Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chore Charts

I've been thinking for several weeks now of creating Buddy a chore chart.  He is three now and very capable of helping around the house.  I would love for Buddy to start having a sense of responsibility and the ability to keep up with his tasks.  While he has already been un-officially helping with different tasks, I want to have a daily system of expectations in place.  I think this idea of a chore chart stems from what I already have in place for myself.
Two years ago, I created my chore chart after realizing that my daily written checklist always repeated a lot of the same things.  I love having a visual reminder of what needs to be done each day and throughout the week.  It is also a good feeling to be able to check off things that I have completed.  I've covered my chart in contact paper so I can use a projector marker (leftover from my teaching days) that cleans off nicely using only water.  The verses from Proverbs are also great reminders to do my work on days that I do not necessarily feel like working.

I wanted to create a chart for Buddy that was similar to mine but realized that he can not read and I did not want to have to read it to him.  After looking at several ideas online, I created a combination of a list chore chart and a picture chore chart.  Colossians 3:23 is the verse above his chart and will be our memory verse this next week while implementing his chart.  When he completes each task, he can put a smiley face using Velcro in the correct box.  Jon and I are still talking about how much Buddy will earn for each smiley face at the end of the week.  We like the idea of an allowance of some type with the lessons of tithing, saving, and spending attached.  Here is a picture of Buddy's chore chart.  I still have to cover it in contact paper and attach the Velcro dots but you can get the idea.
For Sundays Buddy will be given a rest from his chores, just like God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2).  Jon and I try to observe a day of rest on Sundays as well so Buddy can join us.  Oh, and yes, our fish is named Frank.  It is Buddy's fish, so Buddy was able to name it.

If you are interested in creating a Chore Chart for your preschooler, here are a few links that I found helpful when creating Buddy's chart.  A few of the links can actually create a personalized chart for you. 
Christian Preschool Printables
Simple Mom - Chore Chart for Preschoolers

I also found a link for a chore system for older children and pre-teens if that is what you need.  I've saved this idea for when Buddy and Sweetpea are at that age.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yogurt Pie

I just wanted to share an easy and delicious recipe for pie for the summer months.  A friend shared this recipe with me and I have really enjoyed it ever since! 

Yogurt Pie
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 8 oz Cool Whip
3 individual size yogurts, any flavor

Mix Cool Whip and yogurt together.  Pour into pie crust and chill until semi-solid.  Serve.  (Optional:  top with slices of fresh fruit)

Recipes can not get much easier than this one!  My favorite kind of yogurt to use is the Mixed Berry flavor from Yoplait but Strawberry Banana yogurt topped with slices of strawberry and banana is really yummy too.  This pie is perfect for summer months as it is very cool and refreshing and a hot oven never has to be used.  I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

DIY Baby Items

Tonight's post is a few links to different do-it-yourself projects for babies or toddlers.  These different items are ones that I hope to make in the future but I didn't want to wait to post until then.  I love how the internet can allow us to share so many different cute ideas!

DIY Sock Shoes from Better Life Bags has an easy way to make your own sock shoes.  Since I really do not like putting shoes on a baby that isn't walking, but love how little Mary Jane shoes look on little girls, this is a great compromise!  I'll have to save this idea until we decide to have another baby since Sweetpea is trying to walk and needs shoes now. 

DIY Blue Jean Skirt from a guest post at Kojo Designs by Homemade by Jill shows how to turn a pair of jeans into a blue jean skirt for little girls.  This is a great way to repurpose jeans that no longer fit or are getting too old.  This looks so simple that I hope to try it out when I buy a sewing machine as one of my first projects.  I've even saved a pair of jeans that have a hole ripped in the knees to use! 

DIY Stenciled Onesies from Gabriel's Good Tidings is a way to make personalized outfits for children without having to know how to sew.  This looks a little time consuming but the results speak for themselves.

