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Month: March 2015

Last Minute Easter Resources

Last Minute Easter Resources

This morning I was chatting with a friend in the states and she mentioned buying an Easter outfit.

*Insert Panic Attack Here*

An Easter outfit????? WHAT?!?! I totally forgot that this weekend is Easter which means I totally forgot that Holy Week started…yesterday. #momfail #truestory

Needless to say, that meant my evening was spent scrambling for last minute ideas and trying to scrounge up the supplies to carry out our yearly traditions. Just a little dose of reality for you on this Monday evening.

As I was digging through the cabinets the thought crossed my mind, “Surely I’m not the only one that dropped the ball and is trying to salvage Holy Week.”

Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better, but maybe there are other moms trying to figure out what to do or dads that have no idea where to start with family worship. Maybe there are even new believers who have no idea how to explain the true meaning of Easter to their children.

I made a quick list of resources we have used in the past and am putting them on the blog in the event someone else is trying to redeem the time.

In the past we’ve used Noel Piper’s devotional book, Lenten Lights. It’s simple and doesn’t require a lot of prep work and there is just something special about family worship by candlelight. You can get all 8 devotions for free here, which is great if you don’t have access to Amazon or christian bookstores. I would highly recommend this, especially for my overseas friends.

A friend of ours recently published an Easter devotional book for families that we are currently using. What I love about Mission Accomplished is that it doesn’t just present the resurrection story, it connects that story to the overall message of redemption. And, the fact that each devotion takes around 10 minutes, means our three year old isn’t hanging upside down from the top bunk before we can get finished.

UnknownInstead of boycotting all things related to eggs, chocolate and bunnies, I try to tie them to the gospel. We still dye Easter eggs but I use this idea to make it more meaningful. Dye Easter eggs in the traditional colors used to tell the salvation story. Use the colors to talk about what it means to be a follower of Christ.

  • Purple: God’s Grace
  • Black: Sin
  • Blue: Baptism
  • Red: Blood of Jesus
  • White: Forgiveness of Sin
  • Green: Eternal Life
  • Gold: HeavenIMG_7611

Every year we use this recipe to make a dough mountain. It’s simple enough that the kids can do most of it and you probably have all the ingredients in your house right now. IMG_7610

Here are a few video resources I’ve used in the past.

-Test your kid’s Easter knowledge with this fun video.

The Easter Story with Sand

-Jesus Storybook Bible Videos: Jesus’ Death on the Cross and The Resurrection

-What’s In the Bible: Explains what Easter is and why it’s important.

And a few songs my boys particularly enjoy.

Hosanna Rock

1, 2, 3

Oh Happy Day

And just a few fun things to do with kids if you have some extra time to kill.

Resurrection Rolls

Resurrection Cookies

DIY Resurrection Eggs complete with printables

Now, last minute moms, unite. We got this! Go Team!!!!

A Rock in the Cabinet and Leaves on the Stove

A Rock in the Cabinet and Leaves on the Stove

One of the things I really like about living in the Middle East is…the food. It is delicious. There is no shortage of yummy dishes.

Last fall I began taking a weekly cooking class with a precious friend. This sweet girl agreed to help me with the arabic language and teach me my way around the Arab kitchen.


As I took on the class I thought to myself, “I got this.” The reason being- I  consider myself a pretty good cook. Having 5 boys and a husband to feed daily… I’ve logged my share of time in the ole kitchen. However, when I decided to learn to cook Arab food it was like I was learning to cook for the first time. The combination of new spices, cooking methods and using foods I’d never heard of made for a pretty steep learning curve. However, after a few painful weeks of not knowing which way was up- and after a few classes with my ever-so-patient  teacher, I eventually got the hang of it.

Now, on any given day you may walk into my kitchen and see a pot full of leaves boiling on the stove or possibly drying on the table. It sounds crazy but, I’m just getting ready to make stuffed grape leaves.


