Happy Resurrection Day!

jesus-and-childNot only is today Resurrection Sunday (also known as Easter), but it also happens to be my youngest daughter’s birthday.

I can’t believe my baby is already four years old!

Abby loves to craft, and so do her siblings, so we’ll be celebrating both “special events” at once with some of the following activities.

We hope you have a lovely, Christ-centered holiday, as well!

I love this simple paper plate craft. It is fast and easy, especially with the free printables provided by this free-n-fun site.

Older children (and moms!) might enjoy this craft, based on the old German art of scherenschnitte. Isn’t it lovely? You’ll find a free printable template at this papercutting blog: just print and cut along the indicated lines. For best results, you’ll want to use very tiny, sharp scissors. (I used nail scissors when I was first learning, but later invested in a pair of art scissors made specifically for scherenschnitte).

Here’s a little something to sing while we work. I love the old hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” but the one I remember best from childhood is this one (follow this link for free printable sheet music):

And because my children love any craft involving pom poms, we’ll do this one, too. You can find directions and another free printable template from A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts.

And lastly, we’ll be watching the following short video (again). It shares the good news of Easter, with a little help from Disney. Although my little Abby hasn’t seen any of the Disney princess movies yet, she loves dressing up like them and seeing their pictures in this clip. The video was blocked in some countries when I uploaded it last weekend, but that’s been lifted now, so this link should work:

Looking for more ways to celebrate the fact that Christ is risen, indeed? Check out my Resurrection Sunday pinterest board.

Free Printable 2015 Calendars

If you are an advanced planner like I am, you may be interested in the new free printable 2015 calendars I’m sharing in the post today. This one is a year-at-a-glance. My husband uses it to keep track of his call schedule, but it is also good for counting down the weeks to a big event, like graduation, vacation, or a new baby:

The calendar I use most is this one. There is a full page for each month, with plenty of space for recording appointments, field trips, party plans, etc. Here’s what January looks like. Click the image to print all twelve months at once:

And lastly, I like to keep a copy of this academic calendar handy for counting school days. As this school year is winding down, I’m already looking ahead to next semester and making plans for what we want to accomplish this summer. This one helps me plan:

Want a matching calendar for the present year? You’ll find it on our printables page, along with lots of other free goodies!

Shaking the Nickel Bush (and Other March Reads)

March Reads & ReviewsTexas had a unusually cold, wet, icy March. We even got a little bit of snow the first part of the month.

All this means we had to leave our summer clothes in storage a little longer than we normally do this time of year.

But the weather was perfect for cuddling under quilts and reading books in front of a blazing fire, which is how our family spent many an evening together this winter and early spring.

Here are a few of our favorite reads this month:

Shaking the Nickel BushShaking the Nickel Bush
Newly diagnosed with diabetes, 19-year-old Ralph Moody heads west in search of fresh air, sunshine, and some sort of a job. But jobs are scarce, so Ralph ends up risking life and limb to ride horse falls for a motion picture company. He makes good money doing it, though, and uses his earnings wisely, eventually setting himself up in a less perilous business sculpting plaster busts of lawyers and bankers as a “Cowboy Artist of the West.” Moody’s story provides a fun and memorable lesson in grit, determination, and resourcefulness.

Adam and Eve after the PillAdam and Eve After the Pill
Although I didn’t read this book aloud, it certainly spurred some lively discussions at our house! In it, Mary Eberstadt examines many devastating consequences of the sexual revolution, including the erosion of the nuclear family, the rise in production and consumption of pornography, and the disturbing social trends on college campuses across the continent. For a more in-depth review of this book and others in the same genre, check out my post here.

Artemis FowlArtemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
The boy genius, minus all memory of his past interaction with fairies, finds himself entangled in one dire circumstance after another as the egocentric pixie Opal Koboi tries to exact a ruthless revenge on all who foiled her dastardly plan to take over the Lower Elements Police. This installment in the Atemis Fowl series had our children begging for “just one more chapter, Dad? Pleeease?”

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy GirlConfessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl
I was given several signed copies of this book by the author (enter below for your chance to win one). It was written with teen and tween girls in mind, but its invaluable lessons and godly wisdom would benefit many twenty-somethings (and their mothers!), as well. If you’d like a great discussion book to read with your daughters, look no further. I assigned it to my girls as soon as I finished reading it myself, and they devoured it even more quickly than I did.
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How to Get Kids to Clean their Rooms

In matters of housekeeping, as in so many other things, children are more prone to do what we inspect than what we expect. We have certainly found this principle to be true when it comes to keeping kids’ rooms tidy.

Free printable "Bedroom Check" charts from www.flandersfamily.info

When I tell my children to clean their rooms, it helps when I clearly define what I mean by “clean.” But want to know what really motivates them to get the job done? When they know that I’ll be checking up on their progress with more than a cursory glance.

Free printable "Bedroom Check" charts from www.flandersfamily.info

To do that, I fill out a handy little chart. For years, I’ve used this plain-jane version, but recently I decided to give it a facelift and offer the girls‘ and boys‘ versions you see above (click on either image to download its free printable PDF).

The chart really serves two purposes. It helps my kids, because they know exactly what I want from them. But it helps me, too, by allowing me to recognize and reward a job that is done “well enough,” instead of zeroing in on the pair of dirty socks stuffed under the bed or a nightstand drawer that is overfull.

If a child scores at least 85% on inspection, his room passes. If not, he must pay a nominal fine (just a dollar or two) and keep working until it does pass. Kids whose rooms pass with flying colors get a small reward. Best of all, when I’m consistent about inspecting at least once a week, including surprise “pop inspections,” the rooms seldom get into such a state of disarray that they can’t be tidied in a matter of minutes.

Looking for more charts and ideas for organizing your home and life? Check out all our other free printables. Enjoy!

Bible Memory ABCs

Bible Memory ABCs | free printable list from www.flandersfamily.infoWhen our older children were young, we had a little spiralbound Bible ABC book that we worked our way through, memorizing a Scripture verse for each letter. They loved racing each other to see who could say the verses first, and I loved the fact that they were hiding God’s word in their hearts.

We still have that original little book — none the worse for wear — but as it omitted several of my personal favorites, I decided to put together my own little alphabetical list of memory verses. My younger children keep these in their skill-and-drill notebooks, and we are working our way through all twenty-six.

If you are looking for a fun and easy way to add Scripture memorization to your school day or family time, we invite you to join us! Here is a free printable of the list we’ll be using (just click on the image to download both pages):

Bible Memory ABCs | free printable list from www.flandersfamily.info