Monday, November 25, 2013

Daybook for November 25, 2013 ~ Thanksgiving Week!

Outside my window... overcast and cold.  It is in the 30s this morning, and all week will be cold, although Thanksgiving Day will have a high of 50 and be sunny and clear - yay!

My Little Flowers group working on lanterns to go along with the virtue Love of God.

I am thinking... about ways to keep a peaceful atmosphere as we enter the Advent season next week.  I have plans that I need to carry through on so that we will have things ready to observe Advent as a family and as part of our homeschool day.  I am also thinking of Christmas gifts, even more carefully than usual, in an effort to get things that will add to the atmosphere of joy rather than add to the clutter, cause arguments, etc.  I am focusing on things that don't have a million small parts, for instance, because none of my children are ready to be responsible with those toys and activities they do have with lots of pieces.  The bigger girls are each getting a box full of books, and I am considering a nice dress-up costume each that they have been wanting.  Lucy is getting a new toy shopping cart, most likely, to replace the broken one we have.  If I can replace things, then that means I am not bringing additional stuff into the house.  Less is more.  As a friend and I were talking about this a few months ago, she said something that struck me: "We want to teach our children the virtue of poverty."  I like how she put that.  Overconsumption and a consumerism attitude has to be addressed at the most basic unit of society, the family.  And it is not stuff that makes the family happy and functional nor is it what gets us on the right path towards Heaven.

I am wondering... if my family members will ever be able to swallow cod liver oil without gagging (or complaining!).  Lucy takes it like a champ, and I don't mind it either - I have been swallowing it like you'd swallow a pill.  I have a very well-controlled gag reflex, apparently, or else the rest of my family doesn't!

I am praying... for a special intention.  Also that all families who are missing a loved one over Thanksgiving may feel God's comfort.

I am have a place to go for Thanksgiving - I have still never cooked a Thanksgiving meal at my own home, and although I would like to host it myself sometime, it is nice to not have to worry about it while I have babies or toddlers!

One of the moms made these cute lamb cupcakes for our snack at this month's meeting - our saint this month was St. Agnes, whose name means "lamb of God."

I am hearing... Lucy's adorably cute, well-formed sentences.  "Mommy, please help me move this out of the way.  Thank you.  Thank you, Mommy, for moving tunnel out of the way."  There is a small pause between each word still.  She is trying to push the broken shopping cart around the room, and the older girls set up the play tunnel for her recently.

Learning at home... We are doing some fun Thanksgiving activities this week.  I read the girls the poetry from this book, Merrily Comes our Harvest In.  I check it out from our library every year!  Cecilia has just started her own print handwriting (instead of tracing letters) and is doing a nice, neat job of it!

From the kitchen... We had chicken gyros last night for dinner... yum!  I love this grain-free naan bread recipe.  It is easy and tastes great!  I am soaking nuts right now to make crispy nuts, which I will then keep in the freezer for use whenever they are needed.  Soaking and dehydrating them makes them taste better, I think!

I am reading... Small is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Mattered by Joseph Pearce.  I heard him speak at a Catholic homeschooling conference last spring, and then I talked to him a bit and bought this book after having him autograph it.  It is actually not about homeschooling or Catholicism... it is about how maybe the bottom line in economics (making more and more money and producing more and more goods) may not actually be a good thing.  We actually got on the topic of discussing backyard chickens, and he said he'd just gotten some.  I had glanced through the book for a few minutes and immediately thought of G.K. Chesterton and his idea of distributism.  Yep, that's what it is.  I am a few chapters in so far, and it is quite good.

Lucy eating a s'more at our hot dog/marshmallow roast with friends

To live the liturgical year... Last Friday was Cecilia's "nameday," and so she got a new holy card and a medal of St. Cecilia that morning.  After our Little Flowers meeting that afternoon, we had a family cookout over a bonfire (okay, really it was a portable fire pit, but bonfire sounds better!), including s'mores and an apple butter cake.  Cecilia was excited that the cookout was on her special day!

One of my favorite things... how Lucy says the w sound as a y sound.  "That's my yatoo bottoo (water bottle)."

The men are all by the fire, of course
I am creating... lists and plans for Advent and Christmas.

Around the house...  I have begun organizing all our holy cards by month and putting them in sports card pages.  Hopefully this will keep them well-organized!

A few plans for the rest of the week...

* School Tuesday morning
* Dentist appointment for me Wednesday morning where I will get a permanent crown put on, and hopefully not a recommendation for a root canal! :/
* Packing and traveling to Atlanta for Thanksgiving with my parents and brothers
* Dinner out in Atlanta with Chris to celebrate our anniversary!
* Target and Trader Joe's runs while in ATL
* Possible eye exams for the big girls

A picture thought I am sharing...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

pretty, happy, funny, real

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

~ pretty ~

I love this shelf that is high on the wall in my kitchen - pretty canisters all lined up!  And my pretty Earl Greyer tea tin and the hand-thrown mug made by my old college roommate!

Pomegranate seeds are so pretty, I think, after you have finally gone to the trouble of opening the thing up and picking them all out!  There is a pomegranate de-seeder device in the produce section at our store, but I doubt its functionality.  But I will go to the trouble of getting all the seeds out of a whole pomegranate a couple times a year for the benefit of my children, so they don't grow up to experience embarrassment like I did when (here comes another mention of my college roommate, oddly enough), as a young college student, my two close friends and boyfriend at the time couldn't believe I didn't know what a pomegranate was.  They even decided we were all going to Wal-mart then and there to find one and buy it for me.  Apparently they were out of season, because we didn't find one.  So, in order to spare my own children that awkward moment of realizing their parents failed to fully prepare them before turning them loose into the big wide world, since they are the only ones who have never heard of a pomegranate... yeah.
Please tell me there's somebody else out there who hadn't seen or eaten a pomegranate by the age of 18.  'Cause I was looking at the three of them like they were some kind of cultured snobs with this exotic fruit knowledge, which then turned to doubts that perhaps it was me who was the freak in this situation...
Anyway, pomegranates are a lot more popular now than they were 15 years ago.

~ happy ~

Hungarian coffee cake to celebrate the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (shaped like a crown since she was a queen) and...

...our 12th anniversary!  Marriage makes me happy.  Commitment makes me happy.  He makes me happy.  :) :) :)
We get to go celebrate next week with dinner in the ATL while we are there with family (aka built-in babysitters) for Thanksgiving!

The kids were happy with the coffee cake, too.  Except for Lucy.  She's iffy on grain consumption.  Give that girl bacon and sausage and plain yogurt, and she's a happy camper.

I am also happy to have cleared off these bulletin boards in my kitchen under the canister shelf.  They were completely covered and overflowing, and they had Christmas cards on them from two years ago, people.  I am trying to make things look simple and less cluttered.

~ funny ~

I am not actually sure what this is.  Okay, so I know it is some baby dolls with play food and blankets in wicker baskets, and I know that the big thing is one of my clothes drying racks... but I never envisioned the two of them put together.  My best guess?  Baby doll apartment.

~ real ~

Homemade marshmallows.  I splurged and bought a good-quality, grass-fed gelatin (Yes, gelatin eats grass, didn't you know that? ;).  I will also be using it to make beef bone broth since I have neckbones in my deep freeze.  These marshmallows are made with local raw honey... they are truly and honestly a health food.  But the really real part of this is that, when you are mixing the hot liquid in with the gelatin, it smells like... well, a barnyard.  When they cool off, though, the smell fades, thankfully!  The smell lets you know they are real - it hasn't been processed out, I guess.  So, marshmallows at my house, anyone?? ;)

We will be attempting to roast them over a bonfire tomorrow.  I am leery of how well they will hold up, being made of honey, but they really are a true marshmallow consistency, so maybe they won't instantly melt off into the fire!

