The Easter Story: Easter Egg Activity

The Easter Story: Easter Egg Activity--a beautiful and simple way to tell the Easter story.  This will be a tradition your family will love for years to come.

I feel like this year has been kind of a weird year when it comes to holidays.  First, we had two holidays in a row in February, with Valentine’s Day and then President’s Day the day after that.  This month, we have St. Patrick’s Day and then 10 days later is Easter.  It doesn’t leave much time to enjoy the holidays when they are all smooshed together like that.

BUT…I really like to at least try and enjoy each holiday for what it is before moving on to the next one.  That’s why I was so excited to find an Easter activity that was given to me by a friend in college.  I’ve kept it for the last 10 years or so because I really wanted to do it with my kids, but the oldest is just getting old enough to understand that holidays generally have more meaning than just getting little gifts and candy.

Easter is easily one of my favorite holidays.  I love what and who it celebrates and I love that it comes in the springtime.  My hope is that through this activity, my daughter (and eventually my son) will be able to learn the reason we celebrate this holiday, especially since it is so central to our faith.

If you’d like to make this activity for yourself and your family, you will need to gather the following items:

  • 12 plastic Easter eggs (Mine are mini, but you could also use the regular size)
  • a sacrament cup
  • 3 dimes
  • knotted piece of twine
  • piece of soap
  • red piece of fabric or ribbon
  • toothpick (& a small dab of glue to make a cross)
  • nail
  • pair of dice (only 1 fits in the mini eggs)
  • small bag of dirt/soil
  • white strip of fabric
  • small rock
  • bay leaf or herb

Print off this document.  It has the scriptures that tell the story of Easter.  Cut each scripture out into strips and set aside.  (Each scripture is numbered so you know which one goes with what object.)

In each egg, you will put one strip of paper and the accompanying object:

  1. sacrament cup
  2. 3 dimes
  3. knotted twine
  4. piece of hand soap
  5. red piece of fabric/ribbon
  6. toothpick cross and nail
  7. pair of dice
  8. bag of dirt/soil
  9. strip of white cloth
  10. rock
  11. bay leaf or herb
  12. empty
The Easter Story: Easter Egg Activity--a beautiful and simple way to tell the Easter story.  This will be a tradition your family will love for years to come.

As you fill the eggs with the paper and correct object, write the number on the bottom of the egg (using a permanent marker) so you know which is which when you do the activity.

And that’s it!

The Easter Story: Easter Egg Activity--a beautiful and simple way to tell the Easter story.  This will be a tradition your family will love for years to come.

This particular Easter activity could be done a couple of different ways: as a countdown to the day of (similar to the 25 Days of Christ activity done at Christmas), or as a family night activity where all eggs are opened the same day.  This year, we’re going to do it as a single family night activity since St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are so close.

I think this would make a great gift for family and friends and not very expensive at all to put together!

I hope you like the simplicity and beauty of this activity as much as I do.

Do you have traditions specific to the Easter story?  Please share!

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic--fun and simple ideas that are easy and the kids will love!

Can you believe Christmas is in two days?  I distinctly remember one Christmas where I was about 8 years old.  I was sleeping soundly, but woke up for some reason.  I looked towards my window where I could see a faint red light and then I heard the sound of bells.  We didn’t have red lights on our house and my mom didn’t have any bells around that I remember.  I told my mom what I’d seen and heard the next morning and she looked surprised.  Whether it was my imagination or something else, I have always kept that memory as a little reminder of the magic of Christmas.

Now that I have kids of my own, I want to create that same magic for them during the Christmas season.  I think that it’s valuable for them to learn to believe in things they can’t see.  Just as they can’t see Santa or explain how he does what he does, they also learn that even though they didn’t live at the time of Christ, they can still believe in the miracles He performed and the gifts He gave through His life and death.

So I’ve come up with some simple ways for you to instill a little magic into the Christmas holiday for your kids.  All of them, with the exception of one, are free and take hardly any prep, but they will leave a lasting impression on your children.  Plus, as the parent, you’ll get to see the joy, excitement and wonder on their face, which for me is more than enough to try out a few of these things myself this year.

Santa Key  Growing up, I moved a lot and as a small child at Christmastime, I had some concerns.  The biggest being: how was Santa going to get into our house if we didn’t have a chimney?  My mom solved this problem, whether through her own inspiration or someone else’s, by telling me that Santa had a special key he used to open the doors of homes that didn’t have a chimney.  This made perfect sense to me and I accepted it without further questioning.

