Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christ-Centered "Egg-Stuffers"



I was gathering Christ-centered items to stuff inside eggs for Easter egg hunts and gifts for little friends, and I remembered this sweet little booklet that was published in the March 2008 Friend Magazine. It's called The Story of Jesus Christ and the illustrations are very nice. Just click on the link to print one out for yourself! I don't know yet if it will actually fit into a plastic egg, but I'm going to get the big ones and give it a try. This booklet is going to a beloved friend of ours, so no egg required.



I also spied these stickers at the dollar store the other week and snatched them up. I just really treasured reading the many names and titles of Jesus Christ. Each one tells us something more about who he is. And stickers are always a fun treat for kids!

In the same Friend magazine as mentioned above, there is another sweet story called "Candy or Kindness" that would be a nice one to read to children before the candy-craziness begins!

Future Priesthood-holders of America




This is what happens when you try to get boy cousins to pose for a nice picture outside of the temple.



These are our future priesthood-holders, people!



Rest assured, the future is in good hands!



I hear that my son was the one who started this, but you have to know that no disrespect was intended. He poses for every picture this way! You've gotta love boys, especially my big-boy-Husband who decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Of the Fish and Honeycomb...He Did Truly Eat



For Family Home Evening, we ate foods that Jesus might have eaten:

grapes
wheat bread
olives
dried dates
cheese
honey
olive oil/vinegar
dried figs
sea salt
legumes (hummus)
garlic
fish



You'll also notice we ate a little salad consisting of green peppers and tomatoes tossed with oil and vinegar and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I have read that bell peppers and tomatoes were not available in the Middle East during the time of Christ, but it was still pretty yummy!

This post on Sabbath Meals gives a nice rundown on what Christ might have eaten during his life. And the Primary lesson "Jesus Christ Was a Child Like Me" gives some ideas for helping children identify foods that Christ might have eaten and things that he might have done as a child.

We also briefly talked about the Passover feast.
Since The Ten Commandments is one of my son's favorite movies, he was all over that.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

EASTER ALL WEEK


Yay! Easter Week is finally here.

Admittedly, I'm not as prepared to do all of the fun things I'd like to do with my family, because I spent last week playing and traveling with my sister and her family...BUT...I do have this awesome little booklet to share with you.

It's called EASTER ALL WEEK
and was compiled and sent to me by my brilliant friend and Seminary teacher Rebecca Stay.

I uploaded it so that you can also enjoy doing this with your family this week.

Print it out here, here, and here.
(There are three pages.)


Just follow the instructions for cutting, taping, and folding it.
Very simple.

Let your kids color their own...a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Then each day this week, read the scripture references (on the back) and talk about what happened each day during Christ's final week.

If you want to get fancy, you could plan some hands-on activities to do to coincide with this booklet, but I'm not quite there yet.
I'll be sure to share what I come up with though!


Enjoy your Palm Sunday!

(Also, if you are looking for a Palm Sunday craft, try making the donkey we made at Christmastime.)

and Margo Butler of CES, illustrations
(One correction: The first scripture reference for Tuesday should be Mark 11:20-13:37.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easter Treat: Bird Nests

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It's a nest.

It's a treat.

It's a bird nest you can eat!

(It's also a great source of fiber.)

Ingredients:

Fiber One Cereal
A Bag of mini-Marshmallows
A stick of butter
A bag of malted chocolate eggs

Proceed as if making rice crispy treats (Melt the butter in a large pot, add marshmallows, stir until melted...) and use Fiber One cereal instead of rice crispies. Mold into "nests", place eggs in center of nests, let cool on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, and enjoy!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Great Easter Giveaway: WINNERS!




We are so psyched over here, because the Resurrection Puzzle that we bought just came in the mail today...and it is every bit as wonderful as we had hoped it would be. My daughter is completely enamored with it, and it looks so beautiful in our home.
I am pleased!

On top of that, my Sister, and Brother-in-law and their five sweet kids just arrived for a quick visit, which is always a great time. And they delivered a bunch of AMAZING goodies from my Mom, but I will share all of that in another post, because right now, I'm about to make NINE READERS...very Happy! (Are you feeling the excitement over here!?)

Thank you to each of you who entered and shared Easter ideas with me!
I really value your comments and your friendship over the blogosphere!

The winners were selected completely randomly...by my lovely assistants (my visiting niece & nephews). Oooh, you guys are SO TOTALLY LUCKY! I can't stand it!

One last BIG THANK YOU to the artists who donated these excellent prizes!
Click on the links below to visit their shops!

And if you win, please blog about it and link back!

Here we go!

The Winners of The Great Easter Giveaway:








WINNER: Susan Hatch



WINNER: Cocoa from Chocolate On My Cranium





WINNERS (choose either bunny, chick, or lamb pattern):
Julie P.
Cindy Scott of Twas the Brillig



WINNER: Cara Kennedy

CONGRATULATIONS, WINNERS!

