Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Easter Resurrection Rolls

Abbey found this great breakfast idea for Easter... what a wonderful way to help your little ones understand the meaning of the day!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 container of crescent rolls (the linen cloths)
  • 4 tbsps of butter or margarine (the oils)
  • cinnamon & sugar (the spices)
  • 8 large marshmallows (Jesus)

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a medium bowl. Combine the cinnamon & sugar in another medium bowl. Unroll the crescent rolls & separate into the small triangular sections.

Read this scripture from John 19 about Jesus' burial:

38 After all this, Joseph of Arimathea (he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because he was intimidated by the Jews) petitioned Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission. So Joseph came and took the body.39-42 Nicodemus, who had first come to Jesus at night, came now in broad daylight carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. They took Jesus’ body and, following the Jewish burial custom, wrapped it in linen with the spices. There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it. (from "The Message")

Take a marshmallow & dip it first in the butter, then into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Explain to your children that the marshmallow represents Jesus' body & that the butter & cinnamon/sugar represent the oils & spices the ladies placed on His body before wrapping Him in linen cloths.

Now place the marshmallow in the middle of the crescent triangle & wrap it up. Explain that the crescent dough represents the linen cloths that Jesus' body was wrapped in. (Be sure to pinch the dough together tightly to prevent the marshmallows from melting out).

Have your kiddos help you repeat all the steps until all the marshmallows are prepared. Then let them help/watch as you place Jesus' body in the tomb (aka, the oven). Bake for 11-15 minutes. 

While your resurrection rolls are baking, read this scripture from John 20 about Jesus' Resurrection:

1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”16 Jesus said, “Mary.”Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’” (from "The Message")

Remove the rolls from the tomb (oven) & allow time to cool. Have your children open the linen cloths to discover that Jesus is no longer there... He is risen!!

(click here for original post)

Monday, March 25, 2013

getting crafty: resurrection eggs

At our March meeting, we made Resurrection Eggs... what a great teaching tool to help our children understand the real meaning of Easter!

Here's the tutorial if you weren't able to come to the meeting, or would like to make an additional set of eggs for your Easter weekend.

What you need:

  • 12 plastic eggs (or 6 if you want to make a simpler preschool version)
  • number stickers or a permanent marker to label your eggs
  • symbolic items or pictures of the symbolic items, as described below
  • egg carton (optional)


Label each of your eggs with numbers 1-12 (or 1-6 for the preschool version), then place the following symbolic item inside:

The 12-Egg Version

*Click here to get the printable instructions for Resurrection Eggs.

  1. Small bread or cracker pieces. Jesus ate His last meal with his friends (Passover). Mark 14:22, Luke 22:14
  2. Nickel. Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver money. Luke 22:3-5, Luke 22:47-52
  3. Feather. Jesus predicted that Peter would lie three different times and say he didn't know Jesus by the time the rooster crowed. Matthew 26:33
  4. Thorns. People were mad that Jesus said He was the Son of God, so they made a crown of pointy thorns to put on His head. Matthew 27:29-31, Mark 15:17
  5. The Cross (or a picture of a cross). Jesus had to carry his own cross. John 19:17
  6. Nails. Jesus was nailed to a cross. They left Him hanging there until He died, even though He hadn't done anything wrong. Matthew 27:31, Luke 23:33, Luke 23:40-41
  7. Dice. When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and played a game to decide who would get his clothes. John 19:23-24
  8. Spear. To make sure Jesus was really dead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear. John 19:34
  9. White cloth. After Jesus died, His friends wrapped Him up with cloth and lay Him in a special cave called a tomb. Luke 23:53, Matthew 27:57-60
  10. A small stone or pebble. The people who had killed Jesus put a large rock over the opening of the tomb, to make sure that nobody could get Jesus out. Matthew 27:62-65, Matthew 28:66
  11. EMPTY! Three days later, the huge rock was moved & Jesus was gone from the tomb. An angel said He was not there but had risen! This day is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday because Jesus was raised to life again! Luke 24:3, Matthew 28:2-6
  12. Candy. Jesus is alive today! That's the sweet surprise of Easter!

