I am a wife and homeschooling mama, an auntie and a friend. I am a chocolate lover. I am a crafter, photographer, reader, and a traveler. I am a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (I am a Mormon).
This month I’m hosting little girl mini craft parties every week. The kick off craft was painting kindness rocks. The second craft was in honor of Father’s Day- The girls painted mini crates as key holders for their fathers. They also decorated sugar cookies because what dad doesn’t like a sweet treat?
I bought these cute little crates from Michael’s for a dollar each.
I also purchased an assortment of nuts for the finishing touch. I supervised the glue gun of course. This craft party was a good opportunity to teach the girls that “less is more”. It’s kind of a tricky line for me because I want the girls to be free to craft by their personal style, and some girls instinctively prefer simplicity, while other girls gravitate to impulse and flair. I am teaching these girls to pour paint sparingly (as the excess usually gets wasted), and to share supplies. I’m also teaching them to clean up after themselves, washing out their paint brushes, throwing away trash, and returning paint to my craft cabinet, etc.
The cookies turned out great. I used the recipe in a Better Homes and Garden cookbook and made them up the day before. I made sure to have plenty of frosting and sprinkles on hand, as well as food coloring.
I found the cookie cutters at Hobby Lobby. One set was the bow tie, tie, and mustache. The other set was a cowboy hat, cowboy boot and a cowboy (I didn’t use the cowboy shape, however).
Since I do not charge for my craft parties, the moms take turns providing the snack. This was the most gourmet snack we’ve ever had! There was also a fruit bowl. And of course the girls had to sample some of the extra sugar cookies.
The girls also made Father’s Day cards, and this one was my favorite.
♥ I wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day. I am missing my own daddy today. I haven’t seen him in several years. I sometimes hear from him on my birthday and at Christmas, but mostly it feels like I don’t have my father in my life anymore. Sometimes I struggle with that, but then I remember that I will always have my first father who is my Heavenly Father. I know He is always here for me, even thought I can’t see him or speak to him face to face. I pray to Him and I know He hears and answers my prayers. I’m also deeply thankful for my husband because he is an amazing father to our children. ♥
Your life is a story of adventure, mystery, comedy, tragedy, and romance. Your life is a story full of sorrow, despair, trials, second-chances, growth, discoveries, miracles, faith, hope, and tender mercies. Your life is a story with villains, heroes, foils, and all characters in between. Right now you are living inside a story! Not only are you living inside your own unfolding story, you are living inside many stories. You are touching lives. You are even a part of ripples, meaning you have set off or continued a chain-reaction of events.
Your life is a treasure trove of stories! So you should document them! Welcome to part one of a journaling series. Over the next few weeks, let’s explore the art of journaling.
I have been keeping journals- off and on- since I was eight years old. My very first journal has a cloth cover with a strawberry pattern on it, and it was given to me by my maternal grandparents as a baptism gift. Each of them wrote an inscription to me on the inside front cover. I wrote in that journal with erasable pen. I thought erasable pens were the neatest invention at the time! Before erasable pens, I had the compulsive habit of starting my school notes completely over whenever I made even the tiniest mistake in pen. Now that I think of it, I’m sure rewriting my notes several times over helped me memorize for tests! Still, I’m happy to note that in keeping a journal, I learned to relax to the point of simply crossing out my mistake and moving on. Plus, it’s not easy, nor is it attractive to tear out a page from a bound book.
Confession: I have torn out pages of my journals for one reason or another, even from bound journals. I don’t recommend doing that if it can be helped, however. 😛
It’s fun for my kids to read through my goofy childhood journal entries, and it’s fun for me to see how my handwriting has changed over the years. I used to write very precise, slanted cursive. My cursive was so precise, and so slanted that my teachers would use me as a class example. That was both embarrassing and a little ego boost. I do not write this way today. Honestly, that was exhausting! I do have very neat print, however. You can tell when I’m tired because my writing will get sloppy, haha.
♥ Stay tuned for more posts in this series. We will explore different kinds of journals, my favorite journaling supplies, the benefits of journaling, and I will share some of my journaling experiences along the way. Do you keep a journal? Have you ever torn pages out of your journal? How neat is your writing in your journal? I’d love to hear about it! ♥
For the month of June this summer I’m hosting weekly mini craft parties, as I call them, for some of my young neighbor girls. Our first craft was today and the girls painted rocks. I wanted their focus to be on Kindness Rocks. The main idea of kindness rocks is to spread cheer and sunshine through thoughtfully painted rocks. These rocks are painted brightly and often contain a positive affirmation or just one powerful word. And then they are placed around the community- in public places- for anyone to stumble upon. I also told the girls they could paint a rock with a specific person in mind.
