Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Veronica's Veil

Here are 2 versions to make Veronica's Veil.  Ideally we will make them on Holy Thursday.  One will last longer (the one with glue and non-washable tempura paint) but the other is more likely to get done (the one using crayola washable markers).  I'll just have to dig through my paints to see if I even have any non-washable paint.  That will be the deciding factor...  There is also a bit of information at these sites describing the veil and it's place in Christ's Passion and journey to Calvary.

Either way, I'm simply using some fresh (never used) UNpaper towels from my linen closet.  These are smallish, about 7x12 inches (the sizes really vary), but the ones I'll use are made from white thin material.  Perfect for this project!

Here is an outline drawing to use as a template.  I may have to staple the cloth to the paper to keep it still while we outline with glue.  With the other version we will just color on this paper with the washable markers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Prep ~ Part 2 (Religious Prep)

First, Holy Week ideas:

Stations of the Cross:
We meditate on Christ's Passion by going through the Stations of the Cross.  One of the children lights the votive candles across the mantle as we read and meditate on each one.  We've been using the same set that I made years ago.

Pretzels on Good Friday:
Pretzels are a traditional food for Good Friday (or all through Lent).  The criss-cross pattern is symbolic of arms crossed over in prayer as the monks (maybe not just monks??) used to do.  I have several soft pretzel recipes in my folder.
This has a succinct explanation:

Hot Cross Buns:
These are traditionally made on Good Friday and the cross was just cut into it before baking - not made with a sweet icing (we wouldn't eat a 'sweet' on Good Friday).  They originated in an abbey (St. Alban's) where the monks gave them to the poor.  I can't think of them without unconsciously reciting the children's nursery rhyme of "Hot cross buns, hot cross buns.  One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns." :)  We made some many years ago.  It would be nice to make them again this year.  I saw some in the bakery at Tom Thumb last weekend. Here is a recipe:
And another with background info.  I like her idea of no icing on Good Friday but saving some to serve Easter Sunday with the icing:

Easter Ideas:

Surprise Exchange of their Crowns of Thorns:
Almost all of the toothpicks have been taken out (see this Lenten post where I mention the crowns).  Since I didn't get any jelly beans they'll find some other goodies in place of their crowns of thorns on Easter (all treats I feel good about giving them).

Take out the Alleluia:
We "hid the Alleluia" during Lent (see same post mentioned above here).  On Easter we can take them out of the envelopes and display them.

Pack up the Stations of the Cross votive candles: 
I think I left them out for a month last year before I finally put them away!  I'd like to actually do it on Easter Sunday as part of the tradition and put a Alleluia sign in their place on the mantle.

Chocolate Bar Wrappers:
I was browsing in the store hoping against hope that there might be some of those dye-free jelly beans from the other post when something caught my eye:  A chocolate bar with a religious paper wrapper.  Hmmm.... We couldn't eat that brand but it gave me the idea to make one for the Enjoy Life chocolate bars that we can eat.  The Unjunked candy bars are another kind we have started eating (and I got a bag of snack sized ones for an Easter surprise) but I like the flatter shape of the Enjoy Life bar for this project.  I have posted a pdf link for the wrappers that fit those bars specifically and also an open office word document in case anyone wants to adjust it to fit a different kind of candy or chocolate bar.

We've done the chocolate crosses before and there is more to choose from now to get commercial candy with a Christian theme; however, this was an easy way to make something without petroleum dyes, gmos, artificial flavors, soy... (you get the idea!) into a treat that will also help them focus on the reason that we celebrate Easter.

There are lots of fantastic ideas at Catholic Icing!

I printed just the cave and the angels here:

I love the idea of the Resurrection Rolls (Empty Tombs) but we don't eat commercial marshmallows.  I'm not sure how well my homemade ones would do - especially since they've been in the freezer... I wonder how much of the marshmallows are really in them after melting out and if I could just compromise for this (and simply use from dh's stash).  There is a link for a recipe for the roll part here also:

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Prep ~ Part 1 (Egg Coloring and Treats)

We'll be decorating our eggs with natural dyes again this year.  This is an old post that shows what we did before:

This post has pictures of the finished eggs and of their "Easter Baskets" (clay pots that they painted).  We'll be doing pots again this year.

