Several years ago, I made an egg carton wreath for my mother. We were on a budget, and I wanted something extra special for my mom on Mother's Day. The wreath took about 8 hours for me to make, but literally cost pennies to put together. It's made from recycled egg cartons. I did this craft with a friend, which might have attributed to the longer craft time. We had little kids under foot, and we talked a bit as we worked!
I often buy eggs from different places, so I have a variety of styles to choose from. You might think egg cartons are all the same, but they are not. And this wreath can be made best from several different styles. You can have different shaped flowers depending on the piece of the carton you use.
The hardest part is the cutting! I still haven't figured out scissors that will easily cut through egg cartons, and I own a pair of Cutco scissors which are supposed to be strong enough to cut a penny. Scissors just rub your knuckles the wrong way when you cut up egg cartons. I don't think there is a pain free way to do. But it's all worth it!
After the flowers are painted, and glued on the cardboard ring, you are left with a wreath that makes you smile. Every time I see this wreath hanging in my mother's kitchen, it makes me happy. It also makes me remember the act of love which went into the making. I never could bring myself to duplicate the wreath for my own house. The time spent on cutting the different flowers scared me away from trying again.
Without having to be super creative on the cutting, you can always make each flower different in the painting. Be creative with the centers! Each flower is unique!
The only part of the wreath that isn't made from the egg carton, is the cardboard ring I painted for the back. You can make it as big, or as little as you would like. I didn't even add any kind of hook to the back of the wreath. A simple brad will hold the lightweight wreath on the wall.
Remember that act of love I never wanted to duplicate for myself?
I didn't have to! For my birthday this year, my mom surprised me with my own egg carton wreath in my favorite colors. Now I can smile every time I see it on my wall, and I can remember my mom loves me enough to spend hours making her fingers sore.
I loved how instead of coloring the middle of these yellow flowers, my mom glued a brown pom-pom into the center! It adds a little depth to the flowers!
If you want to use it as a craft for your kids, let them paint the flowers as you cut them! They will love putting their own special touch on it!
Nestled in the flowers on my wreath, you will find a sweet little bird.
My favorite summer activity we do each year is our Shadow Puppet Theater Performance. We invite our family over to watch an original show written and performed by my kids. We've been doing this for 7 YEARS!
It's very simple to make your own Shadow Puppet Theater! I bought a sheet for a couple dollars at Goodwill. All they had there at the time was a peach color. I would have preferred white; however the pale pastel color peach works just fine too. You can still see through it perfectly when you shine a light behind it.
I made sure to sew a small pocket, with each end open, at the top of the sheet so we could slip a PVC pipe through it to hang. We now own a set of Fort Magic which works GREAT to build our theater on. We've been using our Fort Magic set for several years.
To get the theater look, I used some painters tape around the edges of our sheet, and painted it with house paint I had on hand. I made sure to do several coats so you can't see through it when the light shines behind.
Through the years our transparency puppet collection has grown. Each year we do a different performance, and typically will chose a new character to make. Sometimes I have printed the characters on transparencies, but most of the time I have printed a coloring picture of the character out, and then I transfer it to the transparency by tracing over it with a permanent marker.
I've tried using super glue to attach the transparencies to small dowel rods, but they often fall apart and break off during the show. Now I simply use a couple pieces of clear tape to get them to stick. If it's good tape, you won't even be able to see it!
We always make a day of summer fun with our theater performance. We write the story ourselves, make the characters, we practice repeatedly until it's perfect. And we invite family to watch the show in the evening. We also like to provide some yummy snacks for everyone. The boys will often take drink orders before the show, and will bring a treat to everyone during the intermission. The kids love this part of serving!
This night is always a favorite for all. It's so fun to watch the kids act out the show through shadow puppets and I love the different voices they do for each character. They always make me laugh. I enjoy it just as much as a night out at an expensive theater.
