Posted in Craft Corner

National Hat Day Crafts

This was such a fun themed craft! To celebrate national hat day with my little SURF Club girls, I thought it’d be fun to go with an Alice in Wonderland theme. After all, who knows hats better than the Mad Hatter?

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My friend, Heather, made these darling teacup cupcakes.
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I pulled out my favorite table cloth and my Grandma’s party crystal.
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These are my teacup cupcake attempts and my Alice in Wonderland tea set.

To set the mood, the girls first enjoyed a tea party. I think the Mad Hatter and Alice would have approved. 🙂

For this craft I thought it’d be fun for each girl to make a Mad Hatter-inspired hat and a princess crown, which was inspired from the queens in Alice in Wonderland (the movie version with Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway).

For the Mad Hatter-inspired hats, I provided the following supplies:

  • Mini seed planter pots (from Dollar Tree)
  • Pre-cut poster board circles; dessert plate size, for the hat rim
  • Pre-cut poster board circles, for the hat top (smaller than the rim)
  • Paint and paint brushes
  • Ribbon and fabric scraps
  • Gemstones
  • Feathers, pom poms, buttons, and other embellishments
  • Craft glue, hot glue guns, and glue sticks (use low temp glue guns and supervise)
  • Alligator clips (so the girls could wear their hats if so desired)

For the princess crowns I supplied the following:

  • White paper party cups (from Dollar Tree); I pre-cut the bottom out with a hobby knife and shaped the top to resemble a dainty crown
  • Paint and paint brushes
  • Gold glitter
  • Craft glue, hot glue guns, and glue sticks (use low temp and supervise)
  • Heart and star stickers
  • Gemstones and other embellishments
  • Alligator clips (so the girls could wear them)

I’m always delighted by the girls’ creativity when we craft. One girl turned her hat into a pencil holder, taking advantage of the water holes in the planter pot. And as a last bit of fun, the girls posed for pictures wearing their hats.

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It’s been a winter wonderland here this month. These crafts brighten my mid-winter days.

♥ If you ever make mini hats at your house be sure to let me know! Thanks for stopping by and I hope the rest of your week is fantastic. If you’re in a snowy winter as we are, stay warm and drive safe. ♥

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Posted in Craft Corner

National Trivia Day Crafts

It’s a new year and that means new crafts with my SURF Club girls (Sweet, Unique, aRtsy Friends). For January I decided to mix it up from winter crafts and theme our crafts around national holidays. I chose a national holiday which fit into each week, and the first was National Trivia Day (January 4th).

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When I was looking for inspiration for this craft, I visited Barnes and Noble and purchased a National Geographic Kids Weird but True! book. These little books are really fun! I ended up creating 2″x 2″ cards for the girls on cardstock. I added in some of the facts from the book, in my own words. I also printed out blank cards and let the girls thumb through the book themselves and write out facts of their choice.

For this craft, I gave the girls two choices: they could make a trivia board game or they could make a trivia book. Most of the girls chose to create a game, and I loved the originality, even when they were based off games like Jeopardy and Sorry. They came up with their own layout and their own rules. For the game boards, I provided the following supplies:

  • Poster board (half size and smaller)
  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Washi tape
  • Stickers
  • Buttons and pom poms for game markers

Some of the girls worked on a game together, in pairs.

The trivia books turned out super cute! For these I had paper sack books already made up (left over from our nature journals last summer). I also supplied:

  • Markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Stickers
  • Washi tape
  • Scrapbook paper

It was fun to hear the girls share facts with each other and maybe it even sparked some interest in learning about something further. In one group I ended up looking up how Jelly Belly beans are made and they really do take 7 to 21 days! That’s amazing to me!

♥ So that was our first craft to kick off the new year. How is your new year going so far? I’m hosting these craft sessions three days a week so that is keeping me busy. I have six new girls and three are younger sisters of craft girls in my group so that is fun. They are 3-years old and so cute! For this craft, I made up an animal matching game for them to color.

Marcus just passed his driver’s test and is waiting another week or so for the 6-month driving permit period to be up so he can get his license. He started his second semester of this homeschool year (his 10th grade year) this week and we are trying to finish up his last five merit badges so he can earn his Eagle. He is still deciding what to do for his Eagle project. Any ideas? ♥

 

 

Posted in Faith Corner, Scripture Corner

New Year, New Themes

I am a theme person. I just love themes. And with a new year comes new themes. Yay!

