Family Honor Plate and Table Thyme Discussion Cards {Product Review}

I recently had the privilege of reviewing a fun keepsake product and discipleship tool with the help of two of my favorite people: my daughter (Kennedy, age 18) and my niece (Raigan, age 10).  It was definitely a sweet moment to watch the two of them work together on this project.

PRODUCT DETAILS

The Family Honor Plate, created by Michelle Weber, starts as a DIY ceramics-painting project you get to create and bake at home.

The plate can be used in two ways:

~As a family craft:  Paint and bake your plate and use it to create your new family tradition.

Family Honor Plate

~As a parenting discipleship tool:  

Step #1 MOM AND DAD – BE THE EXAMPLE. BE THE ROLE-MODEL:

The virtues are listed in the center of the plate for mom and dad to use as their anchor, their moral compass to guide them in how they need to show up for and to their children (based on the Fruit of the Spirit as written in Galatians 5:22).  This is how our children learn what character (Christ’s character) is, what it looks like, what it feels like. Our children are watching us and learning from us.

Step #2 BE ON THE LOOKOUT:

Look for the good choices and attitude your kids/spouse are making and showing throughout the day. Track it back to the virtues and character it shows.

Step #3 CELEBRATE THEIR CHARACTER:

Turn dinnertime into a celebration when you catch someone making good choices and showing good character and present their meal on the FAMILY HONOR PLATE.  This is when you:

  • Talk about the choices they made and the virtues and character that it showed (Be specific).
  • Talk about how they made everyone involved feel and the impact they had on people and how that is POWERFUL and BEAUTIFUL.
The Family Honor Plate can be used with Table Thyme Discussion Cards.  Table Thyme Discussion CardsThese cards take conversations to a deeper level and teach everyone in the family how to articulate and share special memories, learn how to voice their opinions, and for some, how to even have an opinion. These are skills required for success in relationships and careers.  This is a fun way for children to learn these skills in a relaxed environment.
Some of the questions included are:
  • What is your favorite thing about your best friend?  Why?
  • Do you prefer to play inside or outside?  Why?
  • If your friend were upset, what would you do to help them feel better?  Why?

Every question is followed up with “Why?” to take everyone’s answers to a deeper more intimate level.

GETTING STARTED

Just about everything you need to complete the project is included in the box, with the exception of Isopropyl Alcohol (which is used to remove any oily residue from the plate before you paint it).

The kit includes: 

  • 1 ceramic honor plate
  • 8 paint pots
  • 3 paint brushes
  • 7 discussion starters
  • Painter’s palette
  • Plate stand

 

 

The instructions for painting are pretty simple:

  1. Clean the Honor Plate with the alcohol to remove oily residue.  Protect your work space with craft paper or newspaper.
  2. Paint the plate with whatever design your choose.  (There are suggestions on the product’s website). It is recommended to keep designs to cover just the plate’s rim.
  3. Place the plate in a cold oven, turn it to 350 degrees, bake for 30 minutes, turn the oven off and let the plate cool.

THOUGHTS ON THE PRODUCT

My daughter and my niece worked on the painting part together and they offered some feedback.  They felt the paint was very thick and that made it more difficult for them to use.  They thought more rounded paintbrushes would’ve worked better instead of the square tipped brushes provided.  My niece also mentioned that it would have been better if the plate rim was wider so that she could paint more.  Lastly, the paint did not come off of our hands easily; we had to wash at least twice for it to be completely removed.

All in all, I loved the concept of the plate as a craft and then as a discipleship tool for families.  I love that it comes with discussion starters to aid in this.  I think it’s definitely something for families to check out.

LEARN MORE

Here is a video that walks you through it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKmFVPbyfCg

Here is another video from the owner, Michelle Weber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwLlnS3t0LI&t=3s

Find out more about Michelle: (https://honorplate.com/pages/about-us)

This is a great item to give (or purchase) for Christmas!  There are discounts available of 10-20% off in their online store.  Check it out!

*The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.  I was not compensated in any way.

Night Night Farm {Book Review & Giveaway}

Recently, I was asked to review a bedtime book for preschool-aged children and it brought back many precious memories. When my children were younger, either my husband or I read to them…every night.  It was woven into our nightly bedtime ritual and it was one of my favorite times of the day to snuggle with my little ones (who are not so little anymore!).

Night Night Farm

About the Book:
Moo moo, cows! Baa baa, sheep! When the sun sinks low down on the farm, the animals are all tuckered out from the day’s adventures. Join these adorable farm animals in pajamas as they say night night to the farm, to their mommies and daddies, and to God. Your little ones will sleep until the rooster crows knowing that the God who made them loves them too.

Night night, farm!

About Amy Parker:

Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than 800,000 copies including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling A Night Night Prayer. She lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children.

