Great Gift Ideas From Family Christian {Giveaway}

Family Christian gifts

Still have some names to check off your shopping list? I’m happy to be working with Family Christian to share some of the amazing gifts you can find in their stores and online.

Music- From Holiday CDs to the WOW series full of top hits to Casting Crowns, Family Christian has some great uplifting music. During the Christmas season I love to have holiday music on so I was excited to see Family Christian offering an exclusive ‘A Christmas to Believe in’ CD. Another CD I purchased was Casting Crowns new CD, Thrive. I have not heard the whole album but as one of the top Christian music groups out there I have no doubt that this will bring joy to anyone who receives it.

Kitchen Gifts- If you have someone on your list who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, how about getting them something special to use when they cook or bake? I love these little loaf pans. A great gift idea would be baking a little treat in them and then gifting the treat and dish together with a little note telling the person how thankful you are for them. There are also mugs, serving platters, kitchen tools, casserole dishes and more. Now through Christmas Eve select holiday gifts are 50% off so it’s the perfect time to pick up Christmas dishes, too!

Devotionals & Books- Gifting a book that guides others in quiet time is such a blessing- to them and to you! We love our Veggie Tales devotional but I was excited to give my boys the new Jesus Calling for Kids after hearing on Twitter about how great it was. All Jesus Calling books are 50% off right now. Another special book by one of my favorite Authors/Bloggers called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas would make a nice gift for families looking to start an Advent tradition.

Willow Tree- I wrote a whole post about Willow Tree and all the beautiful figurines they have. Know a pregnant mom, a new dad, or a couple who just got engaged? Willow Tree makes the perfect gift to honor special life moments. Read more about them here.

Home Decor- The home deor pieces from Family Christian make ideal gifts! Encourage a friend with an angel figurine or a wall cross, or share one of their Christian plaques with an inspirational message. This ‘Be The Good’ print is one of my favorites.

Which Christmas gift idea is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below and you are entered to win a $25 gift certificate for Family Christian! Share the giveaway on a social network and leave another comment with the link and that will get you an extra entry. Giveaway ends December 24, 2014 at 11:59pm CST.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

Share The Joy Of Life’s Milestones With Willow Tree Figurines

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I’m a Family Christian blogger and this is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

There are some things in my home that just mean the world to me. Some are pictures, some are mementos and then some just represent something to me, like my collection of Willow Tree figurines.

I started my Willow Tree collection when I first became pregnant and bought the “Promise” couple figurine to signify the love between Sinisa and I and the “Cherish” pregnant figurine to celebrate the baby I was carrying. Weeks later I headed to the doctor for a sonogram and discovered I was carrying twins but then got the devastating news that I would most likely be losing one. The set of Willow Tree babies was available at that time and I got them. Every time I walk past them it’s a reminder of my angel baby, Avery. The “Our Gift” couple holding a baby completes my current collection. I hope to get the Mother & Son and the Quietly sets still to keep out year round in my bedroom.

Do you know anyone that is pregnant, getting married or going through major change in their life? I think that Willow Tree figurines would make great gifts. I think it means a lot to people to receive a gift that says “I was thinking about you” and “I’m there for you” instead of just giving a generic gift you could have bought for anyone.

I’m also excited to see that there is a Willow Tree Nativity set at Family Christian! What a beautiful centerpiece to have out at Christmas time. I think it would spark some great conversations during holiday parties with family and friends.

See the whole selection of Willow Tree figurines at Family Christian here.

Having Faith In Tough Times

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(Disclosure: I am proud to be working with Brawny® on a series of sponsored posts as they inspire people to be “Tough to the Core.”)

The summer before I headed into my Senior year of High School my life completely changed. My {step}mom had been complaining she didn’t feel well and within a couple days she was in the hospital fighting for her life. She had Viral Encephalitis and was in a coma and the cause was thought to be West Nile virus. After weeks she came out of the hospital but the swelling in her brain had caused brain damage and she was never the same. She developed a seizure disorder, suffered from memory loss, battled depression and had noticeable personality changes.