The 6-Egg Preschool Version

*Click here to get the printable instructions for preschool Resurrection Eggs.

  1. Small bread or cracker pieces. Jesus ate His last meal with his friends (Passover). Mark 14:22, Luke 22:14
  2. The Cross (or a picture of a cross). Jesus had to carry his own cross. John 19:17
  3. White cloth. After Jesus died, His friends wrapped Him up with cloth and lay Him in a special cave called a tomb. Luke 23:53, Matthew 27:57-60
  4. A small stone or pebble. The people who had killed Jesus put a large rock over the opening of the tomb, to make sure that nobody could get Jesus out. Matthew 27:62-65, Matthew 28:66
  5. EMPTY! Three days later, the huge rock was moved & Jesus was gone from the tomb. An angel said He was not there but had risen! This day is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday because Jesus was raised to life again! Luke 24:3, Matthew 28:2-6
  6. Candy. Jesus is alive today! That's the sweet surprise of Easter!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hippity, hoppity, Easter's on its way!

Only a little over a week until Easter! 

Do your kids (& you) LOVE Peeps? Me too! Instead of just sticking the packs in their Easter baskets this year, make them pretty with lollipop sticks or skewers & cellophane bags... how cute would these be peeking out of your baskets?

Or check out Martha's tutorial on how to fold your Easter dinner napkins into bunny ears... because you know you'll totally have time to do this with a bunch of people coming over & your toddler &/or baby screaming :)

Did you make a bunny ears headband when you were in elementary school? Help your littles make their own for the Easter egg hunt... click here for the tutorial for the one pictured below or here's a printable version:

Click here, here or here to print out some free coloring & activity pages to keep the kiddos busy & help remind them of the true meaning of Easter...

And finally, check out this super-cute free printable banner... the perfect finishing touch for your mantel, doorway or Easter dinner table!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

I made these green beans for a covered dish supper at church a few weeks ago & they were given the "older Southern lady" seal of approval (insert huge sigh of relief here)... these would be delicious for your Easter dinner next week!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh green beans or a large 28-oz can of french style green beans
  • 1 package of bacon
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce
  • toothpicks

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you're using fresh green beans, break the stems off & boil them until they reach desired tenderness. If you're using canned beans, pour them into a shallow bowl. Open bacon & cut all the slices in half (this is easier to do before pulling slices apart).

To assemble, lay one piece of bacon flat & place a bundle (4-5 beans) in the middle. Wrap the bacon tightly around the beans, using a toothpick to secure. Place in baking dish. Repeat until all beans &/or bacon is used.

Melt butter, then stir in brown sugar, garlic salt & soy sauce. Spoon mixture over the bean bundles evenly. Bake for 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

looking for those "kairos moments"

Pamela was kind enough to share her notes from her devotion this past Thursday. For those of you who don't know her, Pamela is the mother of a 20-month-old daughter & 8-week-old son. I overheard so many ladies mention how encouraged they felt by Pamela's thoughts. If you missed the meeting, I hope you enjoy... & Pamela, thanks so much for sharing!

From Pamela:

