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Friday, April 18, 2014

Because of Him


Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer.  Because of Him, death is 
not the end, and life takes on new meaning.  We can change, we can start 
over – and we can live again with God.  This Easter, celebrate His life and 
discover all that’s possible because of Him.






It was unthinkable
Impossible
Unfathomable
Unprecedented
A single act
That changed history
Possibility
Destiny
He was a carpenter
A teacher
An outcast
A leader
Yet he did
What no carpenter
Teacher
Outcaste
Leader had ever done before
Like all who preceded him
He lived
And he died
But unlike all who preceded him
He rose from the dead
He lived again
He lives
And because he lives
You
you
and you
and she
and he
and they
and we
all
will live again
Because of him
Death has no sting
The grave no victory
We can start again
And again
And again
Because of him
Guilt become peace
Regret becomes relief
Despair becomes hope
Because of him
We have second chances
Clean slates
New beginnings
There is no such thing
As the end
Because of Him

Discover what’s possible because of Him

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Remembering Christ during Easter

Easter is more than egg hunts, bunnies, and baskets of candy.  Easter is a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I'm reposting some kid friendly ideas about how to make Easter about Jesus as well as some video links and scripture references about the last days of our Savior.




1.  Resurrection Eggs (ideas found HERE and HERE)




I've seen several versions of this but basically you have a bunch of eggs, each with a different scripture verse and corresponding object inside.  When opened up in order they tell the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.










2.  Egg Hunt that tells the Easter Story


 15 eggs are hidden, each one with a piece of the puzzle.  Once all the eggs are found the children put the puzzle together in order as a passage that correlates to each puzzle piece is read.  Click HERE for the printable story and puzzle









3.  Handprint Easter Lamb

Trace you child's hand, glue on some cotton balls and add a scripture verse
John 1:29 about the "Lamb of God"








Jocelyn over at We Talk of Christ We Rejoice in Christ has a long list of other great Christ Center Easter crafts and activities.  Check it out HERE and HERE.


Here are the links to several videos depicting the events of the last days and resurrection of Jesus Christ as told in the Bible.  I hope you will take the time to watch one, some or all and share with your children the true meaning of the Easter holiday.  We rejoice in the knowledge that because of Christ's atonement we can repent of our sins and live again with our Father in Heaven.


He is Risen
John 20:11-17

The Lord's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Warns Peter and Offers the Intercessory Prayer
Luke 22:31-34

The Last Supper
John 13:1-35

The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane
Matthew 26:36-57

Jesus Is Condemned Before Pilate
Matthew 27:1-2, 11-25

Jesus Is Tried by Caiaphas, Peter Denies Knowing Him
Matthew 26:57-75

Jesus Is Scourged and Crucified
Matthew 27:26-50

Jesus Is Laid in a Tomb
Matthew 27:57-60
Matthew 28:1-8

Jesus Is Resurrected
John 20:3-18


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Party Ideas

Last year I put together a fun Easter Party and Egg Hunt for 35 kids at my home.  I thought I'd share it again this year in case anyone needs some ideas.  You could modify the games for any holiday or even a birthday celebration.  Oh, and you can read more about my secret to hosting a stress free kids party HERE.

Yes, there were 35 kids at my home about ages 2-12, however 10 parents stayed to help out so I didn't have to do that much.

Most of the party was prepared for a day or two in advance so I just had to set things up that morning.

So what did I do?


I started with a plan.  I thought up a few games to do besides the egg hunt and made sure to communicate that plan when people arrived.  I even had it listed on the office door so they could see what there was to do and which room to go to.  I also had a list of things the parents could help with so I wouldn't have to oversee it all.

As far as what games we did, here's the run down:

There were 4 games they could do anytime, any order:
1.  Pin the Nose on the Bunny
2.  Guess the number of Skittles in the jar
3.  Roll-A-Rabbit
4.  Egg Coloring Contest

Then there were some group games:
5.  Spoon/Cotton Ball relay
6.  Story Time
7.  Hot Carrot (a version of hot potato)

Then the announcement of the winners and handing out prizes, rules of the egg hunt and finally the egg hunt itself which also included prizes, snacks and the egg return.

Here's more detail about each game/activity:

1.  Pin the Nose on the Bunny
I got some poster board and drew a bunny on it.  It was going to be pin the tail on the bunny, but gluing cotton balls sounded like it could get messy, so I used some little sticky tabs instead and decided to call it Pin the Nose on the Bunny.

2.  Guess the number of Skittles in the jar
This was easy to set up, although a bit time consuming in counting out 368 Skittles to put in the jar.  That's just how many I had on hand after using Skittles and the same jar to make my husband's Valentine's Day gift.  (You can read more about that HERE.)
There were instructions, paper and pens at this station so the kids could put their name and guess on a piece of paper and into the green bucket.
During one of the group activities a parent went through the guesses to determine the winner.  A prize was awarded right before the egg hunt.

