Start Crafting Now! Journey Off the Map VBS Preparation

Is your church participating in LifeWay’s Vacation Bible School for 2015, Journey Off the Map? If so, now is a great time to start crafting (with or without your kiddos’ help). These projects will be great for take-home items, decorating classrooms, and getting your own children enthusiastic about their upcoming Journey!

K-Cup Flowers from Moms Saving Money

Paper Bag Palm Trees from Lists I Live By are made with pool noodles!

This incredible sign from Mirrored Creations is made out of Styrofoam, not wood!

Beautiful Cupcake Flower Lights from Oh Happy Day

 Are you participating in Journey Off the Map this summer?

Friday Links

Enjoy the links! As always, if you have a good post to share, leave us a link in the comments.

When Your Kids Are Like Night and Day by Jessie Weaver

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I’ve always been sort of baffled at how very unalike my two older children are.

Exhibit A: This was one of the first times David played on ABCMouse, a learning Web site. When his sister (older by two years) does these coloring pages on the site, she generally does everything one color, wanting to get it done as soon as possible. These days, she enjoys spending all her earned “tickets” to buy clothes for her avatar and decorate her virtual room. She is jealous of her brother’s thousands of tickets, earned because he will do puzzles on the highest level and spends his time detailing the coloring pages.

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Exhibit B: This boy loves to dress up. He never changes after church on Sunday, no matter how dressed up he is. The first Monday after he wore his fancy suit to church on Sunday, he was home alone with my husband. Adam asked him to go get dressed. Adam says he came out dressed in the suit, again, having dug it out of the dirty clothes. Poor David had to learn that we do not wear dirty clothes. Usually.

My daughter, on the other hand, no matter how much she loves to dress up, changes the second she gets home from church into “comfy clothes.” I am never sure whether she is uncomfortable or she just wants the chance to wear another outfit. But she has to get into a new get-up whether Mommy thinks it’s necessary or not.

These two, they are remarkably different, showing that nature can have a funny sense of humor. I’ve never know whether it’s boy/girl, older/younger, or just their personalities. One is an extroverted, wild, active child with gangly limbs and big curls. One is introverted, generally quiet and focused, teensy-tiny and with none of his brother and sister’s curly locks. They are night and day.

I’ve found, though, that my job as a parent is not to identify more with one of them. I see myself and my husband in both of their personalities. I love those little reflections. But I can love every piece of them, as different as those pieces may be. And, most importantly, I learn differently from my children. From Libbie, I learn to live a little more exuberantly, embracing life in its fullest, loving people loudly. From David, I learn patience (did I mention he is SLOWWWWW?) and to take time to stop and smell the roses. I try to delight a little bit more at dandelions and puffy clouds.

God’s given me three very different children. (I’m not even getting into my baby, here!) And they are all blessings. I just have to learn how to delight in their differences!

Jessie Weaver writes regularly about family, faith, and food at jessieweaver.net. 

 

Friday Links

Read anything good this week? Leave us a link in the comments so we can see it and maybe link to it next week!

Create a Hall of Family Faith

One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids as people of faith is a long line of believing people. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (NIV). It is a blessing to our great-great-grandchildren, whom we may never meet, to be a person of faith!

Custom "Frames" Family Portraits up on Etsy!
source: Grace Uhm via Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re searching for a meaningful way to decorate your home, how about making a Hall of Faith for your family lines? This will involve some research, but will be well worth it.

Think of some moments of faith in your life and your spouse’s. Brainstorm together. Maybe you have pictures from:

  • baptisms, dedications, or confirmations
  • mission trips
  • special church events
  • your wedding

If your children have accepted Christ, make sure to include pictures of them or of their baptisms.

Then think back to your parents, grandparents, and beyond. Are there any great stories of faith in your family histories? Perhaps you have a missionary aunt, a pastor grandfather, or a relative who worked in disaster relief through a state board. Personally, I know my mom was an awesome VBS director and when my ancestors came over from Germany, I believe one or two were ministers.

Frame photos of as many people and events as you can, and hang them in a “Hall of Faith” gallery wall. Tell the stories to your children. They will pass these pictures frequently, and you may have to tell the tales over and over again. But that will help ingrain these events in their young minds. They can be excited about the family history of faith, just as we are excited about the heroes of the Bible when we read Hebrews 11.

And if you don’t have a history of believers? Focus on you, your spouse, and your children. Add some photos of biblical or historical figures, people your children admire. Share stories of their faith. And anticipate the wonder of a thousand generations starting with you!

 

 

Celebrating Easter with ParentLife

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source: Tatters via Flickr Creative Commons

Need some advice or ideas for leading your kids through the Holy Week? Here are all the Easter posts we’ve done here on the ParentLife blog over the last six years.

Preparing for Easter by William Summey (2009)

“We went shopping this week to buy some Easter clothes for our family. This is one way many families prepare for Easter.”

The Real Reason by Jodi Skulley (2009)

“I was especially excited about this Easter since it would be Jack’s first Easter. We had a busy weekend planned. We were celebrating with my side of the family on the day before Easter with an Easter waffle brunch. …”

The Story of Jesus: Easter Activities for the Whole Family by Christi McGuire (2011)

“Challenge older children to create a song, activity, or game to go with the Bible passage. Help younger children retell the Bible story in a few simple sentences and create motions to a song.”