For nine years my mom battled Epilepsy until it took her life in June of 2009. She truly taught me a lot about life and was tough to the very end, never letting her illness dictate her life. My mom spent hours a day fighting back against memory loss by writing down everything, doing memory boosting activities and trying to strengthen her memory retention skills. She also tried different medicines and procedures to get her seizures under control. She strived to keep her life, and her children’s lives, as normal as possible and she was sure that by trying as hard as she could, she’d succeed.

Every day was spent reading the Bible, listening to encouraging speakers and immersed in Bible studies. Her Faith never wavered. She believed that she would get better. Having Epilepsy she was not allowed to drive and this was probably one of the hardest things for her to accept. Her Doctor had told her that once she went at least 6 months without a seizure she would be allowed to drive again. Every time I talked to her she told me that she would be driving soon and then every seizure she had she started the countdown clock again. For over 9 years she kept a positive attitude and believed that she would be able to drive in her near future. I really think she’s up in Heaven cruising around in her sports car!

I try to teach this same strength to my kids. I want them to remain positive in the face of struggles and have faith even when it’s hard to. I think these two things can get my children through any tough situation they encounter.

Thanks to Brawny® for encouraging these conversations. Want more information on how to be tough to the core? Check out the inspiration video series featuring Everyday Heroes from Brawny® and connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

Join The Jesus Calling Twitter Party

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I’m so excited to be working with Family Christian to promote the book Jesus Calling.

Family Christian is hosting a Twitter party on November 14th and we will be discussing this best selling devotional. Want to participate in the conversation? Find all the details below!

Where: https://tweetdeck.twitter.com or follow along with #JesusCalling

When: November 14th 1-2 pm EST

Prizes: 5 participants will win the deluxe edition of Jesus Calling and a $50 appreciation certificate to Family Christian. 5 other readers will win a $50 appreciation certificate to Family Christian.

How: You must follow the host @FamilyChristian and participate in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #JesusCalling

Follow these amazing co-hosts:

 

 

U-NEEKS Help Me Teach My Kids That Being Unique Is Great

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(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dayspring to promote their new U-NEEK collection. All thoughts are my own.)

Having two children with special needs means that we talk about being “different” a lot and how great it is to be unique. I want them to know that God made them and they are perfect to Him. The boys don’t really notice their differences that much yet but I know as they get older others will point them out. A perfect example happened just yesterday. We were at Jacob’s baseball game and an older sibling of one of Jacob’s teammates was playing with Lucas. He accepted that Luke couldn’t always articulate what he was saying clearly but was quick to point out that Lucas was behind on something else that his two year old sister was doing. He didn’t say it to be mean as his “friendship” to Lucas has been a blessing this season, but it was said and I know many other kids wouldn’t have been so kind about it.

When we talk about how we are unique I love playing “raise your hand if…” and have the boys raise their hand if a statement I say applies to them. Some are physical features (like hair color and eye color), some are about likes or dislikes and some are just silly statements. The boys enjoy doing this and each time we talk about how they are alike (you both love to eat ice cream) and different (one of you likes red and one of you likes pink). In the end I stress how God made them unique and they are perfect just the way they are.

One new way that we are talking about God making us unique is by playing with our new U-NEEK stuffed animals. God has made each one of us different on purpose.  In the Bible ( Psalm 139:14 ) we are reminded that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God, each U-Neek in our own way.  That is what this cast of characters is all about, reminding and encouraging us in a fun, random, sometimes weird and innocently strange way.  

The boys love cuddling with their new U-NEEK friends. Want to get your own? Now through July 14th you can find U-NEEKS at Walmart and Hobby Lobby! There is also a fun new U-NEEKS app that has just been made available in the iTunes App Store and Google Play store.

How do you teach your children that being unique is a gift? I’d love to hear!

My Experience At Awana Headquarters

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(Disclosure: I was compensated for my time but all thoughts are my own.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I love the Awana Ministry. Earlier this month my boys finished up their third year of the program and the boys can’t wait for next year to start up. I was so excited when Awana invited me to a special Blogger Summit at their headquarters and gave us a sneak peak at some changes that are coming. I can’t spill the beans yet but on June 16th their new website will go live and all will be revealed :)

I wanted to share about my time there. What really stood out to me over the two days was the mission of everyone on the Awana team. They weren’t focused on growing Awana but instead, were focused on bringing more children to Christ and long-term discipleship. Over 2.3 million children around the world have already been reached by this amazing ministry! Their goal is 10 million kids reached by 2020.

Along with learning more about the ministry, I got to meet some amazing ministry leaders and bloggers like The MOB (Mother of Boys) Society Co-Creator, Erin, and Felicia of Go Grow Go.

Worship was led by Meredith Andrews {yes, THE Meredith Andrews, DOVE AWARD-WINNING ARTIST!!} who is absolutely amazing. She has a beautiful voice and is also very sweet.

Lastly, I want to share some of the messages that have stuck with me:

  • “God does His best work when we are out of our comfort zone.” -@MattGuevara
  • “If you are going to reach people for Christ you have to have passion.” -Art Rorheim, co-founder of Awana
  • “It’s not about reaching 10 million kids with Awana - it’s about reaching 10 million kids with the Gospel!” -@BigZDub
  • “I cannot outsource the discipleship of my children to Awana.” -@peterkgreer, CEO of Hope International
  • “God will never expect any Church to be anything other than a more Christ-like version of itself.” -@brannonmarshall
  • “Everyone paddling in different directions doesn’t help a canoe move forward.” -@kevin_white
  • Some perspective: If you earn $32,500 in a year, you are in the top 1% income bracket globally.

I look forward to sharing more about Awana Clubs International next month!

We Love Awana! Follow Me At The #Awana14Launch Blogger Summit

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

My children have been participating in the Awana program for the past few years and we love it. The kids have fun while learning Bible verses and making new friends. I thought I’d share a few photos of them in their cute little vests :)

The kids get membership cards in Sparks

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Lucas is so happy to be a Cubbie

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Race day!

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A couple months ago I was contacted by Awana inviting me to their Blogger Summit with 8 other bloggers. Not only do I get to learn more about Awana and the people behind it, but I get to hear about the super secret thing they are launching at the summit! If you love Awana, you should follow the hashtag #Awana14Launch on Twitter TODAY and TMRW (April 29th-30th) to be one of the first to learn what they are launching because the other bloggers and I will be tweeting it out as soon as we can ;)

 

A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families E-Book

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(Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links but all thoughts are my own.)

I have super exciting news!! I just found out this morning that Amanda, who created the Truth in the Tinsel e-book that myself and so many of my friends and readers LOVED, has come out with an Easter e-book! The e-book is called “A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families“. Go beyond Easter baskets and bunnies and give your children a look at why we celebrate Easter and a sense of what the Resurrection is about. 

A Sense of the Resurrection

The e-book features 12 simple activities to be done the few weeks before Easter that will turn your home into a memorial to Jesus’ death and resurrection.  You’ll experience Jesus’ anointing, the Last Supper, Peter’s denial, the cross, the empty tomb and more. Memories will be made as your family uses their five senses to understand and believe the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This simple eBook includes printables, Scriptures and specific conversation and starting points so you and your kids can get a sense of the resurrection.

This book is a little different than the Christmas one because it’s not only crafts. This e-book is more about activities and conversations. It can be used with younger children but older siblings can enjoy it as well so I think it’s really great for the whole family. I know for us, we won’t go into much detail about how Jesus died with my four year old since I don’t think he will understand it but we may say a bit more to my 5 year old who has a deeper understanding of things.

The e-book is somewhat similar to the Christmas one in the way it is setup. It has a list of materials you will need, some which can be found around your home. Printables are included as well for those (like me) who just can’t draw. She makes it easy for busy moms and dads to do the activities and provides step-by-step activities and talking points.

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Find the ebook here.

 

15 Armor Of God Activities, Crafts & Snacks For Kids

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The boys participated in a Kingdom Chronicles Vacation Bible School this summer and loved it. We still listen to the CD daily. I wanted to share one of the Armor of God crafts they made while they were there and then I have found 14 other Armor of God crafts, activities, and snacks that you can do with your children or grandchildren.

Sword of the Spirit Craft {featured above}

Materials needed:

  • 2 popsicle sticks
  • 1 orthodontic rubber band (optional)
  • glue
  • shiny jewels/stickers from the craft section
  • small piece of foil

Directions:

1) Break one popsicle stick in half

2) Use an orthodontic rubber band or glue to affix them like the image above

3) Wrap your small piece of foil around the long part of the unbroken popsicle stick

4) Use glue to decorate the non-foil parts of the sticks (can also use stickers if you’d like)

More Armor of God crafts, activities, and snack ideas:

Cute Armor of God Costume from Crafting the Word of God

Free Printable Games and Coloring Sheets from Church Leaders

Armor of God Felt Man from Laura Thoughts

Sword Snack from Little Nummies

Armor of God Object Lesson from Our Journey Westward

Good News Shoes from Oh Amanda

Armor of God Games and Puzzles from DLTK

Spiritual Armor from Cultivated Lives

Armor of God Balloon Craft from Christian Crafts

Paper Toy: The Armor of God from My Little House

Armor of God Snack from Life’s A Bowl of Cherries

Armor of God Felt Book Page from Katie’s Creations

 Shield of Faith & Fiery Darts Craft from Danielle’s Place

Gospel of Peace Tissue Paper Boots from black flipflop designs

Here are some other great resource as well!

(affiliate links)

FREE 40-day eBook Devotional

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I heard about this ebook devotional from the MOB Society and just had to go check it out. The Seed Company is offering a free 40-day devotional for people to use during Lent. I was unfamiliar with The Seed Company so I poked around their site a bit.

Did you know that nearly 2,000 languages – 300 million people – worldwide still do not have one verse of scripture in their language? I mean, I knew there were some people that didn’t have it, but 300 million? That number is too high. I literally have tears in my eyes right now at the thought of all those people who have never, ever heard the word of God. 300 MILLION.

I knew I had to do something. An obvious way to help is to donate money. Another way to help is by praying. The Seed Company wants prayer partners for the different projects going on throughout the world.

While you are on the site getting your free devotional, I’d ask you to take a look around the site, check out the prayer requests, and, if you feel led to, sign up to pray for this vital ministry.

Truth In The Tinsel: Advent Experience For Little Hands {New Ornaments!}

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Spend December impressing God’s Word on your kids’ heart! You’ll get 24 days of Scripture reading, ornament crafts, talking points and extension activities. Plus fun printables and templates! You can read my review of last year’s Truth In The Tinsel ebook here.

This is the perfect book for kids of any age–from preschool to elementary!

Click here to order the ebook!


NEW for 2012! Get the printable Truth in the Tinsel ornaments! Use these on days you’re too busy to do a big craft, for toddlers, while you’re at Grandma’s or if you just want to save a little money on supplies!

Click here to order the ornaments!

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

 

Free Kindle Book: Hope For The Weary Mom

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{I have to start this post off by saying that if you don’t have a Kindle but you have an Android Smartphone you can still download this book! I have had an Android for a while now and just realized tonight that I can download a free app called “Kindle For Android” and access Kindle books that way even though I don’t have a Kindle! Yay!}

The Kindle edition of Hope For The Weary Mom: Where God Meets You In Your Mess {the expanded edition} is available for free today {10/23} and tomorrow {10/24} before it goes up to it’s regular price of $4.99. The book has all five star ratings on Amazon and good reviews from other readers. .

Enjoy! :)

Joy Filled Days With One Thousand Gifts {Dayspring Gift Set Giveaway}

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Working full-time from home with two preschoolers has me constantly on the go. I spend most of my days working, fingers flying across my laptop with breaks in between tasks to referee fights over toys, check on dinner in the crockpot, give hugs, switch over the laundry, and every other task that a working mom is responsible for. When I do get a few minutes to just sit, I’m always thinking about the next task on my to-do list or surveying the mess in my tv room wondering what I should pick up first. I’m reminding the boys to use indoor voices and to please keep their fingers out of their noses. In all the busyness it’s easy to miss the blessings in life if I don’t seek them out.

Ann Voskamp is a beautiful writer who wrote a book that I love called One Thousand Gifts in which she shows people how they can find joy. There is a line of gift items out that correspond with the book and I was lucky enough to receive two of them. Both items help me find joy in the littlest of things. The Inspirational Dayspring Daybrightener is a flip calendar that has a daily thought on each page. The Reflections From One Thousand Gifts book contains some of Voskamp’s photography and passages from her New York Times bestseller.

Even better than receiving them myself is the fact that Dayspring wants to bless one lucky Making Time For Mommy reader with a One Thousand Gifts set of their own! These items make beautiful gifts as well.

HOW TO ENTER:

Tell me one thing you are thankful for in your life!

For an extra entry, share this giveaway on a social network and leave a comment telling me you did so.

Giveaway ends November 10, 2012 at 11:59pm. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: I received items from Dayspring but all thoughts are my own.)

How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration {Ticket Giveaway For Chicago Event}

how sweet the sound

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound™ Gospel Celebration unites communities and cities across America in celebration and song.  The tour pays tribute to gospel music and provides local choirs a platform to showcase their talent with a broader community. Choirs rejoice in song and praise; sing in front of gospel greats and fans; and compete for a chance to win up to $50,000 in cash and prizes.

 This year, regional events will take place in the following cities:

·         Dallas – Sept. 6 at Verizon Theater at Grand Prairie

·         Atlanta – Sept. 10 at Philips Arena

·         Washington, DC – Sept. 12 at Verizon Center

·         Newark – Sept. 13 at Prudential Center

·         Detroit – Sept. 15 at Joe Louis Arena

·         Chicago – Sept. 17 at United Center

·         Los Angeles – Sept. 21 at Staples Center

·         Finale – New York – Nov. 4 at Barclays Center

GRAMMY® award-winning, songwriter, producer, arranger and music director Donald Lawrence will return as host and be joined by GRAMMY® award-winning entertainer, producer, author and syndicated radio host Yolanda Adams. In addition, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Bishop Hezekiah Walker and CeCe Winans will serve as resident judges for this year’s competition, which will feature each region’s top six choirs.

Tickets to the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound™ tour are on sale now.  For more details about Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound™ including video content, judging criteria, ticket sales information, and official rules, please visit www.HowSweettheSound.com.

TICKET GIVEAWAY:

I have one pair of tickets to give away to the Chicago stop of this tour.
The event is September 17th at the United Center.

{Giveaway does not cover transportation to the event, parking or any other costs}

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me why you want to win!

For an extra entry, share this giveaway on a social network :)

Giveaway ends September 11, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. Winner will have 24 hours to respond due to the timely nature of this giveaway.

(Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Savvy Moms program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.)

Free Christian Book- No Longer A Slumdog

No Longer A Slumdog

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO FILL OUT THE FORM FOR YOUR FREE BOOK!

{I got this offer in my email via Christianity.com. There are no strings attached and no shipping charges.}

(Disclosure: I wasn’t compensated for this post. I got the offer via email and wanted to share. I don’t know how often this offer will be open.)

The God Box {Book Review & Giveaway}

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I received a copy of The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan to review. This book came out on Tuesday, just in time for Mother’s Day!

About The Book:

After her mother Mary Finlayson dies, her daughter uncovers 10 of her God boxes spanning over 20 years of her life.  The boxes are stuffed with tiny notes written by Mary, asking and praying for everything from the right flooring for her daughter’s new home to a cure for her own blood cancer. Mary’s petitions are presented with love and without expectation. Note by note, author Mary Lou Quinlan unearths insights into her mother’s compassion, faith, and perseverance, and revelations of her innermost thoughts—nostalgic, surprising, and even a bit shocking. And through the journey, the author discovers her own more empathetic, more engaged self—the woman her mother had believed in all along.

