A Little Feast of the Immaculate Conception and a Little About Feasts

by | Dec 8, 2014 | Advent, Blog, December, Liturgical Living | 99 comments

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is a Holy day of Obligation. Yes, even though it’s a Monday. Go ahead, run to Mass. We can do this when you get back.

Okay, back? Obligation fulfilled?

Your reward is this free printable:

also, this one:

Celebrating the liturgical year in our home is something that it took quite a while for me to figure out. I wrote all about it in this post:


I hope you’ll click over if you haven’t read it yet, or in a while, because that’s where you’ll find the complete rundown of how and why we do it, and how I used to be freaked out by the whole thing, but now it’s no biggie.

The key for me, ended up being learning to focus on things we were doing anyway. I fit the saint into our day, rather than tailoring our day to the saint. So, if you do a lot of art projects in your house, a saint-themed art project would be perfect. But in MY house, if Kiwi Crate or Saint Mail doesn’t put it in a box and send it here, there are no art projects. Same goes for field trips. Our homeschool group plans one per month, and we do those, but otherwise, our days are pretty full at home with school . . . and naps.

So our celebration of the liturgical year in our home focuses on food, books, and little family activities.

For today’s feast, the Immaculate Conception, for example, I like to make all-white food. The menu has varied over the years, but this year I’m planning:

– To Eat –
Sourdough Bread
– To Drink –
– Afters –
Angel Food Cake (from the store)
with Whipped Cream (that I can manage myself)

Ta dah! I was going to make dinner anyway, but now it’s all infused with meaning and such.

We’ll use the good dishes, and set the table with various little Virgin Mary statues, collected on our travels. After dinner, each kid gets to hold a little Virgin Mary aloft, and we do a little family procession around the house, singing “Ave Maria.”

For our story, we’re going to read our Advent book of the day, which will be The Christmas Story, new to us this year:

If we are really on top of things, we’ll manage a family rosary as well.

But that’s pretty much it.

For major feast days such as today’s, I take the lead, and we celebrate them each year, usually the same way, because I am a creature of habit. Each month, I plan for us to celebrate any of the Three Special Days that happen to fall during that month, as well as most solemnities.

For other feasts, I let my big kids take the lead. Our deal is, if any kid presents a short saint report on the saint’s life at dinner, we get dessert. We learn a little something, we have a little something, everyone wins. No advance planning.

I’ve found that centering our liturgical living on things we were going to do anyway, like eating dinner, has made it something that I can manage to keep up over many years and many seasons of life. No matter what else is going on, we still have to eat dinner. We can usually manage to have a dinner that “goes” with the saint, whether we are home or away.

Mostly we are home, which is why I’ve enjoyed owning Haley and Daniel Stewart’s awesome guide to liturgical living.Β You know Haley from her lovely blog, Carrots for Michaelmas and her adorable podcast, Fountains of Carrots. Their first book, Feast!, was just what I was looking for, a resource for simple but fun home-cooked meals that help tell a story to my family when I serve them. The first book has over twenty great recipes, but I keep coming back to the Black Beans and Rice and the Shepherd’s Pie. The book also has lovely reflections on living the Christian year in your home.


  1. Janie Soggs

    I would love to win these! I didn't know about the awesome planner until just now, but I have been trying to buy Haley's books all weekend, but paypal has been acting weird. I am a new(ish) Catholic, having converted 4 years ago from being raised independent fundamental Baptist, which is on the opposite end of the spectrum of Christian religion from Catholicism. I am a working mom, and very rarely home before 6:30-7 at night and I try so, so hard to incorporate all of these new-to-us holidays in at dinner, myself. The whole new world of liturgical living is one of my favorite things about becoming a Catholic…actually almost everything in this faith is my new favorite thing…but I do think tools like these will help me be less harried and more…um, steadfast and structured?…in helping to bring this rich faith alive in my family πŸ™‚

    • Kendra

      That's so hard! I know some of the recipes in the original book Feast! I have made in the crock pot. I'm home all day, but it's still nice to have dinner made early in the day, or even the night before.

  2. Amelia Bentrup

    We always have ice cream on solemnities and HDO, and the ice cream we have is vanilla based…so I guess that white and it can count as our "white" foods. Now, I'm trying to think what else I can make for dinner that's white (without dairy….otherwise I love the Alfredo idea). I'm absolutely terrible at Litrugical Living. I think the Feasts cookbook would be especially helpful because from what I understand the reipces are all healthy and many are gluten-free and dairy free or adapatable to be so (which we need) so it fits in with how we usually eat. And of course a planner if always helpful, because I'm terrible at planning ahead.

  3. Jen Schultheis

    Thanks for this post! I am overwhelmed by trying to live liturgically with our busy schedule, and I only have four kids!! I'm amazed at how easy you make it look! I'd love to win the books to help me get organized for the Church year. And I'm going to make shells and white cheddar for dinner, that's a start right?

  4. Amy @ Motherhood and Miscellany

    These would make my life easier by prompting me to actually plan our feast day celebrations in advance, rather than realizing, on the morning of said day, that I ought to get myself in gear and cook something special or do a special activity.

    • Kendra

      I'm on the "know what we're having for dinner by 10am" meal planning system right now. It's pretty bare bones, but it works for us right now. It let's me be flexible and account for leftovers and changes of evening plans. The feast days show up on my iCal reminders at 9am, and I have time to get to the store if I need to. But, planning ahead a LITTLE probably wouldn't hurt!

  5. Holly Gerardi

    While there's something to be said for spontaneous celebration, it'd be nice to have a real plan for feast days (since I'm guessing today's banana bread from the freezer and pizza are not, in fact, traditional foods for Immaculate Conception).

  6. Bethany Ann

    These both would be great to centralize our go to feast day information. Both look wonderful and would help with being prepared.

  7. Elizabeth

    With my husband's schedule the way it's been lately (demanding job + MBA courses in the evenings), I'm so so so excited that we can pick him up from work and go to Mass together at the Cathedral, then have a quick dinner at Chick-Fil-A before it's on to the next thing. πŸ™‚ I love FEAST! and I would love the sequel, too! πŸ™‚

  8. teriannm

    We always include food in our feast day celebrations so Haley's book would be perfect for more ideas. And "chaos" definitely describes this house so I would love to try Kelly's planner!

  9. Elizabeth@SuperSwellTimes

    Haley's book would make my life better because I'm pretty short on cookbooks that are fewer than 40 years old.

    Also, I'm starting school soon and need a planner to keep up.

    • Anonymous

      Don't pick History or Anthropology, I know from experience.

    • Ashley Sue

      Why not anthropology? I majored in Classical languages and anthro/bio archeology. There are lots of potions in museums and national parks for anthro and arch. I worked as a coroner assistant making decent money per call.

    • Anonymous

      I suppose if you have an advanced degree there are museum positions. And, I assume Elizabeth is going for an advanced degree, so this is valid. My dream was to work for a museum.

      In my area there is nothing for these majors for undergrads, not that is a stable income at any rate.

      Mostly just teasing…

  10. Anonymous

    I am very unorganized at present being 27 weeks pregnant with twins, working full time, having a five year old and being newly Catholic.

    I meant to start celebrating the liturgical year at our house with things like meals and feasts, but since I am not really a cook, planning meals out is even too much for me while pregnant.

    I am hoping to have my stuff together better when not pregnant, so both the planner and Haley's cookbook would benefit me greatly. Especially since I think it will be hard to have it together with twins…

  11. Amanda

    I'm new to living liturgically, but I love it. I think it was you that pointed out that we will mark the fasts, but the Church gives us feasts too, and doing those balances and gives more joy. But I don't have good ideas about what to do. These books would be helpful.

    Speaking of, thanks for the idea of white food! I was going to make white chicken chili tomorrow, but I can totally do it today. We are also going to Chick Fil A in celebration (and as Mass bribery…).

    Thanks for the link! I always appreciate you pointing out that everyone isn't the boss of me. Let's go down to the underlying assumption and see if that's true before we make more decisions. Toys do not equal Christmas πŸ™‚

    • Kendra

      Perfect! And we are going out for fast food after noon Mass as well! But we don't have a chick-fil-a, so I think we'll do in-n-out.

