Atlanta Area Truth in the Tinsel Swap Registration is OPEN!

It’s time!

If you’re in or around Atlanta and want to come to my Truth in the Tinsel Swap Party you can sign up NOW!

tnt collage swap atl

But first, a few things you should know…

1. The party is on Sunday, October 12 at 5:30pm. It will be held at Mount Paran North1700 Allgood Road Marietta GA.

2. There is a $10 registration/I-promise-I’ll-be-there/help cover a few things donation/fee. There are only 50 spots available right now, so sign up as soon as you can!

3. In order to attend, you must sign up to bring craft supplies for 22 children. Each available party slot is a craft. For example, you may sign up for “Day 1 – Candle” and bring all the supplies for 22 kids to complete the candle craft.

4. You must sign up per child. If you have 3 children, sign up for 3 craft slots. Basically, you walk in with supplies for 3 kids, you walk out with supplies for 3 kids.

5. Childcare is provided. $5 per kid. You’ll see a prompt for signing up on the registration form.

6. Some crafts require many supplies and others only a few. As you prep each bag, make sure you have the appropriate size and amount of every supply. You may need to make one craft just to help you know how to pack it. (For example, how much yarn will be needed to make those crazy sheep?!)

7. Some crafts require weird supplies. Sorry! If you’re looking for small jars, or lots of old CDs or some other random thing you can’t find (or can’t find for cheap), get creative! Go to thrift stores, ask your Facebook friends to look around their house, scour Craigslist. It’s ok if supplies are used, I’m all about recycling. But please do your best to keep the supplies as close to the ebook as possible. It might look like an easy switcheroo substitute to you, but maybe not to the mama who’s taking your craft home and won’t open it for two months.

8.  It’s going to be LOTS OF FUN! I’ve got some special surprises in store for you. I want you to expect a Girl’s Night Out, not a work night! (And yes, that means food will be served!)

9. I AM GOING TO BE THERE! That’s right! I get to meet you! My little heart is so excited to meet mamas who love and have experienced Truth in the Tinsel like I have! If this weren’t an ebook, I’d do a book signing. I mean, not that you want my autograph. I’m just saying, I’m super excited to meet all of you. *blush*

10. And yes, we’ll be playing Christmas music. *grin*

If you’re still a little confused, here’s a quick video of you walking me through the sign-up process:

Ready? SIGN UP HERE!

Save the Date!!

Atlanta-area Truth in the Tinsel Swap Party coming October 12!!

 

See initial details on my personal blog and then stick around for the registration announcement!!

A New Year To Lead Our Kids To Jesus

new year truth tinsel

It’s New Year’s Eve! Christmas is being quietly tucked away and Truth in the Tinsel will be a happy quiet memory until next year. But, if you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying the simple quiet daily meditations on God’s Word. You’re wondering how you can continue this focus on Jesus in your normal non-Christmasy life.

Well, I’m here to help! *grin*

On January 13th, I’m beginning a new devotions-activities-for-kids series on my blog based on Proverbs. Not all 31 of ‘em, but several Scriptures I think my kids need to know (ok, I probably need them, too!).

Each week we’ll do some memory verse work and 1-2 crafts or activities go go with it. I’m planning it all out now and you can follow along on my adventure with my kids to then recreate and copy with your kiddos! I’m excited about it because Proverbs is so practical. They are little concentrated pieces of Scripture I think will be perfect for my kids to internalize, hold onto and call to memory when they need it!

You can see my How To Be A SuperHero series,  Fruit of the Spirit series or the Armor of God series to get a feel of how this Proverbs series might go.

How To Be a Super Hero // family devotions from ohAmanda.com

Fruit of the Spirit series from ohAmanda.com

But wait! There’s more!

To make sure you don’t miss any of this new Proverbs series, I highly recommend you subscribe to my blog via email. You’ll get my latest posts to your inbox as they are published. OR you can sign up for my monthly newsletter where I’ll highlight the series and include other fun resources and fun ideas. (Or do both!)

No matter how you sign up, you’ll get a free copy of my ebook, How To Pray God’s Word For Your Kids. It’s got ten simple prayers, Scriptures, devotions and family activities to lead your heart in praying for your kids. It’s a big gift from my little heart to yours. I know you’ll enjoy it!

So, what are you waiting for?! Sign up and get ready for January 13th and Proverbs!

