"Isn't it awesome," I said at the dinner table last night, "that our faith is so rich in history and feasts and traditions?" One of the most delightful and unexpected benefits I've discovered in home educating our children, in fact, has been celebrating the liturgical year with them. It's sequence and rhythm provide such a beautiful foundation upon which to build every other component of our learning. And fall, my most favorite time of year, is filled with such an abundance of wonderful occasions to celebrate! Here are a few pictures of our most recent festivities:
This was a spectacular celebration. So simple, really, but so significant within our family. Dylan loves St. Michael the Archangel, and Caitlyn has a special fondness for St. Gabriel, so we spent the day coloring Charlotte's beautiful coloring pages, reading about the Archangels, and we even made a cake! It wasn't angel food, which would have been nice, but chocolate, which was what I had on hand. After dinner, we read a prayer for each of the three Archangels, and as we did so, each of my three older children placed a candle on the cake. I had read in The Catholic Home that the color orange is often associated with St. Michael, blue with St. Gabriel, and yellow with St. Raphael, and, as luck would have it, I found in one of my kitchen drawers an old package of birthday candles with polka dots in those very colors! (And, hey, polka dots are in, right? Maybe?)
Our old kitchen angels were resurrected for this special day! They had been hiding in my closet, and two were missing this year (having sustained permanent damage at the hands of our resident two year old) but we are so happy to once again have these whimsical fellows gracing our dining and learning area! We read angel stories: Pascual and the Kitchen Angels, of course; Angels, Angels Everywhere; and Angel in the Waters. We served "Angel Kisses" at tea time (with many thanks to Dawn for the lovely idea) and angel hair pasta for dinner. Dylan copied an appropriate bible verse on some storybook paper I created for him, we again delighted in the handiwork of that ever talented Charlotte, and we did a simple little angel craft with a few items from our craft cabinet.
We read a beautiful book we had checked out from the library earlier in the week. We have several other St. Francis books of our own, but this was one we had never read before and we loved it so much that we'd like to add it to our collection! We colored pictures. I wanted to make bird feeders, but took a nap instead because I was supposed to work that night. Darren made a deliciously rich Italian pasta dish for dinner and, because I hoped that St. Francis, the good natured Italian friend of animals, would appreciate the gesture, we served Gelato on Zoo Pals dishes for dessert. :)
I realize, of course, that it is simply not possible to "do it all". (Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, for example, was sadly overlooked this year. But next year? I'm thinking these sacrifice beads would be just lovely.) It is my humble hope, though, that any effort, however small, will help illustrate for my children the importance and beauty of our faith, and that, as they grow, these traditions will be ones that they, too, will freely choose to observe. I pray they will always remember a faith filled, love filled home.