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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Exciting News!!!

This may very well be my last post for Undivided Heart.  This blog has helped to grow me in so many ways and I am so thankful I started it!  Recently, my dear friend, Jen and I decided to start a new blog posting ideas for teaching kids God's Word and offer some encouragement through the lessons we've been learning on the journey.  We would LOVE it if you'd join us there!  Check us out at http://www.whenyourise.com/.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why I've been MIA

Just for the one person out there who wonders why I've quit posting, my formatting is messed up and I'm not too Blogger-knowledgable and I can't STAND posting a BLOB that I've spent time writing (with proper spacing). SO, my friend Jen, who's been blogging for quite a while is going to try to help a sister out someday and see if she can see what I've done to royally mess things up... but until then, I've just got thoughts and posts rolling around in my head. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nobody's Dere!!!!

We had a CRAZY couple of weeks with Silas' birthday and family in town and little extras thrown in here and there, SO my Easter unit did not come together the way I had planned. It DID come together though! I ended up teaching Isaac's class during the Easter service and decided we could do some of the activities I had planned on doing with Isaac with all of his friends too! We made our own version of the Resurrection Eggs with a lesson and did a tomb craft. Isaacn and I reviewed what we had learned Sunday on Monday morning. I know it was after Easter, but, hey, any day is a good day to celebrate the Gospel! We did a half dozen eggs for our Resurrection Egg activity. I focused mostly on Jesus' death and resurrection instead of the entire Passion Week. I also didn't want to focus on the super gory parts of the crucifixion since they were only two years old and the Resurrection Eggs you buy at the store have a lot more of those details. Here's what we put in our eggs: 1. Twine for the whip 2. Wooden cross (found them at Hobby Lobby) 3. Sponge for when Jesus was thirsty on the cross (I loved this and got the idea from the Women Living Well blog... Isaac can tell you that after Jesus took a drink he said, "It is finished!" and then we talk about how he died for all of our sins) 4. White linen cloth (one of Isaac's stained white t-shirts) 5. Rock from the garden for the stone 6. Empty egg because Jesus wasn't in the tomb!
After breakfast Monday morning, I hid Isaac's Resurrection Eggs and then we reviewed what was in each one.
We really needed a down day around here, so the boys didn't get out of their pajamas all day! :)
These were the props I used for telling each part of the Easter story that corresponded with the egg we were on. I had Isaac help me do the reenactment of the story and he LOVED it. As soon as we got done, he said, "I want to do it again." And of course, I obliged.
I started the story with the stick or "whip." I didn't spend a lot of time on this detail, but thought it was important that Isaac understood that the soldiers were very unkind to Jesus and hurt him. I then held the Jesus puppet up on the cross and we talked again about how it hurt Jesus and he did this because he loved us.
I really liked having the puppet. It was great to have a 3 dimensional object to help with the reenactment and make the story come alive to Isaac. (I got the set of 4 from here. They're a little expensive, but we did it as part of Isaac's birthday gift/something I really wanted and knew would get a lot of use. We keep them in the closet and only get them down occasionally.) Isaac helped me dip the sponge in the wine vinegar (water) and give it to Jesus to drink. We talked about how when he was done Jesus said, "It is finished" and died. We talked about how Jesus forgave our sins on the cross and died so we could be with him forever one day.
We then carefully wrapped him in the linen cloth (the remainder of Isaac's stained shirt). I know this may sound silly as it's a children's puppet and a t-shirt, but as we did this, I got tears in my eyes. I can't imagine preparing the bloody, broken body of my Savior for burial.
Isaac was so sweet as he carefully placed Jesus' body in the tomb.
He rolled the stone in front of the tomb and as we talked about how he was in there for 3 days, I pulled Jesus out the back of the tomb through the "trap door" I had cut.
When Isaac rolled the stone away I said, "Who's in there?" and he said, "Nobody's dere!" Exactly! I then showed him Jesus and we talked about how Jesus is alive! Hallelujah!
Isaac's really into the game Memory these days and I found a matching game with the parts of the Easter story on Christian Preschool Printables. I really do find a lot of stuff here and on their sister site, Bible Story Printables.
Below is the craft we made in Isaac's class on Sunday morning. I got the idea from here. I took a sturdy paper plate and cut it in half. I painted the inside (the side you eat on) of one black and the outside of the other gray. When you staple them together it makes a freestanding "cave." I printed up some verse cards that said, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said..." Mt. 28:6 and we glued them inside the tomb. Then we took 1-2 brown paper sacks, crumpled them up and taped them closed to make a large stone.
I thought this was simple and great for emphasizing that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning!
I'm really enjoying doing some fun things with Isaac to teach him God's Word. I started doing this when he was around 18 months. I can't believe that Silas is only 6 months from that point! I can't wait to start planning stuff that both of them can participate in!!!
Hope you had a blessed Easter celebrating the life you've been given through Jesus' death and resurrection!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Perfect Parenting = Perfect Results?

