Friday, May 27, 2016

Vacation Bible School, Day Five

Well, this is the LAST post for Vacation Bible School theme ideas.  We will wrap up this carnival with an animal theme!  Animals are all around us---in our homes as pets, on farms providing us with meat, milk and eggs, in the forests, in the sea, and even in the sky!  Kids are often curious about the lives of animals and how God relates to them.  This fun theme helps children get in touch with nature and with animals.

Bible Stories that would fit in with this theme:
Adam Names the Animals
Noah's Ark
Daniel in the Lion's Den
Elijah and the Ravens
The Lost Sheep
Jesus Rides the Donkey on Palm Sunday

Books to Reference:
7 Days of Awesome by Shawn Byous $ 16.99 (Just my two cents here...we LOVE this book!)
Goodnight Ark by Laura Sassi $16.99
The Beginner's Bible: Daniel and the Lion' Den (An I Can Read Book) $3.99
The Beginner's Bible: Adam and Eve in the Garden (An I Can Read Book) $3.99
The Adventure Bible: Elijah, God's Mighty Prophet (An I Can Read Book) $3.99
Made by God: Animals All Around $9.99
Made by God: Curious Creatures $9.99
Adventure Bible (NIV) $24.99

Craft Ideas: Zondervan gave some craft ideas from Oriental Trading Company and for some reason, I cannot access their check OTC for some inexpensive craft ideas!  They usually have quiet a few projects to choose from.
A few ideas from Pinterest

Decoration Ideas:
Here are some ideas for this...this theme could go any number of ways depending on what you prefer to focus on....Also, check out the Under The Sea board for those ideas as well!
Animal print balloons

Snack Ideas:
Here are a few snack ideas that look fun AND yummy!

Songs you could include:
Father Abraham (I cannot even believe I am suggesting this...this song is not my favorite, but CHILDREN LOVE IT!)
I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N
Hosanna in the Highest

Some other fun ideas include:
Invite a veterinarian or zookeeper to come and talk to your group...maybe they can bring a special animal visitor
Take a trip to the zoo
Volunteer for the day, a a group, at a local farm or animal shelter
Make Handprint Hens
Run a food drive for cats or dogs and donate the collected items to an animal shelter
Host a dog wash event fundraiser and donate the money collected to the church, a children's ministry or to a local animal shelter.
Have a scavenger hunt to spot signs of animal life native to that area
Take a nature walk in your local park or hiking area to spot animals and explore their habitats.
Make animal masks... Enchanted Learning is a subscription site, so there MIGHT be a limit to what they will allow you to looks like you might be able to print this for free, but I cannot guarantee that.
A Pinata is a fun idea...but only if you do NOT make it!

Generic Pinterest Boards...just because you get sucked in to the great time warp

Ok, that is it!  I hope you have enjoyed this VBS round up of ideas!  A big thank you to Zondervan for putting this together!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vacation Bible School, Day Four

Many people are fascinated with Angels.  They are guardians and messengers, mysterious and very interesting.  Find out what Angels are all about with this exciting theme.

Bible Stories that would fit with an Angels Everywhere theme:
Creation-God created the angels
Abraham and Sarah visited by three angels
Three youths in the fiery furnace
Jacob's Ladder
The angels guide Isaiah through Heaven
The angel appears to Mary
The angel appears at the tomb of Jesus

(I would be careful with which stories I pick here...For instance, the three youths in the fiery furnace...I have believed that this was an appearance of the Christ and it could be confusing for children.  Perhaps a better choice is a passage where Daniel is praying in chapters 9 and 10 of that book.  There are also many references to angels in Revelation...maybe Revelation 22:6-9, or 19:1-10.  The Angels in the Bible Storybook might be a very helpful resource for this theme.)

