Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Welcome to the New Christian Living Link-up ~ #GraceTruth

I’m beyond excited to introduce you all to something that has been in the works for several weeks now. Faithful readers and Lofter buddies know that we’ve hosted a link-up called #TheLoft for some months now. Recently our hosting group was offered an opportunity to merge with quite a few other like-minded faith bloggers in a new, bigger weekly link-up. Although we’re sad to lose a little of the intimacy that a smaller group allows for, we are enthusiastic about the opportunities this new link-up brings for all faith bloggers.

So, without further ado, I invite you to join us for Grace & Truth, a weekly Christian link-up!

Jen ūüôā

Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Grace&Truth-MainImage2

Satisfaction Through Christ
BLOG
| FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER |G+

Kaylene Yoder
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

The Brown Tribe
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

A Virtuous Woman
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Arabah Joy
BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | G+

A Divine Encounter
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | G+ | STUMBLEUPON

Leah Adams
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Being Confident of This
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Busy Being Blessed
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Sharing Redemption’s Stories
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels.

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted.

3.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured next week.

4.) Visit 2-3 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

5.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week. See requirements above to be featured.

6.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

Grab A Button

Grace and Truth Link-up

#GraceTruth Link party Giveaway!  amazon card and book bundle, free, Grace and Truth Christian Living link-up, linky party, gift card givewaway

Enter the Giveaway through the link below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join the link-up below!

Advertisements
6 Comments »

Reader Favorites ~ 2014

I’m so thankful for you, my faithful readers, my sisters in Christ (and let’s not forget the brothers, too). ¬†You have made this space a friendly zone for sharing my most personal writings, and 2014 was just the year for it.¬†¬†All year long, the Father has been challenging me to “Take Courage.” and having encouraging readers certainly helps me to do just that!

Often this space is mostly for me, a place to share what is on my heart, what I want to write about and hear about. But today I want to share YOUR favorites from 2014.¬†¬†If you haven’t read these top posts before, just click on the individual pictures. Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite. ūüôā

reader favorites 2014, Being Confident of This blog, top posts of 2014, number one posts, grace for the work-in-progress woman

Most time in the #1 spot:

marriage, Christian marriage, how to love an unloving spouse, feeling unloved, want to feel loved, loving a difficult spouse

“I‚Äôll be honest. As a busy mom of four, I wrestle with this idea that God should be my sole supply. After all, God cannot help with the bedtime routine or sweep the kitchen or sign permissions slips or pay the bills, at least not in a physical sense. ¬†I wrestle, too, with feelings of disappointment and unkind thoughts toward a husband whom I truly wish to respect.

So, how can I demonstrate love for my husband even when he‚Äôs not demonstrating love for me?”

Most comments in 2014:

confidence, fat girl insecurities, insecure, overweight, fat, trying to lose weight, obese, heavy, healthy body image, health

“I‚Äôll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me. ¬†He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. ‚ÄúFat,‚ÄĚ ¬†the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn‚Äôt anywhere near ‚Äúfat‚ÄĚ back then.

I always was a…”

Runner-up for most comments in 2014:

That New Girl: Finding Confidence

confidence, finding confidence, that new girl, no condemnation, identity, loving yourself, identity in Christ, self-acceptance, imperfect progress

“Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirms the lies.¬†But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don‚Äôt have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It‚Äôs this Christ-confidence that sets us free!”

Most comments of all (even though it’s from 2013):

marriage, imperfect progress, perfectionism, grace, through my grace-colored glasses, work in progress

“Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again. ¬†He just won‚Äôt leave me alone.

He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord…¬†He whispers lies to me: ‚Äúyou‚Äôll never change‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúyou‚Äôre never going to be good enough‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúwhy even bother anymore.‚ÄĚ

I‚Äôve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different…”

The Top 5 written in 2014:

#1

big list of energetic indoor fun, high-energy kids, boys with energy, stuck indoors, cabin fever, school break, I'm bored, kids bored, get energy out

Are the kids driving you crazy? Do your boys have too much energy to stay cooped up indoors? Need a cure for cabin fever?  Is the weather outside frightful?  This huge list of ideas for expending pent-up energy while stuck indoors will help you stay sane!

#2

7 ways to teach bible verses to kids, teaching bible verses to kids, memory verse, preschool, toddler, children, homeschool, church, creative ways to learn memory verses, scripture

For moms, dads, Sunday School teachers, homeschooling families, Children’s Church leaders and anyone else who works with little ones – here’s how to help them hide the Word away in their hearts.

#3

dollar store deals, cheap homeschool supplies, early childhood education, preschool, toddler, preschooling with dollar store deals, what to buy at the dollar store for homeschool

This isn’t just a list of what to buy for the littles at the dollar store. It’s also a list of how to use the items you buy! ¬†Great deals + great activities=happy learners.

#4

Saving money on kid's clothes, clothing budget, frugal, stewardship, single income family, clothing budget, tight budget, saving money, frugal living

This is part one of two posts on how to save money when buying clothes for a large family. ¬†With three boys and one girl in the house, our tight budget really gets stretched when it comes to purchasing clothes and shoes for the kids. Over the years, I’ve learned quite a few tricks for working within our small clothing budget to make the most of it.

#5

keeping Christ in Christmas, kid friendly advent free printables, The Christmas Adventure Box, family advent activity, homeschool, church, AWANA, youth group, easy advent, flexible advent, advent fun

Kid-friendly Advent with Free Printables! ¬†I created these as a companion to the Christmas ADVENTure Box that we do each year as an advent activity with our children. Our boys especially love the adventure aspect of it. ¬†It’s an easy, flexible way to keep Christ in Christmas!

Thanks for making 2014 a great year for Being Confident of This! ¬†And even though this isn’t a reader favorite (yet!), I want to leave you with one last post as you head into the new year. It’s close to my heart and really sums up what this year has been about for us.

Courage to Face a Giant

courage quote, fail or succeed, take courage in the Lord, be strong and courageous, facing a giant

Take Courage in the new year, my sisters!

Jen ūüôā

Sharing with: The Pin-it Party, Grace and Truth,

6 Comments »

Kid-friendly Advent~Free Printables!

Last year on the blog, I shared about our favorite family advent activity, called The Christmas Adventure Box, and this year I’m adding another component – free printables! If you haven’t read that post, I highly recommend you start there (just click this link).

I also recommend visiting my friend Lana’s site, which is where the idea originated. She gives more detailed instructions in a lesson-plan type of format which would be very helpful for teachers, homeschoolers, children’s church leaders, AWANA leaders, and so forth.

