Monthly Archives: November 2008

Fall Impressions: Week 4

Just a little last minute turkey craft for you and the kids. No spiritual value whatsoever. But yummy? Oh yeah!! Click here to see my vlog about it!

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So, do you have a fun Thanksgiving craft, tradition, recipe or activity to share?  You know, one that actually works? Well, link up with today’s Fall Impressions Carnival! Just write a post on your own blog about a great fall/autumn/thanksgiving activity.  Make sure this idea is kid-friendly and ideally shows your kids the truth about the season or impresses God’s Word on their hearts.

After posting, just click the Mr. Linky below to add the link to your post. (Not the link to your blog, but to your actual post.) And just to be nice, link back to this post, so others can participate, too!

Then come back and look at the other posts and find some fun stuff to do with your kids!

amanda-sig

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Christmas Gift Guide

My daughter has only had three Christmases and I am already sick to death of PLASTIC toys. Why don’t grandparents think money in a college fund is a fun Christmas gift? *sigh* Well, if the thought of Toys R Us makes you cringe, here’s a gift guide I think you’ll like.

I’ve compiled CDs, DVDs and books that I’ve actually listened to/read/watched. And they are all products that I consider impress-your-kids-worthy. These are items that will help you instill God’s Word into your kids’ hearts. Songs that introduce your kids to Jesus. DVDs that promote Godly characteristics. And books that tell stories you can use as springboards for conversation.

I’ve linked to the actual item (most of the time) so you can go ahead and get that credit card out. And I tried to link directly to the author or artist’s site so you can get to know them, too!

DISCLAIMER: The quality of these products are just my opinion. If something they do/say is opposite of what you believe…well, don’t use it. And don’t come crying to me blame me.

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MUSIC

Little Praise Party by Yancy
Yancy is one of my personal bff’s. But I’d love her stuff even if I didn’t know her. She’s passionate about children, about worship and about the Lord. This album is filled with old and new songs that will have your kids dancing and singing!
Recommended Ages:
preschool
(also, Yancy has Rock N Happy Heart and Loud & Clear for Elementary kids and lots of other CDs for the whole family, too!)

And some old skool music…

Psalty
Yes, he’s a big blue singing songbook. Yes, it’s a little cheezy. But guess what? Kids’ music is kids’ music. You might want to listen to your very own playlist, but kids actually like KIDS’ music. Shocking, I know. And Psalty’s music is quality. All of his CD’s are full of scripture & solid Bible teaching. When I watch Lydia dance around and sing, “Make me a servant, humble and meek.” or “God is great. God is good. He kept His promise like He said He would.” I get excited!
Recommended Ages:
preschool to early elementary
My fave:
Kids Praise 4, Kids Praise 5

Donut Man
He was wiggles before grown-men-singing-kids-songs was cool. Lydia absolutely adores the Donut Man. Every song is either a scripture (complete with reference) or a Bible Story. We only have two of his CD’s but watch the shows on our local Christian station. Even though they were made in the 80’s Lydia loves them as much as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and JoJo’s Circus.
Recommended Ages:
preschool to early elementary
My fave:
Donut Forget Bible Songs Volume 2

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MOVIES

The Very Fist Noel
I discovered this one last year on accident. And what a find! It’s told all in rhyme, narrated by Andy Griffith and music is by a Hawaiian choir. One of the most creative DVD’s I’ve seen for kids in awhile. Plus the story is really good (with the exception of the Wise Men actually being at the stable…). Lydia watched this EVERY DAY in December last year. This is a must for your Christmas collection!
Recommended Ages:
the whole family

Baby Faith
You know Baby Einstein, right? Well, this is the same idea only with Bible stories. The best part of these DVDs is the puppets—mainly because one of my actual friends made and performed them!! Not to mention the narrator is the voice of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jodi Benson! (These DVD’s are not to be confused with Baby Praise. The same idea, but in my opinion, not as fun.)
Recommended Ages:
babies and toddlers
My fave:
God Made Me, God Made Animals, God Made Christmas

Hoop Dogz
Fun cartoon DVD from the makers of Doug and JoJo’s Circus! Each one is based on one of the Ten Commandments. Cute, funny and high quality. Great for girls and boys.
Recommended ages:
elementary kids

