Jesus and Jell-O: A Sky Jell-O Tutorial

Make these adorable Sky Jell-O parfaits!

We piled onto the couch earlier this week to read our book, Jesus Returns to Heaven, in preparation to celebrate the Ascension this week.  My kids wasted no time in asking, with excited, baited breath, if we could make Sky Jello again.  It is amazing how bringing the taste buds into the learning process makes for lasting memories.  The boys recounted our past adventures with this rare treat called Jello.

Last time, my nutrition-nutty self went all out and made our jello with 100% fruit juice and just a smidge of food coloring.  In the craziness of our season, we opted for the easy road this year and I bought the Berry Blue Jell-o.  You would have thought it was Christmas around here as I don’t allow food-dyes into our home often.

So I decided to share our process with you for making “Sky-Jello”.

JESUS AND JELL-O Make these adorable Sky Jell-O parfaits while learning about Jesus's ascension to heaven!

  1. Collect your materials!
    1. Berry Blue Jell-o (for our family of 6, we used two boxes)
    2. Whipped Cream.  You can buy whipped topping or make your own.  I prefer to make my own. (To do this simply add 3/4 cup of whipping cream to a mixer and whip until soft peaks form.  Add 2 TBS of sugar as peaks begin to form. Stop when this happens or you’ll make sweet butter instead. ok, we whipped ours too long and had to make a second batch.  So trust me on this one.)
    3. Some kind of clear glass or plastic cup.
  2. Follow directions to make Jello.  We did the quick-set method because we didn’t want to wait hours for the jello to be ready.
  3. Make whipped cream (or be sure your whipped topping is defrosted and fluffed up).
  4. With a spoon stir up jello so it is all broken up.
  5. Spoon out enough jello to cover bottom of glass.
  6. Carefully spoon some whipped cream into one side of cup and smoosh it against the side. This will give the “cloud look” that we are shooting for here.
  7. Cover with more jello.
  8. Repeat with making a cloud on the other side of glass.
  9. Sit on your hands or do whatever necessary to let your kids do this without you taking over…
  10. Enjoy right away or chill for later.

JESUS AND JELL-O Make these adorable Sky Jell-O parfaits while learning about Jesus's ascension to heaven!

If you are into video tutorials, we enjoyed this one that we found. {Just don’t watch it while making homemade whipped cream.  That was our mistake and I whipped the that cream straight into butter instead.}

Intentional Living Means Setting Goals…

Intentional parenting means setting goals. Pray, plan and then act intentionally. {free printable semester goal sheets}

I still remember those first moments holding my oldest son. Awe mingled with wonder and just a little bit of panic. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be intentional with how I raised him and any future children that came alone. But where do you even start?

God was quick to tell me two things: seek Him first for direction and take it step by step.

There are so many things to focus on – good things. But in this day and age, we are inundated with messages, recommendations, advice, great ideas, etc… If we want to avoid falling into the trap of pursuing everything and accomplishing NOTHING, we need to hone our focus.

How? Pray and decide what is needed for this child, right now.

Inch by inch it's a cinch. The key to intentional living and setting appropriate goals!

 A dream becomes a goal when action is taken towards achieving it – even tiny actions..

Setting goals is a powerful way to tune into the needs for each member of your family and connect your long-term goals for them with tangible short-term goals. As I’ve said before, I love setting goals and casting vision. It really helps to keep me focused!

Continuing in the tradition of my mother, I’ve been in the habit of making ‘semester’ evaluations since I was in college. It is nice to take some time to sit back, pray and take stock of where I am at and what direction I feel the Lord is leading me towards in many different areas of my life. Now that I have children, I’ve taken to setting semester goals for them as well.

Because we seek to live integrated and holistic lives, our goals for the kids encompass far more than just academics. We write down our priorities and goals for each of our children in the following areas:

• Spiritual – I pray about how to reach each child and help them draw closer to Jesus. In this section, I outline areas that I would like to see them grow or things I would like to relay to them. You can’t make a goal of ‘___ decides to follow Jesus’, because God is the one who opens the heart, but one semester I did make it my goal to clearly present the gospel or being intentional to weave prayer into individual practice…

• Character – It is tempting to me to work on character development in a variety of areas, but that can easily get overwhelming and the impact is lessened if we are not focused. So I try to pick one character trait per child to focus on specifically while allowing for life circumstances to certainly give clues to needed adjustments. Self-control with emotions for one child and attentiveness for another are making our summer list!

