Monday, September 15, 2014

Simply Sunday School - Creation Story Sequence Cards and Mini Book Craft

In September I welcomed new students into my Sunday School class who had moved up from the Pre-K/Kindergarten class into my middle grades class of 1st through 3rd graders. Because it is the start of a new school year, I decided to start at the beginning of the Bible and spend September focusing on the book of Genesis.

Our first lesson this month was the story of creation, found in Genesis Chapter 1 and Genesis Chapter 2:1-3. I had a lot of fun preparing for this lesson. Here's what our lesson involved.

Awhile back I found a pack of pre-cut cardstock circle shaped paper and I knew I wanted to use it to craft something for the creation story.

I got out my glitter, and my large collection of stickers and got to work making a set of creation story sequence cards. I used two cardstock circles for each day's card, and using craft glue, glued a craft stick in between the two pieces. I decorated each day's card with a picture representing what God created on each day, and on the back of each card I wrote the corresponding day in silver sharpie. If you can't find pre-cut circles you could just trace out a circle onto cardstock and cut it out, but I will say the pre-cut version was very handy if you can find it.

I used various stickers, lots of fine glitter, and extra cardstock to craft each picture. Here are close ups of each day.

My students really enjoyed these cards, I used them during story time, I read the story right out of an NIV Bible, and held up each card as I read the day. After I read the story I used the cards to help prompt the students to learn each day and the order of the creation story, then I set the sequence cards out on the table for reference during the rest of our lesson.

For craft time I put together a simple mini book craft. I used construction paper to make the books, I made them on the smaller size about 1/4 of the size of a sheet construction paper, by folding four sheets of construction paper in half, then stapling in four spots and cutting that book in half. I printed out the title, as well as a short description of each day's creation for each page, and our memory verse.

For each day I provided a mixture of construction paper, stickers that corresponded, and markers. I made a very simple example of each page and then passed out supplies one page at a time and let the children be as creative as they wanted to.

All of the children did a wonderful job and were so creative with their designs, every little book looked unique. For this particular class I had a smaller group than usual and students that were happy to craft, with a larger group I would suggest setting out each page as a little station and possibly cutting out shapes for the younger students or providing lots of easy to use stickers. My students over the years have always enjoyed using stickers, so I stock up every time I see any that would be good in a lesson. :)

The homework was to learn their memory verse for the next Sunday, Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. As well as to share their little creation story book with their family. I have been using small prizes as incentives for learning verses lately, for this verse I found cute little globe key chains. The was a fun lesson to teach and I really enjoyed making the story sequence cards which I have saved to use again next time I teach this lesson.

Check out more of my Sunday School ideas on my Simply Sunday School Page.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stocking Up On Fall Candles

Even though today the temperature is soaring and it looks quite a bit more like summer than fall, quite possibly because it is still summer for two more weeks, I am so excited for fall I am in full autumn prep mode! I am eager for crisp cool fall weather, hot cider, and reading or watching my favorite show with a cozy blanket and a pretty candle burning in the background.

Every fall I gather my coupons and head to Yankee Candle and Bath and Body Works online shops to stock up on my favorite candles for the fall season, so I thought today I would share some of new yummy smelling candles that I am eager to use.

I love Yankee Candle's candles, the scents are wonderful and they are well made. They almost always have a great coupon code which makes stocking up a little nicer on the budget. I was intrigued by one of their newest candles called the Shimmer and Sparkle Collection.

The Yankee Candle Shimmer and Sparkle Collection candles come in a specially designed jar, the lid is lined in a silver color that almost gives it the look of mercury glass, and when you open the candle it has a built in glass reflector of sorts that makes the candle light "shimmer and sparkle" when lit.

The Shimmer and Sparkle Collection candles come in three classic fall scents, Spiced Pumpkin, Macintosh, and Autumn Leaves. I bought Macintosh for September (Macintosh is my favorite Yankee scent), and Spiced Pumpkin for October and November. Both scents are wonderful and really nice to burn.

The next place I went to stock up on candles was Bath and Body Works, a few years back I started buying their mini candles, they always come on sale for a great price and it allows me to try out every scent I want to try without having to commit to a larger candle until I find a must have scent. This year they had a great little fall collection of White Barn Mini Candles each one featuring a different plaid blanket on the label, I am crazy for all things plaid (check out my Plaid Pinterest Board), so I knew they would be fun to have around the house this fall. They all smell delicious!

Bath and Body Works sells holders for their mini candles and up until now I never felt I needed one because I actually think they are pretty cute on their own, but then I saw this faux-mercury glass  holder and it had great reviews so I thought I'd give it a try. I was surprised when it came in the mail with an extra mini candle - Pumpkin Caramel Latte which was a fun little treat and also a very yummy smelling candle. I'm sure I'll use this candle holder throughout the fall and winter.

Bath and Body Works had one more little candle that I couldn't pass up, it is a Bourbon Butterscotch scent in the cutest tiny jar that looks like a mini canning jar, you can see how small it in in comparison to the Hot Wheel size car in the picture. It smells delicious, I love Butterscotch scent, a perfect little candle!

