The Icon controversy and art history

I’ve been wanting to bring in a bit more art into our history because art and history are a good combination, you can see how one influences the other (there are several topics you could bring into this).  A semi-recent lesson from Mystery of History 2 gave me the excuse.

Art and history the iconoclast controversy

The Icon controversy

At some point in early church history people began to look at the paintings and artifacts of Christians saints, and Biblical figures as not just something to look at and admire, and it started to cross over into worship.

Thus began the great debate.  Should we include icons, paintings and statues of saints, in our church and our worship, or is that forbidden?

Eventually it became so heated the current Byzantine Emperor, Leo 3, waded into the conflict and said “That’s it!  No more icons or paintings or statues.  They must all be destroyed so we are not worshipping false gods.”

And so throughout the Byzantine empire hundreds and thousands of paintings were whitewashed over, and statues were smashed.

Eventually after that emperor died the controversy died down and the Eastern Orthodox church allowed icons back into their worship, but the Western Catholic church did not for several decades more (I don’t have an exact time when that stand changed)

Studying icons for art history

I did a quick Google search for images, and then showed them to the kids as well as a few books I got this past summer.  They were intrigued by what they saw and there were some common threads.

  • They were most frequently shown standing.
  • They often had a golden “halo” this shining light represented God’s holiness shining through them.
  • Many saints and apostles had a symbol associated with them, that was included in their paintings and statues.
  • Backgrounds were a golden bronze color.
  • They were often framed by elaborate scrollwork.

icon art history

Then we set about making our own icons.  The kids each chose different disciples or characters from the Bible to illustrate and create their own symbols for.

icon art history

I think this one is Moses and Peter (I’m guessing Peter because of the key I see).

our icon copies art history

Batman was kind enough to label his pictures, so we know it is Samuel and John the Baptist.

icons and history

Princess did a trio of pictures of Jesus.  It let me talk about a fun sub-type of art called a tryptich (which I need to look up the spelling of it).

icon controversy lessonAnd afterwards we taped them into our history notebooks (made using the MOH 2 Super-supplemental affiliate link)



*icon image used with permission and was cropped

King of Tokyo review and game play

About a year ago my boys were given King of Tokyo by their aunt as their latest game.  Ever since then we have played it about once a month.

King of Tokyo review

All amazon links are affiliate links

What is King of Tokyo?

In King of Tokyo you’re playing a monster trying to take over and destroy Tokyo.  Unfortunately for you several of your best frenemies all had the same idea.  You are duking it out for King of Tokyo.

Dice game

When you think of  King of Tokyo think Yahtzee but with giant monsters, and a few more mechanics.  On your turn you roll dice to see what will happen.  You’re playing the odds of what combinations are more likely to happen.

Gateway games

It is also a gateway game.  These are games you can play with non-gamers.  They’re the ones you might find in Barnes and Noble or the occasional Target.  Actually I texted Tara when I saw King of Tokyo in Target.


How to play King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo components

You start off choosing a monster, there’s 6 possible monsters in the base game, and they all have the same abilities, just what type of monster do you want to pretend to be.

I mean you can be Godzilla and talk about smashing Tokyo.  You can be a bunny in a giant robot suit, and talk in a really bad foreign accent.  Have fun with it.

King of Tokyo dice

On you turn you roll all 6 dice up to 3 times.  Each time you can set aside dice and choose not to roll them again, or change your mind and reroll those dice.

Numbers 1-3= Victory Points.  If you get 3 of a kind you get that many victory points, each extra number is more points.

Paw print= Damage.  You want to damage others.  If you are in Tokyo, you damage everyone else.  If you are not in Tokyo you damage the person in Tokyo.

Hearts= Healing.  If you are not in Tokyo you can heal, otherwise hearts are useless (unless you have the Power Up Expansion, more on that later).

Lightning= Money.  Officially they are energy cubes, but it equates to money for buying power ups for your character.

King of Tokyo power up cards

What are the power up cards?  I’m glad you asked.  They are cards which change and make your monster more powerful or give you points.  Some are permanent and say KEEP.  They can give you extra damage, healing, damage reduction, they are awesome.  The others say DISCARD, you use and discard to get Victory Points, healing, energy cubes, all sorts of things.

Once you’ve rolled your dice and done your damage the person in Tokyo may choose to yield to you, in which case you get Tokyo and you start gaining Victory Points.


King of Tokyo expansions

King of Tokyo power up expansion

King of Tokyo Power Up Expansion Game is the first expansion and I would recommend getting that first.  Now your monsters can mutate and gain powers.  It also introduces one new monster (Pandakai).

Now if you roll 3 hearts not only does your monster heal a lot, you gain a new mutation.  These are like power up cards, but specific to your character.  So they can be temporary or permanent.