The last 8 weeks have been a blur of feedings, diaper changes, temper tantrums, crying, short nights and long, exhausting days.  It is my new normal.  I knew having a 20 month old and a newborn were going to be challenging for me, and that has definitely been true of the last several weeks.  Coming down with a cold and cough a few days after my C-section (coughing and C-sections don’t go well together), and then my husband, toddler, and I catching the gut-wrenching Norovirus last week were not helpful to say the least.  To be perfectly honest, there has been a fair share of suffering happening in my life.  Moments when I just want to scream or cry or indulge in thoughts of running away for a day to sleep and eat and drink whatever I want.  And then there are more realistic times when I just want to take a shower and actually get dressed for the day.
Then about a week ago, after the stomach bug relinquished me, I realized I have been so focused on caring for my two children, sometimes on myself, hardly on my husband, I had hardly noticed what season we are in. Lent.  A time of suffering.  A time of sadness.  But as my pastor friend, calls it: A Bright Sadness.  Sad for where we sit right now, but bright for where we are headed:  The Resurrection Day of Christ, Our Savior. 
When I get my thoughts off of my own little self long enough,  I remember Christ’s suffering.  And oh how much he suffered; taking on the sins of the world.  I realize I am not really suffering at all.  And I remember times in the not too distant past when I did experience true pain and suffering, but Jesus called out to me then and calls out to me still: 
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gently and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
There are going to be long, exhausting days as a mother of young children, and some days it will seem like we are suffering.  For others of us, we may actually be truly suffering.  But for this day, I choose to remember the one who truly felt pain like none other, all so I may live eternally free of it.  Of course there will be pain in this life, but there will be joy.  And I realize that despite the sleepless nights and terrible stabs at trying to reason with an emotional, practically nonverbal toddler, there have been moments of true joy.  Moments when I realize I would choose no other vocation for myself right now than to mother these babies the best way I know how.  And I realize that these weeks and months with my babies truly are precious, fleeting and I must close my eyes to the “suffering” and keep them wide open for the moments of joy or as I like to call them “the kairos moments”. 
I first heard of this word "kairos" a couple of years ago from my pastor.  It is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. In Christian theology, however, it means the time when God acts.  These kairos moments can be any time where God steps in to the mundane chronological time of minutes, hours, days (Chronos time).  These moments are big, time-stopping events such as your wedding day and the birth of your child, but I believe they can also be small moments like watching your child learn something new, or a big hug and squeal of delight that is unexpected.  I believe these are the moments when God is screaming "wake up, pay attention, this is an opportunity to set a new course, to teach, or to engage your child!" Even if the new course is just simply choosing to see the gift(s) in front of me (my crusty eyed beautiful newborn and my nappy headed, food stuck to the face beautiful daughter).
As Glennon Melton, blogger for Momastery.com/blog/ and author of her first book, "Carry onWarrior, Thoughts on Life Unarmed," says in a post on kairos from January 2012:
There are two different types of time.  Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time.  Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.  Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them…Like when I’m stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I’m haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk.  And then I look at my cart and I’m transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles of healthy food I’ll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world’s mamas would kill for this opportunity.  This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay.  And I just stare at my cart.  At the abundance.  The bounty.  Thank you, God.  Kairos…These moments leave as fast as they come - but I mark them.  I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos.  And at the end of the day, I don’t remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them.  And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it. (Click here to read entire post.)
 So with each new day, during this season of Lent, I am choosing to:

  1. Remember Christ suffered for me
  2. Realize that I am really not suffering at all (He is just testing me out some!)
  3. Look for those kairos moments (gifts, opportunities to change course) in my life
  4. And look with anticipation to the day when God will act again! (No more suffering for eternity)

Friday, March 15, 2013

March meeting recap!

So good seeing all you ladies at our March meeting yesterday morning! And welcome to Laura P, our new mama!... we hope you come back :)

The big announcement of the day: MOPS is moving!! Next month, April 11th, will be our last meeting at New Covenant. We've loved, loved, loved our time at New Covenant & are so appreciative of everything they've done for us. We (& NC) are just running out of space! So as of May 9th, we'll be in our new location -- Boulevard Baptist! Boulevard is excited to be hosting MOPS, & has offered us the use of their Christian Activities Center building. Click here for directions to Boulevard. Please make a note of our location change... we want to leave no mama behind :)

Pamela did our devotion today... & wow, what wonderful thoughts she had to share with us! I'm actually going to devote an entire blog post to Pamela's thoughts, so please stay tuned.

