Wednesday, October 23, 2013

St. Michael the Archangel Costume for Catholic Boys

A shield, halo, and cross to be added.

Our two boys are always outnumbered by the girls and their flurry of 'princessy' dress-up clothes and accessories. Preparation for a faith-filled celebration of All Hallows Eve was the perfect opportunity to make this right. Five year old Simon decided to dress as St. Michael the Archangel. He has a real affinity for the warrior angel and often asks to say the prayer throughout the day. I looked around the house and found odds and ends - and the rest was trial and error along the way.


If you sew at all - or really if you don't (a rough version would work as well) this is a fun project for you and your young man.

I searched in my fabric remnants and found some that had the weight and color for my vision. If you'll notice, some depictions of St. Michael are very colorful and some are monochromatic - the choice is yours. I actually used the 'wrong' side of some fabric I had handy, to get the desired color and texture.


Next, cut a piece of fabric double the desired length of the tunic- this will depend on the size of your child. Then, fold it in half and lay child's t-shirt onto it to make a rough pattern - including attached short sleeves. Allowing for seams, mark with chalk and cut out.

Sew together at the shoulder and along the sides. If you desire a more finished look, fold over the edges of the neck and sleeves for a small hem.

Measure 5" from bottom and draw a horizontal chalk line to mark the fringed edges. Starting at the center bottom, I used a 1" wide ruler with a rounded edge to mark my cutting line, using a fine sharpie, and then cut on the lines - leaving a bit more at each side.

Accessorizing and Painting Fun

  • Chain Mail - Non-skid rug pad or rubberized shelf liner
  • Belt or fabric for sash
  • Sweats and long sleeved t-shirt
  • Helmet or hat 
  • Foam sword
  • Wings - Fan blades, woven wicker fan decorations, or cardboard and natural coffee filters. Will also need elastic to create a suspender type harness.
  • Cross - Glitter foam, washer, and chain.

Cut a hole out of the rug pad or shelf liner, to fit his head and rounded the corners. Viola! Chain mail for the warrior angel!

We used a belt and made a suspender-like system out of elastic to create a harness for wearing the wings.

Brown sweat pants and a neutral, long-sleeved t-shirt are a great choice for undergarments - he'll wear brown leather sandals when he goes out.

The helmet was from another time and was spray painted and then we glued a cross to the front. We made a halo with gold pipe cleaners and attached with a paper clip. The sword (made of foam) was purchased at Joanne's Fabrics and slightly spray painted at the hilt. There are also ways to make helmets out of cardboard on Pinterest.

The wings are actually blades from a broken decorative outdoor fan, but you could find woven fan decorations or use cardboard for wings as well. One of the ideas I saw on Pinterest was to use natural (brown) coffee filters stapled to cardboard wings. There are several ways to attach your St. Michael's wings. Use elastic, safety pins or wire coat hangers made into shoulder hooks - depending on the material.

The cross is cut out of yellow glitter foam, which can be purchased in sheets. We also made a cross for the sword and helmet. I hot glued a Popsicle stick to strengthen the cross and a washer to serve as a loop for the chain, onto the back of the cross. The chain can be purchased at hobby lobby.

You can also check out my Costumes and Dress-Up board on Pinterest for other inspirations.

That Burnished Look

I took the helmet, sword, tunic and chain mail outside and spray painted with a burnished bronze paint made to adhere to plastic. It was left over from painting children's plastic lawn chairs last summer - I hate those bright colors and this matches my patio furniture. Spraying an even coat isn't necessary because you want a worn look.

A Few Final Touches
The final costume is awesome!

I wanted to post this as soon as I could, so that it might be helpful to others who are looking for a St. Michael the Archangel costume. There will be some finishing touches added during the next few days. 

  • Shield - will probably be made of cardboard and painted with the same paint.
  • Halo - Simon insists he wants a halo, so I'll be making one with gold pipe cleaners, poking holes in his helmet and hot gluing it on.
  • Cross - using a sheet of red glittery foam, I'll make a cross for either his shield or the tunic. There might also be some glow in the dark effects added with puff paint with those capabilities.


