Holy Week 101 for Parents and Kids

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Although we have observed Holy Week in our own way as a family, when I asked my oldest son what he knew about Holy Week, his first question was, “What is Holy Week?” I apparently had never specifically labeled the week with that title, so my question and his response opened up a wonderful conversation about the week leading up to Easter!

Holy Week is extraordinarily significant to Christians and I have always felt strong desire to share all aspects of what Jesus went through in that week with our children. Maybe that is your desire as well. In my post over at Tommy Nelson today, I recorded some of the more relevant questions and answers from the conversation with my son in the hopes that it would be a guide for your own conversation with your child. Think of it as “Holy Week 101!”

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Head over to Tommy Nelson to read the answers to my son’s questions, including:

  • What is Holy Week?
  • What happened to Jesus during Holy Week?
  • What am I supposed to do during Holy Week?

We’ve kept The Story of Easter board book around our house to help introduce the events of this week to our kids at a young age. And we always follow this simple plan with the Jesus Storybook Bible as a family to remember the events leading up to and including Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Do you observe Holy Week as a family? What are some of your favorite traditions?

 

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Experiencing the Cross + Resurrection as a Family

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Remember when I said last week that I had a little surprise I wanted to share in regards to observing Lent and Easter with your family? Well, if you follow me on any social media, then you found out yesterday what that surprise is. But if not, here you go…

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That’s right! My amazing friend, Amanda, author of Truth in the Tinsel and writer at ohAmanda.com, released a brand new ebook yesterday all about experiencing the Cross and Resurrection as a family.

I say “experiencing” because A Sense of the Resurrection is all about creating memorable experiences based on Scripture using the five senses.  It’s about moving from feeling to understanding to believing in our Savior and His great sacrifice for all of us. The ebook contains 12 activities which will lead your family through Jesus’ anointing, the Last Supper, Peter’s denial, the cross, the empty tomb and more. Through it all, your home will be transformed into a memorial to Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Obviously our family has not gone through these activities as the book was just released yesterday! But I did get a sneak peek of this amazing ebook earlier in the week, and here was my response {in tears as I typed, mind you}:

For years, I have searched for ways to make the days leading up to Easter more real, intentional, meaningful for my children. Easter is fun and joyful like Christmas, but Jesus’ betrayal, suffering, and death are a completely different story. With A Sense of the Resurrection, Amanda White has tackled this sensitive topic of eternal importance in a way my children and I will never forget. Scriptures, activities, and discussion questions are well thought out and Amanda encourages each parent to read through it all ahead of time to gauge how best to approach the subject matter with their children. I anticipate this ebook changing so much about how we observe this time of year as a family, as well as our hearts.

Maybe you, like me, have been searching for just the right way to approach the death and resurrection of our Savior with your children. Friends, I truly believe this ebook will be that approach for me and for you.

I would suggest ordering your copy of A Sense of the Resurrection now so you have time to read through it for yourself before presenting it to your children in the weeks leading up to Easter. And don’t rush it. Spread out the 12 activities and let the meaning sink in and God work in all of your hearts.

How do you approach the death and resurrection of Jesus with your children? Or have you, like me, been looking for some help for this important, but difficult subject?

 

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THIS is Why I Love Weekends

Family, outdoor running, zoo, date night, Easter…THIS is what I love about weekends…

eating apples

zoo gazing

zoo baby
zoo pictures

zoo walking

easter eggs jacob

easter egg hunting

easter eggs collected

easter mom and the boys

easter dad and boyseaster crazy guys

Hope your Easter weekend was as lovely as ours!

What do YOU love about weekends?

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Five Minute Friday: Broken

Five Minute FridayI’m linking up with the Lisa-Jo’s Five-Minute Friday: five minutes of uninterrupted writing, no editing, no going back, just writing.

Today’s topic:

Broken.

I like a gloomy Good Friday.

Good Friday is supposed to be dark and cloudy and stormy. Something in my heart longs for the weather to reflect the somberness of the day.

A sky scattered with clouds and broken open with rain mirror my clouded thoughts and tears as I think on my Lord’s broken body – all done for me.

That broken body is the most valuable gift you or I have ever received, and yet it was wrapped in such darkness and sadness. The gifts we receive in the physical world are met with balloons and singing and happiness. If we received a broken gift for our birthday or Christmas, we would be appalled.

But Christ, broken for us, in the middle of the darkest day is the greatest gift and I want that same gloominess to bring my heart to a place of true gratitude.

Today, the sun is shining. The birds are chirping. It’s as if the whole world has forgotten the Great Sacrifice that happened thousands of years ago.

Not me. And probably not you either. It’s not the weather or nature’s job to reflect on the broken body of Christ today and live in intense gratitude for His great gift of salvation. It is yours and mine.

Today, as the rays of light are streaming in my window, my heart is thankful that God’s love shined so brightly from the cross that dark day.

My heart is broken at the pain and suffering He endured, but I am whole because of what He did. And what came after.

His brokenness lasted only a short time. It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.

 

Read more thoughts on “Broken” at Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday link-up today.

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Easter Week with the Jesus Storybook Bible

{As I’m posting this, the Kindle version of the Jesus Storybook Bible is still only $1.99! Please double-check before you buy as prices change without notice!}

Yes, we also use our most beloved story Bible for Easter as well!


We read through just five stories for this Easter week with the Jesus Storybook Bible, but they are just the right ones to focus our hearts in the right place – Jesus!

I have included a few VERY simple activities & discussion ideas to go along with each reading. Including reading time, you’ll be done in 30 minutes or less each day. There is a printable outline of the week for you to keep as a handy reference as well!

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Here is our plan for the week:

Jesus Storybook Bible Easter Reading Plan

{Click on the image to print}

Tuesday – Read “Washed with tears”

{A sinful woman anoints Jesus, from Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12}

The story of the sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet is just the best place to start this week. After reading, we will take time to recognize our sinful nature and get on our knees before Jesus to confess those sins and ask for His forgiveness. Our sin is what put Him on the cross, and repenting of that sin at the beginning of this week is cleansing.

Wednesday – Read “The Servant King”

{The Last Supper, from Mark 14 and John 13-14}

Many people do a foot-washing ceremony on Thursday to go a long with the Last Supper, but we will do ours on Wednesday along with this reading.

Thursday – Read “A dark night in the garden”

{The Garden of Gethsemane, from Luke 22, Mark 14, John 18}

If possible, read this story in the dark or by candlelight to symbolize the dark garden where Jesus prayed and was betrayed.

Friday – Read “The sun stops shining”

{The Crucifixion, from Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19}

I really want our boys to understand that Jesus’ death on the cross meant for our relationship with God and the tearing of the temple cloth is what stuck out to me. I want them to know talking to God is not just for adults and pastors and priests – Jesus made a way for us to go right to throne of God. I am going to use a red piece of cloth {to symbolize Jesus’ blood AND the temple curtain} and have the boys help me tear it after we read this story.

Saturday – No reading

I chose to not have a reading on Saturday for a couple of reasons. First of all, in the Jesus Storybook Bible, there is no story between the crucifixion and the resurrection! Secondly, the days in between Jesus’ death were filled with uncertainty for his disciples. They were alone with their thoughts, their leader and friend having left them in a horrible way. Saturday will be our day of reflection – a day alone with our thoughts and a day to thank Him for His sacrifice.

Sunday – Read “God’s wonderful surprise”

{The Resurrection, from Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20}

Forget waking up early to open up Christmas presents – THIS is the best gift to unwrap early in the morning! Easter Sunday is not a day to sleep in! Wake up early with plenty of time before your church service to read about the surprise God had in store and celebrate as a family! Sing, make noise, shout for joy – make it a party like none other because JESUS IS ALIVE!

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There are a lot of plans and activities available for this season, so don’t add this to your week if you already have a plan and it is going to stress you out to add more! Usually around these holidays, LESS is actually better! But if you were looking for something simple and powerful to do with your family for Easter this year, I hope this is a blessing to you!

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Favorite Family Easter Books {Old & New}

Christmas is such an easy time to get the kids excited about Jesus. We celebrate His birth with much happiness and fanfare. The books and activities are full of joy and hope and wonder. It’s not hard to gather the family around to talk about such beautiful things.

Easter is a different story. It involves death. A really ugly, horrible death. The story also includes hate and betrayal and many other hard subjects for us as parents to explain and for kids to understand.

But as hard as it may be, the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus is the most important story we will ever tell to our children. And while the Easter season gets cluttered with candy, bunnies, eggs, and all sorts of other harmless fun, there are plenty of resources for making Jesus central to this holiday.

Easter Books

We have some old and new favorite family Easter books to help us do just that…

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela E. Hunt

I just keep this book out year-round because it applies to Easter, Christmas, and any time! I’ve read it many, many times, but I still got all choked up reading it to the boys yesterday! The thing I love the most about this book is that the dreams of each tree turn out differently than they imagined, but so much more wonderful because they happened with God and to glorify Him. Talk about God-sized dreams, right?!

