Feeling stressed about the holidays? Make this your new mantra.

feeling-stressed-about-the-holidays-make-this-your-new-mantra

Thanksgiving countdowns, new recipes, fun activities, and perfectly decorated houses.

As I scroll through my Instagram feed, I can feel my chest begin to tighten. The thoughts start playing in my head…

You really should do that.

That’s a great idea.

Why aren’t you doing that?

I wish I had time for that.

I try to muster up plans to execute some of these great ideas I see beautifully displayed before me. Maybe I can squeeze the prep in after bed time. Perhaps we can do the activities quickly after breakfast.

My heart beats faster – but it’s not from excitement. It’s from panic. 

I’m in a season of life right now where I just don’t have time for a lot of extra activities. Honestly, I’m struggling to just get the essentials done. The thought of planning out and executing holiday activities, no matter how amazing they are, makes me feel a bit queasy.

Not exactly how you want to feel headed into a season of joy.

So, if the sight all all the holiday ideas, activities, and stuff is making you feel like crawling into a hole for the next two months. I want to share with you my favorite holiday mantra:

That’s a fun idea. Maybe next year.

Repeat after me: Maybe. Next. Year.

Feeling Stressed About the Holidays? Make this your mantra.

Why This Works

No one likes to feel like they are missing out. Whether it’s getting your house to look just the way you want or doing fun activities with your kids to guide them through the meaning of the season, we want to embrace all the excitement of the season.

However, reality says we only have so many hours in the day. Whether you have impending work deadlines, volunteer responsibilities, or spend your day keeping small children alive you are going to have to say no to some things. Maybe even a lot of things.

Fun things.

Good things.

How do you do that without feeling majorly bummed out?

That’s a fun idea. Maybe next year.

The mantra works for two reasons:

  1. You recognize that it is a fun idea. You don’t roll your eyes or say “pphhht, who has time for that?” You don’t devalue the hard work someone else put into their idea. It’s cool and you admit it. Let others be themselves without feeling like you need to be them too.
  2. You hold onto the hope that – if you still want to – you have the option to do it in the future. You don’t need to throw yourself a pity party because you can’t do allthethings. Screenshot it, pin it, or file it away and revisit it next year. I ogled Truth in the Tinsel for a few years before we were able to do it. And this year it probably won’t make the cut again. However, next year we will revisit and hopefully do it again!

Next time you find yourself pining over a sweet idea, try the mantra and see how you feel.

Stressed about the holidays? Make this your mantra.

 

Do This Instead of Doing It All

So, you can’t do it all. Then, what do you do?

First, check your focus. What truly matters the most during the holiday season?

I conducted a survey last year asking people what their favorite Christmas memory was. The results were staggering. Almost every single person’s memories revolved around relationships. 

Focus your attention and effort on the relationships around you. Make sure you don’t forget about your relationship with the One whom the season revolves around either.

Then, once you’ve got your focus right, here’s what you can do:

Pick one thing. 

Not one thing for now, one thing for tomorrow, and one thing for next week. Just one thing for now.

Just focus on that one thing.

Maybe you want to be intentional with discipling your kids during the holidays, maybe you really want to make your house feel cozy and festive, maybe you just really want to make time for a nap. Pick one thing and do it.

Once you’ve finished that one thing, revisit and pick another if you feel up to it.

Stressed about the holidays? Make this your mantra.

Give it a Spin

I really hope you give this a try! It might not help with all your holiday stressors (navigating family get-togethers anyone?), but I think it will truly help relieve the pressure of holiday perfection we so often feel.

As I continue my Instagram scrolling, I repeat my mantra a few more times. I put my phone away and attend to the life in front me.

My chest loosens. I take a deep breath.

I think our holidays are going to be just perfect as they are. 

Affiliate links included.

Four Last Minute Ways To Make Easter Meaningful

Four Last Minute Ways To Make Easter Meaningful

In my post on Resurrection Eggs, I shared that somehow Easter always sneaks up on me. I go in with grand intentions of doing all sorts of amazing activities starting at the beginning of Lent. However, every year I find myself scrambling at the last minute, trying to find a way to make Easter meaningful.

The good news is – Easter is already incredibly meaningful. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ don’t need a lot of fancy hullabaloo to make them more noteworthy. Even if you find yourself scrambling at the last minute, all you need is something simple to keep the focus on Jesus.

Here are some of my favorite ideas I’ve found to make Easter meaningful

1. Resurrection Eggs!

I know that I’ve already shared about these, but I think it bears repeating. They are great. And SO EASY. We have had a super crazy week, but we’ve managed to do two of our eggs still. If you’re a little behind on getting started, no worries. It is super easy to just double up on the eggs each day. In fact, my son would love that – he is always begging to do another one anyway!

DIY Resurrection EggsPlusExstension

2. Printable Book and Flannelgraph

I found these super cute little printables and knew they’d be perfect for K. I think I’m going to print them out and let him have at them tomorrow. He will love coloring the little book and he’ll have a lot of fun playing pretend with the little flannelgraph guys.

4 Last Minute Ways to Make Easter Meaningful

3. UnEaster Baskets

This will be our second year of doing unEaster baskets. I first read about the idea from ohAmanda and immediately fell in love. Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace has a great post on a similar idea, here.

It was an amazing experience last year and I can’t wait to do it again! I love using simple moments like these to share the gospel with my kiddos.