And my very real schoolroom.  I am always trying to find ways for it to look less cluttered (and be Houdini-toddler proofed yet not five-year-old-proofed).  Maybe getting rid of that big cheap painting would open it up a bit more.  And I tried a wall hook for my purse so it wouldn't have to sit on top of the shelves, but apparently 3M hooks don't go above five pounds, and apparently my purse surpasses that weight! ;)  And if I put it down lower on the little table where the basket of hats and toddler shoes are, then guess who would be applying chapstick to the walls and pressing the van's panic button on my keychain??

Here is another part of the same room.  It should look lived-in, of course, and I am not going to stop hanging up Kindergarten work since we are teaching a Kindergartener here... I keep going back to the idea of wall-mounted shelves.  Up high.  Clear the floor and lower wall spaces to open it up a bit and make room for toddler tornadoes to pass through, but still have all our materials easily accessible.  I saw that idea here at Wildflowers and Marbles and love how open the room looks.  Of course, that room also has windows and hardwoods, which help make a room feel more opened up and larger.  
Simplicity versus practicality.  We really do have too much stuff.  And when you are going to have to have 13 years' worth of school materials, then it makes you want to simplify and minimize all the other stuff, too!  Less clutter, simple, yet lived-in and pretty: a goal that is good, yet hard to attain!

**Know what else is real??  How hard a time I have had getting this post done!!  Formatting problems with Blogger, as you can see from the weird white bar behind the bottom of each photo... I think it is due to my black background and copy/pasting text into my blog post from elsewhere.  I think I just need to ditch the black background when I have the time to redo it... And in my attempts at getting a postable post up, I accidentally deleted last week's Pretty, Funny, Happy, Real post and can't figure out how to recover it.  But it's just been that kind of a day... toddler poop falling out of diapers, that sort of thing.  But we survived, and it is almost time for dinner now, yay!

(linked up at Like Mother, Like Daughter)
round button chicken

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

57 Reasons Why My Toddler Woke Up Crying from a Too-Short Nap in her Carseat

My kids don't sleep in the car.  At least not until they are like 5 years old, and only then if they are very tired.  Those people who say they leave for long trips with babies and toddlers at 9:00 at night so their kids will sleep the whole way there??  Who are those people???  Do they really exist? 

I am lucky if my toddlers get in even a half hour nap in the car before waking up grouchy and crying because they didn't sleep long enough to be refreshed, and they weren't really ready to wake up.  But, once they are awake, that's it.  Ten minute nap??  Well, after crying and rubbing your face for three minutes, you are too awake to go back to sleep until another five hours have passed, apparently.

So, here is my list of why my toddler wakes up too soon from naps in the carseat... Enjoy!!