In our current home, we don’t have a chimney and my daughter asked me the same question about how Santa as going to get into our house.  “A magic key!” I told her.  I have a metal key I’m going to tie a ribbon around and show her that we’ll leave it on the outside of our door for Santa.  You can get an idea for a Santa key from here.

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic--fun and simple ideas that are easy and the kids will love!

Cookies & Milk for Santa and Carrots for Reindeer  I loved leaving a plate of cookies and a glass of milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve and then running to check and see if he’d eaten them and drank the milk the next morning.  Of course, we couldn’t forget the reindeer, so we left them some carrots to fuel their all night flight.  It would be easy to buy or make a special plate for Santa’s cookies.  Check out this cute tutorial by The Pinning Mama.

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic--fun and simple ideas that are easy and the kids will love!

Note from Santa  Leaving a note using special Santa stationary is a fun way to get the kids excited (and maybe even give them a little extra motivation to be good!).  You could print out this free printable and use it throughout December, on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  This year, we’re going to leave it by the plate of cookies and carrots for my daughter to see when she wakes up to see if the cookies have been eaten.

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic--fun and simple ideas that are easy and the kids will love!

Reindeer Dust  This is one of my favorite Christmas magic traditions!  Have you heard of reindeer dust?  It’s a special concoction meant to attract Santa’s reindeer so that Santa comes to your house more quickly!  And when I say special concoction, I mean oatmeal and glitter or sparkles.  Super simple to put together and your kids will love it.  Check out my Reindeer Day post for the recipe and a free printable.

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic--fun and simple ideas that are easy and the kids will love!

Santa Footprints  I saw this idea on Pinterest a couple of years ago and thought it was so fun!  All you need is a little flour or baking soda and glitter.  Make yourself a boot print template out of cardboard and sift the flour/baking soda over the top so it leaves a print.  You could make as many or as few as you wanted, leading from the door or the fireplace.  Add a little glitter and–voila!–you have Santa’s footprints.  Your kids will be in awe.  Oh to be little again.  (more details on Not So Idle Hands)

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic--fun and simple ideas that are easy and the kids will love!

Picture of Santa in Your House  How fun would it be to have a picture of Santa in your house to show your kids on Christmas morning?  That’s exactly what you can have by going to a website called Capture the Magic.  They let you upload a picture of the room in your house where Santa will be dropping off gifts and then insert your choice of over 100 Santa images into the picture.  Then you can download the picture and print it out or simply email it to yourself as proof to your kids that he visited.  It costs $3.95 for one picture and goes up from there.  *I do not receive anything for promoting their website.  I just think the product is fun.

Call to/from the North Pole  You can receive one free phone call from the North Pole by entering your information on this site.  You can choose if Santa calls or if it’s one of his elves and the message they give when they call.  (If you want more than one call to the same number, you can pay a fee, but the first call is free.) 

If you don’t want to wait for a call to come through, you or your kids can call the North Pole yourself.  This is the number you can call: 951-262-3062.  It’s a cute message from Santa and the kids can even leave a voice message for him. (The phone number itself can be tracked back to California.)

Simple Ways to Create Christmas Magic--fun and simple ideas that are easy and the kids will love!

Where in the World is Santa?  I heard about this website last year from a friend of mine and pulled it up for my daughter on Christmas Eve.  The people behind the website show what countries Santa has visited and where he’s headed next.  There is a map of the world and you can show your kids exactly where Santa is in the world.  It might also be a little motivation to go to sleep knowing that he is already delivering presents to other children around the world. *wink*  It’s completely free to access and lots of fun to watch!

I hope you have fun implementing these ideas in your family this year and in the years to come!  Merry {almost} Christmas!

How do you create Christmas magic in your home?

Traditions I’m Starting This Christmas

When I think of Christmas as a small child, I think of all the different traditions we had growing up.  My mom loved (and still loves) traditions and Christmas is her favorite holiday so we had a lot of them.  Now that I have a family of my own, my husband and I have the opportunity to create new traditions as well as adopting some of the same ones we had in our family.

I remember loving Christmas as a child and wondering how it could get any better than unwrapping presents, playing with new toys and eating yummy food.  And then I became a parent and I was able to see the world from my parents’ eyes as I watched my own kids experience the anticipation on Christmas Eve, their excitement on Christmas morning and just the overall feeling of happiness that seems to radiate from their being.  I loved Christmas as a kid, but I love it even more as a parent.

My daughter’s first Christmas (2012)

My son’s first Christmas (2014)

We have a couple of family traditions already in place for Christmas, but I wanted to add a couple more now that my kids are getting a little older.  I’m sure that as the years pass, we’ll add or discontinue certain traditions to fit our family, so I think the practice of adding new ones each year will help ensure that there is something for everyone and all ages.

