Monday, April 6, 2015

Holy Week and Our Easter Tree

I've written before about how we began celebrating Easter in a new (to us) way two years ago.  We began doing some Christ-centered activities and learned a bit more about Christ's last week and it has evolved into something really beautiful and meaningful.

This was our third year celebrating Holy Week along with Easter Sunday and I feel like it was our best yet.  We're getting in the groove of what this time means for our family in regards to how we will celebrate this special time.

Throughout Holy Week I shared (on Facebook) a photo of our Easter Tree and some scriptures, videos, songs, or quotations each day and it was so fun to see that people were interested and excited in how we were celebrating and wanted to know more.

So, here's more.  :)   (A whole lot more!)   

I knew I wanted to focus on each event in Christ's life during Holy Week and that using pictures would be a great way to help the kids understand and recall the information.  Saturday morning before Palm Sunday, I sat down at the computer to figure out how we were going to do this and the idea clicked, photo tags.

I put together an image (or several) for each day during Holy Week.  (I cut them out and pasted them to card stock, wrote the corresponding day of the week on the back, then laminated.)  Each day after we learned about the events of that day, we added the tag to our Easter Tree.  As you read through this post, you'll see how we used the tags and if you are interested, you can download them here.  (Image credit HERE.)  

Page One HERE

Page Two HERE

3-4 Weeks Before Easter Sunday
Plant a Resurrection Garden (Easter Garden)

We love planting a Resurrection Garden each year.  (More about this over HERE.)  We do this by putting soil in a dish, making three crosses with sticks we find in the yard, and planting grass seed.  It sprouts within one week and it so darn much fun to watch.   For the tomb, we use an inexpensive clay pot that can be found at any store in the gardening section.   (This is 2014's garden.)

 Here are photos from our 2015 planting. 

Two Weeks Before Easter Sunday
Study the Names of Christ

Using The Living Christ we sat around the table one evening and read through the document, highlighting each name of Christ.  Afterward, we wrote the names on the tags and hung them on our branches we cut from a tree in our yard.  This became our Easter Tree.   

Palm Sunday
What Happened: "Jesus walked from Bethany to Jerusalem. He rode into the city on a donkey, as a verse in the Old Testament said He would. People recognized Him as their King, shouting, “Hosanna,” and laying down palm leaves in front of the donkey to keep dust from getting on the Savior. Jesus visited the temple and then returned to Bethany."

Video: The Triumphal Entry

Scripture References: Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1–11; Mark 11:1–11

Activity: Make palm fronds from green construction paper, then reenact The Triumphal Entry.
Add today's photo tag to the Easter Tree:

We like to have a special dinner on Palm Sunday (special is anytime we pull out candles.)  :)

2015 Palm Sunday

2014 Palm Sunday.

Mad Monday
What Happened: "Jesus saw people buying and selling things in the temple. Because He wanted the temple to be a “house of prayer,” He made them leave. Then He healed people who were lame or blind. The jealous priests were angry with Him."

Video: Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Scripture References: Matthew 21:12–17; Mark 11:15–19

Activity: Visit the temple and walk the grounds.  Discuss the importance of treating sacred things, sacred. 

Add today's photo tag to the Easter Tree:

Teaching Tuesday
What Happened: "Jesus taught people in the temple and on a nearby hill called the Mount of Olives.
The priests plotted to kill Jesus. One of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, agreed to turn Jesus over to the priests in exchange for 30 silver coins."
Video: Choose one of Christ's parables HERE.  

Scripture References: Matthew 25:31–46; 26:14–16.

Activities: Assign each family member a parable to study and then teach to the family. Or assign a parable to illustrate. 

Add today's tag to the Easter Tree: 

Wordless Wednesday
What Happened: "The scriptures do not say what Jesus did on this day. He may have spent the day with His disciples." 

Scripture References: Matthew 25:1–13

Activity: Dye eggs

Add today's tag to the Easter Tree: 

Passover Thursday
What Happened:  "Jesus’ disciples got ready for the Passover meal. During the meal, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. Then, to help them remember Him, He gave them the sacrament for the first time. Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to suffer for our sins and to pray to God. People came with swords and arrested Him. The disciples ran away in fear."