And for today's craft, we made "Resurrection Eggs"... what a great idea to help our kiddos understand the true meaning of Easter! Tutorial coming soon, along with printable instructions that were available at the meeting.

Today's speaker was Stacy Dodds, a mother of 6 boys. She spoke on today's topic "Life Rafts in the Toddler Pool." Stacy shared 3 main "life rafts" with us as we brave the preschooler ups & downs of daily life.

Life Raft #1: Time Management

Every mama has those days when you're counting the minutes until naptime. And sometimes it seems like the preschool years are never going to end. But Stacy reminded us that while the days may feel long, the years are short.... before we know it, our preschoolers will be in school, then teenagers, then adults. She encouraged us to remember that when we feel overwhelmed or invisible, we are building the foundation of a beautiful cathedral. She shared an excerpt from Nicole Johnson's book, "The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees":

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." 
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees." (click here to read entire story.)

Stacy reminded us that the foundation of a beautiful cathedral is just as important as the ornate spire at the top. She encouraged us to get up early, before the kids, & take some quiet time for reflection & devotion before the busyness of yet another day starts.

Life Raft #2: Discipline

While raising six sons, Stacy discovered that there were 3 main discipline priorities in her house:

  1. Sleeping schedule - God designed our bodies to need rest; therefore, we (& our children) only operate at our best when well-rested. Helping your children establish a sleep schedule is one of the best things we can do for them (& ourselves). 
  2. Eating schedule - with today's busy go-go-go households, it's easy to start the habit of "grazing"... making snacks & drinks available for our kids all the time instead of having structured meal times. Putting your family on a eating schedule not only helps with time management & structuring your day, but it also allows for family visiting time.
  3. Following through - do what you say. Here are a few main points from Stacy's thoughts on discipline:
    • Don't make empty threats... if you tell your children what a consequence is going to be, keep it doable & follow through. 
    • We can actively teach our children to behave or passively allow misbehavior. Whining & disobeying come naturally to kids... it's up to us to redirect & guide them in a more positive direction.
    • Explain what your expectations are ahead of time, before you arrive at the store, restaurant or friend's house. 
    • Never discipline in anger; try not to raise your voice. 
    • Always give children an explanation when disciplining. 
    • Try the "sit time" method - teach your toddler to sit quietly by working with them daily, starting at 5 mins & working gradually up to 30 mins.
    • Don't heap guilt & shame on your kids to make them behave.
    • PICK YOUR BATTLES! Don't allow small issues to become power struggles. 

Life Raft #3: LOVE

Give your children unconditional love... all children at all ages (even teenage boys) need affection. Stacy encourages us to never withhold love & affection from a child, especially after discipline. Openly show forgiveness... children learn forgiveness by example. Stacy mentioned the "love bank" of our kids... make daily deposits into their love banks, so when you have to discipline (which will feel like a withdrawal from their love banks), there's still enough love in their banks to make them feel secure.
"Our children are diamonds in the rough...  God created the stone & we, as mothers, are the chosen tool to finish, hone & polish our diamonds into a jewel." - Stacy Dodds


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Grasshopper Pie

This Sunday is St Patrick's Day... time to pull your green out, people! If your family likes mint, they'll love this festive, green Grasshopper Pie...

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made deep chocolate crumb pie crust
  • 24 large marshmallows or 1 container of Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2/3  cup half-and-half
  • 2 tbsps creme de menthe liqueur or 1 tbsp peppermint extract
  • 2 tbsps creme de cacao liqueur or 2 tsps of chocolate extract
  • green food coloring
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • a few Oreos, coarsely crushed
  • whipped cream (optional)

The Directions:

Put marshmallows (or marshmallow fluff) & half-and-half in a large saucepan. Heat on low, stirring constantly, until just melted. Put saucepan in refrigerator or freezer until mixture is chilled (it should hold its shape when dropped from a spoon).

Once mixture is chilled, add both liqueurs or extracts & stir until completely combined. Add a few drops of green food coloring. Stir until completely combined. Put back in fridge.

