Fun and Easy Alphabet Activity with Plastic Easter Eggs

The teacher in me just could not put the Easter eggs away without turning them into a fun matching game for my girls. It took me five minutes to prepare by using only a Sharpie and a pile of plastic Easter eggs, and my girls loved it.

I chose to write one upper case and one lower case letter on both the top half and bottom half of each egg. My girls are just learning their lowercase letters, and I was worried that doing only an uppercase and lowercase match might be too difficult. When both types of letters are on both halves, younger kids can match capital letters but will still have the exposure to the lowercase letters. Here are three different ways I turned the A egg to show the options for matching that your kids will have if you write both types of letters on each half of the egg:

All you have to do is turn each half of the egg to show either the upper or lower case letter to change the way your child is matching.

You can also sneak in some color identification (ask for a specific color of egg) and fine motor skill development (through opening and closing the eggs) with this activity. 

After I labeled some eggs (I only did letters A through M to keep the number of eggs from overwhelming my young kids), I took them apart and dumped them on the ground with my girls. I then modeled for them how to choose one egg half, look at its color and letter, find a match and put the two halves together. I put down a basket for them to use to hold the completed eggs.

I plan on making eggs with letters N through Z in a few days, and I hope to pull out both sets occasionally for a quick and easy alphabet practice.

For more toddler alphabet activities, see https://livinginthedeepend.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/five-minute-alphabet-activity-for-toddlers/.

Easter 2014

A Mama’s Heart on Fire: Sharing your Faith with your Kids

 A Mama's Heart on Fire Easter

 

Happy Easter! This week brought an amazing surprise which my mama heart was not expecting.

I had one of those parenting moments which brings tears to your eyes, stops you in your tracks and grabs your heart, and it caught me completely off guard.

My girls and I have been talking daily for the last few weeks about Easter, and we spent extra time last night (Easter eve) retelling the Easter story so they would know exactly what the holiday was about.

While we were eating dinner, my husband and I told the girls once again that we’d be celebrating such a happy day tomorrow because we’d be celebrating how much Jesus loves us.

We told them all about how he came to earth because he loved us all so much, how he was brave enough to die for us, how he came back and will save all who believe in him. I finished up by telling them how amazing heaven will be: how everyone is happy, how we’ll all be together, no one will cry and there won’t be any more “owies.”

Y’all.

Those few simple sentences, broken down into toddler-friendly language, and thinking about how much our Lord loves our sweet babies just completely overwhelmed me.

I have always known and believed the Easter story, but telling it to my girls and realizing how much it defines our lives here on earth, how much it matters to us and how thankful I am to be able to tell it…that was amazing.

It seems like God takes our mama hearts through the fire and refines us just a little bit more through our children. He deepens our faith and our stretches the boundaries of our hearts through these tiny people he gives us to look after.

As silly as this sounds, I feel like I own the Easter story even more after sharing it for these past few weeks with my girls. It didn’t change any; I still know it is just as true as I did before, but I seem to grasp the importance of it even more so as I see it through the eyes of a parent.

Have you noticed your faith changing through sharing it with your children? May you have a blessed and happy Easter weekend!

 

Marriage, Kids and Happiness: Changing the Statistics

Are you married with kids? Are you married and considering having kids? Do you want to be married with kids some day? If so, this post is for you. There are some startling statistics concerning marriage and happiness in couples who have kids, and we need to work hard to change them. Here is the link to my Thursday post for the Greeley Moms–please share it if you like it!

 

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/11065425-113/kids-married-couples-spouse

 

In other news, we just found out we can lease back our house from the buyers until our new house is completed in the fall. This means no more packing and planning to move twice like we thought, and this also means regular blogging and WordPress reading can begin next week! Thanks for reading as always, especially since I’ve been so terrible at reading and commenting in the past two months.

Open Ocean Sailing With Young Children: What Do You Think?

Would you cross the Pacific with young children in tow? Were these parents living the dream or putting their children in unnecessary danger? Here is this week’s blog post for the Greeley Moms–thanks for reading and sharing if you choose! 

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10970392-113/parents-boat-diapers-family

 

Don’t Discount Public Schools

Whatever type of education you choose for your child, it is your choice. I support you! If public schools are an option, I’d encourage you to give them a second look. Here’s this week’s post for the Greeley Tribune:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10866886-113/public-child-schools-choice

Thanks for reading and sharing if you choose.

In other news, we listed and accepted a contract on our house last week! A month of prepping the house and cleaning up after two toddlers has left blogging on the very bottom of my to-do list. Now that we are under contract, though, I have some time to do more than paint trim and organized closets. Watch for a Mama’s Heart on Fire post soon. I have been AWOL on reading and commenting on all of your fabulous blogs, and I am so sorry. I will do my best to play catch up. I’ve missed my WordPress friends!

Kicking Out the Kardashians

The latest Vogue cover featuring Kim, Kanye and North has me thinking…when will the Kardashians ever go away? Why did our society allow them to become famous in the first place?

For a family of little talent who set off a reality television craze in our country, you’d think their 15 minutes of fame would have been over a few years ago.

Why is it that they are SO popular in America? Are we really a country of brainless zombies who think we want to be like these people? They don’t seem overly charitable or generous, and I’m not seeing any kind of motivation or drive (except when it comes to seeking fame) that I’d like to emulate one day. I especially don’t want my daughters to think of any of them as role models.

