Monday, November 28, 2016

Advent begins!

I know lots of us our in that similar life stage of being moms with young kids and trying to survive each day feels like enough. When we get to weeks or months of holidays it can feel exhausting or stressful. It is easy to compare celebrations or define the only way to celebrate but there is freedom to define the way our individual families worship and make Jesus the center of our home during the holidays. I want to encourage you to continue or change your celebrations so that they are worshipful, joyful, life-giving and point you to the Savior!!!

Every year I hear moms stressed out over how to teach their young children about the Advent season. There are so many blogs with crafts and events to teach kids about Jesus and Christmas that it can get overwhelming. It is hard to find a devotion to read with children and teach them while cuddling up or putting the to bed that connects the Gift of Jesus to their everyday. We have done a few with our kids that we loved but it wasn't much different than the readings from their children's bible we did during other months of the year.

My hope is to give you a break from crafts if you need it, not add more event calendars to your already busy month and to give you something short and simple to read with your kids that breathes life and hope into your celebrations this month!

Kids are so aware of getting presents on Christmas morning. It can be easy for that to be disconnected from celebrating Jesus during the Advent season. I wanted to connect those two celebrations easily for my children and help them understand what I already knew...why we give gifts to each other during Christmas.

Starting December first I will post a new entry for you to read with your kids that expands a child's view of gifts! Starting in the beginning with creation and introducing gifts such as life, food, family, individuality, joy, forgiveness and Jesus.

I would love to have you join my kids and I as we celebrate the gifts God gives us in His son Jesus!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

survival activities for toddlers so you can cook dinner!!!

I think sometimes those parts of our day that trip us up the most are the expected, anticipated, regular ones. The waking up with babies who need you immediately, the toddler who kicks and screams with every diaper change, the grocery store trip (aaahhh!), bedtime or cooking dinner with little kids who really do need to be watched and want your constant attention.

For so long cooking dinner was the part of my day I dreaded. I knew I would park my kids infant of the tv for too long so I could unload the dishwasher, start cooking, finish cooking, clean up the pots and pans and place everything on the table before calling them in. With encouragement and vision casting from my husband we started a new habit. As with all new habits it was painful at first, my quiet cooking dinner hour was gone, I had to encourage and teach and multitask when I wanted to run and hide. But, after a few days I began to see the success.

Here are my survival-for-cooking-dinner ideas that we used and worked!!!

1. Pattern blocks: this is great for 3 year olds and up. Can be done as a group or individually


https://www.amazon.com/MindWare-25105W-Pattern-Play/dp/B000WWJ5SO/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1479386855&sr=8-13&keywords=pattern+blocks

2. preschool work books let them explore new things without any pressure and they think its fun! we loved the scissors one because I was close enough to watch while they felt independent! (Amazon, the Dollar Store, Target all have lots of options)


3. Kinetic sand (warning: I prefer this for my older kids 5 and 6), it is moldable and not as messy and beach sand but don't be fooled it isn't clean. An older kid can keep it contained on a tray keeping them engaged and busy with minimal clean up.



4. jigsaw puzzles with 25ish pieces were also a hit wth the 5 and 6 year olds. Difficult enough for them to take time but possible for them to accomplish on their own.



5. Wooden cutting food was great for our 18 month old until he was 3. He felt like he was cooking with me. I typically put him in his high chair for containment and so he didn't disrupt the older two kids.






This new habit created peace, it created a special time to look forward to and it allowed dinner to be cooked without the house being torn apart and our children to not zoning out on an hour of tv later in the day than we wished (no judgement on your screen time rules!!!)

If cooking dinner feels like an insurmountable task to you try something new this week, be creative, be brave...you might just be surprised at what you were able to enjoy and accomplish!

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