I have to admit that I never thought I’d be writing a post with this title. Because of how life has gone for me the last 3 and 1/2 years (much survival mode), I could pretty much only chuckle and sigh when I heard about how other families celebrated the liturgical feasts of the Catholic Church. I knew of course that one day I would “have it together” and be able to align my cooking/baking/special activities around the special feasts of the church, but since I was struggling at times to even make dinner happen (never did I imagine my married life would include so many frozen pizzas, takeout, or husband-cooked meals!), I just kind of let the feasts fall as they would and continued our days as usual…unless of course it’s a Holy Day of Obligation. Then we scurry off crazily to Mass where I brave it out on the floor in a favorable corner where I hope people won’t be too bothered by the crumbs and tiny animal sounds that come from our direction. 🙄
This started to change as I began homeschooling this year. Suddenly our days had more meaning, and more teachable moments. While we only do our pre-k curriculum a couple days a week, already it’s making me more mindful of how we spend our days, so I decided to finally start doing something – anything – to implement these special celebrations into our week. After all, the kids love finding reasons for parties. :)
Now, don’t think that because I’m writing this post that I’m suddenly on top of all the feasts in the Catholic calendar – because sometimes all we do is discuss the saint or special aspect we are celebrating, and maybe do a coloring page about it …and that’s it. And that’s if I happen to remember the feast! For goodness’ sake, we made Mama Mary’s birthday cake like a month late! 😂😂
BUT sometimes when it’s possible we pick one or, like yesterday for Candlemas, we even get to do all of these things:
1.) Yesterday we spent part of the morning reading some of these Gloria Stories. They brought up lots of spiritual discussion and it was awesome. We read the Hail Mary one, the Our Father one, and some of the Guardian Angels book. As I do with any packed Catholic children’s reading material, I explain as I go so the kids can absorb as much possible in a way that makes sense to them.
2.) I find reading materials specifically for the feast. For Candlemas for example, we read the account of the Presentation of Christ in the Catholic Children’s bible. If it’s a special saint we’re after, there’s lots of good Catholic children’s saint books out there, and the kids especially love looking at vibrant pictures.
3.) Coloring pages! We have a Saints coloring book, but sometimes I’ll just google specific feasts and the word “coloring page” and there’s usually lots to choose from. Super easy!
4.) We have been trying to make it to adoration for just a 3-5 minute stop to say hi to Jesus. This is not easy but boy is it worth it! Our visits go something like this: I strap Matthew Thomas to me in the baby carrier as we go in and I whisper to the kids reminders of how good and quiet and prayerful we’re going to be. They melt my heart with genuflecting and making a perfect sign of the cross (Mari with her left hand because #leftyproblems). Then they enter the pew and begin grabbing prayer cards and shuffling and talking out loud about everything they’re doing. I’m usually sweating a bit and bouncing up and down with MT, but manage to say a few hurried prayers and then direct the kids to the altar where I ask them to at least say “Jesus I love You” before we get up, genuflect all over again, and make for the door. I know! Crazy! But we’re always happier and more joy-filled after. The graces guys. They work. ❤
5.) We make cake pops! Sometimes it’s muffins or cupcakes, but my kids are huge fans of cake pops so we’ve made them for a few feast days. They’re messy but easy! Here’s my “recipe”:
6.) Ingredients you’ll need:
-cool vanilla cake
-prepared vanilla pudding
-vanilla or chocolate frosting
-cake pop sticks
I just crumbled up about a quarter of a vanilla bundt cake I saved for the occasion (from a box. Yes. 😏) with a little prepared vanilla pudding – enough to make it moist and maleable. Then I shape them into balls and put them in the fridge until they’ve chilled enough to set (we actually went out for a bit first to adoration and I told them if they were good we’d come back to make the pops! ;) ). Then we frost them with our favorite ever “healthy” lower sugar vegan frosting. I promise if you’re doing it with the kids, at this point you’ll want to give up. But if they’re having fun (and you aren’t losing your mind), I urge you to continue. :) Then dip the sticks in frosting and stab the pops! Dip or daintily place sprinkles as you like them (a la Alejo & Mari) and then leave them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes so the frosting becomes shell-like. YUM. Or so my kids tell me.
7.) Lastly we listen to music on our way to adoration or sing hymns while making cake pops or while I make tacos for dinner and call it a night!
And if you’re wondering, why yes, I WAS exhausted at the end of the night. But it was so worth it! :) What are some ways YOU celebrate Feast Days?