Thursday, October 31, 2013

Celebrating the Saints :: Our 2013 Costumes!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Juan Diego, St. Gregory the Great, St. John of the Cross, St. John Vianney, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Catherine of Sienna - All Saints in Heaven, Pray for us! 

The excitement has been building all week in our home as we prepare to celebrate the feast of All Saints and welcome over sixty guests to our home this evening for our annual All Hallows' Eve Party! (You can find pictures from last year's celebration here.)

I am taking a little break from the final preparations to pop in real quick to say THANK YOU for the outpouring of support and encouragement!!!  I wish I could respond personally to each of you and want you all to know how very much every comment/email, along with all the extra prayers, is appreciated.  God bless you all!

Also, I wanted to share this year's saint costumes!  I took these pictures on our way to our parish's All Saints Costume Contest last Friday night and my children will be wearing them all again this evening.  We actually ended up coming home with two prizes!  Chiquita won 3rd place in the 0-10 age category and Rascal won 2nd place in the 11-Adult age category!    I am so thankful that I wasn't one of the judges... There is no way that I would have been able to choose favorites.  I loved them all!

.: St. John Vianney :. 

Captain (age 13) dressed as St. John Vianney

Costume:  Reusing the cassock from Our Coats of Many Colors (these costumes are such a great investment and this particular one has been used in some way for four years in a row now!), Dad's Surplus, a lovely purple stole made by a friend, a piece of black felt used for the collar, holding his crucifix, and white flour to add some "gray" to his hair! 

.: St. Gregory the Great :. 

Rascal (age 11) dressed as St. Gregory the Great

Costume: White gown from my childhood saint costume, a purple chasuble made by a dear friend (she will be opening an Etsy store soon!!), my brother's old miter (which Captain also used in 2008 - it just needed a few repairs and ribbons added to the back), and a sheet of chant!

.: St. Catherine of Sienna :. 

Twinkle Toes (age 10) as St. Catherine of Sienna

Costume: white St. Lucia gown, detached white collar and wimple/veil from our past St. Therese and St. Clare costumes, a black rosary and cross - both gifts from her Uncle Father D.G., white lilies (from her St. Gabriel costume back in 2005!),  our lenten crown of thorns, and (red marker) the stigmata on her hands.

.: Our Lady of Guadalupe :. 

Chiquita (age 8) as Our Lady of Guadalupe 

Costume : homemade veil (made at the last minute last friday with green fabric, gold trim and iron on stars), a red dress (reused from the St. Margaret of Scotland costume in 2009), black ribbon and some white roses. 

.: St. Juan Diego :. 

Snuggles (age 6) as St. Juan Diego 

Costume: A white t-shirt of daddy's, rope for a belt, brown sandals, a borrowed sombrero, a piece of fabric tied around his neck with a fabric image of our lady pinned on the front in addition to crocheted rosary roses.  I also used some of my eye liner for the little mustache and goatee he wanted! 

.: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton :. 

Rose (age 3) as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Costume: reusing the costume made by Grandma in 2006, a black rosary, and an American Cardinal Reader Primer (which can now be purchased from TAN! Yay!) 

.: St. John of the Cross :. 

Bud (age 1) as St. John of the Cross

Costume:  Once again using my little brother's old St. Anthony costume from 1991 along with our homemade tonsure, a ivory cape from St. Therese's costume, and a wooden cross from our vestment liturgical colors set

I was very happy that, other than a few supplies for Chiquita's veil and a couple items that a friend made for me (more details on those soon!) all the costumes were pulled together with things that we already owned and from the costume box our children love to use year round!

Happy All Hallows' Eve and Feast of All Saints! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Little Blessings

It seems like lately, more often than not, I wonder if I should quit blogging, at least publicly. Is it worth all the time that it takes?  Is it worth all the negative/rude comments? (I moderate all comments now and usually delete any that are an attack on me, my family or my visitors.  Occasionally I do decide to respond.)  Is it worth seeing my family's pictures taken without permission, even turned into memes and shared all over the internet?  Does the blog make a difference? Every time I start to pray about whether or not I should continue, God sends a little sign that it does indeed make a difference in so many more ways than I have even considered. Last week that sign came from the VP of Publishing at TAN Books! Here is a little excerpt from his email (which also included a generous gift card!) that totally made my day:

"...In my search to learn more [about Neumann Press' titles], I stumbled upon your blog, filled with beautiful pictures of the titles. My entire team gathered around the conference room and our big screen TV and looked carefully at each picture you featured. I can not tell you how helpful this was. Your blog helped solidified in me a decision to reach out to the McCoy family and to learn about the company..."

I had absolutely no idea, but I am so glad that I was able to play a small part in keeping the treasures from Neumann Press available! God is Good!

And as of today Shower of Roses is officially an affiliate for TAN Books!  Have you pre-ordered any of the Neumann Press children's books for Christmas yet?!   :)

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All Saints' Party Games :: Saint Themed Guessing Jars

A few days ago I happened to run across the link to some Saint Themed Guessing Jars at Catholic Inspired.  I loved the idea and and was inspired to create a variation for our annual All Hallows' Eve / All Saints' Party which we will be hosting again this week!

