Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras and Lent Preparations

Mardi Gras!

So today is Mardi Gras! The day before Lent starts and a type of celebration to get all your partying and  indulging out!

We had Pancakes for breakfast. From what I've read the tradition for pancakes is because people use to fast all during lent. Not fasting by "giving up" something like TV. They fasted from the finest of foods, including things like butter, milk and eggs. So on Mardi Gras, they'd eat pancakes all day in order to use up those ingredients that they wouldn't be using for the next 40 days. While we are NOT giving up milk, butter or eggs (I am not that devout yet, lol), we did have pancakes for breakfast in order to remember the significance of what's coming.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed it!

The little one licked the plate clean!!! Love that lip sticking out at the bottom!

Penitential Season - Bury the "Alleluia"

Since Lent is a penitential season, we do not sing the Gloria or say "Alleluia" at Mass. The liturgical season is meant to prepare us for Easter. We are not celebrating yet, so we put the "Alleluia" away. We got this idea from this great site! We went with the printable version since I didn't have time to go buy letters. That's how things go when you plan 2 days in advance and only have 1 car that hubs takes to work.  I also printed out a picture for our almsgiving box from the same site.

 We made a banner. 

I put the banner into a baggie and we will literally bury it in the backyard. MJ has been digging holes in the backyard lately so this fits perfectly with his current interests. I had him bury a couple of broken rosaries the other day and he made a cross for them that he stuck into the ground. It looks like we have a pet cemetery back there...lol. Anyway, on Easter we will resurrect our "Alleluia" and hang it in the home for the Easter season.

We also plan on eating a King Cake tonight. I'm suppose to put a little baby in it but I'm not sure how that is going to work. The only baby we have is a dollhouse baby from the girls' room. I'm not sure they want me to bake it. We might just be having Cake!


Lent starts tomorrow with Ash Wednesday kicking it off. During Lent we generally concentrate on 4 aspects of the season: Almsgiving, Service, Acts of Charity and Self-Sacrifice. The most recognized of these is generally the Self-Sacrifice, where everyone decides to "give up" something. So what are we going to do for Lent?

Prayer and Penance - Stations of the Cross (for kids)
Since the season is penitential in nature we are going to shoot for more prayer throughout the season. We plan to do Stations of the Cross with the kids on Friday. Not at the church though. Here at the house. I want them to understand what it is before we go participate at church. They are more inclined to pay attention if the recognize what is going on.

We will use these materials.

I'd seen this idea floating around Catholic blogs in the past couple of years. There is an item that represents each station.

Station 1 - Jesus condemned to die (string/rope to represent Jesus' hands tied together)
Station 2 - Jesus carries his cross (small wooden cross)
Station 3 - Jesus falls first time (bandaid with "1" on it)
Station 4 - Jesus meets his mother, Mary (Mary medal from a necklace)
Station 5 - Simon helps Jesus (small heart for love)
Station 6 - Veronica wipes Jesus' face (small piece of cloth with Jesus' face drawn)
Station 7 - Jesus falls 2nd time (bandaid with "2" on it)
Station 8 - Jesus comforts women of Jerusalem (tissue for their tears)
Station 9 - Jesus falls 3rd time (bandaid with "3" on it)
Station 10 - Jesus is stripped (piece of purple cloth)
Station 11 - Jesus nailed to cross (a large nail)
Station 12 - Jesus died on cross ( small crucifix)
Station 13 - Jesus is taken down (picture of Pieta by Michaelangelo)
Station 14 - Jesus is buried (stone to represent the rock closing the tomb)

 I put a box of items together 2 years ago and we never used it. Well this year we are dusting it off! I actually duplicated the items so each kid could have their own to follow along. I also found these cards to print. I laminated them and cut them out so the kids could match the item to the corresponding station picture. 

Almsgiving - Almsgiving Box
We will be collecting food for the poor and delivering it to St. Vincent de Paul at our church. We just posted the sign on our wall over a laundry basket to collect the food over the weeks.

The girls already being generous. They wanted to give away all our food!
I had to stop them at the open packages of pasta and rice, and stuff in the refrigerator...lol.

We are undecided on this one. I think Hubs mentioned volunteering at a soup kitchen or something along those lines. We want to be able to do something the kids can see and join in. We will be praying at the N I-35 abortion clinic as part of 40 Days for Life. Not sure if that falls under service or prayer. We are praying with the potential of providing a life saving service if a woman changes her mind. Things that don't fit into categories (at least a category in my head) drive my brain crazy...lol.

Self-Sacrifice - Give up something
We will basically just sit down with the kids and give them a few options for things they could give up. My intention is to also get rid of all TV time for Lent. We have already limited our watching to one day per week, so I don't think it will be that big of a fight, but I could be wrong. We'll see how it goes. As for mom, she'll be off the computer :(. No Facebook, no blogs, no emails....good thing I don't make money off this blog. I do have to pay bills and such but I'm limiting myself to specific periods of computer, like to update this blog and possibly source out info on homeschool or religious related things. But no "fun time". Dad says he might give up ESPN.....LOL!....yeah right. (Just kidding, I love you Hub!)

Acts of Charity - Crown of Thorns

Store bought wreath (what we will use)

Salt dough wreath

Playdough wreath (we did this before but it crumbled apart every time they touched it)

I've seen this before on a few different blogs as well. We have done this before so we will do it again this year. You make/buy a wreath of just twigs/sticks and put toothpicks in it to look like thorns. Every time the child performs some charitable act they get to take a thorn (toothpick) out of Jesus' crown, relieving him of suffering. This is great and really made an impression on them last year because all year long they say they are either "removing a thorn from Jesus crown" when they do something nice or they say they are "putting a thorn in Jesus' crown" when they get in trouble.

Well that sums up what we'll be up to for the rest of this week! Oh and Valentine's day is also on Thursday! I'll post something then so you can see what we did :).