Monday, June 8, 2015

Two Wheeling

We have been telling Becca since the end of last summer that she s capable of riding her two wheel bike without training wheels.  She has not felt that way.  However, a couple of weeks ago we decided to force the issue and take her training wheels off her bike.  She parlayed by riding our scooter instead of her bike.  I tried showing her videos of friends and other girls her age on 2 wheel bikes.  The only one she seemed interested in was one family who had take the pedals off the bike to make it a balance bike.  So we tried that.  And she got good at that.

Well, I reasoned, now is the time.  She can balance and has all the necessary skills, she just doesn't believe it yet.  So I put the pedals back on and we spent the morning off and on in tears while Mom gave her no other options of what she could do.  What finally worked was telling her that for however long that day she practiced riding her bike she could then watch video games.  So back and forth we went: bike, ipad, bike, ipad.  And by the evening:

Now she love it!  She goes out every day to ride her two wheel and is working hard to get fast and steady enough that Dad says she can ride her bike with the family to McDonalds for ice cream some evening.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Holy Week

Eater is coming!  In preparation for Easter, I wanted to do some Holy Week activities with my kids this year.  I went online to see what I could find and there are tons of resources available, but I kept running into the problem that Holy Week starts tomorrow and I don't have time to prep all of the elaborate crafts and activities I was finding.  So I thought I'd write out a plan here, picking and choosing from different things I found.  My goal is to stay simple and really focus on the main point: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life!

Since there are many different events in the Bible that people believe happened that last week of Jesus' life, I decided to use the devotionals I found on Willow Creek's website to guide which stories we focused on.

Sunday - Triumphal Entry
Read Mark 11: 1-11
Talk about what Hosanna means.  It is a word of praise, but it also means "Save us!"
My kids are making palm branches at church, so we can use those to act out the story.
Have a praise party.  Kids can wave palm branches.  My kids also like to wave streamers or scarfs or things like that.  Turn up some music and dance - praising God who is our king and savior.  Hosanna!
Here are some of the songs the kids have been singing at Engedi Kids:

Monday - Clearing out the temple
Read Mark 11: 15-18
This is a fun story for kids to act out.  Talk with them about how Jesus didn't want the church to be a place about rules and regulations and buying the right things.  He wanted it to be a place of worship and prayer.  In fact, Jesus says he wants it to be a place of prayer for ALL NATIONS.
Get out a map or a globe and look at all the nations.  There are people all around the world in so many different countries.  Our church is connected with 4 countries: Zambia, Turkey, Guatemala, and Nepal, so we will find those countries.  We will also look for other countries that our family has connections with.  Then take a few minutes to pray together for people in those countries.  Pray that they would know God and be able to gather together to pray and worship him.

Tuesday - Annointing
Read Mark 14: 1-9
The kids learned this story at church so they may be able to retell it on their own.
Ask the kids what they might have seen/smelled/heard/felt if they were there that day.
In this story, Mary was honoring Jesus - she was giving him her best.  Our kids can give God their best too.  Print out this perfume bottle picture.  The kids can color it or decorate it with stickers, tissue paper, or whatever you have.  Then on the perfume bottle help each child to write one or two ways they can honor God and give God their best.  Hang the picture up in the house.  You may want to have them add a star or a sticker to the page each time over the next day/week that do what is says on the paper.
Here is a great devotional you can read together:

Wednesday - Jesus taught
Read Matthew 22: 34-40 (For older kids you may want to read more sections from Matthew 21-25).
Jesus spent a lot of time on his last week teaching people about God and the ways they should live.  Once he was asked what the most important thing people could do was.  This is what he answered.
There are two songs the kids sing at church about this verse:
Cut out a heart together.  It can be a lot of fun for kids to see how you can fold a paper in half and cut out the half heart, open it up, and see a whole heart.
On one side of the heart write Love God.  On the other side write Love Others.  For older kids you may even want to write out the sections of the verse that go with each love statement.

Thursday - The Last Supper
Read Mark 14: 12-31
Get out a family photo album or look through some old family pictures on the computer.  Talk about all of the fun things you can remember because you have the pictures to look at.
Jesus knew that he was going to die on the cross and leave this earth.  He shared a special meal with his disciples before he left and asked them to remember him.  By sharing the bread and the cup together he was leaving a picture for his disciples so that they could remember what he was going to do for them on the cross.  We can remember what Jesus did today when we celebrate the Lord's Supper.
Share the Lord's Supper with your family.  Break and eat some bread together, and drink some juice together.  Read or retell the story while you do this.  Talk withe your kids about communion and what it means when we as a church celebrate it together.

Friday - Crucifixion
Read Mark 14:32-15:47
This is a long passage.  If you have younger kids you may want to read just a section of it or read it from a toddler Bible.
As you read the stories, take some time to act them out with the kids.  At each story talk about how it was a sad day for Jesus - it hurt him very much.  But he did it because he loves us - he loves you!  He loves you so much he wanted to do this so that you could be forgiven and live with him in heaven forever.  Read together John 3:16.  When you tuck your kids in to bed tonight, tell them, "I love you, but Jesus loves you the best!"
There are also a lot of cross craft ideas here:

Saturday - Death
Saturday, Jesus stayed dead all day.  As he was dying he said on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me."  This is a quote from Psalms.
Read together Psalm 22
Also read Matthew 27: 62-66
Build a tomb together.  You could use blocks or playdoh.  Or make a tent with blankets and then find something to block the entrance.  Or go outside, dig a cave, and put a rock in front of the cave.  Remind the kids that in the story, the rock was huge and too big for someone to move on their own.