3.  Roll-A-Rabbit
 I modified this Roll-A-Leprechaun game to make it into a Roll-A-Rabbit game.  This was also a craft.  The kids glued ears onto a paper plate and drew on the eyes, nose and mouth according to what number they rolled on the die.
Here are the instructions:

Roll – A – Rabbit

Rules for older kids:  Take turns rolling the die.  Depending on what number you roll, add that feature to your rabbit.  First person to have a completed rabbit wins.

Rules for younger kids:  One person rolls the die.  All kids add that feature to their rabbits.

Roll a 1:  Draw a nose on your rabbit 
Roll a 2:  Glue ears onto your rabbit 
Roll a 3:  Roll again 
Roll a 4:  Draw a mouth on your rabbit 
Roll a 5:  Leave alone 
Roll a 6:  Draw eyes on your rabbit

4.  Egg Coloring Contest
The egg coloring contest drew the biggest crowds since the kids took a long time coloring just right.  I just printed off some blank eggs for the older kids and some decorated eggs for the younger kids to color.
Their finished eggs were taped up to the window in the playroom to be judged.  I didn't get a picture of all the eggs hanging up but it filled the entire window. 
One of the older siblings was the judge and there were prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, most original, and best use of color.

The above 4 games were ones the kids could do in any order at any time.  Then I thought we'd all gather as a group and do some other games in the living room before heading outside to the egg hunt.

5.  Spoon/Cotton Ball relay
We had the kids line up in two rows and they all had a spoon in their mouth.  The one side had a cotton ball on the end of their spoon and had to walk to their partner and pass the cotton ball.  They could use their hands.  This was easier than I thought it would be.  Probably because they didn't have to walk that far and we did it inside where wind wasn't an issue.

6.  Story Time
 Sweetie Pie wanted to read an Easter story.  She chose "The Country Bunny and the little gold shoes".
7.  Hot Carrot
"Hot Carrot", which was an Easter version of "Hot Potato".  All the kids liked it, even the older ones.  We had some spring time music playing and passed around a play carrot from my daughter's kitchen set.
While this was going one of the parents was going through all the guesses for the number of Skittles in the jar, and another helper was judging the colored eggs.  After a couple of rounds of "Hot Carrot", I announced the winner of the Skittles contest and the egg coloring contest, passed out their prizes and then we all got ready to go outside for the egg hunt.
I told the kids the rules:
1.  They are going out according to age with the youngest going out first.
2.  There are 2 golden eggs and whoever gets those gets a special prize.
3.  There isn't anything inside the eggs, they will trade the eggs in for prizes (and so I can have all my eggs back to use again).
Once the kids had their coats and shoes on, baskets in hand, they were lined up in the playroom and ready to go.  While they were finding eggs, I took out the food that some of the parents brought, so they could eat outside (no way I was having 35 kids eat in my house!)
After the kids found the eggs, claimed their prizes and ate the snacks, it was time to go home.
I had planned for the whole thing to last an hour, and it actually lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes.  


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Non Candy Easter Egg and Basket Ideas

With Easter usually comes egg hunts and Easter baskets.  My favorites to give are books and a new spring outfit.  This year my mom is doing themed baskets.  Each kid is getting a new swim suit and a few other fun summer toys.  The possibilities are endless, however it doesn't seem that way when you're the one putting together a basket or trying to figure out what to put in those plastic eggs.   So I've put together a list of ideas for you to get your wheels turning.   The items in bold would be small enough to fit in the eggs.  Good luck!



puzzles - you could  put a piece in each egg and the kids could put the puzzle together at the end.
games
card games
books
drawing paper, construction paper, word searches
coloring books, activity books
crayons, markers, pencils, erasers
notebooks, journals, stationary
stamp sets
paint by numbers set
paint your own sun catchers
paint your own pottery or ceramic
stickers
silly putty, play-doh, modeling clay, putty, kinetic sand
a new toothbrush and kid flavored toothpaste
kids watch
stuffed animal
a new outfit, swimsuit or pajamas
rain coat, rain boots, umbrella
shoes, sandals
fancy or funny socks
sunglasses
sun hat
action figures
army men
legos
cars, planes, trains
squinkies
gift cards
DVD’s
CD’s
movie tickets
magazine subscription
wall decals, artwork, posters
purse, tote bag, wallet
hair accessories
jewelry such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings
make up, nail polish, lotions, lip balm
fun character band aids
rainbow loom bands and charms
bubble bath, bath toys
pool toys
sand toys
sidewalk chalk
bubbles
jump rope
building blocks
balls
kite
yo yo
flashlight
seeds and gardening tools/toys



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Friday, April 11, 2014

Keeping Track of Donations - Is it worth it?

About this time last year, I wrote a post about keeping track of your donations.  You can go back and read it HERE.  



I talked about how I like to keep track of the bags and boxes full of stuff that I donate so I can deduct them from my taxes.  You know, so I can get the maximum refund.  