  12. TawnyNicole001

    We are all so very B.U.S.Y a planner would help bring everything together and assure important things don't slip through the cracks!

    We try to stick to a real food diet. Haley's book would make celebrating while sticking to our eating goals simple! πŸ™‚

  13. grace galarneau

    We are currently converting to Catholics through RCIA. I was excited to discover liturgical living. Its confusing, but inspiring. Hoping to win a book to help me along this new journey in life. Thanks

  14. Angel Gebeau

    Thanks so much for sharing what you do to really live the liturgical year! I'd love to get more in the mode with incorporating the feasts with our daily life and would love as much assistance as possible from great books to organizing. Thanks for the giveaways!

  15. Kristin

    These look like great resources to help me get on track with liturgical living! As a Catholic convert (3 1/2 years now), I'm still learning the ropes and would love to be more intentional about celebrating different saints and seasons as a family. And these might be just the ticket πŸ™‚ Thanks for the opportunity!

  16. Laura

    I would love to be more organized about liturgical living in our family! My daughter is getting to an age where she can understand more saint stories and I'd love help incorporating them into our lives πŸ™‚

  17. Casey & Brynn

    I first started reading your blog to figure out how to incorporate the liturgical year…now I read it for that and everything else you have! These books would be a great help to really incorporate those feast days into our daily lives.

  18. Mary

    I often lose track of liturgical feasts. I love how your blog always gives ideas. The book would be awesome!

  19. Rebecca

    Aw, thanks for more giveaways! I would love both books to better integrate and plan for living liturgically in our family! We are just getting started and I have a hard time keeping on top of it.

  20. Jennifer Hakes

    Ha ha, I'd typed a lovely little blurb on here and managed to delete it prior to sending. Isn't it always the way things go? Anyway, to summarize, we are just settling into our lives after working our buns off for the past ten years. Really looking forward to bringing Church into the Home more and these resources would be an absolute gift to our two (nearly three) kiddos. Thanks so much either way – your blog, resources, knowledge, give-aways are a God-send. So glad I found you! Blessings.

  21. Amanda

    Question: when the kids have their Confirmations, will you add a 4th day they are special, for their Confirmation saint? Do you mark you and your husband's Confirmation saint days?

    • Kendra

      We don't, so far. I'm thinking I'm just going to stick with the three special days. But, never say never. πŸ™‚

  22. Anonymous

    I can use all the help I can get! Our family is new to celebrating the liturgical year (thanks in large part to you and some of your blogger friends!). We have 3 kids from 4 to 11 weeks, so we have a hard time getting organized!

  23. Courtney Kiolbassa

    As a poor college student, I'd appreciate both books! My friends and I are trying to integrate the liturgical year into our lives even more. I'm learning to cook in the less-than-optimal conditions of dorm kitchens, but I'm tryin' anyway! And what college kid doesn't love a planner? Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

  24. Elizabeth

    These would help me because my life is total chaos, and anything that makes planning and observing the liturgical year simpler is always a good thing in this house! (I literally opened up your blog this morning at 11:20, went "Oh no! It's a Holy Day of Obligation! We have to leave!" and 15 minutes later herded all five children out the door to Mass. Would have totally missed it if it hadn't been for you, so clearly a planner of some sort is going to be helpful!)

    • Kendra

      That's really impressive though. You've got to give yourself credit for managing it! :0)

    • Lauren

      This post makes me giggle because it's something I would do. You made my day! Kudos to you for getting everyone out the door that quickly!

  25. Anamaria Scaperlanda Biddick

    Would love plans to help us live liturgically! We do things for church seasons and meatless Fridays (and usually a bigger meal on Sundays, but I haven't managed saints days yet, besides liturgy of the hours!

  26. Emily Barnes

    I love the idea of living more liturgically, but putting it into practice is extremely overwhelming for me. I can use all the help I can get!

