Saturday, April 4, 2015

Breakfast Resurrection Rolls

Resurrection Rolls are a Holy Saturday breakfast tradition in our house.

We read John's account of Jesus' death and burial.  
This fun baking project is the perfect backdrop for the story.

Roll out the crescent dough,
count out one small marshmallow for each roll.

The white marshmallow represents Jesus.
Anoint the marshmallow, first in the oil, then in the "spices" (cinnamon sugar), 
just like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea did for Jesus.

Then, lay the marshmallow in the crescent roll tomb, and carefully seal it up.
 Hints: make sure the marshmallow is in the center of the dough and REALLY seal the edges well.

Once we sealed our tombs, we dipped each one in more oil and spices. Yum :)
Now, they are ready to bake according to the crescent roll instructions.

Look, our rolls are ready!

 A few may burst open, but that only adds to the effect of the "empty tomb."

We ate ours with whipped cream and sprinkles, because in addition to Holy Saturday, we were celebrating a certain, special, eight-year-old birthday.  

This was such a tasty combination, 
we may have to make the whipped cream a part of our tradition as well.

There is a clear reason why these are a family favorite!
Come, Lord Jesus!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Friday, April 3, 2015

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday 2015

Let the Holy Triduum begin!
Our Lenten Journey is coming to an end!

We washed feet on Holy Thursday before our Last Supper meal.

Everyone got a turn.

The kids loved hearing the story of the water jug and bowl.  T gave both of them to me on the night he proposed, and then used them to wash my feet.  It is such a special event to get them out every year for Holy Thursday and wash feet as a family.

Our Last Supper meal always seems to be a hit.  This is the one time each year when we get out the silver cups that T received from his grandmother for our wedding.   The kids love drinking their grape juice "wine" out of their chalices during dinner.  We read the Last Supper story and then cover all of our crosses.

Once again this year, T and I were able to find a babysitter so that we could go to our parish Holy Thursday service and then join in a seven churches visit with a large group of friends.  We are so incredibly blessed to have seven tabernacles within a three mile loop of our house.  This year, as last year, we walked the loop with friends, stopping at each chapel to pray and spend time with the Lord, remembering His night in the garden.  I can't wait for the kids to be old enough to join us, because the evening is such a powerful spiritual experience.  For now, T and I treasured the opportunity to do the walk together.

On Good Friday we made our peanut butter cross sandwiches.

 T took the day off, so we were able to enjoy and reflect on the day all together. 

We went to the Good Friday service at 3pm 
and then ate our simple dinner of bread and cheese, jam and fruit.  
Then it was time to finish our Stations of the Cross.  

"We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
for by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world."

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Thursday, April 2, 2015

First Haircut for G-Bear!

This Holy Week is also our spring break.  In addition to our Easter preparations, we are anticipating G-Bear's eighth birthday on Holy Saturday as well as her upcoming First Communion.  In honor of both, G-Bear decided that she is finally ready for a first haircut.  Thankfully, we were able to get an appointment so that all of us, even T, were able to come along to witness the big event.  When we all walked in for the first haircut appointment, naturally the stylists thought that J-Bear was the woman of the hour.  Weren't they surprised to find out that G-Bear was the one!

Our sweet girl was so excited.  But, she was also careful to say she just wanted a trim.  :)

Can you believe how long her hair has grown??  I assured her that by getting it trimmed, it would almost certainly start to grow longer again (it has pretty much stopped growing in recent years).

 The stylist set right to work.

G-Bear was thrilled with the result.  It might not look like much to a stranger, but to G-Bear this was a huge change.  "She took off more than I expected, but I really like it," she said.

Doesn't that look nice?

Perhaps the best part was the lollypops, stickers and certificate, complete with hair trimmings, that were handed out at the end. Everyone wanted a rootbeer lollypop. :) For her part, G-Bear couldn't stop smiling.  In the future, it may very well be easier and more cost effect to cut her hair myself, but the big experience of going to Kids' Hair was definitely worth it this time around.  I was so relieved that this was a happy, memorable experience for G-Bear.