One of the things I love best about this kid-friendly advent activity is that it is very flexible – choose to do every day or just a few days a week, spend as little as five minutes or as long as an hour, and if you get behind (that never happens to us…haha), you can always do multiple days in one evening. ¬†Do what works best for your family!

kid friendly advent free printables, The Christmas Adventure Box, family advent activity, homeschool, church, AWANA, youth group, easy advent, flexible advent, advent fun

This year, I wanted to be a little more organized since last year flew by so quickly that we never actually completed the Christmas Adventure Box.  It was the year I called myself a holiday hypocrite.

So, I created some free¬†printables to attach to the items in the box¬†(like the one below) with simple instructions for how to complete each day’s activity of advent for kids. Using this method will prevent me from having to look up the blog each day or print out a new set of instructions when ours gets lost (which also never, ever happens, right?). ūüôā

Christmas Adventure Box free printables, family advent activity, kid-friendly advent, easy advent for the family, advent for kids, homeschool, church, AWANA

And I thought if I was going to take the time to make printables for this advent for kids, then I might as well share with you all. ūüôā

So, Merry Christmas to you, my faithful readers – here are free, downloadable printables to go along with your Christmas Adventure Box advent for kids. Just click the link below to download.

The Christmas Adventure Box free printables

 

I plan to print ours out on card-stock, cut them apart and attach them to the wrapped items in our box, making this family advent activity even simpler than it already is. I’m all for simplifying the holidays for less stress, especially with four kiddos in the house (okay, three kiddos and one young man).

Don’t forget to visit last year’s post for details on how to get started¬†and a list of needed items. Once your box is filled and the cards are attached, you are all set to go for this easy, kid-friendly advent that that whole family will enjoy.

Teach your children the stories behind holiday traditions

and, most importantly, how Jesus is the Greatest Gift of all!

Jen ūüôā

If you find yourself worried about how to give your kids a good Christmas, read here.

Sharing with:

A Group Look, Cornerstone Confessions, Monday Parenting Pin It Party, Mama Moments, Wholehearted Home

6 Comments »

Energy-burning Indoor Fun for Kids

Winter wears long around this time of year for those of us who live in the Midwest. ¬†Usually, our family enjoys the snow because it allows for lots of outdoor fun – sledding, building snow forts and snowmen, snowball fights, and other gross-motor, active fun. ¬†However, with wind-chills well below zero lately, we’ve been cooped up indoors. ¬†You can imagine the ensuing chaos created by four bored children (okay, three, the teen isn’t usually as rowdy as he used to be). ¬†Our middle child in particular, all boy, struggles to release his pent-up energy in a way that does not harm others or damage items in the home.

What do you do when the kids are bursting with energy but can’t go outside? How can you keep them active indoors to keep cabin fever at bay?

We tried every fun, high-energy indoor activity I could remember that worked in years past, but with so many days spent inside, I soon ran out of ideas. ¬†So, I turned to my friends and family on facebook. ¬†They helped me compile a list for future reference and out of sympathy for you all, I decided to share it here. ūüėČ

big list of energetic indoor fun, gross-motor activities for kids, bad weather, can't play outside

Snowball Fight¬†– Yes, you can have a snowball fight indoors and burn a lot of energy doing so! ¬†I learned this game from a birthday party we attended recently. ¬†You will need a stack of white paper (newspaper will suffice if you don’t have white paper). ¬†Crumple the paper into balls – the more you have, the more fun it will be. ¬†Dump the paper snowballs into the middle of an open area and let the kids go wild! It’s even more fun if you create some obstacles to hide behind.

Bounce around¬†– Several years ago when the twins were younger and I frequently babysat children in our home, we invested in a small bouncy house. ¬†It’s been a lifesaver on several occasions when the weather kept us indoors. ¬†Another less expensive option would be a small, indoor trampoline, or even an exercise ball. ¬†If all else fails, you can always resort to letting the kids jump on your bed (I do!). Jumping uses a lot of muscles group, so it ¬†burns off excess energy quicker.

Ball pit РWhen our youngest son was a baby, he needed some physical therapy.  One of the things his therapist did was to create a small ball-pit using a laundry basket filled with balls.  At first, he hated it, but eventually he grew to love it. Let the kids enjoy active fun by jumping into the pit, swimming in the balls, throwing balls, and so on. Frugal ideas for ball pits: laundry baskets, plastic totes, inflatable kiddie pools, or large cardboard boxes.

Indoor Skating – I’ve found two different ways to create indoor skates. ¬†One is to tie wax paper around the bottom of your children’s feet and let them skate away. ¬†The other is to use kleenex boxes (or other cartons) as skates – just insert feet into the opening. We only had one usable kleenex box, so I improvised with a juice pouch box. ūüėČ

indoor skating, energetic indoor fun, gross-motor activities for kids, active fun for snowy days or rainy days

Climb, climb, climb РRecently I was reminded that kids of all ages love to climb.  My husband brought a step-ladder indoors to do some repairs.  When he finished, our four-year-olds spent a good thirty minutes climbing up and down, up and down (with supervision, of course).  Other options Рsmaller kitchen step-stools,or a stool your kids might use in the bathroom, stairways, boxes, etc. What an easy, indoor energy-burning activity that uses items you most likely already have at home!

Activity Dice – ¬†Create a large dice from cardboard or cardstock (the bigger the better in the eyes of children). ¬†On each side of the dice, list a different activity to be performed. ¬†Examples: do ten jumping jacks, flap your arms like a bird, twirl in circles until you’re dizzy, hop up and down, jump like a frog, crab-walk, do a somersault, etc. ¬†If your child is old enough to find this activity boring, try making it into a competition – it’s a game changer.

Dance the wiggles away – We have Just Dance Kids’ version for the Wii that our younger children really love. ¬†However, we also frequently dance to music on the radio or our oldest son’s ipod. ūüôā ¬†One of my friends suggested playing “freeze” by pausing the music and having everyone freeze in place. Another “freezing alternative is to turn the lights off and when they come back on, everyone has to freeze in place (while music continues to play, of course).

This song is perfect for freezing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7JoCCR4OsM

Or try this active song that was an immediate hit with our younger two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dXoiCMyyu4

Geronimo! – We love this classic. ¬†Create a huge pile of pillows, blankets, beanbags, stuffed animals, etc., near a couch or the bottom of your stairway. ¬†Jump away! ¬†Our children have spent endless hours getting out extra energy this way when we’re stuck indoors.

Pillow Fight – Caution: if you have a child who tends to get aggressive, prepare for possible injuries. ¬†It’s a good time to work on self-control. ūüôā ¬†Even our teen boy likes to pillow fight when the whole family is involved. ¬†What better use of family time than to burn off some stored up energy?

