Riddles in the Dark (Hobbit Party Printable)

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"Sssss," said Gollum, and became quite polite. "Praps ye sits here and chats with it a bitsy, my preciousss. It like riddles, praps it does, does it?" He was anxious to appear friendly, at any rate for the moment, and until he found out more about the sword and the hobbit, whether he was quite alone really, whether he was good to eat, and whether Gollum was really hungry. Riddles were all he could think of. Asking them, and sometimes guessing them, had been the only game he had ever played with other funny creatures sitting in their holes in the long, long ago, before he lost all his friends and was driven away, alone, and crept down, down, into the dark under the mountains. "Very well," said Bilbo, who was anxious to agree, until he found out more about the creature, whether he was quite alone, whether he was fierce or hungry, and whether he was a friend of the goblins." 
- The Hobbit, Riddles in the Dark

Bilbo's finding of the Ring and his riddle game with Gollum are two of the most important, or at least consequential, scenes of The Hobbit. To include this chapter in our celebrations, I put together this fun and easy riddle game for guests to play.

I included eight of the riddles from this chapter as well as the answers on a separate page. I printed the riddles out onto a thicker white paper so they're a little more durable to be passed around and such. I also might the riddles into strips and roll them into mini scrolls for the guests to choose from and ask each other! Winner gets their very own golden ring to keep!

Yo can grab the printable here. I hope you'll love it!
It made such a fun addition to our Hobbit celebration. :) 

Hobbit Party Planning: Second Breakfast & More

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"When every guest had been welcomed and was finally inside the gate, there were songs, dances, music, games, and, of course, food and drink. There were three official meals: lunch, tea, and dinner (or supper). But lunch and tea were marked chiefly by the fact that at those times all the guests were sitting down and eating together. At other times there were merely lots of people eating and drinking--continuously from elevenses until six-thirty, when the fireworks started."
- The Fellowship of the Ring, A Long-Expected Party

As hobbits are known for their love for food, it is likely the most important element of any good hobbit celebration! Hobbits are known to feast from breakfast and well into the evening, preferring hearty, home-cooked comfort foods. 

Your menu will depend on the time and duration of your celebration (as well as whether or not little hobbits will be invited!). In years past, we've had an open house so friends were able to drop by whenever they were able, which is my favorite because it gives me the opportunity to make all the hobbit food. 

Here's a round-up of all my favorite Hobbit Party menu items. I've grouped them by meal, and have included links to as many recipes as I could find. Make sure to check the bottom of the post for more resources, including links to a few of my favorite Tolkien-inspired blogs and Cookbooks! 

Breakfast (7am)

For (first) breakfast, we typically serve something light and sweet, such as a pastry or small cake with fruit. This should be something simple since Second Breakfast will be quite hearty. Depending on the size of the party, I'd serve a couple of these:  

Second breakfast (9 am)

For second breakfast, we go all out with eggs, bacon, sausages, and more! This meal is meant to be hearty and filling. I'm planning to cook up the sausage and bacon ahead of time and then serve them in a warming tray (or maybe keep them in a crockpot on low if I can spare one). 

  • Biscuits with Sausage Gravy
  • Potato & Veggie Frittata
  • Sausage and Mushrooms
  • Fried Potatoes
  • Fried Eggs
  • Pumpkin Spiced French Toast 

Elevenses (11 am)

  • Lembas Bread (with Lavender, Citrus, and Almond!)
  • Biscuits with Raspberry Jam
  • A coffee bar (including fall-inspired syrups and cream) 
  • Meat and Cheese Platter

Lunch (1 pm)

  • Any Kind of Hearty, Broth-based Soup (such as beef and vegetable stew)
  • Garden Salad
  • Cold Chicken Sandwiches (either sliced deli style or in a chicken salad) 
  • Individual Meat Pies

Afternoon tea (3pm)

Tips on pairing desserts and pastries with teas: How to Pair Tea with Dessert by Art of Tea

Dinner, or Supper (6 pm)

  • Pot Roast with Onions, Potatoes, Carrots, and Mushrooms
  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Vegetables
  • Stuffed Mushrooms

Desserts

Drinks

When it comes to drinks, most of the planning relies on creatively labelling your beverages. Your drink list will also vary a good deal depending on whether you're hosting little hobbits or grown-ups. 

or the grown-ups...

  • Beer: Label the best Ale you've got to offer as "Proper 1420" (preferably something golden, as most things in the year 1420 were unusually golden and fair). 
  • Wines: label them according to different Elven realms (Rivendell, Mirkwood would make excellent Reds, Lothlorien would be perfect for white or sparkling). 
  • Ent Draught: apple juice, lemon juice, gin, and basil (source), other ideas include: anything to do with mint and vodka. 

