Sidewalk Chalk

Happy Chalk Boy!

What is it about sidewalk chalk that everyone enjoys??? Before this quarantine I cannot remember the last time I picked up a piece of sidewalk chalk and doodled! Sidewalk chalk can be enjoyed at any age! I wish I would have bought stock in sidewalk chalk prior to Covid-19 with how much of it I have bought. I thought I would give some ideas of what to do with sidewalk chalk as a family! You can draw on sidewalks or fences and have a blast!

Last week my family played in our front yard enjoying the beautiful weather and drew our hearts out by tracing each other, drawing obstacle courses, making rainbows and flying away with balloons! I know right now no matter the size of your house everything feels smaller these days with sharing space between school, work, and daily life. So I encourage you to get outside in your front and back yards! Here are some fun ideas for your family and sidewalk chalk:

Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course: Use your sidewalk and draw hopscotches, round leap pads, long curvy lines and circles to spin in. Write instructions with the course like jump like a frog, roar like a lion as you balance on the line, and so on. Get as creative as you want. Then you can have races between your family. Also your neighbors can enjoy it as they go on walks throughout the day.

Jump 4 times! Walk like a Penguin!

Sidewalk Chalk Messages! Write encouraging messages like “We are in this together” or “Today is a good day to have a good today!” or get creative and make up your own! Words are powerful and could really encourage your neighbors right now.

Interactive Chalk Pictures! Right now you might want to fly into the sky holding balloons or fly away with butterfly wings and who says you can’t? Anything is possible with chalk and a little imagination! Draw a bouquet of balloons with long strings and “hold” the strings and pretend to fly away. Draw large butterfly wings and lay between the wings and pretend to fly away and smell the roses! This is fun for kids and adults!

Thinking of Cotton Candy Clouds!

Sidewalk Chalk Stain Glass Drawing! Tape out a design with an assortment of shapes on the concrete or the fence! Color the shapes all different colors! Once finished pull the tape up and viola you have a beautiful stain glass picture!

Will it be messy? Yes! Will it not go the way you want it to? Most likely! Will you make memories? Guaranteed! Here’s to having fun and making memories during an unforgettable season!

Blessings,

Stephanie Shouse

CEO of Shouse5

Easter Activities

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and things look a lot different this year than they typically would. I wanted to let you know about some family activities that would help remind you of Easter. I tried to find ideas that would only need items that you would have on hand at home or could easily find in your yard. Enjoy!

Make an Easter scene out of play dough and twigs:

37 Christ centered Easter activities for kids will help you focus on the real meaning of Easter including Easter treats, games, crafts, and other family tradition ideas.
Make a mountain out of play dough and find sticks in the yard to make crosses.

Here is a wonderful link to making a resurrection garden as a family to help us walk through Holy Week and prepare our hearts for Easter.

Mini Easter Garden: An Easy & Meaningful Tradition

Make a Holy Week Poster! You as a family can make a poster that has each day of Holy Week and each day create something to remind you of what happened in the days leading to Easter. Russell will have daily devotions from Palm Sunday until Easter and this would be a great hands on activity to do with the kids. This blog has a great example and gives you all the details you need.

http://thedomesticnotebook.blogspot.com/2010/03/holy-week-calendar.html

Kids can fill in each day to learn about what the days leading to Easter looked like.

I hope this is a sweet time as a family during this special Easter season that gives you hope and peace. Easter is a reminder that God is fully in control and makes no mistake. Praying for each of you.

Blessings,

Stephanie Shouse

CEO of Shouse5

Homeschooling(School at Home)

Hi everyone I hope you are settling into a rhythm that is best for your family! At my house Cody and I have split our week into work days and teaching days so we both can get all of our work responsibilities done and keep a school schedule for our kiddos. School at home has its challenges as 2 of my kids are in grade school and my youngest has some special needs and is used to preschool/speech program and speech therapy appointments. I am trying to keep fresh on my mind that this is different for each one of us. It is not pretty most days but we are in survival mode. Some days we nail it and other days I am apologizing at the end of the day for the chaos it was.

I wanted to share a few things that are working for Shouse 5 that could be helpful for you in this season!

Written Out Daily Schedule: This is helpful for all of us. Cody and I can easily follow along the schedule and get all of the many assignments and zoom calls done for each kid without missing too much of a beat. The kids can see what they need to be doing especially if Cody or myself are tied up helping someone else. Our school day starts at 9:00am and the goal is to be done by 2:00pm to head outside.

Pledges, Family Devotion, Prayer: I am trying to have the day start similar to a typical school day. I asked my kids how does the school day start and they said pledge to the American flag, pledge to the Texas flag, Elm Grove Pledge and a moment of silence. So in place of the moment of silence we have a short family devotion and a time of prayer. There are no flags in my house but we stand and place a hand on our heart and face the window. This also allowed the kids to have a say in something we are doing in school.

