24 Apr 2014

Life with Toddlers :: Spring Activities

I came across this quote a few weeks ago and love it! Mostly because i whole-heartedly believe that it is true... and also because it is not what our culture says... so it's even a more precious truth to hold on to. It's been good for me to remember when my never ending 'to-do list' of even the simplest tasks (making dinner, cleaning the front hall, putting laundry away) gets sidetracked by a dirty diaper, a request for milk, getting out puzzles... That really the most important work of my day is to love my kids well, by present being with them.

So here are a few fun things we've been doing this spring to learn and have fun:
Planting Bean Seeds
Growing Egg Heads
Making Paper Animals (this is on the to do list!)

Planting Bean Seeds

I remember doing this as a kid with my mom and maybe in school. My mom was the queen of kitchen science experiments... and i want to be just like her! At an early age i developed a love for science, likely due to her fun ways of engaging us in the kitchen.

I save a glass jar, got out the potting soil and had our 3 year old help "plant the seeds" (we planted 4 i think).

The first time we did it - it was a fail. The seeds rotted. We were so excited about watering our seed every day that we over watered. So we're starting again... we'll see how it goes this time!

Then I made this printable to teach him this Bible verse. We often say, "Lucas planted the seed, Elias water it, but God will make it grow".  I love this Biblical truth, that ultimately it is God that gives life... that the seed is very much a mystery even to the farmer or biologist who completely understands botany. I also added a 'science' component at the bottom, that the seed needs sun, rain and God to make it grow. 

Growing Egg Heads

This was a fun little activity we did a few weeks ago. I saved some egg shells (and cut the egg carton), put cotton balls inside and then watercress seed (rzeżucha in Polish!) They sprout up really fast and it's fun to see the egg men grow silly hair! I glued the google eyes on and the kids drew the faces on with a permanent marker (with my help). They actually had a lot of fun doing it!

Making Paper Animals

I think these little paper animals are so cute, and just perfect for an afternoon craft with the kids. Although truth be told, mommy does most of the work (our boys are 3 and almost 2). This one is on my to-do list, i just need to locate some coloured paper and print out the templates.

22 Apr 2014

Our Polish Easter Basket

This year we made a traditional Polish Easter Basket. Our hope is to make one each year as our boys grow and to use the items inside to explain the story of Easter and what Christ has done for us. Here are the things we put in it and what they represent.

Butter in the shape of a Lamb | Masło ~ Baranek Wielkanocny
In the old testament a lamb was sacrificed for atonement, to make man right with God, to pay for sin and to make peace… when Christ came he was called the Lamb of God.  He came to pay for the sins of all mankind and make atonement once for all. The lamb in the basket reminds us of the great sacrifice of Jesus.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

Horseradish | Chrzan (also pepper | pieprz)
The crucifixion was a painful way for Christ to die, but even more bitter was that God had to turn his face away from His very own son on the cross. The bitterness of horseradish reminds us of this.

Now from noon until three, darkness came over all the land. At about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:45-46

Salt | Sól
Jesus called His followers the salt of the earth. In his time salt preserved food (from rot & decay). It also gives food flavor! Salt reminds us that we are to be messengers of the preservation from the rot & decay of sin to others. And also that life should be an adventure full of flavour!

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavour, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 

Matthew 5:13

Bread | Chleb
Christ said that He was the bread of life and that if we come to him we will never go hungry. He also used a loaf of bread at the last supper when he talked about his body being broken for us. He told us to remember Him when we broke bread.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:35 

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Luke 22:19

Candle | Świeczka
The candle in the basket represents Christ as the light of the world.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 
John 1:9

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Egg | Jajko
The egg is a symbol of the empty grave reminding us that Jesus rose from the grace and triumphed over death! Also a picture of new life that we have in Christ.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. 
Matthew 28:5-6

Meat, Sausage & Cheese | Wędliny, Kiełbasa i Ser
Symbols of health, fertility & prosperity.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
1 Timothy 6:17

Palms, Boxwood Branches, Pussy Willows & Ribbons | Palmy

Symbols of joy, hope and new life we have in the resurrection of Jesus. The green colour of the boxwood branches is a symbol of the hope that Christians have in the resurrection and eternal life with Jesus. Palms & Pussy willow’s (used to replace palm branches in Europe & North America) remind us of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as King. 

This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:

Tell the people of Zion,

‘Look, your king is coming to you,
unassuming and seated on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

So the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those following kept shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” As he entered Jerusalem the whole city was thrown into an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Matthew 21:1-10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also...

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

He is Risen!

Disclaimer: We are not Polish, but live in Poland and love this country! We believe that the tradition of the Polish Easter Basket has deep meaning pointing towards Christ and that God desires to redeem all men and cultures for the glory of His great name. 

7 years ago i put together an Easter Basket with a dear Polish friend. Here are my thoughts from then...