Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie


  • Pumpkin
  • dates
  • almond milk
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • cinnamon
  • oats
  • banana
  • walnuts
  • vanilla extract
  • Ice

For a nuttier flavor, try the Nutty Pumpkin Smoothie.


The recipes tagged with Smoothie Recipe are all put into a Nutribullet and blended to smithereens. We do not denote amounts in the ingredients because we go by taste. Experiment a little, adapt, make it creamier or add some sweetness. Whatever you like!

For more information on making simple and nutritious smoothies without a recipe, check out Simple Nutritious Smoothies.


Nutty Pumpkin Smoothie

Nutty Pumpkin Smoothie


  • Pumpkin
  • Banana
  • Maca powder
  • Chocolate chips
  • Dates
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Ice

For another similar smoothie, try the regular Pumpkin Smoothie.


The recipes tagged with Smoothie Recipe are all put into a Nutribullet and blended to smithereens. We do not denote amounts in the ingredients because we go by taste. Experiment a little, adapt, make it creamier or add some sweetness. Whatever you like!

For more information on making simple and nutritious smoothies without a recipe, check out Simple Nutritious Smoothies.

Lent and Easter


Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving within the Catholic Church. The 40 day period starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. It is a time of intentional reflection, remorse, and spiritual growth.

Prior to Lent

Prior to Lent we like to spend time as a family discussing our Lenten observances, especially the sacrifices we plan to adhere to as individuals and as a family, and what we intend to do instead of whatever it is we are sacrificing.

The intent during Lent is to remove those things from our lives which are hindering us – anything we are attached to; that has control over us. It is about reordering and setting right order where we are not controlled by things.

For instance, this year we recognized that we have let too much screen time into our lives and it has become an outlet of escape for us. We tend to eat more dinners in front of the television, put the kids in front of their favorite shows more often, have less play time and prayer time because of screen time, and get to bed later and wake up more tired because of screen time. It was creating much chaos for us and was not ‘serving’ us in any useful way; in fact, it was a detriment to us and our family. So we have decided to only allow two 30 minute blocks for screen time during the day for the kids, eat our meals at the table or kitchen island, and to have no screen time at night before bed but to instead replace that time with family time.

Mardi Gras / “Fat Tuesday”

After having decided on the focus on our family and individual sacrifices we wait for Mardi Gras, the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday” and is the day prior to Lent when you get it all out of your system. This is a day to eat rich foods, get as much screen time as you can, do whatever it is that you know you will be abstaining from for the next 40 days.

On Fat Tuesday we make a big pancake dinner with green, gold, and purple pancakes. These colors of Mardi Gras are said to represent faith, power, and justice. Somehow, part of the tradition has been realizing we have no maple syrup and having to run out to the nearest store to pay an amazingly high price for a massive jug of syrup!

Ash Wednesday

On Ash Wednesday we go to Mass as early as possible and obtain the imposition of ashes on our foreheads in the shape of the cross. As the priest imposes the ashes on us he reminds us, “remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” With those sobering words we go back home and begin our Lenten fasts.

During Lent

During the 40 days of Lent we have many observances that we, as a family, have taken on. These observances include:

  • Utilizing either the Jesus Tree, Candles, or some other item to symbolically mark each day during Lent. This year we have a Catholic All Year subscription so we have both a thick card stock with days remaining in Lent that the kids can put a sticker on each day and we also have a crown of thorns with 40 toothpicks (thorns) in it that the kids can pull a thorn from each day.
  • Setting out the bean jar for every good deed done that then turns into jelly beans on Easter Sunday
  • Changing the altar linens on our home altar (purple, red, and white linens are on hand as applicable throughout the season)
  • Scheduling a Lenten retreat for us to individually get away on a Friday or Saturday to the local monastery near us for Confession, Mass, Prayer, Adoration and Reflection
  • Observing the Stations of the Cross on Fridays throughout Lent
  • Watching Les Miserables (we usually have at least one musical per season in our household)
  • Watching Rick Steves’ European Easter
  • Coloring Easter Eggs or carving Pysanky Eggs

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the Sunday prior to Easter Sunday. On this day we go to Mass, obtain blessed palm fronds that we craft into crosses, and participate in the reenactment of Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem (days before he was crucified). In the past we have made a wreath or other greenery for our door and we always, always, celebrate Palm Sunday with ice cream sundaes.

Holy Week through Easter Sunday

Holy Week is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter and is observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ. We spend a lot of time at the monastery or local parish during the week and more time in our home chapel.

The observances during this week include:

  • Listening to a podcast or DVD of the Tre Ores (The Three Hours’ Agony)
  • Tenebrae Service on Holy Wednesday (at home or at a parish)
  • Maundy Thursday Mass and the washing of the feet (at home or at a parish)
  • Good Friday Service and the adoration of the cross (at home or at a parish)
  • Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil at the local monastery
  • Easter Sunday Mass with an Easter egg hunt for the kids, unwrapping of their Easter baskets, and having a special dinner with some of our favorite Irish fare!
  • Changing the altar linens on our home altar to white and putting out imagery of Christ victorious over death

Have a Holy Lent and a Blessed Easter!

Marking The Year

Marking The Year: The Traditions That Sustain Us

As you read through the blog posts here on Pickles and Bacon you will find a that there are many traditions we adhere to in our household. These traditions act as an anchor throughout the year, designating the seasons and pulling us through the year more intentionally. These traditions mark the year for us as a family.

Marking the year is simply recognizing the daily, weekly and monthly observances related to feast days and celebrations within the Catholic Church, birthdays and anniversaries within the family, and seasonal cultural celebrations. As we do this we are drawn to look forward in anticipation to the traditions that have sustained us throughout our lives and develop fond memories of times spent together, whether it be in a dimly lit chapel with incense swirling and monastic chant or in our living room unwrapping presents from under the tree to Christmas melodies.

As a family we have even created a Shutterfly photo book outlining the traditions our particular family adheres to, with pictures from past observances to capture the memories of those times. The photo book is used as a compendium to our family calendar to help us remember and sustain the traditions that have been engraved in our hearts.

To learn more about the traditions that sustain us, search the site for the tag “traditions.”

Foam Fun

Foam Fun

I love how easy this is! All you need is 2 TBSP of dish soap, 1/4 cup of water, some food coloring, and a hand mixer! (If you need more you can always double or triple the recipe – the original amount I would say is good for 1 child in a small bin)

This is a great sensory activity for any time of the year, but I especially like it when I can coordinate it with something within the season (i.e. Valentine’s Day to make pink foam, St. Patrick’s Day to make green foam, etc.). 

Add 2 TBSP of dish soap to a bowl, pour in 1/4 cup of water, and add 1 drop of whatever food coloring you prefer (I always start with 1 drop and go from there because a little food coloring goes a long way!), and then beat it with the mixer until light, fluffy and foamy 🙂 

My kids love this activity, and they will literally play with this for at least an hour (the foam does start turning back into water after about 35 to 40 minutes, so you may need to blend it again – or it’s an easy way to say, “Activity is over!” 😉

Happy foaming! I hope your children enjoy it as much as mine do!