Here is a neat kit for anyone wanting safe dyes without the fuss of starting from scratch:
Eco-Eggs Easter Egg Coloring Kit

India Tree Natural Dyes should work instead of fake dyes with vinegar like you normally would dye eggs.  It's been several years since I've had this brand so I haven't experimented with it on eggs.  I would love to get another set.  They lasted about a year before they dried out.  Had I known I would have used them up instead of 'saving' them for rare occasions.

Some more ideas for natural food coloring:

This is such a cool idea:  Tea infused marbled eggs!

Hard boiled eggs pickled in beet kvass.  Such a beautiful color!  I'd better hurry if I want them ready for Easter (you know, by the time I make it to the store to get the beets, get/make some yogurt for the whey, ferment the beet kvass... I've let off of my liver support supplements and foods so this may push me back to the kvass).

Jelly Beans:  I started too late to search for them.  Too bad.  Had I ordered just a day or two sooner I could have gotten them the Yummy Earth Sour Beans.  They have a $5 special add-on right now on Amazon but the delivery date was the Monday after Easter so I took it off of my liver and adrenal supplements order :(.  They would have ordered them locally but I cannot pay $8 for each to have a little bag of jelly beans.  $5 for 10 snack bags... I would've done.  Surf Sweets is another jelly bean option free from petroleum dyes.
This one looks like the best buy.  Tasty brand of candies would be a nice alternative.  I need to see if Sprouts still has them.

Grocery Sales ~ Venerable Bede: The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

What's Cookin'?

If you have a Tom Thumb near you, they currently have organic Fiji apples on sale for $0.99/pound!!! Wish I could've gotten more!

Have an Albertsons?  I got hormone-free Tillamook cheese on sale 50% off (buy one, get one)!!  So, it ended up cheaper than the Wal-Mart brand cheese at only $2.00/8 oz or $3.99/lb.  I've rationed it and we'll use the last block up for pizza tonight (Colby Jack) but 4 packs lasted us several weeks.  So, even though that particular sale may or may not be going on in your store (I've found that they differ from place to place), I wanted to let you know just in case.  I go in weekly to Albertsons and specifically check for sales on Tillamook cheese, Challenge Butter, and Sanderson chicken.  A few weeks ago I got hormone-free Challenge butter for $2.99/pound (Wal-Mart butter with added ingredients is $3.49 here).  Some days I walk out empty-handed and others with a bag and a big smile :).

What's Schoolin'?

The olders are reading Bede.  This is wonderful - how did I ever miss it through all of my schooling?  After reading Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine) written during Ancient Rome, this was a natural sequel. Venerable Bede died just before the Viking raids began (just to give you an anchor). Below are their reading assignments for this book.  I went back and added Caedmon's story because it was specifically alluded to in our Brit Lit spine.  There is a link to the pdf in case anyone wants to print it out easily.  You may notice that they weren't required to read the entire book.  This is more of a survey reading of the book but with a good enough chunk to make an impact.  It will also fit right in with their studies of Church History.

I happen to have Augustine Came to Kent (Grades 4 and up) so they can read that for fun since they'll have read the account in Bede's Book I.  Youngest snagged it before the olders and who am I to stand in the way of her "eager to read" phase?  Following the child and a prepared environment can really be this simple sometimes! [Oh, and as part of this phase and her "prepared environment," we checked out about 6 more Hank the Cowdog books this weekend!  Her last reading response card activity that she chose was a diorama of a scene from a Hank book.]

Note:  The free Kindle book above is really hard to read.  I found another free pdf online somewhere but, although better, was still hard to read.  If you can get your hands on a hard copy it will be easier on your eyes.  I found a copy (the little green one in the link above) in a tiny small-town library and in a university library.  World Cat can show you where to look.

