Today, Ash Wednesday, begins the season of Lent, forty days of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. With the littles in tow, I started my day bright and early at nine o'clock mass. I always wonder if I've totally gone batty when I attempt to take them both by myself and, behind the kind smiles and sweet nods, I'm sure everyone in the pews around me is wondering the same thing. Aside from a crayon fight and John begging me for a bite of my communion wafer (it IS always something), we pulled it off without any major drama.
On the way home from mass I explained to the littles how Mommy is going to (rather than giving up Coke, french fries or chocolate) work daily to pour the true spirit of Easter into their young hearts and heads through the three aforementioned pillars of Lent.
We loved our Jesse Tree devotions during Advent, so during Lent we will similarly conduct daily readings using this guide. I'd love to make a true Lenten tree but didn't have the forethought to pull that together. Hop on over to friend A's blog to see her fantastic version!
To aid in teaching the littles to do works of mercy and good deeds, today we made construction paper crosses that say "John/Whit helps Jesus carry his cross." And to use up the bevvy of stickers I've been storing away for who knows what, whenever an act of kindness is completed, a sticker will get added to the cross, in hopes of filling it by Easter.
Fasting doesn't just mean to abstain from food, it also includes sacrifice and self denial. After mass we made a Crown of Thorns to use as a visual reminder of Christ's suffering. Each time a family member makes a sacrifice during Lent, he will get to pull a toothpick out of the crown. The goal is to remove all of the "thorns" from the crown by Easter. It's an easy salt dough recipe that the littles will love helping make.
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
Water (I used about 1 3/4 cup warm water)
Mix flour and salt with enough water to make it clay-like. Knead until smooth to remove air bubbles. Divide into three balls and roll each ball into a long rope. Loosely braid ropes (which is way harder with dough than with hair) and form braid into a circle. Stick toothpicks loosely throughout the crown. Bake at 350 for one hour, or until dry and light brown.