Books to Reference:
Angels: A 90 Day Devotional About God's Messengers by Christa Kinde $9.99
Angels in the Bible Storybook by Allia Zobel Nolan $16.99
Adventure Bible: Facing the Blazing Furnace (An I Can Read Book) $3.99
Beginner's Bible: Baby Jesus is Born (An I Can Read Book) $3.99
Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible (NIV) $29.99

Craft Ideas:
See my Pinterest board
Decoration Ideas:
again, Pinterest
Snack Ideas:
And, Pinterest for the Win...well, actually, It was hard to find angel theme here is a generic board for any kind of snack

Songs you could include:
Angels We Have Heard on High
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Angels, From the Realms of Glory

Some other fun ideas include:
Make angel wings from paper plates
Be angels in your community by helping people in need with a food or clothing drive, or a needed activity.
Host an angel hair spaghetti lunch and invite the senior citizens of the church (or neighborhood) to be served by and dine with the children.
Make keepsake coffee filter photo angels
Bake Angel Cookies using cookie cutters and cookie dough
Form groups to build giant angel art figures using recyclables and make angel paintings for an Art Gallery.
Have an Angel Food Cake eating contest- eat slices of angel food cake piled high with whipped cream using only their mouths.
Sing angel themed Christmas songs in the summer...see above!

Ok, that is all for today!  I will see you for one last theme tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vacation Bible School, Day Three

It's Day Three of our Vacation Bible School Theme Round Up and today's theme is When I Grow Up!  Most kids enjoy thinking about all the things they could BE when they grow up and this theme helps them explore that a little bit and reminds them that God is ALWAYS with them!

Bible Stories that would fit into a When I Grow Up theme:

God calls Noah to Build an Ark
God calls Moses to lead His people out of Egypt and write the 10 Commandments
Joseph, the dream interpreter
Jesus calls His 12 Disciples to minister with Him
Jesus calls Paul to be a Disciple

Books to Reference:
The Plans I Have For You by Amy Parker $16.99 (it said it was on special for $11.89...I am not sure how long that is good for)
The Plans I Have for You Devotional by Amy Parker $14.99
Baby Wren and the Great Gift by Sally Lloyd-Jones $16.99
Adventure Bible: Joseph the Dreamer (An I Can Read book) $3.99
Adventure Bible: Noah's Voyage (An I Can Read book) $3.99
Adventure Bible: Paul Meets Jesus (An I Can Read book) $3.99
Kids Quest Study Bible (NIrV) $29.99

This theme was a little more difficult to find ideas may have to tweak the ideas posted or look for ideas from the Bible Stories...but here is what I have.

Craft Ideas:
Create Your Own Puzzle $4.99
Jobs If You Like Career People Craft Sticks- Scroll down for supplies, price varies

A few ideas here

Snack Ideas:
Foods that seem grown up, but that Children love...this will vary, but veggies, hummus or wraps.  You can also have the snacks go with the story for that day.
You can also check in here to find more ideas

Decorating Ideas:
Collect Community Helper costumes and posters.

This theme was a little more difficult to have specific decorations for.  It might be fun to adapt the Never Grow Up ideas to mix with the When I Grow Up theme...Anyway, such as it is, here is my pinterest board

Songs you can include:
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
This Little Light Of Mine
Standing in the Need of Prayer

Other Activities that might be fun!
Invite parents or church members to come each day and talk about their careers
Have children dress up for a career they might like to have
Honor Different Careers each day
Have a pet visit day in honor of veterinarians
Practice safety demonstrations in honor of police, fire fighters and first responders.
Help people in need with a charitable activity in honor of pastors, missionaries and other care givers.
Host a special lunch where kids serve their parents to honor all that parents do for them
Host a Talent Show where children can sing, recite a poem, tell a story or dance that honors a career they would like to have.

Well, that wraps up day three!  I will see you tomorrow for Day FOUR!  I hope you are enjoying these posts, courtesy of Zondervan Publishing and that they are helping to get your Vacation Bible School Plans moving.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Vacation Bible School, Day Two

Online gaming is very popular with kids as young as five years old.  Almost every kid has heard of Minecraft, and many have accounts of their own where they create worlds with their friends.  My son has been ASKING me to PLEASE let him play...trouble is, I can't figure out how to download it!  So we move on.  Today's Vacation Bible School theme isn't all about gadgets, but gives them that game inspired look they love!