The 2019 youth theme for the youth ages 11-17 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is…

If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments

~John 14:15

This theme is significant to me because my youngest son, Marcus, is 16-years old and actively participates in the Aaronic Priesthood organization in our church. Last Sunday he was ordained to the office of Priest. Soon he will be blessing the Sacrament as part of his Priest duties.

I love the inspiring music video that goes with this theme. Check it out here.

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And usually the Primary children (Primary is the children’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for children ages 3-10) have a new theme as well, but this year we have a beautiful new curriculum called, Come Follow Me, and all Primary children will be learning and sharing from the New Testament this year. I guess you could say the Primary theme is the New Testament.

This is significant to me because I am a Primary teacher to a very special five-year old boy who has some special needs. He doesn’t fully engage in Primary lessons and activities but my calling is to help him feel welcomed and loved more than anything else.

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Families and individuals in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will also be studying the New Testament at home and in Sunday School class at church. So the New Testament will be a running theme throughout this year for me and my family. We have a beautiful Come Follow Me manual to help us increase our gospel learning in our homes. Honestly, as a homeschooling mama, I feel as if I’ve known all along that the home should be Learning-Central. I am excited about this new curriculum and its purpose.

It seems to be a sort of new year tradition for many bloggers and homeschooling mamas to give themselves a theme in the form of an inspirational word. In past years my theme words have been Embrace, Trust, and Faith. I’m still pondering if I want a word for this year. I usually blog about my word and then promptly forget it, LOL. I haven’t really made it a part of me yet. But I think the idea is a neat one.

I will share, however, my theme with my SURF Club girls (the little girls in my neighborhood who make crafts with me) for January. Usually our crafts are themed for seasons and holidays and I could’ve stuck with winter crafts for January, but I decided to try something new and base our craft days on select national days. The four national days I chose for January are…

National Trivia Day  (January 4th)

National Hat Day  (January 15th)

National Winnie the Pooh Day  (January 18th)

National Puzzle Day  (January 29th)

♥ Yesterday (Friday) kicked off my craft days for January so next week I will post the results from our National Trivia Day craft when each group (I hold three craft days a week to accommodate all the girls.) has made their crafts. But yesterday’s crafts turned out great and if you want to see those I posted pics on Instagram. Do you use themes in your life? Do you choose an inspirational word to live by each year? Do you ever celebrate national days? If so, I’d love to hear about them! Thanks for stopping by and I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start (and not an expensive start like mine- a new heater for one of our vehicles- sigh) ♥

 

Posted in Blessings Corner, Family Corner

Christmas Highlights 2018

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On Christmas Eve we celebrated this guy’s birthday. My baby is 16! We are in our final years of homeschooling, his last years of childhood. I want to savor every day and create lots of memories together.

We always end Christmas Eve by reading the Christmas Story out of the scriptures, but this year my husband decided to change things up. He had us each randomly select a nativity piece from a set he placed inside a box. We then took turns sharing what we know about that person (or animal) and guessed what he or she might have felt. It was a great discussion.

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We simplified our gift giving this year and I’m glad we did. Everyone got a few select gifts under the tree and some fun stocking stuffers. Our main gift was a surprise to the kids: we booked an Alaskan cruise for the end of next summer, after our missionary returns home. 🙂

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As much fun as it was to open gifts together on Christmas morning, it was delightful to watch this little fellow. He was curious about all that was going on and loved playing in the wrapping paper and boxes.

I took this video of Casper playing.

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The highlight of Christmas Day was Skyping with our missionary. She looked great! She was bubbly and happy and told us some funny stories. For example, because she is American and white, Peruvians often assume she doesn’t speak Spanish. Or English? They will start “talking” to her in sign language! She doesn’t even think it’s real sign language. Then when she speaks Spanish they are in awe!

I took video of her singing a Christmas carol in Spanish with her cute companion.

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David’s mom spent Christmas with us (she is in her eighties), and my friend, Steph, and her daughter (pictured below with Darcie), joined us in our Skype session with Marissa.

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Darcie and Steph’s daughter act like sisters.

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Two days after Christmas we headed towards Salt Lake City for our annual family fun. This year we walked through Thanksgiving Point’s Luminaria.

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It was freezing that night! But we layered up and took advantage of the hand warmers and hot cocoa that came with our tickets.

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The next day we visited Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art where this fascinating exhibit was on display. My kids are so funny!

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Have you ever seen any of Patrick Dougherty’s work? Pretty cool.

