Children’s Gospel Resources

It’s hard to find kids Gospel-centered resources are really on mission, centered around Christ and not just teaching morals and about “being good”. Here are some that we have found and can recommend to you. I am sure there are many more out there and I can’t wait to discover those, too. If you have any recommendations for me, please comment!

All of these books are good for toddler and preschool age (since that’s where we’re at), though I think they can go far beyond that.

BOOKS

Our #1 and #2 spots go to the Bible for kids:

The Jesus Storybook Bible

AMAZING… for you and your child. See Christ in every story of the Bible!


The Big Picture Story Bible

Also a great Bible. The two Bibles have different stories in them and they are good in different ways. This Bible looks at the Word of God as a whole, not separate stories like Jonah or Daniel in the Lion’s Den (both of those stories actually aren’t in here). The goal of this Bible is to look at Redemptive history as a whole- the Why’s and the How’s of Jesus’ coming to Earth to save us from our sins.

“My Favorite Verses” books
We only have one of these so I can’t vouch for the whole series, but this is such a good book! We’ll be getting a few more eventually so I will update if anything is wacky.
The Church History ABC’s
So cute– and we are learning as well! Short little biographies (a paragraph) on different people who made an impact for Christ throughout history. A is for Augustine, T for Tertullian, etc… We love this book!
“Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers” Series
There are 3 of these, The Gospel, The Trinity, and The Mission and they are really simple and well written! Kids love them and they have good illustrations.
The Squire and the Scroll (for boys)
and
The Princess and the Kiss (for girls)
I have not personally read the Princess book, but the Squire and the Scroll is a big hit with boys who want to slay dragons with swords! And has a great message about guarding your eyes and your heart and so forth.
Jesus Wants All of Me
This is a cute little devotional for kids. They are REALLY short and have a cute picture on each page for the kids to look at while you are reading the few sentences to them. It is an adaptation from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest”. I can’t say I have thought every page was this life-changing, all important gospel message and some pages are quite silly, but I think it is overall very good!
(Let me clarify by saying you don’t really have to use discernment when reading, its just that not all of them are lessons you need to really teach your 3 year old…. but most are about Jesus so thumbs up for that!)
My 1st Book of Questions and Answers
This is a Chatecism book for kids. The first questions go something like this: “Who made you?” God. “Why did God make you?” To glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.
This books helps you to give your child biblical answers that are simple and concise. We read this book over and over with our son so that he gets these answers down in his head. Periodically throughout the day, while he is playing or what not,  we will say, “Who made you?” and then “Why did He make you?”, etc… Though these are rote answers and mostly memorization for a child of his age, it is important for him to know the Truth, before He even truly believes it in his heart.
The Beginners Bible “I Can Read” Series
This series of books is really simple and has absolutely nothing controversial to say in it, being very positive and upbeat (i.e., “Jesus loved many people. Jesus had lots of friends.”) But they are books for beginning or pre-readers so it is appropriate. They are cute and well-liked by kids.

TV Shows and DVD’s

There is a LOT for kids in the way of Biblical and Gospel Centered and they are so fun and well-made! Here are some of our favorites:
Storykeepers– these are 1 hour long cartoon episodes about the early Church (persecution in Rome). It is all about this one family trying to teach others about Jesus while not being fed to the lions by Nero. This is definitely on the top of his request list if we ask our son what he wants to watch.
Little Buds ABC’s and 123’s. These say for ages 2-6 but I think they are even good for younger. We started watching these when our son was around 1. He loved them then and he loves them now!
Hillsong Kids worship. There are a few songs that aren’t totally up to the standard of “Christ-centeredness” like the lyrics, “I am happy to be me” (not that this is necessarily bad for a kid to be happy to be themselves, it’s just not worship…) But overall this is great and there are songs where these young kids are really worshipping with hands raised and hearts given to God. It’s neat for young children to see other kids doing this.
God Rocks– A mix of animation and real people singing Scripture songs and storylines to encourage kids to love God and love others. We watch them on TV but they do have DVD’s. Another one of the all-time favorites! He knows so many verses set to song because of these half-hour episodes (and the videos are pretty sweet for kids, too)
Friends And Heroes– similar to storytellers as far as the time period. Setting Biblical stories up in a historical context.
Nest Family Animated Stories from the Bible (and Animated Heros) are SO GOOD. Really, they are super cheesy and you wouldn’t think your kid would like them in this day of amazing animation, but they do! The songs are over the top and we laugh at them over and over again (The Joseph one… there is a song about dreams that goes, “Dreams, dreams, pools of subconscious”) This is a valuable resource. Really, we have considered cancelling cable but we may be keeping it for this very reason. The DVD’s are typically $20-$30 to buy (though, they have sales, like the one right now for Easter- $7.99).
For those without TV… and money… search for all of these on You Tube and see if you can find them there. (All of these are on cable channel TBN, too.) For those with some money, you can get most of these on Amazon, as well. Try getting used if they are out of print.
That’s all I have for now…
A note to the amount of money it is to buy things like this for your kids. Yes, it can cost you some, but aren’t all good things worth it? We spend money everywhere else for our kids, but what about investing in their spirit from a young age? We go to the Library and get a ton of books there, but you [usually] can’t get these types of things there! I encourage you to do what you can to make this a priority in your kids lives!
There may be a Part 2 of this post at some point in the future as we review and acquire additional books and resources.
Be blessed and enjoy learning and reading about the Good News with your family!
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Month of Meals: APRIL 2011

