Schlitterbahn: Something for Everyone!

If you’ve watched the news or been on social media at all in the past week, you’ve heard about Verruckt. It is the world’s tallest water slide and it is set to open to the public today at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.

Verruckt is taller than the Statue of Liberty and that is just NOT my thing. I know plenty of thrill seekers who are dying to give it a try, but not me. And I’m happy to tell you, whether you’re a daredevil or a mama to littles, our visit to Schlitterbahn this month showed me there is something for everyone there!

Our whole family loves the water, so making a waterpark a part of our vacation was a no-brainer. A few other waterparks were considered, but ultimately eliminated because most of the rides and attractions had height requirements our little munchkins didn’t quite meet. That’s when Schlitterbahn caught The Hubby’s eye.

Entrance

Welcome

Although there are several “big kid” slides and rides that require riders to be 48″ or taller, Schlitterbahn is very family-friendly and we spent over six hours at the park and had more than enough thrills and fun suitable for all of us!

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For the littles, there is the Kinderhaven + Wyandotte Express train area…

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And the Pirate Ship at Henry’s Hideout {with heated water!}…

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You can step things up from there but still relax with the Kristal River lazy river…

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For a little more excitement, the King Kaw Rapids were a favorite for all of us. Just thrilling enough for the older boys, but safe enough for 2 1/2 year old Double J to enjoy with us riding in the child seat of a tube with a life jacket on. We all went back to the rapids several times!

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The Torrent River Wave Pool was tested out by Little j and The Hubby before we all decided to give it a whirl and this was another favorite! Much like the King Kaw Rapids, it was fun and safe for all of us!

Big J and The Hubby had a blast on the Storm Blaster ride, and there are much larger slides like the Twister, Cyclone, Black Knight Tube Slide, and of course, the brand new Verruckt.

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We attended the park on a Tuesday and it was busy, but not crowded. We were able to do everything we wanted with very little waiting. Schlitterbahn allows you to bring your own food + drink in, but also offers several food + drink options inside the park. We rented a locker to keep our stuff safe while we had fun and highly recommend this.

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I absolutely LOVE that life jackets and tubes are available free! On the website they say these are available in limited quantities, but there were always plenty when we needed them!

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I won’t lie: Schlitterbahn is not cheap. Thankfully, Double J was free and we got a discount for buying our tickets online. I was a little nervous about paying that much for a place we knew little about, but after a day there, I would do it again in a heartbeat for a special experience the whole family loved! I talked to a local mom who has a pass they use all summer long – if we lived in the Kansas City area, I would definitely get a pass as we would all want to go back often!

Lounging

Boys entrance

Couple park
Full park

Family entrance

If Verruckt has you excited about Schlitterbahn, then go for it! But if the opening of Verruckt made you think Schlitterbahn is for the older crowd, I’m here to assure you everyone from the littles to the bigs to the adults in your group will love this waterpark!

Does your family love waterparks? Have you visited Schlitterbahn?

This is NOT a sponsored post. Schlitterbahn has no idea who I am or that I’m writing this. We just loved our experience and I had to share!

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Most of the pictures in this post are from our new GoPro HERO 3+ camera {affiliate link}. There is no way I would have used my nice camera at the waterpark and we had a blast taking underwater pictures, videos on the rides, and not worrying about the camera getting ruined! SO MUCH FUN! If your family loves the water and loves to record their adventures, this is the camera to use! I love it so much, I’ll probably do a whole separate post on it!

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Five Ingredients for Summer Fun!

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!

Whether your kids just got out of school or they’ve been on break for a month now, summer just officially started this past weekend and it is time to start enjoying it! I’m trying to take this summer slower, have more fun, relax, say yes more to the boys, smile and laugh a whole lot, and ENJOY life.

As the summer kicked off, I made a list of things that make summer more fun for me and I’m incorporating all of them in to our every day. This recipe for summer fun is totally working for me, so I had to share! I would love to hear your ideas for each ingredient in the comments!

Ingredients for Summer Fun

Five Ingredients for Summer Fun

Great music

Yep, we are the family who pulls into Costco in our minivan with Star Wars stickers on the back with the bass thumping to some TobyMac. We are all singing along and dancing in our seats and I just love everything about this time. We are in the car a lot going to play dates and the zoo and the pool, so fun tunes make the ride not just bearable, but totally awesome! And if we’re stuck at home, great music really does make for a happy household! Our favorite tunes this summer include TobyMac’s Eye On It, Newsboys’ Restart, Ellie Holcomb’s As Sure as the Sun, Slugs and Bugs Sing the Bible, and “Happy” by Pharrell.

