Super Easy Sheep Snacks–Taste and See Sunday

one sheep

You’ve heard me say it before, I love a good theme snack–especially when teaching preschoolers. Since we are now in week three of the Christmas lessons, this shepherd week. There’s an unwritten pattern to the Christmas story in children churches around the world. It goes like this:

Week 1: The angel comes to Mary

Week 2: The angel comes to Joseph

Week 3: Jesus is born and the angels come to the shepherds

Week 4: Wise men come bringing gifts.

Week 5: Review the above weeks above or a story about Jesus growing up.

Last year our shepherds week craft was shepherds staff cut out cookies. So this year, we gave the shepherds a rest and focused on the sheep and let the kids be the shepherds.

Here’s all you need to make just one or even a whole flock.

Giant marshmallows–guaranteed fun anytime, but they make for great big fluffy sheep
Skinny pretzel sticks–legs
Small traditionally shaped pretzels–these will be the eyes and nose.
Small pair of scissors or knife

Cut a slit in one of the ends of the marshmallow large enough to put the head piece into.
Put the head piece in there.
Stick the legs in and . . . .

Ta-Da! Ewe got sheep!!!

flock of sheep

Our preschoolers loved them. Well, so did our leaders! So have a little Christmas fun this year with your own little flock, and

Taste and See. . . .the Lord is good!!

Advent-ures in Christmas (Dadderday!)

jesse-tree-book

Hey Dads,

Usually it seems as though the moms take on these kinds of jobs–y’know, things like Christmas crafts and family devotions. But what if this year, that was a little bit different? What if this year you initiated the spiritual side of Christmas? I’m not saying you have to do it all alone. If there is a mom in your family’s picture, I hope she would be willing to work with you on this one, but if not, don’t be afraid to jump in and tackle the December adventure known as advent.

Advent simply means “coming,” as in Jesus is coming! Celebrating advent is a way to help your children, your family, to focus on that real meaning of Christmas we all hope to find.

Advent is more than just calendars with candy and prizes, it’s a way to pass on our heritage as believers and to create a spiritual foundation for your children.

The Jesse Tree is a great way to not only engage your children, but to get engaged with your children and the Christmas story.

The Jesse Tree comes from the book of Isaiah, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots”  (Isaiah 11:1),  and dates back to the middle ages.

Jesse_Tree

More recently Geraldine McCaugherean has written a delightful book that has interwoven a story that takes you day by day through the symbols of the Jesse tree. Each passage is a quick glimpse into the life of a local carver who is creating a Jesse tree and a local boy who comes to bother visit him each day subtley tricking him into telling the stories. Of course, as the stories unfold, so does the story.

There are gajillions of ways to incorporate the symbols into your own family’s life. One is available here: http://printables.yourway.net/christmas/jesse-tree-ornaments/  free printables that would allow your children to color and create the symbols and gives you a scripture reading plan to coorelate them together.

 

Leading your family spiritually can be a little intimidting sometimes, but c’mon dads, get in on the “Advent-ure” this December with your kids and The Jesse Tree, and make every day in December a Dadderday!

jess tree 3     JT-jessetree  jesse tree 2

 

 

Time for Me to Fly


At our last Monday Night for Moms, we shared the Flylady’s tips for Cruising through the Holidays. The missions have started and I’d hate for any of you who want to get on board to miss the flight.

Flylady, Marla Cilley, and her crew have come up with a great little planner and some helpful videos to get you started on holiday planning now so that when December comes, “All will be calm and all will be bright.” Well, at least it should be calmer and brighter. People are putting undue amounts of stress on themselves these days to get everything done and done in a way that somehow looks like it should be Pinterested. We are losing our joy and purpose, and it is time to redeem this season–and all the others.

I like to say sometimes that although I am called to die to myself for the cause of Christ, He never asked me to kill myself. We need to remember our first purposes of loving God and loving people, and move the other things to the back of the plane. Don’t get me wrong, the other things can still fly (well, there are baggage limits y’know, but that’s another post), but those things don’t get to take priority over the things that really matter.

Anyway, you can jump into the Flylady’s missions at her webpage http://www.flylady.net Just scroll down and click on the “Cruising through the holiday” picture. Starting your control journal is easy breezy, and with just about 15 minutes a day you can find yourself with the time you need to start flying first class in your relationships with God and others and still have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Gonna Fly Now!