Flexibility: To date not one day has gone perfectly as planned sorry to burst your bubble. In this season we have the flexibility to adapt on the fly. Some days my youngest completely refuses to do any of the things I have planned for him so I resort to lego building, play sand and call it a win! Take a deep breath when things seem chaotic and try again. Remember we are on this together.

Fun Friday: At my kids school they have Fun Friday, I don’t really know what all is entailed but we are incorporating it into our weekly rhythm. The goal is to be done with school by lunch and have the afternoon to have fun like water play, pizza party, movie night, special snack or anything to celebrate the success of another week!

This season is different but not bad! Praying for smooth days for your family and that you feel God’s love and comfort in these days.

Blessings,

Stephanie Shouse

CEO of Shouse5

We get to……..

Yesterday I realized I have focused a lot of my time thinking and talking about the things we do not get to do in this season. We don’t get to hug our friends, we don’t get to have a birthday party, we don’t get to play at the park, we don’t get to go on that trip, and so on. Maybe you are in the same boat so I want to offer some encouragement.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3: 22-23

I have since changed my perspective to the things we get to do!!!! Maybe you have had a to do list of home chores that have needed to get done and now you have the time. I get to spend 24/7 with my family it has challenges but the memories outweigh them. We get have family card game nights!

The next time we as Woodlawn get to be together in one room worshipping our Amazing Mighty God it is going to be an incredible day but until then we as parents get to teach our own kids about Jesus, we get to eat 3 meals a day together, we get to see God’s creation in our own backyards, we get to worship in our living rooms through amazing technology, we get to add family devotions into our daily routines without the pressure of a “school” schedule and extra circular activities, and we get to have peace knowing God is in control. 

This week my family watched a momma bird fly into one of the birdhouses on our back porch which we never would have seen before this season of stay at home orders. Cody was brave and took the bird house down to see what was in it and we have 3-4 baby birds that have made that birdhouse their residence. What a beautiful picture of new life and God’s delicate creation. We could have missed this due to school, work, church, soccer, gymnastics, piano, errands and life but I am thankful for a slower season to enjoy the small things like baby birds.

Baby birds in a birdhouse on our back porch!

What will life after social distancing look like? Will Jesus still be a priority? Will eating around the dinner table together stay a priority? Will you continue to grow your relationships with your neighbors? I don’t know what our life will look like but I will fight hard to keep our life slower than our old normal.

Find gorgeous quotes abut childhood and how travel with kids can make the best family memories. #childhoodquotes #familyquotes #familytavelquotes #travelquotes #familyvacationquotes

Blessings and enjoy your family this week,

Stephanie Shouse

CEO of Shouse5

It’s the Weekend!

We made it folks! It is the weekend! I know for me not having the pressure of schooling my kids for the next 2 days is so nice. I hope you embrace this time and soak it up.

The weather is looking like outdoor fun should be on the agenda! I wanted to give you a few ideas to get you through the weekend!

Make a river bed out of foil for your backyard, front yard or the drive way! Fill water and float all of the things like boats, ducks, random toys out of the playroom! This should provide hours of entertainment and plenty of space for creativity.

Image result for foil river
Image result for foil river

Another thing you could do this weekend is enjoy a scavenger hunt in your home or on a walk!

Image of Summer Nature Scavenger Hunt

Enjoy your weekend! Try to keep your Sunday routine with LifeGroup and Worship! LifeGroup lessons have been emailed and shared on Facebook. Both 9:30 and 11:00 Worship will be on Facebook live on the Woodlawn Baptist Church facebook page, the Woodlawn Baptist Church Roku channel and at woodlawnbc.org.

Blessings and praying we see each other sooner than later,

Stephanie Shouse

CEO of Shouse 5

How to talk your kids about THE virus?

We are working towards 3 weeks of social distancing and lots of talks about the Coronavirus. The week of Spring Break at my house the news was pretty much on 24/7 on our TV. My routine has changed as I check the City of Austin and City of Buda’s websites every morning to see case numbers as such. Have has your daily routine changed over the last 3 weeks?

Something I realized as I started homeschooling my kids this week was I never really explained to them what was going on and why we were not returning to school. So I took this as a challenge to look for resources to teach my kids about what a virus is and specifically about the Coronavirus also known as Covid-19. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology but I wanted to speak in kids terms. I also wanted my kids to know that God’s love and presence in constant during this time.

I want to encourage you as parents to talk about this with your kids. I know this can feel like scary times or times where everything is in chaos but our God is still on control. I wanted to share how I taught my kids. My kids are ages 4(almost 5), 6 and 9. Here is my “science lesson”.

Do anyone know what a germs are? Germs are tiny organisms that we can’t see but they are everywhere. We can spread germs when we sneeze or cough if we don’t cover out mouths or noses with our elbow. Germs can get inside of our body and make us sick with viruses. How do we get rid of germs? Good hygiene like washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, sneezing into your elbow, covering your cough with your elbow and staying home when not feeling well is practicing good hygiene.

