This Lent I tried very hard to really teach my kids the meaning of the season. I always feel like we do so much at Christmastime, but that since Lent is more of a time for sacrifice it is hard to really teach your kids how special it is. Fortunately, Jimmy was very into the Stations of the Cross this year. I had him make his own book that he was very proud of (via Catholic Icing). We went to Stations every Friday and the boys like getting to walk around with the Priest (the Fish Fry afterwords was an added bonus). Gus had some moments, but was relatively good for a two year old. It was worth the effort.
Jimmy also got excited about learning the Rosary (which I am sorry to admit, he didn't know how to do before now). For now we just do it one decade at a time with the boys so they don't get worn out, but even that can be a challenge sometimes. I am just happy that Jimmy is showing interest. He loves reading Bible stories and learning more about our faith. He still complains about going to Church, but that isn't that surprising for a 5 year old and probably won't change anytime soon. Gus loves talking about Jesus and was very proud that the one thing he knows how to draw is a cross. This caused some confusion and strife between my children because Gus always says, "Isn't that nice? I drew a cross for Jesus!" Jimmy would then say, "No! The cross is bad. Jesus died on the cross." This, of course, made Gus sad since he was so proud of his artwork. I didn't really know how to respond. I tried to say that it is okay to okay to draw them and look at them because it is a good reminder that Jesus died for us and was resurrected, but that Jimmy was right about it being a sad thing. Sheesh. This was getting too deep. Gus also became fascinated with the Station where Jesus is taken down from the cross. Every time we passed it, he would ask "What is Jesus' mommy doing to him?" I know it is a tough story to explain to kids since they can't really comprehend death yet, but I have tried to teach it to them without being too graphic. We try to focus on the positive and the Resurrection. We made our first ever Resurrection Garden (idea found via Pinterest):
We didn't do it quite early enough to have a lot of grass, but fortunately this planter had some random weedy grass growing in it already. We added some flowers as well. We wrapped up a cardboard cutout of Jesus on Good Friday and put the stone in front of the opening. (On Easter morning it had mysteriously disappeared)
Also, thanks to Jimmy looking at my Easter Pinterest Board quite a lot, there were about a million crafts he wanted to try. We did our now annual Lenten Countdown Calendar from Catholic Icing and Jimmy looked forward to coloring it every day. He also was super excited to get out the Resurrection Set we made last year (pictures of our's here) and reenact the Easter Story. I told him that he and Lucia could do a craft someday when the little boys (Gus, Kolbe, and Blaise) were all napping. I had to pick something relatively simple that they could both help with so we went with these egg carton animals. They both loved it and I even managed to help them with Blaise awake. (Jimmy helped by playing lots of peek-a-boo... he in excited for a new baby of his own)
They were so proud of their creations.
On Holy Thursday, we got together with the Kerstings again to make Resurrection Rolls. Angela and I couldn't help but laugh at our "Pintrocity" since the marshmellows inside didn't melt away as planned. We totally had to pull them out when the kids weren't looking so they could find their empty tombs. Whoops. Next year, we will not use fancy marshmellows and hopefully, it will work. The kids were none the wiser and loved making them while we read the story. They also thought it was fun when I made them lay down and pretend to sleep. Then I made them wait until the "third day" to open the oven and eat their yummy treats.
(Insert Pictures That We Forgot to Take Here)
On Good Friday, I had put together some Resurrection Eggs (found via Catholic Icing and It's Overflowing). We got them out after dinner and had the boys take turns opening them while Dad read the Bible verses. I had made them as a surprise and when I explained to Jimmy how it was going to work, he said, "I love this!" Pretty cute. Jimmy was really all about it, but in the future I would probably pick a better time of day for this activity since there was more bickering and craziness then necessary.
They got played with for awhile afterword so I am surprised they are still intact.
I highly recommend this activity because it really wasn't that hard to gather the items for each egg and there are lots of variations you can do if you are missing something.Cross Suncatcher with the boys on Friday as well, but I forgot to buy the necessary clear contact paper (Jimmy was disappointed needless to say). We opted for this slightly less involved Colorful Light Ray Cross that used pastels (which fortunately, I already had) and we did it Saturday morning.
Gus desperately wanted to do it too, so I helped him and let him smear his own yellow pastel.
Messy, but fun.
Messy, but fun.
Again, I had some proud little artists.
Then, of course, there was the traditional Easter Egg Dying which we usually do on Holy Saturday.
"Blue. Blue my favorite color."
We cracked a few and made a few messes, but all in all, disaster was avoided.
Jimmy was very anxious to try some "Dinosaur Eggs" we had seen on Pinterest.
(Originally posted as Marbled Eggs here, but we prefer Dinosaurs).
Basically, you just crack the egg a lot and put it in a plastic baggie with some food coloring and then rub it with vinegar. Then after it dries you peel off the skin. The effect is quite nice. His green one turned out awesome (but if you plan on eating them do it soon because they won't last long).
Here are the rest of our egg creations.
Our Easter Bunny loves Jesus by the way.
And Zach and Gus' favorite part of it all is the eating of the eggs...
At least they won't go to waste with these two around.
More to come on Easter Day!