The Last Supper
Jesus Warns Peter and Offers the Intercessory Prayer
The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane

Scripture References: Matthew 26:17–29, 36–56

  • Make Unleavened Bread (This recipe is almost exactly like the one I use.) 
  • Taste vinegar (Matthew 27:34)
  • Cut out 30 pieces of silver using aluminum foil

Add today's tags to the Easter Tree:

Good Friday
What Happened:  "Jesus was taken to the high priest, Caiaphas. Jesus' disciple Peter denied that he knew Him. Jesus was questioned by the governor, Pilate, and by the king, Herod. He was condemned to die on the cross. Jesus was crucified. A rich man named Joseph laid Jesus in his tomb. Jesus' mother, Mary, and Mary Magdalene visited the tomb."

Jesus is Tried by Caiaphas, Peter Denies Knowing Him
Jesus is Condemned Before Pilate
Jesus is Scourged and Crucified
Jesus is Laid in a Tomb

Scripture References: Matthew 26:57–72; 27:1–2, 27–37; Luke 23:44–46, 50–56

Activity:  Have a period of time you go without using lights as a reminder of the 3 hours of darkness that occurred as Jesus hung on the cross (12:00-3:00 p.m.)  Or, read scriptures as a family by candlelight. 

Add today's photo tags to the Easter Tree: 

Silent Saturday
What Happened: "Jesus body lay in the tomb. A large stone was put in front of the door. The wicked priests asked Pilate to have guards stand outside the tomb to make sure no one went inside."

Scripture References: Matthew 27:57–66

Activity: Make Rice Krispie Treat Tombs (More over HERE.) 

Saturday is also the day we do Easter baskets and our neighborhood Easter egg hunt.

Add today's photo tag to the Easter Tree:

Easter Sunday
What Happened: "Jesus was resurrected! He had risen from the tomb. An angel descended from heaven and rolled away the stone. Jesus told His disciples to teach and baptize others and promised to always be with them."

Video: Jesus is Resurrected

Scripture References: Matthew 28

Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah
He is Risen

1.  Go for an Easter Walk scavenger hunt:  
Here are a few ideas of things to look for:

  • Something sharp: His pain
  • Something thorny: His crown of thorns
  • Something alive: He is risen
  • Something made of wood: Cross
  • Something dead: His death
  • Something dark: The 3 hours of darkness
  • Something hard and round: The stone that closed the tomb
  • Something fragrant: the spices used to prepare his body
2.  Resurrection Eggs: Buy or make your own

Add today's photo tag to the Easter Tree:

And, of course, celebrate with your loved ones!

On Easter Sunday, we reviewed what occurred each day of Christ's last week.  Who betrayed Jesus?  For how much?  What happened on Palm Sunday?  How many times did Peter deny Christ?  How many hours of darkness occurred while Jesus hung on the cross?  Why was Christ upset with the moneychangers at the temple?  Who was the first person to witness the resurrected Christ?  What does Christ's resurrection mean for us?

At the end of Holy Week, our Easter Tree was full and such a beautiful reminder.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Christ-Centered Easter and Holy Week

Two years ago, we began celebrating Easter in a new (to us) way.   We began celebrating Holy Week and being intentional in our preparation of Easter.  It has become much more than plastic eggs and chocolate.  (But I do love chocolate.  Dark, please.)  The celebration of Holy Week has become so meaningful and special to us.  I thought I'd round up some of the crafts and activities we've done in the past.

But first, here's something new we did this year.  

We studied just some of the more than 200 names for Christ.  We wrote the names on tags and hung them from branches that we cut from a tree in our yard.  I also found the darlingest (totally not a word) little bird clips that we stuck on there too.  We will add pictures of Christ next week as we study His life each day during Holy Week, each picture corresponding with the events of that day.  

We got our resurrection garden planted 6 weeks early this year and is a constant reminder of what we are celebrating.  This is such a simple yet meaningful activity and we all love watching and waiting for it to sprout.  