Pour heavy whipping cream into large bowl & beat on high with electric mixer until stiff. Make sure your green mixture is thoroughly chilled, then gently fold the whipped cream & marshmallow mixtures together.

Pour filling into pie crust. Sprinkle coarsely crushed Oreos on top. Put in freezer until top sets, then cover with plastic wrap & return to freezer until completely frozen.

Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before you're ready to serve. Top with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

1 week 'til St Patrick's Day!

It's one week until St Patty's Day... time for some cuteness up in here!

Treat your little ones to a breakfast of festive green milk & Lucky Charms.... & I especially love the sweet note (click here to print your own).

What preschooler's not going to love a super-spy scavenger hunt to find the pot o' gold? Use yarn & tape to create this St Patrick's Day adventure... (click here for more details):

Or check out these free printables for some (quieter) learning activities, including puzzles, coloring sheets & matching cards (click here to download):

Ask your kiddos to help you make a Lucky Rainbow Jar... layer gold coins, skittles (great color organization activity for the littles!) & marshmallows to create a colorful rainbow. Would be a great gift idea for teachers, coworkers or friends!

And no holiday, no matter how small, is complete without decorating your house! Click here for the tutorial for this shamrock tree, the burlap & green bunting, or a printable St Patrick's Day banner.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

raising grateful children

There are a million things I want to instill in my child... integrity. courage. a sense of humor. kindness. and what I'm thinking about today... GRATITUDE.

I want to teach my daughter to be thankful.

But how to do this? How do we keep our children from developing that sense of entitlement that seems to so easily work it's way in? 

I found a great article, & I wanted to share it. Do you agree with these points? Do you have any points to add? 

How to Raise a Grateful Child:

  1. Be a Gratitude Role Model. You know you're grateful. But your children don't know unless you say it aloud. Talk about how much you appreciate their father. Or how appreciative you are for the friends you have. Or how glad you are that y'all are getting to spend the day together as a family. Your outwardly expressed gratitude teaches them by example.
  2. Simplicity matters. When you keep things simple, anything out of the ordinary matters more. When you eat at home most of the time, going to a restaurant is a big deal. When you drive older cars, a new(er) car is something to be thrilled about. When your family keeps a low profile most of the time, going to Build-A-Bear or an amusement park is a huge treat.
  3. Talk about the world. Talk about how your food comes to be on your table. Talk about how your family's mail appears... that someone actually brings it to you. Talk about how things are made. Talk about why things happen & why things are important. Talking about things that don't directly affect your children reminds them that other people matter... that they aren't the center of the universe. It teaches them perspective.
  4. Teach actions.  Help your child write a thank you note. Have your child paint a picture & help make cookies for an elderly family friend. Sort through clothing & toys & talk to your child about donating the items & how they'll help someone else. Understanding the concept of helping others discourages selfishness & a "me, me, me" attitude.
  5. Build thanks into your daily routine. Children (& adults) respond to routine... so make giving thanks part of their (& your) daily tasks. For older children, have them keep a gratitude journal where they write one thing every day. For younger children, ask them every night during their bedtime routine what they're thankful for. 
(adapted from Awesomely Awake.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Blueberry Muffins

A couple of people mentioned that they'd like the recipe for the blueberry muffins at our last meeting, so I thought it would be great candidate for Tasty Tuesday!

**makes 6-8 large muffins or 12-15 medium muffins. 

The Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen berries don't work as well!)


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups well or line with muffin liners.

Combine first 4 ingredients. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add egg & enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture until just moistened (use as few strokes as possible to mix). Fold in blueberries.

To make topping, put all topping ingredients in a bowl & mix with a fork until crumbly.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle lightly & evenly with crumb topping mixture (putting the topping only in the middle will cause your muffins to cave in... I know this because my muffins all had sink-holes in the middle!)

Bake for 18-20 mins, or until done.