Angel Wars
Action-packed CGI shows that remind me of Power Rangers and YuGiOh (or whatever is popular like that now…). I’ve actually only seen the first one but it was really good and all the boys we showed it to thought it was AWESOME!
Recommended ages:
older elementary kids

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BOOKS

Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones I cannot say enough about this book. My review is here. I really think every family should own this book. Seriously.
Recommended Ages:
the whole family

Peek-a-Bible by Tracy Harrast I can’t seem to find a link on any online bookstores to this whole series. There are several (I know, because I found a ton of them on paperbackswap.com). I randomly found one at Easter last year and another one at the library when doing our “S” verse. I think they are “meaty” enough while still being fun. If your kids are into the Spot books or any of the lift-the-flap books, they will love these!
Recommended Ages:
preschool to early elementary

NIrV Bible
This is the Bible version I recommend for elementary aged kids. It’s from the NIV, which is a very trusted version. It’s on a 3rd grade reading level (the NIV is 8th, NLT is 6th and the KJV is 12th). I like it because the verses still sound similar to what you might know, but it’s just broken down in smaller sentences. (Here, compare Romans 6:23 in the NIV and the NIRV. Good, right?)
Recommended Ages:
kids reading at or below a 3rd grade reading level
My fave: Super Hero Bible

If you are buying this for a child who is actually going to be reading it himself, make sure you choose a style (there are tons in this version!) that is NOT in columns. Columns are sometimes confusing for kids to read. Regular printing from one side of the page to the other is much easier for young kids to read.

DandiLion Rhyme Books by Dandi Daley Mackall
I’ve only read two of this series but I LOVE them. The stories are full of open ended questions that point to God’s love for us. The illustrations are modern and super-creative…they are a story within the story. I would read these every night if Lydia would let me…and she usually does!
My fave:
When God Created My Toes and God Loves Me More than That
Recommended Ages: all ages

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BOOKS for OLDER KIDS

Passages by Paul McCusker
Awesome Biblical fantasy by one of my favorite authors.

Dragon Keeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul
Fantasy a la Lord of the Rings. But a little more kid friendly and overtly allegorical. I really like these!

The Christy Miller Series and The Sierra Jensen Series by Robin Jones Gunn
If your girls are already thinking about boys and dating (uhm…HSM, anyone?) this is the series for you! An absolute must!

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The Stuff You Need To Love If You Want To Go To Heaven

(That’s what my husband always says…) Anyway, these are things I consider a MUST for every family. These are the products that help you talk about God while sitting at home or walking along the road. These things facilitate conversations when you lie down and when you get up. When you talk about them and have them playing in your house, it will be the same as putting them on your door frames. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
I honestly can’t put into words all the things God has spoken to me through these books. I’ve learned about apologetics, creation, baptism, forgiveness, sacrifice and heaven. Please take the time to read these together as a family. You will love the conversations that follow. Also, the Radio Theater versions by Focus on the Family are a-maz-ing. Great for car trips!
Recommended Ages:
the whole family

Adventures in Odyssey
Some of my best memories are listening to Adventures in Odyssey while driving down the road on vacation. Or listening to them before bed. Or while I was cleaning my room. Or well, just about anywhere. AIO are radio dramas about a small town full of zany characters. Each episode teaches a godly principle and is just plain exciting! Click here to read more about it.
My fave:
All of them! And guess what? You can listen online and on your favorite radio station, too!
Recommended Ages:
the whole family

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I encourage you to use this list to help leverage every opportunity to show your kids the love of God. The more you talk about it, the more you read about it, the more you watch it, feel it and show it, the more real it will become to your kids. God’s love and His Word will be IMPRESSED into their hearts. I hope these products help you with that—with your highest calling!

Happy shopping and Merry CHRISTmas!

(hey, did you see The Housewife’s Holiday Gift Guide?
Don’t forget to check her out! Thanks for linking to us, Jo-Lynne!)

(and yeah, obviously, this works for me!)

amanda-sig


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‘K?

Are you guys OK if I don’t take pictures of all the worksheets and the construction paper verses that EJ and I do?  I keep forgetting to take pictures of them, and then when I do take pictures, I’m a couple weeks behind… yadda yadda yadda.  If you really want to see them, I’ve got a post in drafts just waiting to go… no? ‘K, then!

“The Lord bless you and keep you.” Numbers 6:24.  This has been one of my favorite verses for years, and I thought our “K” week would be a perfect time to introduce this to EJ.  We’ve been talking about how God will keep him safe through all his 2 year old fears, and I love that this verse is a reminder of that as well as a blessing.  As EJ grows, I pray that he will really see the depth of how the Lord will keep him.

Now, I’m excited about what I’m about to share – it’s not a craft that EJ was able to participate in with me, but the use of it has already provided hours of fun and pretending.  Presenting… King EJ!

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Every King needs a crown, and this was so much fun to make.  Seeing EJ’s face when I gave him his crown – priceless!

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After carefully inspecting his King’s crown, EJ switched into full on King mode.  Since I made a crown for Dieter, too, I had to wear it and be King Momma.  Which was fun, too.

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Notice how King EJ is going shirtless these days.  Perfect for the cooler weather hitting us now.

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There are a lot of different ideas for making crowns floating around online these days, and of course, nothing beats construction paper crowns.  I’m in love with sewing felt right now, so when I got this bug in my brain, I had to make it.  I’m thinking about posting details on how I made these little gems on my craft blog, so I’ll let you know when I get my act together and post it over there. 

leighsig

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Real Quick…

Just found THE CUTEST Thanksgiving crafts from my friend Isabel at alphamom.com.

I think it’s time for Thanksgiving-table-craft-take-two!

amanda-sig

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Fall Impressions: Week 3

[alternate title: How NOT to do a Thanksgiving craft.]

At our house, Thanksgiving is a REAL meal. We dress up, we use china, cloth napkins and all sit around a decorated table. My husband’s family uses mismatched plates and paper napkins…but that’s another post. Anyway, this year I wanted to make something with Lydia that we could use on the table. Place cards or napkin rings or even a centerpiece. I just didn’t want it to be…well, you know…ugly. So, I was overjoyed when I saw this cute napkin ring craft over at Family Fun!

You use buttons lined up on popsicle sticks to make some “Indian corn”. I love it! Buttons are a weakness of mine and I knew Lydia would enjoy gluing them.

The original instructions suggested using 12 popsicle sticks on top of a 4×5.5 piece of felt. I decided to use fun foam instead.

I let Lydia glue on the 12 popsicle sticks. (I happened to have white ones left over from her Snowflake Party.)

Then we started gluing on the buttons. It is important to glue them straight down the popsicle sticks. This gives you the little rows of corn. So, we glued them as straight as we could. Then I realized the buttons were too big for the popsicle sticks. Even though we were gluing them straight, they were still overlapping onto other sticks.

Well, we kept going anyway and then let it dry. Then I tried to roll it up and admire our Indian corn. Only it wouldn’t roll. It looks more like…I don’t know, a trapezoid of buttons. But certainly not anything remotely related to the corn family. Not to mention half the buttons popped off.

In Conclusion:
1. Make sure your buttons are smaller than your popsicle sticks.
2. Make sure your buttons are all the same size.
3. Buy 3billion buttons.
4. Block off at least 2 hours. Unless you’re just eating Thanksgiving dinner with a family of 2. Because this takes a long time.
5. Actually follow the directions. Maybe using the fun foam made it worse? (Note to self: buy felt)

I guess we’ll have to stick with my mom’s napkin rings this year. But the worst part? I wasted all those buttons…

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So, do you have a fun Thanksgiving craft, tradition, recipe or activity to share?  You know, one that actually works? Well, link up with today’s Fall Impressions Carnival! Just write a post on your own blog about a great fall/autumn/thanksgiving activity.  Make sure this idea is kid-friendly and ideally shows your kids the truth about the season or impresses God’s Word on their hearts.

After posting, just click the Mr. Linky below to add the link to your post. (Not the link to your blog, but to your actual post.) And just to be nice, link back to this post, so others can participate, too!

Then come back and look at the other posts and find some fun stuff to do with your kids!

***looks like something is wrong with the Mr. Linky site. So, just leave your link in the comments if it’s not working for you…***

amanda-sig

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Welcome Wonderful W

It’s time for W! WOW. I can’t believe we’re getting to the end of the alphabet. (Finally. I won’t even tell you how long it’s taken us!)

There are so many great “w” words. Besides the ones I expertly drew to the left, we also thought of several more. Most of which are escaping me right now.

The first idea that popped into my mind for a verse was something that had to do with “wait”. Goodness knows that Lydia needs to learn a thing or two about waiting. But the only thing I could really find was about waiting on the Lord. And really, I need her to wait on me. Ahem.

So, I looked up “WIN” instead. And I found the jackpot of all W verses:

With your help we will win the battle. You will walk all over our enemies. Psalm 108:13 NIrV

Can I get a WOO-hoo?! That’s six w’s in one verse! I was a little concerned about it’s obviously pro-fighting tendencies. I even emailed Leigh to see what she thought. (Of course, she’s the mother of 2 boys so…)

However, when I read it to Lydia today, I like the way our converation went:

Lydia: What’s battle?

Me: It’s like a fight.

Lydia: What’s ememeies?

Me: It’s someone bad who might try to hurt you.

Lydia: No one hurts me.

Me: That’s true. But sometimes other things can be our enemies. Like this: With Jesus’ help Lydia will win the battle. Jesus will walk all over her fear.

***

Lydia has a tendency to be shy and fearful. I think this verse is easily seen as big battles and fights. But for my 2 year old, fear is her biggest battle. I hope this verse buries itself deep in her heart.

Now, our awesome craft. I wanted to do a walrus. And I found a cute printable walrus craft on First School. But of course, our printer wouldn’t work. (And why? Because ONE of the THREE cartidges was LOW. grrr.)

So, we made a whale instead. I cut out a (very true to life) outline of a whale. I let Lydia piece it together and then color it with chalk. This was a hit! She absolutely loved it! And then I showed her how to smear it with her thumb. And that made it even cooler.

I’m looking forward to the rest of W. I’m thinking about doing something for “week” because Lydia is really interested in the calendar. And maybe even Jonah and the whale (I know, it was really a big fish, but still…).

Happy W!

***

Don’t forget about our Fall Impressions carnival tomorrow! Link up and show off your creative Thanksgiving stuff!

amanda-sig

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Jumping for Joy

“…we are full of joy in God because of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:11

Jumping, joy, and Jesus have been the themes of our “J” week.  What better things to concentrate on, right?

The jumping part was a hard one for us at times.  Specifically, at the beginning of the week, EJ could not jump due to his foot injury.  And as it got better, I had to keep him from jumping.  Thankfully, we had another doctor’s appointment with an orthopedic doctor on Wednesday – what a fabulous doctor!  He had EJ jogging up and down a hallway after a prized basketball so he could watch EJ limping – of course, the limp was nearly gone by that time!  With the x-ray, the doctor saw an infantile fracture in EJ’s heel, but he assured us it was nothing to be worried about – it was more like a painful bone bruise to EJ than what we consider a fracture.  After that visit, EJ had full physical freedom again.  And the limp is gone!

So when he said to me that he could jump again, out came the camera!

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Jumping for Joy
Jumping for Joy
Jumping for Joy
Jumping for Joy

I was jumping for joy inside.  No mama likes to see their little ones hurting.

This was a great week for singing, as well.  “Jesus loves me,” “My Jesus, I Love Thee,” “Sing to Jesus,” and “Fairest Lord Jesus” all made appearances this week.  EJ’s favorite Jesus song is one that I made up a while ago – this is the one he always asks for… “I love Jesus,” sung to the tune of Frere Jacques

I love Jesus, I love Jesus,
EJ does, too! EJ does, too!
Jesus is our Lord, and he reigns forever,
Yay, Jesus! Go, Jesus!

 

(I started making up words to this tune when EJ wanted a song about a bulldozer.  Since I didn’t know one, I made one up.  Now, whenever he asks for a song about something that I don’t know a song about, I sing this tune with interchangeable words.  The first two lines and the last line are pretty much the same each time, with the difference subject subbed in each time.  The third line is the only one I have to really make up words for.)

I also pulled up a song from deep in my memory bank:

I’ve Got the Joy In My Heart
 
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Where?
Down in my heart!
Where?
Down in my heart!
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay
 
And I’m so happy
So very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart
Down in my heart
And I’m so happy
So very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart.

 

My childhood church didn’t have Vacation Bible School (that I can remember), so I learned this one year going to VBS with a friend.  EJ has been having a fun time with this one, too (more words can be found here – did you ever learn that last verse?  I had never seen that one before!).

What a week full of joy!

My Jesus, My Saviour,
Lord, there is no one like you!


leighsig

 

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