Friday, July 31, 2015

10 Days in the Fruits of the Spirit {Day 2 ~ Love}

Well hello there!  Y'all... I am amazed at the responses and feedback from Day 1 of the Fruits of the Spirit study!  Welcome to Day 2!  I'm so excited you are here!  

Day 2 {love} of a 10-Day "Breakfast with the Bible" Study over the Fruits of the Spirit for you and your little ones!  Includes a memory verse, discussion time, picture book, object lessons, and extension activities!

Before we get started, I'd love to share a little background on this study.  Little Man and I were consistently doing some Bible time at night before he went to bed.  However, what I noticed was that he was tired and cranky and it sometimes felt forced.  I want our time with God to be amazing and beautiful and wonderful!  It should never be forced or a chore.  I don't ever want our time with God to be a negative thing.  I'm sure you could agree.  Fast forward to the past few weeks.  At the beginning of the summer, I was teaching some remediation courses (I teach online from home).  I had a one hour break at 10:00.  This is when Little Man and I got to sit down and chat over breakfast.  We slowly started incorporating our devotionals from church into this time.  I had been working on putting this study together since last summer.  I couldn't seem to get my head wrapped around exactly what I wanted to do.  (Note to self: God gives you the words when you ask.  Funny how He does that...).  So with that, Breakfast with the Bible was born!  We still review our memory verses (look for a post soon on our process for that), talk, and say prayers at night, but our more in-depth studies happen at breakfast now.  I have loved it and Little Man does too.  I look forward to watching the process evolve as Baby Boy gets a little older.  I loved putting this together and look forward to doing several more.  I trust that all of you will help me stick to that!  :)

Here's how the Fruits of the Spirit study works.  First, get some breakfast.  Not going to lie... in our house, cereal seems to be the go-to.  Then, get comfy at the table and get to work!  This is a basic outline of what we did each day.  I'll go into detail about each of these in the separate posts.

While we were eating, I had Little Man watch two YouTube videos.  One is a song that we watched each day.  The other is a great series by a man called Hi Hi the Bible Guy.  He is fantastic!  He does objects lessons for everything and he does them big!  I'm talking fire, explosions, power tools, all of it.  Total boy stuff.  

After the videos, we would review the page in the story for that particular fruit and give him the descriptive phrase.  I'll go into that more later.  I would then read our verse of the day.  We would talk about it and I would guide him to make the connection between the verse and the fruit.  This was just conversation over breakfast.  In all of our talks, I tried to be very intentional about relating the fruit directly to Little Man.  We talked about things he specifically did or didn't do.  I made him come up with examples of how he could demonstrate the fruit.  All in all, they were good talks.  

After we finished eating, we would do an object lesson.  He LOVED these!  After the lesson, we would go back to our verse of the day and add our final thoughts.  If you have a child that is old enough, this would be a great time to journal.  Little Man isn't quite there yet.  I'm hoping after a few more units he will be.  

As we closed our lesson, we would pray over the verse, using our names to pray it specifically for us.  Finally, as an extension, he would work on the stained glass cutouts.  These were discussed in the Day 1 post.  If you missed it, you can get caught up here.  This was the time I would usually clean up breakfast.  Sometimes, he'd let me continue the conversation.  Other times, he felt he was all talked out.  If you really want to extend it, have them watch a Veggie Tales episode while they're doing the stained glass and point out examples of the fruits in the characters.  

And that's that!  I know it sounds like a lot, but it really isn't.  Eat, video, verse, chat, object lesson, pray, extension.  Maybe 20 minutes?  

So with all that said... here's the next lesson in our Fruits of the Spirit study!  The first fruit is love.  Honestly, this was a little tricky.  The story we read daily, Pups of the Spirit, is super cute, but it keeps love at a surface level.  Hugs and kisses and whatnot.  I wanted Little Man to know that love in the Biblical sense is deeper than that.  With every fruit, I found a short phrase that describes it in ways our little ones would understand.  

LOVE ~ I will put others first.

Our verse for love was 1 John 3:18.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.

I asked some pretty basic questions.  How do you know Mommy loves you?  How do you show Mommy or Daddy how you love them?  How can you show your friends you love them?  I asked him about some specific situations we had recently dealt with... were you showing love then?  I read somewhere that whenever a certain mom saw her children arguing, she would stop them and ask, "Who are you showing love to right now?  Yourself, your brother, or God?  God first, then others, and then ourselves.  This is the primary point I wanted Little Man to leave with.  

