Tag Archives: Advent Calendar

The Word Became Flesh: Lenten Advent Calendar

14 Feb

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I have written again and again and again about our wonderful Christmas Advent Calendars. Those advent calendars have become such a significant component of Christmas for our family. I longed for this same Scripture-rich, God-honoring, daily-reading family activity… for Easter.

Thankfully, 3 years ago, my dear friend, who first introduced me to the Advent Jesse Tree, wrote a book, The Word Became Flesh, which is a devotion used as an Easter Advent calendar during the 40 days or Lent. In addition to the daily devotions designed to use with your family, Faye, a gifted artist, has included hand drawn sketches that can be photocopied and used as “ornaments” much like the Advent Jesse Tree. We participated in an ornament swap and hang our ornaments on a grapevine wreath. This is a peek at what ours looks like.

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To read more about how The Word Became Flesh works and has impacted our family, read these two previous posts here and here. When I first wrote about The Word Became Flesh two years ago, Faye’s book had not been published and was, therefore, only available to purchase from Faye. Last year, Faye was able to get her book published (wahoo!!!), so you can now buy it from Amazon and have it arrive just in time to start next week on Ash Wednesday, February 18.

I can’t wait to hear how this book blesses your family and leads you to focus on Christ this Easter!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner (& a Coupon Code!)

18 Mar

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Whitney from HeartFELT Truths graciously gave our family an Easter Banner to use last year. Awwwwwwwwwww, we love it!

The Easter Banner is for use during Holy Week. Day One begins on Palm Sunday, and the Easter Banner concludes on glorious Easter Morning! For more detailed information, aka “the girl version,” read my review of the HeartFELT Easter Banner.

Here’s the finished product with all pieces on the banner:

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Whitney has multiple options for her Easter Banner.

Option #1: You can download FREE instructions for her Easter Banner on this blog post (Scroll to the bottom of the post to see “Free Instructions” in a downloadable .pdf form.)

Option #2: You can order the complete Easter Banner or a DIY Easter Banner kit from her Etsy Shop. Suzanne Shares readers get 10% off when you use this coupon code (expiration: 3/27):

EASTERSHARES

If you have problems with the coupon code working, mention it in the “Order Notes” box and Whitney will refund them the difference after your purchase.

I love having this wonderful resource to purposefully engage our family with Scripture during the Easter season! I’m excited to share this resource with you!

Easter Advent Calendar: The Word Became Flesh

5 Mar

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With today being the first day of Lent, our family is starting my friend’s book, The Word Became Flesh, which is a devotion journeying through the life of Jesus during the 40 days of Lent. I wrote a summary about it last year, you can read it here. It works similarly to the Advent Jesse Tree that we use at Christmas. There is a Scripture to read each day, and you can make ornaments to go along with each day’s reading. (My boys love this part! We hang ours on a grapevine wreath.) It is a wonderful, focused time of daily Scripture reading with our family anticipating Easter, and I LOVE IT! 

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Last year, I had the books available for purchase through my blog, and the good news, this year, is that you can now purchase the book from Amazon! Follow this link to do so.

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We have a second Easter Advent Calendar that we use during Holy Week. I will be writing more about it soon as well! To make sure that you don’t miss a single post, go “LIKE” Suzanne Shares on Facebook or sign up to receive blog updates via email on the right hand side of my blog, “Follow Blog Via Email.” Exciting, exciting stuff going on at Suzanne Shares! YAY!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Is your Advent Calendar ready?!?! If not, huddle up–here’s your PEP TALK!

29 Nov

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My sons are cheering for you! This is the year to celebrate Advent! 1-2-3 GO!

I’m pulling this out of last year’s archives. Christmas snuck  has sneaked up on me, hasn’t it you?!?! I’m still full from my Thanksgiving meal yesterday, but I’ve quickly gotta shift out of “Thanksgiving” mode and focus on Christmas. My 2 Advent Calendars are starting in 48 hours. Whew! Ready, set, Christmas here we come!

