Archives for March 2013

Friday Link 3/29

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Last-Minute Ideas for Easter Weekend

 

Use a playdough mountain to teach about the crucifixion and resurrection

Make a resurrection garden

 

Easter fruit tart

 

resurrection rolls

Do you have any Easter traditions with your kids?

 

 

Small Progress by Ellen Stumbo

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“Mom. Mat Man?”

Lately, before we begin our bedtime routine, Nichole holds a box of wooden pieces and foam shapes. She is ready for quality time with mom. She is ready for Mat Man.

We sit on the living room floor and I start singing the song. I am a terrible singer. She doesn’t care.

Mat man has one head, one head, one head. Mat man has one heaaaaaaad! So that he can think!

I hold two of the big curves by my head, making a circle. Nichole laughs at me, “You funny!” She reaches out and imitates me. Then she carefully, oh so carefully places them on the carpet.

We make Mat Man.

“Again?” she asks.

Then she asks to make letters. Finally, with the wooden pieces we spell, “Nichole.” She points at each letter and says its name. She knows every letter of the alphabet, but her favorite letters are the ones in her name. N. I. C. H. O. L. E.

My daughter is five years old, and she has Down syndrome. She struggles with her speech, and we are not sure where she is at yet in her intellectual abilities since she has a hard time with her words. This is a learning time, but there is also a heart connection taking place as I find myself overwhelmed with love for this little girl and so incredibly proud of her progress.

And then I think about myself, the many disabilities I have: selfishness, self-reliance, greed, jealousy, lack of self-control, etc. Yet sometimes I begin to get it, a little at a time. As if I was sitting on the living room floor with God, practicing my trust in Him in little things. And I know He smiles at me overwhelmed with love too, so proud of me for those small accomplishments and the ways in which I make progress in the deep places of my heart.

Ellen Stumbo is a writer and speaker. She is the mother of three daughters: Ellie; Nichole, who has Down syndrome; and Nina, who was adopted and also has special needs. She is wife to Andy, a pastor.

Friday Links 3/22

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Easter Crafts

Are you, like me, a parent of a craft-loving child? I have a 4-year-old who would “make art” all day long if I had the motivation, ideas, and supplies!

All of the chicks and bunnies floating around in Springtime are cute, but they don’t teach about the true Easter and the Resurrection. Here are some craft ideas I dug up that do help teach that to your child!

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Mosaic Cross at That Artist Woman

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Remembrance canvas at OhAmanda

Hand and Footprint Donkeys at Catholic Icing

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Easter Light Ray Cross at Philzendia

 

How do you keep Easter about Christ?

The Bible Miniseries

Have you been watching The Bible miniseries on The History Channel? LifeWay is very excited about it! Here are some resources if you’re interested in digging deeper into the series and its history and future.

Have you been watching the series? I haven’t, but I will definitely catch up on the DVDs when they’re released!

KISS (Keep It Seriously Simple) by Lou Ann Davison

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source: ademrudin

Do you ever feel like your life is more complicated than you wish it were? Are you used to having way too much “stuff”? Your children may feel the same way. They are often the targets of marketing campaigns that are aimed at convincing them that happiness comes by buying whatever product they’re pushing. Today’s kids need to learn to tell the difference between needs and wants. They need to be taught how to appreciate and express thankfulness for what they have, rather than always longing for what they don’t have.

As parents and teachers of preteens, you need to look for every opportunity to drive home the facts about the issues described. Sit down with your preteen sometime and leaf through a catalog from a store. Have him point out things he thinks he would like to own. Then talk about whether or not that item is a need or a want. Explain the difference simply by pointing out that needs are the essential things in life, while wants are not that important.

If your preteen insists that an item is “essential” to him, perhaps instead of agreeing to buy it for him, challenge him to save his money to buy it himself. If it takes him a long time to earn the money, chances are he will change his mind about the item being so important to him and decide against buying it.

Another activity is to look for opportunities for your preteen to be involved in a mission project. Perhaps your church offers ways to help people in your community who are less fortunate.