Family wrestling – Nothing is more tempting to children than when Mom or Dad lay on the floor. ¬†For some reason, our four kiddos love to sit on us, climb on us, bounce on us, and so forth. Family wrestling is also a good opportunity for Mom to sneak attack Dad’s feet (he can’t get away with four kids piled on top-ha!). ¬†As with all active fun, it usually ends when someone cries. ūüėČ

Spikeball – We created this game using punch-balloons leftover from a birthday party. ¬†To begin, we spread out in the largest room in our home. ¬†Then we “spike” the punch-balloons across the room at another person. ¬†Each player receives points for hitting another player as long as it is not a face-shot (we had to ban those during a particularly crazy game). ¬†It’s a mad frenzy trying to snatch up the punch-balloons and spike them at others while also trying not to get hit yourself. ¬†You could also use a regular balloon, but punch-balloons are just a little heavier, bigger and bouncier, so they can travel farther. ¬†Tip: it’s more fun and crazy if you have more than one balloon. Second tip: if you have a wide age range like we do, be sure the littles get their fair share of turns or you’ll endure much pouting.

Other balloon fun – Balloons are great for quick and easy active fun because you can play so many different games with them. ¬†Play don’t let the balloon touch the ground, or blow the balloon across the floor. ¬†You can even play an indoor version of hockey with a balloon and pool noodles (cut them in half for smaller players). ¬†Play volleyball by hanging a string or a blanket between two chairs for a net. ¬†Hang balloons from the ceiling or a doorway just out of reach and ask children to jump up and touch them. Put a balloon between the knees and race from one end of the room to the other without dropping the balloon. Tie a balloon to their feet and try to step on each other’s balloons. The options are endless!

Indoor Obstacle Course – This is an often-requested favorite at our house and with our children’s ministry at church, also. ¬†First the kids help to create the obstacles using chairs, card tables, tunnels from a Playhut set, brooms for hurdles or limbo sticks, hula hoops to hop through, inflatable swimming rings in place of tires for an agility hop, etc. ¬†Once everything is set up, they race through it over and over again! I can’t wait to try this winter-themed course that involves climbing a “snow mountain”: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/59532026298294418/

Sliding РIf you have a slide you can bring indoors, you can entertain toddlers and preschoolers for quite some time. Since our kiddos have outgrown our slide, we turned our stairway into a giant slide (something I pinned a long time ago on pinterest).  The only thing you need is a few large, wide sections of strong cardboard.  If you use an appliance box, be on the lookout for staples that will need to be removed first!

Energy-burning Indoor Fun for Kids, turn stairway into slide, energetic indoor fun, energy-burning activities for rainy days, winter indoor activities

Nerf/Koosh Gun War – Two of our boys received Koosh ball guns for Christmas, and not long after I happened to find refill packs of balls on clearance at Walmart – score! ūüôā ¬†We also have a couple of Nerf dart guns and a disc shooter from years past. ¬†Sometimes we sneak attack our oldest son or Dad, but usually we play all together. ¬†Gather up the ammo and have fun chasing each other all over the house. ¬†Note: it’s important to establish some ground rules first, such as do not shoot at the face and do not shoot at windows, etc.

Play Basketball РWe also have been gifted a Little Tikes basketball hoop, as well as a classic Nerf hoop that hangs over the door.  One way to burn lots of energy is to play basketball free-for all.  Much like spikeball, there are few rules to this game other than to get a hold of a ball whenever you can and put it through the hoop.  If you like a more organized game, you can take turns shooting or see who can make a shot from the longest distance, etc.  No hoops in the house?  Improvise with a trash can or bucket and a small ball or even wadded up piece of paper.

Scary Hide-n-go-seek – A variation on the traditional game, this version is played in the dark, indoors and is another one of our most-requested indoor games. ¬†We turn off all of the lights except one or two dim ones (for safety). ¬†Something about hiding in the dark with the chance of being spooked really gets the adrenaline pumping. ¬†Of course, if you have little ones who are scared of the dark, you’ll probably have to hide with them. And if you have a dog, chances are he or she might give away your hiding spot by sitting and staring near you.

Wii activity РIn addition to our Just Dance Kids game, we also have Wii sports and a few other games that require activity.  You can often find gently used games at a greatly reduced price at places like Game Stop or on E-bay or Amazon.

Sword-fight РOur boys love to sword-fight with their light-sabers, but inevitably someone gets hurt and we have to quit.  So, I really, really love this pinterest idea for creating light-sabers from pool noodles cut in half.  Sometimes we make it a whole family activity and even the teen joins in with us! What a fun way to be active indoors!

Kid-Olympics or Ironkid¬†Challenge¬†–¬†We did this once for our AWANA kids at church during the last Summer Olympics. ¬†We used frisbees for a discus throw, pool noodles for a javelin, relay races, etc. ¬†We even ordered plastic medals online, but you could easily create your own indoor version. ¬†Why not have an awards ceremony, too?

Wipeout РI love this idea for energy-burning fun that came from a friend of mine.  Use couch cushions, etc. to create a course inspired by the tv show Wipeout!

Giant tent fort¬†– While this activity doesn’t burn quite as much energy as some of the others, it still burns some and it takes a good amount of time to do. ¬†Our kiddos recently spent the better part of a day creating this giant fort using a card table, a piano bench, kitchen chairs, plastic totes, a step-stool, and anything else they could find. ¬†We left it up for days until they got tired of it. ¬†Any activity that holds interest beyond a day is a winner in my opinion! ūüôā

Energy-burning Indoor Fun for Kids, giant tent fort, energetic indoor fun, winter fun indoors, rainy day activity, gross-motor skills, energy-burning indoor activities

Energy-burning Indoor Fun for Kids, giant tent fort, energy-burning indoor fun, active winter fun, gross-motor play

Treasure Hunt – This was another friend’s high-energy suggestion. ¬†Create a treasure hunt where the clues involve some sort of physical activity such as jumping jacks, push-ups, and so forth. ¬†Of course, you need a fun treasure, such as a special snack or maybe new coloring books.

Convert the garage -If you have a garage, consider moving your vehicles and opening up space for indoor bike-riding, roller-skating, skate-boarding, scootering, or even an old-fashioned game of foursquare (use chalk to draw the lines). I’ve also seen hanging ladders, ropes, and sets of rings available for purchse to hang from the ceiling (guess what’s on my wish list?!). If your children are very young or you have the inside space, you might consider bringing a tricycle or scooter indoors even.

Put on a Show – Our children, like most, enjoy performing for any willing audience. ¬†Our shows usually consist of lots of break-dancing, twirling, and kung-fu-type stunts. ¬†Set up a stage area and a seating area and settle in for lots of laughs. (Thanks to another one of my friends for reminding me of this!) While you laugh, they’ll be expending lots of extra energy.