Summer Oil Smells

Summer smells

Meat cooking on the grill. Sunscreen at the pool and aloe vera afterwards. The smoke from the fire pit in our backyard. Freshly mown grass. Summer rain. Anything and everything citrus. Each season has its own distinct smells and summer is capturing me with them right now. I love adding to the summer smells by diffusing citrus essential oils like Elevation {my very favorite!}, Citrus Bliss, Wild Orange, and more in our home! Not only do they smell great, but they put me in a great mood, as well! To find out where to get high quality oils, just hop on over to my essential oils page!

 

Summer Tennis Drink

Fresh air

I will freely admit that I prefer the cool air of fall to the hot weather of summer, but fresh air and sunshine make any day better. The kids and I have been intentionally planning at least 60 minutes of outside time every day and it really changes things. I have to put down my to-do list. We notice the big and little things God has given us in His creation. We try new things, get exercise, fill up on vitamin D, and we are all the better for it! Some days, our 60 minutes is met with our time at tennis lessons, but other days we run through the sprinklers or go to the zoo or paint with water on the hot driveway. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing – it just matters that we are breathing in fresh air! And anything involving swimming or water makes it even better!

Summer Camp

Bucket lists

Summer bucket lists are SO much fun for the whole family. Mine looks totally different from the ones the boys made, but we all enjoy reading what each person wants to do over the summer. And it is great fun to help someone get an item checked off his or her list! The boys and I have both checked off riding the skyfari at our local zoo. Big J can now check off church camp. I just checked off writing another magazine article. Goals are good, and while bucket lists aren’t “goal” lists in particular, they do function as a motivator in the same way – just for really fun things! A tennis date with The Hubby, making homemade ice cream, and driving a jet-ski are high on my list next!

Summer Fresh Air

Loosely-held expectations

I ended with this because this is hardest, yet most important, one for me. I have grand ideas for our family and our summer. They aren’t all going to happen. And I need to be okay with that. Even in the day-to-day, I can see God asking me to let go of my plans for the day and leave room for Him to move. My high expectations and the frustration that comes when they aren’t met are usually projected onto my husband and children  - and they never did anything wrong. God spoke to me at the beginning of the summer about going with His flow and embracing grace for myself and my family. Low expectations doesn’t mean I don’t still have lots of fun plans for the summer. I’m just holding on to them more loosely and looking to Him for a better way when things don’t go my way.

The kids are doing tennis and swim lessons and we have a few vacations planned, but overall, this right here is what summer is all about for us: fun and family and grace!

What ingredients would you add to this list for summer fun?

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All the Feelings

Our sweet, squishy, super-energetic and super-loving Little J turns six today.

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Our confident, independent, way-too-old-already Big J left for three nights at church camp yesterday.

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And Double J…well, he’s two, so…you know…

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Excuse me while I have all the feelings today.

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I’ve been floating around to different places on the web lately! You can check them out here:

The Making of an Affiliate Marketer – My podcast debut over at the Declare Conference!

Deep Breaths – one way I embrace motherhood in the middle of chaos at Thrive Moms

 

 

 

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#SheSharesTruth: The End of Nehemiah

I just finished reading the book of Nehemiah. Scratch that. I’ve read the book of Nehemiah before. It wasn’t very memorable. This time I studied it. 17 days of in-depth slow reading, study note devouring, journaling, praying. It won’t be a book I soon forget now.

The Nehemiah study was from She Reads Truth and the lessons I learned from it were numerous. Lessons on prayer and faith and leadership and boldness. But I’m going to start at the end today.

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A little back story of Nehemiah before I get to the end in case you’re unfamiliar {spoiler alert!}:

Nehemiah was working as the king’s cup bearer in Babylon when he heard the wall protecting Jerusalem had been destroyed and his people were unprotected. After much prayer, Nehemiah asks the king’s permission to go rebuild the wall. The king grants his request and Nehemiah heads back to Jerusalem for 12 years to head up the wall rebuilding project. He is a wise, God-fearing leader and, with his direction, the people of Jerusalem are once again protected. They rededicate themselves and their holy city to God.

But then…

Nehemiah leaves to go back to his duties with the king and the people backslide. They start intermarrying with pagans, breaking the commandments laid out by God, living in disobedience. The book of Nehemiah ends with him rebuking many in Jerusalem for breaking the covenant they JUST renewed.

