One Powerful Family Activity to Prepare your Heart for Easter

This Christ-centered Easter family idea ithe perfect way to prepare your heart for Holy Week!

 

Two weeks before Easter, I’m hurriedly scouring the campus library at my college looking for a book focused on the passion week. I was looking for a book to help me meditate on the cross and His sacrifice.

Finally, I find a book and I walk away ready to dive into a few weeks of preparing my heart for Easter.

I’m not sure how this desire came about but I haven’t stopped since my college years.

Are you Easter People?

I confess I’m an Easter person!

I love all that this season reminds us of, like growing, starting again, new life, the cross, His love…

No, I don’t practice Lent, religiously giving up things. Not that I am against Lent but many times we enter with a project mindset instead of using it as a means to draw closer to Him.  I have come to realize that polite fasts alone don’t truly prepare me to be awed by His resurrection.

So, I rather spend days and sometimes weeks before Easter marinating, pondering and meditating on His love and sacrifice me. As I begin this preparation, I ask God to help me see his sacrifice, work, and love with a fresh perspective.

I don’t want to lose the awe and wonder for His Love for me at the cross in this week or throughout the year. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of us who have grown up hearing those familiar Bible stories every year.

We are Easter people and Halleluajah is our song! ~ Pope John Paul 11

Christ Centered Family Easter Idea: Prayer Station

So now my heart’s desire is to be an Easter family. I want my little people to be Easter people!

We prepare our hearts a few weeks before Easter with a morning Prayer Station. I start this Easter Prayer Station family activity two weeks before Easter. Then on Easter week, we enjoy our simple and Christ focused Easter Advent for Busy Families which we do at dinner. You can use this advent for little kids and tweak it for older children.

related link: Easter Advent for the Busy Family with a free printable!

I created an area near our dining room for our prayer station. On a small table, set a candle and a jar full of verses. Every morning each child comes downstairs and lights the candle, picks a verse from the jar and prays the verse.  I have a 5 step praying scripture process that I use but for the kids, I have condensed it.

I’m all about Easter egg hunts and baskets but I decided a few years back that I was going to lay spiritual foundations in all of our holidays. So we enjoy Easter bunny but we focus on the Cross.

related link: Fun Easter Food–Carrot Shaped Calzone

Praying Scripture for Kids

  1. Pick a verse from the jar. It can be any verse.  Start with prayer and ask God to “Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.” (psalms 119:18)
  2. Read the verse you picked out loud. Then personalize the verse by adding your name to the verse.
  3. Open your bible and write the verse out in your journal. Then, write the answer to the following question in a prayer — How will I live differently today if I lived out this truth?

We all participate in this activity and we only do steps 1 & 2 when we first wake up. Then we go get ready for the day. When we come down for breakfast we get our Bibles look up the verse and do step #3. Here we write out a prayer in our journal. If they have more time they can answer the question in the “ponder” section.

My favorite part is after we are all done each of us takes a turn sharing what we read and what the Lord showed us through it.

Remember you can do this anytime of the day. Try it right after dinner or before they go to bed. For our family, it works best to do it in the morning.

There is no special meaning to lighting a candle. The candle lighting creates an ambiance of reflection and quietness for our minds. Though my husband reminded me the smoke of the candle goes up which can be symbolic of what happens with our prayers. Our kids love lighting the candle so it works out great!

Free Printables

I created this Praying Scripture for Kids printable to set at the table to guide our children. Feel free to use it year round! Download your FREE printable here: prayingscriptureforkidsI explained to our kids #3 is a prayer we write out.

And this free printable– Easter prayer Station Verses! Feel free to come up with your own verses for your Easter prayer station. I made this printable with the verses to help facilitate the process. Download your FREE printable here: EasterprayingstationVerses (1) then cut out each strip out after the dashed section. Each strip includes a section with: verse, personalize verse (the red print is what was changed to personalize the verse), pray and a ponder section.

Bring it up a notch

I enjoy Easter egg hunts, dying eggs, and the chocolate Easter bunnies, but let’s go beyond that and take our Easter family traditions to another level!

Let’s be Easter people and set meaningful traditions for our children to build on as they grow older.

 


Guess what? This year I decided to make a printable kit for you all– Easter Advent Kit for the Busy Family! The kit is simple and fun and has Christ-centered activities, scripture readings & more!


Just join our subscriber list below and you can get the Easter Advent Kit for the Busy Family printable to download immediately!

 

Here are some of the books I have used since college to help me prepare my heart. Some books I have not read but they are on my list to read. I am currently reading and loving 40 Days of Decrease!

Now

Your Kids Will Love This Easy Christmas Ornament Craft

I have a simple craft to share that takes less than 5 minutes to put together. Your Kids will love this Easy Christmas Ornament Craft!

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One of my favorite Christmas traditions in our home is our Advent Book Countdown. I have lots of Favorite  Christmas books for children, last year it was Mortimer’s Christmas Manger and I shared a printable and craft with it. Two years ago, it was Santa’s Favorite Story and we made the cutest Christmas ornament with the kids .

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This year it’s “A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree” by Colleen Monroe. It’s about a tree that wishes it’s seen for what it really is–a Christmas tree. Every year it gets picked over and it begins to cry. So all of his woodland friends get together to help the tree see that it’s so much more than a Christmas tree and how much they appreciate him.

It’s a beautiful story for the whole family. We’ve been reading the book Wonder by J Palacio as a family, so this Christmas book touches on some similar themes but in a more light hearted way.

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Christmas Tree Ornament Craft for Kids

supplies:

  • ribbon or washi tape
  • popsicle stick or twig
  • string

Take your popsicle stick and cut pieces of washi tape all in different sizes. With the top one being the smallest and the last one being the largest.

You can use silver or gold washi tape to make the star or ribbon.

Tada! You’re done!

It’s a special book about a tree that wishes others will see it for more than what they see.

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Today’s post is part of the 10 Days of Kid Made Ornaments Challenge. Be sure to head over to check out all of the other ornaments inspired by children’s books, including these fun ones:

How to Love the Home You Have

The key to Loving the Home You Have starts with looking at our heart.  Let’s remember that comparison is the thief of joy.  So I challenge you to– Stop that! Now onto other things.

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One year I tried to do copy the magazine style homes with white walls and basic solid hues but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I quickly realized it’s not my style. I love splashes of color to accent my walls  or my decor, just plain white was NOT my thing. When I finally finished decorating our living room I ended up with a red accent wall. Now that was me!

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How to Love the Home You Have

For the past 9 years, I have lived in a rental. In those 9 years we have moved 5 times and one of those was an international move. With each move we have made I always try to make the rental, our home–a safe haven. It’s always a challenge but I find ways to either paint accent walls, change light fixtures, hang up art… simple things. It has to be simple and inexpensive.

We recently moved over the summer into a transitional home that’s semi-furnitured it was the move before we make another international move. This last move has been the most challenging for me. Our new home is smaller and it doesn’t have a patio. I love being outdoors and though we have a shared communal green space it’s not private so I rarely use it. The house is partially furnished so many of the things that were already here would not have been my choice of decor. So as the months have gone by I’ve had to put into practice once again these tips to remind myself that I can love this home that I find myself complaining about and make it my own.

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Start off by writing down what matters the most to you in YOUR home not in the home you wished you had or just move from, nor the home you’re saving up for, but your present home. Now keep this in mind as you decorate your home for the holidays. As you get ready for guest. As you sit around your home. For me, it’s my family and the people that enter through our doors. That my home is inviting and practical. That our walls reflect what we love, family photos, art, inspired quotes… A clean home not spotless just mess-free. These are some of the things I would say matter to me about the physical aspect of our home.

Embracing what you have. As you may know, we love to travel and one of things I love about visiting Latin American countries is walking down the streets of lower income neighborhoods. The home owners are always sweeping their front door. in and around their house, ignoring the dust being blown from the big buses going by.  They take pride in what they have however little it may seem to us. That’s such a wonderful reminder to me to “embrace what I have”. It screams–Be content with what you have. Love what you have.

home

Embrace your style. For me my home is a reflection of who I am, not my neighbor, not my favorite blogger but what I like. Just like we make statements with our clothing we also make statements of who we are with our home.  I want my home to say, “You’re loved. You’re welcome. You’re safe.” As I mentioned above the white pristine style homes are not my style and when I tried copying that style, I didn’t like it. Find your style and if you don’t have one make one up. Just know that laundry all over your couch is not a style. Ahem, as I look over to my living room.

Finding Beauty in the mundane.— Look around your home and find the beauty in the ordinary. Our home is yellow, the walls are yellow, the curtains are yellow per the owners choice and it’s my least favorite color. I like splashes of yellow but not everything yellow. One day I was sitting around thinking about how much I dislike it and then I decided to change the grumbles into gratitude. So I thought about how happy the color yellow is and that’s how I try to see it now–a happy color in our home.

Declutter– Sometimes too much of a beautiful thing, is too much. You’ll be amazed how decluttering will help you see and appreciate what you have. You may not even know you have it because it’s lost in the basket of clutter.

interior scene of pink modern chair on a green wall

interior scene of pink modern chair on a green wall

On a more practical level the things I do to make our home more cozy and doesn’t cost a lot of money is I add accent pillows, hang up pictures and art and I decorate our buffet table with items that either represent the season or neutral items that I can have out throughout the year. Oh and I recently made our front door entrance a bit more cozy by adding a rug and hung our initial on it.

I have a friend who decided to move her family into an RV as they prepare to head overseas and when I saw how they remodeled the RV I simply thought–This! This is loving the home you are in and making the best of the situation you are in. This RV is a temporary home for them but she made it her own by adding accent pillows and rugs, painting the wooden cabinets and walls. If you want to see more pictures you can see them on Instagram.

Here’s a peak of her RV! Doesn’t it just look cozy!

rv-2

Want more?

This article is Day 3 of 21 Days: (Re)Discovering the Heart of Your Home series! As we consider our house let’s think beyond making beds, cleaning dishes and doing laundry. As we think about homemaking let’s look beyond whether we work outside the home, work in the home, are single, empty nesters or don’t have children…  Let’s put all of that aside and let’s view it through the lens of relationships and let that guide us. What is the purpose of the space between these four walls? What do I want to overflow from our home and from my heart to my children, my spouse, my guests, my neighbors…?  Cultivating a home is so much more than keeping a clean house, making food from scratch, having an organized and tidy home it’s about cultivating beauty, laughter, peace and love in my family and in my relationships. Follow along HERE to get updates on the latest homemaking, parenting and recipe blog post!

21 Days of Discovering the Heartbeat of Our Home

homemaking

Not everything involved in cultivating a home is obvious that’s what I realized early on in our marriage and I still struggle with it now. I longed for a manual as I racked my brain trying to remember the wonderful things my mother did. She was a dedicated mom and wife so I tried to think through the things that made us strong.  Well, as we set up our very first dwelling place, I quickly realize that our home is intended to be so much more than the stuff that adorns it. I knew that but that was the part I was excited about–decorating! Oddly enough 13 years later into this journey as a mother, wife, counselor and educator I find that I constantly need reminders to get back to the basics. To ponder what are the things that will strengthen our family and keep us connected through the waves of change, puberty, moves, milestones, homework…

I started this 21 Days to (re)Discover the Heart of Our Home to encourage us in this journey of cultivating a home that is filled with laughter, peace, love and refuge.  My hope is as we walk along in this 21 day journey we begin to discover or perhaps rediscover the joy in our home.

Perhaps, it will spark an interest in us to begin establishing roots that reflect our values, beliefs, traditions and faith.