Work the Maze РCreate a laser-beam maze in a hallway or other narrow space using yarn or even crepe paper.  See who can get through without touching or breaking any of the lines. Instant indoor energy-burning fun that takes only minutes to create.

Armed with this list, I now feel prepared for the pending snowstorm heading our way (and any rainy days that might come our way this summer).

¬†Once you’ve drained off the extra energy, your children might settle down enough to attempt some of these fun indoor activities¬†from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

Do you have more ideas for energetic, gross-motor indoor fun?  We would love to hear from you in the comments!

Jen ūüôā

Related articles:

Our Big List of Favorite Games  (categorized by age)

Top Free Resources for Pre-K

Sharing with: The Mommy Club, Weekly Kids Co-op,Family Fun Friday,

* You may also find me at any of these lovely places.

 

14 Comments »

7 Creative Ways to Teach Scripture to Kids

We all know scripture memorization is important. ¬†If only it were also easy!! ¬† ūüôā ¬†If memorizing Bible verses proves difficult for adults, then imagine how much more difficult it can be for our young children to learn scripture. ¬†Over my years of mothering our four kiddos and working with children at church, I’ve learned that teachers of ¬†preschoolers in particular need to be really creative. ¬†Sometimes that’s a real struggle for me! ¬†What works for adults doesn’t always work for kids, and even more, what works for one child may not work for another.

So, for all of the purposeful parents, the homeschooling mamas, the Sunday School teachers, the toddler nursery workers, the Children’s Church volunteers, the daycare providers, the AWANA teachers, for any person who desires to teach children scripture but aren’t sure where to begin, here’s what I’ve learned thus far that works:

7 Creative Ways to Teach Scripture to Kids

1. Check it –¬†Be sure the verse is short enough.

For very young students even a single sentence might be too long. ¬†If the verse you have chosen is lengthy even in a children’s bible version, condense it further. ¬†For example, if “Be kind and compassionate to each other” is too much, shorten it to “Be kind to others” or for very young children: “Be kind.”

Equally important, be sure that that your children or students understand the words in the verse. ¬†What good is memorizing a verse that holds no meaning for them? ūüôā

teaching memory verses to kids, how to teach scripture to little kids, memory verse, scripture memorization, teaching kids scripture, homeschool, church, preschool, toddler

2. Act it – create motions to go along with the verse.

In general preschoolers tend to learn more when they are being active rather than passive. Even many elementary-age children prefer to learn through movement rather than seatwork.  So, especially for those little learners who always seem to have ants in their pants, this technique can work wonders.

¬†For example,¬†in our Cubbies class (preschool class for AWANA at church) we recently learned the verse “Children obey your parents in the Lord.” ¬†The word “children” was portrayed by holding a hand out flat, palm down, and stair-stepping down, as in “stair-step children” (that’s the best I could think of, unfortunately – anyone have a better idea for children??). ¬†Then for the phrase “obey your parents,” we pointed our finger straight out like a mommy telling a child what to do (picture Uncle Sam’s we-want-you pose – the kids really understood that gesture well, haha). ¬† Finally, For “in the Lord” we simply pointed straight up into the air as if we were pointing to God in Heaven.

If you happen to know sign language, the easiest gestures would be actual signs, especially for words or phrases that will be repeated often, like God, Jesus, or Bible.   Sometimes my Cubbies are able to help me think of appropriate gestures, too.

Youtube example:

*One important note: do not try to attach a gesture to every single word in the verse. ¬†Doing so will frustrate some children and will interrupt the natural flow of the verse. ¬†You only need a gesture for each concept or phrase in the verse. ¬†A second note: if the children look confused, then your chosen hand gesture or motion is not computing. Let it go and try something else. ¬†ūüôā

3.  Play with it!

We usually repeat our memory verse a few times together before we get a little silly with it. ¬†When the boys’ eyes begin to glaze over, I know we’ve repeated one too many times. ūüôā ¬† Once we can mostly say it together, I usually ask the children to stand up and push in their chairs so we can be more active. ¬†We might crouch down and say the verse very, very quietly (gestures included) and then hop up and say it as loud as we can. ¬†Sometimes we march around our table and say it, or we chant it to a rhythm, or we sing it, or clap it out, or use silly voices, and so on. ¬†Songs in particular work very well at this age (Tip: you can use familiar tunes such as Farmer in the Dell, Old MacDonald, Three Blind Mice, etc. to put the words to if you don’t already know a song for the verse you are trying to teach).

Youtube example:

Once we used the suggested game for that week from our Cubbies book – let’s call it, “Lights on, lights off.” ¬†When the lights were off, the kids were free to move around in whatever manner they desired: walking, creeping, running, hopping, crawling, etc. ¬†When the lights came on, everyone had to freeze in place. ¬†Once they understood the concept of the game, I used the “freeze” time to repeat our verse. ¬†The same concept could be used with music rather than lights.

4. Repeat it – give each child to a chance to say it alone.

Once we have played around with the memory verse a little bit, most children will have at least part of the verse, if not the whole, in their minds.  At this point, I usually test my Cubbies a little while still trying to keep it fun.

For instance, if we’re chanting our verse to a beat, then in between each repetition, I’ll give a single student a chance to say it on his or her own. ¬†Then the whole class says it together, followed by another individual, and so on. ¬†Be sure to support those who need it so they don’t become embarrassed.

And we always, always celebrate, even if we are only partially successful at saying the verse!

5.  Draw it!

Some students prefer putting crayon to paper over reciting verses aloud.  Since my preschool Cubbies cannot read yet, I might ask them to draw a picture of their verse.  Of course, at their age I always have a few who choose to draw something totally unrelated, but for those who process information visually or spatially, drawing can really help to cement the concept of the verse in their minds.

6. Forget about references…for now.

Not that we shouldn’t attempt to teach the reference at all – I still do. ¬†However, I just don’t stress about it anymore. At this age remembering a reference that doesn’t hold much meaning and is difficult to even pronounce can be really challenging and frustrating, especially for kids who might not be familiar with the books of the Bible. How many three-year-olds can actually pronounce books like Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, or Thessalonians? ¬†Even if they can pronounce them, do they understand what those words followed by numbers mean? ¬†If not, then they are learning words that make no sense to them, hold no meaning.

Very rarely will my own young children remember a reference beyond a week or two unless it is a verse that we hear or review frequently, such as John 3:16, or a verse put to song that includes the reference, like the “Be ye kind” song. ¬†In Cubbies we have a new verse every week and limited time for teaching, so the likelihood of children retaining references decreases even further.

Thus, in my humble opinion,¬†the priority¬†should be the conceptual learning taking place: truths about God making us, God loving us, loving others, etc. ¬†I still teach the references, but I don’t emphasize them as much as the body of the verse itself. ¬†For young children, as long as a child remembers the main idea of the verse, I count it a win!