4. Easter Music Playlist

The week leading up to Easter, I love to play songs that especially highlight Christ’s death and resurrection. I love doing it as a way to keep my own heart focused on the season, but I have also noticed how much my son picks up from the music we listen to. Music is a great way for the whole family to direct their focus to Christ.

I like to use YouTube to create custom playlists for times like this. Here is one I made for Good Friday, but it is great for the whole week too!

Another Easter music tradition we have is going crazy to the Hallelujah Chorus! One year (before kids) we even stayed up all night and played it loud at midnight. I think that would be fun to do again when the kids are older.

What are your favorite Easter traditions?

Resurrection Eggs and Easter Countdown Calendar (Plus FREE Resurrection Eggs Printable!)

Somehow Easter always sneaks up on me.

Every year I go into the season with good intentions of going all out and making Easter really memorable and meaningful. Then, every year, a week or two before Easter I’m left thinking “Whaaaaat? Where did all the time go?!”

This year was no different. However, just because we weren’t able to focus on Lent this year or even countdown the month before Easter doesn’t mean we can’t make this important holiday memorable and meaningful.

This year the main way I’ve chosen to do that is through a simple tradition that I remember doing with my family as a kid – Resurrection Eggs. 

DIY Resurrection EggsPlusExstension

Resurrection Eggs are a really simple idea. Fill twelve Easter eggs with twelve different objects that each symbolize a part of the Easter story. Every day on the twelve days leading up to Easter, open one of the eggs and read a verse or two to go along with it.

If you do a quick Google search for “Resurrection Eggs DIY” you’ll see that they are pretty flexible. Change up the symbols or the verses. Spread out the days you open eggs or even do them all on one day. You can even buy pre-made kits!

Resurrection Eggs plus free printable!

Here’s how I set up our Resurrection Eggs!

Day 1 – Leaf (Mark 11:8-10 / Palm Sunday)
Day 2 – Coins (Matthew 26:14-15 / Judas Betrays Jesus)
Day 3 – Bread (Matthew 26:17-19, 26-28)
Day 4 – Paper Towel (John 13:4-5 / Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet)
Day 5 – Picture of prayer (Matthew 26:39 / Garden of Gethsemane)
Day 6 – Rope (Matthew 27:2, 26 / Jesus is Bound and Beaten)
Day 7 – Thorn (Matthew 27:29 / Jesus is King of the Jews)
Day 8 – Cross (John 19:17 / Jesus Carries His Cross)
Day 9 – Nail (Luke 33:33 / Nailed on the Cross)
Day 10 – Cloth (Matthew 27:59 / Jesus is Wrapped in Cloth)
Day 11 – Stone (Matthew 27:66 / Jesus is Placed in the Tomb)
Day 12 – Empty Egg (Matthew 28:6 / He Has Risen)

I love how the eggs are great for including multiple ages and they provide a tactile experience as you take out the object and handle it while listening to the reading.

DSC_5364

To add a little more to the Resurrection Eggs experience, I created a simple, low to no prep activity to go along with each day. Kids learn so much better when they totally get to experience something – so I love finding ways to extend the learning.

Although it is pretty easy to wander around your house to find objects to put in your eggs, I wanted to make it even easier for you to do Resurrection Eggs this year! If you’re anything like me, you’ve waited until the last minute and you want something you can quickly pull together so you can get started right away.

If that’s the case – never fear! I turned to my favorite place for simple images (www.nounproject.com) and pulled together a set of printable images that you can use to fill your eggs!

DSC_5358

You can get the printable with the images, the activity ideas, and discussion questions (great for journaling!) completely for free!

You don’t even have to subscribe to get it – although you totally should anyway because there are so many more awesome subscriber freebies just waiting for you (you can subscribe by clicking on the “Family Minute Newsletter” in the side bar)!

Just click here to get it ———> Resurrection Eggs Printable

You don’t even need to have Easter eggs to use this printable. I also printed the images, cut them out, and pasted them onto quarters of construction paper to make this simple Easter countdown calendar. Just flip over one a day to reveal the picture. Super easy!

Simple Easter Countdown Calendar + Free Printable

Has your family ever done Resurrection Eggs? How did you do them?

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Steadfast Family!

The ULTIMATE Round-Up of Resources for Teaching Toddlers about God

ultimate toddler roundup2
To celebrate the completion of our Play Through The Bible series I have brought together over 75 different resources from across the web that can help you as you strive to raise your little one to follow God. From Bible memory to learning how to sit still in church, this list has you covered!

If you enjoy this round-up, please be sure to pass it along to other toddler parents in need of ideas, tips, and encouragement!


Toddler-Doctrine-750x435

General Tips and Ideas

Toddler Doctrine – Planting Seeds of the Gospel – Amanda from Bless Your Heart and Home shares the truths they are trying to impress upon their 2 year old son. Includes a large list of resources.

7 Ways to Teach Your Toddler About Jesus – Anne shares 7 ways she’s found to teach her little ones about Jesus.

Simple Ways to Bring Jesus into Your Child’s Daily Routine – Becca of Bare Feet on the Dashboard shares some great tips for making Jesus a part of everyday life.

Truth for Tots – A series from Jenni of Live Called that explores the many ways we can teach toddlers and preschoolers about God.

The ABC’s of Bible Study for Children – A series hosted by Dusty of To the Moon and Back bringing together 13 bloggers to share Bible Studies for each letter of the alphabet.