Last year I wrote a PEP TALK for my readers a few days before Advent commenced. I wanted to share it with you again this year. Pretend I’m sitting right beside you, pom poms and megaphone in hand, cheering you on as you gear up for Advent! As a Perfectionist-in-recovery, I write often for the other Perfectionists who read my blog. No worries if you don’t have all 25 ornaments made before December 1. Keep reading and see how you can tackle a few ornaments at a time. You can do it! I’m cheering for you and supporting you from afar! Just pick what you’re going to do for Advent and 1-2-3 GO! You’ll be so glad you did! Without further adieu, “Come on, Suzanne Shares Readers, you can do it, put a little power to it.”

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Have you been googling “Advent Calendars” or perusing everyone’s ideas on Pinterest because you were wanting to start one this year? You may be thinking, “Well, it’s November 28, which means I have 2 more days to get this Advent Calendar made. In other words, that is too daunting of a task. I’ll do it next year.” Let me guess, last year you said, “I’ll do it next year,” and you haven’t made one yet. Or, are you’re lamenting the fact that you didn’t get to make your Advent Calendar made over the Thanksgiving holidays? No, I’m not a mind reader or psychic. I just know these things…because that’s how my mind works. So, lament no longer; it’s not too late! Here are simple steps to get your Advent Calendar made for this year! 

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DIY: YOU CAN DO IT!

There is still time! You can do it!

DIY: Noel Piper Advent Calendar-You can make the Noel Piper Advent Calendar in a few easy steps:

1) First, download the script from the Noel Piper Advent Calendar on her blog here. In the script you will learn what objects/images you’ll need for your calendar.

2) Second, decide how you’ll layout your calendar and your images/objects for your Advent Calendar.

  • Option A: You can download the patterns from the HeartFELT version of the Noel Piper calendar on her site. Isn’t that so awesome of her to have her felt patterns for the Advent Calendar available FREE?!?!?Or, you can buy her complete Advent Calendar on her Etsy shop.
  • Option B: Make your own. THINK SIMPLE! If you’re not up for making the felt set, you can print images of each needed item on Google Images. Use a poster board, divide the board into a stable scene on the top 2/3 of the posterboard with 25 different sections on the bottom 1/3 of the poster board. Or, get your kiddos involved! Have them help you make the different 25 ornaments needed. Look at my picture of our Noel Piper Advent Calendar above to get an idea of how you can lay it out on a poster board, burlap, etc.

Advent Jesse 6-10

DIY: The Advent Jesse Tree-You can make the Advent Jesse Tree in a few easy steps:

1) First, buy the The Advent Jesse Tree book now so that you’ll have it shipped to you by Monday. 🙂 (Yes, it’s okay to start Day 1 on December 2. You can catch up by doing two nights in one!)

2) Second, download my document: Advent Jesse Tree ornaments, which lists all of the ornaments that you’ll need for your Advent Jesse Tree.

3) Make your ornaments! You have several options:

  • Option A: Go to this post and see pictures of my 25 ornaments and let them inspire your creative juices to make your own.
  • Option B: Use Google Images, old magazines, have your children draw pictures, get creative!

4) Find something to hang your ornaments on. We use a mini Christmas tree. I have friends who use a tree limb in a jar/flower pot. Again, get creative!

Our Advent Jesse Tree…waiting patiently to be adorned with ornaments!

FINAL TIPS: GO FOR IT

Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. This old adage is true of a DIY Advent Calendar. Take it one ornament at a time. 🙂 Here are some practical steps that you can take to be well on your way to having your own Advent Calendar this year!

1) Set small goals-I have 3 small children at home, so I know that I would NEVER START making 25 ornaments if I knew I had to get it done in the next 48 hours. That task seems too overwhelming. The good news is that you DON’T have to make 25 ornaments in 48 hours. You really only need to make one! Why not just try to make the first 6 ornaments between now and Friday? After all, you only need ornament #1 by Sunday! Once you get the first 6 done, set your goal to make the next 6 before December 6, the following 6 by December 12, and the last 7 by December 18. Or, if that’s too overwhelming, you simply only have to stay ONE DAY ahead! Do ornament #2 on Saturday before you’ll need it Sunday. Or, have your kids have “Advent Craft Time” each day starting Saturday. Have them make the ornament the morning that you’ll need it,  and then it’s ready to use that night! YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN DO IT!

