What We’re Reading {Easter Edition}

A friend stopped me in the hallway at church last Sunday and said, “I remember you talking about getting your boys the book, “The Three Trees” for Easter last year. What other books did you buy them?” 

And here we go. The next holiday is coming, just as I tossed my son’s valentine’s cookies in the trash today (yes, he had been saving them).  After two months of celebrating birthdays and half-birthdays, Valentine’s days and an anniversary, I’m going to need the next month to get my heart in the right place for Easter.

Because this is the big one..the one holiday that really matters. The reason for Lent makes sense to me now. We all need a time to prepare our hearts to truly grasp the meaning of this holiday. Our kids need help knowing Easter is not just about bunnies, candy, and brightly colored eggs.

So I’m thankful for my friend’s question because she helped me be proactive in planning for Easter. Maybe you need help too as you recover from a Valentine’s Day coma induced by assembling 200 Pinterest perfect superhero lollipops. Whether you’re starting to think about how to talk with your brood about the life of Christ, his death & resurrection or you’re wanting to buy books for their Easter baskets, here are some books we’re reading…

Whatwerereading

If you’re on the fence on whether or not to “do” Easter baskets…check out this post I wrote last year –> Making Easter Personal for Preschoolers <– (click this title)

Easter book ideas:

  1. The Three Trees **must own…three trees are transformed into manger, boat, & cross…but so much more to this story!
  2. Benjamin’s Box **goes along with the Resurrection eggs (see below)
  3. The Parable of the Lily **simple story illustrating the often undervalued gift of Jesus
  4. Easter Story (by Brian Wildsmith) **gorgeous illustrations (don’t own it though)

Here are a couple of our new favorite Children’s Bibles if you want to read the gospels leading up to Easter:

The Children’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos

We read a chapter out of this Bible each night (and by “we” I mean, “Bruce & the boys”). Beyond a typical picture Bible, I love the way the stories and historical events are written, not too advanced for my littlest guy (3yo) while still engaging for the oldest (7yo).  contains 110 chapters of old testament stories and 92 of new testament stories.

The Children’s Illustrated Bible (Selina Hastings, published by New Leaf Press)

bible

For the kids who need more than even the traditional picture Bible…my 5 year old (a tactile & visual learner) always chooses this Bible for our “tea time”. What makes this Bible special are the color photographs of real plants, animals, people, artifacts which coincide with the story. As he sees a picture of the Mount of Olives as we read about Jesus praying in the garden, these places become real. The Bible comes alive for him.

gardenofgethsemane

For the next couple weeks leading up to Easter if you need some “tools” to help you talk with your kiddos. Here are a couple of ideas: 

Resurrection Eggs

Basically they are 12 plastic eggs with little surprises inside which become a talking point in the story of Jesus. I know these eggs have been around awhile, but my boys still love them. I find it’s best to do this activity before your first real Easter egg hunt. Otherwise the little guys are pretty disappointed to find a little piece of cloth instead of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (who can blame ’em?).

If you don’t have time to buy them before Easter or don’t want to spend the money here are some links to how to make your own: Homemade Resurrection Eggs (like how she did one a day & hung on an easter tree).

What’s In the Bible: Jesus is the Good News (Vol.10)

I don’t know if you’ve gotten any of these videos yet, but I think they are really well made. Silly, yes. But they deliver the Truth of the Bible better than any other video series I’ve seen. This one specifically tells the story of Jesus’ life, death & resurrection from the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).

What is your favorite Easter book? or favorite children’s Bible? (please help me fill some Easter baskets)

Few Favorites Friday: April 13th

1. Officially Announcing…

Thanks to Hallmark I was able to quickly & easily order Knox’s birth announcements (remember they address & mail them for you?).

Unfortunately, my contacts were not 100% accurate. So I’m terribly sorry if I overlooked sending one to you. Particularly if you are one of my siblings and or parents!

Here is the cute back of the card:

2. Water Gun Battles

This past Saturday my super awesome husband took all four boys to Walmart while I went to my Latin Fusion dance class. Not only was that a favorite for so many reasons, but while at Walmart the boys decided to buy water-guns with the money they have been saving. It was a wonderful day hanging out in the backyard together.

There were a lot of smiles…but also some tears. Rules had to be established and requests to “not be shot” honored. We laughed thinking of a passerby listening to our conversations: “The next person to shoot someone who doesn’t want to be shot loses their gun.”

Not only is my husband awesome, he is a genius. When the boys tired of shooting each other with water, he brought out some “targets”. Aka, the recycled trash. 

3. Email Memories

To continue my adoration of my husband…

A couple weeks ago he set up email accounts for each of our boys on Gmail. Now when he takes a pic on his phone he sends it to their personal email accounts…with a description of the memory. For example, when our 4 year-old this weekend told us he peed into his water-gun (um yeah)…picture taken of him with water-gun, moment quoted, and emailed to his account. Hopefully he will think it’s hilarious when he is 17 years-old.

4. Sprinkles Home Delivery

Okay so it’s not like Tiff’s Treats (fresh baked cookie delivery), but it’s close!

My good friend Jamie sent us Sprinkles cupcake mix and circus cupcake decorations. After the boys begging for weeks to make them…we finally did!

We decided to share the yumminess and deliver some cupcakes to our neighbors.

My favorites from this experience were: (1) This–>

and (2) At dinner when asked what his highlight for the day was, my 2 year-old said “taking cakes to our neighbors. they keep the container.” love him!