 

Bible-Time-with-Toddlers-jpg-1024x682

Devotions

3 Ways to Hold Devotions With Your Toddler – Kayse Pratt gives three practical tips for how to find time to make devotions with your toddler a part of your daily routine, plus shares their current top book pick to use during that time.

Bible Time Suggestions for Toddlers and Preschoolers – MaryEllen from Imperfect Homemaker shares the three things she does during Bible time with her four children ages four and under.

How We Do Family Devotions with a Toddler – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares how her family does devotions all together in a way that fully includes their two year old son.

Four Ideas for Teaching Scripture to Your Baby or Toddler – Jenn from The Purposeful Mom shares four ways she’s found to teach scripture to the littlest ones who might not be ready for a structured devotions time.

 

How-to-Teach-Toddlers-to-Memorize-Scripture

Memorizing Scripture

How to Implement Bible Verses for Toddlers and Preschoolers to Memorize – Dollie from Teachers of Good Things shares what she’s found to be the most effective way to teach little ones to memorize scripture.

Bible Memory Beginnings for Toddlers and Preschoolers – Shirley from Satisfaction Through Christ shares a little bit of her story of beginning Bible memory with her son and gives some great tips for how she went about it. Includes free printables!

Printable ABC Memory Verses for Preschoolers – Free scripture printable for each letter of the alphabet from Mary Ellen of Imperfect Homemaker

How to Teach a Toddler to Memorize Scripture – Penny Lane from Sisters Raising Sisters shows that toddlers really can memorize scripture and gives four fun ways to help them learn to do it.

5 Bible Verses Toddlers Can (and Should) Memorize – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares her top five Bible verses they have their children memorize.

 

Gods-Little-Explorers-Cover

Christian Preschool Programs

ABC Jesus Loves Me – A Bible based preschool curriculum that has lesson plans beginning at age two and is free for family use.

God’s Little Explorers – This hands on and active preschool curriculum from Motherhood on a Dime has both free and paid versions.

Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for Toddlers – Created for ages 2 & 3, Leigh Ann’s preschool curriculum is centered around the Fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.

Montessori Bible Lessons Archives – While not a complete preschool curriculum, The Christian Montessori Network has a large collection of Bible based Montessori style preschool lessons.

 

teachprayer

Prayer

How to Teach Toddlers and Preschoolers to Pray – Dollie from Teachers of Good Things shares three simple tips to teach your toddler or preschooler how to pray.

Meaningful Prayers for Kids – Kate from House Mix shares some simple but beautiful prayers she’s found that she says with her two year old.

What To Do When My Child Does Not Want to Pray (Continued) – Ten different types of prayers you can do with your child to encourage them to pray, from Jessica of Our Family For His Glory.

 

The-Story-of-Creation-in-a-Quiet-Book-no-sew-for-toddlers

Bible Themed Quiet Books

The Story of Creation in a Quiet Book (no sew) – Nicolette from Powerful Mothering explains how to make a Creation themed quiet book.

Adorable Quiet Books! – If you’re not the DIY type, Alesha from Full Time Mama shares about the quiet books in her mom’s Etsy Shop!

Baby Jesus Book – If you are looking for something super simple, check out this printable touch and feel book from Bible Songs and More.

 

FREE-Smartphone-Bible-App-for-Kids

Apps

Best Bible Apps for Kids – Kim from Not Consumed shares eight of her favorite Bible apps.

Our Fave Bible Apps for Kids – Lauren from Tutus and Tea Parties shares her favorite free Bible apps for toddlers.

FREE Holy Bible iPhone and Android App for KIDS! – An awesome Bible app created by YouVersion shared by Heidi from thefrugalgirls.com. (K loves this one!)

9 Best Bible Apps for Kids – After trying out a bunch of different kids Bible apps, Rachel from rachelwojo.com shares her top 9.

 

scripture-songs

Music

Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em in Your Heart – One of our absolute favorites! A classic that I used to listen to when I was a kid!

Teaching Young Children Bible Verses through Scripture Songs – Jenni from Live Called shares four great scripture song resources as part of her Truth for Tots series.

Preschool Bible Songs – A long list of classic preschool Bible songs from ABC Jesus Loves Me.

 

The-9-Best-Bibles-for-Babies-Toddlers-Preschoolers-500x500

Bibles/Books

The Best Bibles for Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers – Jenae from I Can Teach My Child gives the run down on the best story Bibles for three different age ranges.

Best Biblical Themed Books for Kids – Heather from the Christian Montessori Network shares her top children’s Bibles.

Toddler Bibles Reviewed – Some criteria for evaluating toddler Bibles and thorough reviews for 7 selections from Raising Godly Children.

A New Family Favorite – A review of Treasury of Bible Stories from Tricia Goyer.

Christian Picture Books – A round-up of eleven Christian picture books to read with your little one from Le Chaim (on the right).

 

7-Ways-to-Help-Little-Ones-Behave-in-Church

Little Ones in Church

How to Keep Your Children Quiet in Church – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares the why and the how she keeps her little boys in the church service.

No Fuss Parenting – Teach Kids to Sit Still – Tricia from thedomesticfringe.com shares the method she used to teach her kids to sit still – a valuable skill for going to church!

Seven Ways to Help Little Ones Behave in Church – Brittany from Equipping Godly Women gives seven things she does to teach her kids to behave in church.

My Church Bag Ideas – Ideas for quiet activities to have in a church bag for a 2 and 4 year old from Six Sister’s Stuff.