  27. Katie M

    With three six and under I would love some inspiration in celebrating the liturgical year with my children, it often seems overwhelming. I love that you approach it in a practical way by incorporating it into your meal plans. I have a question for you about celebrating name days, my oldest child's full name is Jack Henry, and I am not sure who his saint would be. Thank you for all the inspiration.

    • Kendra

      We have just picked one of many possible saints for each of our kids. So, there are lots of St. Elizabeths but Betty's name saint is just St. Elizabeth of Hungary. I'd probably let them switch, if they felt strongly about it, but just one nameday per year! For a Jack, you could choose any St. John, but it might be cool to choose Blessed John Henry Newman. His feast day is August 11th (I think).

    • Katie M

      Thank you! I love your idea of Blessed John Henry Newman, he will love that.

  28. allison

    Winning one of these books would be awesome!
    we have lost our celebration of the feasts these last few years, and i need a good, simple, swift kick to get us back to it. I love your simple incorporating ideas -reminds me of things we used to do … but the best is the saint report and dessert! Thank you!

  29. Catherine Saylor

    Whenever I pop over here, I find another great idea for living the liturgical year! We did a Pentecost bonfire this summer, thanks to you, and I think we'll have white foods for dinner tonight. πŸ™‚ I would love to add the books to my kitchen as I'm always seeking memorable ways to incorporate the church calendar into our family life.

  30. Teresa

    I feel like I'm always scrambling the day before to figure out how to celebrate the next day's Feast or Saint. Having these books might help take the pressure off of planning since I'd just need to copy someone else's idea!

  31. Mary Ann W.

    I love the Feast books and especially find them useful with the gluten free recipes for the two celiacs in our house. I bought them both as a present to…me! The planner, actually, is something I have my eye one…would definitely keep me ahead of the game in between all my daughter's doctor appointments.
    PS: So happy to hear your great news! Summertime baby! God bless! Will that mean a Chicago birth??

    • Kendra

      We're still trying to figure that out. You'll know when I know. And thanks!

  32. Laura @ Keeping Up With the Mikes

    Both books would be great to help me be proactive about incorporating liturgical celebrations into our family. Kelly's planner would help me keep my ideas organized and Haley's book would provide a good basis for ideas of how to celebrate. Thanks for putting together the giveaway!

  33. Lori

    Planners make me happy and one with the liturgical year within it would make me jump for joy! πŸ™‚ My oldest (age 5) is just beginning to really understand and learn our Catholic faith and I'd love to have the planner to help keep me on top of things to teach him this coming year. Thanks for the chance! P.S. Loved listening to you on Jennifer Fulwiler's show!

  34. Heather

    Did you say gluten-free? That sounds like a book I NEED! We are trying to celebrate feast and do better with our planning. I actually went out and got ground beef and taco shells for this week's Mexican feasts, so at least I've planned for something, but those seem to be the only ones I truly remember meal-wise. One step at a time, right? πŸ™‚

  35. Margaret

    I'd love to win the planner- it's always a good time to evaluate our schedules at the beginning of a new year and a new liturgical year!

  36. Lauren

    I'd love to win Kelly's planner! And the cookbook, too! I agree that dinner is the easiest and most do-able way to incorporate the liturgical year into our lives. This would help me keep it organized!

  37. Victoria Falls

    I Want want Best Laid plans, cuz I could use a little more crazy Kelly in my life. And I Loved your talk with Jen! Especially modeling your family life after the Marine Corps values. Amen. Once a Marine Always a Marine.

  38. Anonymous

    Love the idea of a planner. I always tend to realize Feast Days and/or Holy Days have arrived once they're already here instead of enough in advance to do much with them.

  39. Kimberly

    My phone ate my attempted response! I don't know if I'm too late to enter, but this would be such a blessing to win! I'm trying hard to intentionally incorporate more faith-centered daily activities into our family life, but I am very disorganized and scatterbrained. I need all the help I can get!

  40. Kathryn Husing

    Planning and cooking!! I could FINALLY start planning our meals. πŸ™‚ Or, since I would only be winning one, I could finally start planning, or finally start cooking.

