Tuesday, February 19, 2013
We had a really fun Epiphany this year to close out our big Christmas celebrations! Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the three kings who followed the star to bring gifts to the Christ Child. In addition to our usual family traditions, we had our biggest Epiphany party yet, with nine adults and 25 children attending! And we would have had 2 more adults and 4 more kids if one more family hadn't been sick!
Our kings have finally completed their journey across our living room to the nativity scene, topped with a huge gold star which one year I would like to suspend from the ceiling using fishing line...
We began the day - a Sunday this year - with our Gifts of the Magi bread. It is filled with lots of yummy "gifts," including chocolate chips!
The girls are having another slice the following day in the photo... I did poorly at getting in-the-moment photos since we were trying to get out the door to church in the morning!
The woke up on Sunday to find their Three Kings gifts... they receive a little something handmade by me as their gold gift, something religious for their frankincense gift, and something for the body for their myrrh gift. Well... they got handmade felt doves for their gold gifts (Cecilia had been asking me to make a stuffed dove for her for months!) and some nice body wash for their myrrh gift, but the frankincense gifts hadn't yet arrived in the mail!! So they also got a note that Chris typed up the night before telling them to be on the lookout for it in the mail the next day, and he signed the note with "Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, and Old Befana."
We made these stars by cutting out festive paper and then hanging them up to decorate! Then we had the extra paper and scissors out on the crafty table for our party that afternoon.
They were so pretty above my sink - I finally took them down this week, in mid-February! I love how they appear to be three dimensional.
Lots of girls at the craft table, lots of attempts to fold and cut the perfect star of Bethlehem! I loved how the oldest girls helped the younger ones out! All of the families that came were other homeschool families at our parish.
Caroline and Cecilia made these Three King "paper dolls" before the party, and we had supplies for anyone else who wanted to make them - but I think they were all too busy trying to make stars!
Here's what the older boys were most interested in.. my husband's ham radio! They listened on it .for a big chunk of the time!
A few of the adults and older kids in the kitchen... where we had a couple cheesballs, summer sausage, and crackers out as appetizers, along with a big pot full of simmering hot apple cider! The wine and beers were out for the grown-ups, too!
Speaking of beer, I covered this empty beer carton with decorative paper to make a silverware caddy thing. We put it out on the table for dinner.
Here's the other hot drink options I had out and available... again, an after shot. I was too busy enjoying our company to take photos of the appetizers and such!
We had a pot luck dinner, with each family bringing something to share. we had ham, rolls, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, macaroni and cheese, and assorted veggies with dip.
After dinner, we prayed the rosary together. It was the most amazing thing, having all these children praying along, taking turns leading the prayers for each decade. The littlest ones sat on the floor, and we shared our extra rosaries... and, one of the moms mentioned that they had more rosaries in their car if needed (which we did!). You might be a devout Catholic if... ;)
Another view of some of the people filling our den! We had more behind the couch, and one family had to leave early... how incredible to have so many of us praying together all at once!
You'll note the Christmas tree is still up... since the Christmas season doesn't end until the Baptism of the Lord a week later.
The table after dinner had been thoroughly enjoyed... and after the cakes had been cut! See, too much going on to be taking pictures! That, and I am bad at multi-tasking! ;)
We had a rum cake for the adults/teenagers, and we had a traditional king cake for the kids... with three chocolate coins hidden inside for the lucky finders!
Why yes, one of our Little People kings was MIA for the party... but we used the other two with the Baby Jesus in the center of the king cake anyway. the third one turned up a few days later.
Here was what was left of the rum cake a few days later... I love the cathedral bundt pan, which looks rather crown-like! Believe it or not, it was the first bundt pan I ever owned!
A few other goodies... chocolate covered shortbread "stars of Bethlehem" cookies from Trader Joe's, and snowmen and gingerbread men Trader Joe's cookies just for fun... and so I wouldn't eat both boxes all by myself over the next week or two!
The kids enjoy their dessert and watch out for the potential coins in their pieces of cake
Here are two of our "kings for the night" who found chocolate coins in their piece. All three were girls ages 4-6, funny enough. Even funnier is what my girls and I found the next day when enjoying leftover king cake...
I gave prizes to the "three kings," er, queens! I'd gotten a few little trinkets at Pier 1, and one of the moms brought a few cross necklaces and pins to use as well, so each child chose a trinket and a religious piece of jewelry.