Quiet Bags – Hillary from Pulling Curls shares 5 tips for packing a special church bag for your kids.

 

Noahs-Ark-Game-from-Lets-Get-Together-1024x673

Games

Noah’s Ark Game – A printable Noah’s Ark dice game from Let’s Get Together.

God Made the Farm Animals – A File Folder Game from Bible Fun For Kids.

Play Games – Tons of great Bible games for home or Sunday School from Jesus Without Language.

The Obedience Game – Jodi from Meaningful Mama takes an important lesson in character and turns it into a fun game kids will be begging to play!

Games for Ages Birth through 2 – There are tons of great resources for games in the archives of Children’s Ministry Magazine.

 

happy-hearts-method-of-parenting_edited-1

Character Development/Parenting

Happy Hearts Method of Discipline for Toddlers – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares a parenting strategy that has worked wonders for her toddler. (We do something very similar with K too!)

Character Development Archives – Jodi from Meaningful Mama has TONS of resources for character development for kids of all ages.

Toddler Tantrums are a Gift – In this insightful post, Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace explains how she came to learn that tantrums can really be a blessing in disguise.

Intentionally Parenting Your Toddler – Lisa shares a three part series about parenting toddlers on her blog, The Pennington Post.

What God Really Wants for Moms with Young Children – Some really insightful advice about where to keep your focus during the trying years of raising littles, from The Better Mom.

 

7-Nativity-Learn-Play-Activities-www.christianmontessorinetwork.com_1

Holidays

Teaching Toddlers the Story of Jesus’ Birth – Jennifer, mom of triplets, shares how she taught her toddlers the Christmas Story.

Celebrate Advent with your family using the Jesus Storybook Bible – Adriel Booker shares how her family used the Jesus Storybook Bible to observe the advent season. Includes a free printable reading guide!

7 Nativity Learn and Play Activities – Another great resource from The Christian Montessori Network.

Sensory Nativity Story Box – A really fun idea for sharing the Nativity Story with little ones from The Fairy and the Frog.

Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones – A review of the Christmas book Song of the Stars and activities to go along from The Homeschool Village.

Resurrection Eggs for Toddlers – Super cute Resurrection Eggs just for toddlers from Meredith of Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home.

Easter Salvation Storybook Craft – A fun craft for toddlers and preschoolers that goes through the Easter story from Rebecca of Family Abounds.

Flannel-Board Fun! – Heather from Cultivated Lives shares a fun Easter flannel board she made for her boys.

Free Easter Preschool Printable – A 7 page mini pack from Brooke of The Intentional Momma.

 

DSC03884

Free Printables

A is for Adam and Eve – Brooke from To the Moon and Back has many great printable packets, including this one for Adam and Eve.

Top 10 Free Printable Bible Verses Coloring Pages for Your Toddler – from the Mom Junction.

Toddler Bible Time – A free printable scripture booklet from Emily of Live a Charmed Life, perfect for toddler devotions.

Bible Verses from 1 to 10 – Scripture memory cards based off the songs from the Songs for Saplings 123 album from Amy of Wildflower Ramblings. Amy also has more free printables which she links to in this post.

ABC Printable Scripture Cards – Super cute cards with scripture for every letter of the alphabet from Jenae of I Can Teach My Child.

Bible Kids Fun Zone – Tons of free crafts and printables for preschoolers.

 

bible-story-stones-1024x680

Bible Crafts and Activities

Crafting the Word of God – Crafts for pretty much every Bible story you could ever want! We have used quite a few of them in our Play Through The Bible Series.

Bible Alphabet Crafts – A Bible craft to go along with every letter in the alphabet from Catholic Icing.

Fruit of the Spirit Toddler/Preschool Lessons – Marla from Better Than I Could Have Imagined shares some fun Fruit of the Spirit activities she did with her little girls.

One Year Old Preschool: Creation – Leah from Simple. Home. Blessings. shares the creation activities she did with her one year old daughter.

Lamb of God Sheep Craft – Tara from Feels Like Home shares an adorable sheep craft that can lead to all manner of Biblical discussions with your young child.

Parable of the Sower Small World Play – A super fun small world from Wugs and Dooey that multiple ages are sure to enjoy!

Biblical Lunches Archives – Amy from Creative Kids Snacks has tons of amazing lunches and snacks with a biblical theme.

Moses and the 10 Commandments Booklet and Activity –  Tara from Feels Like Home has a free printable 10 Commandments Booklet for kids to create their own little book of the 10 Commandments.

Creating Your Own DIY Godly Play Materials – Interested in the Montessori based curriculum Godly Play? Megan shares a bunch of great ideas for DIYing your own materials. Want to learn more about Godly Play? Check out the links at the top of the post for the rest of the Godly Play series.

How to Make Bible Story Stones – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares how she made some fun Bible Story Stones with her boys.