Today's Theme:  World Builders!  I can almost hear the Mission Impossible Theme song...oh wait, that was last week's band concert!  Well, Adventure is out there and waiting for you.

Bible Stories that would fit with a World Builders Theme
Noah's Ark
Joshua at the Battle of Jericho
Mighty Samson
David & Goliath
Jesus calling the 12 disciples (I guess in online gaming, players call on other players to participate in battles or group events)
Revelation: Jesus' return and the new Kingdom of Heaven (I just studied Revelation with BSF and focusing on the Victorious Lamb could make this possible.  I would be careful with this story though)

Books to Reference:
Minecrafter's Bible (NIrV) $24.99
Picture That! Bible StoryBook  $9.99
The Berenstain Bears Play a Good Game $3.99
Faithgirlz: 101 Way to Have Fun $14.99 (This is a bit outside the age range for VBS students, but some activities might be adaptable.  It is a fun book though, so I left it in the list!)
Adventure Bible: God's Great Creation (An I Can Read Book) $3.99
Beginner's Bible: David battles Goliath $3.99
Faith Builder's Bible (NIrV) $24.99

Craft Ideas:
Pickaxes $6.25/12
Swords $6.25/12

And some ideas from my Pinterest Board

Decoration Ideas:
Bright Foam Blocks $17.99/48
Inflatable Torches $10.99/12
Cobblestone Aisle Runner $47.50/100 ft.
Design a Room Stone Wall Background $15.99
Minecraft Steve Head $24.99
Minecraft Creeper Head $24.99

And a few more from Pinterest

Snack ideas from Pinterest too!
So these boards have some ideas that would not be practical for VBS, but would be FABULOUS for a Five Day Club in the neighborhood or ahem, maybe a boy's birthday party! (Could be for a girl as well...I just have a boy...who I need to throw a party for!)

Some other fun ideas include:
Saving up a LOT of boxes and painting them to resemble Minecraft elements.  Let the children build away.  You will need A LOT OF BOXES for this!
Teach kids to code using this free resource
Create your own game characters following this tutorial from Captain Nintendo Dude
Have a Watermelon carving Contest and create delicious edible game characters like these
Be World Builders in  your own community by planting a garden, cleaning up an abandoned lot or helping elderly with yardwork.
Plan a scavenger hunt using a GPS and GeoCaching.
Play a game of Creepers vs. Endermen Dodge Ball
Using Lego, Duplo or other bricks, build your favorite Bible story using examples from the Faith Builders Bible.
Create Minecraft inspired MadLibs using this glossary

Songs may include:
Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho
Only A Boy Named David
There were Twelve Disciples

Well, Day Two is DOWN, but Day three is coming up!  See you tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Vacation Bible School Day One

Vacation Bible School was a much LOVED event for our children.  They each had their favorite part, but they loved it as a whole.  Now that my children are now mostly too old to participate (still have one guy little enough!), they help out and give other children the same love for VBS that they had.

We attend a SMALL country church and our attendance for Vacation Bible School is pretty small. Our budget is pretty small as well.  Doing all the BIG decorations, craft, snacks and extras is often difficult  Zondervan Publishing has put together a Vacation Bible School resource list to give ideas if you have not chosen something already in your church.  These would also be fun if you wanted to hold a five day club in your backyard or at a park.  I will will highlighting one theme each keep checking back!  You might be thinking, VBS?  It's only May!!!  Well, it takes some advance planning and MUCH PRAYER to run a Vacation Bible School.  Also, just in case you are wondering, I do not get any kick back or commission for sharing this... I am not an affiliate for any of the links, I do not get paid in any way.   As a member of the Z Blog Squad, this resource list was made available to us to share...being in a small church, I really appreciate having this kind of information.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Today's theme is: Under the Sea

 This summer, Finding Dory, the much anticipated sequel to the beloved Disney movie Finding Nemo will release on June 17.  Kids everywhere will be excited for everything under-the-sea related---which also makes it a FUN theme for Vacation Bible School!