Covid-19 is a coronavirus that makes it hard to breath, you run a fever and you not feel very good. You could have the germs that cause Covid-19 for 14 days before you know you are sick. This is why it is important to stay home right now with just your family so you don’t get sick or get anyone else sick. The Coronavirus is so scary because it spreads easily, does not have a vaccine, and is changing quickly into multiple strains.

I used glitter to show my kids how quickly germs can spread. You could use any type of sticky things like peanut butter, etc. I had one kiddo put her hands in a plate of glitter, then shake hands with her brother and glitter got all over him, and he shook hands with his brother and glitter got all over him. Glitter was all over the table, floor and bathroom by the time we were done. It was a great illustration of how germs spread. We went into the bathroom and washed hands with just water and some glitter came off but not all. Then we washed with soap and water for 20 seconds and our hands were all clean. It was a great visual lesson.

Here is a video I showed my kids that taught specifically about the Coronavirus it is on Brain Pop.

https://www.brainpop.com/health/diseasesinjuriesandconditions/coronavirus/

Once the video was over I asked my kids what was one thing the learned from the video. I also asked my kids did they have any questions. Once we finished up chatting I asked my kids did they know of anyone who is not able to stay home right now because they are needed like doctors, nurses, policemen, and so on. We had a time of prayer for the first responders, front line workers, and the scientist who are working a vaccine/cure.

I know right now we are all experiencing different things. For some this is the most wonderful time and for others it is so very hard. My prayer for all of us is that God’s peace and wisdom overwhelms us.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Something that has changed my perspective during this time of being home and balancing work, school, daily life and all of the things is a picture I saw and I want to share it with you.

What a time this will be to look back on to see all the ways God provided and was glorified! I miss seeing all of you and believe me I get giddy when thinking about being back together in one room! Please reach out to me if you need anything. My email is stephanie@woodlawnbc.org and my cell phone number is 512-695-8414.

Blessings,

Stephanie Shouse

CEO of SHOUSE 5

Social Distancing

On Sunday, March 8th is the first time we as Woodlawn started taking steps to social distance per recommendation of the CDC to not shake hands and wash hands often. Covid-19 has challenged us as a church and families in many ways. On Sunday, March 15th we moved to online Worship Services due to the pandemic and out of respect for our officials who begged for social gatherings to not be over 50 people in one room. Tuesday, March 17th at noon there was a press conference with the City of Austin and they banned any gatherings of more than 10 people, closed bars, food establishments had to go to delivery, pick up, or to go orders only, schools have been closed until April 6th and many jobs have been lost or moved to a work from home basis. As a church staff we are seeking God’s wisdom on the best ways to keep community when we can’t actually be in the same room with each other.

My hope for this blog is to give ideas, encouragements and a picture into real life with social distancing for families. My prayer is that your family can stay spiritually connected to God through this season of unknown and I want to give you as many tools as I can find to do just that. My family runs a busy schedule with school, work, extra curricular activities and making memories so having to literally stay home with just Shouse 5 has brought lots of different emotions. I long for the normal schedule I once had but I know this time of social distancing will change what our normal looks like for the rest of our lives. Folks we are making history and our kids’ kids will study this during history one day from the fast mutations Covid-10 is making, vaccinations being developed, lives lost and the economic impact our world will face.

A few verses I am clinging to right now are:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6

It’s Monday March 23rd, Spring Break is technically over and it’s time to establish a temporary normal with homeschooling, working from home and social distancing by staying home. I have learned that routine is crucial for my kiddos so I spent some time figuring out the best way to organize our days during this season. Thank God for other people who are organized and setup editable templates. I have typed up schedules for each of my kiddos that includes school work, devotions, free time and more. I am telling myself not to expect much and that it won’t go as the paper schedule reads so be ready to adapt. I think God must be teaching lots of lessons during this season and we will all walk away with something different.

My suggestions as you gear up for week 2 of social distancing and week 1 of schools back in session at home!

-Have a plan! It does not have to be perfect and it will take time to find a good fit for everyone especially if you have multiple kiddos.

-Start your morning with some time with Jesus so you are ready for what your day may hold.

-Daily themes are fun and maybe even let the kids help pick. I would recommend plan a week of themes at a time.

-At the end of the day maybe over dinner have conversations about what was everyone’s best part of their day, most surprising part of their day and what was the worst part of the day.

-Always remember tomorrow is a new day and God’s mercies are new in the morning! You are also not alone on this journey.

If you are interested in the schedules I found here is a link to the templates! https://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2012/08/our-daily-homeschool-schedule.html

Here goes nothing!

I want to hear from you and support you as your Children’s Pastor so email me at stephanie@woodalwnbc.org or call/text my cell phone 512-695-8414. I know God has gone before us and prepared a way for our families during this time of unknown.

Blessings,

Stephanie Shouse