 

811788d122d9dfa71da745024d4faacb

Pinterest Boards

This is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to resources for teaching your toddler about God. New posts are being shared every day. Here’s a list of Pinterest boards to follow to keep the ideas flowing!

https://www.pinterest.com/slavila/bible-crafts/

https://www.pinterest.com/mamachew315/bible/

https://www.pinterest.com/tutusteaparties/scripture-for-kids/

https://www.pinterest.com/glindadennis/bible-story-crafts/

https://www.pinterest.com/kgibbs522/little-kids-haven/

https://www.pinterest.com/kindkids/religious-education/

https://www.pinterest.com/aroebuck/bible-activities-for-2-3-yr-olds/

https://www.pinterest.com/ji1lybean1/sunday-school-for-toddler/

https://www.pinterest.com/terrycaputo/preschool-bible-crafts/

https://www.pinterest.com/sammyjo33/toddler-bible-study/

https://www.pinterest.com/meganspires/growing-godly-kids/ 


 

I hope you enjoyed this giant list of resources and were able to find some great ideas and encouragement!

Am I missing a resource you love? Please add it in the comments so I can check it out!

And, again, if this list blessed you in any way please consider sharing it with others!


 

This post is linked up with…
Tuesday Talk, Titus 2sDay, Titus 2 Tuesday, Good Tips Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, Tuesday Link-Up, Works for Me Wednesday, A Little R&R Wednesdays, Ladies Collective Link-Up, Intentional Parenting

 

Affiliate links may be included. Thank you for supporting Simple Life. Messy Life with your purchases.

IBG Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum

The Wise Men – Play Through the Bible – Week 14

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Sorry for the delay in getting up this post – Christmas busyness to blame! Hopefully these fun wiseman activities for week 14 are making it to you just in time for Epiphany.

If you haven’t read the introduction to this series yet I recommend going here. For all the plans in one place, go here.


Week Fourteen – The Wise Men


Focus Point

The Wise Men followed a star to find Jesus.

Story Time Tips

  • We read “The Wise Men” starting on page 190 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook.
  • K pointed out that the star the wise men saw was  big and bright. This discussion tied in perfectly to day 3’s craft.
  • On the final page, the picture does show Jesus at the appropriate age (approximately two years old). You can mention that it took the wise men so long to get to Jesus that by the time they found him, he wasn’t a little baby anymore!
  • Talk about how the wise men gave Jesus gifts. I asked K what gift he would give Jesus and he thought about it for a while and said “a toy.” Then we talked about how the best gift Jesus wants is for him to love God and love other people and be nice to them.

Activity

If you have a kids nativity set (I recommend this one, but if you don’t have one try searching for “printable nativity”), use the pieces to play hide and seek wise men. We did this quite a few times leading up to Christmas. I would hide the wise men in a silly place and tell K that they were looking for Jesus somewhere and he needed to find them. The sillier the hiding place the better! K thought this was a great game and it helped him remember the role of the wise men in the Christmas story.

Discussion

Parent: “What did the wise men see in the sky?”

Child: “A star.”

Parent: “Was the star big or small?”

Child: “Big!”

Parent: “Where did they follow the star to?”

Child: “To find Jesus!”

Daily Craft

Day One – Wise Men Coloring Page

http://www.christianpreschoolprintables.com/BibleColoringWiseMen.html

Day Two – Star Ornament

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Materials needed:

  • Star ornament (we found ours at Hobby Lobby, but you could just as easily cut one out of cardboard and attach a string)
  • Paint brush
  • Yellow paint

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

We kept decorating our star ornament simple and just painted it yellow. Feel free to let your imagination run wild with this, but K did enjoy the activity with painting only, so simple is good too!

Day Three – Starry Night Sky

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Materials needed:

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.comFirst, put some glue on your star cut-out.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Then, cover the star with your sequins.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Once it is covered, glue it to the black paper.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.comGlue the other sequins onto the black paper around your big star.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

When you’re finished, you will have a lovely starry sky with one big star for the wise men to follow!

 

Day Four – The Three Wise Men

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

 

Materials needed:

  • Three toilet paper tubes
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Googley eyes

 

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

First, cut out square on the top of the toilet paper tub rolls so it looks like a crown.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Color in the bottom 2/3rds of the tube….

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

 

…like so.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Then color the top of the tube yellow…

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

…like so.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Add on some googley eyes.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

We finished them off by adding a little smile, some “jewels” on their crowns, and some arms holding their gifts.

Day Five – A Special Gift

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Materials needed:

  • A gift box (I used this tutorial to make a little one, but you could use a gift box leftover from Christmas)
  • Sequins
  • Glue

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Glue the sequins onto the box.

Play Through The Bible - Week 14 - The Wise Men - www.simplelifemessylife.com

This craft was the perfect time to talk more about how the wise men gave Jesus gifts and what kind of gift Jesus wants from us.

Extra Resources

We of course love our Little People Nativity Set, but other than that we didn’t use/find any other resources.


I hope you enjoyed week fourteen of Play Through The Bible. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Twitter or Instagram! 

 

Affiliate links may be included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

IBG Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum

Names of Jesus Advent Ornaments {Christ-Centered Christmas Series}

Christmas Series

For the last post in this year’s Christ-Centered Christmas Series, I wanted to share one of our family’s favorite traditions. I hope you enjoy!