I'll be adding photos of the completed costume as they happen - please stay tuned.

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Don't Kill Babies to Save My Life!

What a relief! The PINK month is almost over. Amid all of the superficiality -  pink football teams, toilet paper, blenders, and every other imaginable product of commerce - lies an undeniable fact. The PINK lulls the masses into misguided, yet enthusiastic support for death. Yes, death. What they don't tell you, these opportunistic marketeers, is that it's all about the money - even if it's blood money. As an eight year survivor (happy Cancerversary to me!) I have earned the right to make these distinctions and comments.

Cancer Awareness Run Amok

  • Breast cancer is certainly not the only cancer affecting a huge population. There are others just as devastating, warranting 'awareness', moral treatments, and a cure. While it's not a competition, why discount childhood cancer, for example, because it hasn't been as artfully marketed?
  • The answer is that these other cancers are at a disadvantage because the powers that be can't make sexist sound bites about them. No, 'save the Ta-tas', 'save the Boobies' and playing games about the color of ones' bras is so much more titillating (see what I did there?).
  • The 'awareness' organizations have lots of overhead, pay huge salaries, and spend enormous amounts of the funds collected as donations on marketing. They don't even play nice with each other, jockeying around for the big bucks. One year Susan G Komen even tried to co-opt the color pink and sued smaller organizations for using the word 'cure' in their slogans!
  • The American Cancer Society and Komen are also supporters of embryonic stem cell research. This research kills tiny human beings - containing the complete package of humanity including an eternal soul - and yet has given us no viable treatments or cures. Unlike ethical adult stem cell research, with many success stories, the attraction for the Frankensteiniam use of embryos comes down to money. You see, adult stem cells can't be patented - they already belong to you. But embryonic cell lines created in a lab present a high dollar wager and promise government grants galore.
  • An even more unholy alliance comes with bedfellows, Komen and abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Although PP does not a single mammogram, they are given large sums of funding from Komen every year. PP where abortion represents 94% of all prenatal 'services'.

Save the Babies, Save the Victims

I'm not here to denigrate the good intentions of others; my intention is to steer those giving hearts into an ethical direction. There are cancer victims galore out here - all sorts of cancers. Why not consider giving directly to a victim, attending fund raisers, sending prayers and cards of encouragement, cooking meals, helping with children, or cleaning houses of those affected? The opportunities are as countless as the victims of this horrific disease. Further, there are moral organizations worthy of your funds and support: The Polycarp Research Institute (TPRI), the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation® offer such opportunities.

All in all, people are kind and generous. They innocently fall into the commercial trapping of the PINK crowd. My aim is to steer them and their good will into a direction worthy of their charity. God bless them for their kindness! My daughter and I have been lifted up by many.

Drilling Down for Facts

Komen Still Sends Big Bucks to Planned Parenthood Abortion Business
It may be for a cause, but not all are tickled pink
Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word 'Cure'
Tapes show Planned Parenthood mammogram claims to be false
Abortion Boosts Breast Cancer Risk 193% Study Finds, Giving Birth Lowers It
Komen Gave $569K to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz in 2010
Surgeon Says Abortion Ups Breast Cancer Risk, Pregnancy Helps Lower It
Mammogram Questions Reveal Breast Cancer Risks, Hid Abortion

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Catholic Homeschool Fun: Pumpkin Spider Craft

Whether you call it Autumn or Fall, the season of falling leaves and pumpkins is at hand. This always brings a plethora of craft ideas. This one was inspired by a Pinterest entry I recently pinned. The little white pumpkins were volunteers in our garden - but they can also be purchased at this time of the year.

