Friday, February 20, 2015

Living Lent with the 5-and-Under Crowd: Our Take(s)

Oh I know, you and the entire internet are aaaaall Lented out. I remember a few years ago when I was trying to figure out just how Lent is supposed to WORK when you're 2 years old, there was nothing on the internet to help a sleep-deprived mom out.  I also remember that I can't seem to recall from year to year what we've actually done with the kids so...  This is my lovely online scrapbook of what works for us, and what might not be the best idea...

--1--

Fasting:

John Paul suggested we fast from time outs.  I suggested maybe he fast from disobedience.  Neither of us is getting our way.  But here's some of what we're fasting from as a family:

Food: No meat, no sweets, no booze, no eating out

Screen fasts on Fridays (And we'll pray the Stations of the Cross instead - either with this book or this one) - this is actually not a big deal because the kids only watch TV when I'm making dinner, and on Fridays we'll be going to our parish soup supper...

No TV during the week that isn't specifically religious (CCC movies & Veggie Tales only) - Cecilia FREAKED out at John Paul when she thought he was going to turn on Wild Kratts when he was actually browsing the Veggie Tales movies this afternoon...  So it looks like I don't need help enforcing this fast, and both of the older kids find it completely reasonable, which I think is adorable because I really expected John Paul to fight it!

--2--

Prayer:

My mom pointed out to me today that it looks terrible that Jesus is off to the side and Mary is totally central! We still haven't reset our oratory on the other side of the room, which is where Jesus usually resides - we'll get there!
We've got our prayer chain up to remind us of our special intention for each day - John Paul is great about reading it first thing in the morning and reminding us throughout the day.

None of their intentions this year are as good as the ones like this from last year, sadly...

I also just ordered a thousand craft sticks (no actually, a thousand! But we'll use them for other things too) to let the kids draw a stick with a different prayer written on it every night during our evening prayers - they've gotten into a routine of the exact same prayers every night and I'd like to shake that up!

I started reading this book last year in an attempt at spiritual reading, but then John Paul got his hands on it and it disappeared, so I never finished it...  This year he and I are reading it together, and the reflections so far have been perfectly appropriate for a "I've had 5 kids in 5 years so my brain doesn't really work anymore" mom like me and a "I'm so ridiculously smart I could probably graduate college next year" kid.

--3--

Almsgiving:

I'm at a loss for this one - I know some people do rice bowls and pick a charity to donate to, but we never have cash on hand...  Sweet, sweet John Paul listened carefully to the homily at Mass the Sunday before Last and got a pledge envelope, filled it out, took it home, put his prized $2 bill (a Christmas present) inside, and donated that to our annual Bishop's Lenten Appeal.  The other kids don't really understand money at all, so I'm trying to figure out what will be meaningful for them.

--4--

Activities:


3-year-old John Paul - he was just learning how to write and was trying to write "Dear Jesus, Jesus is dying on the cross for me" but it ended up "Dear Jesus, Jesus is dy IO")
They've been coloring boxes from this calendar (I really like that the Ember days are on there, as well as specific feasts), and we've got more activities planned that I'm hoping will help me be more mindful of how we can relate things to scripture.  Not in a "do all the things" sense but in a "I'm more likely to actually pay attention to today's readings if I have something for the kids to do that's related" sense.



I think the ONE scripture-based craft we did all last year was making apple prints and relating it to Adam & Eve and the serpent.



Tons of great book recommendations here and here - there's not a ton out there so those book lists are helpful for me!

I have to find our copies of The Donkey that No One Could Ride and The Tale of Three Trees - the kids adore them and they're perfect for Lent & Easter.

--5--

Food:

We'll be making pretzels again this year, although I've done it from a mix the past couple of years and that seems silly when I know it's not really that hard...  Do you have a recipe you like?





Passion Pita Pizzas - we made these two years ago on Good Friday and the kids still talk about how the stripes on the pita bread are like the stripes on Jesus' back (which can get awkward when there's company over...).  They assume we're making them again this year, so we probably will!





We also made an edible "crown of thorns" (that just looked like a lump...) with my favorite focaccia recipe and pretzels last year:



These Easter Story Cookies are a perfect activity for that quiet time on Holy Saturday when you don't quite know *what* to do - last year we made them but didn't have any nuts, so I used some leftover pretzels and they actually tasted amazing!

--6--

Misses:



We tried for two years to do a bean jar - put a bean in every time you make a sacrifice.  And both years the kids were SO excited about it for the first week or so, and then stopped caring and we just ended up having a jar of beans that mysteriously kept getting emptied out onto the floor...

So we're trying a crown of thorns this year (with this grapevine wreath), and I'm not entirely sure it'll work in terms of getting the kids to make sacrifices, but at least it *feels* very Lenten ;)

--7--

What works for YOU with really young kids in the house?  I feel like the temptation to do all the things is so real, but so is the temptation to give myself a pass because hey, life is hard enough already!

Linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes - check out more posts!

Amazon links are affiliate links - thanks for funding our Easter treats this year!
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