They are AWESOME!  It adds a whole new level of fun to the game, and I’ll have a few tips on this.

King of Tokyo Halloween expansion

King of Tokyo Halloween Expansion Board Game, it’s Halloween night in Tokyo and even the monsters are dressing up.  This expansion adds in two new Halloween monsters (Pumpkin Jack and Boogey Woogey).

The costumes work like Power Up cards, but and this is the cool part, they can be stolen.  If you damage a monster you can steal their costume if you pay them for it.  And some of the costumes are crazy powerful.

The box also includes mutations for the two new monsters, and those have some interesting variations (more in the tips).


King of Tokyo playing tips

King of Tokyo tips

First tip:

Remind any kids playing their monster will be hurt, and people will be attacking them, but you can’t take offense at it.

The tension of the game, and all of the expansion is how long can you stay in Tokyo taking hits before you get to zero hit points.  Once you do, you’re out of the game.  But, the longer you are in Tokyo the more Victory Points you get.  Find your happy spot for that one.

Mutations- We house-ruled you can start with one mutation.  It makes it fun to see what the fun trick you start out with.

*We also house-ruled Pumpkin Jack and Boogey Woogey’s mutations can be played on them because otherwise it’s too much of an advantage with only 4 people.

Costumes- If you are going to allow people to start with a costume make sure it is random, not they chose.  Also, don’t let the princess costume be part of the random dealing, it’s way too powerful.

Road to Ammaeus lesson

In terms of continuity this Bible lesson comes after Easter.  Take a moment and think of how the disciples feel.  They have just seen the man they followed, the man they thought was going to rescue Israel go from everyone crying out “King of Kings,” to his brutal beating and crucifixion.


They are demoralized.  There’s several different parts to this story, and this post is going to be amazingly long because of that.


Jesus forgives Peter

In the Old Testament Easter lesson we talk about Peter’s memories of Jesus, and his view of the Easter story.  When Jesus is first resurrected Peter ecstatically runs to see Jesus.  Being the impulsive person he is, he acts.  But later when he’s had time to remember what he did, and how he denied Christ, he is sure Jesus wants nothing to do with him.

So, he falls back on what he knows.  He goes fishing.  Jesus comes to him and again he gets excited, but once the first emotions pass he again distances himself.  It takes Jesus tracking him down and calling him out for Peter to get it through his head that he too is forgiven.

What do you believe Jesus can't forgive?

All too often we think, we’re the only one who can’t be forgiven.  That’s certainly what Peter thought.

But Jesus just kept asking him “Do you love me?”  And finally Peter got it, “Yes Lord I do.”

So, anytime you think you’ve screwed up so much you can’t go back.  Remember this moment when Peter said, “Yes I will.”

As we studied this Princess pointed out Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus, and Peter said he didn’t know Jesus three times.  Coincidence?  I think not (where is that from?).

Seeing is believing

Thomas needed to see to believe

There’s a lot of faith involved in believing the Bible.  Culture is going against you, science insults you and says you are stupid if you believe, and let’s not forget academic disdain for the Bible.  We’re not the first generation to run into doubts and questions.  It took one day for someone to question the resurrection.

When Jesus talks to Thomas, he doesn’t tell Thomas he’s wrong to have questions.  Actually he lets Thomas examine him and figure it out on his own.  Having questions is not wrong.  Not doing your due diligence to answer them is wrong (in my opinion).


The most epic history lesson ever, the Road to Ammaeus

Road to Ammaeus sunday school lesson

There’s only a handful of post-resurrection appearances by Jesus.  One of the very first ones is Jesus walking with a couple from Jerusalem to a nearby town.  We don’t know anything about them beyond this one scene.

But they are given the most amazing Biblical history lesson anyone will ever get.  Jesus went through the entire Old Testament and pointed it to Jesus.  I attempted that (see the previous link), and it’s fascinating.  I’m sure he found more things that point to him, but that’s what we focused on for our activity.  While both of the above stories are important, my kids won’t see the relevance of them yet.


Road to Ammaeus activity

road to ammaeus simple bible study lesson

Before we started the entire lesson I gave each of the kids one of the passages from the story to study using the W’s.  Just as reporters use this to find information, we can use this with our kids to give them a framework for lessons (I thought I’d already uploaded this one, but apparently, I haven’t yet, so someday soon I”ll write about how).

It was interesting what the kids drew out of the stories, and what interested them.  Princess was intrigued by the similarities between their catching the fish this time and when Jesus called the disciples.

Superman did the best job of recounting all the facts, and he cracked me up with his naming of the story. But, he really didn’t have much to say.