My Thoughts:
The pictures are fabulous and the striking colors are captivating. Because it’s a board book, it’s sturdy and easy for little hands to hold. The animals and words are familiar and encourages interaction (with animal sounds). The rhymes are fun and simple for young children to understand.
Night Night Farm is a great read to end the day with your preschooler.  It’s sure to capture the attention of the preschooler in your life and become one of their favorites!
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SOCIAL • CORNER
Official website to purchase: http://bit.ly/Blogging-NNF
Facebook: @AmyParkerAuthor

Facebook: @TommyNelsonBooks

Twitter: @AmyParker

Twitter: @TommyNelson

Instagram:  @TommyNelsonBooks

Pinterest: Tommy-Nelson-Books

Enter to win a copy of Night Night Farm!!
I am giving away one copy of Night Night Farm to one of my readers.
Here’s how you can enter (3 ways to win):
1. Email me and tell me your favorite children’s book to read at bedtime.
3. Leave a comment on our Facebook Page.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 pm on Thursday, September 8th.
The winner will be announced on our Facebook Page on Friday, September 9th.
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**Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

10 Easy Ways to Partner with Families in Your Ministry

10 Easy Ways to Partner with Families in your Ministry

“Partner with parents” is a phrase used quite a bit in the kidmin, student ministry and family ministry world. There are different ways to define what ‘partnering’ with parents means, but I define it simply as being a parent’s biggest cheerleader. I want to cheer them on as they lead their families.  I want to cheer them on as they help their children know, love and follow Jesus.  I want to cheer them on as they help their family navigate the culture and world we live in.

While a daunting task and key responsibility for ministry leaders, cheerleading for families doesn’t always have to be over-thought. Yes, there should be strategies in place to help move families from here to there, but there are easy ways to make this happen. Here are 10 to help you get started:

  1. Ask their opinion. Looking for ideas that a certain age group of kids might like? Looking for the latest trends in games, apps, television shows, etc.? Want to make tweaks or changes in your ministry? Keep your finger on the pulse of what kids like and what kids are talking about by going to kid experts – their PARENTS! I occasionally email parents in my ministry to get feedback and ideas on a variety of things. Doing this shows (1) I don’t have all the answers (which I don’t) and (2) I value them and their opinion. I have found parents to be very receptive to this!
  2. Provide a playlist of songs being played in your ministry. Give parents a glimpse of good, quality music by sharing your ministry’s playlist. You can share this through music streaming services such as iTunes or Spotify. This allows children to hear the music you play in church at home and on the go!
  3. Keep your website updated. Our families are busy. They don’t want to search for information on what’s going on in your ministry and when. Do them a favor and help them out by keeping your website updated. Include dates, times, pricing, locations and contact information. They will thank you for this.
  4. Ask how you can pray for them. The families we serve are facing so many challenges today and could benefit from our prayer support. One of the greatest ways we can cheerlead for families is to go to God on their behalf.

     Not only that, but…

  5. Follow up about prayer requests shared. This shows that you care for the families and is a great way to build long-term relationships with them.
  6. Celebrate special milestones. Baby dedications, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, mission trips, etc. are just a few special moments in the spiritual lives of our kids.  Join families in celebrating these important milestones!
  7. Be visible. Take the time to greet families as they arrive, mingle in the hallways and see families off as they depart. Wave hello, give a high-five, and don’t forget to smile!
  8. Send a welcome note to guest families. This year, our guest family check-in team members began to write postcards to children visiting us for the first time. These cards are written on Sunday mornings after the family has been checked in and escorted to their classrooms. We also send an email to the parents the next day, welcoming them and inviting them to complete our brief guest family survey. [If you would like to see what’s included on our survey, you can email me.]
  9. Encourage them. Parenting is tough. Some of our families are really struggling and are just looking for a glimmer of hope. They’re looking for someone to give them a pat on the back and say, “I’m proud of you” or “I’m praying with you. Hang in there.” If you see them doing something right, let them know. If you see their child doing something right, let them know. If you have a resource that might be helpful to help, share it. Provide a gift card for coffee and a pastry.  Ease their burden after a hard day and have a pizza delivered to their house.  The small acts of love and kindness will deeply impact the very parents we’re trying to reach.
  10. Invite them to serve. I almost didn’t include this on the list, but many parents want to be involved in what concerns their children.  The key: invite them to serve in AND out of the classroom setting. Maybe parents or grandparents could:
    1. make costumes
    2. provide snacks for volunteers or classrooms
    3. greet families as they arrive
    4. cut out items at home
    5. gather supplies
    6. organize storage areas
    7. design media elements
    8. solicit businesses for donations

Parents today are looking for support but most of all deep, impactful relationships with others who care about their children.  

Look over this list and choose at least one way that you can strengthen your partnership with families you serve.

If you’re looking for more ways to partner with parents:

Check out my Family Ministry Pinterest Board.

Keep the conversation going! How are you cheerleading for families in your ministry?

When There Are No Words

*Note: My first draft of this post was written before news broke that five Dallas police officers were killed in an ambush attack during a protest rally.  My final draft reflects this tragedy.