In addition to mini candles, I picked out some fall scented Bath and Body Works hand sanitizers along with a cute apple themed holder for my purse, I put Weekend Apple Picking Scent in the holder, and also picked out Mr. Hedgehog Orchard Apple Scent and Mr. Fox Sugar Maple scent because I am in love with Hedgies and Fox, they were too cute to pass up! Hopefully they will help keep those fall cold germs at bay!

I love burning candles around the house they are pretty to look at. I definitely always burn them in a safe location away from any flammables, usually behind my kitchen sink (makes doing dishes much more pleasant!), and also on top of my fireplace mantel. I think candles are a nice way to add warmth to a home, and I'm looking forward to using all of my new candles this season!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rustic Apple Cake with Maple Glaze

Today was the first day of school for my son. Every year I like to welcome my children home from their first day of school with a special home baked after-school snack. I think it sets a nice tone for the year to be welcomed home to a nice smelling home and a fresh made treat. I don't bake much during the summer, so I also feel like it's a good way to kick off the baking season.

This year I wanted to make something with apples and cinnamon so I put together an easy Rustic Apple Cake with a delicious maple glaze. The smell of apples and cinnamon baking was wonderful. :)

Rustic Apple Cake with Maple Glaze

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix together in one bowl-
1 1/2 cups peeled and grated apple
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour ( I was out of whole wheat but this recipe would be good with half whole wheat and half white flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 slightly rounded teaspoon cinnamon

Mix until combined, batter will be slightly lumpy, don't over mix. Bake in a greased pie pan for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool on a rack for at least 45 minutes before topping with glaze.

Maple Glaze

mix together- 1 cup powdered sugar, 3/4 teaspoon Mapleine (artificial maple flavor) , warm water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have added enough water to make glaze a smooth consistency that will drizzle nicely over cake. Let glaze set up for ten minutes or so before serving.

The whole family enjoyed our after-school snack.

We are all really looking forward to a new school year and all of the fun activities that go along with a new school year.

I am looking forward to baking more apple treats over the next couple of months, and am looking forward to the first of the honeycrisp apples, my favorite!

I hope everyone is enjoying the first week of September- What are your back to school traditions?

You might also enjoy my recipe for Rustic Cinnamon Molasses Coffee Cake .

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Nephew's Beautiful Country Wedding

This weekend I had the joy of attending my nephew's beautiful country wedding. My son was a groomsman so we went down for the rehearsal the night before and had a really fun time hanging out with family as well as getting to know the bride's family a bit more.

The weather was perfect for a wedding, not too hot and not stormy. We were all entertained during the rehearsal by this darling little dachshund, you can see Sarah is quite happy to be holding this cutie.

After the rehearsal we drove back home, the roads are beautiful between my town and the town my sister lives in, both towns are right in the valley and about an hour and a half apart via country roads. One thing we saw on the way up to the wedding site was the most interesting driveway guarded by some very cool metal dinosaurs, what a neat thing to come across out in the woods!

The morning of the wedding we made our way back to the wedding, and it must have been field burning day because multiple farmers along the way were burning their fields, I got some interesting photos, but I really liked this one. There are a number of interesting small towns along the way with really interesting old buildings, one of these days I need to go exploring some of the shops and buildings we saw along the way.

When we arrived at the wedding site it had been transformed into a beautiful country wedding. The colors were peach and beige with lots of natural elements like burlap, crafts made of barn wood, and mason jars. There were pretty twinkle lights strung around the trees and gazebo and they looked really pretty once the sun started going down. I really loved the ring toss that was set out for the kids to play, there were even little s'mores packets that the bride put together and had sitting by the fire pit. All around a very nice, hand crafted wedding, I could tell a lot of time, effort, and thought went into it. :)

Soon it was time for the wedding to start, the bridesmaid's and maid of honor's outfits were very pretty, and I loved how they wore their hair. The Groom and all the groomsmen were of course dashing, my son walked down with his cousin Lola, both of the groom's sisters were bride's maids.

Here is the groom waiting with the officiant for the bride, seems like just yesterday that all the kids were little, and now they are all growing up. Ian, my nephew, is a really wonderful young man, and it was really special to be there for his wedding. I have to admit, I was definitely a little teary eyed! In fact I'm a little teary eyed writing this post! :)

Soon the bride was walked down the aisle by her father and the wedding began. I love how the ceremony took place out on the bridge over the pond, it was very beautiful.

The ceremony was sweet and traditional. The bride and groom's parents put notes of encouragement into a box for Ian and Nicole to read in the future.

They exchanged their rings.

The ceremony finished with a very sweet kiss. Both the bride and groom seemed very happy. :)

After they walked off they shared a hug and a sweet moment, it was so touching, another happy tear moment for sure! Everyone had a wonderful meal of picnic style foods delicious wraps and sandwiches, cheeses, fruits, perfect food for a summer day, then it was time to cut the cake.

The wedding speeches were very touching everyone did a wonderful job! Here is my sister and my brother-in-law, parents of the groom, they both looked great and I'm sure were very proud of their son. :)

Everyone seemed to be having a great time, the bride and groom left for their honeymoon just as the sun was setting. Overall an amazing and happy day! Congratulations Ian and Nicole!

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