Category Archives: Seasonal

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Christ-Focused Christmas Tradition Series (Part 2)

imageThe Advent Wreath 

Throughout the Old Testament, there is great longing for the coming of Christ. The passover lamb, the scapegoat and countless other traditions foreshadow the coming Messiah.

In modern day Germany, they put out Advent wreaths in anticipation of Christmas.

They set the Advent wreath out a month before Christmas and light one candle the fourth Sunday before Christmas, 2 candles the third Sunday before Christmas etc.

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Finally, the Sunday before Christmas all 4 candles glow – and if they have a pyramid (a wooden dome with a a type of windmill wheel on top) – the wheel will spin from he energy being emitted by the 4 candles.

Each Sunday, they eat stollen, a pastry-like fruitcake rolled in powdered sugar that resembles a swaddled baby Jesus.

This is a favorite of our traditions. We purchase the stollen from Aldi and use the gorgeous pyramid we were given from in-laws. (As you can see, it now has a little extra character – thanks to a curious toddler on a past Christmas.)

-Verity

 

Christ-Focused Christmas Tradition Series (Part 1)

Happy December everyone!

This is one of the BEST seasons of the year to share our faith with our children!

Not Minimized

Every day this week we will be posting on some Christ-focused Christmas traditions that help us focus on Who matters during the holidays.

Today I’m posting a article that Lydia published last year that is an advent calendar that is easy to make, inexpensive and puts the focus on Christ.

Please check back every day this week for NEW articles!

 

” It is so challenging to keep Christ in Christmas in this day and age. I have 2 toddlers, and I feel like my husband and I are in a constant quest to explain the real meaning of the season and to make CHRISTmas come alive for them. I’m excited to share some of the things we’ve discovered over the course of this month. Today I’m going to share our advent calendar with you. Even though it’s December 2nd, this is an easy one to put together and you really can start it any time in the month.
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For more ideas on an advent calendar like this, check out THIS blog post.

What you need:

·         24 or 25 small inexpensive ornaments

(I used plain gold ones that I bought 10 for $1 at Dollar Tree. These are everywhere at this time of year. So cheap!)

·         Puffy paint

(Any kind/any color)

·         This list…

The List of Names of God:

(You can use any list, but this is the one I compiled. I wanted to do certain ones for the sake of explaining them to my kids each day as we built a foundation for who God is at Christmas time. I’m also careful to do them in a certain order.)

Mighty God
Redeemer
Servant
Creator
Gift of God
The way
Living water
The Life
Counselor
Wonderful
Vine
The truth
Prince of peace
Emmanuel
Word
Counselor
Shepherd
Door
Bread of life
Everlasting father
I am
The light
Lamb
Messiah
Rock

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What to do:Simply use puffy paint to write one name of God on each ornament. I found that setting them in empty egg cartons worked great. That’s also where I store them during the year.

Pile them into a vase for decoration. I use them as the centerpiece for our dining room table. This helps to keep them as a main focus and also helps me remember to do one each day.

We pull one out of the vase daily, I discuss it with my kids, and then we hang it, using an ornament hook, on a garland that hangs on a window behind them. As the vase becomes emptier, and the garland becomes fuller, we are getting closer to Christmas. We also have a visual reminder on the garland of who God is.

There are so many things that I like about this concept, and it does do a lot to draw our focus toward God and the reason for Christmas. It also provides deeper teaching opportunities with my children then simply opening a door with a picture behind it each day. It becomes an event, a teaching opportunity, and a beautiful decoration all in one.

-Lydia

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a NEW article  on a tradition that my husband brought back to America from Germany!

 

Pumpkin Decorations for Toddlers

My kids love to glue things–and I love to hang seasonal decorations on our doors—so this craft is a win, win! :-) It’s so easy and cute too.

 

What you need (per child):

 

  • Paper plate for each child
  • Orange construction paper cut into several 1” squares
  • Brown construction paper cut into a rectangle—about 2” x 3”
  •  Green construction paper cut into the shape of a leaf
  •  Glue

 

Optional:

  •  A string about 3” long
  •  A hot glue gun

 

 

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Give each child a paper plate, glue, and whole lot of orange squares. Encourage them to COVER

their plate with squares to make it as orange as possible—including all the sides. This kept them busy for quite a while. :-) I love gluing activities because any age child can do it—even as young as a 1 year old. You can use glue sticks or Elmer’s, but we did the latter because it seemed to work best.

 

When they are finished with their squares, show them where to glue the brown stem on the pumpkin and also the green leaf.

 

Once the pumpkins are dry, you can hot glue the string to the back in the shape of a loop to hang the pumpkins on a wreath hanger for a fall decoration. I usually hang my kid’s creations on either side of our back door. That way we can enjoy them when we GET home as well as when we ARE home—they love to see their artwork on display and so do I. :-)

 

-Lydia

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Insides of a Pumpkin Craft

I’ve been realizing lately there is so much information that we, as adults, know and just take for granted–information that maybe our young children don’t even know to think about.

Fall seems like a good time to analyze the insides of various produce items—apples, nuts, pumpkins… The kids and I recently spent a couple days just learning about pumpkins. We did all sorts of crafts, games, and activities, but the main thing we did was to cut open a pumpkin and talk about what was inside it and how everything worked. Therefore, it seemed appropriate that at the end of our “pumpkin days” they got to make their own pumpkin complete with the insides. Here’s how we did it!

 

I made paper pumpkins for each child by folding a piece of orange construction paper in half. I then folded it in half again but did NOT bend it that time—I just used the fold as a guide. I cut off one corner and continued to round out the other two edges that did not have a fold.

Next I did 1 SMALL clip to cut the last folded corner. When the paper was folded in half it loosely resembled a pumpkin. This gave the kids a palette of sorts to work on.

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When we had cut open our pumpkin a few days before, I saved the pumpkin seeds and roasted and salted them to eat. I didn’t think they tasted very good though, so I was happy to donate them to our craft project. :-) I gave each of the kids a big pile of roasted seeds which they actually enjoyed eating. (I’m sure it was just the fact they got to eat their craft project—that’s always fun!) They each also received a string to represent the strings in the pumpkin and a bottle of Elmer’s glue to make it all stick.

They actually really enjoyed this craft and everything stayed on wonderfully! It was an enjoyable, educational, and edible experience. All 3 are plusses in my book!

-Lydia

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Fall Tree Invitation to Play

photo 1It just wouldn’t be fall without a fresh, fun invitation to play! The kids and I have been learning about the seasons lately, and of course, honing in on fall. Today they used play dough to decorate their own multi-colored fall trees.

 

I use THIS play dough recipe often, so we have accumulated several colors. I gave each child small balls of each color that could work for leaves. Today, I didn’t care that much if the colors mixed a bit as some of these colors were getting quite old. I also gave each child 1 stick (to start with) that they had picked up during a recent fall walk. By the end, we added in several more sticks and a few pom poms for fun.

 

photo 2We talked about fall, why and how the leaves change colors and fall off the trees. We flipped through a book about the seasons and discussed it, and we also looked up pictures of fall leaves on google images to view the many color options. Then I presented each of them with their plate and explained that they were going to get to make their own fall tree and to give it as many fun colors as possible!

 

They loved it. We had all different varieties!

 

photo 3Then of course, they went on to create other things as they often do, but how often do you get to to play with multiple play dough colors that you can mix a bit anyway? :-)

 

-Lydia

2 minute God-Focused Fall Decoration

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   In advertising, it is believed that the average person sees an ad 15 times before they begin to yearn for the product and 20 times before they actually buy it.

 

This is good information to know for all things in life. When teaching your children new information, it will possibly take them 15 times to understand it. When witnessing to others, it will probably take 15 times before they begin to yearn for what you are saying. In the encouragement of spiritual truths, it could take us 15 times before we begin to believe and apply a new concept. This might seem like cold, numerical facts, but it’s information I take very literally in my life in all areas—even decorating my home—as random as that may sound.

 

You see, as a mostly stay at home mom, I spend a lot of time in my home. I walk the halls and the rooms dozens (if not hundreds of times a day) and I want the items on which I lay my eyes to be edifying and encouraging. I purposely have pictures with Bible verses strategically placed in almost every room of my house. I have a well traveled area devoted to my husband’s and my wedding pictures so we are constantly reminded of the vow we took that day—and so our children are reminded of our unity. I center my seasonal decorations on concepts that are God focused.

 

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing several things we do, but today, I thought I’d share one simple, cheap, favorite fall idea. :-)

 

All you do is take your pumpkin, select a favorite Bible verse or quote (I like to do one on thankfulness for thanksgiving, but you could do one on the seasons, God’s mercy, God’s faithfulness, or anything), and use a permanent marker to write the verse on the pumpkin. If you know how to do calligraphy that would look great, but I just write it plain. My main goal with this decoration is to serve as reminder for why this is a special season—we have so much for which to be thankful! We should stop in both the good and bad moments of the day and Praise God from whom all blessings flow because His mercies are new every morning. The seasons change, but God remains the same. Yesterday, today, and forever, Jesus is the same. Great is His faithfulness unto us. We can go into His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and into His courts with praise. We can say this is the day the Lord hath made and rejoice and be glad in it. What a wonderful season to praise our great God! And what a wonderful, festive way to be reminded that we should do just that.

 

-Lydia