Hello friends! It’s a busy and exciting time around here. Eighteen months after moving out of our house in Iuka, we’ve finally purchased a new home. It’s been a long time coming. We closed on Thursday and have lots to do before we officially move in. Until then, I thought I’d share some before pictures for you.

New House - Den

New House - Dining Room

New House - Kitchen

New House - Master

New House - Girls Rooms

The painters are in the house this week, and we’ve (and by that I mean Dennis) already ripped up the carpet in the bedrooms. There’s hardware to be changed, light fixtures to update, and all sorts of other things in between.

We’re so grateful that Dennis’ parents opened up their home to us to invade and take over, but we’re excited to settle into a home of our own after living with family for so long. Things will continue to be quiet around here for a few more weeks, but I’ll update you when I can.

Until next time, grace and peace.
Leslie Ann Jones, author, freelance writer, stationery designer, mommy, photographer

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I know, I know. I already posted an Easter picture, but when I got these photos edited, I just couldn’t resist sharing them with you. I grew up taking family pictures in front of my Mamaw’s massive azaleas, so when they started blooming around here, I knew they would be the perfect backdrop for a quick photoshoot with the girls.

easter girls

Micah was happy because the flowers happened to be pink. Kendall was happy to be outside. And I was happy that they were both looking in the general direction of the camera at the same time. That doesn’t always happen, you know.

easter girls 2

I love the quilt they’re sitting on. I ordered it from Karmen’s Quilts for Kendall’s first birthday. She was great to work with, her prices are reasonable, and the quilt is gorgeous. If you’re in the market for a handmade quilt, I can’t recommend her highly enough.

I snapped away happily for about 10 minutes, and then my camera did the strangest thing. In between one photo and the next, everything turned pink.

pink pictures

So strange. Adjusting the settings didn’t help, and I couldn’t figure out what happened. Eventually, I gave up and came inside. The next day, the camera worked just fine again. These things only happen to me.

According to Google, it might be the image sensor (yikes), but I haven’t heard back from Canon yet. We shall see.

Hope you’re all doing well! Things may be kind of quiet around here for the next few weeks. Minted’s annual holiday challenge is in full swing, and I’m busy trying to get some designs ready for submission, but I’ll be popping in from time to time to check in with you.

Until next time, grace and peace.
Leslie Ann Jones, author, freelance writer, stationery designer, mommy, photographer

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family-easter-photo-2014

Easter is my favorite, y’all. Over the past week, we’ve celebrated with friends from preschool and church, hunted eggs more times than I can count, and decorated eggs with a handful of friends. We’ve opened our resurrection eggs, made (and enjoyed eating) resurrection rolls, and talked about Jesus’ death and resurrection constantly.

Because for us, Easter is so much more than new spring dresses and chocolate bunnies. It’s more than the baskets and the egg hunts and the peeps. It’s the most important part of the Christian faith. It is central to the gospel message.

Without the resurrection, Jesus Christ is just another dead prophet. Without the resurrection, death wins, and we are hopeless. Without the resurrection, we who call ourselves Christians are most unfortunate indeed. That’s what the apostle Paul says, anyway (1 Corinthians 15).

Thank God for the resurrection. Because Christ has been raised, we are confident that death doesn’t get the final say. Life wins, and we have hope for a future where there is no more death, no more tears, no more pain. There will be no more sickness or suffering or sorrow.

And that, my friends, is what Easter is all about. It’s the first ray of sunshine after a dark, dark night. It’s the preview of the main event. It’s the assurance we so desperately need that everything is going to be OK after all.

And so today, on this Resurrection Sunday, I wish you a Happy Easter. May the joy and hope of that first Easter morning flood your hearts today and every day from now until eternity.

Until next time, grace and peace.
Leslie Ann Jones, author, freelance writer, stationery designer, mommy, photographer

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7 Ways to Teach Kids About Easter - a collection of the best Easter activities from around the web via leslieannjones.com

Easter is about Jesus. It’s about the sacrifice he made on the cross and his victory over death three days later. It can be difficult, to say the least, to explain these concepts to small children, so I’ve gathered seven different activities from all over the web to help you.

Don’t think for a minute that we do every single one of these in our home. We don’t. I’m not superwoman. I’m just a mom trying to point my children toward Jesus on one of the most important days of the year. Sometimes we do that by reading a book, sometimes through making resurrection rolls, and sometimes through Easter crafts. It’s all about finding what works best for your family and going for it.

So, without further ado, here are a few simple activities you can use to teach your children about Easter.

1. Make Resurrection Rolls. I’ve done this with Micah on the Saturday before Easter for the past couple of years. She loves dipping the marshmallows in butter and rolling them in cinnamon sugar before wrapping them up in crescent rolls. These are a great object lesson for Jesus’ burial and resurrection. The marshmallow is Jesus, the butter and cinnamon sugar are the oil and spices used to anoint his body, the crescent roll is the tomb. While the rolls bake, the marshmallow melts and leaves the inside hollow, representing the empty tomb. These are hands down our favorite Easter activity. Eat at Allie’s has a great tutorial and recipe for Resurrection Rolls with step by step instructions.

