Holy Week Activities

As we start the holiest week of the year, I wanted to share some of the activities we have planned.  All of them are quick and easy to put together (because that’s kind of where we are at in life right now) so even if you’ve waited until the last minute to try to do something for Holy Week, have no fear.  Just click the pictures for links to the directions and activities.

Holy Week Wreath

Wee Little Miracles created this beautiful wreath to tell the Easter story.  I had seen the same Oriental Trading activity she mentions and wished to do something similar but the author Erin did such a fabulous job, why reinvent the wheel?  Click the picture to visit her site for all the directions, downloads, and more great ideas.

 

Cross and Crucifix paintings

Last year we painted cross paintings that were beautiful and easy to make.  We simply made a cross on the paper using painter’s tape and then painted water colors over the cross.  We did this with another family.  Some of the kids chose to add words with crayons ahead of time; others simply painted around the cross.

So of course I can’t find any pictures of our beautiful crosses.  I’ll keep looking and update when I find them but in the meantime, imagine a white cross on a page of beautiful watercolors….

 

Similar to our cross painting, Do Small Things With Love has done a watercolor crucifix painting.  This week the kids get to choose which one they would like to make.  Just click the image to visit her page.

Easter Egg Printable

We created this printable a few years ago when our girls were little.  Now we have our son who has gotten old enough to make the Easter Eggs so they are back in the rotation again.  You can find all the directions here.

Hot Cross Buns

This Good Friday we will be enjoying traditional Hot Cross Buns.  On Friday we will simply score the buns with a cross as we will be fasting, but any buns leftover will be getting yummy icing cross for Easter.  Catholic Cuisine has a great recipe along with historical info about this Lenten treat.

 

Stations of the Cross

This is one of my favorite parts of our Catholic faith.  I love the Stations of the Cross.  Really, I love Good Friday.  Maybe that’s not quite the right emotion or not the right way to say it.  But I just love so many people coming together as a group to mediate on the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, walking in his steps on the road to Calvary, venerating the cross.

It does get hard to keep the little ones quiet and focused during the Stations, however.  My go-to is coloring books of the Stations so that they can follow along while also staying occupied.  Here are a few different ones–just click the image to visit the different sites.

From Catholic Playground:

From St. Anne’s Helper (a great site for Catholic printables):

From Catholic Mom: Stations of the Cross coloring pages

 

And if you need help getting your kids into the Stations of the Cross, check out the Lego version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs5Z8TAVoGg

 

Happy Holy Week everyone!!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Inaugural Bingo Board

The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our country and on Friday we get to watch it once again.  I personally am excited and will be watching it with my children and friends.  In order to help my children get the most out of the event and keep their attention, I created a bingo board filled with questions whose answers should appear during the Inaugural coverage.

If you prefer, I also listed the questions in a simple worksheet with lines for the answers.  And I made an answer key if you don’t hear the answers or want to check yourself.

Inauguration Bingo Board

Inauguration Worksheet

Answer Key

 

 

A Lesson in Thanksgiving

Two years ago we were spending Thanksgiving in the pediatric intensive care unit.  Mia fell down and then suddenly had a huge hematoma.  Before her eyes we watched her body be covered in unexplained bruises and dark red spots.  At the hospital we found out that she had no platelets left.  Over the course of days they diagnosed her and worked on treating it.  This all happened the day after we arrived at our new duty station.  So we found ourselves with a sick child in a new city CAM00167with no friends or family celebrating Thanksgiving and just being grateful that our children were alive and we were together.

And so at this time of year when we are being grateful for our blessings, I think back to that scary time and to the lessons I was reminded of during it…

I am thankful for my faith.  Riding in the ambulance with lights flashing, Mia looked up at me and said, “Don’t worry, I’m not scared.  I know that God is with me.”  And she was right.  As our minds started to fill with panic our hearts were filled with faith.  God doesn’t make us sick and He doesn’t necessarily heal our body, what God does is walk beside us, loving us, giving us strength and preparing us for the way ahead no matter what it might be.

Our brave patient with her best buddy

Our brave patient with her best buddy

And I am thankful for the love with in our family.  Zoe would not leave Mia’s side.  When they wheeled Mia up to her room, Zoe rode next to her hugging her.  She laid in her bed, played with her, brought her food, and cried when Mia screamed in pain.  She was everything a sister could be.  I am proud of both of my daughters.  And I am proud of the family we have created and the love we all share for each other.

I am thankful for our friends and family, for all those who love me and love my children and love my husband.  People may be far away at times but our lives are filled with loved ones who will pray for us during our sorrows and celebrate with us during our times of joy.

And I am thankful for the generosity shown to us by both friends and strangers.  That Thanksgiving one of the doctor’s arrived with his family and a Thanksgiving dinner for us.  It was an act of such pure kindness I still tear up thinking of it.  But I am grateful not just for grand gestures like that, but for every time a stranger held the door open for us, gave my family a smile, picked up a dropped cup.  People are kind and we need to remember that.

I am thankful that my daughter is healthy again, yes.  But I am also thankful that our family survived the challenge and that we have learned and loved through it.  It has been a reminder to me of all that we should truly be thankful for–faith, love, friendship, and kindness.