My husband and I want to make sure that our kids understand the true meaning of Christmas and not think that it revolves around Santa, elves and presents.  By starting now, we can instill in them at least a basic understanding of how Christmas came to be and why we celebrate it in the first place.  The traditions we are starting this year are simple, but hopefully ones our kids will cherish as they get older.

25 Days of Christ: The 25 Days of Christ is a tradition that was started by a woman who wanted her children to grow up having a more Christ-centered Christmas.  She was worried that they were becoming too engrossed in the materialistic part of Christmas and began thinking about a way she could create a Christ-centered family tradition.  She made ornaments and compiled stories, videos and quotes to go along with them.  Each night her family would read about the meaning of each ornament and take turns hanging it on the tree.  And that is how The 25 Days of Christ tradition came to be.

I absolutely love this idea for families of all ages because it helps us take time away from our busy lives and stop and think about the reason for the season.  I ordered my ornament kit last year (2014) and got part way done painting it but wasn’t able to finish in time to do it with my family.  So we are starting this year instead, which actually works better for us since my daughter is a little older and has a better understanding of who Christ is.  I have a smaller Christmas tree, about 2-3 feet tall, that we can put the ornaments on each night.  Another thing I really like about the kit is that it includes stories and scriptures from both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.  You can also order it with just the New Testament stories and scriptures if that is your preference.

Unwrap Christmas Books:  I’ve been trying to collect a variety of Christmas books over the last few years so that we could read one to the kids each night in December leading up to Christmas.  I’ve got all sorts, ranging from The Polar Express (affiliate link) to Curious George (affiliate link) that I’ve picked up right at the beginning of the Christmas season or right after when they are on sale.  (I think the most I’ve spent on a book is $7.)  While I don’t have quite enough yet–about 15 books–I still wanted to start this tradition because I know how much my kids love unwrapping presents.  What kid doesn’t, right?  (My husband thinks it’s a waste of wrapping paper, but I just call him “Scrooge” and keep wrapping. *wink*)  They also love to read books and since we don’t read Christmas books at any other time of the year, I figure this is a good way to do it.  Plus, it goes right along with our daily tradition/routine of reading a book to the kids before bedtime.  It’s a total win-win!

If you want to start this tradition, but don’t have enough Christmas books for the days leading up to Christmas, you can do a 12 Days of Christmas, or however many days you have books!  And I don’t think they necessarily need to be Christmas books.  You could easily wrap your existing kids books and let them unwrap those.  This tradition is totally adaptable to your own family!

I am so excited to start these new traditions with my family this year!  Christmas is such a wonderful time and year and I love spending it creating memories and enjoying sweet moments together.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?  Are you starting any new traditions this year?

Happy {Day After} Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!  I know we sure did.  I loved starting new traditions this year and we will definitely be continuing them for years to come.  One thing I especially love about these new traditions is that they can be used in any situation or circumstance and they can be adapted to your own family and resources.  You don’t need money or time to share what you’re thankful for.

My daughter has really enjoyed doing her “thankful leaves” every day and she has been a great reminder to me and my husband to do ours.  It was so neat to be able to hear what/who she was thankful for.  Our thankful tree really filled up fast, even with just three people to add to it, and seeing it each day in our front room filled me with happiness.

Our Book of Thanks turned out even better than I had imagined.  Everyone there was able to take a little bit of time throughout the day and write as few or as many words as they wanted about what they were thankful for.  I really enjoyed looking through it at the end of the day and I know it will be a treasure now and in the years ahead.  As I was putting it together, I decided to include the coloring pages my son, daughter and I did at the end of everything else.  I think it will be fun to see how their coloring skills change over the years.

Did you do a Thankful Tree or Book of Thanks this year?  What was your favorite part of your Thanksgiving celebration?

Book of Thanks Tutorial

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Last week I posted about new traditions I’m going to be starting this Thanksgiving.  One of the traditions is a Book of Thanks, which is basically a journal or binder that you can bring with you each Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and have everyone write what they are thankful for (or draw a picture) in it.  (You can read more about it here in the original post.)  Today I am sharing a tutorial on how I created my Book of Thanks.  Hopefully it will give you some ideas about creating your own.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will received a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

One of my favorite crafting tools is my Silhouette Cameo, which is a multi-functional, electronic cutting machine.  It has computer software that allows me to create pretty much anything I want and then I plug my computer into the Silhouette and it cuts it out for me using a small and very precise blade.  You can also swap out the blade for a pen and it will draw/sketch whatever design you created.  Honestly, I use my machine all the time for scrapbooking, vinyl, cards, fabric, etc.  (I know I sound like an advertisement, but I am not getting paid to say this.  I just really love it!)