1.  Somebody else in the car sneezed.

2.  Her siblings talked.

3.  Her siblings looked at her.

4.  Somebody else was eating a snack that she smelled or heard the wrapper of.

5.  We ran over a railroad track.

6.  We ran over a styrofoam cup.

7.  We ran over the county line (apparently she can feel invisible borders with her wicked map skillz).

8.  We hit standstill traffic seven minutes after she fell asleep.

9.  We passed a school bus.

10.  Her diaper was wet. 

11. She felt her carseat strap against her shoulder.

12. It started to rain.

13. It stopped raining.

14. The sun shined in her face.

15. One song ended and another began on the radio.

16.  Somebody dropped something and bumped her seat trying to find it.

17.  Somebody breathed.

18.  She sensed that we drove past a playground without stopping there.

19.  We went through a drive-thru.

20.  We slowed down from 55 mph to 50 mph.

21.  Somebody laughed.

22.  Red light.

23.  Her shoes were on.

24.  Her shoes were off.

25.  Another car honked.

26.  There was too much road noise.

27.  There was not enough road noise.

28.  She remembered she was still sad about something from before she had fallen asleep.

29.  She smelled the paper mill that we drove past.

30.  Teething.

31.  We passed a garbage truck.

32.  A dog barked in a yard as we passed.

33.  Another car's radio was too loud.

34.  She still had a partial bite of cracker in her mouth.

35.  She moved.

36.  Somebody else in the car moved.

37.  Her carseat was too comfortable.

38.  She was too hot.

39.  She was too cold.

40.  She didn't have a  blanket over her.

41.  Somebody tried to tuck a blanket around her.

42.  She realized she wasn't in Mommy's arms.

43.  She had a dream.

44.  She remembered the tantrum she'd had about wanting to sit in her sister's carseat before she had fallen asleep.

45.  A piece of her hair was tucked under the shoulder strap.

46.  The shoulder strap was digging into her neck because she fell asleep with her head at a weird angle.

47.  The shoulder straps existed.

48.  My cell phone rang.

49.  My cell phone vibrated.

50.  I dared to speak to my husband.

51.  I opened a road map book.

52.  The GPS gave a direction out loud.

53.  She sensed that she might be missing something exciting, like passing a tree.

54.   She was sitting on a cheerio.

55. She was too tired to stay asleep.

56.  She stirred slightly and realized she was still strapped into her carseat.

57.  She is physically unable to remain sleeping peacefully and resettle herself into a deeper sleep while in a carseat even though she can do this at night on a mattress (this may actually be a genetic disorder).

Monday, November 04, 2013

Daybook for November 4, 2013

Outside my window... all the leaves have changed or are changing, so it looks beautiful!  Yesterday we took a little family hike on a trail nearby to enjoy the cooling - but not too cold - weather!

I am thinking...about the strange dream I had last night.  It is one of those that I can't remember at all, other than it was an odd one.  It annoys me when I can't remember the details of a dream!

I am wondering... if this cold that Cecilia has will spread to all of us, or if it will stay nice and mild and then go away.  I have been considering ordering some fermented cod liver oil this season, to give us all some extra vitamin A and D, which will hopefully be good for helping us fight the germs when we get them.  Drinking raw ACV in the meantime!

I am praying...for the friend mentioned last time and her baby, born at just over a pound.  Praying for the baby to grow well and the family as they have to travel to and from the hospital, which is over an hour away.  If you have a moment, please say a prayer for them!

I am have been able to lose 30 pounds since June.  I need to keep that number in mind when I get discouraged, because I still have about 15 more to go, and it has been slow going lately!

Chris says I look skinnier in the belly... so that's good!
  I am hearing... a chainsaw.  Or, rather, the sound of my neighbors paying too much for their tree removal service.  This is literally the seventh family (including us) on our street since May to get trees removed - and this is all seven houses within my view here at the portion of our street at the top of our hill.  Who knows if people way at the bottom have had any trees taken down, too?  Out of the six other residences besides ours, the same tree service has been used for 5 out of 6 of them.  Their estimate was I think $200, maybe $400, more than what we paid for our tree work, which makes me scratch my head.  I think it's funny that, not only do all the neighbors get their tree work done one after the other, but they all use the same service.  It's like it's the cool thing to do on our road, ha ha.  Guess we're not cool, but hey, we saved money! 

Learning at home... Cecilia has finished G week - she made a garden lapbook which gave her lots of cutting and gluing practice.  Caroline finished her pyramid project and took photos that I will plan to add here soon, once I get them off the camera card.  Caroline is also working on speed drills to memorize her multiplication facts better.  We need to get her to be quick with those before moving to more complex multiplying.

Updated to add some of our learning photos from the past week or so:
 Caroline's pyramid project... she made all the clothing for the little "Egyptians" herself, too!  This is the pyramid where Pharaoh Cheops was buried.

Cecilia has an interesting sense of spatial awareness... she made her little letter h into the door of a house - H for house!

G is for Garden - they decorated this garden "cake" (uh, gluten free banana bread covered in chocolate cream cheese frosting, that is...)

Lucy thinks she is big stuff - she is learning to cut fruit.  That's just a table knife, of course.  She cut the whole thing and did a fine job of it, too!