Car Bucks

If you are traveling this holiday season, you might want to consider bringing some car bucks.  They have definitely brought peace and joy to our car.  🙂

20150512_101611This past summer we went on TWO major road trips, hitting both coasts–I am proud to say that during the course of the summer I drove on the I-10 in every single state it passes through.  All told we visited 15 states (but really Texas should count as like 10 different states since we drove from one end to the other).   And most of it I did alone with the kiddos. Two six-year-olds and a baby can make for a LONG trip.  Trust me.  Enter car bucks…

Car buck tickets

I got the idea on our first trip and we used imaginary ones.   By the second trip, I had my husband design actual “car bucks” for us.  The girls loved them!

So, how do you earn car bucks?

  • Being good during the drive,
  • Helping out when necessary,
  • Passing things back to siblings,
  • Being quick at rest stops,
  • Having good listening skills,
  • Good manners at our stops, etc.

With the baby in the car, my girls earned quite a few by helping keep Colton quiet and happy.  And I’ll admit that I pass the bucks out very freely.  I would rather reward good behavior throughout the trip then have grumps riding with me.  And this gives them more to spend.

Travel tickets

But what do you spend the car bucks on?

  • Buying souvenirs
  • Treats at rest stops
  • Special snacks

    Enjoying a rest stop along the way

    Enjoying a rest stop along the way

These were all things we would buy anyways but this way it was connected to good behavior which helped prevent whining and begging.  The souvenir money wasn’t an arbitrary amount and it allowed the children to practice good financial skills when deciding how to spend their money.  But don’t feel like you have to do a $1 to 1 buck ratio.  Make it work for you.

As for the snacks, of course our regular snacks were all free.  I just also picked up some extra special ones.  Like oreo sticks with creme dip (yum!) and the cups of cookies.  (I’m not very health concious on the road.)  The kids loved being able to choose when they could have something special like the cookies.  They tend to know best when they need a little pick me up.

Print on green paper to make them look more like money

Print on green paper to make them look more like money

Download Car Bucks

Car bucks have made our road trips easier.  I hope they help you!

 

Spooktacular Birthday Party

I can’t believe our little man just turned one!  colton cake croppedWhere did the year go?  I honestly feel like this was the fastest year of my life.  With his birthday so close to Halloween and my husband loving to decorate the house, it only made sense to do a Halloween themed party.  We had a great time and I wanted to share our party, not because it was so over the top and cute, but actually because it was so incredibly simple.  We’ve been busy so this had to be a very low prep event.  So if you are looking for something to do before trick-or-treating, here you go.

 

 

Invitations

IMG_2598We made these cute little bat invitations.  I cut the body and head separately so I could add the inner piece with all our info and then glue the head over it a bit.  I used sticker gems for the eyes and folded the wings so that you can only see the word Celebrate.

Bat invitations editable template

 

 

Bat invitation

 Photo Booth

I love these!  We used some leftover decorations to create a backdrop and then put out the different photo booth props.  There are so many available online, why design more?  My favorites came from One Creative Mommy and Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke.

IMG_2595

IMG_2533

IMG_2521

 

Water Bottle Labels

One of my favorite things to do for a party is themed water bottle labels.  It’s such a simple thing but really sets the mood and the kids like it.  Then we just put out some water bottle flavoring and everyone can create the drink they want.

Halloween water bottle labels

Halloween water bottles

Halloween water bottle labels

 

Table Decorations

We also did these cute table top decorations.  You just print and cut them out.  Then I attached them to a skewer stick so that they can be stuck into anything–a base, a dish, plants.  To make a stand I just cut a styrofoam ball in half and spray painted them black.

Halloween images for table decoration or clipart

Halloween table top decorations and clip art

We also had Halloween themed food.  There are so many cute ideas on pinterest that I’m not even going to go into all of them here.  (Check out my Halloween board for ideas.) But I am including the food labels since they are editable and festive.

Editable Food Labels for Halloween Dishes

Halloween food labels editable

And we pulled out our floating candles from our Harry Potter party to add some ambiance.

floating candles

Activities

For activities we made masks. I used a kit I purchased at Michaels but you could just as easily cut out your own pieces. I also put out Halloween themed foam stickers to add to the masks. Quick, easy, and fun!

IMG_2591

But you know what is even quicker for a craft… coloring! Have you checked out Quiver? You can print out coloring sheets that come to life in 3D through the free Quiver app! It is so cool and turns ordinary coloring sheets into magic. My kiddos love it. So print some out from here, throw out markers or crayons, and you are good to go!

IMG_2592

Beyond that we just let the kids play in the yard (which resulted in all of them putting on a show for us singing “Let It Go.”)

Goody bags

Finally, our goody bags… hands!  We picked up disposable gloves from Target (but you can get them anywhere) and stuffed them with candy.  For an extra touch add a spider ring to the finger.  I’ve actually had kids come up to me since the party to tell me how cool the hands were (and my girls have begged to take the extras off my hands).

Halloween “hand”-outs sign

IMG_2571

IMG_2573

 

And of course I need to end on a few more pictures of the birthday boy, since it was his special day afterall…

IMG_2409

IMG_2444

%d bloggers like this: