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activities for kids

Activities & Crafts

Tissue Paper Watermelon: A Fun Summer Sensory Play Craft

July 30, 2020
tissue paper watermelon sensory play craft

This super cute and fun summer craft is from our resident arts-and-crafts director: my sister-in-law, Amanda! And, of course, her sweet daughter, Lily. This tissue paper craft doubles as sensory play because what kid doesn’t love playing with tissue paper?! It’s also fantastic fine motor practice for your little one!

Supplies for Tissue Paper Watermelon Craft:

  • Card stock/thin cardboard or paper plate
  • Green, red and pink tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Black material for seeds (tissue paper, construction paper, paint, etc.)
  • Optional: popsicle sticks & glue gun

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Chronic Pain

10 Tips for Chronic Pain Survival Days

July 29, 2020
chronic pain survival days

Today I want to share with you what helps me get through extra difficult days with my chronic pain. If you’re suffering from chronic pain – whether physical, mental or emotional pain that is ongoing – this should be helpful for enduring those days when you just have to survive the day. 

1. Accept help.

If you’re battling with chronic pain, you need to find a tribe of supportive people to surround you. Whether that’s your physical family, your church small group, or some friends and neighbors – find your tribe. Have your go-to people that you can text or call if you’re having a bad day. People who can pray with and for you, or who can come over to help distract your kiddos if you need a break. 

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17
chronic pain survival days inspirational quote

Of course, if you want this type of friendship, you have to be this friend to others as well. Be intentional about your relationships. It’s not realistic to have 15 super close BFFs – but you can have 2-3 friends whom you would do anything for – and who also will understand if you have to change your night-on-the-town plans to a movie night in bed because you’re in pain.  

2. Communicate your pain.

“A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.” 

If your friends and family members don’t know you’re in pain, it’s going to be impossible for them to know how to help you. So even if it’s hard, you have to share your pain. You don’t have to tell everyone – but be intentional with what you share. Don’t just say “I’m fine” when you know that’s not true. Be specific. Be real.

Have one or two people that you know you can shoot a text to on painful days. For me, I typically reach out to my sisters-in-law, Amanda and Andrea. Just a simple, “pray for me, I’m in a lot of pain today,” text can help take some of the burden off of me. 

A note on getting help & communicating your chronic pain:

One question that I get a lot from friends or family members is: how can I help? This is a difficult one for me because I genuinely need help, but I don’t want to inconvenience people and I certainly don’t want to ask for something that’s more than they were willing to give. However, I think if someone is asking this question, they most likely really want to do something for you! My mom often reminds me that God can use my pain as an avenue for others to answer His calling to serve. I shouldn’t hinder that call by being too proud to ask for help. So, communicate specific ways that a friend can help. Perhaps they can bring a meal, watch your kids for an hour while you rest, pick up groceries or medicine for you, or just bring you a coffee.

Please don’t be hurt if people don’t “get it” when you’re in pain.

If you’ve never had a migraine before, it’s hard to grasp how debilitating one is. Oftentimes we feel like we’re falling apart on the inside, but to others we look just fine! This can make it much more difficult for them to connect with how we’re feeling. I’m always surprised after a group hangout if I mention that I was in pain and people reply, “I had no idea!” Don’t assume people know how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to explain in detail what you’re experiencing. However, make sure to offer lots of grace when a friend or family member inevitably doesn’t quite understand. That’s OK!

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Activities & Crafts

Simple Seed Growing Experiment

July 22, 2020
seed growing experiment

This seed growing experiment is one of my favorites for so many reasons!

  1. It teaches kids about how plants grow.
  2. It gets them excited about vegetables (and fruit and flowers)!
  3. It’s simple and inexpensive.
  4. It’s genuinely incredible to watch these plants grow up close.

What you’ll need for this seed growing experiment:

  • Clear cups (glass or plastic)
  • Seeds of any kind
  • Paper towels (about 2-4 sheets, depending on the size of your cup)
  • Water
  • Dry erase marker or permanent marker (to indicate the seeds on the cup)
  • Patience

First, pick out your seeds. We did pea, green bean, cantaloupe, radish and an assortment of wildflower seeds – but you can use any seeds you want! It was fun to take Finn to Lowe’s and have him pick out which seeds he wanted to grow.

Next, take your paper towels, wrap them around your hand so they form a tight spiral (so they can fit in the cup in an organized manner). Then, wet the paper towels so that they are moist but not soaking wet. They need to maintain some structure inside the cup. Then, place them in the cup so that they are snug against the edge of the glass. If the paper towels are falling down, just reinforce them with more damp paper towels.