How Kid's Ministries Can Respond in Times of Racial Crisis

There are no words, friends.  No words.  For me, there’s been more tears than words.  If you have followed national news in the U.S. over the past several days, you are aware of the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and now five Dallas police officers.  While I usually don’t post or discuss political or racial issues on my social media platforms (I don’t think this is the best forum for these issues to be discussed), the recent tragedies have impacted me deeply.  Deeply.

As a girl in Sunday school, I grew up singing a familiar song:

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world

Red and yellow, black and white

They are precious in His sight.

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Watching recent events have horrified me and honestly, caused me to become fearful.  Fearful for my children and other children I love.  I’m sad that this is being played out and will become part of their history.

I am mom to a 20-year old son, who inspired this post (an excerpt) to my personal Facebook page just 24 hours ago:

When Daniel [my son] started driving years ago, I talked to him ad nauseam about what to do if he was ever pulled over in a traffic stop. Where to keep his hands. How to speak to the officer. How to tell the officer if he needed to pull his wallet out of his back pocket or the glove box. AD NAUSEAM.

And why? Because no matter how much of “a fine young man” or “respectable young man” or “good boy” he is, to some, he COULD be perceived a threat. Simply because he’s a black male.

His life matters. It matters to me. A LOT. The lives of every black man in my family matters to me. A LOT.

As uncomfortable as I feel posting this, we need to be uncomfortable. We need to talk about what is happening, why this keeps happening….

The purpose of this post is not to garner a debate about whether or not these shootings were ‘justified’.  Rather, I’d like to reflect on how these types of issues impacts our kids and how ministry leaders, parents and volunteers (Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, etc.) can respond.

As my family and I watched the shootings in Dallas unfold last night, I held my 17-year old daughter.  We both watched in disbelief at what we were watching.  (Sadly, we watched unrest unfold in our city of Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray last spring).  It breaks my heart that these images will be forever etched in her heart.  She will never forget what she was watching and how she was feeling.  As her mom, my heart hurts for her.

Likewise, kids in our ministry are hurting, angry, frustrated, confused.  Many of these children will walk through our church doors this weekend after, once again, being affected by the world they live in.  Here’s what I know:

Conversations are happening.  My social media outlets were flooded with images and outrage over what has occurred.  People are angry and rightfully so.  People are venting their frustrations and are again coming to terms with strained race relations in our country.

Our kids are listening and watching.  They are listening to these conversations and watching the news.  They are asking questions like my 8-year old niece asked my mom (her grandmother):

Ranny, why do they hate us so much?

In another instance, Lisa Harper, a well-known Christian speaker and author, is mom to a child of color.  She shared her daughter’s exposure to racism recently.  Here is an excerpt from her post (you can read the post in its entirety here):

…I can’t explain what it felt like recently when two young men wearing expressions contorted with meanness hurled a Coke can in our direction, then yelled the n-word at Missy before peeling away when we were simply walking out of a convenience store holding hands…

Why does a 6-year old and an 8-year old have to grapple with this?  Why are young children asking these questions?

Let’s be real.  Some of the children in our churches are victims of racism on a regular basis.  Some of them live in communities where bloodshed is commonplace.  This is not ok.  Not ok.  No 15-year old boy should have to publicly mourn his father during a news conference.  No 4-year old baby should have to witness a killing in the front seat of a car she’s riding in.  No child of a police officer should have to deal with the loss of a parent who went out to do his or her job.

As I shared in response to a comment left on my personal Facebook page, prejudice, stereotypes and intolerance are unfortunately being modeled and taught in homes, in workplaces, and in communities.  While we cannot control the hatred of others, we can determine that our homes, our churches, our ministries can be a welcoming, safe place for all children.  How?  Here are a few suggestions:

Ministry Leaders

  • Have a ministry that is safe and inclusive for all children.  Let’s help our children live out ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ (Mark 12:31) and ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ (Luke 6:31).  Being inclusive means:
    • Helping children accept other children who look different from them, talk different than they do, and come from a different background, family structure, community, etc. than they do.
    • Creating a safe environment for all.  This goes beyond physical safety to include emotional safety.

       Teach them how their words have impact and how to ‘watch the way they talk’ (Ephesians 4:29).

    • Representing an array of colors in your media presentations.  The world we live in is diverse; this should be reflected in our ministries as well.  Be sure to include children of color in your publications, whether you serve in a multi-cultural context or not.  Again, this will help children accept those who look different than they do.

Parents and Volunteers (Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, etc.)

  • Be a good example and model acceptance and inclusion for all.  Be careful not to stereotype a group of people or their cultural differences.
  • Keep an open dialogue.  Be available to ask age-appropriate questions when the time comes.  Encourage your children to come to you with questions.  Be honest.  If you don’t know the answer, be honest about that, too.
  • Ask God for wisdom.  Pray for your child (or class) and with them.  Ask God to bring healing and comfort to those who are hurting.

This list is my no means exhaustive but it’s a start.  It’s a step toward modeling what it means to be the Church…worshiping together, serving together, loving each other and living together in peace.  A true picture of heaven on earth.

Keep the conversation going.  How will you minister to the children under your care?