Daily Truth: “Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding…” Proverbs 3:13
It is never too young to begin teaching children about God and the things of God. Below are some fingerplays to teach God’s precepts at an early age.
Loving Gifts from God
Loving gifts from God; (Point up.)
My father and mother, (Use index finger of one hand to touch middle and index finger of other hand.)
My sister, brother; (Touch little and ring fingers.)
These are gifts from God. (Point up.)
Loving gifts from God; (Point up.)
A home so good, (Put fingertips of both hands together.)
My friends and food; (Wiggle fingers and then pretend to eat.)
These are gifts from God. (Point up.)
Jesus Is with Me
Jesus is with me all the time; (Point up, and then to self.)
He sees me when I play. (Jump lightly and clap hands.)
He watches when I eat or sleep; (Rest head on hands.)
He hears each word I say. (Cup hand behind ear.)
Jesus will help me anytime; (Point up, then to self.)
When I am sick in bed, (Lay head on hands.)
Or when I’m skipping down the walk; (Skip.)
He’s there-just as He said! (Point up, nod head yes.)
He watches when I read His Word; (Make open book with hands.)
He listens when I pray; (Fold hands in prayer.)
He sees me when I go to church; (Put hands overhead to make a church steeple.)
He’s with me every day! (Point up, then to self.)
Baby Jesus grew and grew,
Just as babies do. (Move hands apart as lines are recited.)
From a baby, very small, (Rock “baby” in arms.)
Grew to be a man so tall. (Indicate man’s height.)
Jesus loves a child like me; (Point to self.)
He was once a child, you see. (Point up.)
These fingerplays are from Preschoolers Sing and Say by Regular Baptist Press.
Fingerplays increase attention span, add fun, and help teach concepts. Have fun teaching God’s precepts to the children God has placed in your life.
Daily Truth: “For I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6
Change is a word that causes people to react in many different ways. Some love it. Some hate it. For me, it depends on what kind of change we are talking about. I like to switch the wall color (I think our house has shrunk in square footage as often as I change the wall colors). I like to move the furniture around. I like to darken my hair color (which is what prompted this blog). I love the change of seasons (I hope this one happens soon).
Some changes I don’t like. I don’t like moving. I don’t like seeing my children go from little to big. I don’t like change that drastically reshapes your life. I don’t like having to change plans at the last minute. It’s little changes that I like. Some change is good.
After a VERY frustrating day a couple weeks ago, my hubs and I sat down and changed the way we assign the chores. I was having all 4 kids help empty the dishwasher at the same time. They all had different sections to empty. However, it was causing way too many fights and frustrating mom every morning. So, we now have the kids do their jobs on a rotating basis. One morning the oldest empties the dishwasher, the 2nd feeds the pets, the 3rd loads the washer, and the 4th sets the table. Then every day the kids rotate to the next job on the list. Fights are at a minimum now in the mornings. Duh! Such a simple change. Why didn’t I think of that!!! Kids, like adults, deal with change differently. One of my boys almost cannot handle any sort of change without going a little spastic.
My other son has to ask over and over again “why” and “how come” just to get it all set in his mind. Both of my girls are homebodies. So, whenever there is a change in routine, mom has to get creative. Thus comes next week. There is going to be a bit of a change in routine in our house for about a week. My sister is coming to help me and my hubs with something and we will have to have our arsenal full of ideas to keep the kids from overreacting. I am thinking we might have to do a surprise night each night like I did the week my hubs was on a business trip. Movie night. Dessert night. (Huge in our fam). Sleep over at grandma’s. Present from mom and dad. My sister is good at the creative part. She loves spending time with the kids and they all adore her! Things change. Life changes. Sometimes rapidly. One thing we can count on is that God does NOT change.
His plans for us do not change. His character does not change. His love for us does not change. He is constant. Hebrews 6:17-19 shows us we can anchor our lives on the fact that God is immutable – unchanging. My kids will say to me, “Did you change your never mind?” God doesn’t change “His never mind”. Until next time, Rebekah
Daily Truth: “Yeah, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3
Love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
Remember Valentine’s Day B.C. (before children)? It was all about you and your true love.
And then along came children.
Now that we have four delightful children, Valentine’s Day has become more about the family than just about my hubs and I.
Really, many reasons have factored into that. Babysitter’s are at a premium. The restaurants we like to go to only serve a “Valentine’s Meal” (way over priced) or have been booked for awhile.
We opt to go out another night instead.
Don’t get me wrong – my true love knows that roses are still a must on Valentine’s Day even though we spend it with the kiddos.
So, here are some ideas on how to make Valentine’s Day fun for you, your true love, and your little true loves.
1. Do a themed Valentine’s meal. This year the kids really want to see the sequel to a certain spaghetti movie. I succumbed and got the DVD. Dinner will be none other than a spaghetti dinner. Dessert will be cupcakes from our local cupcake store (mile high frosting fits with the theme). Then we will cuddle up on the couch and watch the movie.
Pick a theme your kiddos love and run with it. It always makes the meal go much easier too.
2. This idea I got from my son’s preschool teacher. Help your kiddos make heart shaped mailboxes out of paper plates. You and your hubs could make one too. Then have everyone write love notes and put them in the mailboxes. You could also use decorated brown paper bags.
3. Make Valentine’s by using conversation candies. You can do this one of two ways. For the little guys, have them glue on the hearts with a glue stick onto construction paper. You could make a Valentine for your little love by using the words on the hearts. Sort of like a Valentine’s Mad Lib.
4. Make Valentine’s by using the kiddos hand prints. This is one that grandparents would love and could be kept. Cut out a heart out of construction paper large enough for your child’s hand. Get red and white washable paint. Paint one hand red and the other white. Gently place your child’s hand on the paper. Nothing says “Love” like a child’s hand print.
5. Make a Valentine center piece. My friend came up with this idea for a Valentine’s Day class party. Get a glass jar, fill it part full with conversation hearts, and stick in some heart flower fillers. Makes a great centerpiece and it’s edible. You can use the conversation hearts as prizes. You can make the heart shaped flower fillers by using straws and taping the hearts onto the straws. The hearts could be made by your little kiddos.
6. Have a pizza night. Make the dough into a heart shape. Have the kids help “decorate” the pizza. Enjoy a love filled dinner.
There are just a plethora of ideas out there to help you with Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is a good time to remind our children and ourselves who demonstrated the ultimate show of love for us – Jesus Christ. You can do this by using hearts.
Cut out a red, white, and black heart.
The black heart represents our sin. It is our sin that causes us not to be able to go to Heaven or to love like God loves. Romans 6:23
The red heart represents the blood of Jesus. It is only through the shedding of HIs blood that we can have forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:22, John 3:16
The white heart represents what God does for us when we ask Him to forgive us of our sins. He washes our hearts white as snow. Isaiah 1:18
Valentine’s Day is a good time for us mom’s to reflect on what love really is. I Corinthians 13 gives a checklist for us.
1. Do I speak with love or am I sounding brass?
2. Is my faith filled and demonstrates love?
3. So my works show love to others?
4. Am I patient?
5. Am I kind?
6. Am I glad for other’s when they receive blessings?
7. Am I humble?
8. Do I behave myself wisely?
9. Do I strive to make others look good without receiving any glory?
10. Do I get angry easily?
11. Do I look for the good in others?
12. Do I rejoice in truth?
13. Do I bear all things God gives with love?
14. Do I believe all things in His Word?
15. Do I hope in all His promises?
16. Do I endure all God sends my way?
That’s a LONG and CONVICTING checklist. Yet, all those things shows God’s love to others.
Daily Truth: “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
I Corinthians 9:25
The Winter Olympics start this week in Sochi. I love watching the Winter Olympics – especially the opening night. I suddenly feel even more patriotic watching the U.S.A team march into the arena. Never mind that they usually are the best dressed team there. Maybe it’s always in the back of one’s mind what it would be like to be an Olympian and an Olympic champion. The year the Summer Olympics opened in China also happened to be my oldest daughter’s birthday. So, of course we had shirts made with 08-08-08 on them.
Here are some ideas to make the Winter Olympics fun even for your little guys.
1. Indoor Ice Skating – If you have hardwood or linoleum floors, have the kiddos put on “slippery” socks and ice skate around the room. Have the kids perform their own figure skating routines complete with music. 2. Slalom Skiing – Put a piece of tape on the floor. Have the kids jump back and forth over the line with their knees together. See who can do the most jumps in 20 seconds. 3. Bob Sledding – Cut a wrapping paper tube or paper towel tube in half length wise. These are the bobsled tacks. Have two cars race down the tracks to see who is the fastest. 4. Snowball Toss – If you have snow, have the kids make snowballs. Then see how many snowballs they can throw through a hula-hoop. Do an indoor snowball toss with the same idea. If you don’t have indoor snowballs make them out of wadded up newspaper. Here are some other extra’s you can do to make the Winter Olympics more fun for your kiddos. 1. Make your own Winter Olympics medals out of streamers and aluminum foil or out of ribbon and construction paper. You can also make them edible by getting plain donuts and stringing a ribbon through the center. 2. Pull out your American flags and decorate an area for the “award ceremony” for the winners of your own Winter Olympics. 3. Get some American Flag paper plates at your local party store and eat your dinner on them the night of the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies. 4. Play the Olympic theme song. (Summon of the Heroesby John WIlliams) 5. Since the Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, find a recipe for a Russian dish. My sister spent a summer in the Ukraine and said she loved the stuffed cabbage rolls. So, we are going to try that and make a Russian Tea Cake. There are tons of other ideas out there including beef stroganoff. 6. Have the kids decorate their own Winter Olympic wear by having them paint white shirts with the Olympic colors. 7. Wear red, white, and blue that day or if you can find your Fourth of July shirts, where those to show your team spirit. Paul refers to the training and rewards that athletes of his time would face in I Corinthians. The athletes in Paul’s day didn’t receive a gold, silver, or bronze medal. Rather they received a crown made out of olive branches. We all know how long those survive.
Today’s athletes train hard, keep all things temperate (I’m sure very few chocolate chip cookies are consumed during training), work to keep their bodies under control all for a moment of glory and the possibility of obtaining a medal. Yet, as Paul states, it is corruptible. We as mom’s are in training as well. Oh, we most likely are never going to get our moment of glory and receive a medal like the Winter Olympians. However, we are striving and training for much more. We are striving for an incorruptible crown. As we train and teach our children, remember that our crown is incorruptible. Until Next Week, Rebekah
Daily Truth: “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter.” Proverbs 30:33
This past week I had to “churn the butter” a little bit more than usual to help the kids achieve good behavior.
You see, Dan was on a business trip.
Whenever Dan goes on a business trip, I always brace myself for a long week of single parenting! Inevitably, something happens within the first 48 hours that Dan just shakes his head and says, “Why am I not surprised?”
Never mind I don’t sleep well at all when Dan is gone. Dan left on a Sunday afternoon. I knew that this could be a humdinger of a week when Sunday morning at breakfast the kids started crying that they were going to miss dad and he was still here!
My youngest even went into Sunday School all mopey and told his teacher, “You know why I am so sad, because my dad is leaving on a trip all week.”
My kids thrive on surprises. I thrive on good behavior from the kids which makes life more enjoyable for all.
So, I had to concoct a plan that would cause the kids to desire to have good behavior thus allowing me to reward that good behavior. (Hence, Proverbs 30:33)
Here is what I came up with. Dan was gone for five LONG days. I numbered five 3×5 cards 1-5 and put holes in the top of each. On the back of the cards I put a different fun activity for each day.
My kids also like to sleep in my bed with me while Dan is gone. (This equals very poor sleeping for mom!) However, desperate times call for desperate measures.
So, on the back of each card I also wrote a child’s name. I didn’t go in order by age but all random.
One day there was no name and that meant that night mom was guaranteed a restful night (or at least a night with no little appendages on my head or in my back).
In order for each child to participate in the fun activity, they had to have beyond good behavior for that day. If your name was on the back of the card to sleep in mommy’s bed, that child’s had to have light years beyond good behavior.
At lunch, I explained the game plan for the week, told them what I expected as good behavior, and set my plan into motion.
Here is what we did.
Sunday night: The kids love to go to a particular restaurant after church and get pizza. This is a rare treat! Thus, it made the cut for the first night of surprises.
Thankfully, they all made the grade (I really didn’t want to cook that night anyway) and one of my kiddos was the lucky recipient of Pj’s with mom.
Monday night: Well, Monday was a little more dramatic of a day. I had to get a foot x-ray (all’s fine), another child had to go to the dentist and get his tooth pulled (laughing gas and a 6 year old boy don’t mix very well), and we discovered an unexpected little visitor in our house.
That night went much better. The kids love grandma doing “Green Eggs, and Ham” with them. So, guess what we had for dinner? Love eggs, green eggs not so much. However, the kids had a ball making them with grandma and we had no dinner ummm…. issues (shall we say) that night.
Another child made the cut of Pj’s with mom.
Tuesday night: Movies are usually reserved for Friday night Family night at our house. Like I said earlier, desperate times call for desperate measures.
To insure no dinner time issues, I reminded them that we still had a surprise coming.
Score for mom.
Popcorn and a movie was greeted with ecstatic cheers, bean bags were gathered, and children nestled down for a fun night.
Mom slept by herself. BLISS!
Wednesday night: Our church does Wednesday night dinners for those who purchase a ticket. I figured tacos was a relatively good choice (health wise and good behavior wise). Taco night at church made the cut.
Another child made the Pj’s with mom cut.
Thursday night: I did backwards night with them. Basically, the table was set backwards with name cards made with the kids names spelled backwards. Dinner was served backwards – dessert to main course. (Don’t worry – dessert was a tablespoon of ice cream.)
Since, they didn’t know what was going to be next, the kids were amazing during dinner. I ended with making cone head sundaes for the kids (upside down sundaes).
Friday!!!!! One of my kids had a birthday and all were excited because that night dad was coming home!!!
I think the opening picture says it all.
Overall, a great week. Good behavior was at a premium, fighting was at a minimum, and fun was had by all.
Just may have to do this again. Only this time, dad does it with us!
Daily Truth: “And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God” Luke 9:43
It is amazing how much we rely on electrical power and how much we don’t realize it until we don’t have power. My family had that lesson brought home to us this week. Sunday afternoon, around 12:30 the lights surged on and off twice and then the power was gone. We kept hoping it would be back soon, but as the day wore on we realized that we might be sleeping near the fireplace in the living room – all seven of us. So, we started preparing for what appeared to be the inevitable – a night without power. My hubs tried to get the generator to work so that we could at least have heat in the house. No luck. The kids gathered sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals – all the necessities for a warm night. Pj’s were donned and candles were gathered. The kitchen became a command station of candles, lighters, batteries, flashlights, and games. About seven rounds of dominoes was played by candlelight and a rousing game of hide-and-seek in the dark was enjoyed by the kids. The funny thing was every time one of the kids went into a room inevitably we heard, “I can’t turn the lights on”. I don’t know how many times we heard during the first two hours, “Can we watch a movie or play the Wii?” Finally, they settled and realized we had to make do without all of the things that required power. We survived. Thirty hours later the power did come on.
I will admit we did succumb to the cold and went to a friends house to thaw out and spend the night. When your house gets down to 41 degrees and you have four layers of clothes on, two sets of gloves, hand warmers, and you can see your breath in the house – it’s time to find a warmer accommodations. But a lesson was learned. It was amazing to the kids how much we depend on power. The irony is that about a week earlier my oldest made the comment that we could get by without electrical power and that we don’t depend on it that much. She has since changed her mind. A thought occurred to me. We have an unlimited source of power as Christians – our all powerful God. Yet, how often do we tap into that source of power. In Luke 9:37-45, a father comes to Jesus with a demon possessed child and cries that even the disciples couldn’t cast out the demon. The irony, Jesus had just given the disciples the power to cast out demons (Luke 9:1). Jesus turns to them and calls them “faithless”. In other words, the disciples had power given to them by Jesus and yet didn’t tap into it. Jesus then turns and cast out the demon, heals the boy, and restores him to his father. ” And they (all that saw the miracle) were all amazed at the mighty power of God” (Luke 9:41). These same people would later be responsible for Jesus death. Lest we fault the disciples, how many times do we – I – neglect to seek Jesus power. If Jesus has the power over demons, doesn’t He have the power to take care of our needs.
Idea for the week: What to do with all those Christmas cards?
We gather all the Christmas cards and pictures that we receive and put them in a basket. Each night we take the card in the front of the basket, pray for that family, and stick their card in the back of the basket. This continues all year. It is fun to pray for these families throughout the year.
“For He [God] says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.” Job 37:6
Snow has fallen in 38 states out of the 50 according to the weather channel map. Most families are experiencing cold temperatures and snow. Are you enjoying the extra time with your children? Need some ideas for outdoor fun now that some of the most frigid temperatures have passed?
Some outdoor “snow” fun suggestions:
DIY snow: Warm a cup of water in the microwave for about a minute, then toss the water into the air outside. It emmediately becomes a powdery snow cloud. (Parent supervision needed)
Create colorful globes: Put a little food coloring in a balloon, add water, tie off the top and then place the balloon outside. Once it is frozen, you can peel the balloon away (you may need to cut the plastic), revealing a colorful snow globe.
In a large bowl combine 1 cup of half and half or milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/3 to 1/2 cup(depending on preferred taste) of sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Stir in snow, a cup at a time, until the ice cream magically forms! Freeze for several minutes if desired before serving. Enjoy!
Snow painting: Fill bottles (dollar store catsup and mustard bottles) with food coloring and water. Go outside and paint in the snow.
Build a snowman or fort.
Ice skating: My father built a rink in our back yard one year. By using several 2×4’s build a frame, line with plastic and fill with water. (Must do ahead of time…maybe a thought for next winter:)
Make a bird feeder: Spread a bagel with peanut or almond butter and roll in birdseed. Tie a string or yarn around the bagel leaving enough string or yarn to be tied on a tree. Take outside and hang so your family can enjoy watching the birds from inside your house.
And not to be forgotten: Teach helpfulness, go with your children and help a neighbor shovel snow off their driveway or sidewalk.
God’s Word says in Job 37:6 that God tells the snow to fall. Wow, what a word picture. Share this verse with your children as you do fun snow activities.
Once you get back inside your home after your fun outside share this cute little video and song while drinking hot chocolate.
Daily Truth: “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!”
Names are important to us and to God. When we know someone we use their name when talking with them. When we learn God’s Hebrew names we learn more about Him. Each name reveals a character quality of God.
“Wise men still seek Him.”
I have created a family “Christmas Advent Devotional”. Each day a new name of God is learned. A chain link craft adds enjoyment and anticipation to this study.
Day 1 of Christmas Advent Devotion: Yahweh (LORD) yah-WEH
This name of God by Jewish tradition was too Holy to be said aloud. It was said as YHWH without the vowels. YHWH is referred to as the Tetragrammaton (which means “four letters”). YHWH comes from the four Hebrew letters: Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay. The modern spelling is Yahweh and now spoken by Jewish people as Jehovah.
In the Old Testament, the name Yahweh, is the most frequently used name of God. It is found over 6,000 times. The first time it is written is in Genesis 2:4 where it is written as Yahweh Elohim (yah-WEH e-lo-HEEM). This name of God as you will see can be written as Yahweh or a long side another name of God. When written with another name of God a new character quality of God is revealed.