IMG_4198

Our First Christmas Tradition

When I was researching Christmas traditions for my son’s first Christmas, one of the first things I came across was this post. I immediately fell in love with the idea. Twenty-five ornaments. Twenty-five names of Jesus. Twenty-five days of Advent. In the post, she had made their ornaments with her son, but I knew that I wanted our ornaments to be made from something fairly sturdy if they were going to outlast the toddler years. After some brainstorming, I decided to sew them. I found a tutorial for using your home printer to print on fabric and set to work making the simple ornaments. I used a list like this, and narrowed down 25 names for our ornaments. Here are the ones I used…

Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5)
Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8)
Light of the World (John 8:12)
Living Water (John 4:10)
Messiah (John 4:25-26)
The Word (John 1:1)
Judge (2 Timothy 4:8)
The Vine (John 15:5)
Lamb of God (John 1:29)
Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6-7)
Savior (Luke 2:11)
Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
The Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
The Great Physician (Luke 9:11)
Living One (Rev 1:18)
Bread of Life (John 6:35)
The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6)
The Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15)
Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)
I AM (John 8:58)
Teacher (Matthew 23:10)
Gift of God (John 3:16)
Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:11)
Son of Man (Mark 10:33)
King of Kings (Rev 17:14)

72337_616437099471_1092275150_n

That first Christmas, just a few days shy of 1 year old, K absolutely loved our nightly ritual of hanging our ornaments on the tree. Both that year and the next we were staying with my in-laws, so Grandma, Papaw, and Auntie C would join us each night as we chose an ornament and read the verse. Little K didn’t grasp the significance of the names, but would clap and jump and dance each night when we put another ornament on the tree.

IMG_4192

A Continuing Tradition

This year, K is just shy of three years old and it’s only mom and dad and himself reading the ornaments each night. Most of the names and metaphors are still over his head, but there has been some beautiful moments born out of this nightly tradition that takes a mere ten minutes.

One of the first that comes to mind was when one day I had K pick two ornaments out of the bag to put on the tree in order to catch up from days we had missed over the weekend. I read the names and, planning to just skip the verses, told him to hang them on the tree. He immediately responded, looking a little distraught: “But we have to read the story!” He then went and got me my Bible and listened as I read the verses. It was a humbling experience for me. I had mistakenly assumed that his little three year old mind wasn’t taking in all that we were doing. But, in reality, he was soaking it up.

The other fun thing has been watching his little mind work so hard to try and grasp what these names mean. Most of the time he just gets a puzzled look, but when it clicks, it clicks. Two that he has really latched onto this year are Savior and Lion of Judah. He drew the Lion of Judah shortly after learning about Daniel and the Lion’s Den, so he already had lions on the brain. He was pretty excited to learn that Jesus is mighty and powerful like a Lion. He is also fairly superhero obsessed, so when I explained that a Savior is someone who saves people (like a superhero) he was also very excited! He always picks up on the word when he hears it on the radio and a smile breaks out on his face and he says “Is this a Savior song?!”

This year of Advent Ornaments is drawing to a close and we are enjoying the final days. I look forward to next year and to many years in the future. These names carry so much meaning and truth and it is an honor and a privilege to teach them to my children. If you are looking for a simple and meaningful Advent tradition I hope that you will consider giving this one a try!

IMG_4196

truthinthetinsel-468

Affiliate links included.

Baby Jesus – Play Through the Bible – Week 13

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Just in time for Christmas next week we have made it to the story of baby Jesus! If you are looking for some fun and easy activities to do with your little one next week, look no further.

If you haven’t read the introduction to this series yet I recommend going here. For all the plans in one place, go here.


Week Thirteen – Baby Jesus


Focus Point

Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus the baby king.

Story Time Tips

  • We read “The Special Baby” starting on page 172 and “The Shepherds” on page 182 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook and “Who Saw Jesus?” starting on page 130 of The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers.
  • When we talked about how Jesus is the King (page 184 of TRBS), K remembered how last week we had learned that Daniel didn’t pray to the king. That led to a discussion of how Jesus is the King of the whole world, the King of Kings. We talked about how he is God, so it is okay to pray to him.
  • On page 180 (TRBS) we see baby Jesus in the manger. K found it was super silly to learn that the manger was where the animals ate their food – kind of like the dog’s dish!
  • After learning about the angels, K really enjoyed listening to Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Activity

If you have a kids nativity set (I recommend this one, but if you don’t have one try searching for “printable nativity”), use the pieces to reenact the Christmas story with your child. We’ve done this multiple times since K loves to play with his nativity and, though it is simple, it has really helped him remember the story and each person’s role.

Discussion

Parent: “Who’s birthday is it on Christmas?”

Child: “Jesus.”

Parent: “Who was Jesus’ mom?”

Child: “Mary.”

Parent: “Who was his dad?”

Child: “Joseph.”

Parent: “Where was he born?”

Child: “Stable/manger.”

Parent: “Who did the angels tell about Jesus being born?”

Child: “The shepherds.”

Daily Craft

Day One – Nativity Coloring Page

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/nativity-colouring-pages 

Day Two – Simple Shape Nativity

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

 

Materials needed:

  • White paper
  • Black marker
  • Yarn cut into small pieces (ours was off-white, but you could use brown or yellow)
  • Glue
  • Green construction paper cut into the shape above
  • Blue construction paper cut into the shape above and into a small oval
  • Brown construction paper cut into two small circles and one smaller circle
  • Gray construction paper cut into a trapezoid and two small rectangles

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.comThis craft is fairly simple and self-explanatory, so I didn’t take pictures of step-by-step instructions. All you need to do is glue the pieces onto the white paper like the above picture. When we were done we wrote “Jesus the baby king” on the bottom.

Day Three – Craft Stick Nativity Ornament

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

 

Materials needed:

  • Paints (we used blue, yellow, green, and white)
  • 6 wide craft sticks – three whole, three cut like the above picture
  • Glue gun (or your choice of glue)
  • Star cut out of paper or a cereal box
  • Black marker
  • Three small circles cut out of brown paper

I’ve seen these cute craft stick nativities floating around the internet and thought it would be fun to make. I found some instructions here, but ended up simplifying it way down for toddler hands.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Paint your star yellow (or silver, gold, etc).

