Friday, February 28, 2014

Bible Lessons from Dr. Suess

Dr. Seuss's birthday is coming up on March 2nd.  To celebrate, I thought I would share some ways we use Dr. Seuss to teach the Bible.   Dr. Seuss books weren't written with the purpose of Bible teaching, but biblical truth can be found everywhere.  In fact, the main challenge of this blog is to look for ways to teach our children about God in the ordinary things of life.  

Since I was reading Dr. Seuss books so often with Mr. Two, I began to think of ways I could incorporate a Bible lesson into them.  I don't do this every time we read every book, but I try to incorporate a biblical truth at least once or twice a day.  

Here are some examples of what I might say as we are reading these Dr. Seuss books:     

The Eye Book: God gave us eyes to see. We can read the Bible with our eyes and see all the wonderful things He created. I'm so thankful God gave us eyes.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: God gave us voices that can do amazing things. The best thing we can do with our voices is praise God. We can also sing songs with our voices to bring Him praise. God loves to hear us praise Him!

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!: Our imagination was given to us by God. We can use our imagination to think of ways to honor Him--like how to help others or imagine how others feel. God has the greatest imagination of all! He thought up the entire world and created it all by Himself.

Dr. Seuss's ABC: Sometimes I will throw in B is for Bible or J is for Jesus or S is for serving others. Just to bring the focus back to the Bible.

Hop on Pop: Words are so fun! They make us laugh sometimes. Like when when the books says "Fish in a tree? How can that be?" But words can also make us sad. Like when we yell or say something mean to someone else. God teaches us that words are important. So we should be careful what we say to others. Use kind and helpful words that honor God.

What Dr. Seuss books are you reading these days?  How can you incorporate Bible teaching into them while you read?  

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

7 Easy Ways to Make Bath Time into Bible Time

As parents, I believe we are called to teach our children about the Bible every time we get the chance. The trouble can be where to fit Bible teaching into our busy lives. I like to look for ways to incorporate Bible time into our daily routine. That way it just seamlessly flows into our lives. I've found bath time can be the perfect time for Bible teaching. It's a time when my son is contained and usually open for listening.  

Here are some simple ways to teach your children about the Bible while you are doing your normal bath routine: 

1. Sing Sunday School Songs

Kids love to sing and Sunday school songs are a great way to teach about the Bible.  They are fun and catchy and teach wonderful truths.  I am still reminded of songs from my childhood when certain situations arise.  More than once, they have calmed me or helped me make a right choice.  

The bath is the perfect time to sing Sunday School songs.  Your child will be learning about God, but also having fun!

We love 25 Favorite Sunday School Songs by The Veggie Tales because it is jazzy and fun, but there are hundreds of others to choose from.  I highly recommend you go get one!

2. Use Bath Toys to Tell Bible Stories

Get creative and use the toys you already have in your tub to tell Bible stories.  We have some fish that I use to tell "Fishers of Men" and a whale that I use to tell the story of "Jonah".  If you have a boat, then you can tell "Noah's Ark" or animals to tell about how God created the animals on the 5th Day of Creation.  The options are as endless as your imagination.  

Whenever I tell a story, I also like to sing a song with it like I Will Make You Fishers of Men or Who Did Swallow Jonah?  It reinforces the story and makes it more fun.

If you want, you could even get some Noah's Ark tub toys like these themed rubber duckies or this foam set.  But just using what you already have will work just fine, too.  

3. Ask Who Made Our Bodies

Since your kid is most likely naked, take the opportunity to talk about body parts.  Ask who made her toes? Ask why God gave her a tummy?  Ask her how she can use her hands to praise God? Being in the bath is a great opportunity to show children that they were made in the image of God and that our bodies are meant for His glory.

4. Talk About How God Numbers the Hairs on Our Head 

When you wash your child's hair, tell her that she is so important to God that He numbers each hair on her head.  God knows when a hair falls out and when a new one grows in.  He pays attention to the details of our lives.  

5. Talk About How God Washes Away Our Sins

As you wash your child, talk about how you are washing the dirt off her body with soap and water, but Jesus washes away our sins with His blood.  Go into detail according to the age of your child.  It's never too early to start teaching about salvation.