Not the happy ending I was expecting and not the results Nehemiah had prayed for either.

So here is today’s question: Why does the book of Nehemiah end the way it does? What does God want us to see here about Himself and the Church?

During my reading of Nehemiah, God was speaking to me about my “building project” – my family. Day after day, the words in Nehemiah were convicting, inspiring, encouraging to me as a wife and mother. So in this ending, I saw another lesson for me as a mother.

Nehemiah did everything God asked him to do. He was in constant prayer. He was one of the wisest leaders in all of the Bible. And still the people fell away from their renewed commitment of faith.

I am not a perfect mother or wife or homemaker, but even if I follow everything God asks me to do, pray all day long and wisely steward the time and resources of our family, I can’t control the outcome. My children have free will. They are sinners just like me. My faithfulness and wise leadership don’t guarantee their obedience.

This might be a discouraging lesson, but I think it is also meant to take some of the pressure off for me as a mom. Nehemiah has taught me to pray, trust, and act on God’s will and leave the rest in His hands. Just like Nehemiah, I can only do what I can do. The bad choices of those under my leadership, including my kiddos, does not make me a failure.

Breathe that in, ladies. We are not failures because of our children’s choices.

Nehemiah went through a similar process to mothering: years of caring for the people, building up the wall to protect them, praying fervently, and then the big letdown of their disobedience. But in his wisdom, Nehemiah continued to stand for what is right and pray to his Heavenly Father.

Why does Nehemiah end with this big bummer? To remind me to keep on seeking His will, doing the next right thing, and praying hard for those in my care, no matter what those around me choose. And I will never give up on that. I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.

Nehemiah 63

 

I’m linking up with the #shesharestruth community today – read the thoughts of other women on this ending of Nehemiah over at the She Reads Truth site!

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Personal Bests

I approached my last race weekend without a clear goal. After having run a sub-2:00 half marathon in the fall, I wanted to pace a friend for their own personal half goal, but that plan fell through and I was left running the half by myself and not really sure of my aim for this race.

The Hubby, on the other hand, had a very big goal in his marathon: to qualify for the Boston Marathon. As he would move up to the next age bracket in time for next year’s marathon, he needed to run a 3:10 marathon or less to qualify. This was just his second marathon, but he is the most dedicated, hard-working person I know, and it didn’t seem crazy to me at all that he would shoot to take 45+ minutes off his previous marathon time.

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We chose to race in Fargo again because we love the flat course and the friendly people. And the weather that day added to the reasons we love Fargo – 45 degrees and no wind at the start. A runner’s dream weather.

Because of that weather, great crowds, and a healthy body, I decided to make another sub-2:00 half my goal for the day.

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It was hard, but it was fun. It was all about me and Jesus. I was constantly praying and calling on His strength to get me through. And He got me there in 1:58:43! A new PR for me by 50 seconds! And I remembered to look happy as I crossed the finish line! {see this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about}

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The best part about doing a half on the same day The Hubby does a full is I can be at the finish line when he comes through. Because of tracking, I could tell approximately where he was, and at the 20 mile update, I was worried. He was five minutes off where he wanted to be. I had no idea what he was thinking or how he was doing, so I just prayed – for God to give him strength and for him to know this race was a success no matter his finishing time.

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I get super emotional at races, so when I saw him come around the corner with just a few hundred feet to go, I started crying and yelling a whole lot to cheer him on. And that’s when I saw the best sight: he was smiling. A HUGE smile. With arms flexed, he crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles in 3:19:22. AMAZING. 36 minutes faster than his previous marathon. 36 MINUTES.

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I couldn’t have been more proud and he felt the same. I think I was even more proud of him than I would have been if he had qualified for Boston that day because he trusted God + his training and listened to his body and did the very best he could do in those given moments. What could have been a great big disappointment was an overwhelming success for him because he had set more than one goal for the day, and he met two of those three goals – a new PR and breaking 3:20. He’ll have another shot at Boston. I just know it. But he wouldn’t have another shot at enjoying the accomplishment of that race on that day. I love how he latched on to the achieved goals and floated through the rest of the day on Cloud 9! I don’t think he stopped smiling for even a moment the rest of the weekend.

What did I take away from this day? Joy. A little stomach discomfort for the afternoon, but mostly lots of joy. An appreciation for setting several goals at different levels for one event, knowing some things just aren’t in our control. And the realization that we must always celebrate progress and personal bests.