Cecilia holding her jumping frog she chose and wearing her cross pin the next day
After all our company had left, we had our own Epiphany home blessing. For the first time, I remembered to take chalk to church to have it blessed by our priest - he'd not heard of the tradition and said he'd have to research it now! I gave this paper (from Family in Feast and Feria) with the blessing ceremony on it along with a piece of the blessed chalk to each family before they left.
Here's our doorway afterward... you might see it better if you click to see the image larger.
Here's the funny we found the next day... one of our three kings was a fraud, ha ha! ;) Apparently one of our little girls got a little over-eager and *thought* she'd found a coin the night before! So we had a laugh over that, and my seven year old was indignant that somebody had gotten a prize without finding a coin, ha. Seven year olds are known for being in a "fairness" stage of life!
A few sweet gifts for us for hosting the party from our friends... homemade strawberry jam and homemade chocolate chip cookies!!
And sure enough, on Monday, the "frankincense gifts" arrived in the mail!
Caroline was pretty excited to see what was inside! Each girl got a saint doll from Meg's Etsy shop! I spent less than usual on each child for Christmas morning gifts and used the rest to pay for these cute dolls for them.
Lucy got a St. Lucy doll...
So sweet!!! Just today, she was making it play with her zoo toy and trying to change its diaper (she thinks all dolls are babies, apparently)!
All three girls with all three dolls! This is probably the best photo I have taken of the three of them since our Christmas card photos - it's hard to get everyone looking and happy at once!
Cecilia got St. Cecilia, and Caroline got St. Kateri, who she'd dressed as for the last All Saints Day.
Cecilia with St. Cecilia
Caroline with St. Kateri
Soon after opening them, Caroline exclaimed that these were the best dolls ever! Glad she liked them!
Cecilia riding the rocking horse with her new doll. My grandfather made that rocking horse for me in 1979!
Later on Monday, Caroline showed me "how high Philip can climb!" Philip is one of our homeschool friends who is her same age and in her PSR/CCD class. Apparently while the kids were playing outside during the party, some of them had played The Flight into Egypt, with Caroline being Mary (as she always wants to be, and is always dismayed that they have no boys to be Joseph, Jesus, and King Herod). I don't know why this game is so appealing to her - maybe I should be worried, ha! But at least this time it fit in with the liturgical year somewhat, as we'd just passed the Feast of the Holy Innocents the week before. Anyway, Caroline told me that this was "King Herod's throne" while they were playing.
And I'll wrap it up with Cecilia's coloring sheet she did at the craft table at our party.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Epiphany - one an a half months ago, that is!!!
Posted by Erin at 11:54 PM
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Why yes, I am still blogging our photos of various Christmas gatherings... and I have some fun pictures from an Epiphany party we hosted as well. Not doing too well with the timely blog posts, I know...
So, here are some pictures from the celebration with Chris's side of the family!
Stocking time - Gran fills a stocking for each of us for Christmas. Here's Caroline and her cousins, Andrew and John, emptying their stockings. John got a tube of chapstick that he was very excited about and kept showing it to everyone!
Caroline looks at an activity pad she got
The girls opened this dollhouse from their great uncle and aunt, who sent our gifts with Gran and Grandad... they later painted it and put in "carpet" (patterned paper)... I will put a shot of that at the bottom of this post!
The grandchildren helped to open Gran's new food processor
John waits patiently for his new airplane toy
Lucy had gone down for a nap right before everyone arrived... I had to go wake her up after two hours!! She got to see the tail end of gift opening and then spent time opening all her own gifts!
Look at all the fun!!
Lucy got a chimpanzee family from her cousins and aunt and uncle - they go in her zoo toy.
Cecilia shows me some necklaces she got from Gran and Grandad
Lucy with a puzzle from Gran and Grandad
She got this train from her great aunt and uncle - it also goes with her zoo and came with a few more animals and another zookeeper!
Lucy opened her stocking last of all
And then she opened her Uncle John's last present for him - he'd been saving a couple gifts to make it last longer, ha ha.
Here are the girls painting their dollhouse! they had so much fun doing this, and deciding which colors to use, which patterned paper to glue to which floor for "carpet" or "tile." They painted the outside yellow with a black roof.
The girls got these hats at Thanksgiving... Great Granny had them at her house - Daddy's aunt made them for the girls, in Christmas colored yarn! They have enjoyed wearing them, and they fit very well!
Posted by Erin at 10:44 PM