Pumpkin Spider Craft Supplies

  • Miniature pumpkins - white or orange
  • Tea lights
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes
  • Markers - washable for younger kids, permanent for better coverage
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paring knife
  • Wooden skewer

Pumpkin Spider Craft Instructions

  • Trace around tea light on pumpkin and cut out plug
  • Insert tea light, including metal holder
  • Color pumpkin and give it a spider face - fangs and all
  • Cut pipe cleaners in half to make eight legs
  • Using wooden skewer, poke 8 holes into pumpkins
  • One at a time, place a dot of hot glue on holes in pumpkin and quickly insert legs
  • Glue on googly eyes
  • Make a bend about halfway in each leg and then another, smaller section on the end for feet

Depending on the age of your youngsters, they can do more or less of this cute craft. Ours are young, so they did the coloring and drew on the faces. Enjoy your fall themed centerpiece at your kitchen table and enjoy the warm glow - both from the candle and on the face of your little one!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Interior Disposition: Why Fix Your Hair, If You're Wearing a Veil?

As someone who is relatively new to veiling, I ravenously researched the practice before I made my decision. The whispered call was there, but so was the fear of others' opinions - the fear of the outward. But that wasn't the inspiration at all. The decision to veil had much more to do with the interior than the exterior. With the decision now made, I'm still in tune with posts and memes on the topic. One good-natured pun in veiling circles is that, when you veil, bad hair days don't matter. Inside jokes aside, those little hidden things to which all of us succumb are called to mind.

So, yes, I spend time on my hair before attending Mass - but it's not because my nice 'do' will impress my fellow parishioners. My purpose is to do my best for Jesus, whose house I will be visiting - He Who I will consume in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. Whether or not it's seen by others, I know, and so does He - so I want to present my best to Him.

These musings also present us with an opportunity to ponder the interior state of our souls. Are there little, hidden things not apparent to others? Should they matter? Who will know? The obvious answer is a resounding, yes - they matter! If we are truly living out our purpose in this life - gaining Eternal Life with God - then we must sweep away those interior cobwebs. Outward appearances are, as they say, only skin deep. What matters most is that which can't be seen by the world - our innermost heart and soul. Regular interior housekeeping - confession - becomes another necessary accessory to our Mass attendance.

Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.
 1 Corinthians 11:28-29 28

Don't Be Glum

All of this awareness shouldn't be a source of despair, however. St. Matthew says it nicely: Don't go for the show; have the proper disposition. 
And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.
~Matthew 6:16
The next penitential season on the Liturgical Calendar, Advent, is just five Sundays away. Although Advent isn't as somber as Lent, it is still a time of solemn preparation - not just of the household, but of our souls. We will prepare rich foods, gifts, and celebratory decor, yet we will also deny ourselves a bit of our customary luxuries. It's a time of making our souls ready as well. Will we afford ourselves of the vast offerings of Penitential Services and confession opportunities? We await to receive Him as an infant - God become man to shed His Blood for our salvation. Preparations will be made with great joy and anticipation - a happy time for families to share. Yet we must also prepare our inner disposition for His coming. We also know, some day will be the day of His final coming. Are you ready?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Fool's Paradise or Sin Makes Us Stupid

"We've been living in a fool's paradise", declares Lee of the sweetly nuanced Swiffer commercial. She and husband, Morty, have endeared themselves to television viewers - waltzing in their kitchen and discovering the dirt of which they were formerly unaware. My husband sometimes calls me 'Babe' (Morty's term of endearment), to hint at our goal to be that couple as we age.

In the same way Lee speaks of the hidden dirt her new cleaning gadget has helped her find, we can speak of the hidden sins that we gloss over. During an online retreat I recently heard the good Fr. Ripperger, FSSP say, "sin makes you stupid" - and so it does. Whether it's difficult to discern (like the dust on Lee's kitchen floor), or glossed over by carelessness or habit - we all have sins that, if laid bare, would alarm us.

Sin Makes Us Stupid

To elaborate on this point, lets think about the types of sin: Original Sin, Venial Sin, and Mortal Sin. Original Sin is an effect of the fall of our First Parents. Although not an actual sin that we have committed, it has an actual effect on us - a lack of Grace. If not washed away by Baptism, it causes a lack of subordination to God and therefore makes it difficult to do good. With Original Sin has come sickness and death of the soul.

