First of all, I LOVE Lent. It's a great season to slow down and challenge myself to do better. I'm often weak when I set goals. With that extra Lenten pressure, I know that I can push myself to make some changes! There's something about that guilt...Jesus DIED for us...that makes it easier to make it another day without Diet Mt. Dew.
Tradition 1-Potluck: We host a Lenten Potluck with a few other families every Friday night. We play some games, eat our meatless meals, then attend Stations of the Cross at our church. When I think back to Lent as a child, I remember fondly the Friday night potluck and Stations of the Cross. This is strange, because if I really think about it, I hated every moment of those Fridays. The potluck involved weird food from the darling old church ladies, Stations of the Cross were long and monotonous, and I was missing TGIF-the best TV of the week! I can't quite understand why it's so important to me that I torture my children in the same way that I was tortured, but I turned out ok, so I suppose my parents were right to drag me along to these wonderful traditions. Ha!
Tradition 2-Crown of thorns: Make a simple salt dough, form into a crown, and add a zillion toothpicks. I think the crown in this picture was baked, but lately we've made play-do, then let it dry for a few days. We also made our crown purple this year because it's so much prettier! We pull out the toothpicks each time we make a sacrifice during Lent.
Tradition 3-Fat Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday: We make pancakes for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Squeeze bottles and food coloring help make this a fun project for little hands and fits in with the Mardi Gras theme.
Tradition 4-King's Cake: The Kings cake is a fun tradition that give us an excuse to eat junk food before the start of all that fasting. There are oodles of great recipes on Pinterest, but I like to go simple and add some extra sugar to some delicious donuts. Yum!
Tradition 5-Countdown: I love using some sort of countdown chart to help our kids learn throughout the whole season of Lent. It's so easy to get started with these great traditions, then completely forget halfway though the season. I drew this chart and had my kids help color in some of the leaves.