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We were supposed to see a hockey game, but it got postponed to another day due to bad weather for the opposing team (from Texas). So we got a refund and went to dinner at Rodizio Grill instead. Yum!

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♥ And that was our Christmas. A few days before Christmas, these three lovely ladies surprised me at my door. They sang, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and gave me a spa gift to thank me for all I’ve done for their girls (some of my craft club girls) this year. Their thoughtfulness made me cry. I had to crop out a cute craft girl from this photo. I also received treats and gifts from some of craft girls, which was very sweet.

Wishing all of my readers a Happy New Year. Thank you so much for following my blog, for your likes and your kind comments. It means a lot to me! I’ll try to catch up to your blogs in the new year. Let’s make it a great one! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Our Family’s Christmas Traditions

This is a sad confession, but when I was growing up there was only one Christmas tradition that I enjoyed and that was spending Christmas Eve at my Grandma’s house with aunts, uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. We always had a big turkey dinner with all the fixings, a talent show, and everyone got presents. My aunts and grandma often handmade gifts for each grandchild. One year we all received homemade Pound Puppies. Another year, the girls received sewing baskets. I remember a doll with fold-up legs and a wrap-around swaddling blanket. My favorite gift, and one I still snuggle up with today, was a Holly Hobbie blanket with green ties and trim.

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The first Christmas I spent with my husband was the Christmas we were engaged and I was thrilled because it was the first time I was allowed to stay in my pajamas for Christmas morning. So one of the traditions I started with my husband was opening a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve.

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Another tradition we started was reading a Christmas storybook every night from December 1st to December 23rd. This started with a binder of stories and then over the years I purchased storybooks until we had a collection of twenty three books which would be wrapped and randomly selected by a child each night. With my kids being grown or teenagers, we’ve sadly outgrown this tradition, although it half worked last Christmas. I’m sure we will pick it up again when there are grandchildren. This year my friend borrowed our collection of books to start the tradition with her children.

Some years, in place of the 23 stories, we’ve read one book for several nights in a row, such as A Christmas Carol. On Christmas Eve, we read the Christmas story out of the scriptures. We have a special binder just for that which includes carols and my husband takes charge and divides the readings among us.

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My girls and I started a tradition several years ago where we invite younger neighbor girls over for a Christmas craft party. That has been a lot of fun and has brought us a lot of joy. 

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Every Christmas we plan a special trip to Salt Lake City or thereabouts where we dine out at a fancy restaurant and take in a Christmas play or concert or something else. We also walk Temple Square to see the lights and displays there. This year we are going to a hockey game and to a light festival.

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Marcus’ birthday is on Christmas Eve so our tradition is to dedicate most of that day to him and do activities he chooses to do. One year we went ice skating. It’s also tradition to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol as part of his birthday celebration. We eat a big dinner on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. We usually have Prime Rib. On Christmas Day, we have my husband’s amazing waffles for breakfast and then snack all day long.

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I love this photo of my baby girl who is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has been in Peru since January and we will miss her this Christmas, but we do get to Skype with her on Christmas Day so we are looking forward to that.

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Here is a recent photo of her in her Christmas dress (on the very right), with her companion (on the very left) and an elder. They are spending this Christmas season spreading the light of Christ by teaching His gospel and serving God’s children in Juliaca, Peru.

♥ Other traditions we have are making goodie plates for neighbors, caroling with youth groups in our church, watching Christmas movies (Hallmark!) all month long, including the classics such as Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, and A Christmas Story. My personal favorite that I have to watch every Christmas is White Christmas. I play Christmas music all month long as well, and I love to decorate my house from top to bottom, inside and out. We have many nativity sets, most from Peru since we lived there. On the Sunday before Christmas Day we attend the Christmas Sacrament program at church. We also give to charities at this time of year, and we often find a family in need to secretly give to or we buy gifts for the sub for Santa program. ♥ I would love to hear about your favorite Christmas traditions! Please leave a comment below to share. Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas! ♥

 

Posted in Craft Corner

Christmas Kid Craft Party

This past Saturday I hosted a Christmas craft party for my SURF (Sweet, unique, aRsty, friends) Club. I hosted 14 girls, ages 3 to 11. I created stations and put the girls into groups. It’s the easiest way for me to host this many girls at once. The girls made jars of love, ornaments, and graham cracker houses.