That being said, I knew that using my Silhouette would be the easiest way for me to create a fun cover page for my Book of Thanks.  If you don’t have a Silhouette or other cutting machine (like a Cricut), you could also create a cover page in a word program and print it out, or use your own scrapbooking/crafting materials.

I designed my cover page using the computer software and a combination of sketch pens and cut outs for the final product.

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Since I paid for the images I used, I can’t offer my design as a file, but you can click on the links below if you’d like to get the files for yourself to use with your Silhouette.

Images used in Silhouette Studio:

Font used: Copperplate Gothic Bold (free from Fonts Geek)

I already had a 3-ring binder so I slipped it in the front, then grabbed a small stack of white printer paper and stuck it inside to have ready for Thanksgiving day.  I also got a small zipper pouch and put a couple of scrapbooking pens inside (the ink is archival safe and won’t fade or bleed over time compared to regular ball-point pens).  Once the papers have been written on, I’ll put them in protective sleeves and then clip them inside the binder.

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

I really am so excited for this new tradition!  It will be so much fun to look back on past years and see who was with us and what they wrote.

If you want to know more about what I’m including in my Book of Thanks, check out the original post, comment below or email me!

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

How do you commemorate your Thanksgiving?

Traditions I’m Starting This Thanksgiving

Traditions I'm Starting This Thanksgiving--New traditions to start this year that remind us to be thankful.

Family.  Food.  Football.  The three F’s of Thanksgiving.  In three weeks, families all over the U.S. will be indulging in these activities in abundance.  Homes will become full of the smells of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, warm rolls and three different kinds of jello salad.  Growing up, I attended Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends in their homes, apartments and camping trailers, with no two years being the same.  Each year holds special memories of talking and laughing over food, napping in the afternoon and, of course, football, both on the TV and out in the yard.  And with Halloween past and Christmas coming up, there’s Thanksgiving–tucked right in between the two.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a forgotten holiday.  I think that pretty much everyone celebrates it in some form or another.  But I do think that it gets overshadowed by Christmas and that has always bothered me.

I grew up in a family where traditions were a big deal and we had at least a few for each holiday (Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s, Easter, and so on.)  But I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions lately and I realized that I don’t have any non-food, non-sports related traditions for Thanksgiving and that makes me sad.  I take full responsibility for this and I haven’t really felt the need to start any until recently now that my daughter is getting old enough to understand the reasons we celebrate certain events.  Many traditions at Thanksgiving deal with food or football and while those are both fun things, they are not the reason we even celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place.  There’s nothing wrong with having those traditions but I want to make sure that the element of ‘thanks’ isn’t forgotten among everything else.  So this year I am going to be implementing two new traditions into our family.

Get this free printable at Remodelaholic!

Book of Thanks 
I know a lot of families who go around the table before Thanksgiving dinner starts and say something(s) they are thankful for.  I don’t find any fault in this in and of itself, but when you’re having dinner with 20+ people, it can take a while to go around the table!  And it can be hard to say what you want when you’re in a group and put on the spot like that.  I also feel like not everyone can participate, especially the little kids.  Which is how I came to the conclusion that I wanted to create a way for everyone to share what they are grateful for through what I’m going to call The Book of Thanks.  (My Book of Thanks tutorial can be found here.) 

Here is what I’d like to do:

  • For the adults, they can take a minute at any time during the day to write as much or as little as they want.  
  • For the kids, they can draw a picture or write what they are grateful for.  
  • Take a group picture of everyone who was there.
  • Include the menu and location.
  • Have a place to write down memories of Thanksgiving past and present.

I will have blank printer paper for everyone to write/draw on and then I’ll put it in a plastic sleeve in a binder.  I think this will be a great way for everyone to share their thanks with others as well as a fun way to be able to look back at previous years and remember who was there and the memories that will be shared with each other.

Thankful Tree 
I love this idea.  I’ve seen it around on Pinterest and have been waiting to start it until this year.  My daughter is old enough now that we can ask her what she is grateful for and she can tell us.  So what better way to put us in the thankful spirit than to have each family member take a moment each day to write a few words about what they are grateful for?  It’s not going to be anything fancy: a construction paper tree with construction paper leaves.  We are a few days late starting and while I’d love to do something a little more crafty, it’s more about the purpose than the prettiness.  There are some really cute ones though like this and this if you are feeling like you want to do something more.  (You can see how ours turned out on my Thanksgiving Day 2015 overview.)

What are your favorite family traditions for Thanksgiving?