¬†However, if you are going to be working on a verse for an extended time, then by all means, include the reference. ¬†Additionally, if your children or students are older and can understand the purpose of a reference, then the reference should most definitely be included! ūüôā

7. Remember variety, different methods work with different children, so use a variety when possible.

Our preschool daughter loves to say her verses carefully along with hand gestures as if she is performing on stage.  On the other hand, her twin brother resists the hand gestures, but he love, love, LOVES anything repeated in a weird or sing-song voice. (True story РI once entertained him through an entire grocery shopping trip simply by repeating the same phrase over and over again in a robot voice.  Whatever works, right?!)

How to teach bible verses to young children, teaching bible verses to kids, creative ways to learn verses, memory verse, kindergarten, preschool, toddler, children, homeschool, church

¬†Of course, sometimes during AWANA, or even at home, the kids are so crazy and energetic that we fail to accomplish much in the way of scripture memorization. ¬†And we don’t always make time for memory verses either, but when we do, I want to make sure that it’s time well-spent.

Whether you teach at church or in your own home, I hope you find these tips helpful! ¬†I have yet to find any ways to address tactile (touch-based/sensory) learners who cannot read yet, so if any of you have ideas for me, I’d really love to hear them.

Blessings to you brave mamas and teachers of little ones,

Jen ūüôā

Sharing this post with: Hive Resources, Wholehearted Home

You may also find me linking up at any of these lovely places.

16 Comments »

Cultivating Christmas: The Christmas Adventure Box

The Christmas Adventure Box ~ an easy, kid-friendly advent for the whole family!

Last week I noticed a not-so-subtle change in our four-year-old daughter. ¬†She contracted a terrible case of the “I needs.” ¬†She needs a new doll for Christmas. ¬†She needs a Barbie house for Christmas. ¬†She really, really neeeeeeeeeeds a bike for Christmas…

While I understand her four-year-old behavior is typical, I dislike that her attitude can so easily become prevalent in our home during the Christmas season. ¬†It happens so quickly. ¬†We look at a few store ads, watch a few commercials, and we easily become convinced, even us grown-ups, that we have needs we have never had before!! ūüôā

My husband and I purposed to combat the commercialism of Christmas and cultivate true Christmas spirit in our home many years ago. We looked for resources to use for our young and growing family.  We invested in Veggietales dvds about the true meaning of Christmas and a kid-friendly nativity set.  We participated in Operation Christmas Child, and we worked at local outreach events.   We read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

But we still felt like our children needed to be better educated about why we do some of the traditional things we do at Christmas time. Enter the Christmas Adventure Box – a family Advent activity.

The Christmas Adventure Box, family advent, kid-friendly holiday fun, Christmas traditions, advent for kids

 

 

My friend ¬†and fellow blogger Lana introduced us to the Christmas Adventure Box, a family advent activity/program that she developed for her own family. ¬† The idea of the box was to complete daily (or several times weekly, for us) advent activities to help us remember the Greatest Gift of All, Jesus. ¬†It was an immediate hit with our oldest two boys, especially with the word “adventure” in the title!

I know the last thing we all need during the Christmas season is yet another item for our “lists” of things to do (so please, please don’t feel pressured). ¬†However, this family advent plan takes literally less than an hour to organize and the activities can take as little as five minutes or as long as 20-30 minutes depending on how involved you wish to make it (or how long your four year olds will sit still…) It really is a simple, but fun way to focus on the reason for the season! ūüôā

Update: it’s even easier this year because I’ve added FREE printables that you can attach directly to the items in your box! Just click the link above. ūüôā

Lana has created a blog specifically for the Christmas Adventure Box which you can find here.¬† If you want a full 25 day advent list, then I recommend visiting her site. ¬†It’s very detailed and even has a lesson-plan type of format that would be particularly helpful for those who homeschool, teach children’s church, etc.

However, for our family, I‚Äôve found that it‚Äôs less stressful to schedule only a few nights a week of kid-friendly advent activity.¬† So with permission, I‚Äôve modified the Christmas Adventure Box to fit our schedule and even added in a few items that were important to us, such as spending one day on global missions.¬† That‚Äôs the beauty of this family advent activity ‚Äď you can tailor it to fit the needs or even the traditions of your family! ūüôā

Here’s how to get started:
Choose which activities you’ll be using (from the list below or from Lana’s site) for your family advent and wrap the according items. ¬†Don’t forget to download and print the cards to attach to each item! Put all of the items into a large box (The Christmas Adventure Box) and wrap it as well. ¬† Each day that you plan to use the Christmas Adventure Box, you’ll unwrap one (0r more) of the items and complete that day’s devotional/activity.

The Greatest Gift  Р read John 3:16 Рunwrap the Christmas Adventure Box.

This will be the first activity on the advent list because it sets up the whole idea of the Christmas Adventure Box. ¬†However, once you’ve completed this day, you can do any of the following days in whichever order you choose. ¬† ¬†First, bring out the large, wrapped Christmas Adventure Box. ¬†Explain to your children that you will be unwrapping an item a few times a week in order to learn more about Jesus this Christmas season. ¬†Read John 3:16 and talk about how Jesus is the greatest gift of all. ¬†You can also read prophecies from Isaiah about the Promised Deliverer. ¬†Feel free to share the full gospel with your children and pray together as a family.

Nativity, The Christmas Adventure Box, kid-friendly advent, family advent, Christmas traditions, fun Christmas activity

 

Joseph and Mary – read Luke 1:30-33 – unwrap Joseph and Mary from your nativity set.

We purchased a fisher price little people nativity set several years ago when our twins were born, which makes it easier to let them “play” with the figures. ¬†If you have littles in the house, be sure to choose a non-breakable set to work with. ¬†On this day, you’ll read the story of Jesus’ parents learning that Mary was with child! ¬†Discuss the prophecies fulfilled by Mary and Joseph found in Isaiah 9:7 and Isaiah 7:14. ¬†Talk about promises God has kept for your family and pray together.

Baby Jesus – read Luke 2:6-7 – unwrap the baby Jesus figure from your nativity set.

Today you can discuss once again that Jesus was a gift, not only to His parents, but to the whole world. ¬†Talk about the birth stories of each one of your children – how you planned for them, waited for them, and the joy of experiencing their birth. ¬†Ask your children to find similarities and differences between their births and Jesus’ birth. ¬†Pray together as a family, thanking Him for each family member and most of all, for the gift of a Savior.

Shepherds and Angels – read Luke 2:8-20 – unwrap the shepherd and angel figures from your nativity set.