We've talked about how we love others because Jesus loves us and His love overflows from us into others.  When we are filled with His love, it's much easier to put others before ourselves.  That led us to our object lesson.

For this lesson, you'll need a paper towel, a red marker, a pen, and a bowl of water.  Draw a small heart down at the bottom with the pen.  "We all have hearts that need to be filled.  When we ask Jesus to live in our hearts, he fills them with love."

We colored in the heart with the red marker.  "Jesus lives in our hearts and He loves us very, very much.  We always know that we are loved because we are His children."

Draw some tiny little hearts around the top of the red heart.  "We have Jesus' love in our hearts, but not everyone knows about His love.  They're hearts are still empty."

I asked Little Man how we could show love to those people.  He gave me answers like playing with them, being kind to them, telling them that Jesus lives in us.  "When Jesus loves us, that love can overflow into the people around us!  Because He loves us soooo much, we have lots of love to share!"  Dip the paper towel into the bowl where just the red heart touches the water.  

"Look how Jesus' love filled all those other hearts!  He loves everyone and wants their hearts to be filled too!"

Throughout the next several days, I focused on asking Little Man about showing love.  In the grocery store, a man knocked some stuff off the shelf...  "How can we show him some love right now?"  As Little Man had a *teensy* bit of an attitude with me... "Are you showing love right now or anger?"  Some friends were over and playing at our house and wanted to do something different than Little Man... "Can we show him love by choosing to play his game first?"  I'm sure you can think of a few (or more than a few) moments that these questions could be asked on a daily basis.  

To conclude our Breakfast with the Bible time, we prayed over our verse (using the "ACTS" model and the words from the verse) and Little Man began to work on his torn paper stained glass.  

"Jesus, it's awesome that You have so much love for us!  I'm sorry that I didn't show love when I ______.  Please forgive me.  Thank you for always loving us no matter what we do.  Please help me not to just tell my family I love them, but to show them with my actions.  Help me to know how to love people that aren't my friends.  Help me to show them Your love.  Amen."

So there's Day 2!  I know I talked A LOT during this post.  I wanted to give some background though. I promise not to ramble so much next time!  :)  I'd love to hear your thoughts about this study!  Is this something you could do with your little ones?  

Day 2 {Love} of a 10-Day "Breakfast with the Bible" Study over the Fruits of the Spirit for you and your little ones!  Includes a memory verse, discussion time, picture book, object lessons, and extension activities!

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Come join the fun!  We're linking up at Teaching Mama, Apron Strings & Other Things, and Arabah Joy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Biblical Extension Acitivities for "A Bad Case of Stripes"

It's Wednesday, so it's time to share another installment of "What We're Reading Wednesday!"  Today I have an old favorite.  Little Man went through a phase when he asked for this story every single night.  It's a good one though, with a great message, so I'm glad he enjoyed it!

Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she knows her friends don't.  She tries to hide the fact that she likes them because she doesn't want them to laugh at her.  :(  What happens when we worry too much about what other people think of us?  Camilla had to find out the hard way!

After the story, we had a short discussion about why we are special.  Little Man went straight the answer I wanted to hear.  "Because God make us special, Mommy!"  Exactly.  I asked him how Camilla was special.  She likes lima beans.  She has curly hair.  She's an only child.  All of it works.  Then, I asked him (if Camilla was a real person), would God have given her all these special qualities.  Of course.  So what special qualities did God give us?  Prepare yourself to hear some super cute responses from your little one!  :)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  
Psalm 139:14

For our extension activity, we gave ourselves stripes!  Instead of painting our faces (which could have been lots of fun), we made our stripes on paper.  I asked Little Man to help me come up with ways that God made everyone in our family special.  I loved his responses!  Considering one for his brother, Baby Boy, is "spit-up machine" (something he genuinely says almost nightly during prayers now), I wonder if I should have asked him about the dogs.  I can only begin to imagine the things he would have said!  I ended up hanging the boys' stripes on the bathroom mirror next to the memory verse (dry erase marker).  As we get ready each morning, I hope to have a quick chat about other things that make us special.  

We also tried making 3D hand tracings, but it was a little too difficult for Little Man.  He ended up losing interest pretty quickly, so I didn't force it.  If you have a patient one, I do encourage trying it.  Some great conversations about uniqueness could come from it!  