Celebrate Holy Week and Palm Sunday
Two years ago began recognizing Holy Week, in addition to Easter Sunday.  Each day we read what is known about Christ's life from that day.   (A friend of mine wrote a pamphlet that we refer to each year and this year we're going to use the coloring pages in it as well.) 

On Palm Sunday, we make palm leaves using green construction paper.  I read the story of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem and we reenact the whole thing.  You can print THIS illustration to show as you tell the story.  THIS short bible video is a great one to view.  Have the children wave their palm leaves and then use the palm leaves to decorate the dinner table.   

Additional bible videos can be found HERE.  I would suggest viewing them in advance as you may find some of the content too mature for your little ones.

Last year the kids mixed colors and painted green paper (because there was no green paper to be found in the whole house), which they used to make palm leaves, and then we used them for decoration on the dinner table that evening.  This meal is special as it marks the start of a very important week.  (Don't mind the wrinkled table cloth, mmkay.)

I grew up making a different kind of Rice Krispie treats (the ones with peanut butter) and so I haven't really made marshmallow rice kripsie for my clan much.  So, my kids think any time we make marshmallow rice krispie treats is pretty awesome and this is some they really love to do too.

And here are a couple of other little activities.  

All you need for this experiment is a glass of water, food coloring and some bleach. 

Additional Resources:


Monday, February 23, 2015

The End of {This} Road

Post #758.

The last.


This post has been a long time coming.  You may have even seen it coming.  I've been posting here less and less and on my Facebook page sporadically.

It's been fun.  It's been amazing.  It's been fulfilling, rewarding, challenging, frustrating.  I've learned oodles.  And the more I learned, the more I realized I don't know.   

I've created friendships with people I might never meet.  I consider them dear friends.

I've poured my heart out.  I've been silly.  I've been opinionated (but I mostly tried to keep those to myself.) 

But there's this whole life thing. 


Children, family, church commitments, community responsibilities, volunteer work, scouting, dating my husband, preparing meals, attempting to keep our house in order (attempting), making sure there is time for the best, most important things each day: family meals, games, reading, exercise, snuggles, community, family, friends, nature, laughter. 

Mowgli will be nine this year.

Tears well when I consider this.  We're approaching the halfway mark.

It's time for more focus.

Less distraction. 

Less outside.

More from within. 

And more from above

I thank you dearly for reading over the last four years.  I thank you for your kindness and your interest.

I wish you bliss amidst the ordinary.

Calm in the chaos. 

And joy.  Definitely joy.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Scripps Spelling Bee 2015

This is our third year participating in the Scripps Spelling Bee.

Bud participated in the Jr. bee for 1st and 2nd graders and Mowgli was in the (Senior) Jr. bee for 3rd and 4th grades.  Mowgli won the Jr. bee last year (I can't find a post about this????)  The kids love the spelling bee and I happen to think it's just darn stressful.  :)

We had a great cheering squad (but of course, they didn't really cheer, since it's supposed to be silent.) And by silent I mean Tigerlily yelled a lot and so Edwin finally left and took her to dinner. 

So thankful for these All-Star grandparents who drove hundreds of miles to support them! 

Bud was up first.  

He was eliminated in the second round.  His word was "boil" which he's spelled a thousand and one times (okay, I exaggerate) so I was bummed to see him eliminated on a word that he knew.   He added an extra letter in there and didn't realize he should have asked to start over.   

After the completion of the Jr. A bee and a quick break, those third and fourth graders were ready to go.  

When only five spellers remained, they moved to the stage.  This was a fierce competition with some very prepared children.  These five went many rounds with no mistakes. 

Mowgli was eliminated in the 19th round on the word Goliath.   I love that my mom kept track of all of his words. 

His spelling bee was won on the word "quotidian."  

Their grandma had these cute shirts made for them. 

Here are the boys with their cousins who also participated.  The cousin there on the far right, won the Senior Bee, which qualifies her for the regional competition.  

I sure am proud of these boys and the hours {and hours} they spent studying over the last few months!

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