IMG_0644Or you may possibly open my kitchen cabinet and find a large rock. Why is that, you say? No, my boys didn’t sneak it in from outside, it’s my cooking rock and I use it to add weight to the food I’m cooking in order to smash it down.


And, on the days I’m cooking Arab food, you can bet that every burner on my stovetop is going to be full. And I may be torching an eggplant on one of those burners.



The only thing better than cooking up that Arab food is when your friends decide to hang around and enjoy every bit of that yumminess with you.IMG_3293


Green Cake, Cheese Pizza and God’s Grace

Green Cake, Cheese Pizza and God’s Grace

In a span of seven weeks we celebrate four different birthdays in our house. Yep, you read that correctly. From the end of January to the 2nd week in March, we have four birthdays….two of which are six days apart. The thought of throwing that many parties in such a short time has seemed a daunting task since the beginning. So, I do what any slacker seasoned mom would do and lump a bunch of them together. Don’t judge.

Once in a blue moon I feel a twinge of guilt and tell myself that Brooks’ will be permanently damaged because he never had a birthday party all to himself. But, I was reminded again this past Saturday how much he hates being the center of attention and how he nearly crumbles in despair that people are looking  at him, much less singing Happy Birthday while a Jordanian candle shoots sparks brushing ever so closely to his precious face. At the end of the day I decided he does better in a group birthday setting. Down the road, if my thoughts prove to be wrong, I’ll hire him the best counselor money can buy and we’ll call it even.


Fortunately, the boys have always agreed on a common birthday theme. This year they decided on Narnia and a week before the party changed their minds to Ninja Turtles. This isn’t my first rodeo or the first time I’ve had a last minute theme change, so I’ve learned not to start working on the party until the week of. The boys know the week of, once mama has logged onto Pinterest, there is no changing the theme.


For Christmas my mom gave them matching Ninja Turtle pajamas, so this was a great opportunity to wear the new PJ’s and cut up old t-shirts in order to make masks. Next, we dug a few cardboard paper towel rolls and newspapers from the craft bin to make weapons.  The great part about that is how the boys get excited about making their own weapons/costumes and do a lot of the work for me. Braeden, the artsy one of the bunch, even made the Ninja Turtle faces that we put on the wall and on our front door. He’s a crafty kind of guy and I utilize his skills whenever I don’t want to do the work myself have a chance to make him feel like he’s part of the planning.


IMG_0746If you’ve known me for longer than 0.3 seconds you know that I love a party and look for any occasion to throw one. And, I have a hard and fast rule that you can’t have a party without party games. Duh! Also, I don’t think your exempt from the games because you’re an adult. Nope, we all play, and the kids love it.

We found our Ninja Names and tossed “frisbee pizza” into pizza boxes.


IMG_0761We drank too much soda and of course, what else would you eat at a Ninja Turtle party?



We wrestled around on the floor and laughed until our sides hurt.


And at the end of the day I tucked my new 10 year old, 6 year old and 1 year old in the bed and, honestly, had to brush away some tears that were running down my cheek.

No, I wasn’t emotional because my boys are growing up. It wasn’t even that I was a bit weepy from the exhaustion that comes from hosting birthday parties (fist bump to my fellow b’day party mamas). Of course, I was filled with joy over the reality that I have five healthy boys and how God allowed me to celebrate another year with them.

What caused me to get teary eyed after the party was thinking about those who came to celebrate the lives’ of our boys. All the way on the other side of the world, there are people that have absolutely no relation to my boys that still love each of them deeply.

These people drove around town in smokey taxis to find the perfect birthday gift; they take time out of their weekend after an exhausting week to come play silly party games and eat sub-par pizza; they wrestle around on the floor until they are out of breath… and we all go to bed with full hearts because the Lord has been so gracious to give us an overseas family. (no pictures needed, you know who you are!)


These special occasions can be hard. Holidays can be painful. They can easily become reminders of all the things you miss about being close to your family- but at the same time,  they can be such evidence of God’s grace and His goodness in our lives. And today, I’m truly in awe of His provision.