painting, James Peale's Still Life: Balsam Apple and Vegetables.

~ABC Virtue of the Week: Virtuous~

Yeah, I know, virtuous is a stretch for a virtue... but what else is there?

~V is for Victory~

Caroline's copywork from

~Activities for V Week~

vegetable fill-in-the-blank and volcano maze

~Cooking Project: V is for Very Vanilla Muffins~


V is for Volcano!

We made a volcano out of foil and a disposable cup (directions here) and then filled it and watched it erupt...

The girls thought it was pretty neat! Volcano was our science theme, and we read a few books about them.

V is for Vegetable Seeds

We started our seeds this week... tomatoes (technically a fruit, I know!) and bell peppers. Caroline wanted to wear the hat to be a "farmer."

These seeds have since grown several inches tall and have been transplanted to pots and the garden beds outside!

Next up... W week!