Oh. And thank you. Thank you for this year of Truth in the Tinsel. I had so much fun experiencing it with you and your kids. Your pictures, emails and comments were awesome and so encouraging! Only 334 more days till we do it again! 

It’s Not Too Late!

I think I told you the first week of December is crazy around here. Everyone is on a high of I’m-totally-making-Christmas-count-this-year and emails are flying, pictures are being posted and everyone is loving Truth in the Tinsel.

Then the 12th or 13th day rolls around and you’ve got glitter on your floor, glue sticks under your kitchen table, Christmas parties to plan and just not enough time to do everything.

Or maybe you just got your head out of Thanksgiving and school to realize ACK! Christmas is just NINE days away! What am I going to do? I have to make Christmas count this year!

It's not too late to make Christmas count! truthinthetinsel.com

Are you ready for my advice?

It’s some sage wisdom.

Get ready.

Here it is:

Relax.

Seriously. It’s OK. You don’t have to do all 24 days of the Truth in the Tinsel ornaments. You don’t. And if you’ve just realized Christmas is around the corner and you haven’t mentioned Jesus’ birth once, it’s OK.

Guess what? A Christmas that counts? It can happen in one conversation, one snuggle on the couch or one small act of service. Christmas is not about DOING ALL THE THINGS. Christmas is about worship. (I think I may have been on this soapbox once already?!)

So, if you’re behind on your Truth in the Tinsel ornaments or want to start right now, here’s some tips:

1. Buy the Truth in the Tinsel ebook. (Just checking!)

2. Buy the Printable Ornaments. (They are only $3.99 and it will make your cray-cray days just a little bit easier!)

3. Look at the alternate schedules on page 33 of your ebook. There are 4 different schedules to choose from–one for the basic characters, one of each book of the Bible, one for the prophecies and one for the basics. Don’t even LOOK at the other ornaments and days you’re skipping over. Just do the alternate schedule and enjoy.

OR

3b. Look through the book and pick 5-6 ornaments you have the supplies for, like the message or just think are cute. Do those days and NOTHING ELSE!

4. ENJOY. Just enjoy the time to sit with your children and lead them to Jesus.

To sweeten the deal, I’m putting the Printable Ornaments on sale for 24 hours only. Take 20% off the ornaments with code ICANDOTHIS. Expires Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 4pm EST.

Why Does Truth in the Tinsel Work?

The first week of Truth in the Tinsel is a busy one. Everyone is figuring out how to fit in a half hour to do crafts with their kids. Christmas parties and gifts have already started along with decorations and every other Christmas-y thing that “must” be done.

So, not only am I experiencing all that at home with my own kids and schedule, I’m also getting emails from all of you–everything from thank you’s to download problems to oh-my-goodness-advent-starts-today?! to questions about theology. I was feeling up to my eyeballs in all this Christmasy, Truth in the Tinsely stuff earlier this week when this tweet stopped me in my tracks:

Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands

All that tiredness and stress just melted away! A little girl gave her heart to Jesus during Truth in the Tinsel! How cool is that?!

I asked Amanda to email me so I could hear the whole thing–I wanted to know how Truth in the Tinsel fit into her story. I mean, it was only December 5th, so we haven’t even got to Jesus yet!

Here’s an excerpt of her story:

I hung the clue chain around a little tree and we only do the coloring ornaments that we then hang on the little tree. Today we completed Days 4 and 5. I was already behind one day! We talked about Gabriel and then we did Mary. I read Luke 1:26-38 after each clue and ornament. We talked about believing what God says and about Jesus.

I asked my daughter, do you believe that Jesus died on the cross? She replied yes. She’s has heard the story before. Then I asked her, do you want to pray and accept Jesus into your heart? She said yes!…We talked about what sin is and how Jesus died for us. We talked about John 3:16 and what it means to have eternal life. Then she repeated out loud a prayer that her daddy led her in. She is a shy girl and wouldn’t normally pray out loud, but she did for this moment. She knows the scriptures from AWANA, she knows some of the stories, but tonight it became real for her. 

Doing the Truth in the Tinsel gave me a way to talk about Jesus every day. The kids expect it and nag me about opening the next clue. I need the “Talk about it together” script to ask my kids questions about the scripture reading. The questions give me a way to introduce Biblical discussions into our daily lives. While my daughter colored an ornament with a picture of Mary we were able to talk about what it means to believe God and what His word says about Jesus.  

Thank you. Truth in the Tinsel gives me an easy way to talk about Jesus in my home. Tonight that discussion time led to a prayer of salvation. I will be eternally grateful.

Did you hear that last part? “Truth in the Tinsel gives me an easy way to talk about Jesus in my home”.

Why does Truth in the Tinsel work? // truthinthetinsel.com

 

It’s not really the Truth in the Tinsel devotion that’s so good. It’s not the ornaments or the talking points or the extra activities. There is nothing holy about this little ebook.

You know what it is?

Parents are taking time out every single day to purposefully talk to their kids about Jesus. Regular moms and dads are opening up God’s Word and planting it deep in their children’s hearts. THIS is what makes the difference.

And the thing is, if you don’t focus on God’s Word in December you will be focusing on something–we bake dozens of cookies, spend money on too many gifts, think of elaborate shenanigans for an elf on the shelf, read Christmas books daily and more.

But what if?

WHAT IF we spent all of December teaching our kids about Jesus? What if we put our energy into thinking up creative, dare I say magical ways to make Jesus’ story big and exciting in their hearts?

What if we chose to be purposeful with our celebration and made it actually focus on Jesus?!

Friends, if you’re reading this, you probably are being purposeful with Jesus’ birth. You are doing Truth on the Tinsel or some other Jesus-centric Advent activity. But can I just remind you of something? This time you are giving your kids is of eternal importance! The special ways you bring sparkle and excitement to Bible stories and the knowledge of Jesus in December will open up conversations, pierce hearts and soften spirits.

Truth in the Tinsel works not because there is anything special about it. Truth in the Tinsel works because YOU work. When YOU are purposeful and work hard to lead your kids to Jesus, God will do what He said and speak and move and do miracles in the hearts of your children.

Yesterday, I saw this beautiful question on my friend, Robin’s instagram stream:

Are you celebrating a season or worshipping a Savior? // a question from robindance.me at truthinthetinsel.com

I want to worship a Savior. I want my kids to see December as a month of worship. Not because we don’t focus on Jesus all year–we do. But because this month is already glittery and shiny, I want them to see it glowing with Jesus and His gifts. I want them to turn that excitement back to worship to Him!

Will you join me in worshipping Jesus this season? Will you be purposeful this Christmas season–not on celebrating the season but worshipping the Savior?

A Real Mom Adapts Truth in the Tinsel For Little Kids

This is a guest post by my friend, Lindsey. We found each other via blogs and connected over Children’s Ministry and Truth in the Tinsel. You know I want Truth in the Tinsel to be easy and empowering. Not hard and overwhelming. Lindsey shares today about how she’s adapted  Truth in the Tinsel for the very littlest kids…

using Truth in the Tinsel with the littlest of kiddos // truthinthetinsel.com

When I first spotted Amanda’s amazing resource, Truth in Tinsel, I was eager to try it. Even though my daughter was only 2 at the time, I wanted to begin to help her understand the Christmas story. My son was only one, but often wanted to be “part of the experience”, so I tried my best to adapt Amanda’s brilliant suggestions for my kids tiny hands and short attention spans. If you’re in the same boat, read on to gather up some ideas for your own family (not every day is listed). It’s never too early to share the good news of Christmas in a hands-on way!

As for the Scripture, I generally found a matching story from a Children’s Bible such as the Read and Share Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, or the Preschooler’s Bible. If I couldn’t find an exact match up, we simply read through the Christmas story in general.

For the coordinating Scripture, discussion questions and more, pick up your own copy of Truth in Tinsel. There’s still time to make some wonderful Christmas memories with your kids!

Day 1: Candle Ornament (Light of the World)

For this ornament, we still used the candle template, but substituted construction paper for tissue paper. It was much easier for the kids to handle, though the light didn’t shine through quite as nicely. Another idea is to just use the candle in the front and a solid black circle as the background. Kids could easily cover the back and not have to worry about pieces falling through all the little holes.

Coordinating Coloring Pages At:

Coordinating Book: The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children

Day 2: Crown Ornament

This simple crown ornament is perfect for almost any age. At our day care Christmas party, we had kids aged 18 months all the way to 2nd grade participating, and everyone loved it. We did have the youngest kids use glitter instead of jewels.

Truth in Tinsel

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 4: Angel Ornament

For this super fun ornament, we simply substituted construction paper for the suggested wrapping paper to make it more sturdy.

angel

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 5 & Day 6: Mary & Elizabeth

Since Mary and Elizabeth were both included on the day six template, we just combined these projects and skipped making a separate Mary. One day five we painted and constructed the ladies, and then on day six, we role played using our new characters (I put them on Popsicle sticks for easy handling). It was so fun hearing the kids retell the story with the puppets. I love the idea of the pop-dot. What a good idea!

