Saturday, January 30, 2016

Top 6 Lent Traditions

Traditions are an important part of our household--and Mady will be quick to remind us of any traditions that we accidentally/on purpose 'forget' with each season. Here's a roundup of our favorite Lenten Traditions!

1. Fat Tuesday and a King Cake: The day before Lent begins, we empty the house of all the junk food and deliciousness that we're giving up for Lent. We usually have pancakes or gumbo for dinner (Mardis Gras), and enjoy a king cake for dessert. I have plans to make something semi-fancy this year, but anything sugary and colorful will fit the bill!

Lent Traditions, Goal Setting and Countdown, Fat Tuesday, King Cake, Catholic Kids Bulletin

2. Ash Wednesday: Even though this isn't a Holy Day of Obligation, Mass will be PACKED! We'll find a time to get the kiddos to church so they can receive ashes as well. Especially for our little ones, this is a chance for them to walk up and receive something since they aren't old enough for the Eucharist. They LOVE the chance to feel so grown up! The meaning will be lost without some explanations, so we'll try to include those as well. I love that Ash Wednesday is such a concrete start to the season, along with the fasting and abstaining.

Lent Traditions, Goal Setting and Countdown, Ash Wednesday, Dust to Dust, Catholic Kids Bulletin

3. Goal, Goals, Goals: 

Small children don't really understand the concept of a long-term goal, so this takes some reinforcement and encouragement throughout Lent. I'm going to focus on the prayer, fasting, and alms giving listed in Matthew 6 and help them chose something in each area. I plan to choose a prayer for us to learn as a family--let me know if you have any suggestions! I'll encourage their alms giving to be an act of kindness every day. For fasting, they can focus on choosing one thing to give up that will be individual for each kiddo.

I'm also going to make sure that my kiddos know what my goals are so they can help me to be accountable! A stern reminder from a 3-year-old will quickly give me the impulse control I need to resist that extra snack.

For my high school students, they will choose their own goals in each area. We're going to discuss Lent next week, do some hefty pre-teaching about goal setting and sacrifice, then they'll get a hand-out to write out their goals. The accountability of writing a goal is so important! I created a packet with Lent Countdown pages (for littles and bigs alike) and worksheets for them to complete focusing on Matthew 6 and goal setting. There is even a follow-up worksheet that we'll use each Friday to review the goals-along with successes and challenges. You can check it out over at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Lent Traditions, Goal Setting and Countdown, Teacher Pay Teachers, Catholic Kids Bulletin

4. Stations of the Cross: We'll try to attend Stations of the Cross at church a few times during Lent. By Friday evening, I'm usually less-than-motivated to do anything outside of the house, so we'll see how many times I can make that sacrifice. Last year, I taught and prayed the stations with Mady's Faith Formation class and few times, then gave the students a chance to draw a few of the stations. They chose their own station and design and truly enjoyed the chance to express their view of the stations!

Lent Traditions, Goal Setting and Countdown, Stations of the Cross, Catholic Kids Bulletin

5. Meatless meals on Fridays and Ash Wednesday. This one is pretty basic, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Plus--I love this picture of Mady chowing down on these ribs! Remember that meat is off limits, but meat stock, eggs, and milk are still fair game. So, if you're worried about a meatless meal--a veggie soup or chili with beef stock will still taste just as filling and meaty as you're expecting, even with the sacrifice. My go-to Lenten meals are fish tacos, cheese pizza, and mac and cheese. Yum! I have to admit--the meatless meals aren't too much of a sacrifice for me, but it IS something that increases my vigilance during Lent. It's so easy to forget that it's Friday and Friday is different!

Lent Traditions, Goal Setting and Countdown, Meatless Meals, Catholic Kids Bulletin

6. Something crafty! We make a crown of thorns each year with pla-do or salt dough. My go-to recipe for pla-do is 1 c. flour, 1/2 c. salt, 1 t. oil, 1 t. cream of tartar, food coloring, and 1 c. water. Heat on the stove while stirring, and watch the magic happen! I've made the crown different colors each year--this year, I happen to have black food coloring so it will be pretty dark. In this picture, I think I used cinnamon because I was out of all Lenten food colorings.

Lent Traditions, Goal Setting and Countdown, Crown of Thorns, Catholic Kids Bulletin

There's my top 6 Lenten plans for this year, is there anything awesome that I'm missing?

For more traditions, check out this post from 2013, and remember to print a bulletin for Ash Wednesday!

Lent Traditions, Goal Setting and Countdown, Teacher Pay Teachers, Catholic Kids Bulletin

Saturday, January 23, 2016

February 2016 Catholic Kids Bulletin

These FREE Printables are offered each month to help young Catholics learn at Mass. You are welcome to print and share with others. If you can afford it, click Support CKB on the right and donate to help pay for the time and effort put into these pages. Enjoy!

Hello, hello!

Lent is SO early this year! I only have a few more weeks to choose a sacrifice and decide what traditions to focus on with my kiddos. But, never fear, the bulletins are ready to go!

February Mass readings include the fishing miracle at the Sea of Galilee, the Transfiguration, and the temptation in the desert.

This month, the saints include Saint Blaise (patron saint of throats), Saint Valentine, Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, and Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marta. Saint Bernadette is a favorite with my high school students. I'm not sure if they like the story, or if it's just that she is SO well known! Mady loves the Saint Blaise tradition of the blessing of the throats, so I'll have to remember to make a special trip to church on the third.

Let me know if there's any special saints that you'd like to see featured in the upcoming months and I'll try to include them.

Lent starts on the 10th with Ash Wednesday. There is a dot-to-dot in the bulletin on Ash Wednesday, as well as a reflection page on the sacrifices of Lent. It's a great page to discuss even if you don't head over to an Ash Wednesday Mass.

Catholic Kids Bulletin Lent Ash Wednesday Sacrifice Reflection for Kids

Just a quick reminder--if you haven't paid a subscription fee in the last year, take a moment to click "Support CKB" over on the right, and before you go, like/share/pin this post to help spread the word about these free bulletins! Thanks!

If you're looking for the bulletins for January, they are over here.

You can also download the bulletins from Teachers Pay Teachers (and find some other great resources as well!)
February Catholic Kids Bulletin
Febrero Boletin de Ninos Catolicos

February Catholic Kids Bulletin Ash Wednesday Lent Saint Blaise Saint Bernadette of LourdesFebrero Boletin de Ninos Catolicos Cuaresma