Comparing the grand plans to the unfolding reality:
*Operation Rice Bowl
Check. We're following this pretty closely, though I sometimes forget to check the calendar for a particular day and I've yet to make one of their suggested recipes. It's been good, though, and enlightening for the kids. We read about a different country each week, and the stories about real people have touched the girls' hearts. The coins and IOU's are going in the rice bowl regularly (IOUs are for larger amounts ... I never have cash, beyond some quarters. Perhaps it's time to raid the couch cushions.)
*Lamb of God Calendar
Check. Ramona loves to glue the cotton balls on, and we do it every couple of days.
*Lenten Caterpillar/Easter Butterfly
Haven't made them yet. Want to. Plan to. Hope to. Kids may not forgive me this year if we (yet again) use the same caterpillars we used the last two years. Those ones are supposed to have already gone through metamorphosis, you know.)
*Lenten (salt dough) Crown of Thorns/Crown of Glory
Nope. We started the salt dough crown of thorns, and I realized that I didn't have anywhere near enough toothpicks. I had about twelve of them. Then, the braiding was going badly (you'd think with all that St. Lucia bread experience that I would be better at this.) So, trying to cover my extreme annoyance with myself, I told the girls we would "just experiment!" Instead of all of the thorns being toothpicks, I cheerfully intoned, we would just shape the dough to look like thorns. Simple as that. We're creative people, right?
We finished, and Anne-with-an-e looked the sad thing over and said, "Ummm ... Mom. It looks more like a crown of peaks than a crown of thorns."
Peaks will not do. They did not look at all terrible, the way thorns should, and there was nothing beautiful about the thing to make up for that fact. Out it went, into the trash.
So, instead of candles being inserted into our salt dough crown, my regular, real crown of thorns is on the table, surrounded by candles. I painted the candle holders purple and we lit all six candles the first week, but we're lighting one fewer candle each Sunday. The "lights are going out" as we approach Good Friday, but come Easter morning, all candles will be blazing once again when the Light of the World has returned.
(Last year we started by lighting one candle, and lit one more each week, as we anticipated Easter, but this year we made the switch. I owe credit for the reverse candle lighting idea to Kelly at The Abundant Life. She mentioned the idea on this thread at 4Real. Thank you, Kelly!)
I think we'll still make a "Crown of Glory" before Easter -- we'll do the salt dough one more time (after all, I was so happy with last year's) and will decorate it with silk flowers and ribbon. I'll replace the purple candle holders with something bright and golden.
*Homemade Soft Pretzels
Check. Made 'em. We'll make 'em again, although really they're too delicious to be considered penitential, so I think the next time we make them they should be my only food for the day.
Check. We're doing it, but it needs a whole lot more beans to be plunked into it before Easter morning.
Holy Family Meal
The kids had requested that we do this again this year. Haven't done this yet, and I think I'll replace it with the Seder Meal night at our parish. We're really looking forward to that.
*Have You Ever Wondered Where the Easter Bunny Comes From?
Check. We will read our well-worn Radix coloring/story book and Anne and I will cry, as usual.
Radix no longer prints this little book, but you're in luck, and so am I -- the latest issue of Faith and Family magazine (edited by none other than the delightful Danielle Bean) has a gorgeously illustrated rendition of this story which I will be tearing out and saving. It so perfectly ties the Easter Bunny to the Cross and the Resurrection -- you will never again worry about how to marry the sacred and the secular at Easter.
A Sacrifice a Day
My girls need a little more encouragement and variety in their Lenten sacrifices at this point, so we're adding the "choose what you'll give up today" option to the other thing they're doing.
And that's the scoop on how Lent is really going at our house, at this not-quite-halfway-through-the-desert point.