Some of Isaac's newer catch phrases include,
"Stop dat!"
"Go away!"
"I don't want to!"
"No, Siyas, dat's mine!"
Endearing, really.
Last Sunday morning before we left for church, he dramatically threw himself on the floor and screamed, "Ow! Stop dat! Dat hurts!" while I wet down his hair to try to somewhat tame his wild, bed-head mane. I assured him that, in fact, it did NOT hurt and he only screamed all the louder, "Yes! It does!" When I told him I was done, he popped right up and smiled and ran to meet his daddy so he could get in the car for church. And I stood there shaking my head in defeat... I should have done something more. Talked, spanked, time out-ed, I don't know, but SOMETHING! Instead I thought, "Well, now he looks somewhat presentable and do I really want to discipline him and cause a meltdown five minutes before we leave for church? No. I'm just going to let it be." My parenting and reasoning at it's finest. So he went without consequences and sang us songs and talked to his Aunt Leah from the back seat all the way to church with wet hair slicked down... and we walked into church with a happy camper.

Some days, I don't feel like I parent well. Sometimes I even feel like MOST days I don't parent well. I'm too busy, distracted, tired, unwilling to deal with the consequences, etc. to do the job the way I should. The truth is, I'm just too downright sinful to get this thing right all the time. It's easy for me to chastise myself and try to pull myself up by the bootstraps and do better so I don't "screw my kids up." But God's been teaching me something.

I was reading a book a while back called A Proverbs Driven Life by Anthony Selvaggio (which is good, but dry...). Anyway, he ends his book with a section on parenting. He talks about God's method of disciplining and teaching his children. As I read it, I caught myself thinking, "Yes, but he's God, so he does all this perfectly. If I were perfect, then maybe Isaac would do what he is supposed to do." Then it hit me! NO HE WOULDN'T! God is my perfect Father and I am SO FAR from obeying him perfectly, it's shameful! For the first time I think I admitted that Isaac's sin nature and personality actually had something to do with how he turns out. OF COURSE, I have a huge role to play and OF COURSE, I'm held accountable for how I do this, but no matter how well I do it, I do not control how my children turn out. The recurring theme in my life lately has been pride, pride and more pride. I really have a hard time swallowing the fact that I cannot guarantee that my boys will grow up to be fine, upstanding citizens and more importantly, followers of Jesus Christ. When I say, really hard time, I mean, REALLY. HARD. TIME. It's NOT okay with me... for their sake or mine.

Which leads to another new theme in my life recently. Trust. Not so much trusting people here on earth, but trusting God. Let me explain. I would NEVER say that God is not trustworthy. Ever. But I LIVE like he is all the time. I am so self-sufficient. I try to figure it out on my own and try to guarantee the results I want. I have a hard time letting go and admitting that MY "perfect plan" might not be GOD's perfect plan. I definitely see this in my parenting. I shudder at the thought of rebellious children who don't love Jesus with all their heart and so I'm strict with my kids and try to control their environment to the point that there's no room for any other result but what I think is best. And I AM going to do my best to provide every opportunity for them to hear the Gospel spoken and to see it lived out in our home, BUT... I am trying to loosen my grip because I grasp in vain. My white-knuckled controlling heart will not guarantee my victory AND doesn't place the credit in the right place.

This lesson actually makes my heart sing for 2 reasons. One, God's children don't obey perfectly, mine certainly won't. Isaac is not a robot to be controlled, but a human being created in the image of God to be taught. This takes a little pressure off. I won't get perfect results. Perfect parenting (which is obviously impossible!!!) doesn't equal perfect results! And two, God is trustworthy and in control. I mess up and I'm going to continue to. It's not okay, but it is okay. Does that make sense? It's not okay that I don't always parent the way I'm supposed to. It's wrong and I'm responsible for it. BUT, God's in control of the end result and he will work in my children's lives in spite of my shortcomings. That is such a relief! And while I pray that there's a lot of less of the "No!'s" and the tantrums and the attitude, I will bask in the "Yes, ma'am's" and the hugs and the giggles and know that I'm just part of the story. To God (not me!) be the honor and glory for all that is accomplished in these beautiful boys' lives!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Creation Unit (Day 6)

I'm pretty sure I looked forward to and enjoyed our Day 6 festivities more than Isaac! :) We did our Bible readings and colored a picture to help us remember that on Day 6 God created animals and people.