From the kitchen... tonight, apple cider cheese fondue!  Yum, yum!  We'll dip apple slices, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, chicken sausage, and bread cubes into it.  I made this soaked bread recipe - yet I will avoid eating it.  I am still trying the approach of eating very few grains/refined sugar to kick the excess weight off.  Last night, we had beef bourguignon, and it was sooo good... the house still smelled like it this morning!  Beef bourguignon means half a package of bacon left in the fridge, so I think tomorrow will be an eggs and bacon breakfast - yum!  We're also going to have this grain-free pizza tomorrow - it is delicious and easy!   And I just ate the last piece of this coconut oil chocolate bark... I made it with dark cocoa powder... oh, so yummy...

I am reading... Home Education by Charlotte Mason (still), and, uh... well, I looked through a catalog the other day for Christmas gift ideas - does that count?  I haven't felt like reading lately and need to get back to it.  Last night, I opted to watch an old Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode with my husband.  I came home from swimming laps at the pool, and I was highly offended that he'd be watching MST3K without me!  You know you're a nerd when that offends you...

To live the liturgical is the feast day of St. Charles Borromeo, patron of seminarians.  It happens that this is also my seminarian brother's birthday!  So we baked gingersnaps - a final cooking project for G week - and made little tags for them.  Although they will obviously get them after the feast day, we boxed them up to send to Uncle Tim so he can share a treat with some of his fellow seminarians.  We appreciate them in learning to give their lives to the Catholic Church as our future priests!!!  So if you know a seminarian, thank him today!

We also celebrated the Feast of All Saints on Friday and are commemorating the month dedicated to All Souls.

One of my favorite things... fall clothing!  I got a really cute dress that I am excited to wear now that it is cold.  And it looks awesome with my combat boots!  (I think I can hear my husband sighing and shaking his head as he reads this...)  And yeah, I don't generally wear dresses because I've been breastfeeding somebody for nearly the past eight and a half years... but this one can pull down enough to nurse.  Not so much that I would want to wear it with a newborn who is nursing often and long enough that I would end up stretching it out... but it will work if there is an occasional toddler nursing episode!

the combat boots, in style

I am creating... deodorant.  At least, I am planning to do so.  I have the ingredients and am wanting to try a new recipe.  To wear with my combat boots.  "Cause I am apparently some sort of eclectic hippie type. ;)

I am also going to be making 36 ornaments - all the same one - for a Jesse Tree ornament swap!!  A group of us is making 28 Jesse Tree ornaments plus the seven O Antiphons, and then once we mail ours to the mom who is generously coordinating the swap, she will sort them and mail us each back a complete set!  Mine will all be O Key of David.  I ordered the keys to use in constructing my ornament the day I signed up for the swap... yet, they have still not arrived.  That's what I get for ordering cheap stuff from China, apparently.  But the shipping was even free!!!  They are supposedly arriving by Friday, which will give me enough time to make them and send them out one day next week.  I am excited to make them and to see what everyone else comes up with, and it will be so nice to have a unique, handmade set!

Around the house... constant cleaning.  I cleaned out all the kitchen cabinets and put down diatomaceous earth in an effort to kill bugs.  So that's fun, with all the pots and pans and bowls living in the guest room for now.  I still need to switch out the kids' summer clothes with their fall/winter clothes.  As soon as I do so, temps here in Georgia will go back into the mid-80s, I am sure.  And then I did this fun project: the license plate border in the sunroom!!

It is only half-finished.  I need to figure out a not-too-expensive way to adhere hooks to brick so I can finish the other two walls.  Those tiny 3M hooks are very expensive!  Must check Amazon to see if they are cheaper in bulk there...

A few plans for the rest of the week... I need to vote tomorrow.  We have a city commission election and school board and some local special sales taxes - do other communities do these things called SPLOSTs?  It seems like they are always trying to pass a SPLOST or three locally... apparently every project is one requiring "special" extra funding, ha!