Batman made me smile, I mean big huge grin as I listened to him sing his summary and watched him bounce up and down.

Bible study doesn’t always have to be super complicated.  Sometimes it’s as simple as asking 5 questions.

After we’d talked some more and read the story book we started our Road to Ammaeus activity.  Jesus went through the entire Old Testament, but for the sake of kids’ attention span we chose only 10 pictures.

Road to Ammaeus activity

They went through and wrote down how each activity points to Jesus.  My printer was running out of ink, so it’s a rather bland grayscale pictures today.  The perfectionist in me wants to go back and reprint the pictures in color just to get prettier pictures, but that would be silly……

Road to Ammaeus lesson

It took some thinking sometimes on some of the pictures (I’m adding captions when I publish it because apparently not everyone automatically recognizes the picture and says “Oh that’s when Abraham was told his descendant would bless the world”).  But, it led to lots of good discussions about what is happening, which in my mind means it was a successful activity.

And coming soon to a Sunday School near you: Pentecost, or check out the rest of the Gospel activities.

Road to Ammaeus lesson ideas

Road to Ammaeus activities elsewhere

Follow Ticia Adventures in Mommydom’s board Gospels on Pinterest.

 What we did this week

I had the aching crud this week, which meant I slept through all of Monday and Tuesday.  I was mildly active on Wednesday, and on Thursday I happily watched the kids wash my car in the warm weather.

sick week

The super quick summary before I go find a pot of tea for my poor sore throat.  I’ve lost my voice.

Playing Castle Panic right as the whole wave of sickness kicked off.

Watching 1960s Batman (affiliate link, because Jeff loves me LOTSES and gave it to me for Christmas)


What the boys thought they needed to make dinner: a collection of toy manta rays and weapons.  They cooked dinner all by themselves Wednesday night.

Princess looking confused/perplexed by my singing

Mac trapped himself under the sheets when I made the bed

The boys being silly

I took Superman out alone on Sunday to spend some birthday money

The boys hanging out with a friend on Sunday (Superman is asleep, which might have been a sign he was coming down sick again).

Spring Splendor Mixed Media Art Class

For the past couple of months we’ve been taking art classes from the comfort of our home.


I enjoy art.  I like to look at it, create it, and generally muck about with art.  But, I don’t enjoy teaching it.  I forget to explain steps, and assume they know things they don’t already know.

It’s not a pretty sight when that happens.


Enter the Mixed Media classes.  So far we’ve taken the Winter Wonderland Mixed Media Workshop and the Valentine’s Day Mixed Media Workshop.  And my kids have loved all of the projects we’ve done (and we’ve got so many projects still to do).


Springtime Splendor: Mixed Media Workshop


How the Mixed Media Art Classes work


When you sign up for the class Alisha sends you a very friendly email with the supply list, she sends it out early enough for you to get your supplies using 40% off coupons at the various craft stores, and if you’ve taken her classes before the supply list is frequently similar (some supplies are consumable and you need to rebuy them like canvases, but others you can use over and over).


Once the classes start you get an email once a week with different art projects.  Each email has 4 projects and an art journal project.  My kids LOVE the art journal project, and really enjoyed the whole process of creating an art journal.

winter wonderland craft

I mentioned back at Christmas we made snowmen canvases for the grandparents.  Princess’ is hung up in my Mom’s office at work and Batman gave his to his Nana up in Dallas.

making artwork your own

Since we didn’t finish all of the Winter Wonderland projects at Christmas (because there’s way too many to complete in a month unless you’re spending a lot more time in art than I am in my homeschool).  So we adapted the projects to suit the new time period.  It’s led to some fun discussions and the kids have enjoyed learning the new techniques.  The project up above started out as “A Christmas Carols” project that we turned into my favorite things project.  Which the kids had to much fun adding more and more into their projects.


My tips for getting the most out of your Mixed Media Art Class

Winter Wonderland creations

Give yourself more time than you think for a project.  I’m not the best at budgeting my time, so I tend to think “We can totally do this project in 15 minutes,” no really I’ve thought that, and it’s really more of a 30 or 45 minutes project.  I forget sometimes her videos are time-lapsed to allow for drying time.


Join the Facebook group.  In the welcome email there’s a facebook group Alisha has started.  You get to see all of the amazing projects other people are making as they post them in the group.  And it’s encouraging to see the different takes on the projects.


Buy extras of the white pens and the black pens.  She includes those in the shopping list, and we were always taking turns with who got to use the pens and when.

Illuminations grows with my homeschool

A few weeks ago Bright Ideas Press (affiliate link) created a new affiliate system, and since then I’ve been going through and updating all of my links to their site.  As a result I’ve been going through a lot of my old posts, and I’ve noticed how we’ve changed how we used Illuminations (affiliate link, let’s just say all links to Bright Ideas Press are affiliates) over the past two years.