Read Genesis 7:1-3
“Yahweh said to Noah, ‘Go into the ship with your whole family because I have seen that you alone are righteous among the people of today. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean and one pair of every kind of unclean animal. Also, take seven pairs of every kind of bird to preserve animal life all over the earth after the flood.’ ”
Yahweh is LORD (all capital letters) over all. Noah knew God and obeyed God. Because of Noah’s love of Yahweh and fear (respect) of Yahweh his entire family was spared from certain death.
If you would have lived in the days of Noah what would have kept you safe from the flood that Yahweh sent to cover the earth?
What today can keep you safe from separation from God? (Romans 10:9)
Yahweh, you are holy, powerful, slow to anger, continually loving, full of grace toward us. You know our sinful hearts yet you love us all the same. Help us to love and respect you and follow where you lead.
Daily Truth: “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalms 119:103
Sweets, sweets, and more sweets! It’s that time of year! Thanksgiving has past, the Christmas trees are up (actually they have been since the beginning of November), and the outside lights are up. The parties start up this weekend which meant some baking needed to be done last weekend. Baking is NOT my thing for three reasons: 1. My cookies rarely come out like the pics. (Those are NOT my cookies pictured above!) 2. The mess, mess, mess, mess ,mess! 3. Sweets are almost more temptation than I can handle! However, I do it for the kids. I am going to give you three recipes that we like and the kids REALLY enjoy making. Our favorite sweet treat recipe are homemade mints. These get made by the dozens and are handed out to our neighbors, teachers, and brought to parties every year.
1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese
10 cups of powdered sugar
1 bag of milk chocolate chips
1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips
coffee, mint, or whatever flavor you want.
Mix the cream cheese in a mixer. Slowly add the sugar one cup at a time. By 8 cups the mixture should be able to form balls easily without crumbling. If this is the case – don’t add anymore sugar. Add the flavoring of your choice. Mix.
Lay wax paper on a table. Take the mixture and form into 1 inch balls. (This is where the kids come in. They think it’s like playing with play dough.) Place the balls on the wax paper.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate over the balls. Let the chocolate harden. Place in small cupcake holders, place in a freezer container, and freeze until ready to use.
Side note: We used white chocolate with coffee flavoring for one set of mints. Andes mints are another option. You can also sprinkle crushed candy cane on the balls AFTER you pour the chocolate.
This next recipe is a little more involved but well worth it!
1 cake mix (your choice of flavor)
1 can of frosting
1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips
1 bag of milk chocolate chips.
Bake the cake according to the directions on the box. Let it cool COMPLETELY. Break the cake into pieces and throw in a mixer. Add the can of frosting. Mix until the cake and frosting are well incorporated.
Lay wax paper on a flat surface. Take the mix and roll into 1 inch balls and place on wax paper. (Hint: Have a bowl of water near by to dip your hands in. Wet hands work better in making these balls.)
Once the balls are made, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate over the balls. Let the chocolate harden. Place balls in mini cupcake holders, place in a freezer container, and freeze until ready to use.
Side Note: We have used peanut butter chips with chocolate cake, red velvet cake with white chocolate chips, etc. The flavors and varieties are as endless as the choices of batter and frostings!
Like so many families, we are starting to go gluten free due to one of my kiddos. So, I found this gluten free sugar cookie mix.
GF Cookie Dough
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c butter cut into small pieces
3 oz of cream cheese
2 3/4 c of white rice flour
2 tsp of vanilla
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1. In a food processor add sugars, butter, cream cheese, and 1 c of flour. Process until mixture is crumbly.
2. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined.
3. Put in a bowl, cover, and chill for an hour.
Roll out and make cookies to your hearts content. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.
Frosting: I made the butter cream frosting on the back of a Hershey’s cocoa container, melted it enough so that I could drizzle it on the cookies, and sprinkled crushed candy cane on the chocolate.