Looking good, sweetie!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lamb of God Cards

On Monday of Holy Week, we once again made Lamb of God Easter cards for friends and family.

The kids did a great job!

By Juliet, for GG

By G-Bear, for cousins.

By Buddy Bear, for cousins

By G-Bear, for MoMo and Papa

By E-Bear, for a neighbor
Happy Holy Week!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Holy Week 2015

"TOMORROW is PALM SUNDAY!  The start of Holy Week is tomorrow!" 
exclaimed E-Bear last night at dinner.

Holy Week is upon us, friends.  We have made it through all of our Lent Pockets.  Our Lent Calendars are nearly completely colored.  Our bean basket is full of black beans.  We are ready for Easter.  But before Easter, we're hoping to fully enter into the mystery of the events of this week.

As I have said in previous years, I have found that there are many wonderful ways to make Holy Week special in the home for young families.  Our kids now look forward to Holy Week almost as much as Easter, remembering the special meals, crafts and readings that we enjoy as a family.  This year, I am especially excited because our Spring Break aligns with Holy Week, so all my kids will be home. We'll have plenty of time to savor each day.

This is our plan for Holy Week this year.  Each night, in addition to the activities below, we do the  Stations of the Cross after dinner so that we will finish them by Good Friday. 

Palm Sunday
Bring 'Hosanna' paper palms to church.
*Craft: Make palm frond crosses
Kids get Cross Wreaths to decorate for Holy Week
Cover crosses and crucifixes in the house for Holy Week
Dinner: Chili and quesadillas

Holy Monday ~ Preparation Day
*Craft: Making Lamb of God Easter cards (don't forget to mail them!)
Dinner: Tortilla soup with carrots, chips and salsa
A few of our Lamb of God cards from last year.
Inside we write: "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us!" and "Happy Easter!"

Holy Tuesday ~ Preparation Day
*Craft: Decorating Easter Eggs!
Church Penance Service 
Dinner: Spinach tortellini with tomato cream sauce, peas and oranges

Spy Wednesday ~ Preparation Day
Remembering how Judas and the leaders plotted to capture Jesus
Remembering Jesus' anointing at Bethany
*Craft: Spy Wednesday silver coin craft from Catholic Icing
Dinner: Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup with whole wheat Irish soda bread and 
Cracker rounds (remembering the thirty pieces of silver),
olive oil (to "anoint the bread"), applesauce

~Maundy Thursday~
Remembering the Last Supper,  Jesus' night in the Garden, Jesus' trial
*Craft:  Garden of Gethsemane Praying Hands from Sowing Mustard Seeds
Holy Thursday Mass and Seven Churches Prayer Walk
Dinner: Remembering the Last Supper & Washing Feet
We'll read passages from the Gospels and wash each other's feet at dinner
Turkey meatballs (remembering the roast lamb) from Everyday Food Magazine
(these can be made ahead and frozen ~ perfect for a busy week!)
 Homemade pesto (remembering the bitter herbs and bread)
Praying Hands Pretzels from Catholic Icing  
(remembering the unleavened bread and Jesus' prayers in the garden)
Grape juice in "chalices" (remembering the wine)
Three spinach leaves salad (remembering Jesus telling Peter he would deny him three times)
Raisins (remembering the Mount of Olives)
Red Twizzlers, Hershey Kisses (remembering Judas' bad kiss and Jesus' arrest)

Our "Upper Room" to remember the Last Supper.

~Good Friday~
Keeping Vigil at the Cross
*Craft: Making Crown of Thorns by Catholic Icing
LunchCross Sandwiches from Catholic Icing
DinnerHot Cross Buns from Spoonful
Pineapple cubes (remembering how the soldiers cast lots for Jesus' garment)
Roasted Asparagus Spears (remembering how the soldiers pierced Jesus' side)
Cheese sticks (remembering the two robbers crucified with Jesus)
Jam & Water (remembering the blood and water from Jesus' side)

~Holy Saturday~
Awaiting the Resurrection!
Breakfast: G-Bear's Birthday!  
Resurrection Rolls from Eat at Allies with whipped cream and sprinkles
Dinner: G-Bear's birthday party!

