Lovely, summerlike days that occur around October 18 are called St. Luke’s Little Summer in honor of the saint’s feast day. In olden days, St. Luke’s Day did not receive as much attention in the secular world as St. John’s Day (June 24) and Michaelmas (September 29), so to keep from being forgotten, St. Luke presented us with some golden days to cherish before the coming of winter, or so the story goes. Some folks call this Indian Summer, but that officially occurs between November 11 and November 20.
Happy Weekend, my friends ... I hope you all had a good week. Or at least, I hope your week was not so bad. Or maybe things got better as the week went on? I know this is a tough time for a lot of us - and I am not going to talk politics here (never have, never will) - but I just want to say, I'm wishing all of my friends peace and hope. I myself am focusing on all the good things in my life that, God willing, will always be here for me and my loved ones no matter what's going on in the world ...
Ok, on with my post! :)
So today I'd like to share some more November projects - a few of those craft supplies getting used up as we near the middle of the month. This week we had the feast of St. Martin of Tours (aka Martinmas) and if you have read my blog for any length of time you know this is one of our favorite feasts to celebrate with the boys. (You can read more about our traditions, here.) In the past we have baked horseshoe cookies and read stories and made glass lanterns to display in dark windows, but this year ... I baked a cake instead of cookies, we told stories instead of read them AND ... we crafted our lanterns - not out of glass but - balloons!
(And didn't I buy the stubbornest worst tasting/smelling balloons ever made? Ugh. Oh well!)
I've seen lanterns done this way over the years and have always wanted to try my hand at it. Well, this was finally the year and as you can see I had a very eager little helper!
Goodness, but does this boy love himself some GLUE!
This craft is a bit messy but very easy to do ... and best to start a day or two ahead of your celebration since the lantern will need time to dry. You simply brush an inflated balloon with layers of glue (thinned with water, about a 50-50 ratio) and overlapping pieces of colorful tissue paper. You might also slip autumn leaves in between layers ...
... and you might cut some of the tissue into shapes like pretty stars.
While Little Bear worked diligently on gluing his balloon, I did about five or six layers of tissue paper on mine.
Once finished, we left them to dry in the dining room. Here's mine hanging over the table.
Meanwhile, the boys played outside, enjoying the misty autumn weather ...
(That's a meteor shower suncatcher in Little Bear's hand.)
Next morning ...
There were some packages on the kitchen table for the boys ...
Recalling the story of Martin's kindness, each of my boys received a gift of warmth and comfort - pajamas (Earlybird) and slippers (Crackerjack) - while Little Bear also received a new prayer book in addition to some superhero slipper-socks. :)
(Bookworm will get his new flannel PJs when he's home for Thanksgiving break.)
Then it was time to check on the lanterns!
Mine is on the left and Little Bear's is on the right. We kept his balloon intact since it was pretty much all that was holding it together! (For all the glue he used, lol ...)
The glue seemed to be dry so I popped the balloon and was left with (more or less) a colorful lantern! Really neat to watch that balloon pull away from the lantern interior!
I trimmed the top and punched holes along the edge for twine.
Love all the autumn colors and shapes!
I've read instructions which describe using a real candle inside this lantern but for what I think are obvious reasons we went with something more child-safe.
Side note: Below is a lovely passage from a book I've had for years called, Lifeways. This quote is from a chapter called "A Walk through the Year with the Festivals," something I re-read quite often for seasonal inspiration ...
How lovely is that?
Now, there are usually special foods tied to feast days and Martinmas is no exception. In the past we've made horseshoe-shaped oat cookies on this day, but this year I decided to try a recipe my grandmother made for years, something called "Poor Man's Cake." Rather fitting for the day, as St. Martin is the patron of the poor ... plus, this cake is full of autumnal flavor.
My grandmother made this cake quite often - it was a favorite of my grandfather's - and I believe she found the recipe during the Depression. You can read more about the cake (including its recipe) in this post of mine from 2007.
It's quite dense and moist - "a good bake" if I may say so myself! But you know who loved the cake best? Bill - it really is right up his alley. (He hardly cares for chocolate, he's more a ginger-and-spice kind of guy.) The boys however were all ... hmmm. I dunno, Mom ... raisins?
Outside we go boys!
Another Martinmas tradition (especially in Waldorf schools) is to have the children participate in a lantern walk. In the gathering darkness of a late autumn afternoon, the children set out with their shining lanterns all together, singing special lantern songs. The symbolism here is that we all must tend our own little light, so that we might carry it forth into a world that can often be quite dark and cold ...
(Page from Festivals, Family and Food, by Diana Carey and Judy Large)
We were a very small band and there was only one working lantern - and we didn't sing of course, because Earlybird has sensory issues - but I did recite the above verse to my sweet little lantern-carrier as we walked through our woods!
It was SO windy and chilly yesterday and since some of us are fighting a cold, some of us headed in for another piece of that cake and a hot cup of tea. A bit later on, as the darkness surrounded us, Bill and Little Bear came inside at last, all pink-cheeked and bright-eyed. Then I hung the lantern in the dark dining room for the rest of the night ...
Down with darkness, up with light;
Up with sunshine, down with night.
Each of us is one small light,
But together we shine bright ...
Before I go, here's today's page from Little Bear's new daily prayer book ...
I can't tell you how much I love this book ... we are weaving it into our weekly rhythm. Short and sweet, with a special daily prayer to share, reflecting each day's rhythm and grace. 💛
Well my friends, time to wrap up now, but as always I thank you for reading. Or maybe you just looked at the pictures? Well, that's nice too. I always appreciate your visit! :)
Please enjoy the rest of your weekend and take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... I will see you here again very soon!