Acts of Love

On Motivation and Encouragement

Preparing a Child’s Heart for Easter March 25, 2012

Filed under: Family,Keeping the House,Lesson Plans,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 11:37 am
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Lent is a time of preparing our hearts and homes for Easter and the celebration of the Risen King. As moms, we should also make it a point to prepare our children’s hearts and foster a sense of anticipation for this most blessed and miraculous event.

This year I did two things, created a set of resurrection eggs and planted an Easter garden. The eggs are used in a daily object lesson in the 11 days prior to Easter morning. The Garden is a representation of Jesus’s tomb and a hands on way for children to engage in the Easter Story.

To make our Easter Garden Makayla and I filled a shallow glass bowl with rocks and then soil. We partially buried a small terra-cotta pot to serve as the tomb (I have seen Easter Gardens with actual  caves that people either made or bought at an aquarium supply store). We planted cat grass which grows fast, and also thrives indoors. For some detail, we created a path leading up to the tomb, placed a cross on the ‘hill’,  and put a small Lamb in the tomb to represent Jesus.

This is (hopefully) what it will look like when the grass grows.

The garden can serve as the focal point for another tradition; using resurrection eggs. Resurrection eggs are a series of plastic Easter eggs that are filled with objects and a corresponding scripture. You can either hide them and open them all on Easter morning, or place one near the garden each morning and have a sort of Easter advent. I like the later option because it creates anticipation, and you can spend more time with each element of the story.

You will need to find objects to fill the eggs with, and I am certain you have all of these things in your home already. If you do not, you can make an appropriate substitution. You can buy resurrection egg kits already made, but I like creating my own. There are lots of different ways to do it, this is just mine. So if you do want to make your own set, be creative and make yours unique for your family.


Here are the directions for making the resurrection eggs I put together for my family.

Egg #1:

Message — Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people waved palm branches.

Scripture — Matthew 21:1-11
Object– A donkey or a palm branch

Egg #2:

Message — Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.
Scripture — John 12:2-8
Object — A small perfume bottle or cotton ball sprayed with perfume. (There is a very strong connection between smell and memory, so anytime you can incorporate smell  into a lesson you should do it!)

Egg #3:

Message — Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples.
Scripture– Matthew 26:17-19

Object– A piece of bread

Egg #4:

Message — Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Scripture– Matthew 27:3
Object– 3 dimes or plastic “silver” money

Egg #5:

Message — Jesus carried His own cross.

Scripture– John 19:17

Object – A cross

Egg #6:

Message — Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.

Scripture– John 19:2
Object– a branch with thorns

Egg #7:

Message — Soldiers parted Jesus’ garments and cast lots for His coat.

Scripture– John 19:23

Object– Dice

Egg #8:

Message — Jesus was nailed to a cross and pierced in His side.

Scripture– John 19:18,37 & John 20:25-29
Object– A nail and/or a small play sword from an action figure

Egg #9:

Message — They gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall on a sponge to drink.
Scripture– Matthew 27:34
Object– A small sponge soaked in vinegar. (make sure the sponge is dry when you put it on the egg,  you just want the vinegar smell)

Egg #10:

Message — Jesus’ body was prepared for burial.
Scripture –John 19:40
Object– a roll of gauze (the kind you would find in a first aid kit) and some spices

Egg #11:

Message — The stone covering Jesus’ tomb was rolled away.
Scripture– John 20:1
Object — A rock

Egg #12:

Message — The tomb was empty,  He was not there. He has risen!
Scripture– John 20:6-7
Object — Nothing! The tomb is empty!

I play to place one of the eggs near our Easter Garden each morning. As part of our homeschool lesson  Makayla will open the egg and then I will share the story with her and read the scripture from our illustrated family bible.  Also,  some of the items can be added to the garden or placed in the tomb; for example the  shroud from egg #  10 can be left behind on Easter morning and the rock from Egg # 11 can be rolled away to reveal the empty tomb.

These are just two examples of ways we can honor God in our traditions, and make sure that the focus is on Him, rather than some made up story about a rabbit! I hope you have a blessed Easter season creating memories with your family.

There are many different ways to create resurrection eggs and an Easter Garden. Here are some links to some other versions of these ideas.