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In my crafting cove, the girls made jars of love as a gift for anyone of their choosing. These are decorated jars filled with rolled slips of paper. Each paper states something positive about the receiver. Some examples for a jar of love to one’s mother might be: “I love your hugs!”, “I love your cooking.”, “I love your piano playing.”, etc.

For this craft I provided the following:

  • small plastic jars (I bought these from Michael’s in a bulk sale; they came in packs of 10)
  • Mod Podge
  • paint brushes
  • small paper plates (for the Mod Podge)
  • tissue paper squares
  • glitter
  • pre-cut strips of paper (I chose scrapbook paper I already had on hand)
  • thin markers and/or pens
  • white gift bags (optional)
  • blank cards with envelopes (optional)
  • Christmas stickers and washi tape (optional)
  • Christmas stamps and black ink pad (optional)
  • Christmas craft punches (optional)

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Two of the girls made their jars for me!

Some of the girls glittered their jars. Others Mod Podged the tissue paper. Both looked pretty. While their jars dried, they wrote on their paper slips and scrolled them up. They also decorated gift bags and made cards so it was a complete gift ready to give.

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“Straten (straighten) my sisters shoes” How sweet is that?

At another station, the girls created ornaments from craft kits I bought from Hobby Lobby. The pieces had sticky backs so no glue was necessary. I provided markers for coloring. I also provided paper snowflakes and we discussed how December 1st was Worldwide Service Day. Each girl wrote acts of service she would try to do at home or in her community this week.

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At the kitchen table, my daughter supervised the graham cracker houses. For this project I provided:

  • Graham crackers
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic knives
  • Sandwich bags (for makeshift frosting bags)
  • Mini marshmallows (the fruity kind)
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Smarties, Red Hots, Sixlets, gummy bears, and other small candies
  • Christmas sprinkles
  • Paper or foam plates (I bought the oval shaped ones)

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For many of the girls, it was easier to make tents.

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The last station was for the wish ornaments. A wish ornament simply contains a written wish scrolled up inside it. For this craft I provided:

  • plastic ornament bulbs (purchased in a set of 25 from Michael’s)
  • craft snow confetti
  • tiny beads
  • sequins
  • anything miniature and Christmasy from my craft supplies
  • pre-cut strips of paper (I chose Christmas scrapbook paper)
  • thin markers and/or pens

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The girls filled their bulbs as they chose. They also wrote a wish on a piece of paper and scrolled it up. Since this station didn’t take as long as the others, the girls also made a get well poster for a club member who was sick and missing out on the fun.

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To help the girls keep their creations together in one place, I always provide an extra table. I gave each girl a gift sack to collect their ornaments. That made it easy for them to bring them home as well.

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The girls also had a snack. One mom was kind enough to make these delightful wreaths out of crispy noodles. Yum! There was also cheese and crackers, apple and orange slices, and juice.

♥ Merry Christmas Everyone! Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to hear from you. Will you be hosting a Christmas party this year? ♥

Posted in Craft Corner

Winter Craft- Penguins


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My SURF Club’s last November craft was penguins. This was requested by one of the girls. 🙂 In fact, she made the penguin pictured above.

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For this craft I gathered the following supplies:

  • black paper or cardstock (for the penguin’s body and wings/flippers)
  • white felt (for the penguin’s belly and face)
  • orange craft foam (for beaks and feet)
  • small brads/paper fasteners (optional; to attach the wings/flippers)
  • black buttons (for eyes)
  • chenille stems
  • pom poms
  • pony beads
  • Christmas fabric scraps (optional; I had some on hand)
  • assorted craft foam
  • cotton balls
  • craft glue, glitter glue
  • scissors
  • markers

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I pre-cut the bodies, bellies, wings, and feet to make it easier for the younger girls. Just like each girl, each penguin is unique.

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Could this be any cuter? I think not.

This was a fun craft to transition us to winter and the Christmas season. On Saturday we are having our Christmas craft party and then I’m taking a break from crafting with my girls until January.

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Also, I’d like you to meet our newest family member, Casper. Casper was rescued by my son outside his workplace, two weeks ago. It was early morning and this wee one was all alone and shivering in the cold. The vet thought he was maybe 6 weeks old at the time. My son took him around to the neighboring homes, but no one claimed him. So we gladly adopted him. He has added a lot of cheer to our home! He likes to cuddle, play, and be close to us.

♥ It started snowing our first real snow of the season here today and this morning we had the thickest fog which made for a slow commute. Thanks for reading and if you live where it’s winter, I hope you’re staying warm and cozy. ♥