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Paint the smallest craft stick white (this is baby Jesus).

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Paint the tallest craft stick green (this will be Joseph).

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Lastly, paint the second smallest craft stick blue (this will be Mary).

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Once the paint is dry, glue the brown circles on and draw some little faces.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Use the glue gun to glue the remaining craft sticks into a stable shape.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Then, glue on your Mark, Joseph, baby Jesus, and star.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Day Four – The Shepherd’s Sheep

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Materials needed:

  • Cardboard cut into the shape of a kidney bean
  • Two clothespins
  • Black paint
  • Yarn (we used off white)
  • Googley eyes (optional)

We had a lot of fun with the sheep craft we did when we learned about David, so I decided to search around for another one for us to do for learning about the shepherds and the angels in the Christmas story. I ended up finding the cutest little sheep and we had to give them a try!

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

First, paint your two clothespins black…

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

…and paint your cardboard piece black too.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Once it’s dry, pin the legs on like so. Also, learn from our mistake and make sure to check the clothespins before you use them – one of our sheep’s legs ended up being shorter than all the rest, so he couldn’t stand on his own.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Use some tape to stick your yarn onto the body of the sheep.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Then, wind the yarn around and around until the whole sheep body is covered.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Cute, ain’t he!?

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

If you’d like, you can finish by glueing on some eyes.

Baby Jesus - Play Through The Bible - Week 13 - www.simplelifemessylife.com

Then, it’s time to play!

Day Five

Since it’s Christmas week, we decided to keep it to just four days of crafts.

Extra Resources

We’ve been listening to Christmas music everyday using Pandora and K is getting good at picking up on some of the lyrics.

There are so many amazing Christmas resources out there, the real key is to try to not and do too much!


We will be off next week due to Christmas! Look for Play Through the Bible to return on January 1st!

I hope you enjoyed week thirteen of Play Through The Bible. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #playthroughthebible on Twitter or Instagram! 

 

Affiliate links may be included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Simple Life. Messy Life.

IBG Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum

The 1st Gift of the Year – Guest Post by Sarah Ball {Christ-Centered Christmas Series}

Christmas Series

Today sharing her family’s favorite Christmas tradition is Sarah Ball of Virtuous Woman Exposed.


 

With five children, ages 4-16, it takes a Christmas miracle to bring us all together for a sincere family moment. Christmas morning is hectic & fun, but hard to rein everyone in for some time of reflection. Boxing Day is a write off because we are so exhausted and overstuffed we can’t even move. The weeks leading up to Christmas are hurried and task orientated and in all the craziness we can usually grab 5 minutes!

Five minutes of reflection and unity is very hard to gain in a family of hormones, part-time jobs and pre-school attention spans. We manage to spend a lot of time together as a family, but it is almost impossible to get everyone to just SHUTUP for 5 MINUTES…. PLEASE!!!!

So once we find this moment, my husband and I gather the children around and threaten them “You will behave, this WILL be special, and You WILL like it!”

This moment begins with a gift.

Every year, we set aside a time to decorate the tree together.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 2.49.37 PM

It’s chaotic and the tree ends up looking like the ornament section of the dollar bin, but it’s a great family moment we love to share together. It’s led to fights, broken bulbs, some tears, and huffs, but mostly it’s filled with excitement, laughter, and the occasional breakoff into a Fred Astaire dancing moment. (Okay, that’s usually just me)

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 2.49.52 PM

But all that fun aside my favorite moment is when I bring the gift. One ornament, carefully selected to reflect our year as a family.

We’ve had years of blessings, years of sorrow, strain and want, and many years of fullness and adventure. Just like the Lord said we would…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Phew! I think that scripture sums up a single road trip with our kids!

2 years ago we had a very hard year. I wasn’t sure how we could find an ornament that would reflect the grief and loss and strain, until I found Kermit. Sitting contemplative.

“It’s not easy being green”

“Sometimes life is not easy,” we told our kids, sometimes we go through hard seasons, and we know that there is a gift in it; we just need to find it. Kermit expressed that perfectly.

When we gather for this family tradition we reflect on standout memories of the year and talk about how we felt about it. We then set our eyes on the year ahead, hanging our past year on our synthetic tree. Hoping for a continuation or, as we did the year of the Kermit, an end to our suffering. “I hope our next ornament is a bag of money” I joked. But God wasn’t, it was almost a prophetic joke, because we had a year of blessing the following year!

This year we hung a “new home” ornament, as we reflected on the crazy adventure we have had moving to a new town and the miracle of our new house. You can read here.

It’s great to see ornaments that tell a story, hanging on our family tree. So every year we decorate it we say, “Oh, remember this year?”

It brings everyone together and we look back and praise God together for what has been. We see how far we have come and we express our gratitude for being a witness to our blessings and struggles.

In all things we are to praise God, and we do this tradition, not to fill the tree, but to bring us together as a family and see how God has directed every step of the way!