I also had an idea after we finished our activity that I might try in the future.  If I do, I'll add it to this page!  We could have easily made acrostic poems using our names and special words to describe ourselves.  If you want a literacy tie-in, there you go!  :)  

Tell me, have you read this book?  What extension activities have you tried?

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

10 Days in the Fruits of the Spirit {Day 1 ~ An Overview}

It's here!  It's here!  It's here!!!  If you have known me for any amount of time, you know that I've been talking about this Fruits of the Spirit study for a loooong time.  Well, we have finally finished it and I'm ready to share it with all of you lovelies!  

A 10-Day "Breakfast with the Bible" Study over the Fruits of the Spirit for you and your little ones!  Includes a memory verse, discussion time, picture book, object lessons, and extension activities!

So, this endeavor turned out to be a 10-day unit stretched out over, what... 2 months?  We had some great fun and we had some really great Breakfast with the Bible conversations, but this particular study took some time.  

We started the study by reading Pups of the Spirit!  It's a super cute story about nine adorable little puppies that each represent one of the fruits.  I loved that the wording in the descriptions were really kid-friendly.  Even our youngest little ones would be able to understand what these fruits really mean!  Go get this book... now.  Read it often with your littles.  After we read it, I bought some little colorful fuzzy balls (fruits) and a tiny burlap basket.  Whenever I saw Little Man displaying one of the fruits, I would let him put a fruit in his basket.  Each day, we would discuss the day's particular fruit and give examples of what it would look like in our daily lives.  Little ones come up with the most clever things!

I'm getting ahead of myself.  On the first day, after we read the story, I gave Little Man a bunch of construction paper circles with "fruits" on them.  There were obviously the nine fruits.  Galatians 5:21 lists some negative fruits.  I used some of those, but I also added some that I specifically have to talk about regularly.  Customize this to your little one!  By giving him some specific behaviors that we've seen in him, it gave him the chance to talk about them and have to decide whether it was good or bad.

At this point, we read the memory verse for the unit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Each day, we would revisit this verse.  Several times throughout the unit, I would have him play a game to practice.  I also wrote it on his mirror with a dry erase marker.  We go over it every morning as he brushes his teeth and hair.  (Side note:  I tried using a Vis-a-Vis marker.  This didn't work.  The steam from the shower made it smear.)  

Each day, at the end of our Bible time, Little Man would create one of these torn-paper creations.  I just printed off an outline of the fruit and attached it to a piece of clear contact paper.  The stickiness acted as a glue.  He would tear the construction paper and fill it in.  Then, I topped it with another sheet to seal it.  We displayed them on the fireplace mantle so they were visible each day.  After the fact, I thought they would also be really neat with tissue paper hung in a window... stained glass style.

As he was tearing his paper, I took a second copy of the fruit and colored it with markers.  I used the contact paper to "laminate" it, and then I punched holes around the edge.  I tossed them all in a bag with some round shoelaces and there was a busy bag!  See the heading picture for an example.  I got a little mixed up as I was taking pictures and editing them.  I forgot to take a separate one, but I'm pretty sure you get the idea!

So there you go!  Day 1 of Fruits of the Spirit!  Be sure to follow us to get in-depth descriptions of each of the days in the unit!  This was so much fun and I can't wait to start the next one!

Spend 10 days in a "Breakfast with the Bible" Study over the Fruits of the Spirit for you and your little ones!  Includes a memory verse, discussion time, picture book, object lessons, and extension activities!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Moments ~ Jeremiah 29:11

I struggle with completely letting go.  I have a serious need to be the one in control.  The Husband took me on an absolutely wonderful getaway for my birthday this year.  He planned a great trip to LA so I could go see The Price is Right.  This is something that had been on my bucket list for the longest time.  However, I asked about a million and one questions making sure he had everything under control.  Are you sure these tickets will get us into the show?  Are you sure our flight lands before we have to be at the studio?  How long will we have to pick up the rental car?  How far away is it?  Did you take care of the hotel already?  Have you thought about how long we'll have after the taping to go to dinner?  I mean, the man finally looked and me and told me to just... stop.  He knew what he was doing and was determined to have everything under control so I could enjoy the trip.  He really is amazing and I didn't give him nearly enough credit.  