• Academic – While there are many things that we learn and explore at any given time, I’ve found it helpful – especially with core academic subjects, to have a special focus. I try to always be mindful to make sure that goals and expectations are attainable and age-appropriate. It is easy to get ambitious in these areas and set goals that our kids brains simply aren’t wired to do yet. Doing flashcards with your 3 or 4 year old in an attempt to get them reading early and reducing them to tears is one example that comes to mind…

• Chores – With the arrival of our chore chart, this has become so much easier to keep up on. I try and pick a new chore skill that I want my children to learn how to do per semester.

• Physical – Especially since I know how much movement and exercise play into other aspects of their lives – like neurological development and future academic success, not to mention burning off an abundance of energy allowing everyone to stay sane, I like to set goals for this area as well.

Of course, I don’t leave myself out of the equation. At the bottom of this sheet, I have a section for myself with areas to write goals for my roles as a child of God (spiritual), as a wife, as a mom, for my home and physical.

As I look back at last semester’s goals I’m quite pleased, overall, with progress made and aware that some of our goals I failed to work on or are ones that are simply still in process. But it sure is nice to have a general game plan.

I reworked our goal sheets and wanted to make them available to you too! As you pray and plan for next year, this can come in handy to help you focus your efforts for each child. I’ve included a one page goal sheet for 2,3 or 4 kids + mom as well as a sheet with more room to write if you want a separate sheet per child. I prefer to keep one sheet with all of us on it and place it at the beginning of my lesson plan notebook so I can reference it often!

SEMESTER GOAL SHEET download!

Free for subscribers!  If you already subscribe to Cultivated Lives, simply enter the same email address again to get an immediate download link to this file!

Semester Goals Chart
*Subscriber FREEBIE* Download and get started making intentional goals for your family today!

{Feel free to share! I only ask that you please share a link to this blog post instead of forwarding the file alone.  Thanks!}

bestbuds

Related Posts: Mission-Minded Motherhood{Forming a Mission Statement}

Brain Breaks: An Important Tool for Every Parent!

Brain Breaks can be just what you need to help wake up the brain and body!  Information plus an book with tons of ideas to get blood pumping and improve focus!

Check out my new Brain Break Book (Print & eBook editions)!

Give your kids an important boost of oxygen and help wire their brains to learn with these important brain breaks.

A year and a half ago while working with my oldest on spelling dictation, he started to get restless and completely incapable of focusing on the work at hand.  In frustration, I found myself launching into a long-winded lecture. Blah, blah, blah… As my monologue progressed, I noticed that he was zoning out even more.  It was time for a change of tactics.  I paused and in my very best army sergeant voice ordered my son to stand up and give me 10 jumping jacks.  A look of surprise washed over his face.

He giggled.  I gave my best over-the-top army sergeant glare and barked the order again, fighting back giggles of my own.  He responded with a puny flailing armed set of jumping jacks.  I mustered composure, told this ‘private’ that his performance was unacceptable and ordered two laps around the kitchen island before returning to spelling duty.  He giggled again and complied.

Since then, I’ve introduced a number of fun little breaks that get pulled out at random times to wake up lethargic brains and bodies!  We call them ‘brain breaks’.    What I didn’t realize is that I had read about something similar years earlier in Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head.   This educational psychologist recommended short movement breaks as remedial exercises to help with bilateral integration in struggling students and eventually as break for the entire classroom.  As I reread the book last year, I had an aha momentWhat I was doing just to save our sanity was actually waking his brain up by activating the vestibular system, bilateral integration and giving the brain a fresh boost of oxygen!

