Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead

New Skills
February 5, 2011, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Candlemas

I want to acquire some new skills. Primarily, sewing. I found an e-course on quilting that seems pretty great on Rachel Denbow’s blog. I would love to make Benjamin a quilt for his bed. And I want to turn my wedding dress into a christening gown for future babies.

Now that I can successfully knit a scarf I need some new ideas of what to knit…and probably some assistance. Knitters, where do you find easy patterns? Are hats a good thing to work on next?

We had a great Candlemas feast this week with my brother and my mom.

Benjamin chowed down on some Butternut Polenta and Sausage and Apples. Read about it at Feast!


Tea for a Cold and Preparing for Candlemas
January 26, 2011, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Candlemas, Health | Tags: , , ,

Candlemas is on February 2nd and I would really like to make some 100% beeswax candles to be blessed for the year. Any suggestions on where to get the supplies and how to do it? I think beeswax can be expensive so we might only make a few, I just don’t want to be burning anything toxic in our home. You can read the very little that I know about Candlemas on last year’s Feast day post. But I still have some questions about it such as, do all Catholic churches bless candles that you bring to Mass on Candlemas? Or is it celebrated on the Sunday before? Or is it after the Mass? Anybody know?

Elizabeth Foss wrote a beautiful entry this morning about how her family uses blessed candles throughout the year at her blog, In the Heart of my Home.

Benjamin thoughtfully shared his cold with me this week so we’re both congested and coughing but not feeling too crummy. Unfortunately, our hot water heater has been broken since Friday so nice hot baths to relieve achy muscles and congestion haven’t been an option at our house. Hopefully it’ll be resolved this afternoon when “Mr. Plumber,” as Benjamin calls him, comes for a second time.

I’ve been soothing my sore throat with steaming hot tea. I recently found out that I’m allergic to black, green, and white tea so herbal tea is my only option. However, I’ve been also staying away from lemongrass and other non-pregnancy safe herbs, (I don’t think I’m pregnant yet, but since we’re open to getting pregnant again I want to be careful just in case), which cuts down significantly on my options. So I just made an old-timey cold remedy out of lemon juice and raw honey.

Just squeeze some lemon juice and honey into the bottom of a mug and fill it with hot water. Feels great to a sore throat! Hopefully we’ll all be better soon.

Polenta for Candlemas!
February 4, 2010, 4:26 am
Filed under: Candlemas, Feasting

February 2nd is the Feast of Candlemas. It celebrates the presentation of Christ at the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary forty days after Christmas. This is the event described in the Gospel of Luke when the Virgin and St. Joseph present Jesus at the Temple and the faithful Simeon and Anna behold and recognize Jesus as the Messiah they have been waiting for.  After seeing the infant Christ he had been promised to see before death, Simeon prays the Nunc Dimittis in Luke 2:29-32:

Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior

whom you have prepared for all the world to see,

A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.

I’m not sure if this emphasis on Christ as the Light of the World is what began the tradition to bless candles on this feast day, but it would make sense.


In order to celebrate this day, we made candles with wax and cloves (see above)  and cooked dishes from Brother Victor Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette’s Sacred Feasts which is fantastic. He is the author of 12 Months of Monastery Soups our friend Marianna gave Daniel for Christmas last year and which we have used frequently this year. What I particularly like about Sacred Feasts is that because the author cooks with foods from a monastery garden the recipes correspond to vegetables that are in season and are simple and inexpensive. The author also includes beautiful introductions to feast days that I find really helpful.


Eleanor, Kaitlyn, and I made Squash Polenta and a Vegetable Tian from Sacred Feasts and the Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes. Daniel made homemade bread and Heather made a Pear Tart.

We shared a meal and blessed the candles using this blessing from The Catholic Home:

Lord Jesus Christ,

Pour forth your blessing on these candles and

sanctify them by the light of your grace.

May our hearts be illuminated by your light,

May our actions be guided by your light,

so that when our lives here are finished, we may come into the ternal presence of your redeeming light.

We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

You’re also supposed to remove any remnants of Christmas décor on Candlemas. We did take down the ornaments, but the 11 foot Noble Fir is still in the living room.

Here’s a picture of our little boy that Daniel took last week:

Please pray for Daniel’s grandmother who broke her hip in a fall this week and had surgery tonight.