To make things funny, this year we decided to do our play based on the game Mash. We wanted our main character to be my husband since he wouldn't get to participate in the planning. The kids thought he would make a great main character. All of us chose one suggestion for each category of the Mash game. If our suggestion ended up being chosen, that meant we had to write that part of the story. It was so much fun! This play ended up being a collaboration of all four of us writing different parts to Titus' Grand Life. It was silly and memorable. I know the kids will remember this night for quite a while!
One of the fun ways I've found to teach kids a Bible verse is to turn it into a game. You can use the cube shape, and break the verse into six equal parts. I typically use one side of the six for the Bible reference. Have the kids write the verse out onto each side of the cube. Tape or glue the cube together. Once you are finished building the cube you have the makings of a very simple game.
You can play the game alone, or you can play the game with a friend. Make sure the kids know how the verse is supposed to read from start to finish.
Each player takes a turn rolling the cube. The goal of the game is to get each part of the verse, in the order it belongs, ending with the Bible reverence.
Each person rolls the cube one time for their turn, then passes the cube to the next player. Each turn you get one chance to roll the part of the verse you are on.
For this Bible verse you would start by trying to roll the side that reads
All Scripture is inspired by God.
Once you have rolled that, your next turn you will be trying to roll
and is useful to teach us what is true
Then your next turn you will be trying for
and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
And so forth...
You continue to play and roll until you have gone all the way through the verse, including the Bible reference. You will have to remember which part of the Bible verse you are trying to roll next. The first person who makes it through the entire verse is the winner.
You could use this style of game for any verse! The kids love it! If you only have a few minutes with the kids, make the cube ahead of time for quick play.
Card stock works best for making the cube. But I've made them both ways with plain printer paper. Sometimes it's really hard for little fingers to glue the flaps of the cube together. I always offer some tape as well to assemble the cubes.
You cut on the thick black lines, you fold all of the dotted lines.
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
A friend of mine is getting married today! I'm so excited for her. I've known her all her life. When my mom found out she was pregnant with my little sister, who is several years younger than I am, her friend also had a new baby girl. To practice for my new sister that would soon be coming, the other mom told me I could hold her little baby girl, Rachel. So precious! That was 27 years ago...
My daughter designed this card for her bridal shower a few weeks ago. We had a plain brown recycled paper card. I wanted a little decoration on the front, maybe with a couple small flowers. Something to make the card more elegant, since this friend is a fancy girl. My daughter came through for my request. I love the flowers. They looked very beautiful with the contrast of the brown card stock.
Congratulations, Rachel! I can't wait to see what a beautiful bride you make!
I'm always looking for ways to serve other people. Acts of service is my love language, so believe me when I say, I LOVE to help people. This summer I wanted to do our normal summer fun, but I also wanted to go a little further and do some acts of kindness for each other.
This summer we have made a pact to do Summer Secret Service. We call ourselves the S.S.S. On the first day of summer vacation we drew names in our family. We also included my mom who spends a lot of time with us.
It's a SECRET who has who. So far, the kids have done pretty good at keeping it a secret. It's not so important to keep who has who a secret, as it is to keep the act itself a secret. It's fun to walk into your room and see that someone made your bed for you. Or it's REALLY neat to think you have to do the dinner dishes and find out someone secretly did it while you were busy elsewhere.
To make it extra special, my son designed a logo for us. I have such talented kids! I love what he came up with. It perfectly captures the love behind the acts of kindness. We printed our logo on labels that we can use for the things we make, and I ordered some business cards from Vistaprint. For example, if you clean the room for someone, you can slip a business card onto the bed or desk to show that the S.S.S. has been there.
We also plan on doing some acts of kindness for people outside of our family. This will be a great chance to use our business card. We can let them know they have been visited by the S.S.S.
I received this very sweet note from my S.S.S. I have spent several days helping a friend through a very trying time in her life. In fact, as I was writing this blog post a couple days ago, I received an important phone call from her. I put everything in my life on hold. I tried to be practical in the love I showed her. I went with her to the hospital. I helped clean her house, and packed some boxes for an upcoming move. I was emotionally exhausted and physically spent. It was a great source of encouragement to find this note waiting for me in my own home. Daisies are a source of comfort for me. To me they are a happy flower. This simple note made me tear up. It was a reminder that God is proud of me. That's enough to keep me going.