6. Use Bubbles to Talk About Jesus Making Us Whiter Than Snow

Scoop up some bubbles in your hand and talk about how they remind you of snow.  Blow them so they fall like snowflakes.  Then talk about how Jesus cleanses our sins and makes us whiter than snow.  I often sing the old hymn Whiter Than Snow after I talk about this concept.  It's an oldie, but a goodie!

7. Springs of Living Water

Water is used as a symbol many times in the Bible.  You can use the water to talk about a variety if concepts, but sometimes I talk about how Jesus gives us living water.  Those who drink the water He provides will never be thirsty again.  He satisfies our every need!

I like to sing Springs of Living Water when we talk about this.  It's another oldie, but goodie.  I love the old hymns.  I want my son to know and love them, too.  They are full of such great truths.

Armed with these ideas, I hope it will be a little easier for you to incorporate Bible time into your daily routine.  Try to do one simple idea each day and you will be well on your way to turning bath time into Bible time!

Are there any other ways you can think of to make bath time into Bible time?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Olympic Ring Hop

Mr. Two loves to jump!  He worked so hard to learn to jump. He practiced and practiced all over the house until he finally got it.  Now that he has mastered the skill, he says "Hop! Hop!" every time he does it.  

I thought the Olympic Ring Hop would be a fun way to talk about one of the purposes God gave our legs...JUMPING!

Because he is still so little, the concepts we teach him about God are simple.  One of the things we talk about is that God made the parts of his body.  We also talk about the purpose God gave each of those parts.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  
Genesis 1:27

If you have an active child, then this might be a fun activity for you to do.

Here's what you will need:
  • 18"x12" Construction Paper (2 of each color: blue, black, red, yellow and green)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Protractor or string and 2 pencils

Start by taping two sheets of construction paper together.

Use a protractor to draw half of your circle.  I wanted to circles to be 16 inches.  My protractor was not that big, so I just taped 8 inches of string (the radius of circle) to two pens/pencils and used that.

I then shortened the string by 3 inches and drew another arc in the center.  This will create a ring that is 3 inches wide.

Next I folded the construction paper sheets in half and cut out the outer circle.

Then I cut the center of the circle.

Unfold it, and you have a perfect ring.

I repeated the process with the four other colors.  Except this time I used the green ring as a template so I didn't have to use my ingenious homemade protractor.

Arrange the rings on the floor in the order shown.

Now have fun!

We had lots of fun with this.  Mr. Two loved hopping through the rings.  We talked about God making our bodies and also used them to work on color recognition.  It was great for his gross motor skills!

The only down side is the rings ripped a little.  I was afraid of that happening with them being made out of construction paper.  It probably would have been better to make them out of sturdier material like poster board or card board.  

That being said, it was a fun interactive activity.  And the rings were salvageable. I was able to patch them up with tape and use them again.  We will probably get a few more uses out of them.  And it was a great way to talk about God making our bodies.  That's worth it to me.

Is this an activity you would try?  What material would you use to make the rings?  Can you think of any other uses for the rings?



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Gold Medal Oreos

Here is a super simple gold medal snack.  It only requires 2 ingredients!

Just like The Golden Rule Gold Medal, you can use these gold medals to talk about the The Golden Rule or use them to talk about good sportsmanship. 

And Athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 
2 Timothy 2:5

Here's what you will need:

  • Double Stuf Golden Oreos
  • Pull 'n' Peel Twizzlers

Twist the top off of an Oreo.

Peel apart the Twizzlers and gently press the ends of one of the strings into the filling.

Replace the top and tada! You have a gold medal you can eat.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls {Cinnabon Copycat}

I think I might have found the world's best cinnamon roll recipe. It is so good I can't even stand it! It's a Cinnabon copycat recipe, and it will blow your mind.

I found the recipe here on this amazing food blog called Lauren's Latest.  She's like a recipe detective. She did a phenomenal job putting together a great Cinnabon copycat recipe.  

I made it once with great success, but then decided to tweak it a little.  Mainly, I added more butter and filling.  How can you go wrong with that?  I think it is perfect now.  

I decided to make these cinnamon rolls into hearts and top them with crushed red hots for Valentine's Day.  They are so good that I'm having trouble controlling myself around them. 

You've got to try them.  You will NOT be disappointed!

First let's start with the dough.

Mix 1/3 cup milk with 1 teaspoon of vinegar to make your own buttermilk.  Or just measure out 1/3 cup of buttermilk. Either way, do this first so the milk and vinegar mixture has time to cure and/or the buttermilk has time to come to room temperature (or at least remove some of the chill). This is also a good time to set out an egg.