I prefer to keep the games simple for the party we host at our home, focusing on mostly group games like our All Saints Scavenger Hunt, All Saints Bingo, and the All Saints Puzzle Races - leaving plenty of time for standing around the bonfire, roasting marshmallows, lots of great food and visiting with friends and family.  This game will be a perfect addition and something that everyone will be able to participate in, both the children and adults!  

When I was out grocery shopping this past weekend I picked up a few of the original suggestions, adapting and adding some of my own ideas as well.  I then created saint themed labels for each jar.

I decided to use my Wide Mouth Mason Jars with White Storage Lids. (I plan to dump the contents of each jar into a treat bag or ziplock for each of the winners.)


St. Thérèse of Lisieux :: I didn't have much luck finding candy roses, but I couldn't leave St. Therese out of the game, so I used my rose candy molds and red and pink candy melts to make my own! ;) 


Our Lady of Mount Carmel ::  I opted for individually wrapped Rolo's.  Not only are they filled with caramel, but they are wrapped in gold and look like little crowns, don't you think?  Regular caramels would work great too.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton :: I thought the Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies from Trader Joe's would be perfect for this dear saint who laid the foundation for what became the American parochial school system.


Holy Souls :: One bag of Jetpuffed Ghostmallows will represent the "Holy Souls" in purgatory, for whom we must always remember to pray.


The Holy Trinity :: Miniature "3 Musketeers" candy bars represent our one and the same God in three Divine Persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

St. Francis of Assisi :: I also picked up the box of Animal Crackers at Trader Joe's, though any brand would work just as well for St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of Animals.

St. Isidore :: Any sort of fruit or vegetable shaped candies would work for St. Isidore, the patron of farmers.  I choose candy pumpkins.  If we do this again next year I might go with candy corn!


St. Anthony :: Colored Goldfish will represent the legend of St. Anthony and the multitudes of fish that rose out of the water to listen to him preach.


St. Andrew :: Rainbow Fish were our pick for St. Andrew, the patron of fisherman.  

I also created labels for Mary's Starry Mantle (Anything star shaped would work - Yogurt Stars from TJ's, Star Shaped Pretzels, or handmade Star Candies) and St. Nicholas (Costco has a large bag of Chocolate Coins that a friend is picking up - the extras can be saved for St. Nicholas Day which is coming up in just over a month!).

To keep each person's guesses secret I also created little sheets of paper for each contestant to write their name and guess, before folding it in half and dropping it into an empty jar with a matching label.

  Our children are so excited and can hardly wait to start guessing!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday morning, after Mass, we headed to the Pumpkin Patch!  Just like last year, we met my brother Brian and his family there, as well as my youngest brother David, Aunt Bridget and Uncle Shawn.  This year even my parents decided to drive out as well!  (I don't remember my dad ever going to the pumpkin patch with us as children, since we always went with our homeschool group.)  It was such a fun day! 

Family Picture with my Parents and Youngest Brother
Our Little Family :) 

.: Pony Rides :. 

Most of the different activities at this particular farm require "tickets" so the children each choose a couple things each from the list.  Riding ponies was at the top of the list for Snuggles and Rose.  

Bud, on the other hand, wasn't quite sure what they were and wouldn't go anywhere near the ponies! He loved the tire swings though! 

.: Corn Maze :.

I didn't have any plans to go in the corn maze again this year, especially after getting lost with Chiquita last year, but the workers ended up letting each of the older ones go in with a younger one so we had plenty of tickers and I decided to give it another shot.   

I was able to take one quick group picture (with Rascal's bubble gum popping on his face) before they were off and left Bud and I in the dust. 

Here are a couple pictures I posted on Instagram while we were lost in the maze.

Bud and I were enjoying spending time together... 

... and just as when he was too tired to walk any further Daddy showed up to help us find our way out! 

.: Shooting Galley :. 

The shooting gallery was a blast! Our short little Snuggles was about a foot shy of the height requirements, much to his disappointment, but the older boys (all of them!) were having a great time trying to hit the pumpkin targets. 

Brian, Rascal, David, Dad, Sean and Captain - Ready, Aim, Fire! 

It was so much fun to watch Brian *almost* hit that moving target! ;) 

And I couldn't resist giving it a shot.  I didn't hit the pumpkin, but it did go through the middle of the tire!  So close... 

.: Cousins :. 

All the kids piled up on the wagon for a picture with their sweet little cousin. 

.: Pumpkin Patch :. 

While everyone else was searching for pumpkins, Rascal was busy creating a Pumpkinman! 

Unfortunately, just as we were about to decide on some pumpkins, the clouds rolled in unexpectedly, the rain started, and we all headed straight to the car without leaving all the pumpkins in the field.Instead we picked up a few at Trader Joe's on the way home, following a relaxing afternoon eating pizza and assembling a puzzle with all everyone at Brian and Meagan's home.  

Now we just need to decide what to carve this year