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It is such a bonding experience for us to share this love of running. These race weekends away are fun, but knowing that your best friend in the world really gets what you love is just the best. And celebrating personal bests together is even better!

Congrats, honey! I am SO proud of all the hard work you poured in to this marathon and your freaking awesome finish time! You are my inspiration + hero! I love you!

 

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Rhinestone Jesus + The American Dream

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!

I’ve been thinking about the American Dream a lot in the last year, even before I started reading Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch. In October, I did a whole series about our need to “have it all” and my rebellion against that idea. I have this uncomfortable feeling of Holy Spirit change going on inside of me that I’m not entirely sure what to do with, but I know it has do with a different kind of American Dream.

I don’t want us to make more money so we can have more stuff. I’m in the {really long} process of trying to get rid of stuff. I want to be able to GIVE more. My American Dream for our family is to be givers and have the means to give generously as led. To love others well with our time and resources. Like Bob Goff. Like the Welch family.

Even though I’ve only met Kristen once and we’re not neighbors or close friends, I feel like I’ve watched God grow and move in her family for years now. And there’s no way to see what He is doing with them and NOT be inspired to live a different kind of existence. Kristen’s blog, We Are THAT Family, has always been full of family and fun, but most importantly, it chronicles an honest faith and an incredible journey that knit their hearts with Kenya. I think I’ve mentioned Mercy House Kenya just a few times around here…

Now Kristen has released a book and it’s exactly what I’d expect from her writing, but also so much more. Rhinestone Jesus is about stepping out from safe faith. It’s about saying yes to God in the middle of our messes. It’s about knowing there is no such thing as a “just a mom” and God does big things with the little yes of a mom or dad or kid or anybody.

I’ve been trying to write this post about this book for weeks. It’s hard to put into words the MANY ways it impacted me, especially in one blog post, but here were my major takeaways:

Being an intentional mom IS a big yes to God.

The Kingdom of God is revealed in sacrifice and service in the small places, especially to our children.

Kristen tells her story about saying yes to God’s calling to do something about the poverty she saw in Kenya, but she also makes it clear that God isn’t calling all of us to do what she did. He is calling us to say yes to whatever He asks of us right now. And being an intentional, loving, Christ-following, servant’s heart mom is what He’s calling to all of us mamas, right?! Some people may read this book and say it’s about Mercy House Kenya, but to me it is about a family living in obedience to God because Mom + Dad led the way. I want to say YES to that.

The most significant thing I’ve done for Jesus is to love and serve my family. Motherhood becomes me, and God uses it daily to refine me and draw me closer to Him.

I really can do that thing God is calling me to do.

When we live for Him one yes at a time, He rewrites our story.

I appreciate immensely Kristen’s honesty in Rhinestone Jesus because it shows all the weaknesses she thought would get in the way of her fulfilling God’s call on her life. And it shows just how God filled those in with His strength. He doesn’t ask us to do big things because He wants us to fail, but because He wants us to trust Him and let Him carry us through for His glory.

Deep down I knew God was calling us to something radical. And even though radical terrified me, I was more afraid of not following God.

Family matters.

If Satan can convince us that we aren’t good enough as a family to leave a positive imprint on the world, then he wins. We cant let that happen.

I can’t get enough of the stories and posts Kristen shares about raising a family to love, honor, and respect one another, to do what Jesus asks not matter what our culture says, and to live in a generous way, leaving behind the entitlement that has overwhelmed all of us. The heart of this all is to make your family a priority, to find a mission you can all get behind, and to LIVE IT together.

I can try to create an amazing career or impact the world with a global nonprofit, but if I end up with a family who is ignored or resentful of my efforts, what have I gained? More than anything, I want to work alongside my husband and children because it’s in serving together that we are all changed.

And it all boils down to this…

Rhinestone Jesus Quote

 

Wherever you are on the dreaming scale – whether you’re chasing that God-sized dream, sitting on the couch thinking you’ll never be able to follow the dream He has for you, or you have no idea what that dream is – read Rhinestone Jesus. Be inspired to say yes in the middle of your mess to whatever He asks.

Do you have a “yes” you need to say to God right now, in the middle of your mess?

 

I received this book to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

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The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

How does $698 worth of amazing ebooks on the topics of motherhood, homemaking, faith, marriage, homeschool, health + wellness, financial stewardship, pregnancy, holidays, self-care, working from home, and more for just $29.97 sound to you?!

