This is a little late in coming. Between illness, regular household business, and typical pregnancy issues, I am just a teensy bit tired come the end of the day. Here is our monthly to-do without further ado (naturally, plans change but this gives me a good idea of what I want to do in an ideal world).
Monthly Dedication: Holy Souls
I like the idea of a picture altar of deceased loved ones. For us, most of our family is still living, and of those who have passed, I do not have pictures of them. For our altar, I instead created a simple gravestone with a simple prayer for the deceased on it, and it stands next to a candle. We will add liturgical items throughout the month. Each night, until Advent, we will say a prayer for the dead using the Little Litany of the Holy Souls.
All Saints Day (November 1st)
- Attend Mass (holy day of obligation).
- Make a list of mine and the kids favorite saints - use this to create 2x2 (or 4x4) squares of "art".
- Play Saints Bingo.
- Decorate with mini pumpkins - write each child's name and meaning on the pumpkin. Carve off the top and put in a candle.
- Play and sing For All the Saints hymn.
- At nightfall, before bed, light a candle and say a rosary for the dead in anticipation of the following day (All Souls).
All Souls Day
- Make a fun breakfast or lunch of ghost toast (ghost-shaped toast with egg middle).
- Enjoy a soul cake.
- Read Father Phillip Tells a Ghost Story.
- Open up discussion on the holy souls.
- Get out the family albums and look through them, telling stories (ideally visiting family, especially the older generation).
- Visit a cemetery - explore and pray for the dead.
- Have a special dinner: soul food of pea soup (add in some cornbread) and top off with a bones of the dead dessert (white chocolate covered pretzel sticks). Decorate with saint-o-lantern, mini pumpkins, baptismal candles (to remind us that we strive to die in our baptismal innocence so that we may be with God in Heaven).
First Friday: St. Martin of Tours (November 4th)
- Tell story of St. Martin of Tours using "puppet" Roman soldier, cloak, and beggar.
- Make a paper bag lantern to use on his feast day.
- Learn a lantern walk song: My Lantern! My Lantern!
- Head to the polls with the kids.
- Make U.S.A. streamers - attach red, white, and blue crepe streamers to a paper towel roll or a paper plate.
- Vote for dinner: have picture ballot of main dish, vegetable, drink, dessert.
- Gift new pjs to the kids (to keep warm through the cold winter).
- Hang up first blessing on our Grateful Tree.
- Decide what to do as a family (individual as well if desired) of what we want to do this holiday season as our charitable act.
- Have a special gathering with our First Friday families to take a traditional lantern walk, sing songs, and follow-up with social time and drinks/snacks.
- **This is also Veteran's Day in the U.S. I will add a bit to our school lesson this day by reading "A Remembrance Day Story," saying a prayer for our veterans and current military men and women, and having the kids do something online (coloring page or puzzle).
- Tell her story and read a poem.
- Pray for the salvation and holiness of relatives (much needed as I am the only practicing Catholic on my husband's side, and the only practicing anything on my family's side).
- Go over spiritual and corporeal works of mercy with the kids.
- Bake bread, giving loaves to others - warm and ready to eat for their supper with a note of explanation of the day and custom.
- Make a Christ the King banner (kind of like this one).
- Possible craft to use for Advent: make crown on poster board and have kids "earn" jewels for the infant Jesus by doing good deeds.
- Have a procession - one carrying a picture of Jesus and another the banner craft - to our altar table. Say prayer and possible play/sing song.
- Follow procession with special dinner: ham with spirit glaze (eat off leftovers before Thanksgiving), scalloped potatoes, green beans, applesauce, rolls, King cake (for us, this is an orange bundt cake with orange rum sauce).
- Visit a local pottery store to have the kids make some Christmas ornaments as gifts (you have to get in early here!).
- Read "The First Thanksgiving Story" and make maple syrup popcorn balls to go along with it.
- Fingerprint turkey craft - when it dries, wrap around a toilet paper roll to use as a table decoration.
- Play some online games and puzzles.
- Day of: meal and board games. New tradition of adding a table runner where we can write something special from the past year. For the day itself, I was planning on staying home, but my in-laws are pushing for us to come visit. Time will tell to see how I feel. Traveling is hard enough, but add to it the fact that I have to basically make an additional meal so the kids and I can take part in the festivities definitely adds to the work when you have to cart it long-distance. They do try to keep it gluten-free, bless them, but then forget about dairy/soy/egg-free (not that I am totally abstaining these days but a day chock-full of that... Not a good idea!).
- Absorbing Artwork using card stock, a rimmed baking sheet, glue, salt, eyedropper, and colored water.
- Watercolor postcards. Write "thank you" on them and send out to family and friends just because.
- Watercolor a bare tree sunset picture as we head toward winter.
- "Blessings" leaf banner for fireplace.
- Grateful Tree - start hanging leaves of "grateful items" starting on Martinmas.
- Spend some time talking about the Liturgical year - perhaps make a wheel for the coming year; hopefully finish my priest vestment craft to go up on our family altar.
- turkey snack
- pear fritters (cinnamon rolls with a twist on the filling) - I really wanted to make this last year and did not so perhaps I will be up to it this year. What a wonderful Thanksgiving morning breakfast (the day is already shot, so why not?).