Sunday - Resurrection
Read just the beginning or the whole chapter of John 20
Go back to the tomb you made yesterday.  Together roll the stone away and let the kids say, "He is risen, just as he said!"
Help the kids to write out an Easter memory verse on a small piece of paper.  From our church the kids had Romans 6:9.  Take an easter egg and put the verse in the egg.  Take turns hiding the egg and letting someone else find it.  Open the egg and say together the memory verse.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Games and games and games and games and games and games and games

The song is going down into DeJong folklore.  The "inlaws" wrote a song for Hilary when she joined the family to explain what she was getting into.  One of the verses is, "Games and games and games and games and games and games and games...."

Well, I'm hear to tell you that a new generation is joining in.  Jon who use to play with cars every other hour of the day is now obsessed with games.  Just walking around the house I found

Yamslam in the kitchen...

and Monopoly in the living room.

For the first year, he begged to write a Christmas list.  My kids have never been into this before, but Jon was so excited this year.  He got out pen and paper and sat down and carefully sounded out Ticket to Ride.  Then he paused.  and thought.  and called his brother and sister over to help him come up with more to add because he was stumped.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

No Ice Cream Please

Well, we've all known Michael was a routine kid, but I never thought it would stretch this far.  Saturday we had a lazy afternoon that ended with Mom not wanting to cook dinner.  So at 6:00 I announced "Ice Cream for dinner tonight!"  (Note: We have never done this before and it sounded fun, but please don't think we do this on a regular basis.)  :)  Instant approval from Jon and Becca full of cheers.  Michael just laughed and insisted I was joking because ice cream is a treat NOT a meal.  We talked about how we thought it might be fun, but Michael was not budging.  So for dinner it was:
Jon - ice cream sundae
Becca - ice cream sundae
Michael - crackers, cheese, carrots, orange

However, before you think Michael is the strangest child ever, he did have a large ice cream sundae for dessert.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A New Girl

Becca has been asking to get her hair cut short for a couple of months now.  And then she remembers that she can't have braids with short hair and reconsiders the thought.  About a week ago she approached me one morning asking if she could have braids one last time before getting her hair cut.  So we did, and then last Thursday we headed out to the salon.

The stylist showed us some pictures from a book and after passing on one that was really short and way too grown up looking for me, I saw a cute cut with bangs.  The page showed 5 pictures of the same cut, all from different angles.  I showed it to Becca and asked her if she thought this was a good one.  She thought for a minute with her hand on her chin and then smiled, pointed to one of the pictures and said, "This one."

She is so proud of her new look.  Everywhere we go she keeps talking about how no one is going to recognize her since she looks so different.  :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jesus Is More Powerful Than...

The kids at church have been learning about Jesus' miracles and how that shows that he is God.  Last Sunday both Jon and Becca's classes did a "Jesus is more powerful" activity.

We had the letters spelled out on a large paper in painters tape.  Then the kids took turns covering the paper with paint and markers.  While they did this, they talked about the following:

Sometimes I get scared in the dark, but who is more powerful than the dark?  Jesus!

If my brother gets sick, who is more powerful than the sickness?  Jesus!

Sometimes I make bad choices, but who is more powerful than my bad choices and can forgive me?  Jesus!

When it is thundering and lightning outside, I can get scared, but who is more powerful than the storms?  Jesus!

In our story today, there was an evil spirit, but who is more powerful than evil?  Jesus!

If I fall down and get hurt, who is more powerful than my bruise?  Jesus!

When I have a bad dream, who is more powerful than my bad dreams?  Jesus!

Then, they removed the tape and hung up this sign.

The activity ended with the kids finishing the sentence, "Jesus is more powerful than..." as many different ways as they could.

I asked Jon and Becca today and they came up with:
a lion
an elephant
a thunderstorm
the sun
an ocean
a moose
bad guys

Jesus sure is powerful!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Whole Family of Pumpkins

Last weekend we had the Michigan contingent of the DeJong family over to our house for some pumpkin fun.  We had a great time eating and talking together and watching the kids fill every square inch of floor space with toys, but the main event was the carving of the pumpkins.

I think all of the kids' favorite part of the process was drawing faces on the pumpkins.  After that, most of the kids 6 and under kept wandering away from the actual carving process and were constantly called back to "help."

Jon was extremely weirded out by removing the insides of the pumpkin.  In fact, today when he saw me post this picture he commented on how he didn't like it when I made him use his hand.  I had him try his hand after a few minutes of removing one seed at a time with a spoon.

Becca was so excited for this day.  She was very insistent that she was going to carve her pumpkin with Grandpa because he knew how to make the right scary face.  I think they had read a jack-o-lantern book the week before together and she was planning for this day after that.

Michael went Mine Craft and wanted a creeper face on his pumpkin.  He did the whole thing by himself and was proudly working on it for a full hour I think.

And before the day was up, in an effort to top this great picture we took 3 years ago at a similar gathering...

We got a picture with all the cousins!