Bible Stories that would fit well with an Under the Sea theme:
Noah's Ark
Jonah in the belly of a big fish
The Loaves and Fishes
Jesus Walks on the water
Jesus says, "I will make you fishers of men"

Books to reference:
The Under the Sea NIrV Bible $24.99
Made by God: Sea Creatures (An I Can Read level 2 book)  $3.99
Jonah and the Great Big Fish by Rhonda Gowler Greene $9.99
Ocean Adventures by Peter Schreimer $7.99
Ocean Adventures DVD Series
     Volume 1 $9.99
     Volume 2 $12.99
     Volume 3 $12.99
These resources would be a great accompaniment to the story period or play the DVDs in segments at your opening and closing sessions.  They would also be great gifts to award for children who brought friends, had perfect attendance or maybe just need a Bible.

Oriental Trading Company has some great ideas for crafts, here are just a few I have chosen to highlight.  HOPEFULLY, they will not be out of stock if you decide to use them
Under the Sea Treasure Prayer Box $8.25 for 12
Under the Sea Clip Magnet $3.48 for 12
Clown Fish Sea Anemone Pop Up $8.25 for 12
Under the Sea Paracord Bracelet $11.99 for 12
Flowerpot Whale  Well, it looks like this one is out of stock...maybe it will come is very cute!
Find other ideas from OTC here or from Pinterest Decor, Crafts, and Snacks.  You can find INFINITELY more wonderful ideas on Pinterest or by just doing a Google Search.  I can get lost for days on Pinterest...SHINY...PRETTY, Oh, you want dinner?  Also, I tried to choose snacks that were more on the healthy side than sugary.  There are some sweet treats in there too, but children...on sugar...not such a great idea.

A few more ideas could be:
Make cupcake liner fish
paint seashells by the seashore...well, not by the seashore!  Turn them into necklaces, paperweights, magnets and frames.
Scuba Diver Costume
Outdoor fishing games using mini swimming pools and foam fish.
Visit a local pool, lake or beach for swimming.
Visit an aquarium or zoo.
Create an Under the Sea wall mural using recyclables.  Invite parents to check out your "art gallery" at the end of VBS.

Songs for this theme can include:
Rise and Shine
Who Did (Swallow Jonah)
Deep and Wide
And more ideas here

Come back tomorrow for the next theme:World Builders!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kids Study Bible

NIrV Kids' Quest Study Bible
Zonderkidz Publishing
Ages: 6-10
Price: $ 29.99

Is your child curious about the Bible or have LOTS OF QUESTIONS?  This MIGHT be the Bible for them!
So, there are 1,618 numbered pages in this Bible.  I am going to attempt to give an accurate portrayal of this, but I have NOT read every page.  Please extend grace if your opinion differs from mine or you find something that I missed.

First, there is a presentation page that seems a bit babyish in comparison to the cover of the Bible.  It has the feel of a Noah's Ark nursery theme to me.
Then, there is an intro to this Bible...that was pretty interesting.  I think most kids would enjoy it!  It sounds exciting and adventurous!
Then there is a few pages about the NIrV...parents may enjoy reading this, but I am pretty sure it will be snooze-ville for most kids.

Features include:

Over 500 questions from kids like you, along with real answers
These questions are sprinked in through the text right where the scriptural answer for it is.  I like that this gives the impression that when we have questions, the Bible has answers for us.  Not only is there a main verse to support the answer, but there are also back-up or related verses as well.  I really liked these!  Some questions were pretty stinkin' cute!

Quest challenges help you apply the Bible's teachings to your own life by pointing to Scripture
The ones I looked at asked a question related to a theme in the chapter and then pointed the child to another Scripture to find the answer.  I love this!

Book introductions help explain what each book of the Bible is about
I find these are helpful to understand what the book is about!  The intros in this Bible are short and easy to read!

A dictionary and subject guide help you find what you are looking for
I personally would rather have a concordance than a dictionary or subject guide...but, kids might like it.

