Archives for October 2015

A Simple Gift Kids Can Make

Made by kids coffee mugs

Last Christmas, the kids and I discovered this fun craft that is so simple! They made coffee mugs for all their grandparents and aunt and uncle, and a platter for the other aunt and uncle who are newlyweds. Their sweet drawings were a big hit. This gift is sentimental, adorable, and inexpensive – you can’t beat that!

Here’s what you need:

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Have kids draw on clean mugs/dinnerware however they want. You will want to prep the paint pens since they take a minute to get going, but then the kids can do the drawing themselves.

Bake your mugs/dinnerware in the oven for 30 minutes. Let cool.

THAT’S IT! Seriously!

These should be dishwasher-safe, too, although I haven’t tested that hypothesis.

Do you have a favorite easy gift for kids to give?

[Craft inspiration from Glued to My Crafts.]

Weekend Links

Gentleness by Jessie Weaver

Around this time seven years ago, I had my first-ever contraction. It was the night before my due date, and my mom, husband, and I were hanging in our condo’s living room, watching an Indiana Jones movie. I don’t remember one scene of the film, but I remember the sudden knowing, the realization that ah, this was what a real contraction felt like. I had worried I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a real one and a Braxton-Hicks, but I knew instantly.

(Note to my pregnant friends: if you start having contractions, guzzle a whole lot of water and see if they keep up. I had aggravated labor due to dehydration and thus it was a mere 36 hours later that I finally gave birth to my beautiful daughter.)

baby Libbie

On Tuesday, it will have been seven years since this girl came into our lives. She’s a first-grade fireball, a rule-follower for others and a rule-stretcher at home. And oh, I wish my 26-year-old self knew what I know now about parenting.

Not that I know a lot. But I do have seven years and three children worth of experience. Not to mention in those seven years we moved to a new city, my husband went from being a student to a teacher, we’ve lived in four different homes, and we’ve gone through a foreclosure that broke and put back together our hearts.

What I wish I could tell that younger Jessie laying on the microfiber couch and thinking finally! is this: they say love covers a multitude of sins. And it does. But love takes many forms. And let yours be a gentle love.

I think of a few ways I disciplined my tiny girl that now seem simply ridiculous. Because she could talk very well, I think I treated her as older than she was at times. I look now at my 2-and-half-year-old “Toddlerzilla” and think, I never would have disciplined him in _______ way. What was I THINKING with Libbie?

In the book Love and Respect in the Family, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs proposes that parents long for respect while kids just want love. And also we often misinterpret their simply childish behavior for disrespect and discipline it as such. When really … sometimes kids are just kids. And we are there to teach them how to be more mature, in time and in a godly manner.

My biggest parenting regret is the many, many times I have parents from my first response instead of stepping back, saying a prayer, and “trying a little tenderness.” Living in guilt does no good, though; all I can do is move forward, ask for forgiveness, and keep praying and practicing gentleness every day.

Libbie Easter

Jessie is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer, editor, and social media-y person. She writes at JessieWeaver.net, is the manager of ParentLife Online, and curates for ForEveryMom.com.

Three Not-So-Spooky Books for Kids

We all may have varying ideas on Halloween, but we can probably all agree that celebrating evil is not fun or something we want to do with our kids. My young children like the general idea of ghosts, monsters, etc. – but mostly as the silly versions we find on cartoons. And that’s OK. I’m not ready to go deep into these topics with them yet.

But for some lightly spooky fun, we head to picture books.

Here are a few that are a wee bit spooky and very funny.

goldilocks

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems – Willems, author of such favorites like Elephant & Piggie and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, hits it out of the park with this silly Goldilocks remake. The very intrusive narrator tells us of three dinosaurs (Mama, Papa, and one visiting from Norway) who obviously did NOT leave their house set as a trap for capturing a little girl. Nope. No way. He pokes fun at Goldilocks’s naivete, but it all turns out OK in the end. And both the girl and the dinos learn valuable lessons.

mostlymonsterlycover1

Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer – Bernadette is mostly monsterly. But she also likes to pick flowers, bake, and sing. When she goes to school, she doesn’t quite fit in with the other monsters. The way she does is slightly gross for grown-ups … but kids will love it. And little Monster Bernadette is just so cute you can’t help but love her.

afunnything

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School by Davide Cali – A student gives a long list of excuses as to why he is late for school – including being mistaken for a banana by a giant ape, being attacked by ninjas, and encountering giants ants and a time machine. These normally scary apparitions are instead hilarious when stacked one on top of another.