*UPDATE*We had our big reveal, and I found out this letter to me was lurking in my house for over two weeks! I love how God has such impeccable timing. I found it the exact day that I needed to find it!
Everyone needs to feel a little extra love and care. This is a chance we have this summer to give a little, and even get a little. It adds the perfect special touch to our summer fun. I look forward to many more special acts of kindness this summer! The gears in my head have been turning in ways that I can give to my own S.S.S. It's exciting to be a part of something like this.
*UPDATE* Our Summer Secret Service was such a big success, we decided we wanted to continue the special acts of kindness. We have started a new round of good deeds.... the SCHOOL SECRET SERVICE. New names have been drawn, and new acts of kindness are being performed. We are keeping it a secret for the entire school year, and plan to do at least one good deed for each other per month... hopefully more.
Feel free to use our logo and ideas anyway you see fit!
Let's all join together and do kind things for each other!
Lately I've become obsessed with editing my daughter's drawings in Illustrator. There is something calming and soothing about smoothing out the lines. I've been searching through all her old drawings looking for things I can edit and play around with.
I'm certain after awhile, the newness will wear off and I'll be looking for a new way to pass my free time. But for now, it's coloring pages. I love all the adult coloring books out there. I've been a fan of coloring my entire life, long before this coloring phase became popular, in fact. So for a little while, I'm certain my blog will be bursting with new pictures to color. Feel free to share and enjoy!
Ariel has become a bit of a celebrity in my class at church. The kid's can't believe she has made the drawings herself. It makes me smile when the kids approach her after church to give her their love and support.
"Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
Yesterday my daughter came across a bird nest in a bush we were cutting down. It killed her to destroy the birds home, so she left it completely intact, and didn't touch the nest at all. She did however cut around it. I believe the rest of the bush was protecting this nest, and sadly this morning the egg was missing. I'm certain a predator must have come and removed the egg. This broke my daughter's heart. We had no idea the cleaning up of our yard would hurt the life of an innocent baby bird.
Just like our hearts broke for this new life that didn't get a chance, God's heart breaks when we go through trouble. He cares so much for all His creation, even the smallest baby bird, or the biggest adult woman.
I needed this reminder today. God says I count far more to Him than the birds.
We are having car trouble. For the past two years we have been casually shopping for a new car. One of our cars is rusting out on the bottom, and a new car will soon be necessary. However, today that car is not the issue. Our family car, we noticed was leaking oil. It doesn't spill onto the ground, but it's going somewhere.
After a day at the mechanic, they couldn't pinpoint the problem unless we allow them to do further diagnostic work. This would be another $100, and they believe it might be a head gasket issue which would result in another $1800 bill. Not the best news in the world. It looks like we will need to be replacing two cars instead of one. YIKES! Big money there!
I'm not going to stress myself out over it. God has promised to provide for all my needs, including my car needs. He cares for me even more than He cares for the small baby birds. I have nothing to fear. I'm not going to worry about my everyday life... I'm going to place it in God's hands. He's got this, so I can rest easy in His promise.
Ariel loves to doodle. She is constantly making little drawings in notebooks, or on scraps of paper. I love to find her drawings around the house. They are so beautiful! On Sunday, she shared with me this beautiful doodle drawing in her notebook from church. Doodling helps her focus and listen to the speaker. I LOVE it and fully support her doodling habit! I couldn't resist scanning this drawing in, and turning it into a coloring page.
I think we make a great team. She draws, and I smooth out the lines in Illustrator to make it a digital picture. One of my dreams for the future is to write a coloring book devotional with my daughter. I would do the writing, she would do the drawing. I would add Bible verses or quotes to each of her coloring sheets. It's probably not something that will happen for quite a few years, but I can always dream about it for now.
