Friday, February 28, 2014

Ash Wednesday, Lenten Traditions, and Link-Up All in 7 Quick Takes

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Welcome Family and Friends!

I’m co-hosting and participating in the annual Catholic Bloggers Network, Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2014!  We'll be sharing tips, stories and  experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.

Are you a Christian blogger who'd like to share Lenten ideas?

You're welcome to join in!  Please scroll to the linky at the bottom of my post and visit the other hostesses' too so that you can join in if you'd like!

I'm sharing some of our family's Lenten memories, traditions, and resources in this 7 Quick Takes hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary...
 Ash Wednesday Pictures, Images and Photos

 It's hard to believe that Lent will be here next week with the first day of Lent starting with Ash Wednesday on March 5, 2014!  What is the significance of putting ashes on one's forehead to start the Lenten season?  Below is a quote from an article on 

A Day of Repentance:
The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance. The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.

In this article, Ash Wednesday Our Shifting Understanding of Lent, it states the following:
When we receive ashes on our foreheads, we remember who we are. We remember that we are creatures of the earth ("Remember that you are dust"). We remember that we are mortal beings ("and to dust you will return"). We remember that we are baptized. We remember that we are people on a journey of conversion ("Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel"). We remember that we are members of the body of Christ (and that smudge on our foreheads will proclaim that identity to others, too).

Here is a great 2 minute video about Ash Wednesday:

Our family will attend an Ash Wednesday Mass to help us remember that, like the Advent season, Lent is also a time of preparation and a call to conversion.  It's funny to have people tell me that I have "dirt" on my forehead after we attend Ash Wednesday Mass.  When this is said to me, it gives me a great opportunity to share my faith.

Salt Dough Crown of Thorns
Next week we will be making our annual crown of thorns out of salt dough and you can find the link at Catholics United for the Faith (CUF).   Click HERE to find recipe and other Lenten resources from CUF.

Here is a picture I took last year while my kid's hands mixed the salt dough ingredients

Each time our children and my husband and I make little or big sacrifices during Lent, we will pull out a toothpick to remove Jesus' thorns from his crown. 

So many opportunities to think beyond ourselves, hence the many, many, many "thorns" !

Then just before Easter, our children will paint the thorn-less crown gold and glue jewels on the crown to represent that Jesus our King has risen!  The decorated crown looks lovely on the Easter table.  Here is a picture of a crown we did a few years ago.

Bean Jar
Speaking of sacrifices, another Lenten tradition our family does is the "bean jar".  We have a bowl filled with dried kidney beans, then when a family member makes a sacrifice, they put a bean in the jar.  Then on Easter morning the children will find that the beans that have accumulated in the jar during Lent will be changed into colorful and yummy jelly beans!  I told the kids that on Ash Wednesday and every Friday in Lent they could get a "2 for 1" deal on their sacrifices, meaning if they do something on Fridays they can pull a toothpick and put a bean in the jar vs. choosing one or the other like on the other Lenten days.  :-)

Holy Heroes-Lenten Adventure

I got the bean jar idea from Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure a few years ago and we decided to try it in our home during Lent.  Our family loves Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure (and Advent Adventure) and you can register your email for free to receive weekly links all about Lent.  I have learned so much along with my children!

Family Devotional Book
Throughout Lent our family will be reading once again, A Family Journey with Jesus through Lent by Angela M. Burrin published by The Word Among Us.  We really enjoy this book as it is written to promote family prayer and the characters in each story for each day of Lent are children and families that live in Jesus' time.  Then after each story that is based on scripture there is a "Jesus, Speak to Me" section where it is written as if Jesus is speaking to us.  This is a wonderful book that has been great to read as a family each day during Lent! 
Or we might try to read Amon's Adventure: A Family Story for Easter.  We have really enjoyed the Advent versions of these family read alouds! 
Speaking of great books to read during Lent, Patty over at Reasons for Chocolate has this great post where she lists all the wonderful books her children will be reading during Lent.
    — 6 —
Stations of the Cross
Many years ago, when my older two children were little I had them color printable stations of the cross.  I then glued them onto construction paper and each Lent we tape them up in order on our dining room wall.  Each Friday as a family we pray through the stations of the cross with these. 
I can't remember where I got these particular coloring pages, but here are some other printable stations of the cross that children can color.

Several years ago, I found a simple presentation of the Stations of the Cross for kids 10 and under and this is what we use to say the stations during Lent.  It was in The Word Among Us Lenten Family Edition, Lent 2006 and HERE is a link to part of the article if you would like to review it.  Only subscribers to The Word Among Us can view this kid's version of Stations of the Cross in its entirety, however.

We have also made Stations of the Cross bags and pretzels for Lent in the past. I hope to read the book Walter the Baker by Eric Carle again to go along with our pretzel making like in year's past!   

