Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter--the 'just for fun' traditions!

now I know Easter is NOT about eggs and edible goodies. We celebrate the great sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with our thoughts and hearts reverently turning to Him in remembrance of His everlasting Atonement. Eggs have nothing to do with that.

But I enjoy the feast of colors that Easter-- with all its clearly secular rather than religious traditions-- ushers in. Since I am confident my children are NOT worshiping a pagan god or fertility goddess, I see only fun in the secular traditions. Fun and family. So we have our fair share of egg dyeing, cookie making, peep eating, egg hunting, and candy consuming in our family!

Egg Dyeing
This year we just did regular dyed eggs. Next year perhaps we'll venture out for a new method, I have seen a ton of ideas I'd like to try!

 Gwen enjoyed using the "magic" crayon

 Caroline wanted to participate too-- knowing her love of making messes, I only gave her two colors and 3 eggs...and she went to town!

 Gwen wanted to add stickers to hers
 Caroline starts to notice her hands look funny...
 the dripping eggs quickly digressed into "dropped" eggs to see how big a splash she could create!
Caroline's egg started to look pretty grodey (and yes, that is the word I'm going with here), because the green and pink mixed makes brown (opposites on the color wheel and all, what can you expect). But that poop brown layer started to peel like a sunburn, revealing patches of pale pink underneath. Absolutely fascinating. I have no idea why it did that. 
and she thought her hands were interesting before...yeah, by the end of the activity, she looked ridiculous! 
 Gwen's finished eggs
 Caroline's 'poopy' egg
 and another of Caroline's that actually turned out quite pretty
 Caroline's egg lineup
 Of course she had to try some-- and wasn't offended by the vinegar, apparently, because she kept drinking it until I took it all away!
 The eggs

Peeps homes 
(gave us a chance to talk a teeny bit about nature too, particularly bird nests)

Caroline's Peeps didn't make it into their house unscathed...she took bites out of both of them before they got to go "home". 

Cookie baking and decorating:
 (we were blessed to have a completely unexpected visit from my folks for about 5 daytime hours-- we packed in a week's worth of memories, including these cookies!)

 Caroline had to be right there amidst the action

 Caroline hardly let Grandpa get any work done--she wouldn't let anyone else pick her up but just pestered him with "up up up up" until he succumbed!

Gwen's beautiful cookie!

and because this post is already super long, I'll save the egg hunt for another post. That hasn't even happened yet anyway, so it works out perfectly! :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter--the spiritual traditions

We want our children to know what Easter is REALLY celebrating, so we have spiritual lessons throughout the month so that the entire month is about the Savior, but we only bring out the 'bunny and eggs and candy' stuff about two weeks before Easter. Easter day is reserved for family, food, and faith-- no egg hunt for us on Sunday, if we can avoid it; we try to make that a Saturday event. Some of our spiritual traditions include: 

colorful magnets (I took the coloring pages available for free from and colored them by hand, covered in clear contact paper (the poor-woman's version of laminating), then glued to magnet sheets and cut out--carefully!) and and a map of Jerusalem (from the 2012 April Friend magazine) taped together and contact papered:

testimony eggs filled with symbolic items from our Savior's last week. The link isn't our exact set (which was a gift to us), but it gives the idea. There are lots of these on the web, so browse and find one you like. Our set actually has 15 eggs rather than the usual 12 because it includes 3 after the Resurrection up to the Ascension.:

a Passover dinner that allows us an opportunity to talk about the symbolism of the Old Testament meal and how it testifies of Christ as Savior (we don't actually own any Sedar plates, but we have all the foods on a regular plate)

Resurrection (marshmallow) rolls with 4 easy symbols of Christ's burial and resurrection

Easter-eve resurrection meringue cookies with more than 10 slightly-more-complicated symbols of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection. 

There are others I'd like to add to our traditions, but we'll have to add new ones each year as our children grow more mature. Preparing the various things does, after all, take time. The great thing is, once you've got a good thing goin, you can just keep repeating it year after year!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My 4-yr-old, the Author

I couldn't NOT document Gwen's latest intellectual development: story-crafting. The pics are just recent random photos of her, unrelated to the authoring moments.
 Gwen is periodically sent home with assignments from preschool that are really more for me than her, I imagine in the effort to get parents involved with the child's education. One such assignment was to choose a stuffed animal, have her make up a story about it while I wrote it down, and turn in her "story". Here is her creation, with my lack of punctuation intentional to indicate when she didn't slow down to breathe:
 "My pheasant is named Amy. *which she made up on the spot, btw, because she has NEVER called her pheasant Amy and usually says all her animals are named Gwen* One day Amy went to see her Mommy, Gwen. And after that she went to the woods and got lost. And then she went back to find her little baby pheasants. She had three little babies. One was named Sarah...and Percy and Bill. I have another story about when they were on the bus crying because they didn't get a drink. Their mommy got a drink for them and fed them then they went back home and then they went somewhere. Tomorrow we can do another story about my kitty."  

Cute. I love that babies and mommy's dominate the plot. I'm going to assume you are familiar with Owl Babies and caught her plagiarism--or literary allusion, if you are the generous type. :) The part at the end where she didn't pause reminds me of Kid History. :)

So her writing gets better. This next composition is awesome. Quite unexpectedly (it is a long story), my parents were here from midnight last night til 1:30 today. My dad took some time to play with Gwen this morning and she wrote another story. For this one, she included illustrations and page turns, which I've indicated by each new line:

"One day, on a boat, going to America. 
"Then in the morning, a nasty storm was coming by. 
"And the storm got bigger...and BIGGER...
"The rain was coming nearer and nearer.
"And the river got wild and wild.
"People fell from the boat, to mean shark's home.
"Sharks were eating people to their guts.
"Sharks got sick from eating the people.
"Their mommy and daddy gave them medicine."

and that is the end!
When I turned the page and read "eating people to their guts" I just couldn't stop laughing! How does she even KNOW about stuff like that? and I love how there is no tidy plot wrap up, the sharks just get medicine. Nuf said. Kids are so funny!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cupcakes with Young Women

I'm not in teaching in Young Women anymore, which was a challenging adjustment for me because I loved it soooooo much and I really miss these amazing gals. So when I was asked to teach the YW some cake decorating skills for a Wed night activity, I was more than happy to hang out with these awesome ladies (thank you Eric for being willing to fly solo at bedtime so I could do this)! 

Check out some of the talent--like the above fondant cupcake designed by Sarah V.!

Those aren't my hands, that is Nicole B. mastering flowers and leaves!

 Becca S. liked the eggs in the grass the best!

 Hailey B. designed a lovely flower cupcake

 These are either Ashley J or Karianne D's adorable creations... not sure to whom the credit belongs, but they sure are cute!
 Orawan W. was focused and precise. Her first time decorating cupcakes!
 Gina F. wanted her 'lawn' to be the perfect length...if only my grass were this green and luscious!
The whole crowd, showing off our edible creations! So much fun and ya'll did a great job! Beautiful!