Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ladybird, Ladybird – Fly away home

Well, week 4 and so far (miraculously) we haven't missed a week. It's the final week of Round 1, with each member of the family having a turn of 'Super Family Bible Night'. I would like to say it's be a huge success but in reality it's gone ok, it has been quite difficult to think of interesting ways to help each family member interact with the Bible. The most difficult part is keeping a 5yo and 7yo intrigued and wanting to listen, interact, and not being distracted by everything and anything.
So, thus begins my week of 'Super family Bible Night', truthfully I hadn't given it too much thought until the morning, but then I found this great craft idea and little insight about Ladybirds. Now I know what you may be thinking... what do Ladybirds have to do with the Bible – well apart from being created by God, not very much but they are helpful little insects (more of that Later). My kids love being outdoors and particularly love animals (including ladybirds). Toby's had a cocoon in his bug catchers for about 4months, waiting for the butterfly to come out. He checks it quite often, I keep trying to tell him that I don't think the butterfly is going to come out but he's determined to wait, and confidently tells me that "it's making its wings bigger and needs more time". Just how do you convince a 7yo that the butterfly is dead?

So back to the Ladybird, an interesting fact I found out this week that Ladybirds aren't just cute. Even though they are tiny, they are really very useful because they eat garden pests like aphids that damage plants (especially all my new spring growth). A ladybird can eat 50 aphids a day and they don't even realise how helpful they are being. So considering how helpful these ladybirds are, and how God too asks us to love and help each other – what would be a good story to match? The Good Samaritan – now I know that some theologians have stated that there is more of a salvation message in this parable than helping each other message (which I can definitely see in the passage) but for the sake of my 5yo and 7yo we're going with the "helping one another" idea.

So we all sat round the table and I read Luke 10:25-37, asking questions along the way about 'Was that a nice thing to do?' 'Who is your neighbour?' I was surprised by their accurate answers. Then at the end we talked about times we had seen people be helpful and times where people had walked straight passed. That Jesus calls us to look out for people (whether we like them or not) and he asks us to love and help each other. This created a nice segway to my Ladybird craft where I explained just how helpful Ladybirds are in our gardens and that we were going to make our very own Ladybird. We spend the next 30minutes cutting, pasting and sticking our Ladybirds together. I wrote on the back of their Ladybirds "Luke 10:27 Love your neighbour as much as you love yourself" and they have stuck them on their bedroom door as a reminder. (craft details below)

So how did it go? LONGGGGG... took over 1hour tonight and that is way to long; the little munchkins weren't in bed till 8.30pm (and I'm paying for that today as I'm trying to write this blog). They've both been sent to their rooms for some "quiet time" – separately!!

The idea was good just the time factor was the issue. Even earlier today they were playing with their Ladybirds and remembering and reciting what it means to love and help one another (if only they'd remember that nowL ) My advice is if you do this activity that you cut out the Ladybirds beforehand to save a lot of time and make sure you've got googly eyes and pipecleaners.

Luke 10: 25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: "Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?"  26 Jesus replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"  27 The man answered, "`You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.'"s
  28 "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"  29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied with a story: "A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.  31 "By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.32 A Temple assistants walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.  33 "Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,s telling him, `Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here.'  36 "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked.  37 The man replied, "The one who showed him mercy."
  Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

Ladybird Craft (I used 2 different sized bowls to make the pattern)

Ladybugs with Movable Wings Craft for Kids
from http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/ladybugcrafts.html

What you will need: Black and red poster board, oval movable eyes, something for the nose and mouth, two paper fasteners (the shorter ones), pipe cleaners and pompoms for the antennae, and glue.

What to do:
1. Draw the outline of the pattern on black poster board and cut out.
2. Cut the head off the pattern and trace onto red poster board.
3. Cut the red circle in half to form the wings.

Cut out small circles from the black poster board and glue to the wings.
4. Position the wings on the body and poke holes through the wings and body in the place indicated on the pattern with something sharp.
4. Poke paper fasteners through the holes so that  the wings will move up and down.

Glue on mouth, eyes, nose and antennae.

For more ideas and resources on Bible Engagement or to buy Kylie's 'Milk to Meat' book go to  www.milktomeat.com.au

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jesus likes window biscuits

Week 3 of 'Super Family Bible Night' and it was Lily's first turn at leading the night. What would a 5yo have in store for us tonight???... All week Lily had planned for 'Jonah and the whale', she'd planned a cubby to be the whale's belly and who was playing each part... but then... window biscuits!! "Window biscuits?" I hear you say – where did that come from? Well, over the weekend our church ran kid friendly services during the school holidays and gave us a booklet of ideas and activities to do with our kids, one of those activities was making window biscuits. As soon as she heard that – Jonah was ditched pretty smartly and all she wanted to do was 'Jesus is the light' so she could make window biscuits!

 So with a last minute scramble, we looked up Matthew 5 – you are the light of the world. She needed a light (candle), a bowl, a dark room and of course some window biscuits. First stop - kitchen for biscuit making (see recipe below), the recipe was really easy and Lily was able to make them on her own (with some instructions along the way). So with the biscuits in the oven we headed to the kids room for 'Super Family Bible Night'. Lily had positions for everyone to sit (we all sat on the floor – while Lily sat on the bed, no surprises there). With lights off, candle lit, the time began. As we read the passage we pretended that we were in the bible times and had no electricity – how different it would be to read a book, to play with toys and even clean our teeth. Then Lily put the bowl over the candle and it was dark. Toby remarked "why would you put a bowl over a light? That's a silly idea! I can't see anything." BINGO! Point made!

We shared about what it means to shine God's light to others – by being kind and thoughtful to others, doing good things, sharing God's love with others. But to cover up the light with a bowl means not doing those things or being nasty or mean to others. We began a great discussion together and just as it was getting good ... beep...beep...beep the oven timer went off. Window biscuits ready. The discussion abruptly finished... biscuits were ready :)

The biscuits however weren't as successful as the bible time. The holes we'd put in the middle were far too big for the lollies inside and so we only had ½ a window pane, and I used dodgy baking paper and so the lolly centres stuck to the paper, so we ate paper covered window panes (mental note: add baking paper to shopping list). In spite of that the biscuits were a great hit for Lily (she's still talking about shining God's light like light shines through a Window biscuit).

Summing up: very fun night together, a bit of preparation in the baking and a tricky passage to explain to a 5yo and 7yo, but Lily and Toby loved it and remember it, so that's the important part, even if it was just the food they remember. Oh, and it's worth eating all the biscuits within 24hours cause after that all the lolly centres begin to melt and there's no window anymore :)

Matthew 5: 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Window Biscuit Recipe
115g soft unsalted butter
55g caster sugar
185g (1 ½ cup plain flour)
1-2 tbs milk
1 small bag boiled lollies (or life savers)
Icing sugar, to dust

Preheat oven to 180deg. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and creamy. Sift in the flour and stir in the milk. Use your hands to form the mixture into a soft dough and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface until ½ cm thick. Use a cookie cutter and cut into shapes. Cut a 1-2 cm circle (or any shape) from the centre of each biscuit. Carefully transfer the biscuits to the lined tray. Place boiled lolly in the centre of each hole and bake in the oven for 15minutes. Set aside on the tray to cool. Dust with icing sugar.

Great website: Found a great interactive website this week with stories and activities for primary aged children based through discovery and family time. Check it out: http://www.biblesnackpacks.com/

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jesus fed the 5000 with fish and lollies??

Well its week 2 of 'Super Family Bible Night' and what a night it was!! This week it was a bit trickier to make sure it happened, between work commitments and Lily's kinder "dad's night" we nearly postponed it – but that wouldn't be a good start – one week in and having to postpone already. So we pushed through and began at 8pm (probably not the best idea!).

This week was Toby's turn to lead the night. We'd chatted to him throughout the week about what bible story was he going to do and what ideas he had. He swapped between Mary and Martha, Jonah and the whale but finally decided on Jesus feeding the 5000 bread and fish (in Mt 14; Mk 6; Lk 9 and Jn 6). He'd been reading it and thinking about it for a few days and then spent about 45minutes "preparing" his ideas. I tried to go in and offer help and suggestions but told in no uncertain terms that "I'm fine mum, I know what I'm doing, and you'll just have to wait". And so with great anticipation (and slightly concerned about what we were in for) we all sat down waiting the 'super family bible night' as prepared by Toby...

Toby had prepared parts for each of us to play (and of course Toby was again to play the part of Jesus) mummy was 'the disciples', daddy was the '5000 people' and Lily was 'the little boy'. Toby had assigned a place for each of us to sit and gave us little green slips of paper with our reading lines on them, that we were to say out loud when it was our turn. He had even thought through the use of props, he wanted to have some 'real food' to represent the bread and fish, and thought that lollies would work best because we'd need lots of lollies to feed 5000 people. Mmm – I think this was just a ploy to eat lollies but I went along with it anyway! Toby began by reading from his Kids Bible and we needed to act out the story as he went and reading our lines as directed. All was going along very smoothly until a very tired 5yo decided she wanted to eat the lollies early, the stern reply from Toby – "no we haven't got to that part yet". Which of course meant that we had an absolutely, beautiful, polite response – NOT! "I want to eat my lollies now" while lying on the floor kicking her legs. The finishing of the story sped up a bit quicker and we all got to eat our bread and fish (lollies) and our 5yo was nice again.

Toby finished off by talking to us about God's power to multiply the bread and fish and also the little boy who was willing to share his lunch and finished off with prayer. Quite profound insight from a 7yo!
How did I think it went? Well... initially I was very unsure about how Toby would cope, what he'd say and do. But he really loved it and got into the night enthusiastically and is looking forward to his next one. I was surprised at how much he wanted to do on his own and then how much he actually knew. I think he actually learnt more about God and the bible by doing this himself than when we do it with him.

We will definitely do this again ... well actually we have too... This week was such a success in Lily's mind that it's her turn next week. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Super dooper rocket looper family bible devo

Yesterday the Butler family embarked on a new adventure: the world of "family devotion time". We have read the Bible to our kids (Toby 7 & Lily 5) during story time. We've regularly chatted to them about God as we go about our day and prayed together, but we wanted to start interacting together as a family with the Word.

I'd often heard about family devotional time (and truthfully thought them geeky) so when Adam (my hubby) and I started chatting about family devo nights we wanted them to be fun, active, to read a passage and for every family member to be involved and have a go. How on earth were we going to do that???????????

So begins the journey...

After dinner yesterday we chatted to the kids about what we wanted to do and the first decision was what to call our new family devo night. The voting was on... the debate began... what was the best name and why... the finalists were "family night", "super family bible night" and "super dooper rocket looper bible family night". And the winner is... "Super family bible night" with daddy proudly announcing that his name won because we are a super family! lol (daddy joke)

With that we all thought daddy should go first (hehe). He had to think quickly but came up with a brilliant idea. An interactive drama of Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus calms the storm. We needed a some water (our blue rug did the trick) and a boat (we moved our couch onto the rug), and everyone jumped onto the ship(couch). Adam read through the passage and we began. The drama began with the disciples (Lily & me) played scared as the storm raged and swayed from side to side and many times nearly falling off the couch (I mean out of the boat). Meanwhile Jesus (played by Toby) was sleeping (sort of, as he was continually distracted by the imaginary jellyfish and stingrays). The disciples yelled out to Jesus 'Lord save us, we're going to drown' and suddenly Jesus (Toby) awoke from his slumber (or stopped being distracted by the stingrays), prompty stood on the side of the couch, arms outstretched and calmed the storm (reminded me of the movie Titanic, I could imagine the dramatic music playing in the background)

After the laughter subsided we chatted about the importance of this story and why God wanted us to know that Jesus can calm the storm. We talked about how afraid the disciples were and the times when we are afraid and that we can know that even when we are afraid, God is with us.

Verdict on first "super family bible time" = Great fun!! Very little preparation and props needed and (much to the delight of the kids) involves the whole family.

Next week Toby has his turn... this could be interesting.