2. Read Books that Explain the Resurrection Story. My Easter Basket and the True Story of Easter is one of our favorites. We picked it up at a consignment store when Micah was teeny tiny, and we love it. The story uses the colors in the basket and an easy-to-remember rhyme to describe the important parts of the Easter story.

3. Countdown to Easter. I love the idea of counting down to Easter with an Easter calendar – just like we count down to Christmas with an Advent calendar. Kojo Designs created the Easter egg countdown pictured here, and her tutorial includes a list of activities to hide in the eggs each day. We haven’t done this in the past, but as my girls get older, I think it’s something we’ll try to incorporate into our traditions.

4. Make Faux Stained Glass Crosses. The cross is central to the Easter story, and you can talk about it with your children while you make these pretty and simple confetti stained glass crosses. We did this a few weeks ago, and both girls enjoyed it immensely. It’s an easy enough craft for Kendall (who’s almost two) to do, and Micah had a great time as well. The crosses are currently hanging on the back door, serving as a visual reminder that Easter is right around the corner.

5. Use Resurrection Eggs to Share the Story of Easter. This is a simple and beautiful concept that you can use to point your children toward Scripture and Jesus this season. You can buy a set of resurrection eggs to use, or, if you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own like these from sugar lander, these from Delia Creates, or these from Life Your Way. Mandi at Life Your Way even provides little printable cards for each egg to explain the contents and the corresponding Scripture. So cute.

6. Create a Resurrection Garden. If I can manage to swing it, we’re going to make one of these this year. I’ve seen several versions floating around Pinterest, but my favorite is this resurrection garden from Oh Amanda. I love the fact that she replaced the wilted, dying foliage with vibrant, colorful flowers on Easter morning, a visual reminder of the new life we have in Christ. This seems like a really fun way for kids to get their hands dirty and really get a sense of what Easter is all about.

7. Use A Sense of the Resurrection to Direct Your Conversations. A Sense of the Resurrection is a fantastic e-book by Oh Amanda that includes tutorials for 12 Scripture-based Easter activities to do with your children. Some of the activities are simple, like washing each others’ feet as you explain that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples on the night he was arrested. Other activities are more involved, like the wind chime you can make to remember the Triumphal Entry. All the activities will help your children understand the different parts of the Easter story and give them an appreciation for what Jesus did on the cross.

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I hope this collection is helpful for you as you talk about Easter with your little ones. What do you do to prepare your kids for Easter? Share your ideas and inspiration in the comments section.

Until next time, grace and peace.
Leslie Ann Jones, author, freelance writer, stationery designer, mommy, photographer

image credits: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Find More Easter Ideas on my Happy Easter Pinboard!



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If you’ve stopped by the blog lately, you may (or may not have) noticed a few changes to the look and feel of the site. What you may not have realized is that with the new look comes a renewed purpose. I used to post about whatever struck my fancy at any particular moment, but if I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired, I just didn’t write. Which led to radio silence from me for months on end. And that’s no fun.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to say, and I’ve boiled it down to three categories: Faith, Life, and Design. I’m a wife, mom, author, speaker, and stationer, and the blog is a reflection of that – it’s the place where my faith, my life, and my design meet. I do my best to write two to three times each week with a post from each category. That’s the plan anyway, but sometimes life gets in the way.

This blog is also a place for conversations to begin. It’s a virtual watering hole where we can gather to talk about what it means to live a faithful life, the joys and difficulties of parenting, and all the things that inspire us to be better than we already are. If you read something you like (or don’t like, for that matter), take a minute to leave a comment and tell me. If you found something inspiring or helpful, let me know. I want to hear from you, and I hope that we can become the dearest of friends.

All of that said, I thought it would be helpful to write a little “guide” for you on the new direction of the blog. Read on to discover what you can expect to find in each category.

faith

In the faith section, you’ll find reflections on the things God is teaching me through ordinary, everyday moments, Bible passages and theological books that I’m reading, and current events that I feel led to weigh in on. You’ll also find links to my most recent writing assignments and sneak peeks of upcoming publications.

Recent Posts in the Faith Category

life

In the life section, you’ll find snapshots of my life as a wife to Dennis and mom to two sweet little girls, reviews of books that I’ve recently read, and insights from my ever-constant pursuit of a simpler life. The life section is full of snippets from this crazy life that I live.

Recent Posts in the Life Category

design

And finally, in the design section, you’ll find the latest printables and freebies (a new one will be posted each month), tutorials for simple crafts and projects you can do with your kids, featured products from Felicity Paper (my etsy shop), and my freshest designs for Minted.

Recent Posts in the Design Category

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I hope you enjoy reading, and I look forward to hearing from you! Don’t forget to sign up for updates in your inbox and never miss a post!

Until next time, grace and peace.
Leslie Ann Jones, author, freelance writer, stationery designer, mommy, photographer

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