Mary and Elizabeth

Day 7: Mary’s Song

For these CD ornaments, we used stickers to decorate the CD’s. Kids loved it and it’s terrific fine motor practice. Of course, we had Christmas songs playing as we worked. :)

Truth in Tinsel

Day 8: Jesus is like the Rising Sun

For this project, we simply painted a paper plate yellow like the sun. Use finger paints if you’re brave! If you look closely, you can see the Bible reference across the bottom. I also wrote “Jesus is like the Rising Sun” across the top after I took this picture. If I were to do it again, I would write the Scripture and title more to the inside and then cut triangles along the outside to make the plate look more a shining sun. This project is a little abstract young kids, but we did talk about how Jesus was the light of the world (again) and read through the book The Light of the World . If you’re using the Jesus Storybook Bible, pages 184 and 190 are great for this lesson.

Sun

Day 9: Joseph

For this one, we skipped trying to make a Joseph figure and used some Nativity “build-a-scene” stickers I had picked up from Oriental Trading recently. As can be expected, the stickers were pretty poor quality and my 18 month old kept ripping all the people to shreds before they made it to the paper. As a result, his Nativity scene looks a bit like a massacre!

Nativity Sticker Scene

There are also a ton of printable Nativity characters you can use for this too (to make a puppet like Mary and Elizabeth). Check My Little House, Making Friends, and Prepared Not Scared.

Day 10: Joseph’s Pillow

I appreciate the fact that making Joseph’s pillow is a no-sew project! However, even the pipe cleaner method seemed to be a bit too taxing for our crew. I had some scrap fabric in the craft drawer, so I had each kid pick out their material and then we cut it to about double the size of a pillow. I hot glued two edges (one was sealed by the fold) and then had the kids stuff cotton balls inside. Once the pillow was filled, I hot glued the remaining edge. Then we played out the scene from the Bible (again and again!). We also made a matching blanket to complete the scene. (We used a stick puppet from the printables I listed in Day 9)

Joseph's Pillow

Every time we finished, my 2 year old exclaimed, “Again! Let’s do it again!”. So again we would go! About 4-5 times into it though, Joseph started singing a different tune. Instead of getting up and listening to the angel — he would start saying “Go away, angel. I’m very sleepy.” Oops. That’s not how the story goes!

Day 11: Jesus Name Collage

For this day, we made a “Name Train” to help the kids recognize their own name as well as Jesus’ name. We talked about how everyone’s name is special and has a meaning. I told the kids why we picked their names as well as what Jesus’ name meant.

Name Train

Day 12: Mary, Joseph and the Census

The theme of this day is the census, so instead of making the jar ornament, we lined all our Little People figures and wooden peg people up and counted them as they were “on their way to Bethlehem”. If you want to get really official about it, use an abacus to do your counting!

Truth in Tinsel

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 14: Stable Ornament

For this one, we made a stable out of craft sticks still, but glued it onto a piece of construction paper instead of making an ornament.

Craft Stick Christmas Manger

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 16: Sleeping Jesus in Blanket

Today, we skipped the craft project and did some dramatic play with baby dolls instead. We practiced wrapping up our dolls and rocking them as Mary would have wrapped and rocked Jesus.

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 17: Sheep Ornament

Nothing screams sheep like a heaping pile of cotton balls. For this, I had the kids glue cotton balls to a small paper plate and then I added little legs and a head when they were done.

Cotton Ball Sheep

Day 19: Shepherds

More dramatic play fun for this day. Instead of making shepherds, we acted out what it would be like to be “keeping watch over the flocks at night”. I pretended I was the angel and the kids fell down when I “appeared”. I told them not to be afraid and then encouraged them to run to another room to find the baby Jesus, wrapped up in swaddling clothes. The kids loved it!

Day 20: Star Ornament

For this one, I found a fun folding star trick to do with the kids. I would fold the paper and get it ready, and all they would have to do is make one straight line cut. We would unfold it to find a lovely star! You can find the full directions for the fold and cut star here.

Fold and Cut Star

 

Day 22: Wise Men

Tomorrow’s lesson focuses on the gifts the wise men brought, so for today, we got out the child-friendly nativity set and acted out the wise men’s journey to see the baby.