Finally, stick the seeds on the outside of the paper towel so that you can see them through the glass. You can use your finger (or a pen) to create a small tunnel on the side of the paper towel so they can slide down the glass. You want to paper towel to be snug against the seed so that the seed gets the moisture from the paper towel. This will help it to germinate!

Then, mark your seeds (so you can remember what they are) and place in a sunny spot in the house! A central windowsill is a great spot so your kids can check on them every day.

If you’d like to make this into more of a formal experiment, here’s what we did:

Question: which seed will germinate (grow) the fastest?

Finn guessed that the green bean would grow the fastest because it was the largest. I “guessed” that the radish would germinate quickly because it was the smallest. (Also because I read online that it would! Ha!)

Keep track of the results and once the seeds have sprouted, you can do some more research with your little one about why they sprouted at the rate that they did. You could also have a “competition” on which seeds will grow the tallest or test different hypotheses based on how much sunlight or water your seeds are receiving.

Watching these seeds germinate was really amazing! It took a little patience at first, but once they sprouted I was amazed by how quickly they grew.

After they outgrow your cup, you can (very carefully) remove them from the glass cup and replant them. Note: the roots will grow into the paper towel so you have to be careful to gently detangle them.

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Activities & Crafts

5 Tips for a Fun & Easy Summer Schedule

June 11, 2020
fun & easy summer schedule

Ah, summer time. Hot sun. Playing in the pool. Running through the sprinklers. Bare feet on the grass. Eating popsicles. It’s the best when you’re a kid. 

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    I remember one summer we spent with a mom who these days be crowned a “Pinterest mom” – she had a different activity scheduled for every day of the week. It was awesome. We went to the beach, to the park, to museums and the library. We had a blast. 

    Sometimes I can feel overwhelmed or burdened to become this activity-planning, Pinterest-worthy mom. There’s a lot to live up to on the Interwebs. 

    However, I’ve made small, achievable decisions that have helped me to make my kids’ days fun, engaging and (sneakily) educational – that don’t make me feel overwhelmed. I hope this can help you too if you’re in the same boat! 

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    Activities & Crafts

    Activities to Wear Out Your High Energy Kid

    April 22, 2020
    activities to wear out your high energy kid

    So you’re stuck at home during this quarantine and your kid is driving you crazy…what do you do?! I’m constantly in a state of searching for activities for my high energy kid, Finn. Aside from displaying the Gospel to my kids, it seems like my #1 daily goal is to get energy out of them! God did not grant me children who will sit quietly and color or read books all day. So I’ve had to learn the hard way how to get energy out of my boys through trial and error. This is some of what I’ve learned.

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      My strategy for the day is typically to feed them, get energy out of them, and then try to have some quiet time. I’ve found that they will play on their own more independently if those two needs are met. Our day starts with breakfast, a short devotional where we read a Bible verse together, and then trying to go for a long walk or some sort of activity (preferably outdoors) that will help Finn burn off some energy.

      So, if you’re working from home because of this COVID pandemic, I highly recommend trying to feed and de-energize your kiddos before trying to get some work done. (Another helpful hint for working from home: try to get as much work done as possible BEFORE your kids wake up. Get the hardest tasks done first, right from the start of the day. Trust me. Try it. You can thank me later.)

      A few helpful principles for wearing out your high energy child:

      • Utilize muscles that aren’t typically used – this is tiring for all of us!
      • Challenge them with activities slightly above their ability. If it’s too hard, they won’t want to do it. But if it’s too easy, they won’t burn off as much energy. It’s a balancing act!
      • Be okay with repetition – if something works, don’t be afraid to do it again and again…and again. You’ve probably noticed, kids love repetition.
      • When in doubt, go outside. Nature is somehow simultaneously stimulating and calming. God is amazing!

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      Activities & Crafts

      All About Jesus Easter Craft

      April 9, 2020

      And just like that, Easter is upon us! Before having kids, I never thought I’d be into doing things like Easter crafts and Easter egg hunts. As a non-parent, I felt like those things took away from the power of the Cross and Resurrection. But now that I’m actually a mom, I can’t help it – we’re doing all the non-religious Easter activities! However, I still feel very strongly about not letting those things take place of what “Resurrection Sunday” is really about: Jesus.

      My primary mission in being a mom is to teach my children about Jesus – whether it’s Christmas, Easter or the middle of June. We talk about Jesus all of the time, but Easter is a particularly special time to emphasize what Jesus has done for us.

      So today we did a Jesus-centered Easter craft that was super simple and fun, and we also used that time to talk about God’s sacrifice of His Son and how much He loves us.

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