Saturday, 8 March 2014

Purple is for preparation; Craft for Lent

Children love craft. It's the glue and the scissors and the glitter and the hole puncher and the stapler and the sticky tape and the.. there's just so much you can do!

Today we got out the craft basket and set to work on a Lenten Calendar. The aim of the calendar is to provide a visual aid during Lent. The dates are colour coded to let us know of 'fast days' where there is opportunity for giving up something that we love, thinking of someone in need and how we can help or offering up a 'hurt'. The 'feast days' are the ones where we can look forward to and enjoy with something special.

Although the text isn't clear you can get
an idea of the fast and feast days in Lent.

The first part of the activity involved creating the calendar, next cutting up strips of purple and gold paper and then pasting on the individual rectangles for each day. There was discussion about the colours that we are using and the days themselves. The colours come directly from what the priest wears for the liturgy on that day: purple on the 'fast' days and white or gold on the 'feast days'. There is a little song that the children sing at Catechesis of the Good Shepard which teaches the children the meaning behind the liturgical colours:

Purple and green, red and white
Are the colours of the year
Purple and green, red and white 
Remind us of the Light
Purple is for preparation, white is for celebration
Green is for the growing time and red is for Pentecost!

Every child loves stickers! 

Following on from the calendar activity this afternoon, during dinner my husband read the Easter Story to the children and discussed the story. We used the same book last year to introduce Easter to our son which he thoroughly enjoyed. There are 60 stickers to use to fill in the gaps in the story. Last year to build up to Easter he choose a few stickers to stick in the book each day. We'll use the same approach this year as well. Our daughter has her own, as she may use her book in a different way. The Easter Story Sticker Book is one of those 'good books' which I highly highly recommend. It's simple enough to capture and hold the attention of the little ones and the pictures are so gentle and pleasing to the eye, and they in turn are learning the meaning of Easter.

An excellent resource to introduce key stories
from the Old and New Testament to young

Later on, my husband extended 'Easter' with our son a little more at bedtime and with few stories from his well-used The Children's Bible; Jesus Rides into Jerusalem and The Last Supper. With that introduction to Lent we are ready for Week 1 of Lent! 

Now I just need to fill in the blanks with activities… I'm open to ideas for the children so please feel free to contact me here or on email, I love hearing from you!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Celebrating Shrove Tuesday with Crepes a la Margaret Fulton

I haven't made Crepes for a while, and today seemed the perfect day to revisit them. Shrove Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. 

Growing up, we often had pancakes on one of those nights where we'd come home from a day out and we were all ravenous. A quick and easy way to feed hungry bellies fast. We'd stand in our little kitchen waiting patiently for them to be flipped and served out of the hot pan and onto our ready plate, then it was over to the bench to top with our choice of honey and lemon, lemon and sugar or vanilla ice-cream. They were fun nights. Even though there were many mouths to feed I don't ever remember anyone getting impatient. It was enjoyable to be with mum in the kitchen chatting and waiting for our next pancake. Such beautiful memories. 

I've made today's crepes a little late in the day, so I've prepared the lot and the little ones can enjoy with maple syrup and sticky fingers for breakfast.

Crepes with Pure Maple Syrup

Crepes, variation on Margaret Fulton's Thin Pancakes
1 1/2 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tbspn brandy or 1 tspn vanilla extract
2 tbspn melted butter

1. Mix sifted plain flour and salt 
2. Combine milk, eggs, butter and add to well of flour and salt
3. Beat with whisk
4. Stand for one hour
Recently I flicked through a Julia Child's "Art of French Cooking" cookbook and learnt to fry with a little oil instead of butter. I've since changed my ways as the crepes tend to be a little crispier and crunchier on the edges which I love!
5. In a very hot frypan add a tiny amount of oil, pour 1/3 cup of mixture to the frypan and swirl all around pan, wait, flip, wait and serve!  

To serve: fresh berries, any jam or compote, maple syrup, honey, vanilla ice-cream, sliced banana, poached pears, ham and grated cheese, mushrooms and cheese, nutella, or my absolute favourite - freshly squeezed lemon and coffee sugar crystals - I love the zing and the crunch, really there so many possibilities.

Whatever you put on your crepe, whenever you decide to flip them - enjoy them with love and laughter x
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