All Saints Day


Items needed:

Candles and a make-shift alter

The day after Halloween (or All Hallows Eve) is known in the ancient Christian calendar as All Saints Day. Traditionally, it’s November 1st and is about remembering the saints who have gone before us as the days fade into colder, darker hours and winter approaches.

Untraditionally, we suggest you celebrate this holiday sometime this month in a new, creative way.

Gather family and friends together- it can be around the kitchen table, somewhere special outside, or even a planned religious service.

Let there be an open time of sharing.
Ask, “Who has been a “saint” in your life? Someone who’s
been a “light” for you?” It could be someone who’s passed or still with us, someone you know intimately or an artist/writer who’s deeply inspired you from afar, they could be religious or not…

Honor them by naming them, remembering how they’ve lit up your life. Perhaps share a story. Then light a candle to represent them and set it in the area you’ve designated as an alter.

This activity works with a large room of people or even privately on your own. Celebrate how you see fit.

Adventure: Capes and Crowns

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Capes & Crowns
 
When Lucy was a baby, one of her outfits had a tiny
hidden talk bubble on it that said
“This is the begining of something beautiful.” 
This adventure is about speaking mantras into childrens’ lives.
 
Items Needed:
Free fabric samples (perhaps thrown out from a furniture or
design businesses) or other scrap fabric/felt
Plastic jewels
Scissors
Hot Glue Gun
Sharpies
Instructions:
For the September theme of “brave” you’ll be making capes and crowns for kids. Keep a couple for your family or children you know, then donate the rest to a play area of a woman’s shelter or a waiting room at a doctor’s office or somewhere you know they’ll be put to great use and play.
First, cut the fabric samples into the shapes of capes and crowns while using the hot glue gun to add bling in different patterns. Add ribbons or elastic strips that make them wearable. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like. Have sewing skills? If so, reinforce the designs with stiches for extra durability. There are some great templates online you can use as a pattern for the crowns.
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When you’ve made some working items take the sharpie. Here’s the important part:
Hide messages into the capes and crowns. What do you want spoken over your kids? Your friends’ kids or nieces and nephews? The children at the place of donation? We suggest mantras like You are Strong. You can do this. You are loved. Great wisdom and strength is found in you.
And so on.
They may never read the message but these sentiments, like small prayers, will play over them as they dawn these dress up items; these capes and crowns that encourage feats of bravery in their stories.
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August is a Good Month for a Picnic

Gather the picnic basket (or whatever you have), pretend it’s the 1950’s (for wholesomeness’ sake) and find a park worth going to! This month’s recipe is a few ideas to pack for a meal out on the blanket among the grass and trees. Enjoy the picnic.


Cake Batter Cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 (18.25 oz.) yellow box cake mix

1 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix and baking powder. Add eggs and oil, then mix until well blended.

Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Below: Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches

chicken salad1 chicken salad2 chicken salad3

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

Salad:
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise (more if it seems dry)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups diced cooked chicken (from 2ish lb boneless skinless chicken theighs or breasts – I usually chop and trim the chicken, salt and pepper, and then cook in a skillet until done)

1/2 cup diced apple (gala works nice)

Handful of dried cherries or cranberries

1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

3 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts
Sliced bread/or large tortillas, for wraps

Romaine lettuce

Balsalmic vinigarette dressing

Sliced provolone cheese

 

PREPARATION

Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes or so in the fridge for flavors to blend. Serve between two pieces of wheat bread with romaine lettuce, a drizzle of balsalmic dressing, and a slice of provolone cheese. Note: This recipe is very flexible, feel free to modify to what you have around – add onions, celery, sub yogurt for the mayonaisse, etc.

 

Summer Boats Adventure

Supply Needs:

Cardboard

Exacto knife

Hot glue & hot glue gun

Thin Paper (tissue paper, newspaper, clothes patterns, etc.)