If you won, please email me at jocelyn.christensen@gmail.com.
I will put you in contact with the artist so you can receive your FABULOUS PRIZE!!

Also, WINNERS: Please blog about your prizes and link back to their shop...It's just a nice way to say thank you to our generous artists for giving you this GREAT STUFF!!

HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Resurrection Rolls

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This Easter activity is such an awesome way to talk about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with young children. My thoughtful friend Kimberly clued me in to this activity, and I'm so glad that she did, because it was a HUGE HIT at family home evening last week.

In addition to teaching about Christ, these rolls were so yummy!! This is definitely going to become part of our family's Easter tradition. We began by looking at Gospel Art Kit pictures of Christ's suffering, death, and burial. Then we headed to the kitchen and made these:

RESURRECTION ROLLS
(Each ingredient represents something used to prepare Christ's body for burial.)

-Large marshmallows
-Melted butter (less than 1/2 stick)
-A mixture of cinnamon/sugar (yum!)
-A can of refrigerated crescent rolls (makes 8)



First open the can of crescent rolls and separate into triangles.

This represents the linen used for covering the dead.



Dip and roll one marshmallow (representing Christ's body) into melted butter.
The butter represents the oils used in anointing the dead body.




Then roll the marshmallow in the cinnamon/sugar mixture
The cinnamon/sugar represents the spices used to prepare the body for burial.



Place the marshmallow in the center of one crescent triangle.

Fold the crescent around the marshmallow and pinch the edges tightly together, leaving no openings.

Place the crescent-wrapped marshmallows on a slightly-greased cookie sheet.




Place the tray in the oven (which represents the tomb) and bake according to the package directions. Close the "tomb" tightly and wait...




...when it's time, open the "tomb"....the marshmallow has disappeared!

The marshmallow melts while cooking, leaving only the puffed crescent roll.

This represents how Christ rose from the dead.

All that remained in the tomb were the linen burial wrappings.

When my children opened the "tomb", Guy exclaimed "Oh! Jesus is gone! He raised himself from the dead!!!!"

As you can see from the picture, these baked rolls really do take on the appearance of an empty tomb. It is a very memorable Easter/FHE activity.

P.S. - One Helpful Note: If you peek before the kids open the oven and notice that there is "mallow" still hanging around, let the rolls bake a minute or two more until all of the goo is gone, and then announce that the "three days" are up!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Great Easter Giveaway


As a way to kick-start our Christ-centered Easter season,
and as a special thank you to you, my blog friends,
I have put together:

The Great Easter Giveaway!

On Wednesday, March 24th, I will be giving away each of the items shown here.

There will be NINE WINNERS total.

The items in this giveaway are special, because, in addition to being amazingly beautiful and hand-crafted, they each remind me of the true meaning of Easter.

Read on to discover how you can enter to win one of these lovely creations.



Don't look now, but this chick is playing peek-a-boo with you!
This sweet chick and egg combo makes my heart jump for joy. In addition to being adorable, it reminds me of the rebirth and innocence that is the promise of Easter and spring. And they are a great alternative to plastic eggs.

The creator of this prize is also offering 10% off to readers of this blog through the end of March. Just mention my blog in the "note to seller" section.



This puzzle is truly unique and tells the story of Christ's resurrection. Stand the figures up to create something similar to a "nativity set" for Easter. Put them back together to use as a puzzle. You will not see anything like this elsewhere, because the artist created this especially for Easter this year. I think this is such a special creation and a great way to teach children the true story of Easter!

If you buy from this artist, please mention this blog when you order to receive 10% off through the end of March.




Lisa Bees word blocks are cheery and fun and come in a variety of lovely phrases. I love the colors she uses for this piece, because they reflect the message of Easter, which in my mind is truly a happy one. I am also drawn to this picture because of the rocks in the background. It reminds me of the stone that was rolled away to reveal that Christ was risen.
The word Easter is a joyous proclamation!



This calla lily decor is so striking that I just can't stop looking at it. It's no wonder that the name calla lily is derived from the Greek word for beauty. In Easter services, the calla lily symbolizes "resurrection" and the passion and suffering of Christ. It also symbolizes purity, holiness, faith, innocence, and the rebirth of spring. This delicate creation would look lovely in any space and inspires only the most lovely thoughts.




You might remember the baby fairy bag from our last Sewing Smackdown. Well, now Winterpeach has released new designs for Easter: a bunny, a chick, and a lamb. The designer chose to offer this finished lamb bag in keeping with our Christ-centered theme. Christ is often referred to as the Lamb of God...the lamb without blemish that was sacrificed for the sins of the world. Offering his perfect life for ours, so that we could all be forgiven and return home again. That is the joyous message of Easter.



Three more people will win their choice of one of these Winterpeach Patterns for a bunny, a chick, or a lamb! This month readers of my blog will receive 10% off of their purchase in the Winterpeach shop.


