Monday, February 15, 2010

Crafty Lent Preparations

I posted yesterday that I was gearing up for Lent. On Saturday, I hung our Merciful Cross on the door to our basement steps. If all goes well, the cross will be covered in colorful flowers labeled with good deeds by Easter. A flower is earned each time a spiritual or corporal work of mercy is performed. I think this will be a great way for the girls (mainly Madeline) to learn the spiritual and corporal acts of mercy. (I suspect it's possible that Bryan might even learn them, too. Do I get bonus points for catechizing my cradle Catholic husband?) Madeline is already chomping at the bit to get started. She's been reading the lists on the door and trying to figure out what she could do to earn flowers. By the time Lent is over, I think she will not only know the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, but she'll also have a pretty good idea of how they translate into everyday life. Part of me is wondering if I made the cross big enough. If I didn't, I'll know to make a bigger one for next year.
This is our Merciful Cross with the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy on either side.

These are the flowers which I hope will fill our Merciful Cross. They were cut out with a massive hole punch which I found at the craft store.

Last year we had a little issue with Madeline conveniently switching her Lenten sacrifice when it suited her. Want your favorite candy? Simply say that X is your new favorite and see if you can sneak what you really gave up. I needed to find some way to hold Madeline accountable. So I went searching for a craft. The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions for Children's Faith Formation had the perfect idea which I adapted slightly. It's a garland that has cut outs of our hands. In the palm of the hand we glued a red heart with our Lenten sacrifice written in the middle. Since purple is the liturgical color for Lent, I strung the hands up with a purple ribbon and tied it around the basement door above our Merciful Cross. When Bryan gets home tonight I'll be adding his hand to the garland. I like that we'll have a reminder of our sacrifice on the door. It's a nice way to ensure accountability.

This is a close up of the hands on our Lenten Sacrifice Garland.

Making the Lenten Sacrifice Garland was really simple. You trace the child's hand onto construction paper (I chose brown to match our Merciful Cross). Then, cut a red heart to fit in the palm. To attach to the ribbon, I simply cut two slits in each hand so I could thread the ribbon through. You could easily glue or staple the hands to the ribbon, but then you lose the ability to adjust their position once the garland is hung.


  1. COOL STUFF!!!!!!! Thanks for posting this!!!

  2. I liked to this in my post tonight (I quote two Karen's). This is so great!

  3. These are wonderful ideas to help your children embrace Lent. Good job!! GREAT BLOG! I'm signing up as a follower.

  4. What great ideas! I used the sacrifice garland in my Religion classes today. What a great visual to hold us accountable.

  5. Great idea! Love your blog! I also have 7yr old and 4yr old (named Elizabeth "Ellie) daughters, and a little man too :)

  6. Violin Mama-Thanks for the shout out on your blog. If you want me to send you flower cut outs, drop me an email.

    Blair-Thanks for making me realize that my profile won't update itself. ;) Madeline's actually almost 8 1/2 now and Ellie is 4 1/2. I now have an updated profile. I wonder how long I might have have the original profile up there if no one had even commented.

    Are people always surprised when they find out your Ellie is an Elizabeth? Most people who inquire about Ellie's given name are surprised at our choice of nickname for her.

  7. I really love your mercy cross! And you took such great pictures. I'll be saving this link ;-)

  8. This is fantastic! I am totally going to copy you :-) Thanks for the great idea!!! I have really been struggling with getting the idea of sacrifice to my little ones. We talked about doing good deads, but I love your concept.

  9. Thanks for the great ideas! My oldest (4 years) helped me cut out flowers today since we're home with her sick brother. What a great way to start getting them involved!

  10. Great ideas! I love the cross becoming a tree of flowers. I might even try it, with a flower shaped post-it pad I saw at the store the other day. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I made our own Sacrifice Garland after seeing yours and I love it! I even blogged about it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm glad you liked it! I hope you have a blessed Lent.


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