Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Resurrection Garden

Easter Sunday is approaching quickly.  If you are looking for a tangible way to involve your kids in so great a celebration, plant a Resurrection Garden.  Its about 3 weeks before the holiday, so this is a great time to get it started.  I try to start mine each year about a month before, but if you started yours in the next couple of days, you would be in good shape.

Supplies you need to get started:

A large terra cotta plant saucer (plastic is too light in weight)
Potting soil
Grass seed
Small to midsized terra cotta pot
6 smallish but sturdy sticks (searching around your yard makes them look more natural)
3 skinny rubber bands
A rock large enough to cover the opening of the pot (its your tomb)
Optional, smaller rocks for a pathway to the tomb (I don't always use them as you will see below in the pics)

First off, make your crosses.  I take 2 of the small sticks you gathered, form them into the cross and very carefully wrap the rubber band around the center.  You have to keep twisting the rubber band around each stick till it sits just right.  I hope in the pic above, you can see how it is done.   Make a total of 3 crosses.

(2016 garden)

(2017 garden)

Next, plant your garden.  Place the potting soil in the bottom.  Add your crosses, terra cotta tomb, and large rock over the opening of the tomb.  You can arrange however you like.  I personally like the way I have it arranged because, as you will see, it gives us plenty of room to add our special items during holy week.  And, it makes the tomb the center of attention.  After all, the empty tomb is what Easter is all about, right?

Plant your grass seed all around the dirt.  I sprinkle the seed generously around, then press into the soil lightly brushing the soil over the top of the seed. Then, water.  We used a squirt bottle to keep from overwatering.  Plus, then little hands can help water.  YOU WILL NEED TO WATER EVERY DAY! Terra cotta sucks water big time, so watering every day is a must!!!!  But, within 5 days, you will see the little grass sprouts popping up.  Keep watering, watering, watering, and letting your grass grow.  Yes, you will need to "mow your lawn" after it becomes quite lush because it will be too tall.  To mow, just trim with regular scissors.

(ready for its first mowing)

While you are waiting for your grass to grow, you will need to be gathering the supplies you need for Palm Sunday and Holy Week.  This is my kids favorite part of our garden.

Supplies you need for Holy Week:

For Palm Sunday:
2 construction paper palm leaves (see pic for easy cut outs) or you can print a couple off the web
A little plastic donkey (never fear if you can't find one; if you have even a Lego or small plastic horse, that will work.  I found our donkey at our local Tractor Supply)
One wooden doll peg (this is our Jesus all week) - another option, Lego (we've done both)

For Holy Week:
Little wooden table (I found ours in the toy section at Dollar Tree; its a dollhouse table)
2 inch piece of leather ribbon
3 dimes
4 pennies
12 small wooden clothespins for the disciples (see pic for style) - again, another option, Lego
A wine glass and a loaf of bread made out of Sculpey clay (again, see pics below; my son made ours - the wine glass is supposed to look like a challis :) )
Small purple robe (just cut a rectangle piece of purple felt and hot glue a bit of elastic to it)
"Crown of thorns"  (this is just a bit of brown moss that I cut off and formed into a circlet; you can get bags of brown moss at the craft store)
A small bit of Sculpey clay (for hanging Jesus on the cross)
2 small pieces of white cloth - cut one long enough to wrap Jesus, one into a square for his face
Small fake flowers

Find works of art that you can display each day throughout the week.  There are a plethora of works of art that you can use.  I googled for the images and printed them off.  It made it come more to life and we studied some lovely art at the same time.  There is something to go with each day without a problem.  I used 2 clothespins to hold them up.  You could whatever picture holder you choose.

As Palm Sunday and Holy Week approaches, be ready to add something new every day.  My kids love getting up each morning to see what will be placed in there that day. (Good Friday has 2 displays, see below.)  Be sure to remove the previous days stuff, or it will be too crowded.  If you choose to do the art, add the fresh art each time as well.  

Palm Sunday - add your two palm leaves, peg or Lego that represents Jesus, and donkey

Monday - the whipping of the money changers at the temple - add the small table, 4 pennies, and the leather whip

Tuesday - the teaching on the mountain - add the 12 disciples with Jesus at the center "teaching"

Wednesday - the betrayal of Judas - add the 3 dimes and just one disciple (he's Judas)

Thursday - the Last Supper (yes I know the betrayal and the last supper were on the same day; I chose to do two different days for emphasis on the events of the week) - add your small table, bread, and challis

Good Friday A.M.  - the trials of Jesus - place the crown of thorns and purple robe on Jesus and place inside garden

Good Friday - before we leave for the Good Friday service - place Jesus on the cross, I just used a wee bit of clay 

(a photo of our Lego Jesus we have done)

Saturday - place Jesus in the tomb

(photo of the Jesus wrapped with his face cover that we placed in our tomb)

My kids, also on Saturday, set up soldiers to guard the tomb

Sunday - open the tomb, upwrap Jesus and carefully place the burial clothes inside the tomb, put Jesus in front of the tomb, and decorate with flowers.  We don't have an angel yet, but that will be remedied with this year's garden. My kids added Lego all over celebrating the Resurrection!!!  (love it)

What a fun way to remember how much Jesus did for us to provide salvation from our sins.  And, its a great way to get the kids involved in that special week.  My kids are so excited each year when it is time to start growing grass. They know what's coming.  They know how special it is.  After all, isn't that what Easter is all about?

Do you do anything special for Easter?  I would love to hear about it!  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lego Boredom Buster - Lego Minifig Parachute!

In the midst of February whilst the kids were suffering with the normal winter blues and  a bout of flu to boot, I decided to try my hand at making a Lego parachute from a small Lego store bag.  It was a total success!  It broke the duldrums and lifted my kids sick spirits!  Here is what you need to make one for your kids, or yourself!  (no shame there)

Supplies Needed:

1 small Lego store plastic bag (you could use larger, but the Lego brick will look different in proportion than what you see here)
Large sharp sewing needle
Embroidery Floss (I used red to match the bag; you can use whatever)
Black Sharpie
A circle template - I used the top of an icecream tub, but a large dinner plate will work just as well

Cut your Lego store bag apart.  I took off the bottom and then cut down both sides so I had 2 halves.  Each bag make 2 different parachutes!  Cool, huh?

Using your template, center it over the logo or brick and trace around it with your black sharpie.

Cut out.

Cut 2 lengths of embroidery floss to 24" in length.

Take your black sharpie and marks 4 black dots - one on top of circle, one on bottom, and one on each side (as shown in pic)

Take your sharp needle and thread 1st piece of floss. Knot the end.  Go through top black dot from front of bag to back of bag.  Pull till knot reaches the plastic and then tape down for extra security.  With the same 1st piece of floss, go through left side dot, from back to front this time!  Knot the thread and tape down.  Repeat these same steps with the 2nd piece of floss using the bottom and right side dots.  You should now have a parachute with 2 large loops of floss for holding the minifig.

(hard to completely see, but this is a pic of the tape holding down the floss and knot on top of the parachute)

Fold your parachute in half and half again.  Why?  It gives it a nice point in the center which helps to have a good place to hold it when ready to fly!

Add your minifig.  Somehow, Dr. Who looked like a good fit for our test flight.  Find the approximate center of each piece of floss and loop under the arms of your minifig and pull up towards the "armpits" of the minifig.  Its a tight fit there naturally with the minifigs so they stay all by themselves really well.

And, there you have it!  Its ready for flight!!!  Find a good high spot, grab from the point at the top, and let it go!  My kids have enjoyed them immensely!  Here is a little video that I posted to instagram to see them at work!

Hope you enjoy making these with your kids.  Never fear if you don't have a Lego store bag.  You can use a regular grocery plastic bag if you would like.  I like the weight of the Lego store bag which is why I used it.  Plus, it has cool lego logos on it!  But, a regular grocery bag can work, too.

I would love to see what you made!  Post a link to a pic at the bottom of the post.  Happy Crafting!