Discuss a time when your family had exciting news to share. ¬†Think about how the angels and shepherds must have felt sharing such important news. ¬†Talk about how important it is that we continue to share the story of Jesus with anyone who hasn’t yet heard and pray together, especially for any unsaved relatives or friends.

The Wise Men – read Mt. 2:1-2, 10-11 – unwrap the wise men from your nativity set.

Talk about how the wise men had never heard about a Savior being born, but they still knew to follow the star. ¬†Discuss the ways that God reveals himself to us today. ¬†Pray together as a family that your knowledge of God’s ways would increase.

Kid-friendly advent activities for Christmas

Light of the World – read Mt. 5:14-16 – unwrap a notecard that says “Christmas Adventure!” on it.

Discuss light and dark. ¬†Ask your children how Jesus is the Light of the World. ¬†Then, pile everyone into your vehicle and go on an adventure to see some Christmas lights! ¬†(You can continue discussion as you travel). ¬†Be sure to pray together as a family. ¬†*I try to schedule this night on a weekend so that we can allow the children to have ¬†sleepover by the Christmas tree. ¬†It’s one of our boys’ favorite traditions.

Legend of the Candy Cane – read Isaiah 53:5 – unwrap a candy cane.

Read your children a brief version of the legend of the candy cane and discuss why we use them in our Christmas decorations.  And yes, Pray together.

Joy to the World – read Mt. 28:19-20 – unwrap a small globe or picture of the world.

Tell your children about things we have in America that help us to know who God is (a Bible in our own language, churches we can attend, freedom of religion, etc.).  Discuss how other countries may or may not have these items.  Explain the importance of reaching the whole world with the Good News about the Greatest Gift.  Pray as a family for most unreached people groups of the world (if you need an easy way to pray for the most unreached peoples, use the T.H.U.M.B. method here.)

The Legend of Saint Nicholas – read Gal. 2:10 – unwrap socks or a stocking.

Read a brief version of the Legend of Saint Nicholas to your children.  Talk about ways your family can pass on the gift of Christmas to others by being generous.  Watch the Veggietales video, Saint Nicholas:  The Joy of Giving. (Hint: many veggietales videos can be found on Netflix, including this one.  No need to purchase!)  Pray together for a generous spirit during this season rather than a coveting spirit.  *This would be the perfect place to include a service project such as Operation Christmas Child or serving at a local soup kitchen.

Christmas Adventure Box, family advent

Christmas Caroling – read Rev. 5:12 – unwrap a note that reads “Christmas Adventure!”

Talk about the importance of singing God’s praises. ¬†Take the whole family for an adventure in Christmas caroling and spread some cheer to your neighbors or even shut-ins from your church. ¬†Local nursing homes usually welcome carolers, as well! ¬†Pray together as a family.

The Baker’s Hand – read Isaiah 64:8 – unwrap cookie cutters.

Make and decorate sugar cookies (if you have small or impatient children as I do, it’s a good idea to make the dough ahead of time). ¬†While you are working, discuss how God shapes us according to His purposes and how we are each uniquely created and uniquely gifted by Him. ¬†Pray as a family, asking the Lord to help each one remember that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Christmas Adventure Box, kid-friendly Advent activity

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – read Thessalonians 2:15-16 – unwrap a nativity story dvd or a “Christmas Adventure!” notecard.

We have two different takes on this day’s advent activity. ¬†In the past we have used one or the other, or sometimes both! ¬†The first is to watch a dvd about the Christmas story, such as A Nativity Story. The second is to attend a local candlelight service, if you have one near you. ¬†Both options will work to help you review what you have learned throughout the month of December and to celebrate this special evening. ¬†Our family also has a tradition of an evening meal of summer sausage, crackers, cheese, and hot cocoa. ¬†I know it sounds weird, but most of those items were obtainable when we lived in Papua New Guinea during my MK years. ¬†I have such fond memories of making the most of Christmas in a tropical country that we decided to continue it once we were married. ūüôā

Christmas Day – read Luke 2:1-20 and unwrap a Bible (shhh – don’t tell, but this year we plan to get preschool Bibles as gifts for our twins!).

Today, enjoy family and gift-giving and fun all within the context of celebrating Jesus’ birthday! ūüôā

The Christmas Adventure Box collage, Nativity, Christmas, Advent activities for families, kid-friendly advent, Christmas traditions, fun Christmas activities, family fun

That’s it! ¬†The Christmas Adventure Box is a simple, kid-friendly advent activity to emphasize Christ in your home this Christmas season. ¬†The best part? ¬†It doesn’t cost a dime! ¬†Just pick the days you wish to use or even add a few of your own, wrap up the necessary items, and you are ready to go. Remember, I’ve only included my favorites here, so if you want a full list, visit Lana’s site. ¬†Enjoy!

Jen ūüôā

If you are looking for additional Christ-centered Christmas resources to use in your home or at your church, check out Buck Denver’s Asks…What’s in the Bible series for Christmas!

You might find me linking up at any of these lovely blogs.

Also sharing with: Beauty Through Imperfection, Missional Call, Mom’s The Word,

20 Comments »

The Pumpkin Gospel

pumpkin gospel, pumpkin parable

A few days ago, I shared about how our views on Halloween have changed over the years from complete avoidance to an attempt at redemption. ¬†So, for today’s Mama Monday, I thought I would share a fun fall activity for redeeming a traditional Halloween object. ¬†You can teach a bible lesson, a science lesson, and be a purposeful parent at the same time! ūüôā

Two years ago during the harvest season, I was searching for a good object lesson for our group of AWANA kids.  I wanted something fall-themed and something that they could remember year after year.  I found a lot of  great Thanksgiving craft ideas and even Halloween ideas, but nothing that really struck me, until I ran across the Pumpkin Gospel, also known as the Pumpkin Parable.

I realize that carving pumpkins is traditionally a Halloween activity, one some Christ-followers might not deem very “Christian.” And it’s okay with me if we agree to disagree on that. ūüôā But as I read the story of the pumpkin gospel, I knew the parable made sense and would really stick with children. ¬†And I’m learning that even pagan holidays like Halloween can be redeemed!

Kids love holidays.  They love pumpkins and carving pumpkins.  They also love stories.  Additionally, they need to be exposed to ideas over and over again for information to take root.  The Pumpkin Gospel was a perfect fit!

Preparations:  

You will need a table to stand at and a medium to large sized, prepared pumpkin.  To prepare the pumpkin:

  • cut out a hole in the top and clean out the majority of the goo, but save it.
  • ¬†Next, cut out a face with eyes, nose and a smiling mouth, but save the pieces you remove.
  • Then, put the removed pieces back into place so that the pumpkin looks uncut.
  • Set aside a few of the cleaner seeds to use at the beginning.
  • Then, put the rest of the gooey seeds and pulp back in the middle of the pumpkin and replace the top.