Victorian Ribbon Eggs

These beautifully detailed eggs are a symbol of new life. And Easter is surely a celebration of the new life that we all are given through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The act of creating things to express our faith is a special, time-honored tradition. Certainly these Victorian ribbon eggs can serve as a reminder to us of the message of Easter long after the season has passed.

Thank you to all of our artists who have generously offered up these prizes.
Please browse their online shops to view their other fine offerings.

How to Enter: Do one OR all of the following


1. Follow my blog...

It's easy, just click on the button on the left side of my blog.
(If you already follow me, leave that in a comment to receive a bonus entry!)

2. Email me your ideas for having a Christ-centered Easter.

You will get a bonus entry if I share (or have shared) your idea on my blog.
jocelyn [dot] christensen [at] gmail [dot] com

3. Invite a friend to check out this blog.

4. Blog about my "12 Days of Easter"
activities or "Keeping Christ in Easter" or any of my other Easter posts and link to it on Facebook.

5. Visit the shops of the artists
who have generously offered up these great prizes.
(Leave a comment telling me which items you enjoyed most from their shops.)

Please remember to leave me a comment on this post telling me which of these activities you have done so I can keep track of your entries.

I will announce the winners on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Dough Also Rises



My Mother is the Master Baker.

Growing up, the smell of fresh-baked bread often filled our home.

On St. Patrick's Day she always made green bread,
so in honor of her, I baked this green bread using her recipe.

And let me tell you...it is divine...and already half-gone.

It is so light, I swear it's going to float off the table!

Last year, my Mom wrote a novel called "The Dough Also Rises".
Her book contains all of her BEST bread recipes,
and she has shared this wonderful treasure for all interested bakers.
Click here to access all of her book of recipes.



My kids are also pretty psyched about St. Pattie's Day.

Last Sunday morning, they actually woke up and ran across the street, knocked on my neighbor's door and yelled "Happy Leprechaun Day!"
So, yeah, they've been looking forward to today.

My kids dug out the 4th of July decor to celebrate because they wanted to "have a parade".

However you celebrate, enjoy your St. Patrick's Day!



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There's No Place Like Home



I have signed my son up for preschool starting next school year.
I know he'll do great and he'll love school, I'm just not sure I'm ready yet to send my sweet boy out THERE.
But I'm working on it.

Out of the blue this morning, my son told me that he does not want to go to school.

Why?

Because "I am too excited for Home."

What are you excited about?

"Transformers, playing all day at the park, our car that takes us places, and the FOOD!"

Who knew that my food was exciting enough to make my son want to stay home?



How extremely flattering.

I love my kids, but I guess I might need to stop making rainbow cupcakes and such!

These cupcakes were super fun to make and eat.



They went so fast that I was unable to get a good shot of the finished product, so I had to borrow a photo from the site where I got the recipe. They'd be a great way to round out a green St. Pattie's Day meal!



As I think about my apprehensions about sending my son to school for the first time, it makes me wonder: Were we also reluctant to leave the sweet joys and familiarity of our Heavenly Home?

The good news is that after we've learned what we need to in this life, we can return home again, and we can return better than we were before, through the merits of his Son, Jesus Christ.



Friday, March 12, 2010

Let There Be...Sunshine



This is The Lewisburg Freez at approximately 1:15pm yesterday.

The Freez is both a local landmark and a social hot-spot. The moment it opens for the season, there are mobs of people waiting to buy their own tasty treats.

After what seemed like 21 straight sunless, snowy days, here in Pennsylvania, we all came out in droves to soak up the SIX SUNNY DAYS in a row that we've enjoyed this week.

My kids and I logged 12 hours at the park this week, and had a great time catching up with friends.



We also needed to catch up on our ice cream consumption, so we headed to The Freez.
My kids got chocolate soft-serve ice cream topped with brightly colored sprinkles.
I wish I had my camera handy, because they looked delightful!

Guy was so excited when he saw his sugary-concoction, but he later told me that he didn't like the sprinkles and was confused and disheartened that they didn't taste good at all.

I quickly used his observation to teach him that some things in life look very good, but end up not being what we thought they'd be. Some things in life are alluring, but they are not at all what they seemed...so next time we choose differently.

I, on the other hand, chose a vanilla sundae dipped in chocolate with peanut butter sauce drizzled on top. It was like an inside-out peanut butter cup, and it was pretty much everything I'd hoped it would be.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

He Waits to Gather You



"...how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings..." (Matt. 23:37)



We have been taking full advantage of these sunny days we've had recently.

We have used every excuse to be outside and reconnect with nature.

Today, it was slightly overcast, but we still enjoyed our lunch date with my friend Gail.

We explored her barn, gathered eggs in her chicken coop, and helped her blaze a trail in her "forest of no return". The kids were in "Ag-heaven"!

I have always loved the sentiment in the scripture above and hope that He will gather me and my children in with ease.