Each day was full of fun activities and I had an organized schedule so everyone knew what was expected at each part of the day. Our daily schedule included (this is for you Tiffany)...
7:00-8:00 Rise and shine
8:00-9:00 Breakfast and get ready for swimming
9:00-11:00 morning activity (some kind of water activity - swimming at the pool, water slide...)
11:00-12:00 return from swimming and get cleaned up
12:00-1:00 prepare and eat lunch
1:00 - 2:00 rest time on beds (reading or games but no talking)
2:00 - 3:00 craft time in the basement
3:00 - 4:00 project time (we made an Ethiopian lapbook)
4:00 - 5:30 free time (this included a TV show, or free play or hand held video games)
5:30 - 6:15 dinner prep including kids helping set the table
6:30 - 7:15 dinner
7:15 - 8:00 outside play on playset or in the yard or catching fireflies (coolest part of the day)
8:00 - 8:30 group bible time and recap the day
8:30 -8:45 jammies on and tuck in
9:00 lights out
It really helped me to have a schedule and it prevented me from being on the computer or getting distracted by other time wasters. I think it helped the kids know what was expected of them too, and they knew that there were expectations of each part of the day. And to be honest, we were able to get those lights off each night by 9 (the youngest kid was 6 and everyone needed rest).
For our bible time each night, we learned a name of God and talked about how in order to praise God for who He is, we need to know His character. And these were names that all kids can relate too. Jehovah-Shammah -- The Lord is there (present). It was neat for the kids to learn that God is with their mom and dad and their new sister in Ethiopia. Jehovah -Raah -- The Lord is my Shepherd. We studied Ps. 23 and talked about how God cares for us as a shepherd cares for the sheep and comforts us. El Elyon -- The Lord Most High. God is above all and over all. He is in charge of every detail on earth and none of it is a surprise to Him. Jehova - Jireh -- The Lord who provides. God provides everything we need, including a savior. God provided the money that it took to complete this adoption for their family.
During this same time, the kids either wrote or drew a picture on a card of a favorite part of the day. That way when they get back together with their parents, they would be able to share highlights about their time apart. It also helped the kids focus on positive things and not focus on just missing their parents.
On the last day, I took the kids to a nature center and we explored around and then did some nature rubbings. I had little pieces of paper and peeled crayons and they each did 3-5 rubbings, and then we had to try and guess what they were. Even though most of them looked like a bumpy sidewalk, the kids had a good time sharing their discoveries.
Lastly...a few pictures of the week. It was a blessing to serve part of the body of Christ in this tangible way. And to see theses friendships blossom was great to witness.