And because I can’t help myself, here are some more general fall picture books that I love:

Do you have any favorite children’s books for fall?

Weekend Links

 

Building Holiday Traditions within Your Family by Linda MacKillop {GIVEAWAY}

Making Christmas Traditions

As the product of a broken home, building a sense of safety, security, and continuity in the lives of my four sons became a priority as they grew up. We wanted them to have a strong foundation filled with assurance that certain activities would happen on a regular basis, and ultimately showing them the steadiness of both their parents and God. In the midst of a changing world, we wanted them to count on certain events returning each year, each month, each day—like dad coming home from work in the evening, mom being available after school, supportive family members to show up for their activities, and the fun of birthday and holiday celebrations.

Traditions mark the arrival of a special event, but they also provide sought-after predictability and continuity. Holiday traditions, in particular, mark special occasions as both a promise that the celebration returns yearly and as a reminder to kids that some days stand out more than other days because they are the basis and reminders of our faith. These moments are so important and influential that we celebrate them with regularity. By tradition, we remember Christ’s sacrifice weekly or monthly (depending on your church tradition) by taking Communion. By tradition, we baptize our children. By tradition, we baptize them into the faith through the passing on of knowledge through stories and reading.

In our home, we had traditions for each holiday, Christmas especially. While struggling to celebrate this most commercial of American holidays without letting the secular emphasis take over, we found a mixture of fun traditions balanced with sacred traditions that did the trick for us. We always had similar food each year, and the food is still expected today, now that our sons are grown. Chinese food on Christmas Eve (because way back when, most other restaurants closed on Christmas Eve so people could celebrate the holiday); sour cream coffee cake made from scratch on Christmas morning; and turkey, Ritz cracker stuffing, corn pudding, and pumpkin chiffon pie arrived at the table for Christmas dinner.

I find my sons must think about these dishes before they come home for the holiday, because they most certainly expect to see them on the table when they arrive. In addition to food, we always read the Christmas story, set up a manger scene in our living room, set out luminaries to light our way after the Christmas Eve service into the house, and watch It’s a Wonderful Life.

M is for Manger

Age-appropriate reading material, in addition to the Bible story about Christ’s birth, also offers the opportunity to teach about Christ’s entrance into the world. M is for Manger by Crystal Bowman is a wonderful book as the youngest children among you to begin to learn the great story of Christ’s arrival. This book is designed to become a family classic you will be able to return to each year until your children outgrow its simple format—unless they request the familiar story be read again – even to their own children.

Someday your family traditions may have to morph, and may disappear altogether as parents age, but for now, bask in the safety and warmth of them. Each family needs to develop their own traditions, but we suggest you begin with an idea as simple as M is for Manger that allows you to begin tradition-building early. Gather your young ones together this holiday season and form some lasting memories.

_________

More about M is for Manger: Travel through the alphabet with this beautiful rhyming storybook that tells the story of Jesus’ birth. Begin with the angel who tells Mary that she is God’s chosen vessel and follow along until you reach the zillions of stars that paled in comparison to the star that announced the birthplace of the newborn King. Beautifully illustrated and written, this book will be a classic for parents to read to their children every Christmas season.

Sneak peek:
Mary gently wrapped her son,
then rested in the shed.
She placed the newborn Savior
in a MANGER for his bed.

Want to win a copy of M is for Manger? Leave a comment telling us about your favorite Christmas family tradition! We will choose five winners on October 16th. [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

Congratulations to our winners!

  • Lacey
  • Maddy
  • Amy Tolley
  • Jennifer Cervantes
  • Maryann

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful week!