And how about $200 worth of bonus products, memberships, and store credits FREE in addition to those 78 ebooks for just $29.97?

You are going to LOVE the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale that starts today and you only have SIX DAYS to snag this fabulous deal!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle offers ebooks on some of my favorite topics from some of my very favorite authors!  Some of my favorites include:

  • The Warrior Weekend by Pat Schwenk: This fabulous ebook is a weekend retreat guide for fathers teaching their sons how to be Godly men. Included in the guide are stories, activities, and applications for real life – a great bonding experience for dads and their boys!
  • The Weekly Homeschool Planner by Jolanthe Erb AND The Simple Homeschool Planner by Tsh Oxenreider: I’ve used elements of both of these planners and think at least one of them will be exactly what you are looking for to plan your homeschool days, weeks, months, and the whole year!
  • 21 Days to a More Discipline Life by Crystal Paine: I LOVED going through this 21-day plan for leading a more disciplined life. Crystal makes the steps very doable but they also stretched me to think beyond my current haphazard plan towards a more organized, productive life!
  • Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford: We are a household of always-hungry boys {and parents} trying to eat well and stay on budget, which can be hard with the cost of healthy food! Stephanie has great tips and suggestions for making healthy eating more affordable for any family!
  • Write Through the Bible by Trisha Gilkerson: The Gilkersons have a wonderful series of Write Through the Bible printables to help your children practice handwriting AND learn Scripture at the same time.
  • 76 Free Things to Do With Kids: A Real Mom’s Guide by Shannon Brown: Every mom loves free activities to do with their kids! This is a great resource to have going into the summer months!
  • Discipleship & Discipline: Practical Parenting Help for the Desperate Mom {ecourse} by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae: This course alone is worth the $29.97. The wisdom and grace these women share for moms is so inspiring and encouraging. Every mom should participate in this ecourse.


So how do you get these AMAZING books plus many, many more?!

First of all, this bundle is only available for SIX DAYS: 8am EST Wednesday, April 23 until midnight EST Monday, April 28. After those six days, you will not be able to purchase this particular bundle ever again!

The bundle is available in two formats: PDF only for $29.97 and PDF + Kindle for $39.97. To learn more about which bundle would be better for you and any other questions you might have, please visit the FAQ page!

Special deal just for Home with the Boys readers!

TODAY ONLY {4/23/14}, if you share this post about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle on social media, you are entered in a giveaway for a free bundle – either to keep for yourself or give to a friend! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter below! Winner will be announced + emailed Thursday morning so everyone else will have time to purchase! If you decide to purchase today AND enter, I will refund the price of your bundle if you win OR you can give the free bundle to a friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you love this bundle as much as I do! Happy reading!

 

  • For any questions regarding the bundle, including how to download and read your ebooks, check this FAQ page.
  • For all of the fine print on this bundle, please visit here.
  • For more about the wonderful couples who put together these fun bundles, visit here!
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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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A Heart For Africa

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!

I’m not one of those women who thought I would someday end up as a missionary, living amongst the people of a far-off, impoverished country, serving and loving them full time.

I always thought I would end up a mom, maybe a stay-at-home mom, and here I am.

But I didn’t always think God would get my heart all stirred up for the people of Africa the way He has over the past few years.

It started with sponsoring a Compassion child from Tanzania and blossomed from there. We’ve supported organizations like live FashionABLE, Mocha Club, The Root Collective, Johari Creations, AWANA, and more that are making a difference in the lives of people all over Africa. Every time I wear a shirt or scarf or piece of jewelry from these places, I am moved to pray for the hands that made, the hearts that are finding hope.

But my heart for Africa really took root when Kristen Welch and her family shared their idea of building a maternity home in Kenya…and it happened.

I remember reading and praying about every stage along the way as they raised money, found a location, welcomed girls and then babies, and it just gets more and more amazing all the time. He is at work at Mercy House Kenya.

Kristen and family recently introduced a new way to support the ever-growing vision for rescuing and supporting young, pregnant girls in Kenya and it was just perfect for the hands in our home!

Heart for Africa

The Love Mercy kits provide you the supplies to make some really easy bracelets that can be sold to raise money for Mercy House Kenya! For just $10 – no shipping – we received a package with supplies for 25 bracelets.

Heart for Africa Kit

Big J took on the task of cutting pre-marked slits on both sides of the printed cards…

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Little J tried his hand at threading the heart beads onto the twine…

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But that proved a little difficult so I took it over while he positioned the bracelets on the cards…

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We had a great assembly line going and finished our 25 bracelets in about 3o minutes!