Colorful design with cartoons makes the Bible fun to look at and use
The cartoons ARE FUN!  I just wanted to keep flipping the pages!  I think these will be very popular with kids who get this Bible.  Not only are there cartoons, but the main text is blue and then the headings are in orange, so there is contrast that is appealing visually to kids!
Speaking of color...there are NO MAPS...I would have loved for this to have some maps!

Complete NIrV translation -The NIV for kids!  The NIrV is written at a third-grade reading level, so it is easy to understand.
Ok, I have heard the arguments...this Bible has pages that argues for the NIrV...but it is JUST not my favorite.  I personally prefer the NASB and that is what my pastor preaches from.  For my children, I like the NIV, because that is the translation that is used at BSF, so it makes doing the lessons a little easier when you need to fill in the blanks.  This is completely my own opinion and preference.

Ok, so I really do like this Bible!

I received this item in exchange for a frank and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Your results and opinions may vary.

Study Bible for Teens

NKJV Teen Study Bible
Features Written by: Larry & Sue Richards
Zondervan Publishing
Ages: 16-19

The front cover proclaims this is the BESTSELLING BIBLE for Teens! I opened this excited and is what I found between the covers.  Please note, this Bible has 1,617 numbered pages...I did not have time to look at every page...I am giving my LIMITED opinion based on the parts I did read.

Features include:
We Believe- Unpacks the Apostles' Creed to reveal the biblical foundation of faith.
This is a breakdown of the Apostles' Creed that explains what it means verse by verse in 21 passages.  These sections bounce around the Bible  to passages that are relevant to that line in the creed.  For instance, this feature begins in John 3 with I believe, then goes to Psalm 103 for in God, the Father, and so on.  I really like this feature.  I did not read all 21 passages, but the ones I did read, I found would be helpful for a teen to understand something that is often just recited in a service.

Panorama- Keeps the big picture of each book of the Bible in view
These are put close to the end of the each book of the Bible and encapsulates the main idea in a short way that is memorable.  A good survey.  I REALLY wish I would have had something like this when I was a new believer.  I really LIKE this feature.

4 Full Color pages-Presentation page, Apostles' Creed pages
I really don't have much of an opinion on these being full color pages.  This would not affect my decision to purchase at all.

Key Indexes-Helps with in-depth Bible Study
Bible Truth Index and Teen Life Index might be a good thing to browse through if you are considering this Bible.  Different families have differing opinions on how to handle various topics. As there are so many differing opinions on these topics, I strongly suggest looking at these to give you a feel for the extra content.  The Bible Truth index tracks the To The Point and We Believe features and the Teen Life Index tracks the Instant Access and Dear Jordan features.

To The Point-Reveals what the Bible say about pressing issues
This feature can deal with some controversial subject matter, but seems to handle it in an appropriate manner.  Please review the index to see if this is appropriate for your family.

Dear Jordan-Offers biblical advice for teens
This feature answers teens' question in an advice column manner.  I personally did not care for this feature.  Some of these deal with controversial subject matter and could be something you might not want your child to see without you knowing about it.   I would recommend parents look over this section carefully if giving this Bible to a younger teen.  I think older teens are generally more mature and will have had more exposure to the subject matter included in some of these segments and would be able to handle it.

Instant Access-Tells what God says to you personally
I did not care for this feature at is an excerpt of one I just opened up to: "Have you ever heard someone defend X-rated books and movies by saying the Bible has the same kind of stories? Like this one.  It's got homosexuality, gang rape, even the cutting up of a dead body.  Hey it's just like today's movies!" I guess I just think this is not necessary in a teen Bible...I am sure that some people might enjoy this, AND I KNOW I am a long way off from being a teen...but it just seemed like space filler.  Not all of these are that explicit.

Q & A-Bible Trivia
I LOVED these!  They were fun and each one had a bonus part...which added more information!

Bible Promises: Highlights verses worth remembering
I loved these too!  These were blue circles with a verse in them right in the middle of the pages.  I found that these were verses you could hold onto and use in prayer.  These seem so helpful! There is POWER in the Word!

Book Introductions: Provides an overview for each book of the Bible
I always find these helpful!  It gives a sort of who, what, where, when, why and how of the book, so you have A GENERAL idea of what you will be reading.