Illuminations grows with my kids

Reading the posts was actually rather encouraging to me.  I’d highly encourage you to look over how your kids have grown and changed through the years.choosing curriculum for active learners When we first started using Illuminations my boys were just in 3rd grade, and they were a rather immature 3rd graders.

way too much time on the perfect order for Illuminations

We started out using every bit of it, and for about two weeks it went well.  Then I wore out, the kids wore out, and it wasn’t going well.

And I started digging deeper into Illuminations.

supply list in Illuminations

Every time I’ve had a problem with our schedule, and I’ve dug deeper into Illuminations or examined how it’s working a little more, I’ve found the solution.

when they're little I use the early learners in Illuminations

I discovered Illuminations has a young learners section, and that was perfect for my kids.  I mean perfect.  So I dropped what wasn’t working, and added in the young learners geography and literature.

Reading with all about reading

But around January or February of last year my kids suddenly took off in their core skills of math and reading.

 And I dug deeper into Illuminations again. And it grew with us again.

I played with some of the scheduling and it was working again.

picture books to teach writing

Then came this year.  I’ve been so impressed with how my kids are doing with their schoolwork.  Each time I give them more responsibility they step up and do it.


I continue to fiddle with my schedule every few months, but we’ve figured out a good balance.  I’ve figured out while they finish up their All About Reading lessons I just don’t have it in me to include the literature guides, they’re awesome and I can’t wait to do them.  The one week I did, I loved the skills covered, but we have time.  Lots of time.


Every now and then I get asked if I’ve written all I can about Illuminations, and I just keep saying “I’ve barely scratched the surface, there’s so much more to find.”  And it’s been true every single time.  I keep finding more.  I can’t wait until next year to see what new toy I discover there.


If your curious how other people’s homeschools have changed over the years check out and see what others have learned as they’ve homeschooled.

The Lord’s Prayer craft

This isn’t part of my normal 2 year Bible cycle, but I’m joining together with several other bloggers to bring you a craft for the Jesus Storybook Bible.


If you haven’t heard of the Jesus Storybook Bible, then you need to pick one up.  It is my absolute favorite story Bible because of the way the stories are told.  Every story points to Jesus, or as they say “every story whispers His name,” and they break down some fairly tough concepts in ways preschoolers can understand.

The Lord's Prayer craft

On to the Lord’s Prayer (ever notice how it’s always THE Lord’ Prayer, not Lord’s Prayer, even when I was typing a description for this post I ended up saying “This The Lord’s Prayer craft…” isn’t that silly?).  A year or so ago I found this great craft that helps kids learn the Lord’s prayer, but didn’t quite like how it was, and I wanted another bracelet rather like my Christmas story bracelet (by the by I’m trying to figure out an Easter story bracelet, but that’s percolating away on a back burner).

So, here goes my the Lord’s Prayer craft:

The Lord’s prayer craft bracelet

Do you know why Catholics have a rosary?  It’s a set of beads designed to help Catholics go through a rote set of prayers.

Now I’m not completely on board with a rote prayer, or all of the prayers included in the Rosary (I can see the logic behind the theology, I just don’t agree with all of it).  But the concept is sound.

This is a craft to help kids remember how to pray, and that’s the whole idea behind the Lord’s Prayer.

Supplies (I got mine at Hobby Lobby on sale): Big Box Of Pipe CleanersBlue Pony BeadsWhite Pearl Pony BeadsBlack Pony BeadsBrown Pony BeadsRed Pony Beadspurple Pony Beads

I’ve found when making bracelets with large numbers of kids with various degree of crafting ability it works best to use pipe cleaners for beads, it may not look as pretty, but it’s easier for them to slide on the beads.

The Lord's Prayer craft blue bead

Blue- Dear God,

Prayer starts like a letter with addressing who you are talking to.  You don’t really have to say “Dear God,” you can start it with whatever name for God you prefer.  I knew someone who started her prayers “Dear Daddy,” and that was the sweetest thing ever.

The Lord's Prayer craft

White- holiness

God is perfect and deserves our praise, the white bead reminds us to praise God.

The Lord's Prayer craft Black- sin

Where have you fallen short of God’s standard?  What do you need to tell Him about?

The Lord's Prayer craft

Brown- food and shelter

What do you need?  God is a loving Father who wants to give you your requests, but we need to ask Him.

The Lord's Prayer craft

Red- forgiveness

God forgives us for our sins because of Jesus’ shed blood.  Likewise we should forgive those who have sinned against us, is there someone you need to forgive?

The Lord's Prayer craft Purple- God’s sovereignty.