A group of fifth graders developed a new appreciation for the food their parents provide for them by helping out in a food pantry. They never really thought about that there were many people in their community who could barely scrape by and feed their families. Children’s hospitals, children’s homes, and other facilities that take care of children often have “wish lists” available for the asking. Your preteen would enjoy filling some of those needs. Allow him to actually purchase the items, box them up, and mail them himself. Point out to him that he can be assured that his generosity will bring a smile to some child who may not have a lot to smile about.

Helping your child see the world in this way opens up a whole new thought process for him. He will hopefully become less demanding of “stuff” for himself and realize that true happiness comes by giving of himself to others.

The Bible has a lot to say about living in this way. A few scriptures to share with your preteen are: Matthew 10:8; Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Acts 20:35.

Perhaps as you focus on teaching this all-important lesson about “simple living,” you will realize you need to make some changes in your way of life, too. What better way to drive home this lesson than to model it for your preteen!

Lou Ann Davison is a retired elementary teacher who enjoys substitute teaching, tutoring, and spending time with her five grandchildren. She is a member of the First Baptist Church in Marvell, AR.

Pregnant Surprises by Jessie Weaver

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source: PLateauus

I’m writing this six weeks before my March 21 due date, but as you read it, we may or may not have welcome our third child, Joshua, into the world.

This pregnancy was a surprise for us, and everything after that plus sign appeared has been surprising as well. My strange, on-and-off sickness made itself known until 22 weeks. I went into our “big” ultrasound 100% convinced we had a baby Katie in there … oops. At 31 weeks, my hip and back started acting up to the point of putting me on modified bedrest (with a preschooler and a toddler and no local family). And at 34 weeks, I’ve started feeling the end-of-pregnancy sick already, making it difficult to eat anything.

While none of my pregnancies have been peaches and sunshine, this one has been especially tumultuous for me.

I can’t say I enjoy pregnancy, although I am grateful to have healthy ones with healthy babies thus far.

It’s easy for me to float away spiritually when I feel bodily miserable, too. I “reward” my pain with too much television and novel-reading, ignoring the Bible on my bedside table. My back makes it difficult for me to sit through a whole church service, so my soul has been without many sermons.

Yet, is there a better time to really cling to the Word and what He has to say about parenting and children?

Do you have any advice for pregnant mommies who struggle like I do? How do you stay focused on God while your body is a constant reminder of earthly pains and issues?

Jessie Weaver is the resident ParentLife blogger. She is a freelance writer who lives in Chattanooga with her husband and two kids (2 and 4) plus one on the way!

Friday Links 3/15

 

 

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Are You Ratings Ready? Video Game Edition by Mike Nappa

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Your preteen wants to play a new video game at a friend’s house—but is that game appropriate for your child? How will you know? Here’s how you can find out:

 

How are Video Games Rated for Content?

Most video games are given a third-party rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). This rating is intended to provide “objective information” to help parents make informed choices about the games their kids play.

An ESRB rating has three parts:

  1. An age-appropriate category designation,
  2. Content descriptors, and
  3. Information about the “interactive elements” of a game, for instance, whether or not a game shares a user’s location or other personal information.

 

What are the Basic Ratings Categories?

  • EC – Early Childhood. No objectionable content, and a game that was created specifically for young children.
  • Everyone. Fun for the whole family. Cartoon-style violence at best, and generally no profanity or suggestive themes included.
  • Everyone 10+. Generally appropriate for preteens and older. May contain mild violence or mild language, but overall very tame.
  • Teen. This is the gaming equivalent of a PG-13 movie rating. According to ESRB, a game with this rating “May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.”
  • Mature. A video game comparable to an R-rated film. A game with this rating is likely to include some combination of graphic violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and strong profanity.
  • Adults Only. Consider this the NC-17 rating of video games. ESRB describes these games this way, “May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.”

 

Where Can I Find More?

A detailed explanation of the ESRB rating system, including specific content descriptors and interactive element designations is online at: http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp.

Mike Nappa is an author of more than 50 books. He is also the founder of Nappaland Literary Agency and a former book acquisitions editor. He is featured each month in ParentLife magazine and in Trends and Truth Online on the ParentLife blog.