I thought I would streamline things a bit and make it easier on myself to pick and choose from the meals that I plan each month for my weekly menu. I decided to just make one big spreadsheet of all the meals and snacks for the month and just put it here once a month instead of the “Menu Plan Monday” thing.

Husband said I should make a blank spreadsheet for others to use if they are so inclined. Coming soon!

Until then, here is the last week of March and all of April. Just got back from our monthly shopping. Freezer, fridge, pantry full! Wallet, empty!

Month of Meals: APRIL

Hear my voice

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

John 10:27

My son, like most 3 year olds in this age of modern technology, gets completely engrossed in his “show” whenever the TV is on. Recently, we have been calling his name to tell him something or to tell him to come to the dinner table or what not… but he is totally in the zone. So much so that if you said “ice cream” or “sugar” or “Disneyland”, I still don’t think he would look up. I realize that this is probably very common. However, do you want your child to be common? Moreover, it is not only undesirable and annoying but also dangerous. If he doesn’t learn to listen to me when I call him, what would happen if his life or his safety or the safety of someone else was in danger. If he doesn’t learn to hear my voice, above all else, I am not able to communicate with him when it may be very, very important.

So, we are training him. We will turn on the TV and allow him to become ridiculously engrossed. When he is, we will call his name. When he doesn’t listen, we will stop the show and tell him the importance of listening for our voices even above Mickey or Babar. (And in so doing, we can also teach him a step further– the importance of listening for God’s voice throughout his day, too. Think Samuel, the boy prophet.) Then we will do it again. Slowly, he is learning to hear us.

And so the same with us. God speaks. His Spirit indwells. Like with Elijah, he whispers in a still, small voice. If we don’t learn to listen to God’s voice above all else– above all the noise, the static, the excitement of life, our most favorite things, be they good or bad– our very lives could be in danger. Our spiritual lives.

It is very common to miss the voice of God. There are thousands and millions of Christians on the face of this earth today. And how many of them are commonly not listening to the One voice that should rise above all the rest? How many are listening to the world, the flesh, the devil?

How many are in danger, even danger of complacency and apathy? How many are in danger of disobedience?

God wants us, his learning and growing children, to know His voice in a crowd, when we are checking Facebook or watching a movie, in a catastrophe, in an argument, and even in the peaceful moments of life. If we can’t hear Him, if we aren’t listening, then we can’t be obedient. And if we can’t obey, then we may miss out on of a blessing longing to be bestowed. We may miss an urgent plea to run, to flee. We may miss a whisper to love, to be gentle. We may miss that voice that says, turn around, I have something for you over there. Or “go back, apologize, humble yourself.” We may miss the voice of a loving Father to his little child.

Let’s listen for His voice and let’s learn to hear.

Quinoa and Black Beans

Another bowl of slop… but so good! And again, so cheap.  This is like rice and beans, but with quinoa instead of rice.

QUINOA & BLACK BEANS

  • 1 tsp. butter or olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 C uncooked quinoa, soaked for 24 hours. (See importance of soaking here and see how to soak quinoa here.)
  • 1 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin (or more)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional… or to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 C frozen corn
  • 2 15oz cans black beans (or 3-4 cups)
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro
  • sour cream and shredded cheese for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil and saute onion until browned. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant.

2. Rinse and drain quinoa. Put into saucepan and cover with chicken stock and spices. Add cooked onion and garlic to saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes or so.

3. Add frozen corn and continue to simmer about 5 minutes or until corn is heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro and serve.

[Note: I upped the amount of spices I put in mine but I didn’t make the exact amounts of anything either. Make sure you taste and add more if it is too bland.]