Family Friendly...

I've found several different recipes for Treebeard's Ent Draught, all of which are unique - I'd love to try them all! Here are two of my favorites: This recipe from the Inn at The Crossroads, which includes tea, florals, and herbs & Another from Feast of Starlight is a mix of fruit juices, sparkling water, and mint. For a simpler, kid-friendly Ent Draught, anything fruity or green will do (green punch, green Powerade, or honestly even apple juice... for the little ones it's more about the experience so make sure to tell them all about what Ent Draught is!).  

Other Magnificent Resources

Almond, Citrus, and Lavender Lembas Bread

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For this year's Hobbit celebration feast, I knew I wanted to serve a very special Lembas. In past years, I had gone a simpler route and used pita chips, sugar cookies, or graham crackers wrapped in green napkins or fabric leaves. But this year I wanted to attempt making actual Lembas.

While Tolkien unfortunately doesn't provide us with an exact recipe for this Elvish way-bread, we do know a few things about it. Lembas is sweet, often described as a cake; it is made with the fruit of the Mallorn tree, a round nut with a silver shale; and it is cream-colored on the inside and has a light brown crust. For more details regarding Lembas, I came across an excellent article here

 “Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.” -The Fellowship of the Ring

After reading through several different recipes online, I ended up modifying this recipe by Feast of Starlight, so I thought I'd share a bit about what I used and how it turned out. The combination of the citrus with the almond, and then the slight hint of lavender is just so good! 

Homemade Almond, Citrus, & Lavender Lembas

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal (I made my own by blending almonds in a food processor)
  • 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. Orange Extract
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Extract
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2-3 Drops Lavender Essential Oil 
  • One handful of finely chopped dried fruit (Optional - I didn't use this in my original recipe but I keep wishing I had! Dried cranberries would've been such a good addition. Or apricots or raisins!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add honey, then eggs. Mix until smooth. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, almond meal, and slivered almonds.
  4. Fold flour mixture into batter, adding the extracts & oil slowly. Mix until well-combined. Carefully fold in dried fruit (optional). 
  5. Refrigerate dough until it has stiffened a bit, then roll out on a floured surface. Dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Cut into rectangles, about 3 x 2.5 inches. Gently score the tops with an 'x'.
  7. Bake on a greased tray for about 15 minutes, or until the bottoms of the Lembas wafers have slightly browned. 
  8. This recipe will make approximately 36 pieces. 

These slightly sweet biscuits pair so nicely with a warm cup of tea! They were a hit with everyone in my family! My daughter asked for a cup of our sleepytime tea as she had hers, and even the two year-old said they were "yummy cookies" so I'm counting that as a win. 

Lembas is traditionally served in "Mallorn leaves", so you can either wrap them in any non-poisonous leaves or use green fabric cut like leaves (here's a good tutorial here). 

I'd love to hear if you try this recipe and what you think of it!
I'm so excited to have them at this year's Hobbit day celebration. :) 

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Our Saints & Scripture Gallery Wall

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About a year ago, I started gathering up prints from a few of my favorite small shops in hopes of putting together a little gallery wall. And whenever I manage to keep this space clean, it quickly becomes my favorite place in the house to sit and write. I posted a photo of the wall on Instagram the other day and a few of you asked for the sources as well as more photos of the prints themselves, so I thought I'd write it all out here! 

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I don't have any tips for planning a gallery wall, other than just doing whatever you want (usually my life motto). We're living in a rental so it's pretty low-pressure when it comes to hanging artwork, I'm not worried about how something will look for 10+ years. There's a pretty great tutorial over at At Home with Natalie if you're interested. 

Gallery Wall Sources

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Our Plans for Adventuring, Reading, & Learning This Year

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As Little Miss Lily is beginning her second year of half-day preschool,  I thought I'd sit down and write out my cautiously optimistic plan for the year. I'm hoping to supplement what she learns in school & help equip her for kindergarten (and really, life in general... that's my job here isn't it?).

This might be more for me than anyone, but I thought I'd share it in case anyone else might be interested! I know I always love reading these sorts of things (especially from Carrots for Michaelmas and Molly at The Merrier World). Keep in mind that I'm pregnant with our third baby who should make their appearance in February, so I don't have many grand plans or hopes for being an overachiever this year. 