God is in charge and purple is the color of royalty.  Praise God for who He is, and what He has done.  Take a moment to thank Him for your many blessings.

Follow Ticia Adventures in Mommydom’s board Bible- Prayer on Pinterest.




More the Lord’s Prayer ideas

As I was working on this post I found a few other the Lord’s Prayer ideas stowed away on my pinterest boards.

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Jupiter art and Science lesson

We are slowly working our way through our astronomy science lessons, and I’m slowly getting them up on the blog.  The further we get into our astronomy lessons the more I see why people don’t have posts for the later planets.  It’s hard to put together a good project for them.  Very very hard.


Jupiter elementary art lesson

Our first step for our Jupiter lesson was a fun art project


Jupiter art project

Supplies (affiliate links): Watercolor Cakes (does anyone have a brand they like?  I haven’t found a favorite yet, and this was just one I found on Amazon, so no clue to quality),  white gel pen (you can use white crayon instead, but the pen has a much better color)manilla paper (or typing paper, but I like manilla for this), black Construction Paper

You’ll need a good picture of Jupiter for this project, our Astronomy text had several good pictures, but you can find some with a quick google search if you need to.

First let’s talk a little science.  Jupiter is a gas giant.  That means we can’t walk on it and we certainly aren’t colonizing it.  That is also why Jupiter is striped.  They’re giant storms going across the planet.

Jupiter art lesson missing picture

So, that’s our first step in painting.  Stripes.  In order to not make this completely and totally boring, I let them make their stripes in whatever colors they wanted.

Jupiter art project

Now comes the big thing we recognize for Jupiter.  It’s Great Red Spot (and this will be where we get into more science a little later).  That Great Red Spot is bigger than earth and is a giant hurricane going for more than 300 years!  300 years!  That’s quite a storm.


This is where we discovered we don’t have particularly good watercolor paints, and I need to find some better ones, because we weren’t thrilled with any of the reds we have.


Jupiter art lesson

Jupiter has a zillion moons.  Most of them are random asteroids that Jupiter has attracted because of its own huge gravity (that right there can be its own post, but that’s not the point of my blog).  But, for this project we’re only concentrating on 4 of them.  The Galilean moons.


Galileo was studying Jupiter with his telescope (which is about as strong as our binoculars now, so you can use binoculars to see these) and discovered four moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.   These are called the Galilean moons.


So we made four moons to orbit our Jupiter of varying sizes.  Some of Jupiter’s moons are the size of planets!


working on Jupiter art lesson

The final step is making the background, here’s where the gel pen comes in.  You can draw stars and comets of varying types for your background on the black construction paper.  We tried white crayons for a while, but they just don’t have that same pop as the pens do.


I was going to include our Jupiter science project, but this post is already becoming ridiculously long, so next time….


Instead here’s a bit about our week.

boys birthday party

We survived the boys’ first slumber party.  It was everything they wanted.  They played board games (King of Tokyo, which I’ll review later), had a cookie cake, and watched Pacific Rim, and finished it all off with playing Minecraft and Disney Inifinity with friends the next morning.

school business

For school we had a fairly laid back week with not much interesting happening.  We learned about a few people in history, Saint Patrick was a throwback lesson just for fun.  The kids slithering out of the room is their impression of snakes slithering away.  Mainly we worked on writing a lot.  As I mentioned in the boys’ birthday post i want to improve their writing, so we’ve started the great writing improvement project.

Oh, you can’t read that corner picture, but they here’s Superman’s sentences for his reading lesson.

“Sparky is the most impossible puppy.

The music at the concert was edible.

I need an adorable car.

The cake was invisible.

Your monkey is affordable.”  And it goes on.  There’s more like that.

happy life

For a bit of happy life.  The kids decided to make their lunches into faces one day.

We had friends over on Saturday (you know after the complete lack of sleep from the party) and Princess happily played older sister.

We had family over to celebrate the boys’ birthday, and so we ate with their cousin who was quite proud to sit in a big boy chair all on his own between the two cousins.  You really can’t see the size of his grin, but it’s huge.

The kids learned from their Lego Magazine how to make ninja masks, and have been doing that nonstop.

Batman FINALLY got his manta ray for his birthday he’s wanted for 3 years.  He’s so happy with that silly thing.

And our backyard had its semi-annual flooding.  It was too cold to go out in it and provide you reference shots, so I’ll refer you to this flooding post for reference.

poor sick kiddo

And Batman has spent the last two days sick as can be, which is part of why I didn’t get this posted earlier.  So, while he laid in different places looking absolutely miserable.  Princess and Superman read, played an unofficial version of Carcassone, and worked on writing more.  Oh, and they’ve started on a new geography find I’ve been playing around with Adventurous Mailbox, which they all find quite amusing.

Now, I’m heading back to cuddling the recovering kid who I’m fairly sure shared.  I do not like this type of sharing.

History of Saint Patrick’s Day

I mentioned in my homeschool Saint Patrick’s Day post I wanted to write a history of Saint Patrick post, rather like my history of Saint Valentine post.  And then I was knocked out by a migraine and the boys’ birthday, so the history lesson didn’t happen until now.

history of saint patricks day

History of Saint Patrick’s Day

history of saint patrick's day supplies

I used the Mystery of History 2 (affiliate link) book for my source material for most of this History of Saint Patrick’s Day lesson, my kids are also rather partial to the Adventures in Odyssey episodes on Saint Patrick (on Days to Remember (Adventures in Odyssey #31).  The peg dolls are my Saint Patrick doll from our Ireland lesson, and Professor Snape from our Harry Potter peg dolls, the others are just random dolls I’ve painted.

Of necessity of a rather short attention span today this was a rather abbreviated lesson on the history of Saint Patrick’s Day…


The history of Saint Patrick's day born

Patrick was born in England in the mid 300s AD, like most things in that time we don’t have an exact year and date.  I painted this peg doll to represent him as an older man, so you’ll have to pretend he’s a young man here.  When Patrick was about 16 years old he was kidnapped by raiders and sold to Ireland.


The history of Saint Patrick's day slave

While in Ireland Patrick was a rather unhappy man, not too surprisingly he was a slave after all.  At some point Patrick met a man who told him about Christ and he became a Christian.  His master entrusted him with a job far away and during that time Patrick was able to escape back home to England.

The history of Saint Patrick's day GBWhile there he visited his family briefly before traveling on to…..

The history of Saint Patrick's dayFrance.  There Patrick spent several years being trained, and he learned to love God and those who were lost.  He gained such a heart for the lost that he wanted to go back to Ireland and teach to those who had mistreated them.

The history of Saint Patrick's day preachingWhen Patrick arrived there he faced great challenges.  The druids of the region recognized Patrick as a threat to their power and tried several different times to kill him.  Each time God protected Patrick from those dangers.

There were many different questions for Patrick, one of them was about the Trinity.  They didn’t understand how God could be one person and three parts, after all didn’t they have many different gods, so why didn’t the Christians?

The history of Saint Patrick's day shamrockPatrick looked down and saw a shamrock.  He picked it up and asked them about it?

“How man parts does this shamrock have?”


“But, it’s all one shamrock, right?  This is just like God,  God has three parts the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet they are all one.”


One of my favorite stories in the history of Saint Patrick is part of why he was given Sainthood.  (In the Catholic church to be declared a Saint you must do 3 miracles, there’s a much longer explanation, but that’s one of the things I remember for sure).


Why does Ireland have no snakes?


The history of Saint Patrick's day snakes

apparently Patrick is praying with his great enemy there, maybe he’s become a Christian?

Well, legend has it Saint Patrick scared them out.  He was praying and fasting for Ireland, and a snake tried to bite him.  So Patrick chased all of the snakes out of Ireland.  I have a friend or two who would happily live in Ireland just for that.


But why March 17 for Saint Patrick’s Day?

Because according to church history that is the day Saint Patrick died, so they put his feast day on March 17 which evolved into Saint Patrick’s Day.  But why not his birthday you ask?  Well, quite honestly we don’t have a clue when that is.

 Follow Ticia Adventures in Mommydom’s board Saint Patrick's Day for kids on Pinterest.

And because I finally have a history lesson I’m linking over to All Things Beautiful.

Kings of Israel a Biblical board game

As you all know by now my family loves board games, and I love to find unique board games that are not random chance.  I’ve been looking for a good Biblical game, but most of them are trash.  They are either bad knock-offs of currently existing games (I’ve seen knock-offs of Magic the Gathering, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit) or they’re over the top preachy, or just poorly made.  I’ve finally found a Biblical game that’s fun AND gets in a bit of Bible history at the same time

Kings of Israel Biblical game

(Disclosure I received a free copy of the game and was compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own and I’m buying a copy of this game for some gamer friends, so yeah it’s awesome)

Back to my comments, Funhill games has come up with an awesome game that my ENTIRE family (yes even Princess who hates games likes this one) loves to play.  We even took it cross country so we could play it with our friends who moved.

Kings of Israel cross country game

Sigh I miss them, that half sad/half so happy look on my friend’s face is similar to the one I had the whole time because it was so great to see her, but also bittersweet knowing I’d be leaving the next day.


