Saturday, February 21, 2015


So the kids and I didn't actually make it to the Ash Wednesday mass this year.  I had concocted this amazing plan that involved driving the kids to the Pentagon to meet Chris for mass there, but with the snow days and government shutdown our parking pass never got processed and I was not about to trek the kids the mile long walk down to the metro in the snow to get there.  It was probably for the best since the two Ash Wednesday masses at the Pentagon were apparently standing room only which, let's face it, would have been a disaster.  

I did pull together some of our tried and true Lenten activities though and I even managed to make them pretty to boot.  

Note:  The following is mostly for my own records--when I tried to search the blog to find a picture of our Lent calender from years past to see how I made it the only one I found was from Pennsylvania--a total mom blog fail.  I'm not a super "lets do all the activities!" type of mom so pretty much everything we're doing here takes place around mealtimes when I'm most likely to not forget.  Anyway, here's what we're doing just in case you're interested.......

Sacrifice/Kindness Beans:  For every kind deed/sacrifice the kids make they put a bean in the jar and on Easter they are magically transformed into jelly beans.  This is a family favorite and the jars are always filled to the brim with jelly beans no matter how full they were the night before Easter.  David was in charge of picking out the bag of beans from the store this year because I apparently purged the old bag of black beans I've been reusing for the past four years when we moved.  He couldn't quite settle on any one type so he begged for the twelve bean soup bag.  Henry is slowly emptying the bowl of all the giant white lima beans since clearly, bigger is better.

I also printed a copy of Lent for Children:  A Thought a Day because it's simple and free.  We've been reading it after breakfast as part of our 'morning basket' time.  We also light those candles and say our prayers because I've found the best way to get children to pay attention to their prayers is fire.   We've also been attempting a family decade of the rosary right after dinner which has been going about as well as you can imagine.  I like it though since, a convert myself, I don't know all the rosary prayers by heart which is my biggest stumbling block to actually praying one.  So this particular Lenten devotional is good for me and not too much of a hardship for the kids.  Plus, the ones that stick it out nicely get to blow out the candles.  See--the magic of fire.

I also made the same countdown calender I always do from the book Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler mostly because the boys LOVE gluing down the crosses each day and as a bonus, if you don't get to be the one to glue on a cross you can put a kindness bean in the jar for your momentous personal sacrifice.  I didn't have any big sheets of paper this year but I did have the cardboard back of an empty sketchpad so that's what I used which turned out great since I can just lean it up against the wall.  In the past we've had the kids count household objects to earn pennies to give alms with as the book suggests but this year I might let them do chores to earn pennies instead, or not, we'll have to see how Lent goes.  We've also been fasting from TV and sweets which is hard but also a nice reset from the winter induced TV and candy bender we've been on.  You can click here for a much more professional version of the calender complete with printables.....or if for some reason you want my printables let me know and I can send you a ridiculously old word file :)

I love Auntie Leila's advice to just live your own Lent and bring the children along.  I've been attempting to discipline myself to get up before the kids again (which I haven't done consistently since before the big move) in order to pray/start my day in peace which I've had about a 75% success rate at so far.  If I wanted to ensure being up before my minions I'd have to wake up with Chris at 4 AM and I just don't see that happening anytime in the near future.

I would really like to take the kids to church on a Friday and go through the Stations of the Cross with them--not at 7 PM when that's actually going on and the kids would be complete disasters--maybe just during the day when the church is empty?  And I have a vague plan to print and laminate these free, Montessori style Stations of the Cross cards for the boys to work with.  I might have already hit my limit for Lenten crafting though.  We'll have to see :)

How's your Lent looking so far?
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