He also did more dot marker numbers. I know I said this already, but I am SO proud of how much progress he's made with these! I did some planning for this one and almost didn't have the self-control to wait until Day 6 to let him do these activities. I managed to pull myself together though and brought these out when we talked about God creating the animals. Both of them are file folder games that I got from Bible Story Printables. This first one is called Adam Names the Animals. It has a card with the name of an animal to go with each picture. There were several 3 letter words that were easier for Isaac to sound out and we started with those. For some of the harder ones, we just did beginning sounds. (For example, with "elephant" he would tell me that it started with the "e" sound and then we'd narrow it down from there based on the animals with that beginning sound.) He really likes it, though he sometimes loses interest before every animal is covered.

This was another fun game. It was called All God's Creatures Great and Small. On this one the cards had matching pictures, only they were a super tiny version of the big ones on the "board." The idea was to use a magnifying glass to make it bigger and then match it. SUCH a cute idea!
My little sleuth! He actually tired of using the magnifying glass, because the one I got was not that great at magnifying and if he looked at it really close, he was able to tell what animal it was without it... but he liked the game regardless.
He also colored a bunch of random zoo animal pictures that I had and I told him that after his nap we were going to meet up with some friends and go see some of the animals God had created at the zoo!!! He was excited and so was I!
We did head toward the zoo with Daddy and met up with one of Matt's co-workers, Shawn, and his wife, Jen, and their little girl Lauren. Unfortunately we got there at 4:30 and it had closed at 4:00. The kids did great with the news. I, however, was heartbroken.
SO, Jen and I rescheduled and tried again the following week. This time was successful and we had perfect weather, the kids were great and it was a blast!
Checking out the monkeys!
I don't think Silas could be more precious! I love this sweet boy with every fiber of my being!
I love how Isaac's gaining independence. I love that he is getting to the stage where I can let him get out of the wagon to take a closer look without worrying that he'll make a run for it the second I let him loose! Such a beautiful boy!
Can we pose for a picture or what? At least we were coordinated with our green! (It was St. Patrick's Day :)
Checking out the lions while making sure to pick up a few germs from the previous child who plastered their face to the glass. :)
He was so proud of himself for finding this zebra that no one else had noticed yet.
Isaac and Lauren aren't much for posing together, but I thought this picture was sweet of the two of them checking out snakes and lizards in the Reptile House. She is one sweet spirited little girl!
I had so much fun planning and executing this day's activities! What's more fun for a toddler than animals and the great outdoors!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creation Unit (Day 5)

Day 5 we celebrated God's creation of birds and fish. We read the story from my Bible and a children's Bible again and then did a few little activities to go along. I guess Day 5 took a little planning on my part. I was going to use a pine cone with peanut butter and birdseed to make a bird feeder, but couldn't find a pine cone. (Wouldn't you know, I found one in our backyard right after we hung this puppy up?) SO, I decided to go with a carton feeder. Matt and I went to Lowe's and bought birdseed the night before (A 10lb. bag was only $5... I thought that was pretty cheap and we have PLENTY to refill it all summer long now!) We had to drink up the rest of the orange juice and I spent a few minutes researching the best bird feeder designs. I combined what I learned from a couple different sites and came up with this:

I did this on my own the night before in case I butchered the carton. I cut triangles out of each of the four corners with a box cutter. I started them a couple of inches above the base because some said this offered stability. I happened to have some dowel rods on hand, so I made a couple slits and poked that through. Someone also suggested sanding the outside of the carton so that the paint would adhere better, so I ran a piece of sandpaper over the outside to scuff it up a bit and it was ready to go.

