Saturday, October 31, 2015

Blessed Mother Teresa and Saint John Paul II


Virgin Mary, Queen of all the Saints, help us to be gentle and humble of heart like this fearless messenger of Love. Help us to serve every person we meet with joy and a smile. Help us to be missionaries of Christ, our peace and our hope. Amen! ~ Pope John Paul II, at Beatification of Mother Teresa

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Quick & Easy Homemade Paper Crowns

Last year I had elaborate plans to make the girls lace princess crowns (like these) for their saint costumes using lace ribbon, fabric stiffener, and glitter paint. I ran out of time and the bag of supplies is still sitting in my closet...

Instead, just before our party started, I printed out a couple templates and quickly cut out crowns from some gold/silver poster board I happened to have on hand. They were so easy to make and turned out lovely!


Gold/Silver Poster Board - gold on one side, silver on the other (or use whatever color you have)
Acrylic Gems (optional) 
Paper Crown Templates - I used this template and this template
Stapler and Staples  (or use a Hot Glue Gun)

First I cut out the template and traced it onto the poster board until it was long enough to wrap my daughters head and connect together, overlapping a bit. I cut just inside of my traced lines so that they wouldn't show while wearing it - whether on the front or inside, you can see both. I overlapped the edges a bit and stapled it together. A hot glue gun would have looked a little better, but I was short on time! ;) 

St. Margaret of Scotland - Victorian Rose Princess Dress

My oldest daughter decorated her crown with acrylic gems. 

My youngest daughter left her crown plain gold for Our Lady of Mount Carmel and we created a smaller crown for Baby Jesus using the scraps from cutting out her crown. It worked out perfectly! 

 You can scroll through all our past Saint Costumes here or listed here

Monday, October 26, 2015

Celebrating the Saints :: Our Annual All Hallows' Eve Party {2014 Edition}

I am finally preparing for this year's All Hallows' Eve party and realized that I never did share pictures from our 2014 party! I'm taking a little break from party planning this evening to share them now, along with some details about our usual schedule for the evening, what I ask each family to bring, and the additional games we played at our last party. 

I was actually considering taking a break from hosting our party this year, but our children look forward to it ALL. YEAR. LONG. Thankfully, after looking through all these pictures, I'm reminded that it really isn't that hard of a party to host and is such a beautiful way to celebrate the saints with our friends and family! Plus, it's our tradition! At least I now have lots of helpers and we will all get an extra hour of sleep next Sunday morning. ;)

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The Schedule for the Evening:

4:00 - Arrive, Outdoor Games

5:00 - Rosary, Litany of the Saints & Group Photo

5:30 - Potluck Dinner/Hearty Appetizers & Refreshments

6:30 - Saint Presentations, Additional Games & Roasting Marshmallows

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I purchased big bags of candy at Costco to fill Ora Pro Nobis Candy Boxes and various additional candy or treats to fill the All Saints Guessing Jars. I also watch for Costco's coupon/discount on the 30 count boxes of full size candy bars (I buy one or two, depending on the size of our party) to hand out to each little "saint" as a treat for giving a short presentation on who they came dressed as for the party, along with a little tag/reminder. Each family helps by bringing 1 pound of candy per child they are bringing to the party to be used as prizes for the various games. 

Our party has always been a Potluck. Each family brings a Main Dish OR Hearty Appetizer plus a Side Dish OR Dessert. We provide all the paper plates/napkins/utensils and bottled water. I always have a big pot of Hot Apple Cider simmering on the stove (I love these mulling spices!) and coffee brewing.

You can find my most popular All Saints Party Printables here

.: Our 2014 Saints :.

One of the families arrived late and is missing from the group photo, but here are at least most of the saints from our 2014 party. All the costumes were so creative and beautiful!

St. Patrick, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Michael, St. Luke, St. Margaret of Scotland, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Helena - All Saints in Heaven, Pray for us!

My Mom was out of town if I remember correctly (I think she was at one of my brother's golf tournaments) and Dad has never been a huge fan of big "crowds" (you'd think he'd be use to them by now after raising 12 kids!) but he stopped by for a little visit before our party began to see all the costumes! This picture makes me so happy. 

...and there is the little St. Michael who was missing from the picture with Grandpa! 

.: Decorating Cookies :. 

One of the moms offered to bring cookies for the children to decorate! It was a perfect activity for them to do in shifts as we waited for everyone to arrive. 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel waited until everyone else was finished and there was room to lay Baby Jesus down on the table while she carefully decorated her cookie. 

.: Saint Pictionary :. 

Like usual, my friend Trina coordinated a couple of the games for the party. One of the games she brought was the supplies (a big whiteboard, eraser, markers) to play Saint Pictionary!  She would give each child a saint to draw. The first person to guess correctly would win some candy and then get a turn to draw a saint.  They had a blast!!

"Hey! I know who that is!!! He looks just like me!! IT'S SAINT PATRICK!!!" 


"Ummmmm..... Saaaaiiinnnt Therese????"

This was actually the first year we had our patio for the party and it was so nice! 

.: Holy Rosary & Potluck Dinner :.

Once everyone, including Father Carmelo, had arrived we prayed a rosary and litany of the saints. We prayed that we may all one day be Saints in Heaven, as well as for our Departed Clergy, Departed Family, Departed Friends, and for the Forgotten Dead. 


After our Rosary, Father blessed the food and led us in prayer once again. Time to eat! 

St. Helena made a Chocolate Cross Cake! (You can find our cross cake pan here.)

.: All Saints Guessing Jars :. 

Apparently the All Saints Guessing Jars are my children's absolute favorite All Hallows' Eve/All Saints' Day Party Game. I guess their friends really love it too and have already been asking them, "Is your mom going to have the Saint Guessing Jars again?!?!?!"

We ended up with a few ties and gave the winners the option of splitting the prize or doing a drawing with the winner's names. We also only allowed each person to win one jar. If they won more than once they choose which of the jars they wanted to keep and the other jar went to the second place winner.  

Captain ended up winning the St. Thomas Aquinas "Smarties", Rascal won the St. Patrick gummy "Snakes", Twinkle Toes won the St. Bernadette Pretzels "Sticks", and Chiquita won the St. Gertude "Holy Souls". 

.: St. Isidore's Harvest Tic-Tac-Toe :.

The second game that Trina brought was St. Isidore's Harvest Tic-Tac-Toe. Using sticks and various harvest themed produce, the children all got into groups to play on the patio. 

.: All Saints Scavenger Hunt :.

Next it was time for another All Saints Scavenger Hunt. Trina explained the game to the kids and broke them into groups (older kids with younger kids) while I passed out the Saint Pictures/Answers to the older teens/adults and the list of clues to the children. 

The goal is to match each clue to the correct saint. Once the child thinks he knows who it is, he will ask the person representing (holding the picture of) the saint. If he is correct the "saint" signs the line next to the correct clue on his child's clue sheet.

I loved St. Lawrence's costume! 

.: Saint Presentations :.

As always I had special treats for all the children who came dressed as a saint and stood up to share a little bit about him/her with everyone.

.: All Hallows' Eve Bonfire :.

.: Saint Bingo :.

We played All Saints Bingo again this year...
...and then my kids stayed up extra late swapping candy with some of their friends. 

"Anyone interested in a cord of Smarties?"  ;) 

Almighty and eternal God, who hast granted us to venerate the merits of all Thy saints in one celebration: we beg Thee to bestow upon us the desired abundance of Thy mercy on account of this great number of intercessors. 

All Saints in Heaven, Pray for us!