Maybe it will inspire you to get back to viewing your home in a different way; as a place that welcomes laughter, beauty, celebration… a dwelling place where memories are made and traditions are honored.

Or this series may simply serve as a reminder of why you chose to make your home, your ministry. It is easy to lose sight of this calling (let’s get this straight if you have children you’ve been called) in the midst of sick kids, tantrums, sleepless nights, back talking teen… But our work, our role, our presences is not insignificant. It is home to those little hearts, it’s a safe haven and refuge because you’ve worked hard to make it that way.

My prayer is that these tools will help us set up a strong foundation so we can rise above the daily circumstances and life changes. Not all of the tips and ideas will work with your family, your personality or your wiring but don’t be afraid to step out of your norm and try something new. Maybe it will be the thing that clicks with your family.

Yes, there will be times when we are moved by the waves of change or knocked over with the busyness of life, but this foundation we are building on will help us get back up and pick up right where we left off–cultivating a home that nourishes the body, nurtures the spirit and sustains life and beauty.

I love what Stephen Covey says,

“Most people put 2nd things first – for instance, work, even though they say they really value family. They neglect health, neglect integrity (which should be first things.) They neglect their deepest values all in the name of social pressure. The ability to say no to the second things is the key to saying yes to the first things. You have to have a burning sense of yes about the first things to keep them first.” ~S. Covey

My sweet momma friends, this right here is the “first things!”

So, a little about myself…

The thought of staying home was never something I hoped for as a single woman nor did I imagine this would be my life when I got married.

wedding

 

Then I got married…  Yes, I’ll start there. Well, I got married at the age of 24 shortly after receiving my Masters in Education with a focus in counseling. I had already started a non-profit organization and had wonderful dreams of what God was going to do with me and through me with this budding non-profit. My husband didn’t expect me to stay home, he left that up to me. The thing was I didn’t plan on staying home even after babies.  I definitely could NOT fathom the life of a stay at home mom. What in the world would I do all day?  So our first born surprised us and I was with child two months into our newly wed life. I worked up until the day I gave birth. Postpartum was a hard time, as a Latina I was encouraged to stay in bed for a month and not to go out for two months. Needless to say, I did not follow that advice. I was back at work with in a week, working from home and then back into the office a week later. I did decide only to work part-time from that point on.

Let me be clear, even though I made the decision to work outside the home, I still desired to create a life giving home for me and my family. Many times we categorize women who work outside the home as people who don’t care much about creating traditions, cooking or decorating and perhaps that maybe the case for some but it wasn’t for me. Yes, creating a life giving home proved to be a bit more challenging due to time constraints but it was possible.

aiden baby 1

Well fast forward 7 years later, I was pregnant again. Due to some minor medical issues with my newborn and living abroad I was “forced” to look at the possibility of staying home. Also, I couldn’t manage to leave such cuteness (pictured above). Well, I took my maternity leave unsure of what was to unfold. Then one day I woke up, open to the possibility of working from home and I wrote my letter of resignation to the school where I worked as a counselor and since then I haven’t regretted it one bit. Of course there are things I miss from that lifestyle but I’m perfectly content with being a work from home mom.

I consider myself a modern homemaker.

Not one who is epitomizes the “old times” but more from the perspective of valuing those ideas and traditions for what they were and adopting what I like about them. While I don’t care to bake bread from scratch or sew clothes for our family of five I don’t want to discard the impact the “Take Out” generation has had upon our society. Where life is a constant stream of busyness, where all your meals are take out (hence the Take Out generation) and eaten in the car with no time for family. As a modern homemaker I see myself enjoying the best of both worlds like working from home, cooking for my family (mind you some days it’s cereal) and turning our house into a safe haven where we can come and be ourselves and know we will find grace, love and laughter.

I’ve been in both places; as a stay at home mom and as a work outside the home mom and in both I have always desired to cultivate the heartbeat of my home. There were phases of life where I could barely manage that’s when I focused on little touches of intentionality.  I will continue to share bits and pieces of my story as the 21 days unfold, so join me as we ponder the legacy we are leaving behind for our children!

You can follow along via Facebook to get all of our updates and tips!

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21 Days of Discovering the Heartbeat of Our Home

(Links and topics will be added as we go along. It will mostly likely go live the night of the date posted.)

I’ll begin our series or challenge, with something very important that we didn’t do from the get go but I wish I had because it really sets the tone of our home.  If you haven’t done this I highly recommend you read my article to get some tips and create your own family mission statement.

Day 1 -Oct 7th —Creating a Family Mission Statement

Then we’ll move on to–

Day 2 —Key to Planning a Successful Day – Oct 9th

And I have to follow up a post like that with–

Day 3 — 7 Habits for the Effective Homemaker – Oct 14th

Day 410+ Things I Don’t Do in Our Home to Keep Sane

Day 5– 10 Ways to Create a Positive Home Our Kids Thrive In

Day 6–That One Thing That Keeps Your Family From Being Happy

Day 7 —The Family Table an Extension of Our Heart

Day 8–How to Love the Home You Have

Day 9– The Ultimate 5 minute decluttering tip

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Across Latin America

hispanic-heritage-ideas

Hispanic Heritage Month is a wonderful time that Latinos unite in spirit across the globe to honor our traditions, our heroes, our culture and our roots. This multicultural quilt of colors, languages, flavors and sounds are what making our Latino community so rich.  Let’s celebrate!

So to celebrate, join us as we virtually travel through Latin America & Spain with our amazing 12+ Hispanic bloggers from our We All Grow Latina Network who will be sharing with us their activities, ideas and recipes that help them pass on their traditions!

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Across Latin America & Spain

We are so excited to bring you this blog hop! We will begin our travels in Mexico! Here’s our schedule so you can follow along. I’ll be coming back throughout the month to update you with the activity, idea or recipe that each blogger will be sharing!

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Throughout the month, go to Inspired by Familia to get the updated schedule and follow along. Here are the wonderful Hispanic bloggers participating  Mama Latina TipsMommy MaestraEmbracing DiversityYour Sassy SelfHispanic MamaGuapologiaMama EducaInspired by FamiliaOne Post At a TimeLa CooquetteSpicy Latina Mom, Nerdvana KingdomLadydeeLG 

Consider yourself warned you may gain some pounds in our travels!

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September

14th –Mexico! Siliva from Mama Latina Tips is sharing her amazing Tacos Al Pastor Recipe. There’s nothing like passing along your heritage than through food!
15th –Spain! Monica from Mommy Maestra shared a fun printable Spain Coloring Activity in English and Spanish! Also some other great resources for teaching your kids about Spain.
15th –Domincan Republic! Dania from Embracing Diversity shares ideas on how she passes on her Dominican Republic heritage to her children.

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16th –Mexico! Rocio from Your Sassy Self shares ideas and delicious recipes from Mexico!
17th –Ecuador! Linda from Hispanic Mama  shares great ideas– 7 Ways to Teach Children about Ecuador
18th –Mexico! Paty from Guapologia shares an amazing Chocolate Lava Cake with Caramel Tequila sauce!

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19th –Puerto Rico! Marielisa from Mama Educa educates us on the 8 most common words used by Boricuas (Puerto Ricans).
20th -Mari from Inspired by Familia shares Spanish Language Activities for Kids and her No Hablo Español story.
21st -Mexico! Olga Davis from One Post At a Time is sharing her yummy cheese enchilada recipe.

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21st -Honduras! Maria from La Cooquette shares her delicious Honduran Heritage with us.
22nd -Laura  from Nerdvana Kingdom
23rd -Mexico! Laura from Spicy Latina Mom shares 5 delicious Mexican recipes with us.
24th -Ecuador! Diana from LadydeeLG  shares her Mom’s Torta de Choclo recipe!

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Other post you’ll enjoy:

hispanic heroes bookshispanic heritage month recipeshispanic heritage month ideas