Posted in Craft Corner

National Puzzle Day Crafts

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January 29th was/is national puzzle day so my SURF Club girls crafted with puzzle pieces. First they made bookmarks.

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For these bookmarks the girls used the following supplies:

  • Craft sticks
  • Craft glue
  • Puzzle pieces
  • String
  • Embellishments (mini pom poms, gems; these are optional)
  • Markers

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The second craft they made were puzzle characters. I gave them bigger puzzle pieces for these. Other supplies were:

  • Google eyes
  • Feathers
  • Mini pom poms
  • Markers
  • Craft glue

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And then the girls made cards or pictures.

 

♥  If you’d like another idea for a puzzle craft that is perfect for Valentine’s Day, check out these washi tape puzzles from WhimziVille. I just love them! And, speaking of Valentine’s Day, I’m hosting a Valentine party for my craft girls this Saturday. And then, on Sunday, Marcus and I are driving to Montana to be with my husband for five weeks. I am so excited! My husband works out of state right now so we’ve been spending more time apart than together and I miss him terribly. Now that Marcus has his driver’s license (we were sticking around here for him to finish his instructor drives) and my January craft days have finished up, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the flexibility and freedom that comes with homeschooling. Hooray for home education! ♥

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Posted in Craft Corner

National Winnie the Pooh Day Crafts

Last Friday was National Winnie the Pooh Day (January 18th) so the girls in my SURF Club (Sweet, Unique, aRtsy Friends) made honey pot bracelets and Hundred Acre Wood dioramas.

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I thought this bracelet was especially fun because she chose to add bits of ribbon and twine.

I borrowed the idea for the bracelets from my Sister’s suitcase (so I won’t post instructions here, but I will say that we added pony beads and chose a different kind of beading cord which was less stretchy, but much easier to knot).

 

I also thought it would be fun for the girls to create a diorama of the Hundred Acre Woods.

For this craft I gathered the following supplies:

  • Food boxes (these are the ones you carry your hotdog or nachos in from the gas station; I got them in bulk from Hobby Lobby)
  • Clip art from Disneyclips.com, which I resized to a smaller scale to fit the boxes
  • Markers
  • Colored paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks, craft glue, and scotch tape
  • Cotton balls (for clouds)
  • String or craft thread (optional; for hanging clouds)
  • Hole punch (optional; one way to hang the clouds)

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One group of girls came up with the idea to have me cut slits (I used a craft knife) across the bottom of their boxes. Then they attached popsicle sticks (one girl asked for a pencil so I gave her a dowel) to their Winnie the Pooh characters and now they have a little play scene. I thought this was a very clever idea.

Two moms provided the snacks and they took the theme to heart. I think some of these ideas came from Pinterest. There were Hundred Acre Wood acorns (or haycorns as Piglet calls them) made of Hershey Kisses and mini cookies (frosted together), Bit o Honey candy, Tigger tails (Cheetos), and baby carrots from Rabbit’s garden. One of the girls made cute little signs out of popsicle sticks.

Another mom provided cornbread with honey and berry smoothies. Yum!

♥ Did you celebrate Winnie the Pooh day? Of course, any day is a good day for Winnie the Pooh. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend. ♥

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. ♥

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! ♥