Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday's Weekly Sketch #10 -A Mug

It's Wednesday's Weekly Sketch...on Thursday!

I completely forgot yesterday was Wednesday. Two stormstorms and being snowbound twice in a week will do that. So I finished the sketch just after supper today. I started it two Tuesdays ago while at an Open Mic. It is my first attempt to sketch a real object. Not a horrible attempt.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The 720 Easter Egg Hunt Part 3: Decorating the Space

Welcome to the third and final part of the 720 Easter Egg Hunt series. You can find Part 1: How It Works here and Part 2: Making It Meaningful here.

Today is all about how we were able to hide all 720 eggs in three very open rooms. It was only possible because of a wonderful crew that helped me strategically decorated.

My goal with the decorating was to create new opportunities for hiding eggs. I also wanted big props to create obstacles that children needed to move around. Even the table in the picture helped break up the room and slow children down.

Step 1: Giant Grass
I asked two people to build me giant grass props with boxes in front. Another team helped paint the cardboard. When they were dry we placed them around the room. After adding colouful plastic grass they made the made perfect hiding spots.

Step 2: Giant Eggs
The same two people drew and cut out giant cardboard eggs. The painters did a wonderful job decorating the eggs.

To make them stand we put them in these pails. After adding more plastic grass they were another great hiding spot.

Step 3: Use What We Have
I found pails, baskets, tubs around the church and filled them with plastic Easter grass (we have a lot of Easter grass). Then we looked for other options for hiding. There were 20 eggs on the Lego table and over 100 in our shoe rack. We even used wrapped shoe boxes to create spaces to hide eggs.

Step 4: Create A Preschool Space
The first year I learned two things, 1) younger children can be right in front of a blue egg and still not see it and 2) they get overwhelmed by the "big kids." To help them have an enjoyable experience we have a "Preschool Only" room.
We limit the hunters allowed in the room to age 5 and younger. We only have the bottom half open to deter older children from hunting in the younger kids space. To keep the room fun we "hid" eggs in the open in groups of twos and threes. There are a few more challenging hiding spots for the 4s and 5s, but the challenge is appropriate to the age. I make sure at least one volunteer is in this room to monitor what is going on and to stop older children from trying to hunt in the room.

Final Notes:
These are a few more details about how the hunt works at my church:
  • The hunt is Easter Sunday morning between the two services.
  • We decorate and hide the eggs Good Friday afternoon.
  • We would love to have the hunt out doors but living in Canada means we never know if it is going to snow and I am not going to risk it.
  • 720 is a lot of eggs, I would be overwhelmed by the hunt if it weren't for the great people who volunteer there time. Many people make the job easy, fun, and possible.
  • We used our main kids room and two smaller classrooms to hide. We put signs on doors of rooms we did not want kids searching.
  • We hide eggs in groups. Four or five eggs of the same colour/number in one hiding spot. The first children through have the easiest time but everyone seems to find it fun and challenging.
  • The way we do our hunt scales well. If you are expecting 8 children make 10 sets (to be prepared) and that's 120 eggs. If you are expecting 20 children, make 25 sets that's 300 eggs.    
Thanks for visiting, if you would like to read the earlier posts about our Easter Egg Hunt you can find them here:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday's Weekly Sketch #9 -Sunflower

I gave the scanner another chance:
I like the camera shot better:

The 720 Easter Egg Hunt Part 2: Making it Meaningful

Welcome to Part 2 of the 720 Easter Egg Hunt, Making It Meaningful!

Yesterday I introduced this three part Easter Egg Hunt in Part 1: How It Works. Thank you to everyone who commented or shared with me that you liked the post/idea. It was very encouraging. Tomorrow, I'll be sharing how we strategically decorated our space making it possible to hide 720 eggs in three open rooms.

Today is about what we put in the eggs and how we tried to make our Easter Egg Hunt meaningful. I was inspired by an article on Ministry-To-Children, Church Easter Egg Hunt Idea and Printable Gospel Booklet. Our hunt and booklet are little different. The first changes were because I could not find the same coloured eggs. We also decided to have a different number of eggs. I have details about how I made our booklet and where I found the items at the end of this article.

What's In the Book?
Once the children had found all their eggs, and one of the volunteer Easter Bunnies checked to make sure they had all different eggs (we numbered them 1-12). When they did, they were given a copy of "The Story Of Jesus: Told With Easter Eggs."

Inside Cover:

With the 12 eggs you have found
follow the story of Easter.
Each egg has a special
item inside to help you remember
the life of Jesus and why he died.

I would have liked every page to rhyme. I had to give up on that dream; I am not the next Dr. Susses. Writing the instructions rhyme (that I shared yesterday) took hours, maybe days to finish. If any word warriors out there are interested in collaborating with me to create a poetic version of the book please let me know.

Egg 1
Item(s): two gummy bears
Bible Verse: Genesis 1:1
Explanation: The story of Jesus starts at the very beginning of time. Look in the first egg, what do you find? The gummy bears remind us of everything God made. From the oceans and the sky, to the sun and stars, from the plants and fishes to the bears and butterflies, even me and you. God made it all.
Activity: Draw your favourite animals to finish the picture of God’s creation.

Egg 2
Item(s): life saver (individually wrapped)
Bible Verse: Romans 3:23
Explanation: Everything was good until people chose not to trust God. Sin entered and broke our friendship with God. The 2nd egg holds a Lifesaver candy. It lets us know that we couldn’t fix the problem of sin but God had a rescue plan.
Activity: shared activity with Egg 3

Egg 3
Item(s): Band-Aid and Heart Sticker*
Bible Verse: John 3:16
Explanation:God’s rescue plan was to send Jesus to the world. The third egg holds two things that tell us why. The heart sticker is a reminder that God loved us and the Band-Aid reminds us that Jesus came to heal our broken friendship.
Activity: Complete a maze to bring Jesus to the world

*The heart sticker was missing

Egg 4
Item(s): two gummy fish
Bible Verse: Matthew 14:17-21
Explanation: It was God’s love that sent Jesus to earth. At Christmas we celebrate the night of his birth. That was just the start. Jesus grew into a man who told people about God. He taught them about God’s love and how to live for God. He healed the sick and performed miracles.
Inside the 4th egg are two Swedish fish candy to remind us of one of those miracles.
Activity: Draw 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. How many people did Jesus feed? _____

Egg 5
Item(s): spearmint leaf
Bible Verse: John 12:12-13
Explanation: The 5th egg reminds us of palm branches used to celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
Activity: Draw the 4 missing palm branches to finish the picture.

Egg 6
Item(s): big foot gummy*
Bible Verse: John 13:4-5, 15
Explanation: A few nights after Jesus’ exciting entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus gathered with his friends to celebrate the Passover. This was the last meal he had with his disciples before he died on the cross. Jesus used that time to teach his friends how to help others and how to stay close to God. Inside the 6th egg you find a “Big Foot” candy. It reminds us of the example Jesus gave of how to serve. In the middle of the meal Jesus got up and washed his disciples feet. Jesus was showing us that we can help others even when the task is simple or dirty.
Activity: Can you find these words from the story: BOWL, DISCIPLES, EXAMPLE, FEET, JESUS, LORD, PASSOVER, PETER, SERVANT, TEACHER, WASH, WATER

*Someone ate the candy

Egg 7
Item(s): "gold" wrapped chocolate coin
Bible Verse: 1 John 2:2
Explanation: Look inside the 7th egg, the coins remind you of the reason Jesus died. Sin has a big cost. It is a price we could not pay. When Jesus died on the cross it was to pay the cost of our sins.
Activity: Shared the activity with Egg 8

Egg 8
Item(s): cross eraser*
Bible Verse: 1 John 1:9
Explanation: Jesus died on the cross because he loves you. That love is why He came to the earth. He wanted us to be free from our sin. The 8th egg has an eraser. It reminds us how Jesus forgives us of all the bad things we have done when we ask. Jesus removes those bad things from our life just like an eraser removes mistakes on a page.
Activity: Write actions and thoughts that are sins on the cross in pencil. Use your new eraser to remove the words.

*The eraser looks like another candy. We had to warn parents that it was not edible.

Egg 9
Item(s): gum ball*
Bible Verse: Mark 16:1-6
Explanation: The 9th egg holds a large gum ball, it is the large stone used to close Jesus’ tomb. The stone was too large to roll away. On that first Easter Sunday morning the women who went to the grave were in for a surprise. The stone had been moved and the grave was now empty. For Jesus was dead but now He is alive.
Activity: Draw Jesus outside the tomb.