This year for my class at church I wanted to make them something extra special. I love these kids, and it is a joy for me to use my craft skills to make gifts. I started out making this as a Christmas gift, but then it turned into a Valentine's day gift. It's a lot of work when you are making multiple sets, and Christmas came and went before I was finished! This game would be great as a gift, but also would make a great game to pass the time inside the classroom. There is always down time where a quiet game will do the trick.
Farkle is a game played with usually two or more players. You can bend the rules for a game played alone too. Each player has an opportunity to throw the dice which will equal a score. The scores accumulate more as the game goes on. Some turns result in no points being made. The first person to reach the goal score will be declared the winner.
Kids love to see their faces on things. It makes it special to hold something in their hands that is uniquely theirs. All the kids I gave this game to were SO EXCITED! Some were literally jumping up and down as I handed out the gifts. They couldn't wait to play, and it didn't matter if they had a friend to join them. The kids played the game all by themselves too! The game is best for a few players, but can be used for solitary entertainment.
I started out by taking a picture of each child on a grey wall. This made an easy background for good face recognition later. The kids assumed I was going to give them a framed photo later for Christmas. Boy were they surprised to get their Farkle games!! I put the photos into Photoshop and sized them down very tiny! The size all depends on the wooden blocks you are going to glue them on to.
You can buy already cut blocks of wood from Hobby Lobby, or you can save money and buy long blocks of wood that you cube yourself. Either way it's a very inexpensive game to make. I have a miter saw, so I opted for the cheapest wood and set to work cutting my cubes. My cubes weren't perfect, but they pass the test for kids. Hobby Lobby sells the cubes in a variety of sizes. You can make them small dice, you could make them large! It's all about what you want. Just remember if they are too big, you might have trouble rolling all 6 of the dice together.
Once your cubes are cut, or purchased, it's time to size the photos to fit on the cube. This can be a little tedious as you glue the tiny photos on all 6 sides of the 6 dice required to make one set of Classroom Farkle. That's 36 photos you must glue on for one set of dice! I glued the photos on with Mod Podge. I did NOT seal them with Mod Podge. I'll explain why later. A cube has 6 sides, so 6 different photos are required for each die. All cubes are made exactly the same. Just think of it as a regular die with the numbered dots from 1 to 6. The game needs 6 dice, so each of the 6 dice look exactly the same. (Except for the 1 Farkle die I explain later) If it makes sense in your head, assign each child a number. Then place their pictures on the dice in place of those numbers. Since I have more than 6 children in my classroom, the kids didn't get every single classmate in their game. I had to narrow it down and assign a few friends to their one-of-a-kind dice.
For Christmas one year I made Family Farkle for my son. He is an avid board game player. All of the Farkle dice had members of the family on it, with one side that had a family photo.
For these Classroom Farkle sets I thought it would be fun to make a special Farkle die. When you Farkle in the traditional game this means you rolled some non-scoring dice and your turn is immediately over, and all points you might have previously rolled during that one turn will be forfeited. To make the game even more fun, I called the die with my picture on it a Farkle. If they ever rolled the die with my picture showing, this would mean their turn is over with zero points added to the score.
The special teacher Farkle photo is only on ONE side of ONE of the six dice. If you had the teacher Farkle photo on each die, it would make the game practically impossible to score on.
This also means that one of the kids in your Classroom Farkle set will only have 5 photos instead of 6 like all the rest of the dice. When I gave the gift to the kids, I made sure the kid who only had 5 photos was NOT the one that gift set went to. Each set I made was unique for that kid it was given to.
After the photos were glued on each of the dice, I made sure to coat them in a Polycrylic protective finish. I bought this at Walmart in the paint section. This seals the photos in. In the past I have used Mod Podge, but found the items always stuck together and after time ripped the photos. So frustrating! This sealer does not stick to itself! It's water based and easy to clean up!