Side note: I added peppermint flavoring in the cookies.
Let us not forget, as we go into this Christmas season, to crave the sweet words of the Bible as much as we crave the sweet treats we make with our kiddos.
Daily Truth: “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.” John 10:22
Hanukkah on Thanksgiving? I know, a little bit of a different title. I will explain but you will have to indulge me in some “factoid” information.
A rare occurrence is happening this Thanksgiving. The second day of Hanukkah is on Thanksgiving for the first time in 125 years and it will be another roughly 77,800 years before this happens again.
(Another side note: a comet is also supposed to be passing by earth on Thanksgiving morning and it is one of my dear friend’s birthday. Exciting day!!!)
I love history and learning about different holidays. So, when I found out that little tidbit of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving there was no way I was going to let this great opportunity pass without some sort of acknowledgement.
I am not Jewish and the most I knew about Hanukkah was from watching “Fiddler on the Roof“. So, I did a little research and this what I discovered in a nutshell.
History of Hanukkah
About 160 years before the birth of Christ, King Antiochus IV destroyed the temple and was set on destroying the Jewish race. A small band of Jewish soldiers fought the king’s army and against all odds defeated it. The Jews reclaimed the temple.
The temple was in shambles. So, the people restored the temple. When they went to light the menorah, there was only enough pure oil to burn for one day. However, according to Jewish tradition, the oil miraculously burned for 8 days. This was long enough for more oil to be prepared.
Hanukkah is a celebration of the rededication of the temple and God’s protection of His people. Hanukkah is sometimes called “The Festival of Lights” or “The Feast of Dedication” (see John 10:22 above).
My hubs and I wanted to use this unique holiday combination to remind our children how God takes care of His children. So, we are going to give them a little taste of Hanukkah starting on Thanksgiving Day and carry it over to the next day.
Here is what you are going to need.
1. A Menorah (or you could use 9 candlesticks lined up in a row).
2. A Dreidel
3. Hannukah gelt
4. Potatoes and oil
The Menorah – There are 9 branches to the menorah. The tallest branch is the servant candle. This candle will light all the others. The number of candles lit coincides with the day of Hanukkah. Day 1 you light one candle, day 2 two candles, etc. The candles are lit alternating right and left side and are lit 30 minutes after nightfall. A blessing is then said.
Dreidel – The Dreidel is a 4 sided top that is used in a children’s game. This is done to remember the children who were forced to study the Torah “underground” during the time of Antiochus IV rule. The children would study the Torah in the forest and when soldiers would come upon them, they would hide the Torah and pull out their dreidel’s and start playing.
The best way to see how to play the Dreidel is to google it on the website. You will need the Hanukkah gelt which is the chocolate gold coins for this game.
Latkes – Latkes are basically potato pancakes fried in oil and served with applesauce. Once again, there are a gazillion recipes on how to make Latkes for Hannukah. Just google “Latkes” and you will have your fair share of choice recipes.
Sufganiyot (Doughnuts) – Now who does not like a good doughnut? These are made for a dessert one night cooked in oil.
All the foods are cooked oil to remember how God provided the 8 days of oil for the menorah.
How are we going to incorporate Hanukkah?
So glad you asked.
Thanksgiving Day – We will light the first candle of Hanukkah, read The Story of Hanukkah to the children, and explain how God provides and protects His children. Then we are going to go around the table and ask each member to tell a way that God has shown His provision and protection to us this past year.
Friday – Doughnuts for breakfast. I am going to attempt to make them with the kiddos help. Dinner will consist of fish and latkes. During the day, I will show the kids how to play Dreidel and we will play a few rounds.
We will continue lighting the candles each night until all are lit. This will then carry into our family tradition of lighting the advent candles.
There is so much more to Hanukkah. What I have shared with you is just the scratching of the surface.
Thanksgiving is a time to thank God for His goodness to us. His protection of the Jewish race brought us a Savior and His continue protection of the Jewish race will one day usher in our King.