Archive for April 2011
Many people consider Christmas to be their favorite holiday. Some folks like Thanksgiving, or even the Fourth of July.
Easter, or Resurrection Day, as I prefer to call it, is my favorite holiday.
It is here, on this day, that the world remembers something that I cannot forget every day of my life–that Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh, lived the perfect life that I could not live, that he might be the perfect sacrifice for the sin debt that I could never repay. He died on the cross, shedding His blood for me, and He rose again on the third day, that I might be freed forever from the punishment of my sin, and receive eternal life in His name.
No, it’s not because I have a thing for chocolate bunnies and hard-boiled eggs dipped in food coloring–and there is a frustration in my soul that perhaps you can relate to, when it seems that every tradition for young children surrounding Resurrection Day does nothing to point my little ones to Jesus or His Gospel.
Ah…so what’s a mama to do?
A friend of mine shared this recipe with me several years ago. I have seen a couple different versions of it, and I’m not sure of the original author. These cookies are a beautiful, hands-on way to teach our little children the story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Before you begin, gather together all the ingredients and materials you will need. As you come to each step in the recipe, read the Scripture verses out loud to your children.
Empty Tomb Cookies (aka “Resurrection Cookies”)–to be made the evening before Easter
You will need:
~1 cup whole pecans
~1 tsp white vinegar
~3 egg whites
~pinch of salt
~1 cup sugar
~zipper plastic bag
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
1. Place the pecans in the zipper bag and seal it shut. Have the children take turns beating the pecans with the wooden spoon until they are broken into tiny pieces. Explain to them that, in the early morning on which he was crucified, Jesus was whipped and beaten by Roman soldiers.
Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. and the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands.” John 19:1-3
2. Let each child smell and taste the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar in the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was on the cross, he was offered vinegar to drink.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst’. A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:28-30
3. Add egg whites to the vinegar in the mixing bowl. The eggs represent life. Explain to the children that Jesus gave his life for us, that we might have life in his name.
The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I cam that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11
“but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
4. Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.” Luke 23:27
5. So far these ingredients do not seem very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar to the mixing bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Oh, taste and see that tthe LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
6. Beat the mixture on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Peaks are “stiff” if they stand straight when beaters are removed. (Note: if you’ve never beaten egg whites before, this can be tricky and can take a very long time. I’ve recently discovered that a whisk attachment on an electric mixture can significantly reduce the time this step takes and make it much more likely that the cookies will turn out well.) As you beat the eggs, they become white. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been forgiven and washed away by Jesus.
Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
7. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.” Matthew 27:57-60
8. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and “seal” the oven door. Explain to the children that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days, I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.’
Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting the guard.” Matthew 27:62-66
9. GO TO BED! Do the children feel sad that they have to leave the cookies in the oven overnight? Explain that Jesus’ followers were overcome with sadness when Jesus’ dead body was placed in the tomb.
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy…So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:20, 22
On Easter Morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and EMPTY!
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.’ So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And, behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.” Matthew 28:1-9
Have a very blessed Holy Week and Resurrection Day!
Lavonne!! (comment #18)
Thank-you to all who entered!
You can still get your own “Go Anywhere Bag” at the Gathered and Sown Shop:
Oh, and stay tuned, because tomorrow I’ll be introducing another giveaway, in celebration of somebody very special who is having a birthday!
(Update: Yes, I’m a little behind in getting this new giveaway posted. I’m thinking Tuesday…)
Can you guess who?
I love being a homeschooling mommy! I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So, why did I freak out (just a little bit) when Kristen asked each of the Company Porch writers to blog a “typical” day in our homeschool?
Because life with preschoolers is unpredictable at best…totally chaotic at worst!
Nevertheless, with much fear and trepidation, I have decided to take on the challenge. However, before I begin, let me set the record straight…
1) I do not “do it all”.– I have been asked the “how do you do it all?” question plenty of times, and the answer is simply, that I don’t. My priorities may be different from your priorities, but we all have them. I have my own battles with laziness and selfishness. I have learned that many of the “must do’s” that I had once imposed upon myself were actually completely optional. Letting go of some of these things has freed me up to be a better manager of my time at home.
2)I do not have a perfect house.–Those of you who know me “in real life” are giggling right now because of how painfully obvious this is, but it is so easy to put one’s best foot forward on the internet. Please don’t assume because I write about homemaking, that I have the immaculate home of June Cleaver. I have been fighting a knock-down-drag-out-battle with clutter since 1996, and clutter has won more rounds than I have.
3) I do not use an alarm clock.–Actually, I have two alarm clocks. Their names are Micah (age 2) and Eliora (age 4 months). Occasionally, my almost 5 year old and almost 7 year old forget that they’re not supposed to be alarm clocks anymore. If I have any hope of getting anything done before the children wake, I need to allow the sunshine to wake me, without the aid of something that makes a buzzing or beeping noise.
4) I haven’t included things like errands, grocery shopping, play dates, etc, here. You can figure that on days that I have to do those kinds of things, something else “gives”.