2) Involve your children-My sons LOVE art projects! If I gave them the types of ornaments needed and gave them a half hour each day over the next 72 hours, they would have all 25 ornaments made! They wouldn’t be perfectly neat and tidy ornaments. They may not even look anything LIKE the object they’re supposed to be. However, you would have your 25 ornaments done, and you would have children who are EAGER to do the Advent Calendar each night because they have a stake, a vested interest in it. After all, they made the ornaments!

3) Just do it! No, this is not a Nike commercial! I’m still talking about the Advent calendars! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Advent Calendars. They are used by God in my own heart to focus me DAILY on the meaning of Christmas. As I said earlier, so many other competing voices vie for my attention during the Christmas season (and many of them GOOD things!). I love that the Advent Calendars in our home re-focus my heart, mind, soul on Christ. My heart is prone to wander; I need our Advent Calendars at Christmas. So, if you’ve been toying with the idea of starting this wonderful tradition in your home this year–JUST DO IT! Your calendar doesn’t have to be cute, perfect and beautiful BEFORE  YOU or IN ORDER TO start. Just start!! You won’t regret it! You won’t regret the time you spend together as a family at Christmas. You won’t regret the time you spend together around God’s Word at Christmas. (Have I convinced you yet?!?!) I see the difference, the eternal fruit of Advent Calendars in our home; you will too! Go for it!

Come back and let me know how you’re enjoying your Advent Calendar!

If an Advent Calendar isn’t going to work for you, go to this post to see a schedule of Advent Readings with the Jesus Storybook Bible (one of our favorites!). Our check out this post with several book recommendations with daily Advent Readings. No matter what you do, celebrate Christ this Christmas by centering your heart, soul, mind and calendar around the Word each day of Advent! Come back and let me hear how it’s going!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Advent readings with The Jesus Storybook Bible (and a GIVEAWAY!)

13 Nov

I posted this week about our two favorite Advent Calendars (Both are DIY if you’re interested! See previous post for the scoop on those.) as well as some books to use for daily reading through the season of Advent.

I saw another Advent resource earlier this week using one of our favorite children’s Bibles, The Jesus Storybook BibleGo here to read the post. She includes a free printable with an Advent reading plan using stories from The Jesus Storybook Bible. YAY! Love it!

If putting an Advent calendar together seems daunting, this would be a wonderful resource to use with your family. You only need this reading plan and a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible! That’s easy enough…but I promise the benefits from reading through the stories 25 days in a row, leading up to Christmas will be innumerable. First, you are getting your family into a really good habit–reading the Bible together. I can’t enough about how our family has benefitted from our “Bible time” (as my boys call it) that we do at breakfast. We are reading through The Child’s Story Bible together, one of our favorite Children’s Bibles, praying and that’s the Mosley’s “Bible time.” Simple as that. Second, you are leading your family to focus on Christ each of the 25 days leading up to Christmas. What a blessing our Advent calendars have been to ME for that reason alone. The Christmas season gets out-of-control with parties, busyness, shopping that I love being able to refocus, re-calibrate everyday whenever we use our Noel Piper Advent Calendar or our Advent Jesse Tree devotion. So, GO FOR IT! Let this be the year that you round up your family on your couch and drink deeply from God’s Word this Advent season. You won’t regret it. I promise!

Also, if you’re fans of the The Jesus Storybook Bible There is also a new 4 volume Jesus Storybook Bible Animated DVD set available. If you’d like to WIN all 4 DVDs FREE, Zondervan currently has a giveway for the set! Go here to enter to win! You will have to “Like” them on Facebook to be able to enter.

Keeping Advent: 2 Advent Calendars and Advent books

12 Nov

I wrote about our TWO Advent Calendars last year, but I wanted to share them again this year in case you missed them! Yes, you read that correctly. My family uses TWO Advent calendars at Christmas! Also, if you’re interested in “keeping advent,” but a calendar is not for you, that’s fine! I have included in this post some rich Advent books that are guaranteed to focus your heart and mind on Christ each day of Advent.