Stick for mast

String

Glue

Water

Paintbrush

Directions:

1. Enlarge templates on photocopier (or freehand)

2. Trace boat shapes onto cardboard and cut out

3. Hot glue boat pieces together – if you want it to be water tight, add an extra layer of hot glue in any cracks

4. Add small strip of cardboard in center and cut a hole for the mast

5. Insert the stick into the hole, creating the mast. Hot glue to hold in place

6. Brush pieces of tissue paper with glue and overlap over the cardboard both inside and out of the boat to help seal it and make it pretty.

7. Cut a sail out of paper and tie to the mast with string (if your paper is thinner, first create a few layers of tissue by glueing them together and then cut your sail out.

Gather your supplies and some friends and family. (Make an good afternoon of it.) 

Follow the directions and build the boat structure, but beyond that, include pieces of yourself as well. What pictures, symbols and sayings represent you? Place these on your ship.  

Then fill out a small piece of paper. What are the things you need to let go of? Are there unresolved relationships? Grudges? Missed opportunities and disappointments? Inscribe these anchors and hide the scrap paper in your boat. 

Take your crew to some region with water- a lake or river, creek or ocean. Let the boats go (perhaps light a candle to place on the boat if you’re area is safe). 

Watch as your ships float away. Think about the things you are letting go of. Let the boat carry it away from you and enjoy the moment of freedom.
IMG_1374boat template part 1 boat template part 2

Gourmet Lemonade Stand

Betony, Lucy, Hattie, and myself did this Gourmet Lemonade Stand as a family last summer. It was so fun as Lucy (then 4) championed herself as the chef).

We used the profits to buy school supplies for a drive that was going on in our city. It was one of those really wonderful days. And it was the first time we’d talked to Lucy about giving money towards charity rather than what you’d want. It made the trip to the store to buy the school supplies just as fun and meaningful as the stand.

Needs:

Cups

Ice

Lemons

Sugar

Flavored Simple Syrups

Club Soda

A twist on the typical lemonade stand that’s pushing powdered,

insta-drink. Instead host a Gourmet Lemonade Stand!

Make some of your own simple syrups and get creative. Add carbonation to the drink, sprigs of mint, and so on. As you sell the beverages plan on making the summer day endeavor a charitable event. (Last summer our 4 year old made the hard sell AND played the part of chef. This was perhaps against child labor laws but effective. The monies collected went to buying school supplies for a drive that was going on that fall.)

Advertise on social media to get more than just neighborhood traffic and make an event of it.

Basic Simple Syrup

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

Variations:

Mint/Basil/Lemon Balm

Add a handful of mint leaves to the hot syrup and allow to steep/cool for 15-20 minutes. Strain

Blueberry

Add one cup blueberries to the basic simple syrup recipe. Simmer 15 minutes and then strain.

Lavender

Add 3 Tbs dried or fresh culinary lavender flowers to the basic simple syrup recipe then strain.

Cardamom

Add 1/4 whole cardamom to the basic simple syrup recipe. Simmer 15 minutes and then strain.

Ginger

4 oz fresh ginger – Peel the ginger root with a vegetable peeler, and cut into thin rounds. Simmer with water and sugar and then steep for 30 min.

May Day Baskets w/ Bacon Bouquets

May Day happens to fall on a “dada day” this year (Tuesdays and Thursday I watch the girls while Betony teaches art). We decided to turnt May Day UP. They say add bacon to anything and it gets better. I believe that applies to holidays too.

Looking up the history of this day- it has origins as a pagan holiday for northern hemisphere countries and was often seen as a half-way marker directly opposed to November 1st. As far as making baskets with flowers and treats and ding-dong-ditching… Couldn’t find any history on that!

