Showing posts with label Michaelmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michaelmas. Show all posts

Happy Family Times--Family Dinner

Have you done anything fun with your family? Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I are collecting different family activities in hopes to inspire all of us to have more quality family time. Please share below and check out both mine and Kelly's stories for the week!

Growing up my family ate dinner as a family in the dining room. We used our good china and good silver every night (well Monday through Friday). Their belief was always if we have it we should use it and enjoy it. The only thing that was not used regularly were the Waterford Crystal glasses (my grandparents brought back from Ireland) and some other fancy glasses that were all hand wash only. My mother also would say if we ever were robbed she would be most upset about losing the silver since it had our teeth marks in it from when we were teething.

It was at these family dinners that we (my sisters and I) learned our table manners. I still remember my father's reaction to my sister's elbows on the table. I learned fast not to do that even by mistake. It was also where we heard about each other's day and what was planned for the next one. Now I had a parent at home with me until I entered third grade. (My father was in construction, so when there was no work he was the one home. Yes, I was one of the only kids growing up that had my father chaperone class trips.) When both parents were working as I was in third grade our chore system started. This included cooking dinner once a week (Monday through Friday). The weekends were a bit a free for all and it depended on who was around. So yes, my father and I learned to cook together when I was in third grade.
Our dining room set (at my birthday party)

I think this is why having a dining room set and good china was important to me when I got married. We bought our dining room set right before we got married and considered it our wedding gift to one another. Our china was on our registry. Well actually it was our second set of china. One of my friends who had lost her husband and daughter gave me her china set that she bought from a retiring couple when she was on her honeymoon. She said she never used it and had no one else to give it to.
The china my friend gave me
This beautiful china is hand wash only, so we do not use it very often. I knew I wanted some every day china to use like my family had growing up. So we also picked a Lenox pattern to have something we could throw in the dishwasher.  Of course, it became discontinued (as did everything we registered for) just before the wedding. We picked it knowing we would want it to have blue and pink flowers to match the first one.
Swedish Rose pattern by Lenox China
Our Lenox Dishes
Our set also had matching silverware or I should say stainless steel flatware. We got those as well. Whatever we hadn't gotten but wanted we bought from our registry since it was being discontinued. So recently we started eating in the dining room with our good china. We started doing it  a few weeks ago, but stopped when Hazel got sick. So Saturday we started again with our Michaelmas celebration.

For our Michaelmas meal, I made Harvest Apple Soup. I followed the recipe from How Sweet It Is for the most part, but made a few changes. I used closer to two cups of pumpkin since our small pumpkin from my father's garden gave me two cups. I also tasted it while it was cooking and thought it needed a little something more so I added some cinnamon and nutmeg. Hazel and I loved it. Steve (who doesn't like pumpkin) did not.
Then we made our huckabuck bread. We used the recipe that the teachers used in our parent/child class last year. This time I used my Kitchen Aid to make it and knead it. It came out wonderfully. I shaped it as a dragon and used the rest to make small sword rolls.
 Then for dessert instead of the traditional blackberry dessert we had a raspberry tarte. It was in our freezer from awhile ago. We also don't really like blackberries so I figured raspberries were close enough.
Overall, it was a lovely dinner. We have continued to have dinner in the dining room. Steve and I were talking tonight about how it is more relaxing. Plus I can already tell we are teaching Hazel more table manners. Everything is more formal when you are in the dining room versus the kitchen.
Where do you eat your dinner?

Now it is your turn to share how your family has spent some quality time lately.

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Hazel dressed at St. George ready to slay the dragon
September 29th is Michaelmas. If you haven't been following I posted some information about our preparations with dragons and harvest. Last year was the first time we celebrated this holiday, but it is a traditional holiday in the Waldorf education as well as the Catholic Church (though my Catholic husband didn't know about it).

To celebrate we dressed Hazel as St. George with her yellow cape, crown and sword. Traditionally it would be a wooden sword, but we have inflatable ones from a birthday party so we used one of those. I dressed up as the dragon using Hazel's dinosaur costume mask. It was definitely more dinosaur than dragon than I remembered so next year we will make a mask. I also held up the dragon I made her. Steve wanted nothing to do with our re-enactment, but I did get him to take a picture.

We also read the short story of St. George and the dragon from A Book of Dragons by Hosie and Leonard Baskin (Steve did listen to this). Then at bed time I read Sunflower Swords by Mark Sperring and Miriam Latimer and Dragon Tooth by Cathryn Falwell.

Our other big activity was making salt dough dragons and fall decorations. We made three colors of salt dough: green, red, and orange. Then we went outside to get some things to make texture on our ornaments. We used cookie cutters (leaves, acorn, Halloween, and dinosaurs--to be dragons and circle for the textured ornaments). Then in the circle ones we pressed leaves, branches, flowers, acorns, pine cones, etc. to leave texture. Hazel used her own rolling pin and really had a blast doing this. They are still in the oven or should I say the first two trays are, but will come out soon. Oh, and we poked holes in all of them with a straw.

Then we had a lovely dinner. We made huckabuck bread using the recipe from our Parent/Child Waldorf class last year. I shaped it into a dragon bread and sword rolls. This was our favorite part of dinner. We also had Harvest Apple Soup, but I changed the recipe slightly. Then for dessert we had a raspberry tarte from Trader Joe's. It should have been defrosted a bit more, but we enjoyed it. I will share more details about our family dinner on Tuesday for Happy Family Times!

As for today, I am thinking about what inner dragons I can slay. Enjoy!! Happy Michaelmas!

Preparing for Michaelmas

Yesterday I shared a bit about the story of St. George and the dragon Now Michaelmas is viewed as a celebration of the harvest as well as the slaying of the dragon. Waldorf Schools like to focus on slaying your inner dragon. I will share a few more dragon books with you and also go check the posts at Seasons of Joy on Taming the Inner Dragons, so far she has done Guilt and ResponsibilityFear of Failure, Fear of Success and Anger.
  • Saint George and the Dragon retold by Margaret Hodges is the story of St. George and the dragon. I found it a little above the level for Hazel's understanding and will not read it to her. However for older children it would be great.
  • A Book of Dragons by Hosie and Leonard Baskin gives summaries and a picture of various dragons throughout history including St. George and his dragon. I will read this summary to Hazel.
  • The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola is a cute tale about a knight and a dragon who go to fight one another and have a few issues. In the end they open a restaurant together.
I'm still waiting for three more dragon books from the library. Hopefully I will get them by Saturday. I will let you know if they are any good if I do.
I also have Hazel's things ready to reenact fighting the dragon. We have her sword (inflatable, but traditional Waldorf would be wooden), a yellow cape, a crown and of course a dragon. I just told Steve maybe we would make him a dragon costume and have him dress up as the dragon. Hmmm, come to think of it we have a dinosaur/dragon costume in Hazel's dress ups. I wonder if it will fit him. We'll see if he will go along with it.
Michaelmas is also about the harvest and food is very important. Blackberries are often served due to an old Irish folk tale of Satan landing on blackberry brambles when he fell from heaven and he returns each 29th of September to spit on the fruit of the plants he landed on and of course his spit makes the fruit inedible after that date. (Source)

I think I will try this recipe for Harvest Apple Soup. I'm not sure Steve will like it but it sounds like something Hazel and i will love. We will also make dragon bread as I described yesterday. Our plan is to make it with our huckabuck bread recipe from our parent/child class last year. Then since none of us really like blackberries, I think I will serve either a raspberry tart (I have one in my freezer that we need to use up) or an apple pie.
A Simple Fall Craft Hazel Made from Mostly Natural Things from Walks

There are many recipes available on line for bread, stew/soup, goose, and pie. The tradition of goose has to do with paying quarterly rents in England and for Michaelmas you gave a goose with your rent. (Source) Here are a few:
I also plan to make some salt dough to make some dragon and autumn decorations.  Last year I shared a pretty good round-up of dragon crafts if you are interested. Depending on how Hazel is feeling, we will see what we get done. You could also do a harvest or fall craft. Above I shared a simple natural (or mostly--we used fake leaves) autumn wreath. Hazel just glued some things onto a paper plate that I had cut out the center. Most of the things were found on nature walks.

Well, I hope that gives you some ideas on celebrating Michaelmas! Enjoy!!

Michaelmas & Fighting Your Inner Dragon

I almost forgot to announce the winner of the Show Me a Story Giveaway! The winner is Rondah. Rondah, you have 48 hours to email me back to claim your prize. Congratulations!! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Last year I learned about Michaelmas. It is a Christian Festival celebrated at the Waldorf Schools. It is on September 29th each year. In the Catholic Church it is known as the Feast of St. Michael or All Angels Day. For more information on the Catholic Feast visit here.


Felt dragon we brought to school for the classroom
Today is Michaelmas. This is the day of celebrating of St. Michael and to celebrate the harvest, change of seasons, etc. It is the first year we are celebrating. Last week I knew nothing of the holiday, so this is all new for me. My first question of course was what is Michaelmas? I did some web research and came across a few good sites to help. In general terms wisegeek explains some of the history behind Michaelmas. We of course are looking at the Waldorf side of celebrating. For this I found some great blogs giving information, recipes, etc. to help with the celebration. The first blog is Lady I Swear By All Flowers. She gives details of her celebration (her first time) last year including the story of St. George defeating the dragon which she shortened to be one page. Our Little Nature Nest has a slightly longer version of the story/legend. She also offers a link to a similar story where a little girl slays the dragon, Li Chi Slays The Serpent. Needless to say we will be reading this version as well.

So what is Michaelmas and why am I celebrating it? Michaelmas is the day of celebrating St. Michael the archangel and St. George, St. Michael's earthly form. St. George came to earth and slayed the dragons to save the people. This is the legend in the United Kingdom. So Waldorf education celebrates this day to celebrate the harvest and the start of autumn as well as using the dragon stories as a way of celebrating courage, strength and fighting our own inner demons. What a strong message to send to children. I think it is always positive for children to see that we struggle with our own inner demons and can reflect on it, but also to show them that each one of them has strength and courage to fight them.

Bread before the oven
Bread after baking
From what I have learned on line, it seems a must for celebrating is dragon bread, or bread shaped like a dragon. I found a couple of recipes for this. The first doesn't seem to let the dough rise, so I'm a little suspicious. However, if you are in a rush that would seem like a good thing. The second comes from Our Little Nature Nest (which is one of my main resources today) and lets the dough rise 30 minutes--not a long time, but at least it rises. This is the recipe we are going to use. I used whole almonds for the spikes and almond slivers for the teeth. I found candied sunflower seeds for the eye and the wing.

Dinner tonight will be our main celebration. We are going to have Carrot-Tomato Soup from Soule Mama's blog. (I did find a recipe for dragon soup on Uncommon Grace, but I didn't think my family would actually eat it. However this entry is also a good reference for Michaelmas.) And of course our dragon bread will be served with the soup. Then for dessert I am going to make a Michaelmas Pie (scroll down for this recipe on the link).
Carrot Tomato Soup
Michaelmas Pie

Well, I enjoyed the soup, but no one else seemed to, but that is not a big surprise in my family. The bread was ok, but not great. Next year I will make a better more complex recipe.  We have not cut into the pie yet, but I cheated on that. I used a store bought pie crust and sprinkled cinnamon on it. I'll give you a report on it tomorrow.

Another view of the dragon
And of course I found some dragon crafts for us to try. The first thing I made was the felt dragon. I found the pattern and the instructions on Rhythm of the Home. I promised Hazel I would make her another one if she gave this one to the teachers.

Next we made toilet paper roll dragons. I found this at DLTK. It is of one of the dragons from PBS's Dragon Tales, so it is not too scary of a picture. Hazel had fun coloring and gluing. I did the cutting out. We forgot to glue the tail on mine. Oops!

The last dragon craft we did was a handprint dragon. Ok, really I just traced Hazel's handprint and had her pick out the colors. She was feeling off today, so I did this craft while she rested. I got these instructions from Activity Village. They have many dragon crafts on their site.
Handprint Dragon

Some other dragon crafts can be found on:
Babycenter has one with a 16 ounce cup
Family Fun has a dragon hat and a dragon kite
Activity Village has a sock puppet, Egg box dragon, Wooden Spoon and a You Tube video on making an origami dragon head and many coloring pages
And of course traditionally Waldorf classes focus on autumn crafts for Michaelmas, so you can see any of the days this week for ideas.

Finally I was told today that Michaelmas festivals are for four weeks. I have not found that supported on line, but thought it was interesting. Well enough of our celebration. Happy Michaelmas and Happy Autumn!!