Pdf link:

The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation
(Everyman's Library Edition)
Venerable Bede

Read the intro pp. V-XI. [From the beginning up to “If by that time a new wave of Scandinavian invaders had overwhelmed the houses where Bede lived and worked, he had taken his turn in handing on the torch of life in its strange passage round the confines of the Northern world.”]

Book I through Chapter XXVII (Stop after Augustine's 7th question): pp. 1 – 42

Chapter XXXI – XXXIV and first page of Book II Chapter 1 (Pope Gregory's death): pp. 54-59

Chapters VI – XI (of Book II): p. 74 – 86

Book IV, chapter XXIV: p. 205 – 208 (Story of Caedmon)

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Practical Life [Olders] ~ Menu

These are a few of the Practical Life opportunities in which our children were involved this weekend as a natural part of "eclectic living" :).

1 - Middle dd is making feed bag bags to sell to help with our 4-H activities.  Here is an excellent tutorial.  I just need the nylon straps so we don't have to make the straps from the bags.  I've already washed and dried the bags for her.

2 - Youngest dd is making dog leashes from old jeans that I have stashed away.  She plans on selling these also if we can make several.

This has some really, really cute ideas for recycling jeans:

3 - We did a lot of cleaning in the garage and weeded most of the front beds yesterday.  Oldest dd spent some time organizing her 4-H papers, college promos that she's been getting in the mail, etc.

4 - Menu planning.  We sat together and brainstormed dinners, lunches, and snacks (in that order) for this week.  We also listed things to get from the store [1 lb ground chicken sausage (from Fran's Fryers, less than $4/lb); Organic Pasta Sauce ; organic potatoes; and cucumber].  We'll divide both the beef and sausage into thirds to get 6 meals out of them.  The biggest help for me, though, is brainstorming prep work ["Prep Tasks" that they can help me with beforehand to keep the meals moving along].  I printed out our previous brainstorm list to use for narrowing things down this week.  You can it here.

Here is our  Prep Task list for this week:
Cook rice
Cook beef and chicken sausage
Cook beans - soak/cook
Make bread
Make tortillas
Make almond or peanut butter
Make rolls
Make granola bars
Boil eggs
Make crackers

Menu for the Week (created by the children):


- Chicken and Rice with Spinach (the spinach is what's left after making the Shamrock Peppermint Milkshake for St. Patrick's Day)
- Tacos (1/3 lb beef, sour cream, lettuce)
- Bean and Cheese Melts (for when we need a healthy fast meal!)
- Spaghetti (1/3 lb beef)
- Homemade Pizza (1/3 lb chicken sausage)
- Chili (mostly beans with 1/3 lb beef)
- Potato Soup (1/3 lb chicken sausage)


- Lumpias (egg rolls)(rice, meat, cheese)
- Bean and cheese melts/tacos
- Sandwiches
- Egg Salad Sandwiches
Sides:  oranges, carrots, cucumber, raisins


- Cereal (I splurged and got a box of organic Cascadian Farms fruit and nut cereal which is only 1 meal/snack with a tiny bit left over)
- Carrots
- Crackers with peanut or almond butter
- Homemade granola bars
- Trail mix
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Pumpkin muffins (maybe)
- Crackers with cream cheese
- Popcorn

This real food menu by my children is part of Real Food Wednesday.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

What's Schoolin'?

Children can color in Ireland on a map of the World or Europe.  They can also label and color a detailed map of Ireland.

Here are some beautiful coloring pages:

Here is a short biography:

History of the holiday (not St. Patrick biography):

This has a ton of St. Patrick ideas and many are Montessori-ish:

For Holy cards you can image google St. Patrick Holy cards and find a zillion.

What's Cookin'?

Either baked potatoes, roasted potatoes, potato soup, or fried potatoes would fit perfectly.

This Irish Potato Candy looks like a mix between our butter frosting and cream cheese frosting.  Mmmm.  Then it's rolled in cinnamon (I'm thinking maybe a few chocolate ones too?):

This is the Catholic Cuisine page for St. Patrick.  I've linked the ones I plan on doing below (maybe not all this year!):

Cucumber snake snack:

This veggie flag looks appealing:

Irish Potato Pancakes (good for St. Brigid also):

Here is an idea for sweet shamrock pretzels.  I know I have a recipe for soft pretzels around here somewhere...  Snake shapes would work too.