Classroom Farkle is a little time consuming to make, but you are left with a beautiful, unique game the kids will LOVE. I made sure to personalize the directions for each child, with their friends names in the directions. This helps them understand what point value is given to each person. I also laminated their set of instructions so it can hold up to lots of use!
To make the set all come together, I found some cute Valentine's Day pails at Dollar Tree. They came in sets of 2 for $1. I also found the plastic juice cups for shaking the dice up at Dollar Tree. You can get 6 of these small cups for $1. They fit perfectly in the small pails. I bought a paint pen, and wrote the name of each child on their bucket.
To get started: Each player must roll at least 500 points during one turn to get into the game. The players game entry score and subsequent scores are added up.
1. The first player rolls six dice and decides which dice they want to use for score. If they don’t roll a Zechariah (1) or Zakia (5) or other scoring combinations, their turn is over and they must pass the dice.
Zechariah (1) = 100 points for each, Zakia (5) = 50 points for each
3 Zechariah = 300 (DIE equivalent 1) 4 OF A KIND = 2000
3 Mariah = 200 (DIE equivalent 2) 5 OF A KIND = 3000
My daughter is an artist. Every Mother's Day I receive a new painting or drawing done by her. This year she gave me the most wonderful gift.
Most people who know me are familiar with my life verse. "My cup overflows with blessings. Your unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life." Psalm 23:5-6. If you have found this blog, than you too know my life verse. My Cup Overflows with Blessings!
Several years ago I made a decision that I would always focus on the positive in life. I went through a depression for several years, and during that time I chose to think about all that was wrong. The bad things consumed me.
When I made the positive change in my thinking, I began to see God's blessings everywhere. I found Him in the big parts of my life. I found Him in the most minute details of my life. I was overwhelmed with God's love. My depression eventually vanished as I focused on the good around me. Since that year long ago when I made the conscious effort to change my thinking, my cup has literally overflowed with blessings. My journals cannot contain the goodness of God.
I don't say this lightly. This was not an easy change. In the beginning I struggled daily with choosing the positive. In fact, every minute of the day I had to retrain my thoughts. I posted scripture verses around my house. I quoted them to myself. I disciplined myself to start a daily Bible reading routine. I prayed many prayers. I wrote hundreds of blessings that God was showing me. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. I'm happy now. God healed my broken heart. He is so good at doing that!
I can honestly say, my cup overflows with blessings. God's unfailing love has pursued me all the days of my life.
This year my daughter drew me a picture based on my life verse. I LOVE it! It's extra special to me that it came from my daughter. She is one of God's biggest blessings to me.
To make things even better, she included in my gift a coloring page of my life verse. I love having coloring sheets to use for my class at church. I can't wait until the next time we are learning about God's blessings. You can be sure I will be sharing this coloring sheet!
God is so AMAZING!!
Just wanted to share another recent painting by my daughter. We had a ladies painting party at church. So relaxing and fun!
Here's my painting from the same party. This is another one of my favorite life verses! "Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag." Luke 19:26
I have a confession to make. I stole the idea of watercolor bookmarks from a young lady who used to attend my church. Maybe stole isn't the best word for it. I was inspired by this young lady. Her family recently moved to a new town at God's direction. A lot of tears were shed by my family after their move. I love this teenager so much. She has the sweetest spirit, and loves to serve in any way that she can. In all the years I have known her, she never had an unkind word to say, and she is always positive. I want to grow up to be like her!
This young lady plans to go on a missions trip this summer, and advertised some gorgeous hand painted and hand drawn watercolor bookmarks. She only asked $1 for each. I fell in love with the paintings. They were all so beautiful and I just this week received in the mail my bookmarks I purchased from her. She gave me special permission to share them here with you all.
I'm excited! I can't wait to give some of these away to my friends and family members. I put in a special request for the "my cup overflows" bookmark. It's one of my very favorite scripture verses ever! I have it placed in my home in multiple ways because God really does pour out His blessings until my cup overflows...
Hers is so much better than mine! I'm jealous of her talent. I know it comes naturally to her!