Variations:  Add steak, chicken, or shrimp. Add red, yellow or green peppers. Add jalapenos for heat.

[photo credit]

Pad Thai

We used to live in Florida and they had an AMAZING Thai restaurant there. Since then I haven’t had GOOD Pad Thai. One day I decided to make it but the recipe I had didn’t even sound good (it had ketchup in it!). I got a box of brown rice noodles at the store and on the back is a Pad Thai recipe.. that sounded so good! So I made it and it IS so good!!! Seriously a replica of that Thai restaurant (at least how I remember it… it’s been years now). So here it is to share with you. Totally the back of a box so you could get it yourself, but I thought I would share the wealth.

RESTAURANT-STYLE PAD THAI

4T olive oil or coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
8-10 medium shrimp, peeled & deveined or 8 oz. chicken or 1# steak (I use steak)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pkg. brown rice noodles (cooked- soaked in hot water for 8-10 minutes)
1 cup fresh bean sprouts

Sauce: 4 T lime or lemon juice
3 T fish sauce
3 T sugar (I omit, but I am sure you could use some honey or other natural sweetener here as the sugar gets dissolved anyway)
1-2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes

Garnish: 2 T cilantro, chopped
3 T roasted peanuts, crushed
3 T green onions, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut in wedges

Heat wok or pan over high heat. Add 2 T oil, garlic and meat. Cook  until shrimp is opaque or until meat is browned; set aside. Add remaining 2 T oil and 2 eggs, then scramble. Reduce heat to low; add sauce and noodles. Toss until well-mixed. Add meat and bean sprouts.  Toss well. Garnish with cilantro, peanuts, green onions and lime wedges.

[photo credit]

Quinoa Meatballs

Again, with the no/low-carb meals.

Quinoa is actually not a grain, it is a member of the grass family and related to beets and spinach.

Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and co-author of Nourishing Traditions, says: “Quinoa is a staple food of the Incas and the Indians in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia… Quinoa contains 16-20% protein and is high in cystine, lysine and methionine–amino acids that tend to be low in other grains. It contains iron, calcium and phosphorus, B vitamins and vitamin E, and is relatively high in fat. Like all grains, quinoa contains anti-nutrients and therefore requires a long soaking as part of the preparation process.”

Soaking instructions: Soak in a warm water mixture (warm water plus 2 Tablespoons whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk). Use a 1:3 ratio of quinoa to warm water (for 2 C quinoa, use 6 C water) at least 12 hours to remove phytates. Rinse and drain well. Then put in pan with double the amount of water or stock and bring to a boil. Skim (foam off the top), reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or more on very low heat. (watch and taste to see when done.. with this low amount it could be done sooner than this. I make more at the same time for another dish during the week, so I have never made only 3/4 C.)

You can use quinoa in place of rice and as fillers for things like meatballs and for salads and casseroles. It has a unique flavor, so it does add a little different twist on things so don’t expect it to just disappear into meatballs and not notice that its there. You will. But it’s good!

QUINOA MEATBALLS

1# ground beef
3/4 C. quinoa, cooked
1/4 C. finely chopped onions
1/4 C. grated carrots
1/4 C. grated zucchini
2 T ketchup
1 T chopped garlic
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 egg

[photo credit]

Low-Carb Salmon Cakes

Husband is eating low carb for a while while he slims down to where he wants to be. Not totally carb-free, but just low carb as in no toast with his eggs, no bun with his burger, and no sugar! He’s doing really well and I thought I would help him along by making these Salmon Cakes that don’t have any fillers in them like bread crumbs. I always use leftover pieces of sprouted whole wheat bread that I crumble in a food processor, never white bread crumbs, but still, it is nice to have a few meals without grains in them.
LOW-CARB SALMON CAKES
  • 1 14.75-oz Can Wild-caught Salmon (Or an equivalent amount of fresh or frozen wild-caught salmon)
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and diced small or minced
  • 1 Celery Stalk, diced small or minced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 3 Eggs from Pastured Hens
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Unrefined Sea Salt to Taste
  • Coconut Oil for Frying

Heat the oil in a pan, and fry the onions, carrots, garlic and celery.

Mix together vegetables, parsley, paprika, salmon and eggs until well blended.

Form 8 patties and gently fry them in a tablespoon or so of coconut oil, gently turning them when one side is done.

Serve warm and with yogurt-mustard dipping sauce. (Kids can dip them in yogurt or ketchup or BBQ sauce)

YOGURT-MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1 Cup Whole-Milk Yogurt
  • 1-3 Tablespoons or so (to desired taste) Brown or Spicy Mustard
  • chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional)