Gaga Ball and Jesus- What’s the Connection?

The pledge of allegiance to the flag

The pledge to the Bible

A song from the hymnal – probably Stand up, Stand up for Jesus or Standing on the Promises.

Rotations through crafts which probably included some type of string art or finger-painting.

The preacher preached from the Bible

Prayer dismissed you and you took the 10 things you’d created with you and looked forward to coming back the next night.

 

I’m reminiscing about Vacation Bible School, now shortened to VBS.  Those good days in the summer when you went to church at strange times and all the little old ladies made as much kool-aid and as many cupcakes as you could possibly consume.

 

I dropped my children off tonight at our church’s version of VBS.  We have amazing leaders and volunteers who work very hard to make this happen.  There are HUNDREDS of kids who are coming to the church for this event.  The amount of work that is put into it is not to be taken lightly.  It’s a heroic effort.

However, I left sad.  I also left with a headache.  During the five minutes that it took for me to drop my kids into their respective color and number groups, the noise level was mind boggling. There were no less than fifty kids screaming just to be screaming.  There was NOTHING peaceful in this place at the moment.

Two and a half hours later, I picked them up.  One of my daughters has a bit of trouble processing things when she is overstimulated.  She was literally staring ahead and didn’t even seem to notice me when I went to her group.  I jokingly said “Hey…do you recognize me?” She teared up to cry.  She was obviously overwhelmed.

One of the three could tell me that there was  a short story given about Jacob.  No details, but Jacob was the subject.

The other two were sad that they had forgotten their crazy socks and wanted me to turn on the interior lights of the van so that they could read the flyer to see what was coming after crazy hair night.

Now, I know I’m not young.  But I am struggling just a little bit.

I feel like I might be promoting the idea that we might need to be loud, chaotic, wild and crazy to learn about Jesus.  I’m not saying there is anything “wrong” with that.  I’m just struggling a bit with it.

Be still.

Be still and know that I am God.

I think that the mission is to get children to enjoy coming to church so that they might want to return to hear about Jesus.  That’s a noble mission.

What about the children who are already coming?

I know that it is not the sole responsibility of the church to teach my children about God. I am thankful that I have that privilege.  However, I desire to have the support in a corporate setting.

Maybe that is my take away.  Maybe the church is there to initiate the conversation and then the work is mine.

Either way…..there’s a lot of Gagaball being played in the southern states this summer.

I’m going to trust that Jesus is in there too!

 

 

 

 

DIY Birthday Cakes for Your Kids

I love a good DIY project and decorating cakes is a hobby that makes me happy so putting those together is fun for me!

About half way through the mess of baking, I tend to remember that Costco and Sam’s both sell 1/2 sheet cakes for less than $20.

But, alas, my kids like for me to bake and decorate their birthday cakes and that makes me happy.  It is a labor of love and actually quite fun to see their ideas come to life!  The delight that they get from them is worth every minute.  They really are truly excited and appreciative.

For this year, my twins asked for two totally different cake styles.  Apparently when you turn eight, it is no longer cool to share a theme.  My cat lover wanted a cake with “tangled up cats.”  My horse lover wanted a pasture scene with horses.

Although I have an excellent home made white cake recipe, I went straight to Wal-Mart to aisle 9 and picked up my favorite boxed white cake mix.  You just cannot go wrong with this one!

For the chocolate cake, I used this devil’s food mix.  I am not a chocolate lover but apparently it is yummy.

I only have one set of round pans and one rectangular cake pan, so I helped the girls to decide that is just what we needed to have the perfect cakes.  The power of persuasion was strong.

So, after a morning of baking, cooking, and leveling the cakes, we were ready!

I used a basic Wilton frosting recipe for the white cake and this chocolate buttercream recipe for the other.  It is the best chocolate one that I’ve tried.   Yummm!

My cat lover is also a foodie.  She loved the strawberry cream cheese filling that I had used on her daddy’s birthday cake so she requested it for her own.  It is really, really good and takes a cake from basic to amazing.

I let the girls choose a set of Toobs to use for the figures on their cakes.  This was like a little gift before the birthday and they put A LOT of thought into just which ones to get.

You really can’t go wrong with “tangled up cats.”  This was super easy to decorate. To make the yarn balls, I covered a bouncy ball and a marble with icing.  This worked well but kept me on my toes at the party to make sure that they got removed before becoming a choking hazard!

It was a bit more fun to decorate the horse cake.  I would have really liked to add a fence  (my idea was to use pretzels and icing) but she insisted that her horses were free roaming. 😉

Overall, we had a really good time with these. It was worth the effort and I felt a bit like superwoman as they oooohed and aaahhhed over the results!

They are already planning for next year!

 

 

 

 

 

Go Outside to Play

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Have my children played outside today?

Recent studies like this one show that our children are spending more and more time in front of screens.  I’m sure this doesn’t surprise any of us.  We see it all around us, possibly in our own home.  Maybe it’s hard for us to admit that we would surpass those numbers ourselves.

Today, I read this article about the need to reinstate play for healthy kids. I took a trip down memory lane as the author described how she would play as a child.  I could NOT agree more about the importance of outside time and it rekindled my desire to model and monitor this important part of our day.

We are believers in going outside to play.  I was raised in the country and we played outside for hours.  I’ve passed that on to my kids and they know that I believe that we need to spend some time outside every day.  If they forget it,  I remind them! 😉  I am not naive enough to think that, if allowed, my children wouldn’t sink into the couch cushions with a bowl of cereal and stay for days.  But for right now, we are playing outside and enjoying it!

 

If they run out of ideas, I can give suggestions and let their little imaginations soar.  They do start to complain about the humidity and heat in July but I just throw some ice onto the trampoline and tell them to have fun!

These are some of the ways that they keep themselves entertained.

1) Get dirty!

2.) Catch critters!

They are in constant pursuit of a frog, a lizard, or a dragon fly.  The poor snails aren’t fast enough and are often confined to snail city.

3.) Make fairy houses.

4.) Plant a garden.

They’ve grown tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes on their own.  They love to grow flowers and have great luck with zinnias.

 

5.) Create houses.

These were as a result of a Five In a Row unit that we had just covered about wigwams and turf huts.

6.) Ride bicycles.

Their bicycles usually have names, long manes, and live in stables.

7.) Jump on the trampoline, swing on their swings,  skate, and spin on their gym dandy teeter go round.

8.) Take pictures!

They photograph things that they find interesting.   These cameras have lasted for two years and provided endless hours of fun.

9.) Observe and study.

When they see something and need to identify it, they are quick to take out their animal or plant guides.  This makes my teacher heart happy!

I hope that we can delay the desire to be staring at a screen…….  Possibly forever!

What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?