5. Perfectly Imperfect Easter

Holidays can be a little “foggy” and overwhelming when you have a newborn. With my previous 3 boys it was the slew of fall/winter holidays that were a challenge to keep up with after having a baby. This year it was Easter.

Thankfully I have learned from my previous newborn/holiday experiences and I did not make any crazy commitments…no school parties, no egg hunts, no hosting Easter lunch. My goals were to do the rocks/Easter basket activity & get to church that morning.

The basket activity went okay. We collected our rocks discussed our sin, read the Ezekiel passage, put the rocks in the baskets & they went to bed. Nothing monumental. The next morning I attempted to discuss Jesus taking their sin for himself so they could have blessing & communion with God…I think they were too excited to see what was in their baskets.

 The afternoon before Easter I went out with the older two boys to get their Easter shorts. I decided they could wear the polos from the Newborn pictures (see baby announcement above), sweaters my mom got them at Christmas (since it was suddenly chilly here in Dallas), and we’d get some plaid shorts. Fortunately Children’s Place had 50% off their Easter clothes. Whew!

Here are the boys before leaving for church (please note there was candy consumed that morning):

I was trying to be patient with their antics and capture the moment…but I had just pumped a bottle for the baby (since my dress was not “nursing friendly”), couldn’t find all the pieces for the bottle, and the 2 year old had decided to start potty training again (successfully in the little potty…then unsuccessfully poured on the floor instead of in the big toilet).

Here is the picture of me and the boys after a wild morning getting ready for church:

exactly.

Here are the highlights from Easter morning:

1) Reading “The Three Trees” to the boys on the drive to church.

2) Finding our Resurrection Garden had finally grown some grass…in the most perfect place…at the foot of the cross.

A great reminder that new life can be found at the foot of the cross…surrendering to His will.

How was your Easter? What were some of your favorites from this week?

Linking up with:

friday favorite things | finding joy

Making Easter Personal for Preschoolers

It’s Easter Already?

In my walking-zombie-newborn-coma state it seems Easter has suddenly arrived. There has been no talk of Christ, the cross, or resurrection…until last week.

Driving the boys to school it hit me…Easter! I’m supposed to be talking to the boys about Easter. Okay let’s do that. “Hey boys do you see the white crosses people have in their yards? Did you know that on Easter morning they will turn them around to say, ‘He is Risen’?” 

That’s all we needed to start the “Easter” conversations. This simple statement sparked an onslaught of questions from my boys. We discussed the concepts of betrayal, vengeance, sin, atonement, and prophecy…all in 15 minutes. Whew!

Beyond a “story”

Each night before bed we read a story from the Bible. So the basic stories of Easter have been discussed in our home. They know what happens. But I want them to know why it matters. I want the Bible to go beyond stories and change their lives.

For example, to make the story of Judas’ betrayal more personal I said to my oldest, “What if your best friend Andrew met you at the park & gave you a big hug. That was a signal to the police to arrest you. And they paid Andrew money. How would you feel?” My son was shocked at the idea & began a rant on how he would fight back against the police. I shared with him how Jesus was quiet when Judas betrayed him and didn’t fight. How when Peter cut off the Roman soldier’s ear, Jesus healed the man.  Jesus acted differently than we would have.

Jesus chose God’s way (death on a cross) over his own way (fighting the soldiers).

Making Sin Personal 

That’s how we define “sin”. Sin is choosing your way over God’s way. It’s doing what you want to do instead of what God wants. This story of Jesus confirms that He was the only one on earth who was without sin. A man who always did what God wanted him to do.

One activity that I did last Easter to make Jesus sacrifice and the concept of redemption more personal involved their Easter baskets. I wanted to give them Easter baskets but I didn’t want them to be from an oversized bunny. I saw this idea online (turns out it’s from my new bloggy friend Amanda at Impress Your Kids). Here is her link: Easter Basket Alternative.

After discussing “sin”, we went outside & collected our rocks. Then we sat down and wrote with a Sharpie marker on each rock sins we struggle with: whining, fighting, hurting others, disobeying, yelling in anger, etc.

Then we put the rocks in their baskets. And read Ezekiel 36:26:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

His love for us…

We covered up the baskets with a red superhero cape. Why a red cape? To represent Christ’s death on the cross. A payment for our bad choices. His blood covered our sin. (If your kids are over 4 yrs old you could discuss the passover story. When Israelites were in Egypt…during the last plague they covered their doorways with blood of a lamb so death would pass over their homes.)

While they were asleep I took their rocks and moved them into a basket labeled “Jesus”. In their baskets I replaced the rocks with gifts.

When they woke up and found the baskets. I explained how Jesus took all their sin & bad choices for himself, so they could have blessings.

The gifts they were given would help them grow spiritually (Jesus Storybook Bible, Big Picture Story Bible), would help them develop the talents God had given them for His glory (coloring books/crayons, basketball), and would help them worship God (Seeds family worship CDs).

These are the books the boys are getting this year:

What do you do for Easter to make it more meaningful and personal for your kids? Do you find it hard to explain the true meaning of Easter to your little ones?

**I discovered that the people who made “The Jesus Film” have a version for children. You can watch a copy from the website: http://www.wonderzone.org . Here is the link to the movie: The Story of Jesus for Children.

The first time my son watched the movie he said, “Why would Jesus do that? Why would he do that for us?” Exactly. 

Like my eldest son said, “Was it sin that kept him on the cross? No, I remember. It’s love that kept him on the cross. It was sin that put him there.”

linking up with:

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