I admit (although begrudgingly) that I watched a *few* episodes of E’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in its first seasons. Ok, maybe it was every episode. I was young and stupid—please don’t judge me.

It was kind of like a train wreck: so shocking and painful that I couldn’t turn my eyes away. I know it’s a lame excuse, but it’s true. They don’t have much of a filter when it comes to appropriate conversations with each other, and the obsession with clothing and make-up and style takes over their lives.

I admit: I played a part in helping them rise to fame by boosting their ratings every week. Now I’m working hard to help undo this Kardashian-monster I had a part in creating.

Once my girls came two years ago, I realized if I wanted the Kardashians to go away before my girls were paying attention to popular culture, I needed to do my part and turn off my television when an episode was airing. I decided to stop giving them any ratings from the DeBusk household.

I sneakily tuned in a few weeks ago when I was at the gym (someone else had surely been watching it earlier, so I couldn’t have been boosting their ratings by tuning back in, right?), and I caught a clip that was brazen enough to make me flip the channel and stick by my earlier Kardashian boycott.

It was an episode when Kim was preparing for the birth of North (there’s another reason not to watch the show—who names a baby North West?), and she talked about having her “glam squad” on standby for the weeks leading up to her birth. She decided she didn’t want her baby to see her mother for the first time without full makeup and hair done.

Moms, how many of you had your “glam squad” prep you before your newborn baby saw you for the first time? Can a person be any farther disconnected with reality than wanting their newborn to see them in full makeup and eyelashes? Why do they call it reality tv?

This is absolutely not the way I want my daughters to be. I want my girls to be down-to-earth enough to realize the relationship between a mama and newborn baby is absolutely magical and has nothing whatsoever to do with makeup or perfect hair. I want them to know what is appropriate conversation to have in public, and I want them to realize that 15 minutes of fame is not all it’s cracked up to be (see my post about ABC’s The Bachelor). I want my girls to have a talent, a job and work ethic. I want my girls to define success by more than a photoshoot in a big magazine. I want my girls to give their children more respectable names than North West.

Kim, Kanye and the rest of the Kardashian clan, I’m sick of you and your family. Please, please give us all a break and fly under the radar for a while. And if any of you tune in to their horrid reality television (no judgement here) or want to buy a magazine filled with their photos and gossip, think twice about whether you really want to support the Kardashian craziness any longer. Our country and kids deserve better role models.

My post originally appeared on the Greeley Tribune at the following link:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10781000-113/girls-baby-fame-Kardashian

 

 

Photoshopped Ads Blur More than Thighs

An interesting headline caught my eye this week because it pertains to the heart of our perceptions of beauty and to the minds of impressionable young girls.

Target ran a junior swimsuit ad with a model whose image was poorly photoshopped. Her rib cage and arm looked pieced together, and her thighs and swimsuit bottom had clearly been altered to make her appear thinner. (See the ad here.)

To make matters worse, when Target issued an apology for the poor photo editing, there was no mention of why they felt it necessary to alter the body of this beautiful teenage model initially or how they may be contributing to a culture-wide problem of teenagers and women who are chasing after unattainable perfection.

When is enough enough? When will we step up and demand for the marketing aimed at our daughters (and ourselves) to reflect reality? Are these models not thin enough? Are their thighs really not spaced far enough apart?

As a mother of two daughters who has struggled with body image issues in the past, I think it’s absolutely disgusting that retailers are altering beautiful young girls and in turn leaving normal girls feeling like something must be wrong with their bodies because they don’t match the glossy advertisements.

I’m aware it happens in women’s advertising and publications, but I feel like as an adult I finally am secure enough in who I am, imperfections and all, to be able to flip through a magazine without staring at the shape and size of the models featured and longing to change my body. As a teenager, though, I am certain I would have spent time comparing myself to swimsuit models like the one in the Target ad and feeling bad about myself at the end of it all.

Teenage girls are learning, growing, blossoming and delicate. No matter what shape or size their body takes, they need the confidence to love themselves and see their own value and worth.

Our society, retailers and publishers included, owe it to these young women to help them navigate through the challenges that come with defining beauty; however, I’m not content to stand by and wait for some huge movement which might never occur. I’m determined to do what I can to protect the hearts and minds of my girls.

I can empower my girls to believe in their own beauty and recognize false advertising for what it is.

I can laugh at crooked arms and creepy thigh gaps in botched photoshopped pictures so I can show my daughters what really happens to pictures before they are published for us to see.

I can support brave retailers who step up and refuse to alter the bodies of their models.

I can show my support to celebrities who share non-photoshopped images with the public so we can see what is really happening after the women leave the studio.

I can read and share articles like fellow Greeley Moms blogger Jaymi’s post on true beauty.

I can show my daughters how to love and accept an imperfect body by taking care of myself and saying no to unnecessary cosmetic procedures.

I can open up discussion about the moral obligation retailers and magazines have to help our young girls have a healthy body image, but I won’t rely on them to make that happen.

Our daughters are depending on us to fight for them, and I hope you’ll join me.

Here is this the original link for my post for the Greeley Moms:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10691542-113/girls-body-daughters-beauty