5)I am still learning.–One thing that those of us with “littles” need to accept is that the schedule, no matter how perfect it may be on paper, is in a constant state of flux. One week, the baby is sleeping through the night. The next week, she’s going through a growth spurt and is waking 4 times a night to nurse. One day, the toddler keeps his pants dry all day long, the next day, you might as well have put him in a diaper. We have to remember that God is in control even when we are not. Responding to life’s interruptions with a bitter and angry attitude is akin to shaking our fists at God and saying, “I don’t like the plan you have for my life!” Better to let go of rigidness and work, instead, toward peace.
6)I fail. Miserably. Everyday.–I do not have it all together. What I write here is better seen as the “ideal” I strive for rather than the happy state of affairs that I live day in and day out. I still have a long way to go.
Okay, so what does a typical day around here look like?
The Morning Routine– When I get up in the morning, there are a few basic things I must do right away, if I’m smart. These are get dressed, read my Bible, and start a load of laundry. If I don’t get dressed right away, it may be almost lunch time before I realize I’m still in my pajamas!
The same holds true for laundry. Keeping up with the laundry is a never-ending task around here, especially since I use cloth diapers. I generally switch the laundry whenever we change activities. If I keep up with this, I can get 3-4 loads done by mid afternoon.
While it is important for me not to neglect reading my Bible, it doesn’t necessarily need to be “alone time”. We mothers of preschoolers need to dismiss the notion that our quiet time doesn’t “count” if we have a little person with us. This morning, I read my Bible while my two year old sat next to me, paging through my hymnal. He stumbled upon a favorite hymn of mine, and I sang it to him (very quietly). It was blessed.
I usually take a few moments to check my email and download a couple of podcasts that I regularly listen to at this point. I often do this while nursing the baby, but not always.
Once they’re awake, the older kids usually do a pretty good job of dressing and getting themselves ready. While it’s tempting the let the little ones hang out in pajamas all morning, things usually go better if I get them into “day clothes” right away.
Breakfast– I’m a big fan of breakfast, but not a big fan of cereal. As a result, I usually set aside time to make something–muffins, eggs, pancakes (if I’m ambitious), oatmeal (if I’m not). For days that demand a quick breakfast, yogurt with granola works pretty well. The children help with setting the table, and we all eat together.
Family Worship– Immediately after breakfast, once the table has been cleared, we have a time of family worship. We read a Psalm, sing a hymn, and pray together. We also practice our questions and answers from the catechism for young children.
School–How much time this takes, and which subjects we cover, varies greatly from day to day. We almost always practice our handwriting by copying a verse of Scripture. During this time I usually nurse the baby, and get out some special toys to keep the two-year-old occupied.
Outside Time– By the time we’ve finished our schoolwork, the children have generally exhausted every ounce of “sit” in them. So, they go outside to play, for at least an hour. If the weather is bad, they have free play time in their playroom in the basement. The baby often naps during this time, and I load the dishwasher and start lunch while watching them play through the back window.
Lunch–Lunch is almost always leftovers from dinner the night before. I pop it in the oven and let it do its thing so I can keep doing mine.
While we’re eating, we’ll generally listen to a sermon or other edifying podcast that I’ve downloaded from the internet. R.C. Sproul’s “Renewing Your Mind” is a favorite, in that it is short but not at all “fluffy”, and Dr. Sproul’s voice has a soothing effect on tired little brains.
Why do I do this? For a few reasons. It helps them to transition from loud outdoor play to quiet rest time. I also want them to practice sitting and listening so that they’ll have an easier time of it when we ask them to sit and listen quietly at church. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that I, as their mom, need to continue to learn and grow. This “feeds” me so that I can continue to “feed” them. (Oh, and I’m usually nursing the baby at lunch time, too.)
Read Out Loud–Once we’ve cleaned up from lunch, I try to have a time of reading out loud. Admittedly, there are days when everyone is too tired for this and we just skip straight to…
Quiet Rest Time–This is the time when my 2 year old naps. The older children don’t nap much anymore, but they are required to read quietly in their beds for an hour. The baby is sometimes awake for at least part of this time. I’ll nurse her while I read or type at my computer (this is prime blogging time). If I have other things I need to do, I’ll tie her to my hip or on my back in one of several carriers (I’m a bit of a babywearing addict), and switch the laundry, do the lunch dishes, go to the mailbox, and start preparing for supper.
Arts and Crafts– The older children are usually done with their “hour” before the two year old is awake. When the come downstairs, they have a time of drawing and coloring at the table. They would draw almost all day long if I let them, so I decided that we needed to set aside a specific time for this activity to avoid whining. Sometimes we do other things, too, such as playdough, water colors, etc.
Afternoon Chore Time–During this time, the table is cleared from all our artwork, and we start to tidy up in anticipation of dinner time and daddy coming home. We fold and put away our laundry, clean the bathroom, sweep and vacuum the floors, take out the trash, and unload the dishwasher. I almost always put on some upbeat, worshipful music to make this time more pleasant.