 
Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 2.59.23 PM

 

Sarah Ball is a columnist, speaker, blogger, and mom. You can follow her blog Virtuous Woman Exposed and join her on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

Our Christmas Tradition of Sweet Rolls – Guest Post by Lindsey Whitney of Growing Kids Ministry {Christ-Centered Christmas Series}

Christmas Series

Up next in the Christ-Centered Christmas traditions series is Lindsey Whitney of Growing Kids Ministry sharing how their simple family tradition bridges the generations and slows them down to celebrate Christ’s birth. 


 

There is something about the smell of cinnamon wafting through the air that means Christmas is nearby.   Perhaps it’s the candle on the table.  Maybe it’s the pinecones in every store entrance.  For us, it’s the delicious aroma of Christmas sweet rolls.   Growing up, sweet cinnamon rolls in the oven usually meant that family was nearby.  My mother always mixed up a batch when my uncle Chuck came to town (in fact, I think he came to town just so he could eat them).    Her sweet rolls are huge, savory, and melt in your mouth delicious.  Though especially popular during the cold winter months, I also have memories of her mixing them up during summer vacations.   One year, she made them with assistance of my cousin, Keeliyah, barely three.  Keeliyah’s  small delicate hands hanging on tight to the rolling pin just inside my mother’s as they pressed out the dough together and sprinkled it liberally with cinnamon and sugar.   Though throughout the year they were miles apart, this family tradition now tied them together in a special way.

Now that my husband and I have our own home and family, I’ve continued the sweet roll legacy.  Each year on Christmas Eve, I get out the mixing bowls and measuring cups and begin the somewhat long process of making these delicious treats.  I place them rolls in the fridge, rolled tightly into pinwheels of sugary goodness and tucked neatly into the baking dish, so they are all ready to go on Christmas morning.  The first year I began the tradition, I forgot how long it takes for the dough to rise and never finished until almost midnight!

download (1)

Thankfully, I’ve learned from that messy ordeal and now every Christmas Eve afternoon, the kids and I measure out the flour and sugar, mix up the milk and eggs, and sprinkle the cinnamon together, anticipating the joy of the next day.

download

As we gather around the table on Christmas morning, eating these sweet rolls helps me feel connected to the generations before me.  Of course, they remind me of my mother, but they also remind me of my amazing godly grandmother who birthed and raise two of the most central people in my own spiritual walk.   She is now gone, but it’s moments like these that keep me forever connected and grateful for the legacy she has created.  I hope that my own children remember this tradition when they become adults.  I love that the rolling and waiting forces us to block out a substantial amount of time and really slow down before the celebration of Christ’s birth.  I love that the slow rising of dough builds anticipation of the goodness that is to come.  In the rush of the Christmas season, I know that this tradition will hold strong.  It’s simple yet deep.  It is a delicious tradition and it is ours.

sweet rolls

Truth in the Tinsel – Guest Post by Amanda White of ohamanda.com {Christ-Centered Christmas Series}

Christmas Series

Today we have Amanda White of ohamanda.com sharing the story of how her favorite family tradition came to be. If you haven’t heard of her fantastic Advent e-book,  Truth in the Tinsel, you really need to check it out!


 

truth tinsel jamie lydia amanda couchMy favorite Christmas tradition started with reading a book to my daughter. This daily advent book suggested making an ornament and we did. It was a simple ornament with basic craft supplies I found around the house. Then, as the book progressed and didn’t instruct us to make more ornaments, my daughter demanded we make them anyway!

So, every day, my almost 2 year old and I would read our little book (or some other book) and come up with some kind of ornament to make. They were not fancy. In fact, they barely went along with the Christmas story, but my little girl had so much fun.

The next year, I decided to make up my own ornament-a-day activities for her. We read through the Christmas story in Matthew, Mark and Luke and made ornaments to tell the story. She loved it and it surprised me to see how much she knew and understood of this big story! She could walk you through the whole story just by pointing at her little handmade ornaments.

Each year, I’d come up with (hopefully) better ornaments or more focused Scriptures to read. And every year she still enjoyed it. Until one day I thought, “Maybe some other kids would like to do this, too.” I wrote down all the best ornaments we’d made and turned it into a little ebook called Truth in the Tinsel. It’s been used by thousands of families all over the world and every December my daughter–and now my son love looking online to see pictures of kids making the same ornament they are making.

I never knew a little activity with my daughter could turn into something that would affect other people. But that’s what Christmas does. It’s what God’s greatest gift does. When we turn our hearts to Jesus’ arrival as a baby in Bethlehem, we can’t help but celebrate. We can’t help but tell others.

I think Christmas traditions of every kind are really just tools to help us point back to Jesus. Christmas trees can remind us of God’s everlasting love. Christmas lights reminds us of the Light of the World. Gifts speak of the greatest gift of all! When we use these small traditions to help our kids learn about Jesus and the true Christmas story, it will become an automatic thing for them. They will look at Christmas through a lens of celebrating Jesus! And in turn, their conversations with friends and others will also point back to Jesus.

I love that as we walk around our house, shop in the stores, turn on the TV and even drive through our neighborhood, we see a celebration of Jesus and his birth. People may unwittingly celebrate him and may literally throw the baby out in lieu of commercial Christmas. But even still, as parents, we can use these little traditions to point our children’s hearts to Jesus. When we do, it will be easy for us (and our kids) to point others to Him, too.

As you go about your December, look at all your traditions–from cookie baking, to tree trimming to serving food to the hungry as loud sparks of joy, gifts of hope and announcements of peace to your family and the whole world! “Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her king!”

What Christmas traditions do you like to share with others?

 

buy-tnt-footer