Brain Breaks can be just what you need to help wake up the brain and body!  {Great ideas to get blood pumping and improve focus! Check out the book, The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks that details 60 fabulous activities - perfect for homework time, homeschooling and in the classroom!}

Brain Breaks can be just what you need to help wake up the brain and body!  {Great ideas to get blood pumping and improve focus!  This ebook is a must for every parent and teacher!}

Brain Breaks can be just what you need to help wake up the brain and body!  {Great ideas to get blood pumping and improve focus!  This ebook details 60 fabulous activities - perfect for homework time, homeschooling and in the classroom!}

Brain Breaks can be just what you need to help wake up the brain and body!  {Great ideas to get blood pumping and improve focus!  This book details 60 fabulous activities - perfect for homework time, homeschooling and in the classroom!}

So here is my little tip for the day!  When you are doing some of the necessary seat work and you see that the lights are on, but nobody’s home, declare a ‘brain break’.  A quick 2-5 minutes will work wonders to lighten the mood, get oxygen pumping and wake their brain up for diving back into the learning process!  The key here is to make it light-hearted and fun!

 

Breaks like these work to wire the brain to learn, focus and perform better!

Want to learn more?  Come check out my book:

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks 

Use the coupon code “move” to get a $2.00 off! 

A must for every parent or classroom teacher.  Simple brain breaks to help our children improve focus, concentration and retention!

An extended version with 3x as many practical brain break ideas plus an extended guide on how to use them in your home, homeschool or even the classroom!  

Subscribe to my special Brain Breaks newsletter  if you want to receive updates related to exercise, movement and learning!

Brain Breaks are a fun way to "wake-up" the brain throughout the day to give bodies a needed oxygen boost and wire the brain for optimal learning! {This E-book is a must for every parent and teacher!}

A big thanks to MeinLilaPark for the beautiful graphic!

{Day 7: Brain Breaks}  The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks {a must for all parents and teachers} is due out in August!

Day 1: Boosting Brain Power Starts with Food and Water

Day 2: How Sleep Makes Us Smarter

Day 3: Exercise Boosts Brain Power

Day 4: Why Movement Matters

Day 5: Active Play Boosts Brain Power

Day 6: How to Waste Brain Boosting Opportunity

Day 7: Brain Breaks: An Important Tool in Your Homeschool

Day 8: The Role Music Plays in Boosting Brain Power

Day 9: Engaging the Senses Boosts Brain Power

Day 10: How to Turn Passive Learning into Active Learning

Guess Who? President’s Edition

Download this FREE Printable and play a rousing game of Guess Who: President's Edition. Pictures, fact sheets to help with asking questions.

“Who is the 12th president, Mommy?”

“Millard Fillmore?”

{snickers…} “No Mommy, it’s Zachary Taylor.”

Nothing like getting drilled from the back seat while running errands.  Even the four year old has memorized most of the presidents by face and can recognize their numbers in our little flip book that we keep in the car…

As the presidential election nears, we’ve been learning about our nations’ presidents.  What better way to test our new-found knowledge of these presidents than with a game!

I’ll be honest up front and let you know that it isn’t perfect.  After spending HOURS working on this, I printed it out the night before our cabin getaway and discovered up there that they were a bit too small.  Thankfully, we were able to slip the cards under the prongs on one end which actually makes it easier to swap out as we mix and match the different presidents to make an always changing game board.

Because we aren’t total presidential trivia experts, I put together some information pages to aid in asking and answering questions.  We did not allow questions on appearance, but focused on facts.  Something along the lines of “Is your president a Republican?” is usually one of the first questions, followed by “Did he serve in the military?” or “Did he die in office?” or “Was he a vice-president first?” “Does he appear on a US coin or currency?”

It is nice having the answers handy!

We borrowed Guess Who from a friend and set up to play! We are hooked and need to now buy our own Guess Who? game!

Here is how we play it:

  • Print President cards –  1 large set and 2 small sets. Laminating or using contact paper will help these last longer
  • Cut out cards.  We colored the back of one set to help keep the two sets differentiated.  If I had thought about it, I would have printed this on scrapbooking paper that was white on one side…
  • Print the info sheets (included with the download for the small set) for help with narrowing down the field.
  • Select 24 presidents for each board and slide them into place.  Gather 24 corresponding large cards.
  • Each player selects a president.
  • The questions begin.
    • Must be a question that can be answered with a yes or no.
    • No questions based on appearance as in the original “Guess Who” game.
    • No guessing of presidents.  Must narrow it down to one by asking questions based on what you know about that president.
  • Be prepared to play over and over and over again!