Here’s some pictures of the girls and I and our day. May this post brighten and enliven your spring!

better posing

windy pose

 

run to two

 

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April Adventure: Guerilla Gardening

Needs:
Gardening tools
Hardy plants indigenous to your area
Trash Bag for collecting weeds and garbage
Gardening gloves
Potting soil, compost, fill dirt, rocks, etc.
Stealth
Gather your stock-pile of horticulture weapons.
You’ll be attacking enemy grounds of weeds and barren soil on this adventure.
  Find a plot in your neighborhood or perhaps a business area
  deeply in need of love and care. Make a plan of how you’d
  “xeriscape” this space. What fill dirt will you need to buy?
  What plants? Will this endeavor last with out your constant care this season?
Under cover of night take a crew of friends and go to get to work. Weed, prep the dirt, plant your plants, then get out of there quickly!
As spring turns to summer the once
eye-sore for the community will be seen
now as a beautiful asset to the
neighborhood. It will be transformative
and you’ll own the satisfaction of being
the culprits who made it happen.

 

January Almanac Adventure: “Winter Jars” Pictures

We hung the set of jars in our new favorite park last week. It was a beautiful day and such a great adventure. Picking them up in the snow storm yesterday was not as easy, but it was so fun seeing people’s responses;  a glimpse into they’re dreams and hopes and prayers…

Here’s pictures of our adventure day!

You can read about last year’s rendition of this project here.
And here is a painting inspired by this project.

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Almanac Adventure: January “Winter Jars”

jars

Items Needed-

5 mason jars
5 tags
golf pencils
scrap paper
twine

You are invited into a polar expedition. This adventure is, as always, to be tailored to your story and we are merely providing suggestions and framework for goodness to happen. Make changes as needed and be creative.

Sometime this month find a wooded area that is traversed by people, even in winter. It should be hidden enough to be an enjoyable destination, yet frequented enough to be quite public.

Create your jars: Write the following words on the 5 tags- Hopes, Dreams, Fears, Secrets, Prayers. Then put the tags in the jars so they’re easily seen. And leave scrap paper and golf pencils in each jar. Lastly, leave quotes and your own thoughts in the jars as well, as a catalyst.

Bundle up and head out into the cold. Bring a friend. Or family. Enjoy the sense of purpose that comes with loving people by providing them anonymous reflection space.

Hang your jars together in a place that can be seen from a path- not too hidden but not too obvious. It should feel as if they’ve stumbled onto something special. And they have.

Leave the jars there. Invite your friends and connections on Facebook and other media channels. Everyone loves and deserves an adventure.

Collect your jars after 5-7 days. If you leave the brittle glass out too long they’re subject to breaking.

Take some time and treasure the connections and thoughts left there. Whether poetic musings, crude vandalism or plain honesty, it all speaks to our humanity.

Keep the jars somewhere they can catch the light this month. Be reminded of hopes, dreams, fears and everything that comes with great beginnings.

 

Almanac Adventure: November “Family Tree”

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On October 31st we celebrated a very well-known holiday. Halloween was a blast this year for the Coons family. We dressed up, trick-or-treated with lots of friends, and had way too much candy.

November 1st, however, we also celebrated a holiday not nearly as well-known. The day after Halloween, or All-Hallows-Eve, is All Saints Day.

All Saints Day is a holiday in the Western-Christian calendar set aside to honor all of the saints, known and unknown. A friend of mine, K.J. Tencza, several years ago came up with a way of celebrating this holiday in a very non-traditional way. We gathered together on the Friday night of All Saints Day and lit candles for those who have been a light in our lives- people that God has used in significant ways to shine and guide us. As people lit the candles they shared stories of those who have meant so much to them and how deeply they’ve impacted their lives.

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It was a really incredible time. By the end of the night I felt this wonderful sense of gratitude; I am so thankful for the people in my life. And the lives of others. Encouragers, supporters, teachers, family.

We didn’t want to stop there, though. Betony made a “Family Tree” chart for people to take home and fill out how they liked. You could write in family members or take a more creative approach: who has deeply impacted your roots? Who are the people- family, writers, friends, teachers, people from camps, retreats, etc, who have been a part of your lineage as a human being? Who has truly shaped your soul? And write those names in.

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We are providing here  the same “Family Tree” chart for download here. Print it off and take some time to reflect as you fill it in. And let it enrich your November! Here’s to the Adventure!
Click the small thumbnail below to download the large size file.
family tree blank

Much love,

Tim (Giants & Pilgrims)