IMG_6937Advent Calendar #1 (Noel Piper Advent Calendar)–The Advent Calendar is mentioned in the book we just read for the first ever Suzanne Shares Book ClubTreasuring God in Our Traditions. One thing that I LOVE about this particular calendar is that you read one script over and over and over again each of the 25 days of Advent! The script was put together by Noel Piper based on the account of Jesus’ birth in the gospels. Each day a new portion of the story is revealed. As you read the new day’s reading, Piper encourages the reader to start back at Day 1 and read through until you include the new day’s reading. Do you know what happens after only a few days of using this calendar?!?! Because of the repetition, your child will have the Christmas story memorized! Children can memorize so easily; their brains are like sponges. Why not take advantage of it and cement the story of Christ coming to earth in their brains NOW so that it can stay with them for a lifetime?!?!? When I first read the book 8 years ago, the Advent Calendar was available to purchase online. However, these days, it’s not. 😦 The GREAT news is that you can make your own! First, you need the Noel Piper “script.” You can download the script for this Advent Calendar FREE on Noel Piper’s website. YAY!

To make this Advent Calendar for your family you have two options, buy burlap and all the pieces shown in the photo of mine above. Or, you can use the Advent Calendar from Heartfelt Truths. When Whitney learned that the Noel Piper Advent Calendar was no longer available for purchase, she made her own!

Whitney graciously offers the patterns to make her version of the Noel Piper Advent Calendar FREE on here website! (Thanks, Whitney!!) Go to this post, and you will find the downloadable patterns at the bottom of the post. I had several friends make this Advent Calendar last year, and they said it was very easy to make. If you’re not crafty or are low on time, you can buy the Advent Calendar already made or a DIY Advent Calendar kit from the HeartFELT Truths Etsy shop. Tell Whitney I said, “HELLO!” when you order. 🙂

Regarding the age this calendar is appropriate for, I would say that preschoolers and lower elementary age are probably the intended audience. We started using this when our oldest son was 6 months old, and this will be our 8th year to use it. I can’t imagine our Christmas without it, so I’m sure we’ll continue to use it even after our boys are no longer preschoolers or lower elementary age. 🙂
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Advent Calendar #2 (Advent Jesse Tree)- I was first introduced to the Advent Jesse Tree about 6 years ago. This particular Advent Calendar is unique in that it tells the entire story of the Bible; the Advent journey begins in Genesis and goes through the end of the Bible! If you’re looking for greater understanding of how Jesus is seen in the Old Testament and the significance of His coming to earth at Christmas, this one is for you! The book has a section for Children and a section for Adults with each day’s devotion. We have used this as young as age 2 with our sons. Obviously, we adapted the length of our devotion with our boys to make them age appropriate. I have a friend at church with preschoolers. She told me that her family uses the ornaments but read the corresponding stories from her daughter’s Children’s Bible to accommodate their attention spans. I would say this is appropriate for ages 2 or 3 and up to adults.

Advent Jesse 1-5

Advent Jesse Tree Ornaments for Days 1-5

You can make 25 corresponding ornaments to go along with each day’s devotion. You can download a list of the ornaments to make here: Advent Jesse Tree ornaments. We got our set of 25 ornaments by participating in an Advent Jesse Ornament Swap. You can plan an Ornament Swap with friends to get a complete set; I’ve given instructions here on how to plan and carry out an Advent Jesse Tree Swap. I posted pictures recently of my 25 ornaments so that you can get some ideas of different ways to make the 25 ornaments; this will get your creative juices flowing! If an ornament swap is not in your future, have your child help you make an ornament old-school-style using paper and crayons, or print out images from online, laminate them, and you’re set! The ornaments are my boys’ favorite part each year, so I highly recommend making or buying a set. Also, we hang our Advent Jesse Tree ornaments on the mini Christmas tree shown above, and it stays on our dining room table so that we cacn see it each day, all day. That helps keep this Momma’s heart and mind focused and re-focused on Christ each day of Advent.

Advent Books (if you’re not up for a calendar)- If you enjoy books with Advent readings, here are some options for you!

Nancy Guthrie–My husband and I enjoyed this book by Nancy Guthrie,Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas, when our sons were younger. This is an anthology of 23 sermons and essays centering on the birth of Christ. This book is SO GOOD! Guthrie also came out with Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent three years ago; I love that it’s designed as a family devotion.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer–I’ve written about my love for this Bonhoeffer biography. I was excited to learn last year that he has a collection of Advent writings, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Ann VosKamp–You may have heard of Ann VosKamp through her blog, A Holy Experience. She wrote often about her family’s celebration of the Advent Jesse Tree. I learned this fall that she wrote a book The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, her version of the Advent Jesse Tree–tracing Christ back to the beginning of the Old Testament.

Behold the Lamb of GodThis is one of my FAVORITE Christmas CDs by Andrew Peterson. One of Andrew Peterson’s pastors, Russ Ramsey, wrote a book Behold the Lamb of God based on the album with the same title. Use it to read along the 25 days of Advent and find yourself unearthing the story of Christ from Genesis to the 4 Gospels. The album is amazing, so I’m sure this book will not disappoint.

Have a wonderful season of Advent thinking about, celebrating, remembering, treasuring our wonderful Savior’s arrival to earth.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Advent Calendar–Heart Felt Truths–10% off coupon code

22 Oct

When I read Treasuring God in Our Traditions for the first time 8 years ago, I was intrigued by the Advent Calendar that Noel Piper mentions in the book. After a few short clicks at the Desiring God website, I had an Advent Calendar ordered and heading straight to my house. Two months later was Christmas, and we used it that first year. Our son was 5 1/s months old. He had no idea what we were doing or saying, but we did it anyway. Twelve months later we did it again; he enjoyed velcro-ing the item each night. In 2 months, we will go through the same Advent Calendar again for an 8th year. My boys are giddy when I get out the cardboard box each year. I love traditions.

Sadly, the Advent Calendar mentioned in Treasuring God in Our Traditions is no longer for sale from Desiring God. It is one of the two Advent Calendars that we use each year. When I was writing about the Advent Calendar last year, I happily discovered Heart Felt Truths (thank you, Google!). On her website you can download FREE patterns to MAKE THIS ADVENT CALENDAR! Wahoo!! Last year, I had several Suzanne Shares readers make their own Advent Calendars using the FREE patterns, and they were ADORABLE! I loved seeing the pictures of the Advent Calendars and their cute kiddos using them! 🙂

Over the past year, I have gotten to know Whitney, the gifted, amazing seamstress and creator behind Heart Felt Truths. She gave me the wonderful opportunity of reviewing her Easter Banner, and I just love, love, love her stuff! If making your own Noel Piper Advent Calendar (as I like to call it) using Heart Felt Truths FREE patterns sounds intimidating, the GREAT news is that Whitney sells DIY Kits for $16 at her ETSY Shop. Or, you can buy a completed set for $45. Whitney has graciously offered Suzanne Shares readers a 10% COUPON CODE (YAY!! Thank you, Whitney!)

Use the code: SHARETHETREASURE
for 10% off (expiration 10/31/13)

I love gearing up for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I love traditions like this Advent Calendar that we use again and again and again! YAY for living life on purpose!

Advent Jesse Tree Ornament Swap & Ornaments

30 Sep

It’s hard to believe that we’re in the 10th month of 2013! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?!?!? Well, October always reminds me that Christmas is just around the corner. It also reminds me that NOW is the perfect time to plan your Ornament Swap for your Advent Jesse Tree! 🙂 Plan your Ornament Swap this month (or for early November) so that you have your ornaments made, swapped and ready 2 months early in order to avoid the holiday craziness! What’s an Advent Jesse Tree? You can read my post here where I wrote about our family’s TWO favorite Advent calendars (one of which is the Advent Jesse Tree!)

If you are wanting to coordinate an Ornament Swap for the Advent Jesse Tree but don’t know where to start, have no fear! I wrote a post giving you detailed instructions about how to plan one!

For those of you signing up now to participate in an Ornament Swap, I thought I would include pictures of the 25 ornaments that my family has. I received these when I participated in an Advent Jesse Tree Ornament Swap 5 years ago. Hopefully, this will help to get your creative juices flowing. Remember, the ornaments can be SIMPLE…and don’t have to be Martha Stewart-esque. Since you’ll be making 25 of these guys, I suggest the simpler, the better. 🙂

Advent Jesse 1-5

Days 1-5–My personal favorite from this batch–the snake painted on the apple. It’s easy to find apple ornaments and paint a snake on it! Now, I could even do that 25 times! 🙂 I LOVE this globe for day 1; it was above my craft skills (the continents are painted accurately on the globe!). However, I am thankful that someone with mad-craft-skills made it. Awesomeness, that’s what it is.
Advent Jesse 6-10

Days 6-10–A few of these are super easy for the craft-challenged folks (like myself). The ladder is made out of popsicle sticks painted brown. The 10 commandments were made on construction paper and laminated. The grapes were purchased as-is with a loop of raffia added for “hanging” purposes. The sheaf of wheat is hot glued in an “x” shape to a loop of ribbon.

Advent Jesse 11-15

Days 11-15–The stump with a shoot growing from it is an actual piece of wood with a silk leaf hot glued to it. The Bible ornament could also be a scroll. The Bible shown here is made out of foam. Or, you could chose the scroll option, roll up paper into a scroll, and you’re done! (The lion and the lamb and the dove with a crown are two of my personal faves! Again, thankful that non-craft-challenged friends made those; they’re amazing. I could not have pulled off these crafty gems.)

Advent Jesse 16-20

Days 16-20–These are some other marvelous ornaments that take little effort. The cross was purchased at a craft store, painted, and viola! The “heart with writing on it” is made on construction paper and laminated. The scene of Bethlehem was printed at home, glued to a navy background with a gold star drawn in the sky. The coolest part of the scene has been lost. 😦 The lower half of the original ornament had a strip of sandpaper cut to fit below the city scene. It made it look appropriately desert-ish. The last one is my personal favorite! It’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. My friend used a tea light candle, removed the candle and hot glued orange mesh inside the empty tea light shell. It’s hard to see in the picture, but she drew stick men, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and the angel, on the outside of the tea light. Clever and oh-so-cute!

Advent Jesse 21-25

Days 21-25–I made the star–a salt dough ornament (SOOOOO easy! Remember, I’m craft-challenged). My friend made the CUTE pine-cone angel from a packet. I remember her commenting that it was 1)expensive and 2)difficult to make. She had to buy 25 angel ornament kits, and they were time consuming. Keep that in mind as you select your ornament. You will make 25 of these, so think through that as you decide from the myriad of options that you’ll find for, say, an angel ornament.

Advent Jesse NamesA list of participants–One of my favorite moments each year is unpacking our ornaments to gear up for our 25 days of Advent. I anticipate the unpacking because I unearth this piece of paper shown above. When I participated in the Ornament Swap 5 years ago, the swap coordinator included a list of the ornaments and their ornament makers. I knew these wonderful women from our sending church, which sent us out to plant a church 3 years ago this month. Seeing their names and remembering their faces is one of the highlight’s of my year. 🙂 If you are coordinating your Ornament Swap, I would encourage you to make a list like this, as well, for your swap participants.

Also, don’t forget to buy a copy of the devotion book to use with your ornament set! Also, you can download a list of the 25 ornaments here: Advent Jesse Tree ornaments

Come back and let me know your your Ornament Swap goes!

Easter Traditions-Is your Easter Advent Calendar ready? If not, I’m here to help!

23 Mar

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, which kicks off the Passion Week. This is one of the most significant weeks of the year for followers of Christ. This is a wonderful week to dive into Scripture with your family. Are you like I usually am–wishing you could do something this year but don’t have everything ready to “pull it off?” If not, no sweat! I’m here to encourage you to go for it! Just like the pep talk I gave us before Christmas Advent started (Yes, I needed it, too!), I thought an Easter Advent pep talk would be good for us as well!

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DIY EASTER BANNER–You can do it!
Maybe you decided that the Easter Advent calendar #1 (journeying through the 40 days of Lent) was too much for this year, but guess what? There’s another option–Easter Advent calendar #2 from HeartFELT Truths! I reviewed her Easter Advent calendar here. It’s wonderful, amazing, hands on, and perfect to use with children! This will be our first year to use it, and I’m sooooooo excited! On her site, Whitney shares the patterns and instructions (FOR FREE!) so that you can DIY your own Easter Banner (isn’t she the BEST?!?!? Thank you, Whitney!). To find the instructions go here; you’ll find them by scrolling to the bottom of the post. All you need is a little felt and glue! She designs her using a dowel rod which enables you to hang it up for use and display. However, if that’s too much or too complicated, use clothes pins and hang them on a clothes hanger, which you could hang from a doorway or on a nail on the wall. I promise your children won’t care if it’s mounted to a dowel rod or clothes pinned to a hanger. They’ll simply love the time that you’re spending together as a family reading Scripture together.

One of my readers used the HeartFELT Truths Christmas Advent calendar. She wrote to me and indicated that there is no script to read along with the Easter Banner (unlike the Christmas Advent calendar). So, one option is to read each story directly from Scripture. I, also, thought that you could use your favorite Children’s Bible to read along with the stories highlighted in the Easter Banner. Of course, my first thought was the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is currently $1.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon (offer expired. Current price is $3.99)!

DIY Easter Banner–Option #2
If making the Easter Banner out of felt is intimating, make your own! Buy a piece of poster board, make your own ornaments based on the events of the Passion Week. Have your child tape them daily to the poster board as you read each story from Scripture! My new friend Shannon had the cutest idea for making ornaments for the 40 Day Easter Devotion Guide that I featured on my blog. You could even use Shannon’s ornament idea to incorporate into a Passion Week Easter Banner.

DIY Easter Banner–Option #3  Resurrection Eggs
So, if you’re not crafty or don’t have time to create an Easter Banner, another wonderful option is Resurrection Eggs. No time or craftiness required! You can find them at a local Christian bookstore or order them here from Amazon. We used these when my boys were younger, and they absolutely adored them! The set that we bought included a pamphlet with a instructions for which passage to read daily to go along with the eggs. We actually made our own in my 3 and 4 year old Sunday School class two weeks ago, and the children were enamored with them! Here are instructions for DIY Resurrection Eggs. This is another great option for a daily, reading together as a family Easter tradition.

Easter Traditions Pep Talk
You have options, so never fear! So, if this is the year that you’ve wanted to start an Easter tradition, go for it! For all of you perfectionists out there (like myself), don’t feel like you have to have your Easter Banner completely made by tomorrow. Remember that you can make one ornament a day, and you’ll be fine! You can even include your children in the “ornament making” experience, so the pressure won’t completely be on you. (I promise they’ll love it!) If making an Easter Banner is intimidating or not possible this year, run out to your nearest Christian bookstore and buy Resurrection Eggs! No matter what you chose to do this week, enjoy Passion Week with your family! Even if you don’t have anything “crafty” or “hands on,” that’s okay! Giving our children the opportunity to daily hear Scripture is enough. When you think about the power of God’s Word to make a dead sinner’s heart come alive, isn’t reading Scripture together one of the greatest, most powerful gifts that we can give our children?

May you make and enjoy sweet memories with your family as you center your hearts, minds and thoughts on Jesus Christ this week!

Easter Advent Calendar–Examples of first 10 ornament

11 Feb

Easter Advent.First 10 OrnamentsOne of my faithful readers (Hello, Lisa!!) sent me this picture today! She and her kiddos have made the first 10 ornaments for their Easter Advent calendar. Since many of you have ordered this resource and are, most likely, making your ornaments, I wanted to share it with you. Hopefully, this will get your creative juices flowing!

PLEASE share with me during the next 40 days about how this Easter Advent calendar is being used and impacting your family! Would love to share with my readers. I’m soooooooooooooo excited for all of the families who will be circling around and hearing God’s Word together during Lent this year.

Also, don’t forget about the other Easter resource I reviewed–the Easter Banner from HeartFELT Truths. Don’t feel like your family is up for a 40 Day Easter Advent? The Easter Banner is used from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, and it is fabulous! My post includes a coupon code especially for Suzanne Shares readers! 🙂