Whatever is in store for us this week, may we meet the Lord in a deeper, more personal way.   We all need Him; He loves us so much.  How deep the Father's love for us.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stations of the Cross, Lent 2015

Praying the Stations of the Cross is a beautiful tradition particularly appropriate for the Lenten season.  The traditional meditation includes fourteen events from the final moments of Christ's life and Passion leading up to His crucifixion and burial.  The fourteen stations are visually depicted throughout the sanctuary of most Catholic churches, and we are fortunate that our church offers Stations of the Cross every Friday night throughout Lent.

As I have said before, I try to be realistically age-appropriate in my Lent plans for our family, and the post-dinnertime Stations at our church is too late for our younger kids.  The full prayer meditation takes about a half-hour, which again, is a bit much to ask of our kiddos at such a late hour.  So, for the past two years, we have opted out of our parish Stations experience.  Instead, I focus on the Stations for our family during the last two weeks of Lent leading up to Easter.  This allows us to do one station per night and the final three stations on Good Friday.  This way, all of our kids can participate in the prayers, we can talk about each one, and all of our kids can certainly focus attention on a single station each night (the prayers for each station take only about 2 minutes).

This past Monday, I set up our Stations of the Cross in our dining room:

Last year, I made our own version of Catholic Icing's Stations of the Cross Eggs.  These are a wonderful addition to our routine.

Each egg represents one station and contains a wooden heart with the number of the station and a small object representing the event (with the exception of one egg, which represents Stations 3, 7, and 9, Jesus' three falls.  The Catholic Icing version uses an 18 egg set to allow for separate eggs for all these stations.  I just fill the one egg with enough pieces for the three falling stations).  This is a great way to hold the attention of preschoolers, and I often give the job of opening the egg to our younger kids so they can show the object to the rest of us as we are doing our prayer.

To help with our prayers, we also use the Saint Joseph's Press Stations of the Cross Coloring Book.

It has large, age-appropriate pictures for each station, as well a special prayer coloring page specific for each station.

I like the introduction page of the coloring book so much, because it explains simply for the kids why we pray the Stations of the Cross.  We use this page as the introduction to our prayer each night for each station.

After the introduction, we light a candle and read the station for the day, open an egg and talk briefly about what the station means, say a short prayer specific to the station and then say together,

"We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.  For by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world."

Then we blow out the candle, make the sign of the cross, and we are done.  

This year, I gave the kids Stations of the Cross wheels from Oriental Trading Company so they would  have their own visual aid to color each day.  The kids colored the top of the wheel, I helped them assemble them, and now they get to color the station windows that we do each day.  Everyone has enjoyed this and put a lot of effort into their work:

G-Bear's Stations Wheel

J-Bear's Stations Wheel

E-Bear's Stations Wheel

Buddy Bear's Stations Wheel

However we pray the Stations, our greatest prayer is that the Lord will use this time to draw all of us closer to Himself.  Lent and Easter are precious seasons because we are asked to take time to reflect on how much Jesus loves us.  The Stations are a reminder and a brief glimpse into that love.  For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Snowmen

It is technically spring in Minnesota, but that doesn't mean we are done making snowmen.

This week, we enjoyed three inches of brand new snow.  The southern suburbs got ten inches!  Lucky ducks. :)  We made the most of the new fallen snow by making snowmen after school in our backyard.  I showed G-Bear how to roll a snowball around the yard to make it into a snowman, and she got really good at it.  By the time the kids and I were done, we had a village of five snow people. 

 J-Bear made sure that all the snowmen were sturdy enough not to fall over. 

We also had one snow dog, courtesy of Buddy Bear.  

E-Bear did a great job making sure each of our snow people had appropriate accessories. 

 This time of year, we know that the snow can't last too long, even in Minnesota.  That makes afternoons like this one so very special.  I felt like we were stealing one last day snow play day.  And if it snows again?  I'm okay with that too.

Happily Ever,
Queen B