Grace Food March 10, 2012

Filed under: Lesson Plans,Teaching and Learning,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 11:02 pm
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Grace Food: Pretzel Object Lesson

Ages: Ages toddler to teen

Objective: For students to have a concrete image to aid them in understanding God’s redemptive plan

Materials Needed:

Bread Flour







Baking Soda

Sea Salt


Baking Sheet


Measuring Cups and Spoons

Bread Machine (or mix dough manually)

Large Pot



1) Prepare Pretzel Dough. (I use the following recipe and mix the ingredients in my bread machine on the dough cycle. Not sure exactly how you would prepare the dough manually)

3 cups bread flour

1 cup water

tablespoon sugar

teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

(Makes 6-8 large pretzels)

(Layer in bread machine according to manufacturers instructions; usually liquid, dry, and then yeast)

2) Give each student a piece of dough. Tell them you are going to tell them a story about God’s Grace and Love. Ask the students about the beginning of the world. Where did the story of Man begin? When students start talking about the Garden of Eden be sure to ask them to describe the garden. Be sure to emphasis that the garden was perfect, and that people and God were able to live close to each other.

3) Ask students what went wrong in the Garden of Eden. As you have a discussion about  how the devil, in the form of a snake, tempted Eve, ask the students to create a snake out of their dough. Discuss how sin entered the world and men and women were banished from the garden and thus separated from God.

4) Next, discuss God’s plan to redeem man and solve the problem of sin. Read the following verse: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15). Ask students who this ‘head crusher’ is? Who is God going to send to destroy the devil and sin once and for all: Jesus! Younger  students will enjoy ‘crushing’ their snake’s head. You may discuss tools for not falling into the temptation of sin, and ways to resist the devil.

5) Next, explain that although men and women are sinners, God still loves us. Read John 3:16, “For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son that whoever shall believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” So, God can redeem this ugly snake, the sins’ of man, through love. Students can take their snake, and turn it into a heart, thus forming a pretzel!

6) Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a large pot of boiling water. Place each pretzel in the water for about 10 seconds, and then place on a greased baking sheet.

7) Brush each pretzel with egg white and sprinkle with sea salt.

8) Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until pretzels are thoroughly cooked. (cooking time will depend on how thick your pretzels are–just regularly check them so they don’t burn)

9) Serve pretzels warm, with dipping sauce of your choice. Be sure to give thanks to God for His unfailing love and grace!

A Few Notes:

* Monks used the pretzel to represent God’s love in the middle ages, this is not my idea–I just modified it slightly.

* This lesson can be modified for any age. I have done it with toddlers and high school students. Just engage the students in age appropriate discussions regarding sin.

* If you have the time, pretzels can be left to rise for one hour after they are formed, and before they are boiled. I usually skip this step and do not notice a difference, as long as the dough has been allowed to rise before hand.


A Lesson on Mercy February 25, 2012

Filed under: Lesson Plans,Teaching and Learning — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 1:21 am
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Lent Day 3

Today I prepared a lesson on mercy for Makayla as a part of our homeschool time. Here is what we did:

Lesson: Jesus and Mercy

Objective: For the child to understand that Jesus teaches us to be merciful.

Materials Needed: fabric, glue, scissors, people cutouts, yarn, dowels, picture bible.

Time: 30 minutes


1) Using our illustrated family bible we read selections from Matthew chapter 4,6, and 7, Luke chapter 6, and also the Beatitudes.

2) We then talked about how Jesus teaches us to treat people including; feeding the hungry, loving people who hurt you, and caring for the poor and needy.

3) Using the cloth scraps, cutouts, and glue we then ‘dressed’ a figure who was in need of clothing.

Real Life Application: After the lesson and craft, we went through some of Makayla and Harper’s clothing and filled a bag which we dropped of at a local charity.

For tomorrow:

Cultivating a Heart for Mercy


Ladybugs Lesson February 18, 2012

Filed under: Lesson Plans — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 6:42 pm

Big Idea: Ladybugs are good and useful insects that help gardens to grow.

Time: 20-10 minutes

Age: Preschool

Materials Needed: Ladybug book, butcher paper, paint, celery bottom, green marker, glue, and red tissue paper.


1) Read Ladybugs by Cari Meister from the Checkerboard Science and Nature Series, or any other factual book on ladybugs.

2) Using the bottom of a celery stalk, stamp flowers onto butcher paper using multi-colored paint. With a green marker, add greenery to  your garden.

3) Using the tissue paper, make red balls for ladybugs. Attach them to the garden with glue.

4) Review how Ladybugs help gardens to grow by keeping out pests who would eat the plants.