I shared a bunch of these photos on Instagram and a couple on Facebook, but not all of them. So I figured I’d throw them up here as quick as I can, in case you didn’t see them there. AND I want to announce the winners of the Lent giveaway in time for the winners to get their downloads while it’s still Ash Wednesday. Scroll down to the bottom for those.

And, probably, you’re just dying to know what one particular barfy pregnant lady is doing and not doing for Lent.

Hope your Ash Wednesday is going great, or that it’s penitential in a good and useful way . . . somehow. +:0)

Ash Wednesday

We’ve been busy little bees around here today. We went to Mass for our ashes (among other things) . . .

Then we came home and between errands and dentist appointments and some school squeezed in there, we got the house ready for Lent.

I never, ever remember to bring our Palm Sunday palms back to church before Ash Wednesday, so we burned them ourselves and scattered the ashes in Mary’s garden.

The boys love it when their chores for the day involve setting things ablaze.

Jack made us an Alleluia rock to bury.

Since we don’t sing the Alleluia at Mass during Lent, there’s an old tradition to actually bury it, then dig it up at Easter. The kids get a kick out of it.

And Gus put the Clipart Lent Calendar on the door. By the way, a couple folks have said they couldn’t get it to download properly so they could print it out. If it didn’t work for you and you still want it, send me an email and I’ll send it to you as an attachment. If it DID work for you, will you let me know in the comments, so I know if it was an isolated glitch or a total failure.

We put a somber and meaningful centerpiece on our dining room / school table. So, from now on any spacing out will be Lent-focused.

And the mantle got some cacti and rocks and burlap.

And the front step got some new cacti, too. I love that giant one in the back. I feel like he needs a name.

I made a thorny wreath for the spot by the front door from branches off of our bougainvillea bushes. I love the way it turned out, but making it was very stabby. I should have found some gloves.

For dinner we are going to have my grandfather’s german potato and dumpling soup recipe. Which is good news. So tasty.

The even better news is . . . Betty is making it! I taught her how to cut the little spatzle dumplings into the soup to cook and she’s hard at work as I type.

For a day of fasting and penance, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out.

The husband just landed in Las Vegas, where he’ll be trying to reconcile Ash Wednesday with a work dinner at the Venetian. Poor guy.

I’ve finally decided on my personal Lenten Disciplines. It’s been tricky for me this year with being pregnant and still feeling pretty lousy. I want to have a meaningful Lent, but I’m pretty tapped into my reserves as it stands. So, here’s what I have planned for Lent 2015:

To do LESS . . . yelling.
To do MORE . . . reading.
To NEVER . . . stay up past 11pm.
To ALWAYS . . . say the Angelus.

We’ll see how it goes.

And a little recap of yesterday . . .

Fat Tuesday
Fat Tuesday started off with a bang when my faux King Cake was totally a success. I’m not sure I’ll ever try one from scratch again. Look how pretty!

And while I am a BIG fan of from scratch eating, I do have a weakness for canned cinnamon rolls. Anita found the ring AGAIN. So she was our Queen of Epiphany and our Queen of Mardi Gras. The brothers were so happy for her.

The big kids made mardi gras masks for everyone during nap time.

In case you need further proof that Lulu is the best baby ever, she totally didn’t mind her mask. I’ve never had a baby who would wear one for more than a few seconds.

After dinner, we did our family tradition of attempting to eat up all the treats in the house.

The kids make these ridiculous ice cream sundaes. And then EAT them.

This was the aftermath in the kitchen . . .

And that’s that.
It was so much fun seeing so many different families’ Fat Tuesday celebrations. From neighborhood parties to pancake breakfasts to dinners out, you guys really rocked the feasting. Thanks for sharing it with me!
I got hundred of entries between Instagram, Facebook, and email. You guys are awesome! I added them all up to one number, then used random.org to choose four winners. 
The winners are, from Instagram: @coffeeash, @richards.mandi, @elizaraxi, and, from Facebook, Nicole Marie. I’ll send you messages on the platform on which you entered, but in case you see this first, please email me at CatholicAllYear @ gmail.com with your first choice of prize. I have two of each, first come, first served.
And in case you didn’t win, you can head over to Blessed is She or the App Store to get yourself your own download of the Blessed is She Lenten Journal or the 2015 Magnificat Lenten Companion.
Have a great Lent, everyone.