Math–Yes, we do math while I’m making supper. Once I’ve given them some direction, the older two can usually do their math mostly on their own. I give the two year old some counting bears or other manipulatives to keep him busy. The baby sometimes naps, sometimes has “tummy time” on a blanket, but more often than not, rides on my back.
Supper–The children clear their places and help to set the table. Once again, we all sit and eat together. This is very important to me. We try to have quiet conversation, and sometimes listen to peaceful music. I nurse the baby. This is her “fussiest” part of the day, so I have to be careful not to allow fatigue and frustration to get the best of me.
As an aside, Daddy may or may not be home from work yet. We are in a season where my husband is working very long hours. It’s not ideal, and not easy, but we’re thankful that he has a job. I used to try to hold off on dinner until he came home, but I eventually realized that this only lead to whining, hungry children who didn’t get to bed at a decent hour. Better to have them eat when they’re hungry so that they can be cheerful when Daddy comes home.
Getting Ready for Bed–We start preparing for bedtime right after dinner is done. If we’re all cleaned up and in pajamas right away, that just means more time for reading. My children love to read out loud before bed! This is one of their favorite times of day! Then we say prayers, and I tuck them in. My oldest is sometimes not that tired yet, and he’s allowed to read by flashlight in bed until he falls asleep.
While it is tempting to do otherwise, I try to go to bed shortly after the children. Afterall, it all starts again in the morning, and little ones are exhausting!
They are so worth it, though…don’t you agree?
“Which of the bags on her website is your bag?”
The answer is, “None of the above.”
My bag was a custom, made just for me at my moment of desperation.
The “Large Organized Totes” available in the Gathered and Sown Shop are extremely similar to my diaper bag, and very cloth diaper friendly.
Blog reader Peggy shared these pictures with me, demonstrating how her Large Organized Tote is working for her as a great cloth diaper bag!
Here’s the bag, empty accept for a few small items in the side pockets…
And here are all the goodies!
With two flats and two Flip covers…
Adding 6 FuzziBunz One Size Diapers and a Changing Pad
And now with everything else, including cloth wipes and extra clothes. She adds, “We almost never need extra clothes, because cloth diapers rarely leak!”
All packed up and ready to go!! (Isn’t he adorable?)
There’s still time for you to enter the Gathered-and-Sown Giveaway! Just click the link and follow the directions in the bottom of the post.
And remember the coupon code “GODMADE” to receive 15% off all in-stock purchases from the Gathered and Sown Shop!
The Giveaway and the Coupon Code end at Midnight, Central Time, on Tuesday, April 12, 2011.
Have a Great Weekend!!
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Twelve-and-a-half years ago, my husband stood on top of a roof that he and a coworker were repairing.
As they laid down shingles, he asked this older and wiser man about a good place to buy an engagement ring.
“Well, Chris,” he replied, “if you’re going to get married, there are four words you need to learn, and learn well.”
“Is that so? You have me curious…”
“‘Yes Dear, You’re Right.’ You learn to say those words early and often, and you’ll be a much happier man.”
My soon-to-be fiance faltered for a moment, not sure whether or not his friend was serious.
“You see, Chris, my wife is my most trusted advisor. God has given me a good woman, and I ignore her counsel to my own peril.”
Months later, as we were in the final stages of planning our wedding, my husband told me about the all-important conversation-on-the-roof. I giggled.
As newlyweds, we regularly used the phrase in an almost joking fashion:
“Honey, why don’t I take you out for dinner tonight?”
“Yes Dear, You’re Right.”
“Just one more kiss before you leave for work…”
“Yes Dear, You’re Right.”
Little did we know that we were training ourselves to respond to each other graciously in the more difficult conversations we would have further down the road.
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
But the mouths of fools pour out folly.”
How many times do husbands and wives destroy each other with their words? How many marriages could be saved if we learned to show preference to one another in love?
We train our children to say, “Yes, Mom,” and “Yes, Dad.”
(My friends down south tell me it’s “Yes, Sir” and “Yes, Ma’am”.)
But have we trained ourselves to say, “Yes, Dear?” to our husbands?
Is my first, gut response to argue and speak disrespectfully when I disagree with my husband, or is it to joyfully submit to the man God has placed in loving headship over me and our household?
No, I am not talking about being a doormat–a man is blessed by the counsel of his godly wife.
I am talking about prayerfully considering our words,
that our tongues might not be the continually dripping water that Solomon bemoans in Proverbs 27…
or the clanging symbol Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13…
or the restless evil full of deadly poison James warns of in the third chapter of his Epistle.
Careless words can kill a marriage.
On the other hand…
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
…kind, gentle, compassionate, forgiving, and…yes…submissive…words…
…by the power of the Holy Spirit…in response to the Word of God and prayer…
…can strengthen a good marriage, and rebuild a broken one.
Which will you choose today?