The Easter Story for Children by Max Lucado

This goes along with The Story, which we are reading as a family this year. I feel like the illustrations in this book capture a lot of intense emotion not shown in other children’s books about Jesus’s death and resurrection. I found it very powerful.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem and He Is Risen: The Beginner’s Bible Easter Flip Book

This book tells the story of Jesus’s last days on one side, then the story of His resurrection when you flip it over, all in the style of The Beginner’s Bible. The book also includes stickers that represent each part of the story. I think this would be a great sequence activity with kids – cut out the stickers and have them line them up on paper in the correct order of the story! Great discussion opportunity! {The teacher in me never stops thinking!}

The Story of Easter

This is a new board book from Tommy Nelson this year and it is SO cute! The bright illustrations and little handle have our one-year-old carrying it around as he goes! The story is short and rhyming – great for keeping his attention – but it also covers the key parts of the Easter message. It’s never too early to help our children know of the love Jesus had for us when He died on the cross.

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

{As I’m writing this, the Kindle versionis only $1.99! These prices change without notice, so please check before buying! And you don’t have to have a Kindle to read it! There are Kindle apps for all devices and computers!}

Well, you already know how much I love this Bible and how we read through the first 24 stories leading up to Christmas, but the New Testament portion is just as wonderful and powerful. If you’re reading in the week leading up to Easter, start with “The Servant King” on Wednesday, “A dark night in the garden” on Thursday, and “The sun stops shining” on Friday. Take Saturday to reflect, and then wake up bright and early Sunday morning to read “God’s wonderful surprise” together! And bring your Kleenex. This story Bible makes me cry EVERY. TIME.

I learned of Resurrection Eggs at our MOPS group a few years back, but only last year did I learn of a book to go along with them! And this year, another Resurrection Eggs book was released. If you’re looking for a book to use as a guide, check out these two:

Lily’s Easter Party: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Crystal Bowman

Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson

I also wanted to let you know about a wonderful new Easter family devotion ebook written by my friend, Katie Orr!

Christ-Centered Easter

Find More Jesus: How to Make Easter All about Jesus is an 8-day devotional for keeping Christ at the center of the holiday. You can also do all of the activities together on Easter morning – it is very adaptable! Katie’s heart for helping children see the real meaning of Easter shines through in this easy-to-read, easy-to-use book for the whole family.

Katie includes a supply list, Scripture readings for each day, a personal focus to emphasize with each activity, and discussion ideas. I think this is the PERFECT book for families, especially those with young children just starting to learn of Easter and those who want to change the way they have normally celebrated the Easter holiday.

I look forward to starting this with our boys on Sunday and you can join us! The ebook is only $2.99 both for PDF and on Kindle!

And you could win one of five copies TODAY ONLY! Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was provided review copies of some of these books, but was not compensated in any way for their inclusion in this post. They were included simply because our family enjoys them! All opinions are 100% my own!

**This post contains affiliate links.

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The Blessings of Spring {Multitude Monday}

It might still be chilly in these parts, but the blessings of spring are all around us…

381. Learning about the regrowth of elk antlers up close and personal.

382. Being together outside.

383. Being silly together outside.

384. Resurrection Eggs.

385. Resurrection Rolls. {YUM!}

386. Matching outfits. {Can’t stand the cuteness!}

387. Hunting for eggs.

388. Happy boys! {And I didn’t have to hide a single one! Thank you church!}

389. Our new way of doing Easter baskets. {So powerful – thank you Amanda!}

390. The unpredictability of Nebraska weather. {90 degrees one day, wind chills in the 30s the next week!}

391. Easter dinner with friends that are like family.

392. Worshiping with a packed house of believers on Resurrection Sunday!

393. Tears of joy. {See #392}

394. Walking through Holy Week with the Jesus Storybook Bible.

395. “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation!” ~1 Peter 1:3

396. Breaking out the water balloons.

397. The hubby grilling out for Easter dinner! {Super YUM!}

398. Cake balls. Amen.

399. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” ~Psalm 46:1-2 {Our Seeds Family Worship verse of the week}

400. HE IS RISEN!

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How is God blessing you this spring?

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Saturday Seeds: John 3:16 {Happy Easter!}

Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter weekend!

Resources mentioned:

Music from Seeds Family Worship, Vol. 2 – Seeds of Faith. Listen online for free here!

Resurrection Rolls recipe: here or here

Ideas on using Resurrection Eggs here and making your own here

Jesus Storybook Bible available here

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Preparing for Easter {Top Ten Tuesday}

Top Ten {Tuesday} Lent: the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting (Merriam-Webster)

When I think of Lent, I think of reflection. It can be a very somber time, but also a time of great gratitude, anticipation, and hope.

That is a lot to ponder in those 40 days.

And I want to make the next 40 days full of all those things for our whole family…

Reflection.

Gratitude.

Anticipation.

Hope.

These are the TOP TEN things we’re planning at Home with the Boys to make the most of the Lenten season…

1. The Daniel Fast. Our church does a 21 Day Fast leading up to Easter Sunday and the Daniel Fast is one of the options. I did this last year – a big step for me, considering how much I love food (sad, I know) – and it was life-changing. I also blogged about it daily for our church. This year, the hubby and I will both be doing the fast, and I am anxious to see how God leads and guides us during that time – denying ourselves, breaking free from the power of food and letting God move in mighty ways.

2. Reading through the Gospels. We will use The Jesus Storybook Bible and Beginning Reader’s Bible (watch for a giveaway later this week!) for family readings because it really draws the boys in to the story.

3. Resurrection Eggs. I first heard about this idea at MOPS a few years ago and I know the boys will really enjoy it, and begin to understand it, this year.

4. Adding our voice to this video project, a communal reading of Ephesians from people around the world. Big J will be reading Ephesians 2:13 and I will be reading 2:14. There is still room for you to add your voice to a verse!

5. Easter Eggstravaganza at our church. This is a fun Saturday morning of all things Easter! It is actually an outreach to the community and hundreds of people show up for the Easter egg hunt, games, pony rides, food and a Gospel presentation.

6. Discovering new life. Everywhere we go. Getting outside more and admiring the beauty and promise of new life all around us.

7. Resurrection Rolls on Easter weekend. Meant to do these last year but it just didn’t happen. Can’t wait to make them with the kids.

8. Lenten Lights. Wow – this is so simple, but powerful. I will get candles from the Dollar Store for this purpose and do this during Holy Week.

9. Lots of Easter books. Books always provide the opportunity for discussion with our boys and I’m hoping to find some at the library! I need recommendations! What are your favorite kids’ Easter books?

10. Decorating our home for the upcoming ultimate celebration – the Resurrection! This year that will include these Easter Countdown Blocks, made by my friend Stacie and her family!  They are a great way to add some spring decor to your home, and you and your children will have fun counting down the days until Easter! Plus they are very heavy duty – a must in this house of boys!

Stacie is offering a set of these adorable countdown blocks to one of you!

To enter the contest, click over to Stacie’s site, enter your name, email address and “Home with the Boys” in the referral section.  And just to be sure, leave a comment here telling me you entered!

You will have until Thursday, March 10th at midnight to enter, so go now!

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What does your family have planned for this Lenten season?

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I’m also linking up here today!

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It’s Time for Veggie Tales!!!!!

My boys have a brand new favorite website.

Not that they spend a lot of time on the internet.

But they LOVE this new place…

Now, you may think “Wasn’t there already a Veggie Tales website?”

Actually, it was a Big Idea website, which is still there.

This NEW site is ALL for the kids! Games, activities, character pages, videos, stories and lots more!

Look at this fun home page…

The veggies right there on the kitchen counter, just where they are in every video! The boys loved that!

Actually, the boys love everything about the new site and haven’t stopped asking all day to get back on to the Veggie Tales site!

Their favorite parts so far?

The games…

Especially Veggie Football (which I found nearly impossible to do but they LOVED!)…

I heard them exclaim “SMACKADOODLE!” over and over as they got tackled. At least they were enjoying themselves!

They also love watching the videos and we made an e-card to send to one of Big J’s friends!

My favorite part?

Bible verses all over the place!

The characters say them, they are listed on each character page and there is a Daily Word feature with Qwerty – a new verse each day with a short explanation for the kiddos! LOVE!

I hope you’ll go check out the new site soon and have fun exploring it with your kids!

And if you do, come back and tell me what you and your kids loved about it and be entered to win…

The newest Veggie Tales movie, ‘Twas the Night Before Easter! We are loving watching this together, talking about helping others and discovering the true meaning of Easter! Plus, there is a brand new character and lots of fun music! I just love the Truth that is shared in such a fun way in every single Veggie Tales movie and ‘Twas the Night Before Easter follows in this tradition well!

So head on over to the new site, come back and tell us what you love about it, and be entered to win the DVD!

You can also share about this giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook and leave a separate comment telling us you did so for an extra entry!

If you want to tweet, please copy and paste this: It’s time for @VeggieTales with a new website and a great new Easter DVD! Enter to win with @homewiththeboys! http://bit.ly/dV4qoC

This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, March 8th at noon CST! Winner will be chosen at random and posted later that week!

Enjoy the new site! And great job Veggie Tales! Thanks for putting so much time into this for the kids!

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Disclosure: I was provided a Veggie Tales DVD to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own!

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