Wednesday evening, the girls have PSR class.  Thursday is ballet class.  Then on Friday afternoon, we are going to meet Chris's family at a stat park the next state over for the weekend.  Looking forward to some nice fall weather there!!

A picture thought I am sharing...

Lucy loves to get dirty outside.  This is getting harder as it gets colder outside.  Cool windy overcast day + toddler covered in wet sand = unhappy toddler, eventually - you know, once she realizes it!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Dedication for November ~ All Souls

The month of November is dedicated to all the Holy Souls.  We remember family and friends who have died especially during this month of the Church calendar.  We also can pray for all the deceased in general.

As a way to remember our deceased family and friends, I placed photos, funeral programs, and funeral cards on our mantle.  I found the original idea for this here.  We first set them up on All Souls Day, November 2, and will leave these displayed all month.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Happy Feast of All Saints!

Here is my lovely little band of saints this year!  They wore their saint costumes to trick or treat in our neighborhood on All Hallow's Eve, and then on All Saints Day, they dressed up again to go to our homeschool group's All Saints party after Mass!

They were excited to get to wear their costumes to Mass, too!

Caroline as St. Joan of Arc - when she was a shepherdess, before becoming a soldier

Her shepherd's crook and blue dress came from cheapy places online - and then the apron and shawl were things we had around the house.  She made the flag attached to her crook - Joan carried a flag that said "Jesus and Mary" into battle.

Cecilia as St. Cecilia

The harp is actually made from an old piece of romex bent into that shape and then wrapped with gold duct tape - idea found here at Catholic Inspired.  Her headdress thingy is a piece of rolled-up tulle with gold ribbon wrapped around it.  She wore an old ballet costume that was given to us for dress-up clothes over a white shirt.

 Lucy as St. Lucy

I know, so original of me, right?  I already had the Santa Lucia crowns for Caroline and Cecilia from a few years ago, and so I just paired that with some of Lucy's white clothes plus a red ribbon for a sash, and she was good to go!  The elastic is too tight on the crown; I will have to remember to buy some longer pieces to make them better before December 13th!

Yes, all of them were martyrs this year.  Don't know why; it just happened to be that way!

After noon Mass, we went down to the parish hall for our party!  We had set up some of it before Mass and put up the finishing touches while the children ate lunch.  Below is the banner I assembled and brought to decorate the room - it can be downloaded here at Shower of Roses.  

Happy Feast...

...of All Saints

The images of the saints are from the book A catholic Alphabet of Saints that we use for our Kindergarten curriculum, so my girls were pleasantly surprised to notice that.  One of the other families who attended was looking at the banner, and the oldest girl was trying to figure out who each saint pictured was, especially when I told her that if she could get them all, she'd have to earn some kind of prize.  She and her younger brothers were stumped by the O saint, St. Odilla, and so I mentioned that perhaps they could try to use some resources to figure it out; that surely there would be a book of saints in our church's little library, which is in an alcove off the stairs that lead back up to the church.  Well, as soon as I said this, they practically knocked each other over rushing out to those bookshelves!  Gotta love the enthusiasm of homeschooled kids!!

~ Our Saints ~

Here is our group - and there were about seven more who weren't in costumes and so were not in the photo.  We had a nice, big group!

The banner made a nice backdrop for a group photo.

Here are Saints Maria Goretti, Joan of Arc, Therese of Lisieux, and Nicholas!

~ The Food ~

Well, they got to it before I could take a photo!  We had saintly "halos," St. Francis's animal crackers, St. Peter's goldfish, St. Bernadette's "firewood" pretzel sticks, St. Isidore's pumpkin candies, and Martyr Punch (which was red juice).  We also had some cute little signs for each food that one of the moms brought, but again, the kids got to the food faster than us, so they weren't out yet!

~ Guess the Saint ~

After they ate, the children all ran around outside until called together to try to guess each other's saints.  Here they are gathered around to try to guess St. Patrick.