Venial sin involves matters that are not seriously sinful but can certainly act as the gateway to serious sin. When we mortally sin, we disengage from God - we turn our backs on Him and willfully do evil. This serious sinfulness makes us more prone to evil and it becomes difficult to do good. Our passions are disordered and the control that we have over the flesh is diminished. Therefore we are more and more likely to give in to disordered appetites. This, in turn, darkens our intellect - blinds it to the sin committed. This blindness is our punishment - the resulting cycle of sin makes us more and more stupid...too stupid to be fully aware of the dire straits we are in. The further we fall into sin, the more fixated we become on the created things to which we are attached. Our lower faculties win out with our desire for sinful pleasures. We find that we have an inability to concentrate on spiritual things: even meaningful prayer becomes extremely difficult.

Thankfully our natural light of reason, however diminished, remains with us - giving us a way toward what is right and holy. Although sin darkens our intellect and dulls our senses that judge our sinfulness, with repentance, we can come back to the full light of reason. For this reason, it's prudent to take full advantage of the sacrament of Penance frequently. Holy Mother Church, in the wisdom endowed by Jesus, has given us a perfect way to balance our lives and therefore our souls. Each time we come to Him with the burden of our sins, he presents the perfect means to enhance our holiness, our awareness and our ability to live as we should. We, like Morty, we make dirt (sin) and so must utilize that with which we have been equipped - to make clean what was once dirty. Confession can be the Swiffer* for our souls - cleaning every nook and cranny we are willing to find.

*The Swiffer and Confession comparison is solely mine and not to be confused with the substance of Fr. Ripperger's eloquent message. I have only lightly touched on the wisdom shared in these talks. To hear more from Fr. Ripperger, FSSP click here.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

SG Komen and American Cancer Society are Anti-Life - There are Moral Alternatives

Think before you PINK - it's Cancer Awareness Month again, but Susan G Komen and American Cancer Society are anti-life because they fund Planned Parenthood and support embryonic stem cell research. There are, however, pro-life alternatives! Don't fall for the feel-good PINK efforts going on - buying pink packaged toilet paper or blenders doesn't do anything for actual cancer victims. Become aware of what is REALLY helpful to cancer victims like me - without costing the life of an innocent!

You can find all of the necessary information you need by going to Think Before You PINK!

The basic Pro-LIFE ribbon was created by my daughter, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28 years old and 20 weeks pregnant. She wanted to create awareness for moral cancer support. Follow this link to read her story. Real life cancer victims don't want to abort their children. They don't want to cost a life to save their life. We want a cure and treatment that is moral and pro-LIFE!

Friday, October 4, 2013

St. Francis - Not Just a Garden Gnome

The name, St. Francis, is on everyone's lips these days – ever since our new Holy Father took Francis as his official name. With this rise in popularity, a saint whose reputation has already been misrepresented, has swung into full blown mischaracterization. As arguably the favorite among all the saints – among Catholics, Protestants and even non-Christians – St. Francis has quite the reputation. But if we are to quell these misrepresentations it might be wise to take a longer look at this multifaceted saint. At first glance, he holds quite the surface image as a kind of garden gnome who holds bowls of water or seed for our feathered friends or perhaps with his arms outstretched as birds land on them much like they did on those of Snow White. I, myself, am guilty of having various representations of him in our vast gardens as mere decoration.

But St. Francis wasn't some hippy, tree hugging monk who worshiped Mother Earth and all of nature. Rather, he fiercely worshiped God while maintaining a healthy respect and sense of wonder for all of His creation. St. Francis' appreciation of nature and acknowledgment of its grandeur stemmed from his devotion to living a life devoid of the lures of earthly pleasure, instead focusing on service to the poor and outcast.
As a former soldier, St. Francis was also a lover of peace. Contrary to popular belief, however, he neither penned the St. Francis Prayer (it was written much later than his lifetime) nor did he say, “preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words". Although both of these nods to him embody his philosophy, the words are not his own. What Francis did do was amazing enough that there is no need for embellishments. For example, in his fervent pursuit of chastity he is said to have rolled, naked, in the cold snow of winter in order to resist temptation. And although he had many hard sayings and practices, there are also many anecdotes about his life that point to a communion with nature that was unusual to say the least. Yet warm and fuzzy aren't really a part of his story.