Some of the girls snuck a kindness rock into my fairy garden. 🙂
For this craft I gathered clean rocks with a fairly smooth surface on one side, acrylic paints in assorted colors, paint markers for writing (optional), paint brushes in assorted sizes, and a clear sealer to help make the rocks weather resistant. I bought Krylon DIY sealer at Hobby Lobby.
I first prepared my craft room table by covering it with a plastic tablecloth and had paper plates (for the paint) and baby wipes on hand. The girls used sponge brushes for the base paint and smaller brushes for the detailing. I had four colors of fine tip paint markers for them to use- gold, silver, white, and black. I bought these at Hobby Lobby also.
Some like to paint the whole rock, but I think it looks great just to paint one side of a rock and leave the sides and bottom natural.
When the rocks were finished, I sprayed them with the sealer (outside) and then we hopped in my car and drove a little ways to a nature park in our neighborhood. The girls placed some rocks in random spots there, and then we drove to a woman’s home and the girls placed rocks on her porch. This woman is battling cancer and she is a member of our church congregation. The girls thought of her because she had been a leader/teacher to them before she got sick.
♥ Have you ever made kindness rocks? Do you and your children like to craft together in the summer? ♥
Last month I felt inspired to offer a homeschool meet and greet in my community. I wanted to give curious parents a chance to meet experienced homeschooling parents, such as myself, so they could see what homeschooling can look like, freely ask questions, learn about a local co-op, and see some of the different curriculum available. And, to be completely honest, I wanted to invite some of my dearest friends, who send their kids to public schools (as I once did mine), to meet other homeschooling parents and hopefully see that we are actually normal (certainly not super-moms).
As soon as I came up with this idea, I mentioned it to several friends in both camps (homeschooling and public schooling) to see if there was even any interest. Everyone was in favor of the idea so that encouraged me to go for it. I then emailed two local homeschooling co-ops in my community and invited them to participate. One said no because they are full, but the other said an enthusiastic yes. 🙂
I chose to make this event a two-hour open house so it would be informal and relaxed. I chose an evening on a Thursday in May for a few reasons: First, I thought May was perfect timing for the summer months, giving parents time to ponder and plan for the school year ahead. Second, I thought a weeknight would mean dads could join in after work, and also, I wanted to avoid the craziness of the weekend. I chose to host in my own home because it’s homeschooling after all. 😛
As I was planning this event, I brainstormed ways to bring homeschooling to life. I was already creating a beginning homeschool resource packet, but I wanted something visual to offer besides curriculum samples. That’s when I had a light-bulb moment- I would create four main displays highlighting my favorite aspects of homeschooling: poetry tea time, unit studies, morning baskets (morning time), and read alouds. I just want to mention here, that none of these are requirements for homeschooling, although there are so many benefits to reading aloud to your children! These are just awesome ideas which many families embrace at one time or another in their homeschooling.
Morning “basket” display
I love to design displays so this did not feel like work to me. I started setting up my displays two days before the event (I could do that because I don’t have littles at home anymore). Another visual I added to the walls were photos of our homeschooling in action.
Along with each display and table, I put out info. cards (5×7 index size) for parents to collect if they so wished. I even hole-punched them and provided binder rings to keep them together. Each info. card briefly outlined the concept displayed (such as morning baskets) or listed some popular curriculum choices to consider. In the packet, I included reasons to homeschool, common homeschool myths, Utah homeschool laws, a little blurb about dual-enrollment, and a list of homeschool blogs which I find encouraging.
I also provided refreshments and a children’s table. I covered my kitchen table with Kraft paper and set out bowls of Legos, and washable markers and crayons. This was a bit hit with kids of all ages who came along with their parents. For refreshments, I had a fruit tray, veggie tray with ranch dip, cheese and gluten-free crackers (I knew one guest eats gluten-free), and a s’mores bar (individual bowls of Golden Grahams cereal, chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, fruity marshmallows, regular marshmallows, and Teddy Grahams which could be scooped into snack cups).
I certainly could’ve had more guests, but by my calculations, 13 showed up (five were experienced homeschooling moms) and everyone seemed happy to be there as questions were asked and answered, curriculum handled and discussed, and sad pubic school stories shared. I heard from two different moms that there is a homeschooling growth or “surge” (the exact word one used) happening in our community, and if that is true, I think it’s wonderful. I have been homeschooling my son for nine years now. I wouldn’t trade those days/years for anything. Anyway, I’m calling this event a success. 🙂
♥ Here is something I’ve learned about myself over the 26 years of my marriage- Not only do I enjoy hosting, but no matter how early I start preparing for a gathering, I end up working until the very minute it starts! It’s just the way I roll because I’m such a thorough planner and cleaner. Do you like to plan and host gatherings? How perfect does your home have to be when you have invited guests coming over? Thanks for visiting my blog! ♥