Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Easter is the BEST holiday. I really wanted to make sure that my kids felt that way, too. Easter is about the risen Savior and because of that we all are offered life eternally if we choose to accept it. I know some people feel like coloring eggs, doing egg hunts and Easter baskets take away from the point of Easter. I feel like they make it exciting. As my children grow, we will continue to emphasize the point of this special holiday and while they are little we will have lots of fun celebrating.

Almost every day during the two weeks leading up to Easter, we did an egg hunt and yes I put things into the eggs. Usually only 1 fruit snack or small piece of candy. I hid about 12 eggs (6 for each). During this time, my kids learned something amazing--how to help the under dog. They very quickly began to give an egg to the other if they found two in a row. When we had a hunt at Grandma and Grandpa Gray's house, I couldn't have been more proud. They didn't run and push each other or their cousin out of the way, instead they shared. They often gave away eggs even if they had less then their family members. LOVE IT!

A few years ago, after Easter, I purchased a set of resurrection eggs. I bought them 75% off after Easter. They have been a fabulous investment. So for 12 days leading up to Easter, we opened an egg and told the story of Jesus. We read from the Bible and then prayed using our prayer cards (after Christmas I kept all of our Christmas cards and put a ring thru them). Some days, I had lots of activities and some days that is all we did.

The first egg contains a donkey to remind us of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem. After reading this story, we made these darling donkeys and hand prints out of our hands and feet that I found on Catholic Icing.

The second egg has coins to remind us that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. This day we talked about money. Each child got a few quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. We reviewed their names and value. I helped Ollie count the value of several coins together. Dawson and I spent time simply counting them and reviewing their names.

A few eggs later, we opened up a crown of thorns. My children made crowns from playdoh and toothpicks. Rolling playdoh into a snake to create a crown is quite good for motor skills!

After the crown of thorns, we opened a cross made of nails. We talked about how we belonged on that cross but Jesus took our place. I illustrated this by giving the kids a block of wood, nails and a hammer. First, I placed my hand on the wood and placed the nail there. Then, instead we replaced my hand with a heart and the boys nailed them on.

We had great fun after when we opened the egg with a piece of white fabric in it that reminded us that Jesus was wrapped in linens and placed int he tomb. I got out a roll of toilet paper and we wrapped each other up. Then we ripped it up and threw it all over the house!

As I said earlier, I do Easter baskets and that is because I feel like God gave us a great gift and I want to give great gifts to my kids. We do not however do the Easter bunny. This year I found this fabulous idea. I like that the baskets relayed a message. So the night before Easter, I sat down with my kids with a small pile of rocks. I placed their baskets on the floor and asked them what sin is. They did not know. So after defining sin as the bad things we do that don't please God. We started talking. We talked about how taking a toy away is stealing and I wrote, "stealing" on a rock. I placed it in one of their baskets and said, "Just one sin is enough to be sent to hell because the Bible says, 'The punishment for sin is death' but the good news is
Jesus loves you so much that he took your place." Then we wrote things like selfishness, hurting your brother, not putting God first on rocks and I repeated the same thing over and over. Next we placed a red piece of fabric over the baskets. The red fabric represents Jesus' blood that he shed on the cross. We left them there until morning. When my kids got up and peeled back the fabric, they did not find rocks but gifts because we Jesus died for us he took away those sins and leaves us the best gift--eternal life but we have to choose to accept it. I hope that if you haven't made Jesus your Savior, that you do! Happy Easter! It's something we should celebrate each and every day!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Space night

A unit would not be complete without a culminating event. The boys really love to have a '________ night." They enjoy including daddy in their studies. They enjoy eating a special dinner. And the enjoy having an obstacle course because a culminating event would not be the experience without one!

After doing a bit of research on Pinterest (lol), I found out that tonic water glows when a black light is on. This happens because of a substance called quinine. Finding tonic water in Walmart took an immense amount of patience. The walmart I went to did not keep it by the water or the soda or any other non alcoholic beverage. Nope. why would it be? So after I bought the black light, jello (click on jello to see the original poster) , push lights and other such space gear, I got to drag my 2 rambunctious boys into a liquor store (in walmart) with a multitude of glass bottles so that I could spend less than a dollar on tonic water. Bah! This is why I hate you Walmart! Well that's one of 1,000,000 reasons.

Anyway, the tonic water was a must have. Since space is dark, I chose to capitalize on that rather than break my back coming up with a zillion space crafts and such, we just did a lot in the dark. For dessert, I made jello jigglers using tonic water. They taste a little funky but they do glow. I cut them into stars, placed glasses of tonic water around, shut off the lights and turned on the black light. fun times! I had to turn the lights on a bit so you could tell what you are looking at.

Excuse me while I rewind a bit. We started the night with a special dinner. We ate meteroids (homemade chicken nuggets), planets (peas), and saturn's rings (homemade onion rings). The actual meal really wasn't that good but the boys thought it was neat.

After dinner and dessert, we each picked a planet and created a push light. I spent time printing pictures online for this activity.  This idea came from play at home mom.

Then while I nursed the baby. Bob and the boys played glow stick hide in seek. They took turns hiding glow sticks and letting the others find them. the boys like to run to the room they hid them in and laugh and point. i guess they'll get it eventually.

We had to have our obstacle course. We used the push planets and glow sticks to light the course. The boys ran thru over and over. I hid a few glow in the dark planets (purchased them at Dollar Tree) in a pile of pillows so my little astronauts could discover new stars and planets. Once they were thoroughly sweaty and tired, we thru them in the tub (in the dark of course) with their glow sticks. They were pooped and had a great time!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


A few weeks ago, we did a unit on space. The boys really enjoyed it. Of course, now everything must also have a "night" so we did a space night as well. I will post that separately.

Space seemed to involve a lot of art activities. We used beads to make saturn's rings which was fabulous for Dawson's fine motor skills. Of course, I wasn't too keen on them pulling the beads off the rings and throwing them all over the house--not good on the feet or the vacuum. We created mars using wax paper, tissue paper and paint.

We painted push lights to make planets. That idea came from Play at Home Mom. I was hoping that the boys would get more into it but after one planet they were over it. The do look really neat though and they came in handy during our space night. I took PHM suggestion and bought the push lights at Walmart. I really hate walmart but I went for the sake of learning!

We spent a bit of time talking about the moon. We discussed how it rotates around the earth and why we see less of the moon. My dear husband helped me to create the moon phases using oreo cookies. We certainly enjoyed eating them during "school." The boys really enjoyed creating craters. I took a few rocks and some cloud dough - flour and baby oil- and let them drop the rocks into it to see how craters formed. Afterward, the kids spent some time playing with the cloud dough. Anything messy is always a hit!

We talked about the sun. I created a sheet that showed the earth is different positions in relation to the sun. I had the boys glue summer and winter apparel to the different sides to show which position indicated which season.

We reviewed the planets each day. The boys can tell me which planet earth is (3rd) and which planet is the biggest (Jupiter). They know there are 8 planets. I had them write (dictate to me) what they learned. Dawson said, "There are these ball things (planets). There is a lot of space between the ball things. There is a moon." I just had to laugh. glad he learned about the ball things!

One of the most fun things we did was make a rocket. To do this we needed two plastic cups and two rubberbands. The boys decorated their rockets and then launched them. I included the original directions if you click on the link. The boys really enjoyed this. We got them to go quite far.
 I never like to include the mundane stuff we did because there is quite a bit of it. We read books, went to the science center, did some worksheets, reviewed some skills. ya know, the stuff no one but us wants to hear about. Hope you have a great week!