Not about the Eggs by Jessie Weaver (2011)

“I have nothing against Easter egg hunts and baskets and dresses and Cadbury cream eggs are one of my favorite annual treats. But it feels like just another holiday we’ve morphed into a reason to buy cards, candy, and clothes.”

A Preschooler’s Easter Dictionary (2012)

“Focus on what the Bible says as you talk to your child. Think about some unfamiliar words that your child will hear at Easter. Use these brief definitions.”

Helping Children Grasp the Resurrection by Jessie Weaver (2012)

“I want to focus on the Lenten holiday just as much—if not more!—than we followed along with the Christmas story, crafting and reading our Bible every day for a month. Belief in the resurrection is what makes our faith different from anyone else’s.”

Pausing for Passover by Michelle Lippincott (2012)

“Your family may choose to use some or all of the elements from a traditional Passover. Don’t get so caught up in ‘doing it right’ that you lose the meaning of this feast.”

Easter Crafts (2013)

“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!”

Last-Minute Ideas for Easter Weekend (2013)

Four quick ideas.

Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Believing: Leading Your Children to Experience Christ’s Resurrection (2014)

“Parents are scared of telling their kids about blood, sin, crucifixion, murder. But as Christ’s resurrection is the absolute central truth of our faith, it’s important to start teaching it to children as early as possible.”

What to Do with Leftover Plastic Eggs? (2014)

“I keep finding empty plastic eggs laying on the floor. While I hate not to just save them for next year, we don’t actually fill our own baskets.”

Making Easter Dinner in Advance by Jessie Weaver (2014)

“I’m preparing to host them for Easter dinner in a few weeks. And today it struck me that JUST MAYBE I should go ahead and get some things ready so I won’t be so stressed on Resurrection Day.”

 

Weekend Links

Did you read or write something great this week? Leave us a link in the comments!

 

What a Teacher Wants to Tell You, the Parent by Ashley Terpstra

What a Teacher Wants to Tell You as a Parent
source: Duke University Archives via Flickr Creative Commons

  1. The reason we give homework is not to make your life harder as a parent. In order to transfer their knowledge, it is important that they practice independently what we are learning that week. We have a limited amount of time to practice during a given lesson. Ideally, homework is something we, the teachers, think that they can do on their own without help.
  2. School isn’t like it was when we were young anymore. Current educational research trends support children taking more charge in their learning. We don’t do math by teaching them algorithms (one certain method) anymore either. We KNOW that it is difficult to watch your children struggle with their learning, but it is helping them learn how to think rather than just digest and spit out information without really learning anything.
  3. The teacher is on your side! And your child’s side! You are your child’s first and most important teacher. You are the expert on your child, and we are the experts on teaching. It is so important to be on the same team. Adversarial parent-teacher relationships are only detrimental to your child, and no one wants that. Keep your child’s teacher informed. If your child had a bad morning, communicate that with the teacher! If we know what’s coming, we will be more ready to help your child jump that hurdle and move on with the day.
  4. When your child is in our class for the year, they become “our kids.” Being a teacher is like having 20 children that are the same age. It can be difficult sometimes to be a teacher. My whole life is encompassed by these children. If they have a bad day, I have a bad day. I may have high expectations of their behavior and their effort, but if someone messes with MY kids, I will take up for them every time. Here is my pinky swear–I honestly want your child to reach his highest potential, to grow to be a whole person, to learn empathy and compassion, and do her best.
  5. Teachers are real people. They are dealing with person struggles, heartaches, illnesses, and the plethora of everyday life events. They put this aside to teach and empower your children. Give them the benefit of a doubt. They are doing their absolute best for your child.

 

Ashley Terpstra is a first-grade teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

 

Weekend Links

 

As always, if you’ve read or written something great and relevant to Christian parenting, please leave a link for us in the comments.

Faith That Sticks {GIVEAWAY}

I am a firm believer in teaching children to love reading at a young age. As soon as my children were old enough to maintain eye contact, I was reading to them. They loved listening to my voice and looking at the bright colors. Soon they were big enough to turn the pages on their own and understand the story. Before I knew it, they were sounding out words and reading me stories all by themselves!

We rarely went anywhere without a book or two tucked in a bag, ready to bring out at a moment’s notice. As a result, I raised two kids who still value reading and love to immerse themselves in a book—so much so that when my son started to drive he kept getting lost. He had spent his riding in the car time reading books and therefore he didn’t know how to get to basic places like the store or his school.

To help build the value of reading in your child, check out the new line of Faith That Sticks books by Tyndale House Publishers. Filled with faith values and Bible stories, these books not only teach important lessons, but engage the child to understand the story by encouraging parent interaction. The stories also include stickers and activities to help keep children involved and reading the story over and over.

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Enter to win copies of the five latest Faith That Sticks books—just in time for Easter! Or check out the full line of Faith That Sticks products at faiththatsticks.com.

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