Adventuring

Once she starts full-day Kindergarten, I won't have very much time to go on adventures with her, so I'm hoping to go on at least a few good ones this year! I want to make sure we visit a few of Indiana's state parks, and maybe we'll be able to visit one or two of the neighboring states for some fun! I'm also hoping to take her out to at least one fun local adventure each week (like the library, the local play centers, the children's museum, nature center, trails, etc.). At the same time, though, I also want to be intentional about spending time at home and just being together since I know I'll miss this time with her as she grows. Balance, balance. 

Reading

We started reading The Magic Treehouse books over the summer and Lily really loved it! I like that the books are on the shorter side so we can finish one in one sitting, and Lily is starting to recognize some of her sight words. I've also been reading a few pages of this illustrated edition of The Hobbit to the children at night (the illustrations are so well-done and it helps keep Lily's attention as we go)! Other than that, I'm trying to sneak all of the Barbie books out of the house and slowly replace them with more meaningful ones, like Anne of Green Gables & Little House on the Prairie. 

Listening to

We're listening to the audible versions of The Chronicles of Narnia, which they love so far! It's been a lot of fun to introduce the children to some of my favorite stories and help them fall in love with reading (even though they're not quite there yet). I'm also listening to the audible version of Return of the King as I'm finishing up our Return of the King companion journal, so the kids have been hearing bits of pieces of it as we're driving around.

We also listen to a lot of podcasts while in the car, which is really the area where I feel like I'm winning as a parent. Despite calling them "boring", Lily is actually soaking it all in & it's sparked so many discussions! When we listen to Pints with Aquinas, she'll ask me things like, "Why did Aquinas say this? Or that?" It's been such a natural way to teach her basic truths about God, the Bible, and the world, that might have felt forced otherwise. We also listen to a lot of Catholic Answers Focus, Word on Fire, and The Tolkien Road. 

We also love listening to ballet music because Lily has become obsessed with dancing! Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and her new favorite Lindsey Stirling are all she ever asks for. 

Watching

I've come to terms with the fact that watching a little (a lot) more TV than usual is going to be a part of this year because  of my pregnancy sickness and general exhaustion, so if we're going to be watching something I'm hoping to make it something worthwhile. Lily used to love watching these Brother Francis videos about the faith, but she's recently gotten spoiled by Netflix (which I finally cancelled!) so I'm hoping to get her back into watching them (Augustine LOVES them). We've also been steering toward anything on PBS instead of Amazon Video/Netflix because they're at least somewhat educational and the mom guilt subsides for the most part. If you have any good religious/learning video recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

Practicing

While Lily is mostly learning letters & numbers and such at preschool, I'm trying to be intentional about making sure we also practice them at home. We have a dry erase board as well as few workbooks for practicing writing letters and numbers. I just came across this one that seems pretty inclusive so I'm looking forward to trying it. I found a pack of sight word cards from the Dollar Tree that she likes flipping through and repeating the words after me - and this wipeable sight words workbook also looks really nice! I've been working on rearranging our play room / living room to have a nice little learning spot where she can practice or learn about whatever she wants. 

For the Babies of The House

  • "A Baby's Guide to" Books by Sweet Sequels: This etsy shop makes the cutest fabric books for babies - I especially love the Baby's Guide to The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit, but they have so many classics to offer that it's hard to choose! I could probably spend like $500 in this shop & not regret it in the least bit. 
  • Baby Lit Primer Books: These sturdy hardcovers are a cute and fun way to introduce babies to the classics! From Little Women to Dracula to A Christmas Carol, they all look so fun! 
  • John Ronald's Dragons: This is a short autobiography about Tolkien and it is one of the sweetest picture books I've ever read (maybe I'm biased). There are plenty of beautiful illustrations, especially of horses and dragons (which Augustine LOVES), and Lily enjoys the story quite a bit. 

That's about all I can come up with for now but it feels like plenty, especially since they're so young and mostly just learn by doing whatever we're doing all day. We're mostly pretty relaxed about it around here (which I hope is a good thing?) but it is fun to sit down and try to make goals/plans no matter how informal they are.

Thanks for reading! If you have any ideas or suggestions for helping my little ones (ages 4 & 2) learn about the world around them without being too rigid or complicated, I'd love to hear them! 

Hobbit Party Planning: Woodland Decor & Accents

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This is a part of our Hobbit Celebration series, in which we're sharing inspiration and tips for hosting your own celebration of Bilbo + Frodo Baggins' birthdays on September the 22nd! I hope you'll enjoy these posts and much as I did writing them!  This post contains affiliate links. 