  41. carolyn

    I am very new to the Catholic faith, and I am eager to introduce the rich culture into my daily life. I don't have a lot of knowledge of the saints of holy days, so I don't want to miss amy important ones!

  42. Erica

    We just entered the Church in April. One of the things I am loving in the Catholic faith is the liturgical year! It is so beautiful and smart. While there are many things that seem strange and unnatural (coming from Protestantism) the liturgical year is very intuitive to me. Thus, I would love the feast book.
    And I always love a good planner.

  43. Betka

    I'm all about practicing our faith through food. I give A Continual Feast as a wedding present to every Catholic couple we know and my own copy is pretty dog-eared. I'd love a new infusion of grace.

  44. Sara Nguyen

    Our home would really benefit from both of these books. We're in the "baby steps" phase, literally and figuratively. The Church is too rich and too beautiful not to bring it home with us, so whatever tools can enrich that for us are always welcome. The planner would help me know saint days were coming up rather than reading about it in my morning prayer and scrambling to get it going the rest of the day. Win! And the cookbook, saint stories and recipes in the SAME place. Win again!

  45. A Cord of 15 Knots

    I have two little boys who are 1 1/2 (twins obv) and I am working hard to incorporate our Catholic Faith into our year and creating new traditions. I grew up protestant so it's been a (very fun) learning process of researching what other families do and making it up as we go along πŸ˜‰ And I have been searching for the perfect planner for so long!

  46. PlaydatesandPushups

    These would be perfect for my chaotic schedule with three boys, three jobs, and all the in between. This will also help me keep track of the Saint Feast days.

  47. Jennifer Barbosa

    As homeschooling mommy of 3-I need all the help I can get! LOL! I would appreciate either of these books in my arsenal of catholic resources! Best Wishes-Jen Barbosa

  48. Patty

    I can't seem to remember important feasts or come up with ideas to celebrate as well as drawing a general blank on what to do for advent. These would be super helpful!

  49. Irena

    I would loooove Any of these. As a homeschooling mom of 10 (oldest is 24, youngest is 2 months), I am in the "Slightly Overwhelmed" category the vast majority of the time… After reading your blog, I realize that I fall short as a mom, wife… especially when it comes to Fully living the Liturgical year… I am determined to do better!! Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement!

  50. Fuzzy

    I have suchx a hard time preparing what we should do to celebrate the feasts and I am always a bit late. I want to have he help and motivation to get started!

  51. Stephanie

    Feast! would be a welcome addition to our home, as my default "feast day" dessert is usually a blueberry crisp (frozen blueberries with a oatmeal/brown sugar topping). Which is good, and hey blue is the color of Mary, right? But I think the kids are catching on that it's always the same dessert. πŸ˜‰ And I am in search of a new day planner for our home and home school, I would love to see what Kelly's has to offer!

  52. Jill VT

    I need a lot of help in the liturgical living department; while raised Catholic, my family really didn't pay attention to Feast Days. And a planner? Please. Fabulous. I can't even remember to cut my children's nails.

  53. Bryan Burns

    These books would be soooo helpful! As a newbie Catholic(And I'm guessing for seasoned Catholics too) it can be all so intimating just trying to get in the rhythm of the liturgical year and remembering to not eat meat on Friday. Then trying to figure out meaningful ways to celebrate the lives of saints can feel like too much. I hope with time and some practice this will come a bit more naturally.

    I can't comment with a log in for some reason…I'm Malisha Burns btw.

  54. Yesterday Night

    These books would be helpful in remembering all the things I seem to have trouble remembering. It is nice that everything would be all in ONE place! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Holly D

  55. Melody Mercer

    Oh the planner would be great for planning (lol), even though I have an iPhone and all that I find I am more organized on paper!!

  56. Sasha

    I LOVE planners, and I think an all-in-one is the way to go, as I've tried the several-different-planners strategy and it's too much bouncing around…

  57. Tracy Bua Smith

    Thanks for the giveaway opp Kendra! I'm always trying to plan and organize my life and liturgical life a little better! These books look like a perfect fit for my goals! Thanks!