{As a courtesy, please do not link directly to the download files.  Feel free to pin or link to this tutorial if you want to recommend it.}

Ok, I’m off to bed.  My poor little girl is trying to cut those first teeth and it’s been keeping her up at night…

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For more fun:

PresidentsDayCaramelAppleElection

Kindle Crafting…

There is something about birthdays {and Christmas too} that bring out the crafty side for me.  The older my kids get however, I’m finding less and less time for those pursuits.

My dad brought up wanting a bag to carry his kindle in while he walks and listens to his books.  This seemed to be a doable project!

Little did I know just how doable it could be!  I wanted a messenger-bag look since that seemed more ‘manly.’  As I looked through the fabric I had on hand, I discovered these pants that Keegan had busted through at the knee.  I had them in my pile to patch.  Instead, I decided to use the leg for the body of the kindle pocket.  The size was perfect.  I merely cut off the bottom, hemmed it and then proceeded to cut the rest of the pants into strips to make straps!  Viola – a manly kindle carrying bag.  I simply stamped a little message to the outside of the bag and we were set!

I love the creative process and it is so fun to watch the boys blossom in their creative pursuits. The creative spirit thrives in community and I find that each of us in our own way grow in this area as we observe each other pursuing our own way to express this!

He liked his bag and with my creative juices satisfied for the time being, I dove back into the realm of child-rearing, reading and learning…   My only problem is that now the boys want bags!  hmmm, maybe Christmas?

Olympic Ring Art + Book Ideas

Getting into the Olympic Spirit with some simple art!

It is amazing how much fun some toilet paper tubes and paint can be!!!

As the craziness of convention time comes to a close, I find myself refreshed and itching to just BE with my kids. Funny how a weekend away from the kids, getting inspired to teach, train and raise these kids makes us antsy to get back to them.

My workshops went well and I had the opportunity to meet some of YOU lovely readers out there! That was so exciting! I never tire of hearing stories and sharing the excitement of new {homeschooling} adventures with others! Now, as we settle back into normal routine here, we find ourselves looking forward to the start of the Olympics with eager anticipation! To kick start the week, we pulled out some toilet paper rolls (with a family of 6, it wasn’t hard to locate 5 empty rolls), our paints and made some Olympic signs in preparation for our ‘indoor olympics’ competition later this week. We haven’t finalized our wishlist of events yet…  But we are confident that it is going to be awesome!

We enjoyed learning the background of the rings and then painting away! The younger boys soon delved into making abstract circle art, reminding me that I need to pull out the paints more often – especially for my little preschooler!

Have any of you discovered the beauty of Pinterest?  I LOVE it.  I’m so visual and love this visual snapshot of things I want to remember to try later!  It also is a great way to organize my many eclectic interests!  You can check out my boards here.    I’ve even put together a Pinterest board for the Olympics that I shared on facebook last week..  I’m debating how we want to make our own medals.  Clay or aluminum foil/wrapping paper???  hmmmm.  If you are on Pinterest, I’d love to follow you, so don’t be shy about saying hello!

We’ve also been enjoying some Olympic reading.  Do you have any favorites?  We’ve especially enjoyed the beautiful picture biographies!  Here are some of our favorites:

(ETA ~ The two books about Olympians briefly address race-discrimination issues, just so you have a heads-up.)
A great collection of engaging books and classic movies for kids as we gear up for the Olympics!

General Books on the Olympics

Story of the Olympics A great Usborne book laying out the history of the Olympics
Olympics – A delightful picture book overview of the modern Olympics
Summer Olympics Books and Movies
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds <– amazing picture book telling the story of the first Asian American to win the Olympic gold medal for diving.
Chariots of Fire (dvd)- a must see!
Jim Thorpe (dvd)- a classic movie about Native American olympian, Jim Thorpe.

Winter Olympics Books and Movies

A Letter for Daria < written by gold medal Russian figure skater, Ekaterina Gordeeva.
Cool Runnings {ok, not a book, but a great winter Olympic movie.}
Miracle How the 1980 US Hockey Team proved triumphant over the Soviet Union team.
 

// ]]>

A Wordless Book: Life Made Beautiful…

A Wordless Book: Life Made Beautiful - tutorial for a beautiful way to share the gospel and what it means to live the Christian life with our children!

