Review: Scripture Stackers

There is something wonderful about the ability to build, to create. Day after day I listen my children craft wondrous stories, tales of adventure and rescue, of Batman, the Joker and Rapunzel all rolled into one. They create castles, tunnels, airports and now, even the Nativity scene! Our family was so blessed by the generous people at Our Picnic Tree with a set of Scripture Stackers.

Scripture Stackers are a work of genius. In their words:

Scripture Stackers are building block sets (compatible with all major brands, by the way) that bring your favorite Scripture Heroes and stories to life! Engage, play and teach your family about their lives, their triumphs and their faith! Our Premier Collection includes assorted Mini-Figures from the Bible & a 140 Piece Nativity Set!

These stackers are great! The kids jumped on them as soon as they came out of the box. The stackers are the same size and scale to Legos, of which we have many. Though the individual mini-figures (like Moses and the burning bush, King Solomon and his throne, Noah and his sheep etc.) do not come with specific directions, there are only a few pieces for each figure and their completed pictures are on the bags they come in. It was a nice challenge for John. He saw the finished product and had to figure out how to build it with the pieces available to him. The Nativity scene, which is much larger, has step-by-step instructions.

It has been fun to have the kids recreate the Bible stories of the figures, and even expand upon them. Since Goliath is on his own, frequently Joseph is standing in for David when they tell the story. Then, Goliath serves as Potiphar and Pharaoh when they tell Joseph’s story. All the animals from the Nativity always end up surrounding Noah and King Solomon is typically found at the foot of the manger.

With Advent fast approaching (yikes!) what better way to celebrate the season but with a new Nativity scene that the kids can build, customize and and create. The Nativity scene is constructed in 23 steps, plus constructing the people. You could build the Nativity one day at a time starting Dec. 1 so that come Christmas everything is ready for Jesus!

As I said, Betsy and Melissa at Our Picnic Tree are so generous with their Scripture Stackers. They have even provided a coupon code just for my blog readers.

Be sure to use FAITH25 when you checkout to receive a 25% discount on your whole order!

We love our set. Here are some pictures of the kids when we first got them.

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Catholicmom.com September Post

Here is the start to my Catholicmom.com post for September. I would love it if you clicked over and checked out the whole thing. Enjoy!

Bring Your Senses With You

“Sharron, things need to be stirred!” So said my husband’s grandfather to his wife when she queried him regarding the state of their crockpot meal. Grandpa Joe was legendary for not leaving those crock pots alone. In his mind, food shouldn’t be left to sit, as a crockpot requires. He always had to stir things up, checking what was what and I suspect trying to discover what was for dinner that evening.

I was thinking about this the other day while cleaning the bathroom of all places. We inherited a fancy touchless toilet from the previous owners of our house. There is a little button that isn’t really a button that indicates where you should wave your hand to make the toilet flush. No matter how many times I explain to the kids, they insist on pushing the non-button. Just like in the grocery store, museums, park or yes, even the bathroom, things just need to be touched — at least according to kids.

Things need to be touched, stirred, smelled, tasted and seen. God made us tactile people, sensual people. Jesus, God who became human in all things except sin, experienced this. He ate bread made by his mother. He carved wood with his foster father. Jesus walked miles with his friends, perhaps even barefoot at times. He knew the fatigue of the hot sun at noon and he felt the refreshment of the cool breezes of twilight. In all of Jesus’ ministry, he engaged in the daily activities of life. Jesus didn’t talk at people, he worked with them. This is why, in my mind and in the eyes of the Church, the practices Jesus left us are just as much physical as spiritual.

Continue at Catholicmom.com

Are You Noseblind?

I think by now we’ve all seen the Fabreze commercials about not being noseblind. It’s a unique term and the various scenarios in which persons find themselves “noseblind” are quite funny.  I hadn’t thought much about this until I met a new friend here in Texas who uses the flameless candle wax melts. Whenever I go to her home it always smells so good! It got me wondering what my home smells like to others when they walk in. What am I noseblind too?

Afraid of what I would find, I too have joined the flameless candle bandwagon, though the generic kinds so Ben can pre-approve sents 😉 Though I can’t say for sure what our home smelled like before – probably a combination of Italian spices, windex, diapers, dog and muddy shoes (who wants to come visit now?) – but I couldn’t smell it. I was noseblind. Now, however, I’m learning to pay closer attention to the whole issue.

With the wax melts, I have learned, is that you don’t want to keep them on all day. You really only need an hour or two in the morning and again in the evening. Also, after about a week or so, you will not notice the scent as much. This isn’t because the wax is losing its scent, it’s because you are going noseblind to it. Time to change up your scents!

How much of life goes the same way. Your workout routine is boring, your diet is unappetizing, your housework is stale, your prayer life is arid. It’s time to change up your scents, your routines. There is beauty in habit and structure, but sometimes we go noseblind, life-blind. This happens even in our prayer lives. Dare I say, especially in our prayer lives.

In the last 6 months, how many of the following have you done or tried to do?:

  • Sat in a different seat at Mass or attended Mass at a different time than your usual routine
  • Told someone you are Catholic/engaged in healthy dialogue with another individual about your faith (the individual may or may not be Catholic)
  • Learned a new prayer of the Church (like the Angelus, the Memorare, prayers for before or after Communion, etc.)
  • Memorized a piece of Scripture
  • Prayed as a family at a time other than before a meal
  • Said a novena or engaged in some form of intercessory prayer for a long period of time (anything longer than a single instance of prayer)
  • Made an intentional sacrifice for another person or cause
  • Gone to Confession
  • Learned about a new saint
  • Read a book that deepened your spiritual and/or theological knowledge

0-2: You could be noseblind in your faith. Your habits are well ingrained and could use some shaking up. If you feel like your faith is in a stagnant place or that God isn’t close, consider trying out one or more of the ideas above to stir things up and discover new fervor and focus.

3-5: Depending on who you are and what things you’ve tried, you may or may not be noseblind. This one is more subjective based on your personal habit patterns and faith life. Are the things you said “yes” to experiences that stretched your faith, or are they part of your typical lived faith? If you were stretching yourself, then you probably aren’t noseblind. If they are part of your normal, you might still reflect on whether your faith life needs some stirring up.

6-8: Wow, I would be pretty confident in saying you are not noseblind. You are actively engaging in your faith, rather than walking through the motions. There is always more we can do to deepen our relationship with God, but it would seem that you have found a variety of opportunities to see Him and grow in your love for Him.

9-10: Amazing! There is no way you are noseblind. You are engaging your faith at all levels, finding God in Scripture, Mass, community, the Sacraments, intellectual knowledge and spiritual knowledge. You must be consistently seeking new ways to grow in your faith and share it.

I hope you found this exercise interesting. I know it was enlightening for me to come up with these categories and answers and realize just how easy it is to become noseblind in our faith.

What other ideas do you have for keeping faith fresh and at the forefront of our daily thoughts and actions?

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com