I’m surrounded by natural beauty – most notably in the beautiful squishiness of our newest addition, Beckett. He was born on a very hot, humid August day – the feast of St. Dominic. The doctor was a bit late to the delivery because the elevator was out of order, and he almost arrived without her assistance. He’s a squishy, fat, bundle of love of which his older siblings can’t get enough. I’m spending my maternity leave soaking in his goodness – the smell of his milky breath, the rolls upon rolls of baby fat, and the quiet calmness of his coos. I’m in awe of this little man.
It’s 2014, and I think our family is part of an estimated 3.7%* of the Western world’s population that still sits down at the table to eat supper together most nights of the week. (*I made that statistic up, but you get the idea.) In our house, this phenomenon is made possible by what I like to call our “Perfect Storm of Availability”: tiny humans not yet overly involved in zany extracurriculars, a SAHD who cooks almost every night of the week, and a mom who works very reasonable hours and is home at roughly the same time each day. I know that eventually, our family dynamic will change, and we won’t always eat together at one specific time every day of the week. Still, it’s important to my husband and I that we make the family dinner a priority, especially as the kids get older and our schedules get busier. I know that not every family has this luxury, and there are nights when Superman is at class and I am mighty tempted to just curl up on the couch with a bowl of cereal after the kids are in bed. Mostly, though, I look forward to our family suppers together. We have a lot of fun at our dinner table, and it’s over food and beverage that our kids really open up and talk to us. I love that food does that! Think about it – when we grab a cup of coffee with a friend or go to happy hour with coworkers or celebrate a birthday – most of our most meaningful memories with friends and family revolve around food. Our family table is no different.
As a mom of four who works outside of the home, it’s always particularly challenging for me to try and find ways to bring the Liturgical Year of the Church alive for our family. A few years ago we decided that we were determined to do a little something special on favorite feast days during the year to drive home the idea that our Church is a Church of celebration. There is much throughout the year to celebrate, enjoy, and live our hope in joy! We started out slowly, celebrating each child’s patron saint’s feast day. We usually do this by making cupcakes or letting the child pick what we eat for supper that night. Slowly, we began adding little crafts or special foods for other feast days. Along the way, I have come to realize that the easiest way to highlight a feast day is by preparing foods for supper or dessert that accurately portray the type of cuisine local to the region where the saint lived. For instance, on St. Joseph’s feast day (March 19th), I make my good friend’s recipe for mostaccioli as an homage to his popularity in Sicily.
Another time, we had goldfish crackers on the feast of St. Anthony, which led to a great retelling of the legend where the saint couldn’t find anyone who’d listen to his sermons – so he went to a nearby stream and preached to the fish! One day when I was feeling particularly adventuresome, we invited a few friends over to make cornbread and wooden spoon dolls to celebrate the feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Most of the time, though, dinnertime is the best time to enjoy saint-centric conversation and foods. Continue reading →
Y’all. Y’ALL!!!! It’s only 16 days til Advent, and counting. The Liturigcal Year is almost over (come on feast of Christ the King!) and we are about to celebrate our Catholic New Year! Sit back, pour some champagne, and check out these super-cool, Adventy-quick takes 🙂