Guessing St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Guessing St. Cecilia

St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes, who even posed to give us an excellent hint!

This is what our toddlers do at these events...

Next, we went inside to play some games that were set up in stations.  Here is the prize table, where the kids could go to choose a prize after winning a game:

~ St. Isidore's Pumpkin Patch Race ~

I love this game because it is so easy to implement.  All you need are two small pumpkins and a starting line!

Each child rolls a pumpkin to the chair, around it, and back to the starting line.  Whoever has both his pumpkin and himself across the line first is the winner!

These little saints both decided to go under a chair that had moved into their path!

I was manning this station, so there are lots of photos of it.  I love watching them play this game because it's so funny to see them doing it, especially in costumes!

I told them to "look competitive" before taking this photo... I am guessing maybe my daughter doesn't know what that word means, ha ha!

~ Crown Mary the Queen of Heaven Ring Toss ~

This one is really easy to set up, too - all that is needed is a crown (mine is made of cardstock wrapped around a wooden embroidery hoop) and a garden statue of Our Lady.  The kids try to throw the crown so that it lands on Mary.  We had a hula hoop for the littlest children in case the little crown was too hard for them.

~ St. Juan Diego's Rose Toss ~

Each child wears a "tilma" or cloak like Juan Diego wore - these are just big pieces of fabric tied around the back of each child's neck.  They take turns tossing the roses (which are weighted so they will be easier to throw) and trying to catch them in their cloaks.  They take steps back in between throws, like a water balloon toss.

~ Name That Saint! ~

One of the moms brought this game - she gave the kids clues and they had to try to guess which saint was being described.  Cecilia said that this and the pumpkin race were her favorite games of all - even more than the cupcake walk!  I like that we can incorporate learning about our faith into their parties... when we have a larger group of older children in our homeschool group, I'd love to see them try to play Saint Bingo this way, where they have to listen to the clue and then decide which saint it describes before covering it up on their bingo cards!

~ Guess How Many? ~

I decided to throw this one together last-minute since I saw it the day before the party, and it looked like it would be a great option for our few older children in particular!  This game came from Jessica at Shower of Roses, and all I had to do was print the labels and guessing slips and then assemble the jars!  

We had five jars in our game: a jar of Goldfish crackers for St. Andrew, bunny crackers for St. Francis, marshmallows for the Holy Souls, Dora star cereal for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Rolos for Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  I thought they would get excited about the possibility of winning the ENTIRE JAR of treats!

It was fun to see what they guessed - most guesses tended to be much lower rather than higher!

Deep in thought...

And the winners are...
Yes, our group is very girl-heavy.  I asked them to all hold up their jars and smile, and our boy winner had to toss his jar in the air at the last minute to be funny.  Good to have some boy antics here and there in our group!  He was the only one to guess a number exactly - there were 55 Rolos in the jar.

~ Saint Bingo ~

While we were figuring out the Guess How Many winners, the kids all played Saint Bingo.  As they called out "bingo," they got to go to the prize table to pick out a final prize of a holy card, medal, book, or candy.

~ Saintly Cupcake Walk ~

 I had printed off some saint holy cards that I downloaded a couple years ago from That Resource Site (although I can't find them there now), and then I stick them on craft sticks as cupcake toppers.  Another mom offered to make and bring the cupcakes - yay!  So I brought the toppers for her to stick into them and the corresponding laminated cards to lay in a circle on the floor for the cake walk.

We played some saint music (the St. Tarcisius song got some of us moms moving more than the kids, ha!) and then stopped it every so often to call out a saint.  The child standing on that saint got to go pick out a cupcake and eat it!

Decisions, decisions...

A yummy way to end the day!!  My kids had so much fun at the party!  We were glad that so many of their friends were there.  It worked out well in the parish hall - this is the first year we have had our All Saints party here instead of at a home, but I think this is also the most families we have had to participate - as we grow, the parish hall space is helpful!