Kings of Israel premise

In Kings of Israel Board Game (affiliate link) you are God’s prophets working together to rescue Israel from their sin before God punishes Israel by allowing her to be invaded.  For the gamers in my reading audience Kings of Israel is a cooperative resource management game.

cooperative game

Cooperative Game- all of the players are working against a game mechanic, usually a doom clock governed by a certain number of rounds.  An example I’ve talked about so far is Castle Panic where you are all working together to beat the monsters.

Resource management games

Resource management- You have to manage your resources to build the items you need, or destroy items you don’t want.  Most of these games are more complex, so my kids are just now learning to play these.  The only one I’ve reviewed so far is Settlers of Catan.


How to play Kings of Israel

Kings of Israel instruction manual

Just as a side note, I have to say Kings of Israel has one of the best instruction manuals I’ve seen in a game, seriously it’s well laid out (follow the link to see a PDF of the manual if you want).

Kings of Israel prophet abilities

Each person is playing a prophet of God who has a special ability, some can move faster, others can hold more, some have special trading abilities, all of them can be useful, but none of them are so earth-shatteringly important that you’ll lose if one of your people doesn’t have that ability.  Your goal is to get rid of the sin in Israel and build altars to God.  You win the game once you have a certain number of altars (the number increases as you have more players).

KIngs of Israel

The game works in a cycle.  At the start of each round the first player adds sin for two locations, and draws either a blessing or a curse card depending on which king you are on.  Blessings are incredibly powerful.  Insanely powerful at times.  Curses can be “oh that’s not that bad,” to “Oh no the game is going to end next turn if we don’t fix this,” and the always popular “We have 4 turns to stop that from happening.”

Once all the start of round stuff is done, each player takes their turn.

If you're ever not sure what to do, look at the handy dandy cheat sheet

If you’re ever not sure what to do, look at the handy dandy Kings of Israel cheat sheet

On your turn you have 4 actions to perform you can:

  • Preach to Israel and get rid of sin.  This is one of the places resource management comes into play, if you don’t get rid of sin it can build up and cause you to lose, but if you spend all your time destroying sin you will lose the game because you haven’t built altars.  Resource management……
  • Travel to different cities- you travel to get rid of sin, build altars, so on and so forth.
  • Build an altar- you need stone, gold, and wood to do this (again Resource management to aquire it all and be in the right spot to build one).
  • Gather a resource- draw a card, but you can only hold six resources unless that’s your special ability.
  • Give a resource- you can  give resources to another player, this IS NOT A TRADE (we played wrong the first time).  You can talk about what you have and what they need, and you can give up to two resources at a time.  You have to be in the same city (unless that is your special ability)
  • Make a sacrifice- You can “spend” a cattle and a grain card to make a sacrifice that will get rid of all the sin at a location and 1 sin cube at each adjoining location (this is why placement of altars is important, if you place an altar at a location connected to several locations making a sacrifice can remove at least 5 sins in one action, it’s all about the resource management folks)
  • Destroy an idol- Idols are heap big bad news.  They spread sin like no one’s business, so you want to get rid of them, but it takes TWO actions to do so.


Here’s an example turn order for Kings of Israel:

Good King: Draw a blessing card, wow that is helpful I can’t wait to use it at a crucial point in the game.


Kings of Israel

This punishment is an “Oh that’s annoying, but not world ending” punishment

Bad King: Draw a curse card, how will we fix this problem?  This really helps your child think strategically and not just what is the immediate problem?  I love that aspect of this game.

Sin increases.  You draw a location equal to the number of players plus ONE.  So we are usually drawing 5 or 6 (yes we cheated and made the false prophet token a fifth player so the entire family can play, it doesn’t break the game dynamics) locations.  You put 1 sin token at each location.  If it is a nation you put one sin cube at each location that trades with that nation (EEK so much sin).  If there is 3 sin cubes an idol is created and each time sin is placed at the idol it is also placed at the surrounding towns.  YIKES, where is all this sin coming from, why won’t they listen to the prophets?


Kings of Israel prophet abilities

Blue prophet moves up to Dor from Hepher and preaches to Israel twice removing sin.  Then draws a resource card.

Red prophet stays there because we have a foretold prophecy about that location if it is free of sin then it will be okay, otherwise it will be destroyed.  She preaches to Israel and removes the sin, and draws 3 resource cards.

Yellow prophet stays where they are and collects resources.  While sin is relatively low it’s a good time to gather resources.

Green prophet moves up to the yellow prophet to give them materials to build an altar.

At the end of the round the first player token moves to the next player in line, the king marker moves to the next king and it all starts over again.