Day 24: Birthday Cake

Today, we made a birthday cake in anticipation for Jesus’ birthday tomorrow. It’s standard chocolate, and I’m thinking of letting the kids eat it for breakfast to demonstrate just what a wonderful day Christmas is!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

What About You?

Have have you made the Truth in Tinsel experience your own? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Lindsey Whitney is a mom of two, home day care provider, Children’s Ministry director and blogger over at Growing Kids Ministry. Growing Kids Ministry is a blog designed to help parents, teachers, and Children’s Ministry workers who want to help the kids they love grow in their faith. Lindsey loves books, coffee, springtime, and a really loud thunderstorm. You can connect with her via twitter or on facebook.

Decorating for Christmas (Giveaway & Coupon!)

Win Scripture and Holiday prints from Lamplights Shop and truthinthetinsel.com // + a coupon code

One of my favorite things about Christmas (and Truth in the Tinsel) is that we have reminders of Jesus’ birth hanging out where we can see them! Our house is covered from head to toe in special decor that helps us remember Jesus’ gift to us. Even in my non-Christmasy life, I like to have God’s Word in front of our eyes everyday.

I want Scriptures to be a part of our home just like Deuteronomy says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

(Don’t you just see Truth in the Tinsel fitting perfectly in this verse?!)

I have some Naptime Diaries, Red Letter WordsAMEN Designs and Hope Ink Scripture prints in my own home. (I’ve even got a few I made on my own!) And I am always on the lookout for new cute prints to display. I’ve recently been introduced to Lamplights’ shop. It was founded by two women who desired to follow Deuteronomy 6 and display God’s Word so it would sink deep into families’ hearts. I love this!

They have some beautiful Christmas carol prints. I pinned this one weeks ago. Isn’t it lovely?


Win Scripture and Holiday prints from Lamplights Shop and truthinthetinsel.com // + a coupon code

Wouldn’t this one be lovely for Day 11?

Win Scripture and Holiday prints from Lamplights Shop and truthinthetinsel.com // + a coupon code

They have created over 60 gorgeous prints I want to hang in my home all year long! Don’t you love this idea of putting these prints in an old window frame?

Win Scripture and Holiday prints from Lamplights Shop and truthinthetinsel.com // + a coupon code

I’m joining Jenn from Applegate Summers and Danielle from This Life I Live to give away two Lamplights prints (your choice!) to THREE different winners! How fun is that?! Sounds like  Christmas gift to me!

Win Scripture and Holiday prints from Lamplights Shop and truthinthetinsel.com{wanna pin this image to spread the Christmasy word?}

Oh, and speaking of gifts, Lamplights is offering 10% off their shop with code ADVENT2013 (expires 12/12).

Go ahead and enter using the Rafflecopter widget below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Truth in the Tinsel 2013 is HERE!

truth tinsel jamie 2 watermark

It’s time! It’s time! Today is the day we begin Advent—or more technically, we begin to wait for the advent, the arrival of Jesus. These next 24 days can be a countdown, yes. They can even be a time of learning. But more importantly, these 24 days should be a stair step to building excitement in our hearts.

We aren’t just getting ready for gifts and family. We’re not just learning a story. We are placing our hearts in the exact same place the world was 1000′s of years ago while they awaited their Rescuer, their Savior, their Deliverer!

Here we are, on the other side of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We get the huge privilege of knowing about God, knowing that Christmas is about Him. And we get to lead our children (and our own hearts) in remembering and recognizing His love for us.

truth tinsel jamie watermark 3

As you sit down with your kids this month, lead them in crafts, read them Bible verses and have conversations about the King of Kings, I pray your hearts and minds would be turned to His voice. I pray this year would be the year. The year your children get it. The year they recognize and understand baby Jesus was born for them–to know them, to love them and ultimately to die for them. I pray they would see Jesus not as a baby but as their King, the Light of the world and their best friend!

Friends, this is what you get to do this year! This is what Truth in the Tinsel is all about. It’s not about perfect crafts, perfect devotions or perfect family times. Advent is about celebrating for the arrival of Jesus!

truth tinsel jamie watermark

One of my favorite parts of Truth in the Tinsel is the online community–I love seeing your pictures, hearing your stories and connecting with like-minded people leading their kids to Jesus. I’d love for you to join us in sharing your Truth in the Tinsel adventures this year! How can you do it? Here’s a few simple ways…

Use the hashtag #truthinthetinsel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Update pics of your ornaments, your kids or the aftermath of your craft-time. :)

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Join our Facebook community and update with pictures, stories, tips and even questions. Just click “Recent Posts By Others” to see what everyone is saying!
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If you’re a blogger and are posting about Truth in the Tinsel, link up your posts here so we can all enjoy them!



Merry Christmas and Happy Truth in the Tinsel, friends!

How To Plan, Organize and ROCK a Truth in the Tinsel Swap

This is a guest post from a Truth in the Tinsel fan, Children’s Ministry alum and all around amazing woman, Sunny Cote.

how to plan organize rock truth tinsel swap

We mamas have good intentions.  Really, we do.  But if you are anything like me, the daily grind of feeding, diapering, cleaning, educating, discipling and refereeing takes up a great deal of time and a blink later it’s bedtime for our little cherubs and our plans for a fun tea party/pinterest worthy crafts/fill-in-the-blank/ fly out the window like a kite dancing in the sky on a windy day!  Does anyone feel me?

And then, there’s December.  I actually LOVE everything about Christmas.  I love having the opportunity to teach my kids about the true reason for celebrating Christmas-the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  However, December can get awfully busy and unless I’m super purposeful all those good intentions can easily get pushed aside as I prepare for guests, parties, shopping, food…it can be so overwhelming!

But then amidst the busyness comes the soft, sweet reminder of Jesus speaking to Martha in Luke 10 “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Mamas, it is a busy season, but shouldn’t we choose the one thing that truly matters?  Shouldn’t we make certain our children learn the wonderful news of our Savior’s birth and worship Him?

Well, that is exactly why my family LOVES Truth in the Tinsel! It is such a fun and purposeful way to focus the Christmas season on Jesus every day.  And best yet, my kids beg to have our devotion time every day!  Now I’ll admit that I am a craft lover and my 4 kids (ages 7, 6, 4, & 2) are craft fanatics, but it can be a bit daunting to gather lots of craft supplies and organize them for each day of Advent; I get it.  But guess what?  There is an amazingly easy way to gather, prepare and organize all the Truth in the Tinsel crafts and you don’t have to do it all by yourself!!  After all, when you get a group of girlfriends together, ain’t nothin’ we can’t do!

And, this is where the idea for doing a “Busy Bag” style Truth in the Tinsel Swap was born.

truth tinsel swap 4

Interested?  Well, read on my sisters!

In order to organize a Truth in the Tinsel Activity Swap, you simply need a group of women who would like to participate.  I began by sharing my experience with T in the T by showing everyone my printed ebook placed in page protectors in a binder, pictures of my kids doing the crafts and sharing a few of the wonderful spiritual conversations that resulted from doing these activities.  Afterward, there were masses of women asking to participate.

So, I simply passed around a sign-up sheet for each mom to fill in their name, email, and the number of children in their family that would be participating in the crafts.  Next, I sent each mom an email asking them to purchase and download their own copy of T in the T and to email me once they did this.

Then, I sent a second email with the swap date, supplies that everyone needed to plan to have on hand such as glue, markers, glitter glue, etc. and finally the craft assignments for each mom.  So, depending on the number of women participating each mom would be assigned one of the 24 days and they would only purchase supplies and prepare for that one craft, but they would make enough for all the children who were participating.

truth tinsel swap 2

Each mom would then prepare craft supplies (not prepared crafts—just supplies for the craft) and place them in a baggie, labeled according to the appropriate day.  For example, if I was participating and I was supposed to prepare crafts for 42 children, and my assigned day was “Day 3” I would prepare 42 bags and place inside each one enough supplies to make the Zechariah ornament and label all the bags “Day 3.”

On the day of the swap, each mom should bring their prepared craft bags as well as a large paper bag with their last name and the number of T in the T kits they ordered clearly marked on the bag.  This paper bag will be what the leave with at the end of the swap party.  The person organizing would then line up the prepared days of crafts in numerical order.

I highly recommend making this a fun, social time for moms to perhaps have a cup of tea or coffee and visit while a couple of organizers prepare all of the family bags.  This helps to ensure that each family bag gets the right number of each craft…you know, fewer hands equals fewer errors.   Here is the very best news, after the organizers prepare the family bags, each mom walks away with their entire T in the T kit for all of their children assembled and ready to go for all 24 days of the Advent season!  Can I get an AMEN?!!

So there you go mamas!  This is a way to equip not only yourself, but all your sister friends as well!  Can you imagine the impact that working together to make this happen will have on all our children?  What if you presented this idea to your MOPs group at church or your small group?  What if your Children’s Ministry program got on board?  Can you imagine the impact this might have on families who aren’t yet Christ-followers, but who attend MOPs or another similar program to socialize with other moms? I can’t wrap my mind around the possibilities, but God can!  And just maybe YOU could be a small part of His BIG story this Christmas season!

sammy coteSunny Coté is a wife and mama of 4 children, ages 7, 6, 4 & 2, who keep her on her toes! She has worked in children’s ministry for the past 7 ½ years and served most recently as the Director of Training & Development at a large mega church in the Washington D.C. area. Sunny is passionate about equipping families to live out an everyday faith and enjoys speaking on various topics related to parenting and children’s ministry.

Note from Amanda: Are you so inspired by this?! You know, it’s not too late to get this together. You could even set up a swap for Days 5-24 and have a party the first of December! And if you don’t have 24 mamas who want to participate, you could just have 12 and everyone could prepare two crafts. If you have a question or a great idea about hosting a Truth in the Tinsel swap, please leave a comment below so we can all talk about it!

10 Simple Ways to Have Fun with Your Printable Ornaments

asa pout truth tinsel paper ornament pic

Each day of Truth in the Tinsel, you are making a ornament craft with your child. That’s 24 ornaments! One ornament every day. And I know (I KNOW!) how hard that is to get together.

That’s why we created the Printable Ornaments. For those days you just can’t get all the craft supplies out, or maybe you don’t have all the supplies on hand, or you’re traveling or you got home at 20 minutes before bedtime. Or you are just too tired!

With the printable ornaments you can still read the devotion from Truth in the Tinsel and then color that day’s ornament and call it a day!

But just because it’s a coloring sheet doesn’t mean they can’t be fun and creative! So, here’s my Top Ten Favorite (EASY) Ways To Add a Little Ooomph to Your Printable Ornaments!

1. Watercolors

watercolors printable ornament list

Yeah, I know. Paint! But honestly, watercolors aren’t very messy! They clean up well and if you get out of the lines it looks artistic and classy!

2. Colored Pencils

colored pencil printable ornament list

I love to do hashmarks with colored pencils. You just draw lines in one direction, then switch and do the other direction. It’s easy for kids who can’t color big areas and it looks really cool, too!

3. Fingerprints

fingerprint printable ornament list

My kids love making fingerprints! You can use an ink pad or even just color your finger with a marker. And how fun to see fingerprints from years past? *sniff*

4. Scrapbook

Look at this fabulous idea from Vintage Gwen!

5. Glitter Glue

glitter glue printable ornament list

OK. I know. This sounds horrible. But y’all, glitter glue is like magic! You squeeze the tube, it comes out quickly and you’ve got 3D sparkly paint! The kid love it and it’s super easy to use.

6. Stickers

stickers printable ornament list

I collect stickers. I’ve still got stickers from when I was in elementary school. (It might be a sickness.) My kids love sorting through them and they are perfect for decorating anything!

7. Construction Paper

construction paper printable ornament list

So, this is more about displaying than coloring, but just cut out a little circle and glue your ornament to it. Doesn’t it look lovely? Makes a marker-ed coloring sheet look like something a little fancy!

8. Scented Paint

scented paint printable ornaments list

Yes, scented paint. Just add a drop or two of peppermint, vanilla or your favorite extract to a small bottle of paint (or add dry kook-aid if you want something fruity) and your kids can paint a super scent-sational ornament! (This would be perfect for day 23!)

9. Laminate

Why didn’t I think of this before?! Laminate your ornaments! And even better, put them on a clip like Mama Jenn did. I love this.

10. And my very favorite idea–the one that inspired this whole list: SHRINKY DINKS!

shrinky dink printable ornament list

Did you know you can buy shrinky dink paper for your printer? Just print off the ornaments on the special paper, color with crayons or markers, cut, punch a hole in top and bake. VOILA!

How fun is that?! Of course, the whole point of the Printable Ornaments is to make it easy for you. They are just a supplement to the Truth in the Tinsel ebook–but, if you’ve done Truth in the Tinsel before and want to change things up or don’t have all the supplies for the ornaments included in the ebook, these ideas are fun!

Want to purchase your own Printable Ornaments? They are only $3.99!

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Merry Christmas, friends!