Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We took a break from learning about animals during the week of thanksgiving and turned our focus on the history of the first Pilgrims. We had some fun hands on activities to add to the great books we checked out from the library. We are SO thankful for the library. Our family is known at the library as the laundry basket family. We almost always check out the maximum amount of books we can. Someone finally clued me in on the fact that my children can have library cards as well, so now we don’t have to be so choosy about which books we get each time. It’s too hard to carry all those books in a bag while carrying Ezra and keeping the others close by, so I found this cool basket at Target that has wheels on it. We attached a rope to the handle, so now it is the much loved library book basket. The kids pull the basket full of books so I can have my hands free to hold Ezra. You can hear us coming, we’re not the quietest people at the library...oops, oh, well. The staff seems to think it’s cute rather than annoying, so that’s good. ; ) They did say we were one of the most frequent visitors. Shouldn’t we get a prize for that or something? Like frequent fliers on airplanes?

We went to Cheekwood to see the scarecrows and their cowboy exhibit. Nana joined us.

Cheekwood Indian

Ever since shortly before last Easter, we’ve had a little “prayer corner” for the children. It sits right next to my “prayer chair” as it is affectionately called. I was inspired by A Holy Experience to create a repentance box, and from that we extended it into a place for them to have quiet time right next to me. 

Abby has her Early Reader Bible which she reads on her own aloud to me. She has her own prayer journal. I sometimes give her a journal starter. She can then write or draw about the writing prompt. Some examples of writing prompts we’ve used are:

  • What are you thankful for?
  • Think of times when you drew near to God today (meaning times when you wanted to do the wrong thing, but you stopped and asked Jesus to come near and help you do the right thing).
  • Tell God about your feelings (pick from the list of 8 basic feelings that are listed in her journal)
  • Think of something in nature that reminds you of a truth about God.
  • “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” How has the Lord been good to you?
  • Draw a time when you were afraid. Now draw a picture of where Jesus was with you during that time.

We also tweaked an idea from Mustardseed Preschool where Enoch currently attends and where Abby attended for the 3, 4, and 5 year old class. They have devotions every day where they recite Bible verses and memorize the children’s catechism through song. Once a week, they have mystery box. So we have a mystery box now where I put an object inside. I’ve used pipe-cleaners, a butterfly, a heart-shaped locket charm; it can be anything. She opens the box and then we each write or draw about how it reminds us of God. It’s so sweet to see the amazing things she comes up with on her own and to see how God is drawing her near to Him in their own special relationship.

We do not currently have a routine about when we use our sacred space. We go through seasons when we use it quite a bit and times when we don’t. We usually have to wait for a time in the day when the boys are napping or when Enoch is at school.

I forgot to explain the repentance box. You can read more about it at Holy Experience, but basically there are business cards and a pen laying out at all times on the tray. Anytime someone in our family would like to repent and have a conversation with God about the wrong they have done, they can write or draw a picture of their sin on the card. Then they talk to Him about it and ask for forgiveness. When they’re finished, they place the card in the box. At Easter, we take all the cards out and see the multitude of our sins, the blackness of our hearts, and our deep need for Jesus. Then we burn them. Showing how Jesus took them all away. We don’t use this as a punishment and never force anyone to do this, it is an optional thing. There are times when I do encourage them to spend some time there and what they do with their time is up to them. This has been such a powerful things for Abby and even Enoch. I usually sit with Enoch and show him what to do. He tells me what he did and what he would like me to draw for him. Guess what. I even have a few cards in their, too. ; ) I don’t write mine down nearly enough!

In case I’ve left the impression that I’m a super peaceful gentle person that handles every sinful situation in our home this way, let me quickly correct that. This is what I do on a good day and what I desire to do on each day. The majority of the time I’m doing all the wrong things (yelling and shaming). I’m 99% positive I am messing them up and that they will need counseling. But, I do believe God made me their parent and that He knew the specific ways that I would screw them up and He will use that to show them their need for a savior. Hallelujah! Is it sounding a little preachy here? Let’s move on...

The story of how I got our repentance box is a neat one, you can ask me about it sometime. I think I’ve written enough already for today.

Elijah made this amazing Mayflower ship out of an old refrigerator box. The kids had a great time reenacting the story of the first pilgrims based on the books we read about them.

A tiny bow and arrow! Another pinterest find.

Books we enjoyed about the first Thanksgiving.

My sister and her family came to stay the night. My grandparents came over and they had a great time playing dominoes.

We traveled to my parents house where we enjoyed a wonderful early Thanksgiving dinner.

Pops, Nana and the grandkids (Minus 1- Joshua, my other California sister’s son)

We made kitty cat pumpkin pancakes using blueberries, strawberries and apples when our cousins were here.

Trey showing Enoch how to build a card house.

A family picture of just our immediate family.

Wonderful dinner! Not only was the food great, but we also had great conversation as we marveled at how the Pilgrims made it through their first winter and each person had a chance to say things they were thankful for.

The cousins, Zack, Trey and Abby being silly!

Sailing their Mayflower boats on the continent twister map that I made last Christmas.

The kids made little Mayflowers out of walnut shells. The idea came from here, love this blog: cultivated lives.

I have a 4 week break planned for Christmas. I’m really ready for a break, but I’m wondering if it will be too long. We may sneak a few days in here and there, but it will be nice to have any pressure off.