The idea is to have the majority of the work done ahead of time so that you don’t have long pauses in your story/object lesson. ¬†You will also need a cookie sheet or tablecloth to contain the pumpkin mess during your story, and a candle and matches.

Story:

Once there was a Gardener who planted seeds in His garden (show pumpkin seeds). ¬†Each day the Gardener cared for the seeds. ¬†He watered them, pulled weeds from around them, and sheltered them from the heat of the sun. ¬†The seeds grew into seedlings, which developed into plants, until one day, they produced fruit – pumpkins! ¬†The pleased Gardener looked out at His garden and said, “It is good!”

pumpkins1

One day, the Gardener went out into his field and picked a special pumpkin (place pumpkin on the table Рon top of a cookie sheet or tablecloth, etc. with the uncarved side facing the audience).  It was a bit dirty from laying in the garden, so he brought it inside and gently wiped it off (wipe off exterior of pumpkin).  Now the pumpkin looked clean on the outside, but what about the inside?

The Gardener took a knife and cut open the top of the pumpkin (pretend to cut open the top again and take it off).  And what did He find?  A bunch of slimy, yucky goo! (show kids the goop Рmaybe even let them touch it if you have a small enough group).  The Gardener wanted His special pumpkin to be beautiful, so He carefully scraped out all of the goo inside until the pumpkin was as clean inside as it was on the outside! (Remove goo and throw away. Show children the clean interior)

But the Gardener still wasn’t satisfied with the pumpkin. ¬†He decided it needed a face! ¬†So, He carefully cut out two eyes, a nose, and a big smiling mouth (Turn the carved side of the pumpkin to face the audience. Poke out the eyes, nose and mouth you carved out previously). ¬†Now the Gardener’s special pumpkin looked clean AND happy.

But the Gardener still wasn’t satisfied with the pumpkin. ¬†So, He put a light inside of it (insert candle and light it). ¬†The pumpkin glowed so beautifully! ¬†The Gardener’s special project was complete.

When friends and neighbors saw the Gardeners special pumpkin, they marveled at how He took something ordinary from His garden, cleaned it inside and out, put His light inside, and made it something extraordinary!

Explanation:

We are like pumpkins and God is ¬†the Gardener. ¬†God creates us and cares for us. He “chooses” us from all of the other pumpkins, but inside we all have the yucky goo – sin. (Read Rom. 3:23 and Rom. 6:23)

Just like the Gardener cleaned out his pumpkin’s goo, God wants to clean out all our sin, too. So, He sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins, to take the punishment we deserved. (Read Rom. 5:8, John 3:16, and 1 John 1:9)

Just like the Gardener gave the pumpkin a new face, God makes us a new creation! (Read 2 Cor. 5:17)

Just like the Gardener put His light into the pumpkin to make it shine, so God gives us His light to shine through us!  (Read 2 Cor. 4:6 and Mt. 5:16)

So, when we let God clean out  our sin, by believing that Jesus died to pay the punishment that we deserve, He turns us into new creations that can shine for Him!  And when others see our light, then they might want to learn how to have a light of their own, too!

Pumpkin Gospel object lesson

In an alternate version, you can also demonstrate the difference between being saved by grace and trying to “earn” salvation through works. ¬†All you will need is a second pumpkin with a face that is painted on (rather than cut out). ¬†The story about this pumpkin is along the lines of wanting to be “chosen” but not allowing the Gardener to clean out the inside.

So, the pumpkin wears a painted face (tries to make itself acceptable on the outside), but inside, it’s still full of yucky goo. ¬†Without removing the goo, there’s no room for the Gardener’s light, so the pumpkin cannot shine.

Many people try to make themselves acceptable to God in their own way ( just like Adam and Eve in the Garden).  They might go to church and act like Christians, and they might even believe in God.  But unless they trust that Jesus paid the price for their sins, then the sin remains on the inside.  They cannot become new creatures without allowing Christ to remove their sin.  So, the light of Christ cannot be in them.   (Read Eph. 2:8-10) This lesson would work especially well with older children, perhaps even youth age.

Note: I have recently learned that there are a variety of books available to help with this object lesson.  Just look up the pumpkin gospel or pumpkin parable on amazon.  If you want a more detailed script for the object lesson, you might consider purchasing one of these books to use year after year.

So, if you’re looking for a fall family activity or even an object lesson for your church or homeschool group, consider redeeming a little bit of Halloween and using the Pumpkin Gospel. ¬†Year after year when children see pumpkins lit up, they can remember the story of Who put the light inside of them!

If you have other ideas or stories for redeeming Halloween, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Jen ūüôā

You may find this post linked up at any of these lovely blogs.

Also sharing this post with: The Mommy Club at Crystal and Co.

13 Comments »

Work-in-Progress Parenting: Emotional Children

Last night, our second-born, strong-willed, ball-of-energy-and-strength-and-passion son was showing me a few of his latest “tricks.” I watched somewhat half-heartedly and made the typical distracted mom comments such as “Wow!” or “That’s crazy!” or “How do you DO that?” until he made this horrible grimace. He effectively described it as “putting pressure” on his face. I happened to notice that it looked a lot like his typical angry face. ūüôā

Curious, I asked him why he would do that – put pressure on his face. He matter-of-factly explained that it helps him get his anger out when he’s frustrated or feeling angry. Then he showed me another of his typical angry poses (fisted hands clenched tightly at his sides) and told me that putting pressure on his body helps him get anger out, too. Once he was done with the demonstration, he sauntered away, like it was no big deal for a seven-year-old to have such knowledge of his own emotions and body.
parenting emotional children, boy mom, angry child, intense child, strong-willed child, work-in-progress child, children are uniquely created, work-in-progress parenting

 

I sat there stunned. ¬†Not because our son is so intelligent, although he truly is, but because a posture that I tend to “read” as angry disrespect ¬†or rebellion was, in fact, the complete opposite of what I had assumed. ¬†His tense posture was actually an attempt at self-control! ¬†And here I had been scolding him to “have a better attitude” whenever the “pressure” face and those “pressure”¬†hands appeared.

He understood his own emotions (and boy, does he have b-i-g ones) better than I sometimes understand my own.  He was learning self-control methods that work for him, without any help from me.

The conversation reminded me that even though I have now logged over thirteen years of parenting experience, I don’t know it all. ¬†In fact, I never will! Each child is created uniquely and requires unique parenting, a truth I tend to forget.

What I perceived as defiance or disrespect was the most self-controlled, respectful thing my son was capable of in his angry moments.

parenting emotional children

I hope I never again tell him to change his attitude when I see the “pressure face.” ¬†I hope I remember that he’s making a greater effort than I ever realized and applaud him for maintaining self-control in the face of anger. ¬†He has come so far in the area of emotions and self-control in the last few years, and I’m so quick to forget that in a heated moment! I’m so quick to forget that he, too, is a work-in-progress, just like his siblings, just like his parents, just like every other human on the face of the earth.

It wasn’t a proud moment for me, rather it was a thank-you-Lord moment. ¬†I couldn’t take credit for his heart changes; in fact, I was unintentionally discouraging some of the progress he was making. ¬†But God can take credit. ¬†Because our little boy who is so quickly growing into a young man accepted the free gift of salvation a year or so ago. ¬†And in a week, he’ll publicly proclaim his son-ship in Christ before family and friends as he wades into the baptismal waters.

I see the work the Lord is doing in his young heart and mind already. ¬†Even though our son’s passion and energy often cause trouble for him, I have faith that someday he will use those gifts to be a great leader and a bold truth-teller.

What faithfulness on the Lord’s behalf!

My sisters in Christ, when you find yourself in the midst of a season of seeming lack of progress, take heart. ¬†Continue to follow the Lord in your parenting, and wait to see what happens. Pray for their little hearts and minds to open to the Father’s touch.

Look for progress in the little things, the still, small moments. ¬†Remember who your child has been created to be. ¬†He’s created to be different than your other children and different even than you.

Take every opportunity to rejoice over the slightest step forward.

Because God knows what He’s doing. ¬†He created these children, these gifts, purposefully.

Only He can see where that purpose might lead them.

Jen ūüôā

As usual, you might find me linking with any of these lovely blogs.

13 Comments »

True Stories from a Busy Mama

This Five Minute Friday’s challenge word from Lisa-Jo Baker is True. ¬†She’s asking women all over the globe to share their true stories – the good, the bad, and the ugly. ūüôā

true stories

Sometimes I fail as a Mom; it’s true. ¬†Like yesterday when I forgot to put in a load of laundry that happened to contain the soccer jersey my teenage son needed for his game last night. ¬†Let’s just say it didn’t smell the best. ūüôā

I felt so bad for him and so frustrated with myself for forgetting!

And then there are the times when I forget to sign my seven-year-old’s assignment book every night. ¬†Or the times when field trip money is due. ¬†How about the times when someone asks you to do something simple, and you agree, only to forget over and over again?!

The truth is that as a mama of four, my mind is occupied by so many different thoughts, needs, and schedules at one time that some things are bound to slip through the cracks. ¬†It frustrates me because I used to be a very dependable person….before kids. ūüôā

But then I remember something my aunt said on facebook a while back.  She told another relative dealing with mom-guilt that she was mothering well.  Why?  Because this mom teaches her children about the saving grace of Jesus.

And the truth is, that’s enough, isn’t it?! ¬†If shoes go untied and beds go unmade and laundry goes unwashed or unfolded, but we remember to tell our children about Jesus, then we have done the most important thing of all!

Sharing truth, the most important truth in the universe, is the best way to be a “good” mom.

So, if like me you experience an epic fail in your motherhood this week, remember what’s true.

Superwoman is just a myth.

You teach your children about Jesus.

And that’s enough.

Jen ūüôā

You may also find me linking-up with these lovely blogs.

15 Comments »

Hands-on Color Activities

mama mondays2

As promised in last week’s Mama Mondays post on Pre-K resources¬†for homeschooling, I have some color learning activities to share with you today. ūüôā ¬†I did not spend a penny on creating these activities and probably only spent an hour or two of my time. ¬†Unfortunately, the laminating machine and I did not get along at first, so it took a little longer. ¬†If you do not have access to a laminating machine (I used our church’s), check with a local church or library. ¬†And learn from my mistakes – practice on some scrap paper first. ¬†Also, you might consider using clear contact paper as an alternative.

Here are the color learning activities we made this week:

Color Go-Fish

On pinterest, I saw an idea for cutting activities using paint chips from the store, similar to this color matching activity. So, the next time my husband went to the hardware store, I asked him to pick some up. Instead of the variegated kind, he brought home solid colors, but he did remember to get several of each. ¬†Since they weren’t the kind I wanted for cutting practice, I decided to make a Color Go-fish game out of them. ¬†The samples themselves were pretty flimsy, so we glued them onto card-stock. ¬†If you don’t have card-stock on hand, try using index cards. ¬†The twins were happy to practice using their glue-sticks, and I was glad for an adhesive that dries quickly. If you don’t plan to laminate them, I would use a better adhesive, though.

paint chips for Go-Fish color edition

I was already planning on doing some laminating, so I decided to laminate them as well. ¬†Now they’re practically indestructible, which is good for our son. ūüôā ¬†Our daughter picked up on this color learning game rather quickly, but our son is still learning the rules and the right questions to ask. ¬†They both really enjoyed it, though, and have asked to play again since the first time we played. ¬†Color Go-Fish is a really fun, hands-on way to learn colors, and we’ll probably use it for shapes, numbers, and letters as soon as I can make up more cards.

Color/Shape Hop

Our son lacks interest for much table work, so I’ve been searching for some more active ways to practice shapes and colors. ¬†One neat idea I found on pinterest ¬†was to use masking tape to make shapes on the floor. ¬†However, since I want to work on colors, as well, I decided to cut out large shapes from colored card-stock and laminate them. ¬† Then, we put them out on the floor and say, “Hop on red!” ¬†or if ¬†you want to include the shape as well, you could say, “Hop on the red heart!” ¬†Since we have two preschoolers, I’ll probably give each child his or her own turn so that they don’t fight over the shapes. ¬†Once we practice colors, then we use the same activity to practice shapes.

Color Sorting Mats

My husband picked up enough paint chips that I had extras once I made the Color Go-Fish game.  I decided to laminate the extra set and use them for color sorting.  At the moment, all we had to sort were some colored pom-poms and some beads, so I had our second-grader use one of my scrap-booking paper punches to punch out stars from the leftover shape paper scraps.  He had a lot of fun using the punch and now I have stars for our preschoolers to color sort, as well!

Color Go-Fish

I also plan to use our Hi-Ho Cherry-O game for some color sorting. ¬†Our twins love to play with the game pieces, so I figure it’s the perfect opportunity for some hands-on learning. ¬†We’ll probably practice counting while we’re at it, too. ūüôā

For more ideas on Color learning activities:

http://www.childcareland.com/teach10.html

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/59532026297549568/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/59532026297549599/

Last week we focused on the color green, and this week we plan to focus on the color blue. ¬†For our daughter, who already understands color, I’ll do more patterning activities to give her more of a challenge.

That’s all for this week!

Jen ūüôā

You may find me linking up at any of these lovely blogs.

11 Comments »