I had a variety of OLD acrylic paint on hand that Isaac used to decorate the outside. I really think sanding it a bit did help the paint "stick" a little better. He is such a serious and intense little guy! He is so fun to plan stuff for because he really gets into it!
Are those not the sweetest hands you've ever seen?!?
His finished product! He spent a lot of time getting it just right and he was so proud of it!
This was the tricky part! It was great for Isaac's fine motor skills, but super slow going and Mommy ended up helping quite a bit so that it didn't take us 5 hours to fill it. I poured seed into a bowl and we spooned it into the corner openings. We refilled it just a few days ago and Matt used a funnel and put it in the spout in the top. It was MUCH QUICKER this way! (But I think doing it the slow way the first time around was good for Isaac. He has taken a lot of ownership in the feeder and loves to check on it and see how much seed is left.)
I bent a wire hanger and poked a hole in one side and put it through the spout on the other side and we hung it outside. The birds LOVE it! We've had turtle doves, cardinals, blue jays, robins, crows and all kinds of other little birds visit our feeder. Silas loves it almost as much as Isaac and can spot a bird from a mile away!
Matt's Grandma Woods got Isaac a subscription to the Highlights High Five magazine for Christmas and it's great! Some of the activities are a little old for him yet, so I've been tucking the magazines away after we look at them so I can pull them back out when he's ready for them. One of the recent issues had a Memory game in it that were all different kinds of birds. I had totally forgotten about it, but when I thought of it I was excited to try to fit it into our theme day. I grabbed the magazine, cut out the pieces (and of course laminated them!) and as soon as Silas went down for a nap we played it over and over. Within a couple of days he recognized the difference between a Baby Kinglet and a Towhee (have you ever even heard of these birds?!? I sure hadn't!).
I've done quite a bit of water stuff on our theme days with Noah's Ark and Jonah, plus it was freezing outside so we definitely weren't going to do any outdoor water stuff. I decided to keep this part super simple and just talk about it during bath time. I pulled out all the fish bath toys (and a couple ducks) and just let the boys free play with them while we talked about how God made the fish.
Isaac placed his foam fish up on the tub wall and told me "I make a ocean." :)
video
The tune and the idea for this song came from I can teach my child! Once again, I got impatient after Day 2 and kind of did my own thing, but our ideas turned out similar. The words I used with Isaac were only a little different than hers (she end her line with "fish alive" and I ended it with "fish that dive.")
I tried to "trick" Isaac into singing Day 5 for me while he held a fish and bird puzzle piece by propping the camera up on a stool and hoping he didn't notice. It didn't work very well because his head is completely cut off. Oh well! :)
Day 5, Day 5,
God made birds and fish that dive!
Day 5, Day 5,
God made birds and fish that dive!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creation Unit (Day 4)

Day 4 actually took a LITTLE prep for me. Partly because I didn't have any good ideas for a project to do for the sun, moon and stars and when I figured out what I wanted to do, I didn't have everything I needed, so I had to wait until I went to the store. I quit doing what I Can Teach My Child was posting because I was impatient and she had only posted the first 2 days when I was ready to finish up the week. (Ironically, though our projects didn't all turn out the same, we chose the EXACT same activities for day 2-6.... I guess there are just logical things to do to teach toddlers these concepts. :) We started out the same as the other days by reading the section about Day 4 from the Bible and re-reading it from a children's Bible. Then we moved onto our craft. I decided to do a mobile with the three things God created. Here is Isaac starting on the sun. We used a paper plate and yellow and orange tissue paper. If you've received a gift from me lately, you know this is not something I usually have on hand. The last gift I gave, I was too embarrassed to not have tissue paper so I went down the street to my sister's to borrow some of hers. :) Needless to say, this is one of the things I had to go buy, but now I've got some for the next time I have a gift to give! I just cut a little of the paper into squares and helped Isaac put dots of glue on the paper. Then he chose a square and placed it on the plate. We did it to both sides of the plate. I got the idea from here. I adapted the Sunshine Art Project.
To make the moon, I took newspaper and cut out two crescent shapes and shredded up some paper as well. I got the idea here.
I stapled around the outside edge and made a pocket.
Isaac helped me crumple the paper and fill the moon with it.
After it was "stuffed" I stapled the open side closed and it looked like a sort of 3 dimensional moon.
Isaac painted it yellow.
The only thing I didn't like about this project was that Isaac used a lot of paint which meant it took FOREVER to dry and I got impatient and had him paint the other side while the first side was still tacky in spots and it ended up ripping the paint off and I had to touch it up later. The other thing was that where he really saturated the paper with paint it ended up tearing just a little. It didn't really mess it up, but it just didn't look as nice. A sturdier paper might be better to use for this project.
Next we made the starts using cardstock stars, glue and glitter. Glitter was another thing I had to go purchase. I don't know if it was a good deal or not, but Target had this multi-pack for $2. I got the star pattern here.
He painted on the glue...
and then sprinkled on the glitter.
His finished product! I just used some twine to tie the pieces to a hanger. I thought it turned out great and it's hanging on the fan in his bedroom.
We also did his Day 4 picture from Bible Story Printables.
The only reason I put this picture in here was because he rested his little hand on mine while he colored. It was the sweetest thing ever!
I also found some random space and weather stickers that had suns, moons and stars. He peeled them all off and then "colored" it when he got done.

Isaac singing Day 4 of Creation from I Can Teach My Child while holding his mobile. He was sort of distracted so I ended up singing most of it. Again, my son and cameras usually don't mix well. :) video

Day 4, Day 4
God made sun, moon, stars galore!
Day 4, Day 4
God made sun, moon, stars galore!