DIY Lined Canvas Bins from Positively Splendid takes diaper boxes and turns them into super cute canvas bins.  I know that every parents goes through a ton of diaper boxes and I hate throwing them out.  We used a lot of diaper and wipes boxes when we moved but this is a much better way to reuse them.  These bins would work well in a child's closet or even in a living room to store magazines or books.  This will also be another project I hope to tackle after I have a sewing machine.  Hmm...maybe Jon can sense a theme for my birthday coming up?

Let me know if you make one of these items, I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Veggie Tales: Gideon Tuba Warrior

Veggie Tales: Gideon Tuba Warrior
One of Buddy's favorite movies right now is Gideon Tuba Warrior by Veggie Tales and to be honest it has turned into one of my favorites too.  We've checked this movie out twice now from our church library and each week that Buddy has it, it is the only movie that he wants to watch.  I've been a little disappointed in Veggie Tales lately as I feel that some of the movies lack a clear Biblical message but Gideon Tuba Warrior is awesome. 
The first segment of the movie is about George Mueller and how we should always trust God for everything because He is faithful to provide.  A very Silly Song, "Lance the Turtle", is in the middle and the rest of the movie is the story of Gideon and the impossibly small Israelite army who defeated the huge army of Mideonites. 
Gideon Tuba Warrior is full of funny quips that caught me off guard and made me laugh out loud several times.  I won't spoil them for you, but trust me, this movie is not just for children as I found it very entertaining!  The Silly Song in the movie turns out to be a Ukulele Karaoke with Bob and is as hilarious as the rest of the movie.  Although, I do have to warn you, that "Lance the Turtle" is always stuck in my head after Buddy watches this movie.  The constant theme is to trust God for everything, even when it might not make sense to us.
Buddy asked for a trumpet for Easter and Jon and I found a little plastic trumpet from the store to put in his basket.  Every time that he has watched it since, Buddy has had to have his trumpet with him so he can play along with Gideon to help defeat the Mideonites.  Here is a cute photo of Buddy playing his trumpet.

If you are looking for a fun family movie, I highly recommend Gideon Tuba Warrior for all ages as a reminder to put our trust in God no matter how impossible the situation seems.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Recipes

Today Buddy and I made a Resurrection Cake, well Buddy helped me mix up the cake but I did a lot of the decorating since Buddy just wanted to lick the icing from the beaters.  Here is a photo of the final project. 

We just used a box cake mix and I cut out the cooled cake into the empty tomb shape.  It is a fairly simple design but Buddy started really talking about Jesus and the tomb.  My favorite quote from today was "Jesus was not buried.  That's just not cool."  I can understand his confusion as many of the books we've read have gone straight from the cross to the open tomb and Jesus' resurrection.  Jon and I kept explaining that Jesus was buried in a tomb and then resurrected but Buddy insisted that Jesus wasn't because "that's just not cool!".  This will be Sweetpea and Buddy's dessert with our nice Easter supper tomorrow night.

Another recipe that we will be trying out tomorrow is the Resurrection Rolls from DLTK's Growing Together.  It will be interesting to see Buddy's reaction to the disappearing marshmallow.  I am hoping that Sweetpea will want to try this easy recipe with us too even if she just plays with the crescent rolls.

Finally, a classic Easter treat is the Resurrection Cookie.  This is a great recipe for older children as it has a Bible verse to go along with each step of the recipe.  I've put this in my folder to try next year with Buddy and Sweetpea. 

I hope you have a blessed Easter tomorrow! 
"He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."  Matthew 28:6

Friday, April 22, 2011

Unfinished Work...

Here are a few things that we started today but never finished. 

Buddy, Sweetpea, and I started making the Easter Mobile.  Buddy was having too much fun coloring so all my photos turned out a little blurry.
Sweetpea joined in on the fun with her red crayon.

 After we finished coloring, I put the pages aside to cut out later, which turned into after Buddy and Sweetpea were in bed.

While I was waiting for a chance to cut out the crosses and verse for the mobile and crayons were out, I thought we could start shredding crayons for our Stained Glass Cross.  Buddy had a blast shredding the crayons and even though Sweetpea wanted to join, I just let her continue to color.
 We now have a lovely pile of crayon shavings waiting to be used tomorrow on my counter top.

Now you may be wondering why we started all of the crafts and not have time to finish them.  Today was one of those days that Buddy and Sweetpea were the best of friends and I did not want to stop their playing to continue with craft time.  It warms my heart to see them enjoy spending time together and to see Buddy showing Sweetpea how to do things.  Sometimes Sweetpea even shows Buddy a thing or two.  I could have redirected both of them to do what I wanted but instead I decided to take a few pictures of them and let them enjoy one another.  I even added to my list of one thousand gifts today.  Here are a few pictures of their play time.

Playing in Buddy's room.

 "Brother, will you read to me?"  Buddy gladly picture read this book to Sweetpea.
Blowing bubbles with Sweetpea.  Regardless of the picture, she was giggling once he quit blowing them directly into her face.

 Putting their heads together to plan more mischief.
These are the sweet moments of life and I was glad to have unfinished projects that can wait for tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday, a term that I had not heard much until I was in college, and probably never really understood until tonight.  Also a term that confuses a lot of our youth as they tend to ask, "What is Monday Thursday?"  I knew that it was a celebration of the Last Supper and the Lord's Supper but never stopped to think about the word Maundy. 
At our church, we had a Maundy Thursday service tonight and it was explained that 'Maundy' means "A new commandment".  Buddy, who was in the service, started to recite his Bible verse of John 13:34 where Jesus states, "A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you so you must love one another."   While it made my Mommy heart proud, it also made me a little curious if this verse and Maundy Thursday are connected.  So I looked and found a post by John Piper at Desiring God called Thursday of the Commandment.  I hope you enjoy the post as much as I did.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Creation Butterflies

Today we finished up the activities that I had planned for Buddy with his Bible verse this week.  He has been working on 2 Corinthians 5:17 and had it memorized a few days ago.  I finally got him to say it on video, so please excuse the Nemo pajamas...he was looking for an excuse to stay out of bed.  Is reciting Scripture an okay reason? 

I mentioned in my post 2 Corinthians 5:17 about the Easter Tot Pack at 1+1+1=1.  Buddy and Sweetpea made New Creation Butterflies today from the Easter Tot Pack and I think they turned out super cute.  Plus, it is a great automatic reminder for Buddy for his verse.  We hung them on our wall when they were finished drying.
I did not get any pictures of the process since it involved paint and a 3 year old and a 1 year old so here are the completed projects.

Buddy's Butterfly

Sweetpea's Butterfly

We are still working on a few of our Easter crafts since I was sick all day yesterday.  Hopefully we'll wrap them up by Sunday. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Easter Books

Here are my final recommendations of books for Easter!
The Week That Led to Easter - Arch Books
The Week that Led to Easter by Joanne Larrison is a book that our church librarian helped Buddy choose and one that I have loved.  It rhymes and starts with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  This was the perfect book to read with Buddy as we talked about Palm Sunday yesterday and as we approach Easter this week.  The illustrations are beautifully done as well and Sweetpea enjoyed pointing at various things on the pages.


Easter by Fiona French is a beautiful Easter book with words from the King James Bible.  The entire book is written in an Old English style and the illustrations look like stained glass windows.  This was a little over Buddy and Sweetpea's head as I had to change to more simplistic wordings.  Buddy also had a hard time "seeing" the pictures because of the stained glass format.  I thought it was a great book that I will definitely look for next year since it is different from anything else that we normally read. 

What Is Easter?
What is Easter? by Michelle Adams is a board book that a friend has recommended.  I have not read this book myself but she said it is a really cute book.  It explains what Easter is truly about and that our focus should be on Jesus not on chocolate, bunnies, and eggs. 
The Story of the Resurrection Eggs in Rhyme and Song: Miss Patty Cake Opens Up the Wonder of the Easter Story
The Story of the Resurrection Eggs in Rhyme and Song by Jean Thomason and Nancy Gordon is a Miss Patty Cake book that we picked up this past weekend at our local library book sale.  I was not sure if Buddy would enjoy it but the pictures are so vivid and the whole book is great.  I love that it each Easter egg opens up a new surprise that points back to Jesus and there is a very clear salvation message in the book as well.  After reading the book, I was curious because some of the book seemed like it was set for a movie and sure enough there is a Miss Patty Cake DVD Eggstravaganza.   Miss Patty Cake has several other DVDs that look super cute so I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for them in the future. 

Egg Carton Plants Day 3:
Buddy and I watered our plants today and put them in sunlight.  I explained to him that it takes water, air, and sunlight to help plants grow.  He was pretty disappointed that it was still just dirt in our carton but I explained again that it will take a long time for plants to appear.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Palm Sunday

"Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" ~ Mark 11:9b 

Palm Sunday has always been a special time in my heart because of the memories of my childhood.  Several times growing up, each person at church would each receive a real palm frond and we would recite the verse above.  One year I remember, we, the children, were told to lay our fronds at the altar while shouting, "Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!".  Since tomorrow is Palm Sunday so I thought I would share a few craft ideas for children.

I plan to make a construction paper palm frond with Buddy tomorrow since we do not have a real one and let him walk around the house shouting Mark 9:11b.  DLTK's Growing Together has a great palm leaf template to use to create your own frond. 

DLTK's Growing Together also has several other Palm Sunday crafts if you are interested in doing other crafts as well.

If your church passes out real fronds, I found a neat tutorial on Folding Palm Crosses.  The video shows you how to take a palm leaf and turn it into a cross.  It is a reminder that while Jesus was entering Jerusalem triumphantly, the cross was ever looming.

And finally, John Piper has an awesome explanation of the meaning of the word Hosanna if you are interested.

I hope you have a great Palm Sunday and remember to focus on the reason that Jesus was entering Jerusalem.  Hosanna!  Salvation has come!

Egg Carton Garden

Today, Buddy and I started his egg carton garden for spring time.  This is something that we are going to try to keep up with daily and hopefully in about 3-4 weeks, we'll have nice marigold and asylum blooms and fresh parsley.  Buddy has been very interested in our rose bush and comments each day when he spots a new bloom so I thought this would be a hands-on approach to help him understand plants.  It also goes along with his Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17, since I think this qualifies as a new creation.

If you are interested in making an easy spring time 'garden', here is how we made our egg carton plants. 

You'll need:
1 cardboard egg carton
1 small bag of potting soil
1 or more packages of seeds (Be sure to check plant would be interesting to have a 5 foot plant growing from an egg carton)

Buddy filled each section of the egg carton with the potting soil.  Apparently, he is really excited in this photo!
 I poured the packets of seeds into my hand and he would take a small pinch of seeds and place them in the dirt.  We added another small layer of potting soil on top of each section to cover the seeds.
Buddy watered his new plants and then asked to see the flowers.  This will be a lesson in patience as well.  I recommend helping a little closer with the watering.  Buddy flooded our carton and so I know our three types of seeds, that we carefully placed in three different sections, were probably washed and blended together. Oh well, I think it will still turn out great.
The carton will be placed in a sunny section each day and carefully watered as needed.  I'm looking forward to checking for blooms with Buddy and watching his response.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Music Man

The Music Man (Special Edition)
Tonight we had another special family night and the movie of choice was the musical, The Music Man with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.  Buddy loved this movie!  He already has a great ear for music and loves any movie with music so I knew this would be a great choice.  My favorite part tonight was not the actual movie but it was watching Buddy pretend to play a trombone during the song "Seventy-Six Trombones".  He was riveted during all of the musical numbers and then showed Jon and me how to play the tuba, trumpet, and trombone.  All in all, a great memory made!
This is a great family movie that I remember renting and watching several times with my family while growing up.  If you have not watched this movie, I would recommend it but most definitely the 1962 Robert Preston and Shirley Jones version.  I was not a huge fan of the Disney version made in 2003, mainly because the original movie cast made the characters so memorable to me that it was hard to watch a re-made version. 
The enthusiastic joy in the musical numbers and the witty and 'punny' dialogue make for an awesome movie that has put many smiles on my family's faces tonight.