8 page, full color map section
MAPS!!!  I LOVE MAPS!!!!  These are beautifully done!

Complete Text of the NKJV of the Bible.
I am so happy for a version of the Bible for people under 18 that is NOT NIrV!!!  How about NASB????  Well, I can hope!

So, there is the good, the bad and the ugly.  I really think that individual families need to make the decision on this one.  I have tried to explain this as accurately as I can.

*I received this item in exchange for a frank and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Your results and opinions may vary.

Wonders of Creation

Wonders of Creation: Illustrations to Color and Inspire
Illustrated by Cindy Wilde and Pimlada Phuapradit
Zondervan Publishing
Ages 8 and up
Price: $15.99

In our age of EXTREME crazy busy and stress to the super max, the coloring book craze has hit the market.  Detailed books made for those who find it soothing to sit and color for a spell to unwind are a common site these days....choices certainly abound!
Today, I would like to introduce you to one option for you to consider.  Wonders of Creation, illustrated by Cindy Wilde and Pimlada Phuapradit, is a beautiful book to consider.
The cover gives you a glimpse, a sweet taste of the beauty in the book.  Look at all that intricate detailing.  So, a picture speaks louder than a thousand here are a couple of the pictures.

and my personal favorite is...

I have not had time to color in this yet...I have been TOO BUSY...but I am looking forward to getting started.  Over ninety illustrations are in this beautiful book!  Tons of coloring fun!  I think you are really going to enjoy this book!
The paper has a nice weight to it and looks like it would support a variety of coloring materials.  My only issue with this book is that the illustrations are on both sides of the page...just like children's coloring book, but it would have been nice to have the option of taking the page out to is a bit cumbersome coloring with the page in the book as the book does not lie completely flat.

* I received this book in exchange for a frank and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Your opinions and results may vary.

Monday, May 2, 2016

You Are Enough

You are Enough

About a couple of years ago, I went with a group of friends to see Mom’s Night Out. I was prepared to laugh like crazy and it was funny. I was not at all prepared to cry and be encouraged in my mothering. If you have seen the movie, I am sure you know which scene I am talking about. The one with Bones talking to Allyson in the jail building. This rough and tumble man is giving this exhausted Mom a wonderful piece of advice. God did not make any mistake when He gave those children to you. Just be you, He’ll take care of the rest.
We all have those moments where we feel like we fail at everything we do. The house is a mess, the laundry is unending, we have no idea what is for dinner or when we last cleaned the bathroom. We compare our very worst moments to those beautiful images on Pinterest or Facebook and see the words EPIC FAIL when we think of how we are doing.
Now there are times when we really fail…spent too much time on the computer, lost it with someone in our family, or didn’t think about dinner until 5 pm…Praise God HIS MERCIES are NEW every morning. We get to do it again.
Some seasons of mothering, though, are just hard. Like having lots of small children, or having a sick child, or even just a season of extreme busyness. In those places where we feel so weak, we need to turn to God for help. His Word says that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” us. He allows those places of too much to increase our dependence upon Him.
If you are in one of those hard places, let me encourage you to do these three things. (I know there are so many more things I could suggest, but these are enough for now.)
1) Stay in the Word. This is vital. Even if it is one chapter or one sentence, it is God breathed and profitable for us (2 Timothy 3:16)
2) Do the next thing. Don’t worry over all the things that are undone, just do the next thing, and continue on until bedtime. Give yourself grace in those places you can’t get to, but don’t give up. One day, you will get to it. (Galatians 6:9)
3) Ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help. Most of the people I know would love to come and help me if I needed it. It was me not being willing to ask, to let others see my imperfections. I wanted people to think I had it all together and was Super Mom, but none of us are. There is a strength in vulnerability that I never expected. I am sure some will talk, but you might find that the support of those who come alongside is just what you need. (Numbers 17:10-13, Titus 2:3-5)
This season will pass and you may find yourself wishing for these days again. I know, it seems so unbelievable right now. Hold on to God and love on your family. Everything you are doing is so worth it.
Dearest Precious Mama,
This is for you…