Lenten Paper Chain

We are doing our Lenten Paper Chain again this year.  I already P1020171posted last year’s but I thought I would go ahead and share again because I changed it up a little bit this year and I like it better.  We still have a message written on every paper link, but after doing our Advent countdown I decided to focus on activities rather than just messages.  I still included some spiritual messages but overall I tried to have us do activities that would bring us closer to God during Lent and support our goal of doing good deeds.

When making the chain I used purple, the color of Lent.  For Sundays I used pink since they are not technically part of Lent and to make it easier to keep track of which day is which.  I tried to keep our schedule in mind when assembling and to mix up the activities and the prayers.

Here are some of our messages:

Activity stripsP1020164

Write a card for a grandparent.
Help Mama around the house.
Tell someone the story of Easter.
Make our Easter garden.
Help feed and walk Hero (our dog).
Bake cookies for a friend.
Do something nice for your sister.
Smile at someone who is having a bad day.
Read a book about Jesus.
Help plant in the garden.
Do an Easter craft.
Read a story from the Bible.
Play with our Stations of the Cross kit.
Do something to brighten a grandparent’s day.
Help to water and weed our garden.
Sing a song to celebrate the Lord.
Take a walk to look at the world God created.

Prayers, Messages, and Sundays

Say a special prayer to Mary.
God loves you so much!
You are God’s little princess!
God made you so you are special!
God made the mountains and the oceans.
Say a special prayer to Jesus.
Say thank you to god for all that we have!
God made the flowers and the trees.
Say a thank you prayer to Jesus for dying on the cross for us.
Be good at church today.
Say a special prayer at church today.
Light a candle for someone at church.

Holy Week

Hosanna!  Wave palms for Jesus!
Say a special prayer tonight at dinner as a family.
Pray the Stations of the Cross.
Tomorrow is Easter!  Celebrate Christ rising!  Alleluia!

 

Crown of Thorns

Since the girls can’t really give something up for P1020019Lent, we are instead focusing on doing things this religious season.  (Personally I’ve always preferred this approach anyways.)  Our Advent activity of adding straw to Jesus’s manager was such a hit in our house that I loved the idea of doing something similar this Lent.  I made this Crown of Thorns and during the Lenten season we will remove a thorn every time someone does a good deed.  Our goal is to remove all the thorns before Easter.

P1020016To make our crown, I purchased a small grapevine wreath at Michaels.  I then stuck toothpicks throughout it to make the thorns.  We used about 100, I just to a package and stuck a ton in there.  We are setting aside each of the “thorns” we pull out and will use them to make a cross towards the end of the season.  (The added benefit of this is that it keeps the girls from playing with the toothpicks they pull out.)

What kind of deeds count?  In our home it is P1020021anything that eases someone’s burden or brightens his day, which is exactly what we would want to offer Christ in his journey to Calvary.  It could be as simple as helping with dinner or sending a card to a grandparent.

As a kid I always thought Lent was one of the worse times of the year.  It’s only now as an adult that I can enjoy Lent as a time of focus and reflection to renew my faith.  While this is also a time of sacrifice and prayer, I want my girls to have a positive experience with Lent so that later they may be able to appreciate this time of year.

Good Deeds for Jesus

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday season and start to miss the real focus.  So, to get ready for the coming of Jesus we have been adding straw to his manger.  Each time the girls do a good deed this Advent season, they add a piece of staw (yellow yarn) to the empty manger.  We want Jesus to have a nice, cozy place to sleep so we want to add lots of straw.

In our family Nativity the Jesus is attached to the manger so I made a manger out of cardstock.  I just colored it to look like wood and then folded/taped it together.  I’ve included the pattern I used to make it, which you can easily adjust to fit the size you need.

Click Here for Manger Template

On Christmas Day when we add Jesus to the Nativity scene, I will just put the yellow yarn on the stable floor under the ceramic Jesus.

The girls are loving adding straw to the manger.  And we really like the focus being on good deeds for Jesus as opposed to avoiding bad behavior for Santa.  After all, Jesus is the reason for the season!

Homemade Advent Calendar

Advent started this past Sunday.  I had meant to have this finished and posted by then but life got in the way.  Anyway, this year I wanted to do more to celebrate Advent with the girls as we prepare for the coming Christmas season.  Towards that goal I made our own Advent calendar with activities to celebrate the season.

Supplies: cardstock (red and green), glue, stickers, twine, clothespins

This was super simple.  I cut red cardstock into rectangles (mine were 3.5″ by 5″).  I debated using the colors of the Advent candles, but decided to wait until the girls were older to add in that aspect.  So the tabs were red and then I cut the numbers out of green using my Cricut.  You could just as easily use number stickers or write them by hand.

On the back of each one I wrote a message or activity for the day.  Each day we will turn over a card to see what it says.  Keep in mind what events you already have scheduled.  Here are some of the messages I included:

  • Advent is when we get ready for Jesus’ birthday.
  • God loves you so much!  He is always with you!
  • Buy toys for those who won’t get any at Christmas.
  • Say a special prayer for someone who needs extra help.
  • Go to church with your family.
  • Help make Christmas presents today.
  • Be extra nice to your sister today.
  • Learn a new Christmas carol today.
  • Help feed and take care of Hero. (Our dog, this is a chore they haven’t done before).
  • Draw a special Christmas picture.
  • Do a Christmas craft today.
  • Tell a family member the story of Jesus and the first Christmas.
  • Bake Christmas cookies today.
  • (For the Immaculate Conception) Say a special prayer to Mary today.
  • (On Christmas Eve) Happy Birthday Jesus!  Sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus!

To included the girls in this activity I had them decorate the cards with stickers and then help me hang the pieces up.  At first I liked the plain cards better but I knew that the girls would like being a part of it and this would make it more meaningful.  Now I enjoy the colorful cards so much that I think we’ll have to add stickers each day to the backsides of the cards as we read them.  🙂

Happy Advent!

Turkey Tiara

I love our Thanksgiving tiaras!  These were actually inspired by Fancy Nancy Our Thanksgiving Banquet.  (We love Fancy Nancy in our house!)  They are festive and fun and pretty easy to make.

Supplies: headband, felt–brown, mustard, and red (for the red use the stiff, sparkly felt), googly eyes, red feathers, ribbon

To assembly the pieces you want to start with the face.  Layer the two circles together and then add the red felt wing bits.  For the red piece, I used the stiff, sparkly felt to give the piece a firmer structure and a little more pizzazz.

Once all the felt parts are together you want to glue it onto the headband.  I attached it a little at the side because you don’t want it right on top of the head.  And then add the real feathers.  If it’s already on the headband it is easier to be sure pieces aren’t poking into the head.

For the headband piece I covered mine in ivory ribbon.  We had cheap colored ones and this made it look nicer and match the girls’ outfit.  You could just as easily by a nicer headband with which to start.

Don’t like the showgirl look?  You don’t have to make it with the feathers and the sparkles.  Last year I forgot ours at home when we traveled to California so we had to make a quick detour by Walmart and borrow my grandma’s glue gun.  I just used dark brown felt instead of the bright red and no fluffy feathers.

 

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