My Thoughts:

Though this book is based on a mom’s faith in God, I think that anyone, regardless of their beliefs, would benefit from reading this book. It was an easy read and was split into chapters that could be read in short periods of time. I loved that she tells the story of her mom’s life, and of her own life, using the notes that her mom had written throughout the years. I also enjoyed trying to decipher the handwriting on the assortment of notes that Mary Lou had included in the pages of the book and reading the mom’s heartfelt prayers about everything from small, seemingly “silly” things to life-threatening illnesses.

Reading this book has inspired me to make a God Box of my own. Writing down my day to day prayers would serve as not only a way for me to communicate with God throughout the day but would also help me let go of negative thoughts and worries. Too often I hold on to things without fully giving them over to God and I think that the simple act of putting my concerns into written prayers would let me move past them and not focus on them.

The book also made me think about the memories that I am leaving my children. I’m still in my 20′s but I already have a hard time remembering things that happened only months ago. Leaving bits and pieces of my life behind on scraps of paper would give them an insight into who I was other than “mom” and would share moments of my life that they otherwise might never know.

The God Box Online:

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GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win their own copy of The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan

HOW TO ENTER:

Tell me why you want to read this book {or why you want to win it for a loved one if it’s going to be a gift}

OPTIONAL ENTRY:

For one extra entry you can share this review and giveaway post on the social network of your choosing

{Make sure you leave a separate comment telling me you did so.}

Giveaway ends May 10, 2012 at 11:59pm Central Time. US Only.

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review but all thoughts are my own.)

Christ Centered Easter Crafts & Activities

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I love bunny, chick, and egg crafts but, for our family, Easter is about more than that. I wanted to gather crafts and activities that focused on the reason we celebrate Easter, Jesus Christ. Here are some of my favorites I found online {click pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}:

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Make Resurrection Rolls

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Resurrection Garden

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Colorful Light Ray Cross

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Printable Resurrection Set

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Resurrection Eggs {For Toddlers and Preschoolers}

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Printable Resurrection Bible Craft

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Stained Glass Cross

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Cross Book

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Telling The Story Of Easter With Jelly Beans

Throw A Birthday Party For Jesus {10 Ideas}

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This year for Christmas we will be staying home. The children will be getting Christmas gifts but we will also be celebrating Jesus’ birthday. I wanted to share 10 ideas for throwing a birthday party for Jesus:

1) Along with “Happy Birthday Jesus” you can sing Christmas Carols like “Joy To The World” and “Away In A Manger”

2) Bake Him a birthday cake (find a cake recipe with symbolism here)

3) Have your children make a birthday card for Jesus

4) No birthday party is complete without gifts. Look through a gift catalog, like World Vision’s, that gives gifts to those in need and choose a gift to give.

5) Have everyone wear birthday “cone” hats (find a printable here)

6) Make birthday party decorations by creating paper chains with all the names of Jesus on them

{click to be taken to Spell Outloud blog for directions on making this paper chain}

7) Make a CHRISTmas craft (I have ideas here)

8) Bake cookies together and package them to give to friends.

9) Read about Jesus’ birth to focus on the reason you are celebrating.

10) Invite friends. If you do it on a day other than Christmas you can make it a true birthday party by inviting your friends to celebrate with you.

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You may also enjoy my post on 7 ways to celebrate the reason for the season!

CHRISTmas Crafts

Christmas Christ Crafts

We are making an ornament a day using the Truth in the Tinsel Advent e-book but I wanted to share some other Advent inspired crafts others are making. {Click on the links to be taken to the posts they come from.}

Printable Nativity Set

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Advent Wreath

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Baby Jesus On Construction Paper

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Gingerbread Nativity

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Coffee Filter Angel

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Advent Coloring Pages

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Baby Jesus Craft

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Golden Cork Angel

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Nativity In A Pot

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You may also enjoy my post on 7 ways to celebrate the reason for the season!