  58. Ali Neumann

    Ohh, that planner would be perfect to get organized for the new year

  59. Carteca

    I have a friend who home schools, and I think the planner would be a great gift for her.

  60. Rebecca Whittaker

    I think these books would help me move from 'contemplation' to action. I work from home, but that doesn't give me time (most days) to get dinner together early. One of the comments was about knowing what is for dinner by 10am. That would be true progress for me, I usually think it through on the way to pick up my girls from daycare! I have to get better!

  61. Jamie

    I love this idea! I get tired of juggling multiple planners too and the flexibility of this looks amazing!

  62. Heather

    I'm right there with you on the "not doing many crafts in this house unless it comes from a kit" thing, but celebrating feasts with food sounds right up my alley. I would so love to win these books and start incorporating the ideas into my family's liturgical celebrations through the year. We're pretty good at Advent and Lent, but the rest of the year needs some help! Please!

  63. Lu

    These books will make my life better because I am a bad catholic, and they will magically turn me into a good one. Right? RIGHT??!!

  64. Elizabeth Robeck

    These books would definitely help me plan better in order to more fully celebrate saints, something I've been meaning to do!!

  65. Munchie Mommy

    I am the most absent-minded person I know, with the possible exception of my husband. We need all the help we can get!

  66. Laurie

    I need that planner so bad because as of now, my 3 under 3 leave me forgetting to do all sorts of stuff, and there is very little intentional liturgical year celebrating over here. I do cook dinner, so the Feast cookbook might help me get started. So overwhelmed! Thanks for this post!

  67. Megan

    I would love to win! Looks like a great planner, and I always need new recipe ideas!

  68. Erika ~ Prey Species @ www.preyspecies.com

    Honestly, I could really use the help!!!!! I'm a mom of two, two and under with another on the way. I was raised cradle Catholic, but didn't really focus too much on my faith…..but I always knew it was there. I really want my kids to grow with a deeper connection to God and to faith. I'm reading the bible and doing bible studies and devotionals for myself….but of course that's all way above their heads. I recently read "The Feasts" by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina and they really emphasize celebration of the faith. They also talk about creating memories for your child so they always have that. I want that for my kids – I want them to know God and always have the church no matter what hardships may befall them…..BUT I have NO IDEA WHAT I'm doing….LOL My husband recently went through RCIA and joined the church at Easter! We are working hard to be the family God wants…….Baby steps……. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The planner and cookbook would be an excellent and practical way to start – would love, love to have the help πŸ™‚ Thanks!!!! Your Jesse tree printable ornaments were a huge hit by the way – thanks tons!!!

  69. Rosa Patterson

    Cool! We did white food too. I boiled chopped cauliflower and threw in some mini gnocchi then i made a white cheddar sauce to go with it. It was so darn good!!

  70. Karen Reep

    Id love to win one! I'm just getting warmed up to liturgical living and I love it! It will help me plan my days around Him. Thanks!

  71. Kathryn Ward

    I would love the second Feast book or the planning book! My mom's bible study group is wanting ideas on how to add in some Catholic traditions into their daily lives. This would be great to have to show to the group and let everyone see and get ideas and even order for themselves.

  72. Stephanie Feely

    Hey – just was looking up recipes for later this week and pressed on the three cheese pasta link and it sent me to some bad spam of a sexual nature. I closed it quick so I don't know if it was just a pop up or what but wanted to let you know just in case it happens to others.

  73. Kendra

    Oh my goodness, Stephanie! Thanks for the head's up. I fixed the link.

  74. Alicia Shortt

    Yahshua did not celebrate holidays. He celebrated holy days of the Bible.
    Passover,Feast of unleavened bread,feast of Weeks,etc.
    And it's idolatrous to pray to Mary.
    We are told to pray in the name of Yahshua God's son not Mary.
    Mary was simply the humble vessel used by Yahweh to bring His Son into the world.
    And she didn't stay a virgin after Yahshua was born.
    Praise Yahshua for truth!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

If you’d like to learn more about what Catholics believe and why, and to be inspired by saints from every era all over the world, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of how to teach your kids about the faith in a way that’s true, engaging, and lasts a lifetime, we can help!

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