In talking about wordless books, I wanted to revisit a little book we created that is near and dear to my heart.  Making our first ‘heart lesson’ book last spring began a beautiful conversation with my second child which culminated in him turning his dirty heart over to Jesus for a miraculous cleaning a couple of months later!  We discussed the reality that we are all born with dirty hearts and need Jesus to clean our hearts!  He pondered, asked questions, revisited his ‘Heart Lesson’ wordless book and we told each other the GOOD NEWS over and over again.  Truth sunk in and his life dramatically changed…  I’ve written about our struggles before.  He’s my strong-willed one.  It has been beautiful to watch his heart become tender to the Lord and in the process for many of our struggles to dissipate.

But you know what.  That is not the end of the story.  Oh no.  God has so much in store for each one of us after He cleans our hearts and brings us into His family.  As His children, He’s given us a mission.  We are now running the beautiful race of life on this earth.  And there is an end; a final culmination where we are forever reunited physically with Jesus!

So here you go.  Here is the WHOLE story.  The story of a life made beautiful!

Want to join us? First up, gather your supplies:

  •  Glue and sand
  • Print off the templates for the crown, leaf, flame and heart.
  • You’ll need a trio of hearts. Trace onto black, red and white paper (allowing the child to water color the hearts would be a beautiful alternative).
  • Paint and glitter
  • Pipe cleaner, cut into thirds (we had pretty gold one’s lying around)
  • Hole punch
  • Your Bible.  It is fun to read truth directly from the source!
DIRTY

Go outside and smear some glue on your black heart.  Sprinkle sand on top.
Tell your children (or ask questions to have them tell you) that each one of us is born with a dirty heart.  When Adam and Eve ate the apple in the garden, sin invaded their hearts and every person born after that now has a dirty heart.  It is ugly and painful.  On our own there is NOTHING we can do to clean our hearts and be pure again.  Although we were created to be in God’s family, sin keeps us out…

The dirty, black heart is a reminder that all of us are born with an unclean heart. (Rom 3:23) And the cost for our sin was death. (Rom 6:23) This is sad news.

 

REDEEMED

But thankfully it doesn’t end. No, there is very good news.  Jesus came to rescue us and clean our hearts. Nothing else, but HIS perfect sacrifice by laying down His life could clean our hearts and bring us back into relationship with God.  Redemption sure is sweet!

The red heart reminds us of this!

Emphasize, again that we can’t do ANYTHING to clean our own hearts. It is only Jesus. He’s the only way.  Read or recite John 3:16!

CLEAN

And once we’ve asked Jesus to clean our hearts, God doesn’t see our imperfections, sin and dirtiness anymore. That has been replaced and the only thing our heavenly Father sees when He looks at us is His perfect son, Jesus, and counts us as His children. We are in His family, forever. The best news ever!

 

This is what the white heart represents!

So now that we are in God’s family and He sees only a clean, pure heart is that the end of the story???

Hardly.  It is just the beginning, the beginning of a beautiful life as God’s child.  And as children of the KING, He has a mission for us.  {My brave little knights were all ears at this point…}

 

GROW

We are called to grow in wisdom and knowledge.  We are called to emulate Jesus! (Eph 5:1)
The Bible says that if we love Jesus, we will obey Him. (I John 5:2)  That should be our desire.  Remind them that just as a newborn baby earnestly wants and needs milk {Have you seen a newborn babe dive-bombing for milk recently?}, so we are to eagerly seek to grow as we read the Bible and DO what it says! (1 Peter 2:2)

Growing like this makes us strong, so we aren’t tossed to and fro by whatever people may say.  Instead we can speak the truth and love fully as we grow to be more like Jesus (Eph 4:14-16)

As God helps us to grow (John 15:1-8), we shine as lights in the world! (Phil 2:12-16)

The leaf reminds us that we are called to GROW!