   — 7 —
Meatless Meals
On Ash Wednesday and during all Fridays during Lent, Catholics abstain from eating meat as a form of fasting and penance.  For more information about the history of Lent, I would encourage you to read What are the origins of Lent? Did the Church always have this time before Easter? 

In the article I learned something new when it stated, "The word Lent itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning "Spring," and lenctentid, which literally means not only "Springtide" but also was the word for "March," the month in which the majority of Lent falls."

I'm always on the look out for meatless dishes during Lent and this Seafood Spaghetti dish is easy and delicious.  You can find the recipe at my blog post HERE.  I really like Jen's Roundup of Lenten Resources post HERE that includes lots of links to meatless meal ideas.  I hope to try some new dishes from her list.  Thanks Jen!

I linked up my Seafood Spaghetti recipe at Beth Anne Best's 2014 Lenten Meal Plan Link-Up!

and Home to 4 Kddos Link-Up

Now it's your turn!

Here's what we ask of those joining the Keep Love in Lent Link-Up:

1. Link your post right here between  Monday, March 3 and Monday, March 10

2.   Copy and paste the hostesses'  blog names/links  to the bottom of your post so that your readers, who may also blog,  can join in the fun and link up. 

3. Please follow your hostesses' blogs and like our Facebook pages. As a courtesy, we ask all who participate in the Keep Love in Lent link up to click to all of the hostesses and follow us.  We also encourage this so that you don't miss updates about the Lenten Link-Up! And besides, we'd love to stay in touch regularly!

Equipping Catholic Families on Facebook

Campfires and Cleats on Facebook

Tina at Truly Rich Mom
Truly Rich Mom on Facebook

A Slice of Smith Life on Facebook

4. Mandatory Follow Frenzy~ Visit, enjoy, be inspired by and comment on the blogs in your "group!" The Keep Love in Lent Link-Up is not a link and run event...sorry, folks! A requirement of participation is our follow frenzy.

Here's how it works:

* Once the linky closes on 3/10/14, the admins of the Keep Love linky will email ALL who've linked. We will provide you with  info  regarding the "group" to which you are "assigned."

* You are  asked to visit the blogs in your group  ( there will be approx 10-12 ) and  leave meaningful comments within a given time frame. In this way, traffic to all blogs is increased and we all benefit from each others' work!

~ And that's IT for the participation guidelines.~
May you have a blessed and Holy Lent!
I also linked this post to Convert Journal, New Evangelists Monthly-March 2014

Linky opens March 3rd~~

Friday, February 21, 2014

My First 7 Quick Takes...

I'm excited to be joining in on my first (of I hope many) 7 Quick Takes Friday hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary.

Speaking of Jennifer at Conversion Diary, she will be speaking at the 12th Annual Ignited By Truth Catholic Conference in Raleigh, NC on March 28-29, 2104.  I only live a few hours away from Raleigh, NC so I am trying to make plans to attend to listen to Jennifer speak...(and meeting her in person and snapping a picture with her would be exciting...and make for a great blog post! ;-) ) 
— 3 — 
Lent will be here soon starting on Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014!  Our family has been a big fan of Holy Heroes Lenten and Advent Adventure for several years now!  Lenten Adventure is a free and fun resource for families to teach children and adults about Lent, Lenten traditions, liturgy, the Mass, and the Easter season!  
It's simple to sign-up...Go HERE to sign-up for free!  It takes just seconds to enter your email address and each week during Lent, Holy Heroes will send links to videos where 8 beautiful Holy Heroes children teach your family all about Lent!  
Speaking of Lent,  I encourage you to join the "Keep Love in Lent" Blog Link-Up hosted by Catholic Bloggers Network with Monica, Chris, Tina, Lisa, and myself!  The link-up is an opportunity to share your Lenten ideas, posts, and traditions.  It's also a way to learn how other families keep love in Lent!  :)  Details HERE
— 5 —
 Yesterday our Catholic Homeschool group gathered for our annual bread making afternoon to prepare for our annual St. Joseph's Feast Day celebration that usually happens on or around the Feast Day of Saint Joseph on March 19th.  It's always a fun afternoon of flour, fellowship and fun!  

My oldest will be entering 9th grade next year and I've homeschooled her since Kindergarten.  So I've been thinking ALOT about homeschooling high school.  The good news is my daughter says she wants to be homeschooled.  The flip side of that is my apprehensions, preparations, and anxieties to make her high school years spiritually, academically, and socially successful!  Do any of my readers homeschool high school?  If so, what tips/advice do you have for me?  Please comment. :) 

— 7 —   
Last, but not least, here is our sweet Cupcake #5 on Valentine's Day, 2014.  She 6 months old and is all smiles and such a joy to be around.  We {heart} her alot!  :) 
Read lots more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary HERE



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