Our 6th annual Hobbit celebration is less than two months away and I'm getting quite excited as I begin planning and shopping a little bit. I wanted to share a few of the items I'm planning to purchase in case you were also planning a Hobbit celebration for this fall! As Hobbits have such a love for nature, our parties tend to lean towards a natural or woodland theme, with lots of green, orange, and brown. I also try to incorporate a lot of warm light (such as these twinkle lights or candles). Because little hobbits will also be invited to our party, I'm doing my best to avoid anything fragile (glass or dainty ceramics) or hazardous (such as tiny acorns or little bits of confetti that babies might choke on). 


I've also been saving inspirational photos to our pinterest board- here

You can also find photos from our past Hobbit parties over on our old site - here


We'll be sipping on Ent Draught through these birch paper straws & unwrapping Lembas from these sage green linen napkins, sitting at a woodland tablescape beneath a ceiling of twinkling lights and autumn leaves. So basically, it will be the greatest. ;) I also wanted to note that these mossy circles are placemats & this candle smells like the Shire! How perfect is that?!  I also have a few DIY plans that I'm hoping to share in the near future. Autumn is truly the most wonderful time of the year (sorry, all you other seasons), and I'm so thankful that we live in a world where Hobbits have birthdays and we get to celebrate them (even if they're not quite real, although I did find the History of Middle-Earth in the non-fiction section of the library once... so you never know...). 

Click through the photos for sources & happy Hobbit celebration planning!
May the hair on your toes never fall out ;) 

 

Discovering the Sacraments in Middle-Earth: Boromir's Confession

Artist Spotlight: This image, titled "The Death of Boromir" by CG-Warrior on Deviant Art, captures this scene with breathtaking detail and composition, particularly in the facial expressions of Aragorn and Boromir. 

In the opening scene of The Two Towers, Aragorn rushes to Boromir's aid after hearing the desperate call of his horn. Upon finding him, he realizes he has come too late. Boromir has been pierced with many orc arrows and now lays dying. 

“I tried to take the Ring from Frodo,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I have paid.’ His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. 'They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.' He paused and his eyes closed wearily. After a moment he spoke again.

'Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.'

'No!' said Aragorn, taking his hand and kissing his brow. 'You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!

Boromir smiled."

Boromir confesses that he tried to take the Ring from Frodo and as atonement, he has defended the hobbits against the Orcs soldiers. Although he fought valiantly, he was unable to overcome against their strength and number, and the hobbits have been taken captive by the Orcs. Aragorn reassures him, "You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!" After this, Boromir breathes his last and Aragorn weeps bitterly for the loss of his friend.

“He knelt for a while, bent with weeping, still clasping Boromir’s hand.”

Bless me Father, For I have Sinned

Boromir’s last moments call to mind an image of a deathbed confession, and indeed they contain all the elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: confession, contrition, satisfaction, and absolution.

Boromir speaks plainly of his wrongdoing, facing the truth rather than concealing it from Aragorn (confession).  He is greatly sorry for having attempted to take the Ring (contrition) and has submitted himself to the defense of the hobbits as his means of penance (satisfaction). And as he confesses, Aragorn acts as a priestly counsellor to his friend, showing him mercy and forgiveness in his last moments (absolution).

Forgive us our Trespasses

Encouraged by Boromir's last confession, seek out reconciliation in your own life, whether by receiving the Sacrament itself, by apologizing to a person you’ve wronged, or by doing what you can to heal any brokenness in your life.

Inspired by Aragorn's mercy towards Boromir, consider those who may need your forgiveness. Aragorn may have felt justified if he had lashed out in anger or withheld forgiveness from Boromir after his grave mistake, yet he chose to act mercifully and to grant him peace in his final moments. This, in turn, benefitted Aragorn as much as it did Boromir. 

Today, spend time reflecting on Christ’s words as he taught his Apostles how to pray to Our Father in heaven, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Ready to dig deeper?
Our Two Towers companion journal is filled with reflections and journaling prompts for each chapter of The Two Towers, created to help you grow in holiness (and hobbitness, which is quite similar). 
Order yours today. 

A Look Inside Our Two Towers Companion Journal

A Look Inside Our Two Towers Companion Journal

Each chapter includes a reflection on a theme, quality, or quote from the book. I’ve included space for lettering favorite quotes or doodling, as well as lined area for note-taking and discussion. My hope is to foster a love for beauty and truth as it is present in Tolkien’s world, to draw you closer to Christ through its meaning and philosophy, and to inspire you to action through journaling prompts.

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