*The first year we left this egg empty to symbolize the empty tomb. It confused my team of Easter Bunnies who were hiding the eggs, even after I explained the empty egg was intentional two went around adding jelly beans.

After I found all of the "empty" eggs and made sure they were empty it still backfired. During the hunt a few preschoolers bust into tears because they thought someone had eaten the eggs. I even saw one child taking some of her candy and putting it in empty eggs. I decided that not to have an empty egg in this type of hunt again.

Egg 10
Item(s): bubbles*
Bible Verse: Acts 1:9
Explanation: Open the 10th egg, the bubbles reminding us of how Jesus left the earth. Jesus told his friends good bye and rose up through the clouds.
Activity: Draw Jesus going behind the clouds.

*We have to change the item this year. I ordered the tiny bubble bottles from Oriental Trading company. They worked perfectly. Sadly they can no longer ship liquids by air.

Our current solution is to have a balloon in the egg. We also planning to have a helium tank and fill the balloons, after they are found. If you have a different suggestion, please let me know.

Egg 11
Item(s): gummy butterfly
Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17
Explanation: Jesus came to the world because God made us, loves us and wants to be our friend forever. When Jesus forgives our sins he removes them making room in our lives for God’s loves. The 11th egg hold butterfly candy, it reminds friends of Jesus are new people. Just like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. We become new creations when we believe and follow Jesus.
Activity: Colour the butterfly’s wings

Egg 12
Item(s): candy "Lego" blocks
Bible Verse: John 14:2-3
Explanation: Inside the last egg you find candy blocks. They remind us of a special promise Jesus made to his friends. Jesus said he was going to Heaven to prepare a special home for all of who believe in Him to live with Him forever.
Activity: Draw what you think Heaven will look like.

Where Did You Find the Items?
I bought last year's eggs from Wal-Mart. This year they only had pastel eggs, so I bought all 720 eggs from Michael's. I was fortunate and had a 20% off Entire Purchase coupon. If you are shopping at Michael's always check their site, flyer, or app for any coupons.

All of the candy was bought at the Bulk Barn. The band-aids we picked up from Michael's last year, I am not sure where I'll buy them this year. I liked the neon band-aids. I don't want to use character ones. The stickerscross erasers and tiny bubbles were ordered from the Oriental Trading company. I just realized that I forgot to order the stickers this year....I wonder if I can find heart candies?

How Was the Booklet Made?
Our booklet was created in Publisher. I also saved it as a pdf. The word search was made with a free word search creator I found online. I made maze in Excel. My method was more complicated than it needed to be...I have no suggestions on how to make one faster. I drew and scanned the drawings and edited them in GIMP. If you would like a copy of our booklet please let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

Come back tomorrow, I'll be sharing Part 3: Decorating the Space.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The 720 Easter Egg Hunt Part 1: How It Works

Easter is just 26 days away! I'm getting excited. I'm in the midst of preparing for our children's ministries annual massive Easter Egg Hunt. I was so proud of how the hunt has grown and improved over the past three years that I thought others might be interested in what we did, how we did it, and what we've learned.

This will be our second year hiding 720 eggs. All the pictures are from last year's Easter Egg Hunt. The one to your right was taken minutes before my many helpful "Easter Bunnies" hide all 720 eggs.

Three years ago, my Lead Pastor and I agreed that we wanted host a BIG egg hunt. I knew I wanted it to be fun and have purpose. After much googling, I found an article on Ministry-To-Children, Church Easter Egg Hunt Idea and Printable Gospel Booklet. Everything I've done has been build on their idea and booklet. I loved the work they did, and kept many of the same candy symblos. The first year we only had 6 eggs. Last year we had 12, so there has been adaptations but it was Jen Rhine of Crossings Community Church that got my creativity started. I even used the same free font PC Easter Egg font.

How The Hunt Works:
To make the hunt fair, each child is given a carton with the instructions on it. They have to fill the carton with one of each of the different coloured eggs. The first year we prepared 50 sets of 6 eggs. Last year we prepared 60 sets of 12 eggs.