GO
As we grow, we shine as lights in a dark world.  Why is it dark? {guide them back to the black heart.} The world is full of sin and darkness.  But God desires to use us as ambassadors to this world. (2 Cor 5:10) We are called to let our light shine before men and thus glorify God and point people to Jesus. (Matt 5:14-16)  Singing “This Little Light of Mine” right now can help solidify this point!
We are called to GO and preach the good news to everyone we meet.  It is a mighty calling that each child of God is commissioned to carry out! (Mk 16:15)  God wants us to love others just as He loves us!!!
The flame reminds us of our calling to be light and GO reach out to those who don’t know Jesus! {Using the flame from our Pentecost crowns was a fun trip down memory lane!}
CROWNED

As you paint your crown, add glitter and/or jewels, you can share the anticipation of heaven and getting to be with Jesus!

As the mission that God has called us to on this earth comes to an end, we get to go to heaven to forever be with Jesus.  As children of KING Jesus, we too will receive a crown.  Just as Jesus is crowned (Heb 2:9), so to will we one day… (2 Tim 4:8, Rev 2:10)

The crown reminds us that someday we will get to go live with Jesus in heaven. (Rev 21)  I didn’t grow up singing very many hymns, but one of the few that I remember from my childhood, came to mind as we wrapped this part up.  So I introduced my children to Victory in Jesus.

Thread each item together with your pipe cleaner
and you have the wonderful story of a life made beautiful.

From Rising to Rising…

Ideas for celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with KIDS!

As you may remember, I like to take time to meditate on and build up to Easter with my family.  But we don’t stop there.  It just seemed to be a natural progression to continue on and celebrate the Ascension (that occured 40 days after the Resurrection) and then Pentecost (10 days after Jesus ascended)…
Celebrating Christmas gives us faith; it affirms that our beliefs have roots in the historical fact of the incarnation.
Celebrating Easter gives us assurance; it affirms that Christ wiped away our sin by his great sacrifice and triumphed over death.
Celebrating the ascension gives us hope and points us toward transformation; it affirms that we can become more and more like Jesus is right now….Without the ascension, we might look around and forget that Christ is the ruling Lord of this fallen, broken world….not just that he will reign when he comes again or that he did reign over death, but that he is reigning right now.”

Jesus conquered sin and death at the cross and resurrection and He will come again and reign.  But He also reigns here and now.  As Gary Thomas continues, we can participate in the spread of his reign now by “surrendering to his dynamic, life-transforming presence within us, by letting him change the way we see, think, feel, hear, speak, and serve.  It’s the life of Christ in us, continuing his work, exercising his reign, manifesting his presence.

Focusing on the ascension of Jesus can help us to recapture the dynamic reality of Christ manifesting himself through us!

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about how to communicate the glorious nature of the ascension and cultivate in my children and appreciation and understanding of the ascension.

Because of their young age, to start with I’m focusing on an understanding.  Although with Xander I’m going to venture into some of the application of Christ’s reign here and now!

Explaining and Celebrating the Ascension to Children

Here are a few ideas:

  • Read Acts 1:1-11.  Review how Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples instructing them and opening up the scriptures to them in light of his death and Resurrection.
  • Read Jesus Returns to Heaven – a book with beautiful illustrations and rhyming text that tells this account or you can check out  correlating accounts in The Big Picture Story Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible.  
  • Count out 40 days on our calendar to the ascension.
  • Talk about the great commission.  We have a job to do!  If you have the book, I’ve Got a Job to Do, read it.  It is a wonderful picture book that helps kids connect and build excitement for carrying out the great commission! Discuss with the kids about what this can look like for your family!
  • Read Revelation 1:7 in addition to reviewing Acts 1:10-11.  Discuss how Jesus will return again the same way he ascended.
  • Go look at and admire the clouds.  Talk about heaven.  Talk about the return of the KING!

Make Sky Jell-O!

  • Possibly make this jello clouds in the sky creation.  I’m usually pretty anti-sugar and food dye with my kids, so we ended up making this the first time with juice sweetened jell-O and the next time with the store-bought kind. It was a hit both times!
  • Do the below presented craft again that we did last year.  Last year, we made it from supplies I had around here and creative energy I had available.  This year is a little different (pregnancy has a way of doing that.) and I ordered a set from Oriental Trading Company that first gave me the inspiration for this craft.  Isn’t it nice to have options!?!?!

Ascension Craft Tutorial

To mark the ascension which occurred 40 days after Easter (that would be Thursday, June 2nd this year), we made this craft so they can re-enact that wonderful event.  We had so many beautiful conversations about Jesus, the ascension, His return and Heaven in the weeks following this craft last year!

