Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ministry Minute and The Parenting Place--Advent Week 1

Well, Advent Night 1 is in the books at the Bryant household.  Tonight we gathered around the Advent Wreath to sing our traditional Light One Candle song, while we lit candle number 1 for LOVE.  We usually do our weekly Advent devotions on Sunday nights, but you can choose a day and time that works best for your family.  Tucker, our oldest, read aloud from Luke 1 about the GIFT of the coming Messiah.  Tate also read from John 3:16&17, about God's GIFT of LOVE--Jesus Christ!

After reading, we went around in a circle, and each family member shared something they loved about the person on their right and left.  Side note:  Video these moments--they will be precious family memories!  Kids around our house also LOVE opening GIFTS, so as scandalous as it is, each kid got to open 1 present from under the Christmas tree.  ;-) What did they get?  Erector sets for the boys and a new Barbie for sweet Sadie!

We made a special LOVE-themed snack--heart shaped sugar cookies.

Lastly, family craft time...always a hoot and a family favorite.  We used GIFT wrap to cut out heart shapes for tonight's theme of LOVE.  We then Mod Podged these onto cardboard.  Once they dried we cut them out and hung with green ribbon on our Advent Tree.  We made our Advent Tree using simple sticks from the yard and an old glass vase.  We decorated this "Charlie Brown" homemade tree with ribbons and garland and placed it in our dining room.

Hope these ideas help inspire you to carve out your own special family time this month!  God bless!  Shannon :-)

The Parenting Place--Making a Jesse Tree with Your Children

If you have downloaded any of my FREE Christmas devotion packs in the past, then you know at our house we do a Jesse Tree as one of our Bryant-family Christmas traditions.  The Jesse Tree ornaments that we traditionally use are included in the available Christmas resource packs on the FREE DOWNLOADS tab here on my blog. 

This morning in Sunday School, my husband-Kevin, began a series of adult Christmas-themed lessons.  We discussed a great resource on the web we found for creating do-it-yourself Jesse Tree ornaments.  This would be a fun way to actually have your kids create a special ornament each night as a part of the Christmas countdown.  As a family devotion, you could discuss the Bible story to accompany each picture. 

Hope you can use and enjoy!!!!  :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Parenting Place--Advent Fun and Family Christmas Devotions

Hi, everyone!  It is almost that time!  Advent begins this week, and the countdown has begun to my favorite time of year--Christmas!!!!  Just a reminder that there are FREE Christmas devotion resources available for you and your family at my TpT site.  The links available on the FREE DOWNLOADS page of my blog will take you there. 

Last year's Advent ideas are also still available at this site by checking my blog history.  Just look in the January and December sections of my blog located on the bottom right of your screen.  Last year I planned my family's devotions based upon a Christmas color each week and those are the ideas and pictures you will see there. 

Whatever you do to celebrate the season, this is just a reminder to keep Christ at the center of your holiday!  Hope these ideas are a blessing to you!  Would love to hear how God is working in your family!  Shannon :-)

PS--I will try to keep you updated with ideas and pictures of this year's family devotions.  Also, for my sweet teacher friends out there, TpT is hosting a huge sale on Monday, so absolutely everything in my TpT store will be on sale!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Wishes!

Just a note to say Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours during this special week!  I am so thankful for so many things, including all of you!    My mom has a magnet hanging on her fridge that I love;  it says I was counting my blessings and you came to mind.  Hope you enjoy a little time off to spend with friends and family!  God bless you!  Shannon :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Parenting Place--A Broken Arm and a Thanksgiving Reminder...


Well, Sunday was an excellent day on one hand--as a part of our family ministry that we do at our church, my husband and I were thrilled to be a part of FEC Fall Family Fest 2011.  On the other hand, the day brought a crisis that we were not anticipating at all.  The day's events remind me now of the Bible verse, "We make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."~Proverbs 16:9. 

While I helped with preschool games and relays and my husband raced from generator to sound to stage, our 8-year old suffered a "substantial" upper arm break on an inflatable bouncy slide.  Tate landed wrong at the bottom of the slide, and realizing that something was wrong, he leaped off of the slide and took off running.  His little legs were flying as he raced across an open field, only to collapse in either shock or pain in the center of a circle of adults.  Imagine my panic as I heard my oldest son, Tucker, screaming my name over the roar of the band, laughter, and fun.

Loading Tate in our van and racing to the ER, it is amazing how quickly things snapped into focus.  By the time Tuesday rolled around, we found ourselves praying over Tate and kissing him goodbye as he rolled into the OR for surgery.  Emerging a few hours later with the heaviest camouflage cast I had ever seen, I realized that this Thanksgiving would be a different one.  Yes, we will still have turkey and dressing, still visit family and friends, still dress up in coordinating shades of brown and orange...but this year I will hug my kids a little tighter and give thanks for days of health and happiness.  What I thought was going to the main thing--running a fall festival on Sunday afternoon--turned out to be only a blip on the radar screen.  Just a reminder to all of you sweet parents out there to keep the main things the main things.  Why did Tate break his arm?  We might not ever know.  But what did I learn from this experience?  God is still God, and He holds it together.  Giving thanks for my sweet children and especially my resilient Tate this November!  Praying you and yours have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving as well!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ministry Minute--Bible Verse ABC's

Hi!  Just wanted to take a minute and share something I am working on with my preschool children's church kids.  We are learning a different Bible verse each week, based upon the letters of the alphabet.  I am using them in 3 ways:

1) laminated on scrapbook paper for a hallway display.
2) laminated and placed on a flip ring for classroom practice.
3) photocopied for printable coloring sheets.

Here are a few pictures for you to see:

Hope this inspires you to add some scripture memory into your own life!  If you are interested in seeing more, you can visit the following web address. 
Have a happy and blessed week!!! :-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Classroom Corner--Exciting New Reading Resources!!!

I am so excited to tell you today about the new Reading with a Purpose resources I recently developed to use with my students.  Independent Reading and Guided Reading are both such important learning times for students, however it can sometimes be difficult to help them stay focused or find topics for mini-lessons.  These bookmarks, posters, and reading logs can be used to aid in your reading instruction.  Similar to Directed Notes, the included bookmarks aid students in focusing during reading time.  The Reading with a Purpose materials in this resource pack focus on the following literature skills and connections:
  • Text to Text
  • Text to Self
  • Text to World
  • Author's Purpose
  • Character Analysis
  • Making Predictions
  • Story Structure
  • Literary Devices
I am so excited to share these resources with you and invite you to see more by clicking the link below at my TpT store.  I am loving using them this year, and so are my students!  There is a free preview you can also download to try them out at TpT.  These resources have been so beneficial to me, and I hope they will be for you as well!!!  I am also working on a companion pack which focuses on reading and writing conventions, so be watching for those as well.