Simple ways to celebrate Easter as a family

Easter ideas for families

I had an argument with my son  yesterday. My point: Easter is more important than Christmas, because without Easter, Christmas would be meaningless. His point: Christmas is more important than Easter, because you wouldn’t have Easter without Christmas. We ended at a stalemate. Probably because both are important! Do you find that it seems so much easier to teach your kids about Christmas than it is to teach them about Easter? That may be a result of the subject matter: babies and cozy stable scenes are way easier to integrate than betrayal and death. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should avoid it. Here are a few of my favourite resources to help your family celebrate Easter, without going crazy with too many extra things. (P.S. Some of the following links are affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through the links, I get a small commission. … Read More

A blessing for a new baby

I often find myself praying blessings over babies, and I’d love to share this blessing with you. It’s perfect for a baptism/dedication, a birth, or anytime you want to pray God’s word over a baby! (You will probably notice it sounds a lot like Psalm 139. That’s because it’s basically a re-wording of it! That means you don’t need to pull up this blog post when you are ready to pray for a baby, you just need to pull out a Bible!) PS There’s 2 versions – I wanted to avoid having you read he/she all the time! MALE VERSION: I praise you God that You have searched _________, Lord,     and you know him. You know when _________ sits and when he rises;     you perceive his thoughts from afar, even though his thoughts are still unformed. You discern his going out and his lying down;     you are familiar with all his ways. … Read More

The 10 Best Christian Picture Books (for your WHOLE family!)

The 10 Best Christian Picture Books

As the Director of Children’s Ministries at my church, I have scoured the Christian picture book world over the past 12 years, looking for excellent books to recommend to “my” families. As a mom, I have read bazillions of library books and learned which ones truly engage children. As a writer, I have sluiced through hundreds of the top books, both Christian and secular, figuring out what makes them good and why kids like them. You, dear reader, get to take advantage of my years of research! What follows is a list of THE best Christian picture books on the market today. In fact, if you bought all 10, I have no doubt that you would have a fantastic library of books that your kids would come back to repeatedly, and that you would enjoy reading to them. Now, I know there are a lot of great books out there. … Read More

Help your child trust God for the future

The oak inside the acorn

I want to help my child trust God for right now, and for the future. But how can I do this? Recently a friend of mine posted on Facebook: Does anyone else have a kid who needs to discuss deep theological issues at bedtime? Being the awesome parent that I am, my boy is now confident that God has a plan for his life. But I don’t think we settled on whether that plan is to build a rocket ship or a pet tornado. 😂 I’m so glad my friend is taking the time to talk to her kids at bedtime. This is something that is so hard for me, because I want to simply pop them in bed and move on with my evening. But THIS is what Bedtime Devo Mama is all about – taking time out of our evenings to truly connect with our kids on a … Read More

One fun (and surprisingly meaningful) way to celebrate Advent

Wise men search for Jesus

Written by Melinda Biel I grew up in a wonderful, God-loving, Jesus-preaching Christian home but for some reason I have not really learned how to celebrate advent other than scarfing down chocolate from a cardboard window. (I actually don’t consider that advent related…I thought it was just a yummy countdown to Christmas Day.) Now that I have 3 kiddos of my own and hear the word ‘advent’ popping up frequently, I decided this year was the year I was going to “take on” advent for real.   Thankfully that’s also when Christie posted her blog article concerning advent. Just as she suggested, I skimmed for ideas first and then read the details of the ones I liked. The idea of having The 3 Wise Men search for baby Jesus (a play on ‘elf on the shelf’) seemed perfect. Simple, fun, doable, and advent-ish enough to check “take on advent” off … Read More

3 things we must do to protect our kids online

protect my kids online

This week, my husband and I attended a movie called “Over 18”,  which is a documentary that talks about the harmfulness of the porn industry, particularly to children and youth. We both came away from the film rather discouraged. It’s a big system, designed to create addiction so that it can make more money. Studies show that 90% of boys and 60% of girls have been exposed to internet pornography before 18. Say WHAT? I just want to put masks over my little boys’ eyes forever. The most powerful testimony in the movie was the 13 year old boy who became addicted to pornography at age 8. ← That’s not a typo. Age 8. And it all happened on the computer in the kitchen, while being homeschooled by his loving Christian parents. These were not negligent parents. They were normal, loving parents, just like you and me. And their boy … Read More

8 ways to experience Advent (and Christmas) through play

Did you know that children learn incredible amounts through play? It may look to adults that they are “just” playing, but the amount of learning that occurs in the brain when a child is freely enjoying themselves is astounding. (Google “learn through play” to read a ton of info about this!) For example, playing with various sized buckets at a sand and water table is giving a preschool an early understanding of volume. Scribbling helps them learn fine motor skills, and simple puzzles help them identify shapes (which is crucial for understanding letters). I am a huge proponent of letting kids play what they want (within safe limits!) when they want, because it also helps them learn self-discipline, engages their imaginations, and helps with their social skills. When it comes to childhood, free play is essential. But that doesn’t mean you can spark their imaginations with a few strategically placed items! … Read More

The easiest parenting habit with the biggest eternal impact

The one habit

He screamed and clutched me as if monsters were trying to drag him into the pit of hell. Maybe that’s how he felt. The first day of kindergarten can be rather rough on a child, but I wasn’t expecting the teachers to have to PEEL my son off me. I walked into the parent meeting, late, brushing tears off my cheeks. This parenting gig is hard on the soul. I find it extra hard to help my eldest with his emotional struggles. He’s a sensitive and creative fellow with an anxious streak a mile long. I had always hoped that his separation anxiety was more of a trick to induce mommy-guilt than a real, true-blue anxiety, but it turns out I was wrong. The anxiety was real, and it bled into his entire kindergarten year. Dropping him off at school was a nightmare, and he cried every.single.morning. His teacher reported … Read More

A practical way to encourage thankfulness in your home

Thankfulness Tree

Developing a thankful heart in our kids is a top priority for many families, and one that becomes a bigger priority when autumn (and Thanksgiving) rolls around!  If you’re looking for a fun way to encourage thankfulness in your family, consider creating a Thankfulness Tree. This is the one we had a few years ago. We added to it afterward but I neglected to take a picture when it was more full of leaves.    For one season I hung this tree in our front entryway, and during another Thanksgiving season I hung it in our kitchen. I created the paper tree out of butcher paper and attached some pre-cut leaves. The following pictures are from my friend’s house – her teen daughter made this one with her friend!   The year we had our Thankfulness Tree in the entrance, it was the first thing that you saw when you … Read More

3 Ways to Slip Jesus Into the Lives of Your Grown Kids and Grandkids

grandparenting

Susan and I share a heartbeat: we both long for parents and grandparents to truly understand their great influence in the spiritual lives of kids. It’s an honour to welcome Susan to my home-on-the-web today. Susan is a pastoral counselor, author, speaker, mom and grandma. I’d love for you to check out her FREE 5-day online mini-course called Paving the Way: 5 Ways to Attract Your Grown Kids to Jesus. You can get the details and jump into the video course here. Doesn’t it just rip you up inside when your grown child shows no interest in the Lord? Maybe you raised your kids in the faith, and maybe you didn’t. Either way, your faith, the most important part of your life, is ignored—set aside as ancient history or labeled “Emergency Use Only.” And you wonder where you missed it? What could you have done differently in raising this child? And then … Read More