With that said, it's even more difficult to completely let go of my life.  My life.  The thought is slightly terrifying.  As I was doing my Quiet Time today though, it struck me.  Our God is just flat out amazing.  The way He knits things together to work things out for us is just incredible.  He is faithful and is the absolutely best at being in control.  We just have to let Him.  I mean, the number of times I'll look back through my prayer journal and find myself thinking, "I see what you did there, God."  The number of times I'm so glad that my plans fell through so that His could succeed.  The number of times I am blown away by the way He spends years building up and putting together aspects of my life and then I finally see the outcome.  Amazing.  Beautiful.  

Today I'm reflecting on some of those details that I didn't see at the time.  I'm reflecting on the way He took our family around curves and mountains and valleys and back roads and busy highways just to bring us to where we are now.  He had a plan.  He knew what He was doing.  Silly me questioned and doubted and didn't trust.  I struggled with giving up that control.  I'm pretty sure He reached down and just plucked those details out of my hands, tossed them aside and said, "I've got this one."  Today, I say "Here you go, Father.  It's all yours."  

Father, I'm giving you my life.  All of it.  I know I say it daily and I will keep saying every... single... day.  I ask for the courage and strength to let go.  God, I know that You have plans for us.  I know that Your plans are better than ours.  I know that Your plans will help us, not harm us.  I know Your plans will let us succeed and fly in ways we can't possibly imagine.  Forgive me for doubting.  May my first words every day be words thanks and words of submission to You.  My my final words of the day continue to be words of thanks and submission.  You are amazing, God.  Thank You for giving me a life to give back to You.  I pray I serve You well.  Amen.

I leave you with some questions and a favorite picture from our trip!  What part of your life do you still hold back?  How can you let go today and let God's plans take over?

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What We're Reading Wednesday ~ Froggy Plays in the Band

Yay!  It's Wednesday!  That means I get to share some super fun picture book activities with you!  Today we have one of my favorite characters ever... Froggy!  He's just too cute!  

A perfect summer storytime activity for Froggy Plays in the Band!  It includes a literacy extension, memory verse, and praise activity!

This book is filled with lots of great sound words and Little Man loves to give those that little extra *oomph* that only Little Man can!  In this particular story, Froggy and his friends decide to create a ragtime band and march in a parade to try to win a prize.  Froggy remembers his teacher's very specific instructions, but he may have followed them just a little "too" carefully!

First, we read the story as part of our usual bedtime routine.  Then, the next day, we read it again, but I added our extension activities.  

I love pairing picture books (especially favorite characters) with a Bible verse.  I feel like it gives our kiddos a somewhat real life application to Scripture.  I want my kids to understand that Scripture is meant to spread into every aspect of our lives.  It's not just meant for 30 minutes in the morning and an hour on Sunday.  It's all day, everyday.  

Now... let's share some extension activities, shall we?

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation!
Psalm 95:1

We read the verse a few times in a few different voices.  Think whisper voice, singing voice, robot voice, roaring voice...  lots of giggles there!  Then, we added a verse card to our memory verse box to review during our bedtime routine.  

Froggy was making lots of joyful noise while he practiced for the parade.  We make our joyful noise to worship the Rock of our salvation, so we made some homemade instruments and danced around to some Cedarmont Kids on Pandora!

You'll have to forgive the less than stellar quality of the pictures.  I was dancing around with Baby Boy and a rice shaker (in a glued-shut baby food cup) and I almost forgot to take any pictures!  I did forget to take a picture of the water xylophone, which then resulted in taking later and not realizing he had lost his shirt at some point.  That kid...

After Baby Boy went down for his nap, it was time for a Quiet Time activity.  I set up a literacy tray for Little Man.  I wrote out letter cards for the words "band" and "joy" along with a copy of the book and the memory verse.  He was supposed to hunt around the house for items that started with these letters.  I forgot to take one before he started hunting, or even after he completely finished, but here are a few moments from the middle.  We have a book (B), dragon (D), jewels (J), and orange marker (O).  

On the book cover and memory verse card, I also had Little Man find the two key words.  I think that was a little too easy, so I must have deserved the annoyed look.  :(  Challenge accepted, kid!

At one point, I saw him trotting across the living room with some dog treats.  I stopped him and said that while that was an excellent find for D, they wouldn't last long enough to take the picture.  He just said, "watch!"  He was actually trying to lure the dogs into my office and sit on the letter card.  Charlie snatched his treat and ran off immediately and hid.  Sophie wasn't quite as fast.  While Little Man really wanted her to sit on the letter, she was having none of it.

So there you go!  We had some great fun working with these activities and I can't wait to share more with you next week!  I'd love to hear from you!  How do you incorporate the Bible into your literacy activities?

A perfect summer storytime activity for Froggy Plays in the Band!  It includes a literacy extension, memory verse, and praise activity!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Moments ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I am so excited to start this new series!  Every Monday, I'd love to start our week by praying over you and inviting you to share in a quiet moment before the craziness of the week takes over.  So here we go... Monday Moments!

We had some friends over the other night.  It was great.  We watched a movie and the kiddos played a multitude of games that only they understood.  We laughed.  We talked.  We ate.  We just enjoyed being around each other.  Then, it was time for everyone to leave.  That's when the meltdown started.  Little Man was yelling, crying, being a little more unkind than I generally like.  I'm pretty sure my own words weren't exactly the "law of kindness" that should have been on my lips.  

The next morning, I was doing my quiet time and going over my own memory verses.  That's when it hit me.  Was I choosing joy in that moment?  What example did I set?  It could have been such a great moment to offer grace, demonstrate patience, and model how to choose joy.  I didn't though.  I didn't choose grace, patience, or joy.  I pushed too hard and demanded too much.  I found myself demanding that he "change the attitude" without ever even considering that I should change mine too. 

Little Man and I have been working on our Fruits of the Spirit study all summer (and I can't wait to share it with you very soon!).  I so wish I would have taken this opportunity to model practicing my own fruits.   I thanked God for bringing it to my attention and prayed that I would extend grace and patience the next time.  

With all of that said, as moms and wives, we are given more than a few opportunities to practice choosing joy.  I challenge you to read over this verse daily.  May it be a reminder to all of us that we must rely on Him to fill us with the fruit of his love.  I pray it will be a verse that encourages you this week to fill our hearts and minds with His Word so that the negative emotions have no room to take hold.  

Father, I pray over every mother reading this today.  I pray that we will take hold of Your wonderful words.  May they take such a strong hold on us that we can't even begin to think of the negativity that attacks us.  This week, may we remember to rejoice in every moment You have given us.  May we turn to prayer in the midst of dirty diapers, piles of laundry, and screaming tantrums.  Lord, help us to turn these daily dealings into moments with You.  May we be thankful in every moment.  Let us remember to be thankful even when frustrations and emotions are running high.  Father, I pray that we will be women that choose joy daily and that the joy You provide will overflow into our families.  Thank you for Your wonderful work in our lives.  Amen.  

Share your stories with me!  Tell us about a moment that you could model choosing joy with your children.  Tell us about a time that turning to prayer was the only way to make it through a mommy moment. 

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What We're Reading Wednesday ~ If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

I LOVE Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give…” series!  So does my Little Man and I can pretty much guarantee that Baby Boy will as well… especially if I have any say in the matter.  I also love busy bags.  I make them often and we take them everywhere.

Today I want to share a super simple beginning sounds busy bag I made for If You Give a Mouse aCookie.  All you’ll need is a template for a blank cookie jar (several copies), scissors, glue, brown construction paper (maybe a marker if you want to add chocolate chips), and some magazines. 

I picked some letters that I was working on with Little Man at the time.  I wrote each of the letters on one of the cookie jars and then I got down to searching… and by searching I mean I spent an hour reading magazines and cutting out random pictures as I noticed them.  Multitasking at it’s finest!  Add the pictures to the cookies and then let your little one start sorting! 

With this particular busy bag, the activity can be so easily changed to fit the level of your littles.  Think about it … beginning sounds, environmental print letters, upper and lower case matching, sight word sorting, etc. 

With all that said, how do you use busy bags?  Again, we take ours everywhere, but Little Man’s favorite is to toss one in a bag when we go to dinner.  He’ll play the entire time we’re waiting to be seated or waiting for food.  I love that it keeps him occupied so The Husband and I can have some adult conversation, but he’s also getting some good skill practice in!  This makes my mommy heart and my teacher heart super happy!  

Where do you use busy bags?  Comment below and give me some ideas!

I'm linking up at Teaching Mama, I Heart Naptime,  Teach Mentor Texts and 1+1+1=1!

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