St. Francis and Nature

    • In his quest for following the will of God, St. Francis asked for prayers from Brother Silvester and St. Clare. After having received the answer, given through their prayers, St. Francis set off to preach the Gospel wherever the road led him. On one such occasion, there was a flock of birds noisily chirping and singing. Yet after his command they fell silent until St. Francis had finished sharing the Gospel with the crowd. He was also known to proclaim God by preaching to the birds who would approach him without fear. (From Little Flowers of St. Francis)
    • Suffering greatly due to the advanced disease of his eyes, St. Francis sought to visit a certain Cardinal. Upon his arrival, the crowds of his admirers were so great that the grape vines surrounding the church were trampled. This very much disturbed the Cardinal who depended on the grapes for wine. After realizing this dilemma, St. Francis promised that, when the remaining grapes were harvested the wine would be more plentiful than ever. This was the case for the years following. According to the writings from Little Flowers of St. Francis"This miracle teaches us that as, in consequence of the merits of St Francis, the vine, though despoiled of its grapes, produced an abundance of wine, so in the same way many Christians, whose sins had made them barren of virtue, through the saint's preaching and merits, have often come to abound in the good fruit of repentance".St. Francis
    • There was a fierce wolf who terrorized the village of Gubbio by devouring not only livestock but also the inhabitants. No one could go beyond the walls and so every citizen walked about armed. St. Francis, after hearing of the situation, went out to speak to the wolf. Making the sign of the cross, St. Francis cried out: "Come hither, brother wolf; I command thee, in the name of Christ, neither to harm me nor anybody else." From that day forward the wolf walked the streets like a domesticated dog and did no more harm. (From Little Flowers of St. Francis)

St. Francis and Others

    • Actually baptized with the name, Giovanni, Francis came from a wealthy family. His father was a silk merchant who loved all things French, thus, soon after his birth he began calling his son Francesco (Francis).
    • St. Francis understood that the spiritual battle began with mortification and denying our instincts. He once met a leprous man, while riding along the prairies of Assisi. Terrorized by the wounds of the unfortunate beggar, he nonetheless approached and kissed him. This renunciation of his will changed his life. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the gesture was St. Francis' 'yes' which started him on the road to submission to God and therefore, sainthood.
    • At the beginning of the order of Franciscans, St. Francis was teaching some of his companions about God. Driven by the Holy Spirit, he commanded three of them, one after the other, to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Their words were so inspired that Jesus appeared in their midst under the guise of a young man and blessed them. (From Little Flowers of St. Francis)
    • A devout young boy had the occasion to follow St. Francis when, as was his custom, he rose during the night. There he observed him in prayer. Suddenly he saw a great light, and hearing many voices he also saw Jesus, the Virgin Mary and other saints talking to Francis. (From Little Flowers of St. Francis)
    • St Francis, through Divine Revelation knew the hearts of all his brethren. This enabled him to deal with each according to his spiritual need. He even knew that one of his Brothers was damned but at St. Francis' prayer, his soul was restored. (From Little Flowers of St. Francis)
    • Pope Gregory IX initially doubted the authenticity of the stigmata of St. Francis but after he saw the saint in an apparition, he approved the sacred, holy stigmata of St Francis by a special bull.
St. FrancisWith some of these compelling stories in mind, it isn't too difficult to understand why the image of the warm and fuzzy St. Francis surfaced. He was certainly gifted with an unusual rapport with wildlife and nature. Yet what we must take away from these characterizations is not his love of nature as much as his quest for communion with God - often through His creation. Also apparent is that he genuinely loved the less fortunate - even during his days as a rich young man. His life was far from a fairy tale yet it was one to be admired and emulated. As we enter Springtime, may we find  God’s glory in His wondrous creation and yet not give it more emphasis than the wonders of His love for us. Let us take the example of St. Francis and perpetuate a healthy love of nature, the practice of good stewardship but, most importantly, an unending and unconditional love of others.

St Francis was canonized in the year 1228 by Pope Gregory IX, who came in person to Assisi for his canonization. His feast day is October 4.

This post first appeared on the Catholic Sistas blog on April 3, 20013