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This activity tied in perfectly with school as Big J and I have been learning about Africa in geography! And we took some time to discuss the verse that drives the mission of Mercy House Kenya

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We have this verse on a beautiful print {also in support of Mercy House} in our living room, so the boys recognized it, but talking about WHILE helping others has quite a different impact…on all of us. I also really appreciated the included suggestions in the kit for explaining to children the ways Mercy House Kenya helps girls and babies.

I highly recommend this activity/service project for families or small groups or any group, especially parents and kids as it is easy and very meaningful!

And if you’re interested in buying one of these Love Mercy bracelets to support Mercy House Kenya, let us know! The boys would be more than happy to sell you one or more! We’ll have them available through Friday, March 28th or until they are gone!

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My Favorite Lent Resources for the Whole Family

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I wrote last week about the two books I will be using to focus my mind on more of God and the truth that He is FOR me during Lent this year. I’m all about keeping this time of year simple and meaningful, so I considered not sharing any more Lent resources with you as to not be overwhelming. But then I said, “Erin, this is what you do! Tell people things you love and let them figure out what is right for them!”

So here I go, sharing a handful of books and products for you and your family to use to be intentional with your mindset this Lent!

Lent Resources for the Whole Family

Reflective Lent Journal from Naptime Diaries

This gorgeous 40 day, undated journal contains scripture prompts and room to write on each page. Jessi, creator at Naptime Diaries says, “There are four sections to the book – Hope, Follow, Live, & Bless – and the scriptures are intentionally picked to help you grow closer to the Lord as you read different passages from all over the Bible.” If you would like yours in time for Lent this year, please order by 5pm ET TODAY!

Mosaic Bible

I received this Bible a few years ago and was drawn to the gorgeous artwork, but found so much more. Along with the full NLT Bible text, the Mosaic Bible features weekly readings and devotions based on the church seasons, including Lent. I love the insights I gained from the quotes, hymns, poems, and more in this Bible! I’m mentioning it as a Lent resource, but it is wonderful for year-round Scripture meditation.

The Jesus Storybook Bible

I’m sorry if you’re sick of hearing about the Jesus Storybook Bible from me, but I’m not really sorry because I will never stop telling people they MUST have this for their family! With Advent, we spent 25 days reading from it leading up to Christmas, but for Easter, I just did a week lead-up with the kids and it was just right. I made a reading plan for Easter week with the Jesus Storybook Bible complete with simple, but powerful activities and a free printable. And you could always start earlier in the Lenten season and read the whole life of Jesus, too! I think we may do that this year!

Trail to the Tree: An Easter Devotional from Ann Voskamp

I’m a big fan of everything God speaks through Ann, and while I haven’t done this with our family yet, I have it saved for when they boys are a little older. It might be just the right thing for you and your children this year. It includes reflections for each day of lent and printables to make an Easter tree. Ann says she made this because, “Easter is more important than Christmas.” And once again, she is spot on. This devotional is free to all of her blog subscribers, so if you’re already one, it’s at the bottom of the posts you receive in your email. And if you’re not, go subscribe now!

Action Bible Easter Story

The Action Bible is by far the favorite “big kid” Bible in our house, so I’m thrilled to tell you that, right now for a limited time, the Kindle version of the Action Bible Easter Story is FREE! Every house of boys should own the full Action Bible, but this is a great starting point to get your boys interested in this graphic novel/comic book-style Bible storybook AND the most important story of Jesus’s sacrifice to save us. Grab this quick before the price goes back up!

I have one more surprise Lent resource to share next week, but until then, here is one last gem I want to mention…

My sweet friend Jennifer has written an important book called Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – And Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. It won’t be available until April 1, but you’re going to want to pre-order it now. Trust me.

While Love Idol isn’t a Lent-specific book, the message and soul-searching found within are very much in line with what Lent is all about – sacrificing the things we hold on to so tightly to have more of Jesus. And I would love for you to join me in the Love Idol Movement this Lent: We are letting go of the love idols that are taking up space in our hearts — space that belong to God alone. You can read more about Jennifer’s heart for this movement on her blog and join the movement on Facebook.

I will end this post with the question I am asking myself and praying about as part of the Love Idol Movement. I would love for you to join me in doing the same and we can come back here next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, to share the idol we are letting go…

Where do the idols of approval and love lurk in my life? How can I practically and prayerfully give that idol up – for good and for GOD?

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