The easiest way I've found to keep track of what I'm donating is to have a paper and pen next to my donation bag/box.  As things go in, I write down what it was.  That way when the bag is full, I take it to be donated and file my list (along with my donation receipt) in my tax file.  



When it's time to do my taxes, I have my list of what was donated and when.  I use It's Deductible as part of Turbo Tax which estimates what each item is worth so I don't have to think about that part either.

So when I was doing my taxes for this past year I gathered up all my donation lists and got busy.  It took about 2 hours (there were some breaks in there too) to list all I had donated.  According to Turbo Tax, the value of my donations was $2683.  Of course I don't get that much in return, but what I did get in return was an additional $375 back.  I couldn't have made that much money selling my stuff at yard sales or craigslist.  And most of the items were small things such as clothing and toys.  Anything of value we did sell on craigslist, so if I had tried to sell the stuff I donated, I wouldn't have asked more than $10 for any one thing.  Overall, I think it was worth it.  The small amount of time to keep track of what I donate and the couple of hours to enter it in Turbo Tax was well worth that extra $375.

Anyone else keep track of their donations?  Have you figured out how much money you get back for your donations?




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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Diagonal is the new Chevron

So the other day I shared the latest trend in nail polish.  If you missed it, you can check it out HERE.

I'm back today to share the latest trend in window treatments.
The diagonal mini blind.


Seriously, I think Diagonal is going to be the new Chevron.  I know it's subtle, but I think it adds a certain visual interest to the room, don't you?

In case you want to have this look in your home, all you have to do is have one of your children enthusiastically pull up the blinds so that one side breaks.  This will create that lovely diagonal slant.   




It's always an adventure at our house and it's only getting crazier.

Big sister fixed little sister's hair this morning.  It's called the puppy dog look.  Can you tell where she got the inspiration from?




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Friday, April 4, 2014

Nail Polish Trend?


The Babes' favorite color is blue.  It has been her favorite color for over a year now.  So it should come as no surprise that when I asked her what color she wanted to paint her nails, she chose blue.  


However she didn't want just blue.  She wanted half of her nails painted blue and the other half pink.  And by half, she means one side.  So her right hand (and foot because she wanted them to match) was painted blue an her left hand and foot were painted pink.  It's not the first time she's requested such a nail treatment.  In the winter months she preferred blue and red.  I guess she's breaking out a new look for spring.  Could this be the latest nail polish trend for 2014?  

Her little spa treatment didn't stop there.  I also decided to give her a hair cut.  I am an untrained amateur at this hair cutting thing, but it's not that hard to cut a straight line, right?  The Babes was really good and stayed really still which made my job easier.  However she doesn't stay still all day and with all the moving around she does, you'll never notice that one side might be slightly longer than the other.  I'm afraid to fix it because I'll probably do more harm than good.  And you can't even tell.  She loves her shorter hair do too!



Anyone else's girls like their nails painted this way?
Anyone else cut their own kid's hair?  I'll do straight cuts, but I've messed up too many times with the Spencinator's hair so if it's not a buzz cut, I've been forbidden to cut his hair again.



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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fools Drink


Yesterday being April Fool's Day, I couldn't let the day go by without playing a trick on the kids.
I got my idea from HERE.  It's just jell-o in a glass so it looks like juice.

Yesterday morning I made some black cherry jell-o, poured it into two glasses, added a straw and let it chill in the fridge.


When the kids got home from school.  I said I had a refreshing drink waiting for them.  I had also made black cherry kool-aid and poured that for myself.  I was drinking that so of course they thought they had the same thing.  

It was pretty funny watching them try to drink it up.  They soon realized it was jell-o.
However, I didn't realize my kids don't like jell-o so they didn't want to eat it.
Next year I'll have to make a tastier treat to trick them with.

How was your April Fool's Day?  What tricks did you play?



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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tips and Tricks Link Party (Easter Decor and Crafts)

It's Tuesday and time for another Tips and Tricks Linky Party.   This week's theme is "Easter Decor and Crafts".  It's almost 3 weeks till Easter and if you're like me, you haven't thought about it.  Now's the chance to get lots of ideas.  From new ways to dye eggs to preschool printables - check out the links below.  And don't forget, you are also welcome to link up anything family friendly.  



Every link will be shared on the cohosting blogs, our Facebook pages, and pinned to Pinterest!
Make sure you follow the cohosts (below), so that you can see your shout outs….


Anything Goes:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tips and Tricks Link Party (Fabric)

It's Tuesday and time for another Tips and Tricks Linky Party.   This week's theme is "Fabric".  From clothes to toys to home decor, link up your fabric projects.  And don't forget, you are also welcome to link up anything family friendly.  



Every link will be shared on the cohosting blogs, our Facebook pages, and pinned to Pinterest!
Make sure you follow the cohosts (below), so that you can see your shout outs….


Anything Goes: