Author: Melissa

Kids in the Kitchen: Celebrating Strawberry Season

Kids in the Kitchen: Celebrating Strawberry Season

My apologies in advance to those of you who still have cold weather, because here in Louisiana it’s fully spring. Glorious, amazing spring, one of the prettiest down here that I can remember. Best of all, spring brings strawberries. Louisiana prides itself on growing them […]

Mapping Skills for Elementary Students (K-3)

Mapping Skills for Elementary Students (K-3)

A couple of weeks ago my children and I set out with our co-op to do a mapping skills exercise. (This sounds super official, but translated that’s me and two friends and all our kids learning directions and beginning mapping!) We have a range of […]

Resurrection Eggs/Easter Advent Eggs

Resurrection Eggs/Easter Advent Eggs

Today we’re continuing our ramp-up to Easter with what people usually call “Resurrection Eggs” (personally I like the term Advent Eggs)– another one of my goals for this year! “Advent” usually refers to the Christmas season, specifically the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, but I think the term fits well for the idea of counting down to and anticipating Easter. The Christian church at large has celebrated Holy Week (the Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday, to Easter Day itself) for centuries, but in my church tradition it wasn’t particularly observed. There was usually some mention of Palm Sunday, and then obviously Easter, but in between the two was essentially nothing. I wanted to change that for my children, and do something to build anticipation and weave the Gospel accounts into the week leading up to Easter. I’ve seen the idea of Advent Eggs/Resurrection Eggs around more and more, and love it! It’s been on my list to do for um, probably two years (gulp), but I finally got it together this year! We do eight eggs, one for each day Sunday to Sunday.

Wooden hollow eggs

It’s often done with plastic Easter eggs, but since I knew this would be a long-term tradition for us, I bought eight hollow wooden ones (plus I love the feel of real wood!). This is the Etsy shop where I found my hollow wooden eggs (they also have adorable toys!!). When I ordered, the specific egg size I wanted (7 cm) was no longer listed, but the shop did a special order for me no problem. I highly recommend the shop and its products (plus the box came covered in super cool Russian stamps!). We may paint the eggs eventually, but not this year…

Our Easter Advent eggs are a mash-up of¬† this website and this list here. The first website is an excellent Holy Week line-up of verses, crafts, and songs for each day. (I don’t happen to be Catholic, but it’s a great resource for even us renegade Protestants. ;), and the second one is full of ideas of what to fill the eggs with and what verses to put with it. It seemed pretty obvious what to use for Palm Sunday, and then Thursday to Resurrection Sunday (given the timeline given in the Gospels), but I may tweak what we do for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The Gospels have a lot going on and it may take some trial and error to figure out what to highlight those days! Here’s what I filled the eggs with this year, and what verses we will be reading:

Resurrection Eggs contents

Egg 1, Palm Sunday: a palm leaf, read Luke 19:28-40 (also Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11) [the picture has a real leaf, but I’ll be finding a silk one soon]

Egg 2, Monday: A piece of soap and a bit of towel (washing the disciples’ feet), read John 13:1-20.

(You could also do cleansing the temple here, found in Luke 19:45-27 and Matthew 21:12-16. But I felt that feet-washing lays the groundwork for Jesus laying down his life better. After I already decided that I thought I’d check the book I’ll be using [see below] to see if it would be confusing with the story in the book, and lo and behold! They have feet washing on the second day too! So I think it was Providential. ūüėČ

Egg 3, Tuesday: rolled up “scroll” (teaching in the temple), read Luke 19:45-48.

(My enthusiasm got the best of me and I trimmed 4 fancy toothpicks I had on hand down to size so that each end became a “handle”, and then glued them into each end of a strip of paper. I was pleased with the result, but I suspect that a plain toothpick with the sharp ends trimmed off then superglued in the paper would work just as well.)

Resurrection eggs thorns nails and scroll

Egg 4, Wednesday: 30 dimes for the 30 pieces of silver, read Matthew 26:14-15 (also found in Mark 14:10-11).

Egg 5, Thursday: cracker (for unleavened bread), read Matthew 14: 17-29.

Egg 6, Friday: nails and something thorny (I found a thorny vine in my very well-manicured[cough] yard, and a twig from a rose bush), read Mark 15:16-39 (also Luke 23:18-49) .

Egg 7, Saturday: a strip of linen and a stone, read Luke 24:50-56.

Egg 8, Easter Sunday: the egg is empty to symbolize the empty tomb, read Luke 24:1-12 (also Mark 16:1-8).

As I mentioned in my post on classic Easter books for children,¬†this year we will be reading Easter Love Letters from God every day Easter week, along with opening our Resurrection eggs. The items in the eggs and the stories in the book don’t exactly correlate, but I don’t think it will be an issue. We’ll see. I printed up the verse references listed above and taped it in the front of my book so everything would all be in one place (I need all the help I can get to be consistent).

Advent/Resurrection Egg contents and corresponding Bible references

If you’d like to print this list of verses too, here is the printable: Advent Egg Verses and Items.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Resurrection eggs, but with the same concept, Just a Girl and Her Blog did a lovely box version.

The verses above are all relatively short; as my children get older we’ll read longer passages to expand the context, but for little ones, just the bigger events are a good start.

I feel like this is the first year Easter won’t sneak up on me and whiz past before I can get my act together enough to properly prepare for it! I’m excited for our new traditions, and will be sharing some other little ones soon (including food)! What traditions do you have?

Classic Easter Books for Children

Classic Easter Books for Children

One of my goals for this year was to make my children’s Easter collection of books more robust, or, erm, exist… We have a pretty good collection of Christmas books going that I set out for them to read during the Christmas season. But I […]

Adventures with Food: Indian Butter Chicken

Adventures with Food: Indian Butter Chicken

Welcome to another family favorite recipe! This is one of those dishes that I would never have guessed ALL my children would love as much as they do, but my five-year-old has declared it his “1000% favorite food”! (For the record, roasted tomato soup with […]

Reading Round-Up: Recent Recommendations

Reading Round-Up: Recent Recommendations

                                          

Those of you who haven’t met us in real life may be forgiven for thinking that all we do is dream about travel and eat. And eat and travel. Well, almost. While I must admit those are indeed favorite activities, my first and constant love is reading. Below are three books (both children’s and adult’s) we’ve (Melissa and her munchkins) read recently that we thoroughly enjoyed and recommend to you.

Ok, so this book shouldn’t put to you sleep — the research on how sleep affects us and our brain (and whole body and every aspect of our health!) was fascinating. Well-written and not overly dense, it left me with a scientific backing for a guilt-free prioritization of my eight hours of the best. (Although bewilderingly the first chapter was full of wondering at how sleep evolved, and explanations as to how fundamental it is to life, which made no sense to me as to how life could have existed without sleep… but anyhow.) 4 stars.

I went into this book knowing really nothing about geopolitics, and ended it having (I think) a solid introduction to the subject. The author explains how geography affects¬† commerce, wars, culture, and current events, both past and present. (Mountain range in the way? Who knew that¬†that’s part of the reason why that country is the way it is…) Concisely written, yet covers a lots of ground (so to speak…); it made several historical events make a lot more sense, and left me curious to read more about geopolitics. 4.5 stars.

I was browsing the juvenile audiobook section at our library when I spotted Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and thought, “Oh, cute classic child’s book. Sure.” Little did I know that we were in for a rollicking adventure full of a magical car, a secret cave, gangsters, a trip to France, and a kidnapping, all satisfactorily settled in the end. (I suppose I shouldn’t have expected less from the creator of James Bond. Yes, that Ian Fleming.) My eldest was absolutely enthralled, and begged me to turn it on every moment we got into the car (and wanted to listen to it again immediately upon finishing it!). 5 stars from the Krewe!

I’m currently on the hunt for a fun rollicking book of my own to read; I usually turn to a Daniel Silva, but I’d love to get a fresh recommendation!

Adventures with Food: Carnitas

Adventures with Food: Carnitas

Mexican food is probably my desert island food– I never tire of it. Consequently, we have a number of Tex-Mex sort of recipes in our dinner rotation. This recipe is closer to authentic Mexican flavors, and is one of our all-stars; it’s in heavy rotation […]

Medieval History Alive: Guédelon, France

Medieval History Alive: Guédelon, France

The last time (part of) the Louisiana Krewe went to France, we rented a car to do a road trip around the northern half of France. It. was. fabulous. (side note: I was a little nervous about driving in a new country, but it was […]

Celebrating Tintin: Ch√Ęteau de Cheverny

Celebrating Tintin: Ch√Ęteau de Cheverny

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a throwback post in honor of Tintin’s 90th birthday! Tintin is standing in a group amongst the main characters of the comics series.

If you are unfamiliar with the Tintin books, the comic strip follows a young reporter around the world as he thwarts nefarious plots. Originally published in Belgium (and hence in French), they are widely available in English. (Here is a helpful overview and recommended reading order of the Tintin books. And the 2011 TinTin cartoon did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Tintin and weaving elements of many of the books into it too! ) We grew up reading the comics and love(d) them.

We had the opportunity to visit the  gorgeous Ch√Ęteau de Cheverny when we went to France in November of 2017, and I may or may not have been particularly excited to visit, given that it was the inspiration for Captain Haddock’s Marlinspike Hall in the Tintin books! (If you “cut off” the two outer sections of the ch√Ęteau, you have the Hall.) The ch√Ęteau was delightful in its own right, but the Tintin exhibit didn’t hurt.

Our first stop was the hound enclosure; Ch√Ęteau de Cheverny is renowned for its feeding of the hounds, which is a display of remarkably disciplined hounds waiting to be fed. It was worth timing your visit for! Our one mistake was not staking out a spot near the front of the big enclosure where the feeding actually takes place, rather than the pen where the hounds start out (if you go, say hi to the hounds then keep walking past them to the empty yard right next to where they’re milling around. That’s where they’ll actually be fed. It’s down the fence to the right in the video.)

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After watching the hounds’ feeding, we strolled the gardens, then went into the Tintin exhibit. If I remember correctly, we had to to purchase tickets that included this option. Lucky for us, kids under 7 are free! They also offer a family option for tickets. Honestly, since adult tickets are under 20‚ā¨, I didn’t feel like it was exorbitant to begin with, but I’ll take my discounts where I can! Plus parking was free and easy.

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I felt like a child again myself wandering through childhood memories brought to life.

We then toured the ch√Ęteau itself, and wandered around more of the grounds and the gardens (simple but gorgeous). We visited on a fall day and loved it, but I can see this being a fabulous place to visit in the spring (when apparently you can take a boat ride).

 

Naturally, the gift shop stocked Tintin books (in French), so we picked one out to bring home as a souvenir. (No, my daughter does not read French at all, but her Mama has dreams! Motivation.)

 

If you’re ever in the Loire valley, we highly recommend making time to visit Ch√Ęteau de Cheverny! And Tintin. ūüėČ

(If this post has put you in the mood to “visit” France with your children without leaving your house, check out the France Armchair Travel post.)

Fun with Food: Raising Adventurous Eaters

Fun with Food: Raising Adventurous Eaters

Ah, children and food; every parent’s favorite negotiation. I won’t pretend to have this subject figured out (the more children I have, the more I don’t know), but I do think that our children are growing up to be reasonably adventurous eaters. Whatever credit there […]