Our take on Kings of Israel

We’ve played this game several times now and it’s a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to trying the difficult variation sometime when we’re just playing with adults.  My kids aren’t quite ready for that.  We played our first time with the easy version and that was a lot of fun.  All the rest of the time we played with the standard rules.  I’m really curious to try the Bible study version they talk about in the rule book, it sounds very intriguing.


Tips and tricks for Kings of Israel

Kings of Israel bad news

You see that guy there.  That is an idol.  Destroy them early and often.  Don’t let them sit there, they will multiply like nobodies business.

I’d highly recommend for your first time playing using the easy version.

Our house rules for using 5 players was to increase the amount of sin at the start, and that seemed to more or less balance it out right.

We’ve also found Kings of Israel to be incredibly helpful for our family Bible study.  I’ve pulled the game out to show the kids the map and trace where things are.  You might have noticed it in my post on the Samaritan woman.  I’m sure if we were still studying the Old Testament I’d be pulling it out every week (I’m secretly hoping they come up with a game for Acts, imagine “You’re a new Christian trying to spread news of God’s Kingdom to the world, but can you spread that news before Rome shuts you down and throws you to the lions?”  Or something less silly sounding).


Save on Kings of Israel

If you order soon you can save 20% on Kings of Israel Board Game using the promo code KINGSPRO through April 16, 2015.

using promo code for Kings of Israel


Editted to add:

1.  I was over at the Kings of Israel Facebook page, and found a cool podcast (so totally check out their FB page, they’ve got some cool stuff)

2.  I forgot to include the giveaway!  Who wouldn’t want a chance to win this?

Lazarus raised from the dead Sunday School lesson

If I’ve got this all in order right the Mary, Martha, and Lazarus story is the last Bible lesson to teach before heading into Easter with my Sunday School class.  We learned about Jesus healing the man at the pool, and now we’re going to learn about Jesus’ friendship with people who aren’t his disciples.


Are you a Mary or a Martha?

Mary or Martha

When Jesus visited their home Mary sat and listened to Jesus, while Martha was busy doing things for Jesus.  Do you sit and be with a person or are you busy doing stuff for the person?

I’ll admit I’m a Martha.  I like to do, I like to be busy.  I’m not good at just sitting and being with someone.  It’s a common complaint from my friends because I just don’t focus well.  I have to be doing two things at once.

When you read the story of Mary and Martha, you’ll notice Jesus doesn’t tell Martha what she’s doing is wrong.  Because it isn’t; it isn’t wrong to serve others.  But, it is wrong to put doing stuff for others over the actual person.


How should Christians grieve?  Look at the death of Lazarus

Jesus cried when Lazarus died

Jesus cried when Lazarus died.

I’ve dealt with a lot of grief.  Sometimes when your friend or family member has died people feel the need to say “They’re in a better place now” as if that makes it okay, and you shouldn’t be crying.

I’ve even run into one or two Christians who think you shouldn’t grieve because you’ll see them again in heaven.

Look at Jesus’ response.  He cried.  He knew what was about to happen.  Jesus knew Lazarus was coming back to life in a few minutes, but He still cried.  He grieved with his friends.

So yes, feel sad when your friend dies because they are not there with you.  There is some joy because you know where they are, but there is still sadness, and it’s okay to grieve and be sad.


Lazarus activities

There’s not really a lot to do with the first part of this story.  I don’t think my kids would enjoy sitting around and cleaning for Martha, so we skipped straight to Lazarus’ resurrection.

Lazarus relay race

This is the version I’ll be doing with my Sunday School class.  A Lazarus relay race wrapping a volunteer in toilet paper as grave clothes.  We did this Lazarus race a few years ago at a VBS (notice how little my kids are, Princess lived in that dress when she was younger).

But, for just my kids, we did a different version.  I gathered some fabric I’d torn into bandages for a Good Samaritan game, and they each got a stuffed animal.

Lazarus Sunday School game

Then they had to wrap the animal up in his grave clothes.  They thoroughly enjoyed it, but discovered the moose was a little hard to wrap.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus mapwork

Then we did a bit of mapwork for the lesson.  I was doing it from memory, and I’d had Jesus up in Galilee when he gets the news of Lazarus’ sickness, but when I reread the story he’s actually down in Judea somewhere.  So I’m partially posting this to emphasize checking your facts as you’re teaching the lesson, and that everyone makes mistakes, even us super awesome rock star amazing bloggers (you did catch the sarcasm in that, right?  Wouldn’t it be awesome if they made a sarcasm font?).

Resurrection of Lazarus mapwork

We did one last activity with this lesson, learning how to read a map key is a very useful geography skill for kids to learn, so we used the key on our map to find where in particular the story happened and the reference in the Bible (our map is the Ministry of Jesus map from Wondermaps (affiliate link))



Mary, Martha, and Lazarus story and lesson

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus resources

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