Combine 1/2 cup hot water, 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast and 1/2 cup sugar in a mixing bowl.  
Note: Yeast can be tricky. Some types require hot water (Rapid Rise/Bread machine) and others require warm water (Active Dry). Either type of yeast will work with this recipe.  Just be sure to check the package to see the proper water temperature for your type of yeast.  Also, use a thermometer to make sure the temperature is accurate.  FYI: I used Rapid Rise this time and it worked great!

Let the water, yeast and sugar sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast starts to foam.  

Add an egg to the buttermilk and scramble it up.

Next add the buttermilk and egg mixture, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/3 cup vegetable oil to the mixing bowl.  Give it a little stir.  

Now begin adding the 4 cups of flour one cup at a time.  If the dough is too sticky, then add an additional 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.  The dough should be soft, but not sticky.  

Either hand knead your dough for about 5 minutes or use the dough hook on your stand mixer to mix the dough until it forms a tight ball and the sides are clean.

Like this.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for an hour or two until it doubles in size.  My kitchen is on the cooler side, so it took a bit longer.  This is how it will look when doubled.

Set the dough on a floured surface.

Roll out the dough into a big rectangle.  Approximately 20x30 inches is good. 

Spread 1 cup of softened butter on the dough.

Now make the filling.  Combine 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 3 tablespoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. The cornstarch helps keep the filling IN the cinnamon roll.

Evenly spread the filling over the buttered dough. Use your rolling pin to lightly press the filling into the butter.
Start at one end and tightly roll dough to the center.

At the other end, roll the dough to meet the other half in the center.

Cut off the ends and slice the dough into pieces approximately 1 1/2" thick.

Place the slices in a greased pan leaving some space in between each one so that they can rise.  Cover them with a dish towel and let them rise for another hour or so.

Freezer tip:  If you don't want to bake them right away, you can put the slices on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours.  When they are hard, place them in a baggie and store them in the freezer until you are ready to use them.   When you want to bake them, just put the frozen slices in a greased pan and cover them with a dish towel overnight.  In the morning, they will have risen perfectly and be ready to bake.  I do this a lot!
After the cinnamon rolls have risen, put them in a 350 degree oven for 15-17 or until they start to turn golden brown.
They should look like this when they are done baking.

While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make the icing.  Combine 4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 1/8 cup melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

As soon as the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, spread them with the icing.  Watch the icing ooze into all the cracks and crevices!

Lastly, sprinkle with crushed red hots.  It's optional, but I highly recommend it! They add a great flavor and fun crunch.  

We will be enjoying these on Valentine's Day morning.  I can hardly wait!


Cinnabon Copycat Heart Shaped Cinnamon Roll Recipe

3/4 cup hot water
2 1/4 teaspoons Rapid Rise yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4-5 cups all purpose flour

1 cup softened butter 
1 1/2 packed lighted brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Crushed red hots (optional)

Combine hot water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes until yeast begins to foam.  Add salt, oil, buttermilk and beaten egg.  Slowly add flour until dough is no longer sticky, but still soft.  Hand knead for 5 minutes or with a dough hook until a ball forms and sides of bowl are clean.  Cover with towel and let rise 1-2 hours until dough doubles in size. Roll dough into a large rectangle on a floured surface.  

Spread softened butter over the rolled dough. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. Spread evenly over buttered dough.  Use a rolling pin to lightly press the filling into the butter.

Begin at the top of the rectangle make a tight roll down to the center of the rectangle. Roll the dough at the bottom of the rectangle into a tight roll up to the center of the rectangle.  Both rolls should meet in the center.

Cut of the ends.  Slice dough into 1 1/2 - 2 inch slices.  Place slices in a greased pan.  Cover with a towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes until golden brown.

Make the icing by combining powdered sugar, milk, melted butter and vanilla.  Spoon icing over cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.  Sprinkle with crushed red hots.

Project Outtakes:

Mr. Two tried to help by placing the rolling pin and his book on the buttered dough.

Poor Thomas! Don't worry, though. He cleaned up just fine.

I caught my guy sneaking a raw cinnamon roll while they were rising.  He would rather I not bake anything.  He'd only eat the dough if I'd let him!