Shamrock Toasties (note: green bell pepper, cheese, bread slices):

One thing that I've missed is hard pretzels.  They used to be such an easy snack for the kids!  I can't find any anywhere that we can eat.  I may be able to adapt this idea using the greens from Sunspire candies and maybe make flat truffles or something like that:

This Peppermint Candy Shake is awesome.  [Note to self:  get vanilla ice cream ahead of time!] Making homemade peppermint patties is tedious (I usually only make them for birthday requests for dc) so here is what I'm thinking... Chop up some Enjoy Life chocolate chips in the mini-chopper.  Instead of the 1/2 cup peppermint patties listed in the recipe we could put in the chopped chocolate chips, 2 drops of peppermint oil (I love the one from Nature's Sunshine and 2 drops is what I use in a mild batch of peppermint patties), and either honey or powdered rapadura (powdered in the blender so it's not as crunchy).  Those are the main ingredients in peppermint patties anyway :).

Irish Soda Bread:

I thought I would offer an Irish Soda Bread as part of my new home bakery this upcoming week in honor of St. Patrick.  Here are some possibilities:

Easy Irish Soda Bread (uses baking powder so not traditional version): (I could swap out buttermilk for the sour cream) (also uses baking powder) :

Here is a great website about traditional Irish Soda Bread:

This one from Catholic Cuisine looks pretty identical.  I'm thinking of trying 3 C white whole wheat with 2 C buttermilk.  Set it out to ferment already in the pan and then pop it in the oven.

I ended up calling my dear friend and got a recipe from her that worked great (thanks, P.!!).  It was so good.  Right now I'm fiddling with a soaked white whole wheat version.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lent ~ Papal Conclave

What's Schoolin'?

We've set out our Stations of the Cross candles on the mantle.  Now I just need to find my handy dandy booklet that goes with them!  I may just have to print something from online. [Scroll down a bit at this post to see our Stations candles.]

For our Catholic group we are hosting this week we plan on making individual crowns of thorns using salt dough and tooth picks.  When you do something nice or make a sacrifice you take out one of the thorns.  I think the idea is to trade it out for jelly beans on Easter morning to surprise the children.  I need to start searching for dye-free jelly bean options. [Update: Since they will each have individual crowns this year I can easily exchange them for small bags of Sunspire Sun Drops Chocolate Candies. No dyes.]
[You can find more dye-free treat options HERE.][Surf Sweets has organic jelly beans HERE, but I have never seen them locally.]

We'll also be doing a very simplified version of 'Hide the Alleluia.'  I'm just printing some outlined Alleluias on cardstock with a fold so they can stand up.  The children will decorate with markers and glitter.  Ideally they would color it gold and sprinkle gold or silver glitter but I'll let them just decorate however they wish.  Then they will hide their sign in an envelope.  Using a purple color/marker they will write "Open After Lent" on the outside of the envelope.  I was going to say "Do not open until Easter" but wanted to use the word Lent instead of Easter on the envelope.  On Easter they can take it out and display it.  Here is my inspiration:

This explanation of the Papal election and Conclave is perfect to read aloud to the group of such varying ages that we'll be hosting.

This coloring page from Happy Saints will also be available for anyone in the group that wants to color it.  Ours are already displayed on our kitchen cabinets.  If you use a dark color for the background that the white really pops out :).

Other Papal resources:

This outstanding lapbook is really making the rounds in cyberspace!  It's beautiful.  Amazing. We'll be doing it as a family as soon as my oldest gets through the SAT next Sat (sigh - poor thing is starting to stress - prayers appreciated!). If you don't follow her blog yet, you won't be disappointed!

Please visit this blog for some of the below ideas and more:

I also plan on using this with our family - great board game!

We'll watch this also:

Here is a great election of the Pope trivia quiz for olders:

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