Tutorial for an Ascension Day craft + ideas for celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with KIDS!

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Blue cups or cups covered with blue construction paper (or possibly painted).  We went the construction paper route.
  • Cotton balls and glue.
  • Jesus paper figurine.  I did a google image search and pick an image like this, this or this.  (I can’t remember where I found mine last year.)
  • ribbon, yarn or thin strip of white tulle or whatever you have on hand.

 

Start by letting your kids play with the cotton balls and gently pull them apart to make fluffy clouds.

Tutorial for an Ascension Day craft + ideas for celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with KIDS!

Next let them spread glue on their cups.

(This is the favorite part of the craft in our home…  Glue is almost as cool as fire.)

Tutorial for an Ascension Day craft + ideas for celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with KIDS!

Poke a hole through the top of your cup.  Depending on your children’s ages/temperaments and your mood this might be a mommy job.

Thread the tulle/ribbon/yarn through the hole-punch and then poke it through the hole in the cup.  Tutorial for an Ascension Day craft + ideas for celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with KIDS!

The idea is that you can pull the string and ‘lift’ the Jesus figuring up into the clouds.  Let them play and dramatize the story for you over and over and over again!

Tutorial for an Ascension Day craft + ideas for celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with KIDS!
Becky at Daye by Daye celebrated the ascension with her family and I just love how she specialized and tailored it to her family.  Check it out!
If anyone else celebrates this, I’d love to hear how/what you did.  Be sure to leave a comment and/or link!

The Picture Chore Chart Tutorial

Here is the tutorial for the awesome chore chart that I had as a young girl. I’m just so in-love with the late 70’s/early 80’s artwork! It makes me feel nostalgic every time I look at it!  Of course, we’ve included a page of blank cards for you to personalize it and add your own chores!  (A big shout-out to my sister who really helped me with this project and prodded me to stop procrastinating and get it done!)

What You Will Need:
• 1 wood board, ¾ inch thick (12×8 board for 1 child) (12×12 for 2 kids) (12×16 board for 3 kids)
• piece of batting (12×8) (12×12) (12×16)
• 1 piece of fabric (16×12) (16×16) (16×20)
• 1 piece of felt (12×8) (12×12) (12×16)
• Sticky letters or fabric paint
• 3 lg cup hooks per child
• 2 sm sawtooth picture hangers
• Hammer and small nail
• Paper punch
• Scissors
• Glue (I used wood glue)
• 1 roll of clear contact paper
• 4 sheets of white card stock/child
• Printer to print the JOB CARDS (includes both girl and boy cards as well as blanks)

Instructions:
Step 1: Prepare job cards. Print PDF onto white card stock, three pages for each child. Color code at the bottom of each card (a different color per child), and write the child’s name on the blank card. Carefully cover over both sides of card stock with clear contact paper (or if you prefer have them laminated). Cut out. Punch a hole in the top of each card.
Step 2: Place padding on front side of board. Spot glue it in place. Allow glue to dry before next step.
Step 3: Cover padding with material right side up. When material is in place, carefully turn board over. Glue all four back edges securely down.  Allow glue to dry. If desired, hide material edges with felt square, cut to same proportions as board, glue in place.
Step 4: Using a pencil and a ruler, figure out where you want to place each hood and mark.  I placed cards in desired places to confirm desired placement.
Step 5: Place the words, “NAME,” “JOB,” and “DONE” at top of board, in that order.  Sticky felt letters can be used or you can use fabric paint.  I did not want to freehand my words, so I made freezer paper stencils for my words.  Directions for freezer-paper stenciling can be found here or here.  It is super easy and so addicting…
Step 6: Gently pound a nail into each pencil mark. Then, screw-in cup hooks, one hook under each word per child. Each child will have three hooks. (Do not pound the cup hooks in with the hammer or the hooks will bend.  We learned this the hard way.)
Step 7: Attach sawtooth picture hangers to the back of the board. (As you can see, in my pregnant state, I totally forgot to attach the felt to finish off the back…)
Step 8: Hang in easy to access place.  Ours hangs right below the calendar, next to our pantry.  As a girl, my mom hung ours on the wall of the counter in the kitchen.  Too out of sight will mean out of mind…
Step 9: Turn your little helpers loose!
Related Post:
Learning the Value of Work (our chore charts in action)

