A Lenten Dinner

Ever since last Holy Week, I’ve been thinking about an idea I have for a special Lenten dinner. I’ve seen this done in different combinations other places Shower of Roses has great ideas from a Catholic point-of-view!), and I thought it would be fun to put my own spin on it. I’m planning on our family dinner taking place at some point during Holy Week, because all of the events referenced in the meal take place during that time, but you could do it at any point during Lent that works for your family!

  • Sparkling grape juice–Before He was handed over to be crucified, Jesus spent some talking to His disciples, including reminding them that He is the vine, and they the branches (John 15:1-17). Sparkling fruit of the vine (grape juice) makes a nice accompaniment to this meal.
  • Salad with hearts of palm and an oil and red wine vinegar dressing–You can start your meal off with a salad that has several Holy Week connections. Any tossed salad will work, just add in some hearts of palm (available in jars at many supermarkets) to remember the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19), and dress with (olive) oil to remember the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), and red wine vinegar to remember Jesus being offered sour wine on the cross (John 19:28-30).
  • Mount of olives–After supper on Maundy Thursday, Jesus and His disciples went to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Luke 22:39-46). You don’t have to offer a mountain’s worth, but a plate or bowl of your favorite olives for your family to enjoy will do the trick!
  • Crown of thorns dip–This takes a bit of imagination without a picture, but you can prepare a basic hot cheese (or your family’s favorite) dip in a round serving dish, and arrange tortilla chips, with their points up, around the edge to symbolize the crown of thorns Jesus wore (Mark 15:16-20).
  • Unleavened bread–The Passover (Exodus 12:1-28; 43-51), and thus Maundy Thursday (Matthew 26:17-29), is known for unleavened bread. This is a fun and easy recipe to make with children, and will make a good addition to your Lenten meal.
  • The “rooster crows twice” chicken–You can use your family’s favorite chicken recipe to remember that Jesus told Peter that he would betray Him three times before the rooster crowed twice (Matthew 26:30-35, 69-75; Mark 14:26-31, 66-72; Luke 22:31-34, 54-62; John 13:36-38, 18:15-18, 25-27). Bonus points if you can use it for dinner twice with leftovers!
  • Fig Newtons–Even a Holy Week meal needs a dessert. You can start with some Fig Newtons to remember Jesus’ teaching about the fig tree during Holy Week (Matthew 21:18-22, 24:32-35; Mark 11:12-14, 20-26, 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33).
  • A purple robe–Jesus was given a purple robe to wear before He was crucified (Mark 15:16-20). Grape fruit leather or roll-ups can remind children of this Holy Week event. They can also be used a reminder of the garment without seam that Jesus wore (John 19:23-24a), and they can be torn by each family member to recognize the tearing of the Temple curtain at the time of Jesus’ death (Mark 15:38).
  • Hershey’s kisses–Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with a kiss (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53), and a Hershey’s kiss is an easy was to teach this part of the Holy Week story.
  • 30 pieces of silver–Chocolate coins can be used instead of (or in addition to) the Hershey’s kisses to emphasize the amount of money Judas was given to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).
  • Sleepytime tea–The disciples were supposed to keep watch while Jesus prayed in the garden, but instead fell asleep (Matthew 26:38-46). Finish your meal with a cup of relaxing tea.
  • Resurrection rolls–If you’re still awake, you can prepare resurrection rolls with your family, and place them in the oven to rest overnight, as a reminder that Jesus’ body rested in the tomb (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42). Look for a surprise the next day when you eat them!

These are just some ideas for ways to help your children remember the events of Holy Week. What things do you do as a family during this penitential season?

Another Work in Progress

Last Tuesday, I painted the children’s bathroom. Apparently I have yet to regain my senses, because tonight I helped Ryan paint his new office.

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After a coat of primer, we put on a really pretty shade of blue paint. There’s still quite a bit of work left to be done in the room, including furniture moving and a visit from an electrician, but at least the most time-consuming (for me, anyway), project is done!

Mardi Gras 2016

Today we had our annual Mardi Gras celebration. We started the day as we always do…with pączki. I’m still planning on making them from scratch one of these years! Like last year, we had red beans and rice for lunch. Much to everyone’s disappointment, I didn’t make beignets this year (there are only so many hours in the day!), but I did try a new recipe for dinner at Bunny’s request: shrimp gumbo. I even made my own shrimp broth, which was a new and entertaining experience. We finished the day with butterscotch bread pudding for dessert. I know,..that’s Southern, not Mardi Gras, but I really don’t like king cake, so I thought it was a decent substitute.

The celebration is over, and we’re ready for Lent to begin tomorrow!

Celebrating the Year of the Fire Monkey

Since we’ve been learning about Asia this year, I wanted to make a special meal to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I decided on homemade egg rolls (which Turkey has been begging me to try making for quite some time), Szechuan shrimp, pineapple fried rice, and (store-bought, of course) fortune cookies for dessert (yes, I did get the world’s most generic fortune…”Your future looks bright.”).

Everybody liked at least one part of the dinner (Ladybug, my most adventurous eater, liked it all!), and the egg rolls were especially popular. It was fun trying some new foods from a different culture!

Quote of the Day

“Oh, the pointing again! They’re screwdrivers! What are you going to do, assemble a cabinet at them?” John Hurt as the War Doctor in “The Day of the Doctor”