The instructions are (you will not believe how look it took me to write this):

Look high and low and all around, there are 12 eggs that must be found.
You need all 12 so keep in mind each egg is a different that you’ll need to find;
 6 eggs are coloured bold and bright and 6 are pastel and very light.
The eggs are numbered as an added help, but if you’re in trouble just give a yelp.

When your carton is full and all 12 eggs are found,
return for a gift at the starting ground!

This was the "starting ground"
When a child had found all 12 eggs they were given "The Story of Jesus: told with Easter Eggs." Each egg holds a different item, and the items is connected with a part of the life of Jesus mentioned in the book with an activity and Bible verse.

Come back tomorrow and Thursday for parts two and three. 

Part 2: Making It Meaningful is all about what was in the eggs and the activity book.
Part 3: Decorating the Space is about how we created way to hide 720 in a small open space.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Wednesday's Weekly Sketch #8 -Cherry Tree for Sister

I just finished this week's sketch, it is something I started in 2013. I liked it but never thought I'd finish it till Sister requested a sketch of a cherry blossom tree in a rock garden last week.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

2015 Reading Challenges -March Review

We're two months into 2015, the reading has been going well. So, it is a perfect time to check in on the progress of the 15 reading challenges I've signed up for, here goes:

Outdo Yourself
Hosted by: Book Vixen
2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Level: I'm on Fire! -read 16+ books over last year.
My Goal: 30 books for a total of 40 read
Progress: 2 out of 30

Cloud of Witnesses
Hosted by: Becky of Operation Actually Read Bible
Level: Comfortable -6-8 Books by Christian Authors
My Goal: 6 Books Christian Authors
Progress: 2 out of 6
I read My One Word, totally worth reading.

Operation Deeper Faith
Hosted by: Becky of Operation Actually Read Bible
Level: No Levels
My Goal: Read the Bible
Progress: 14 out of 66 Books of the Bible

Library Challenge
Hosted by:
Level: Seasoned -17-22 items checked out
My Goal: 20 items checked out
Progress: 10 out of 20

Non-Fiction Reading Challenge
Hosted by: The Introverted Reader
Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography

Level: Explorer -6-10 non-fiction books
My Goal: 8 non-fiction books
Progress: 3 out of 8 books

TBR Pile
Hosted by: Evie Bookish

Level: A Firm Handshake -1-10 books from "my to read" pile
My Goal: 5 books from my "to be read" pile
Progress: 1 out of 5

Flights of Fantasy
Hosted by: Alexa Loves Books

Level: No Levels
My Goal: 10 fantasy books
Progress: 7 out of 10

New Author Challenge
Hosted by: Literary Escapism
Level: 15 new to me authors (I would have preferred a 5-10 level)
My Goal: 15 new to me authors
Progress: 3 out of 15

The Color Coded Reading Challenge
Hosted by: My Reader's Block

Level: No Levels
My Goal: Read 9 books that match the 9 color title/cover challenge goals
Progress: 1 out of 9
Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey

Cloak and Dagger
Hosted by: A Bookish Girl

Level: Amelia Peabody -10 mystery/suspense/thriller books
My Goal: 10 mystery books
Progress: 1 out of 10

Fairy Tale Challenge
Hosted by: Daily Prophecy
The Daily Prophecy

Level: Magic Mirror -5-9 books that retell a fairy tale
My Goal: 5 books
Progress: 1 out of 5

Audiobook Challenge
Hosted by: The Book Nympho

Level: Socially Awkward -15-20 audio books
My Goal: 15 audio books
Progress: 0 out of 15

What Would Jane Do
Hosted by: Mrs. Vucci of Writing Our Fairy Tale
Level: Jane's Wisdom -3-5 Austin or Austin inspired books and 3-5 Austin movies
My Goal: 3 books and 3 movies
Progress: 1 out of 6

Harry Potter Re-Read
Hosted by:
Level: Seventh Year -I have read all of the Harry Potter Books
My Goal: Since I missed the start of this challenge, I am going to try and re-read 1-3 before it's over to count as a win but I also want to re-read the whole series before December 31st, 2015
Progress: 3 out of 4 and 3 out of 7

Reading Challenge Addict
Hosted by: Reading Challenge Addict
Reading Challenge Addict
Level: In Flight -enter and complete 11-15 reading challenges
My Goal: 15 challenges (including this one)
Progress: 0 out of 15