Why Easter: A Heart Lesson

Why Easter - A Heart Lesson {hands-on look at the gospel}
I am so very excited to share this idea with you all since I’ve seen so much sweet fruit from it in just the last 30 hours!
We’ve been reading our favorite books, acting out the story and doing a craft here and there from my archives of ideas on Easter as we prepare our hearts for the celebration on Sunday.  But I wanted to do something which really got to the heart of why we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Why is it a big deal?  Could my kids know it well enough to explain it back to me?  Do they know how important it can be to them personally?  My oldest has turned his life over to Christ (He actually did two years ago on the Saturday before Easter!  It is just the sweetest story ever.), but the other two haven’t yet.
And really, don’t we all need a good reminder of WHY this time is so important?
So I pulled supplies for this idea that had been brewing in my mind yesterday afternoon.

Supplies: glue, sand, a set of hearts for each child (black, red, white), pipe cleaner (we had pretty gold one’s lying around) and a hole punch.  Optional: plastic egg and candy heart for each child.

After naps, we found a shady spot on our back porch where we plopped down and I handed each of them a black heart and let them spread a bit of glue on it and then sprinkle sand.

We reviewed how God created the first people, Adam and Eve, to have fellowship with Him and how their hearts were pure.
But then what happened?  My children reminded me of the fall when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  I held up the black, dirty heart and explained that from that point onward, every person was born with an unclean heart and that we couldn’t have the fellowship with God that He created us to have.

Due to the copious amount of glue used, we cut our object lesson short to let it dry and I went in to fix dinner.  At dinner that night, Keegan (my 4.5 year old) was unexpectedly kind to his younger brother.

As we thanked him for this kind gesture, his eyes lit up and he asked if this would help make his heart clean.  As I whispered a thanks to God for this wonderful opportunity, I explained that no amount of good works on his part could clean his heart.  Only Jesus could do that because He took the punishment for our sin on the cross.  A flash of understanding flickered across his face…

The next morning we picked up where we left off and lined the hearts up to punch holes in them.  I cut the pipe cleaner into thirds and let them thread it through each of the hearts and we twisted it into a loop.

And the object lesson picked up again as we reviewed the hearts while the kids added more illustrations to the cards…

First up:

All of us are born with an unclean heart.  (Romans 3:23) They were also reminded that the cost for our sin was death. (Romans 6:23)  This was sad news.
But thankfully, not the end of the story.

Jesus came to rescue us and clean our hearts.  Nothing else, but HIS perfect sacrifice by laying down his life could clean our hearts and bring us back into relationship with God.   We can’t do ANYTHING to clean our own hearts.  It is only Jesus.  He’s the only way.  (This was a great opportunity to talk with my oldest son about how we are called to obedience and genuinely want to obey because of what Jesus has done in our hearts, but that it actually has nothing to do with our standing before God and how freeing it was to not have to worry about being good enough, but instead focus on loving and being loved by Jesus.)

And once we’ve asked Jesus to clean our hearts, God doesn’t see our imperfections, sin and dirtiness anymore.  That has been replaced and the only thing our heavenly Father sees when he looks at us is His perfect son, Jesus, and counts us as His children.  We are in His family, forever.

The best news ever!

There was sweet follow-up when each child received a plastic egg with a chocolate heart as a reminder that Jesus came to give us a new heart!   Although in hindsight, this would have also been a great introduction into this activity as well.   {I’m definitely stashing away some Valentine’s candy next year so the kids can share this truth with their friends and family!!!}

Throughout the rest of today, it was clear the kids were processing this news as they asked more questions and thought about things from various angles.

The beauty of this hands-on activity is it really helped them to visualize WHY Jesus came to earth and how significant this weekend is to humanity.  We do not have to be stuck in despair, lonely, without hope, full of guilt or lacking purpose.  God loved us so much, He wouldn’t give up on us and sent His own Son to rescue us.

That is what Easter is all about!

As one who is rescued, I’m once again filled with awe at how much God loves us. And I’m excited to give my children a peek into this reality as well!

May you have a wonderful weekend dwelling on the best news humanity has ever received!