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Sunday, September 13

Plans for a Quiet Mabon

As usual, our clan will be heading off to a cabin in the woods for Mabon weekend.  It is our ultimate last hurrah before serious thoughts of winter fill our minds.  Here in northwest Pennsylvania, nightly temperatures are already dipping into the low 40s and we expect our first flurries by Samhain.

Normally, Mama Stacey is an over-packer and over-thinker about sabbats.  I try to theme a meal or bring an abundance of Pagan-y crafts with for the children and I to work on.  My rituals are large and ornate with lots of movement, song, and bling to make the kids really get into it.

Not so, this particular Mabon.  I am currently waddling about at 32 weeks pregnant (or 8 months for those of you who, like me, am not up for math problems this early in the day).  I can barely load a washing machine, let alone organize an elaborate holiday weekend.  Haha!

This year, I am passing the ritual torch to a newcomer within our local community.  She is creating a gorgeous and simple ritual for us to partake in on Saturday.  As for every moment outside of that ritual, we have nothing structured other than blissful lounging about, listening to Pagan music on the stereo, and maybe a little knitting.  While that sounds like heaven to me, Doodle Bug and Adventure Girl are not so jazzed.

So, for their sake, I am compiling a small idea stash of things we can fill their time with that do not require a whole lot of mommy running about.

1.  Hot Cocoa & Leaf Rubbings

This idea came to me from an autumn post by Our Day Our Journey.  I will have no trouble warming up a kettle while the children scatter to collect as many cool leaves as they can.  We have a bucket of naked crayons packed and ready to go.

2.  Mabon Pooka Pages

This thing is magic.  Almost every sabbat, Lora and the Pooka Pages team put out an e-zine full of coloring pages, a unique Pooka & Elsie story related to the sabbat, recipes, craft ideas, and more.  It's free and printable.  I have a print out of all of the Mabon issue packed and ready to go.  Stories and coloring pages are right up my alley, this year.  

3.  Jar Lanterns

Another bare-minimum supply activity that requires sitting.  I like those.  As much as I love the sturdiness of a mason jar, mine are all used up for canning, so I delved into the recycling bin and found a few winners.  It's harder than you'd think as so much comes in plastic!  I'm not sure yet whether we will decorate our jars with leaves, like No Wooden Spoons did...  or if I will just let the kids attack them with autumn colored paint, like Buggy and Buddy did.  Either way, I want to make nice thick handles for them like this other terrific Buggy and Buddy lantern post.

4.  Bike Riding

Adventure Girl and her brother can pull this one off while I put my feet up near the fire, this year.  Helmets and hoodies are the only gear required.

5.  Hiking (a.k.a. Nature Walk)

Well, I call it "hiking" because that sounds adventurous, but it's more like "taking a walk while carrying around a big stick".  The campground is small and relatively flat, so the kids peek-a-boo through shrubs, hop over giant boulders, and walk a gravel trail along the creek.  Like bike riding, this is an activity that  my children can do while I sit in a central location.  The only gear is a big stick and maybe a paper bag to collect special finds in. 

6.  Digital Camera

Doodle Bug loves a camera.  We used to give him a disposable one for every event we went to, but getting film developed is pricey these days.  It cost us $10 for a simple 27 print camera last time.  So, we put an extra sturdy strap on my old digital Canon, cross our fingers, and let our 12yo wander the campground with it.  Several of his images have made there way into our family grimoire over the years.

*  *  *

The rest of their time will be spent making meals, roasting marshmallows, playing on walkie-talkies, and simply existing at the cabin.  While they may balk at shower-time or getting a tuck-in at home, when you get to use the fancy camp showerhouse or climb into a rustic wooden bunk with your sleeping bag, ordinary activities become magical.

I think the cabin is partially why Mabon is one of my favorite holidays.  We always have a wonderful time there and I expect this weekend will be no different. 

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