Posted in Craft Corner

Summer Kid Craft- Father’s Day Themed

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?

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I bought these cute little crates from Michael’s for a dollar each.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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The Cheez Wiz crackers were a hit with the little girls.

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.

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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. ♥

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Posted in Craft Corner

Tulip Garden Craft

On Saturday, my daughter, Darcie, and I hosted a little girl spring craft party with 14 girls from our neighborhood. Our original group consists of nine girls, but often we end up with someone’s cousin or neighbor, making ten. This time, we ended up with one cousin and four neighbors (three which are sisters). It meant an extra shopping trip, but with Darcie’s help, we managed to keep the group contained to my craft room, kitchen and living room. We simply set a few rules and divided the girls into two teams. They even gave their teams a name: “Blue Penguins” and “Camie’s Awesome Owls”, which I was not expecting. 🙂

Darcie and I set up three craft stations- tulip gardens were made at my craft table; sugar scrubs were made at the kitchen table; and stamping cards and paper sacks took place at the kitchen island. This way, when a girl finished her scrub or tulip garden before the others, she was allowed to stamp and color a card and a paper sack (as a gift bag for the sugar scrub) where she was out of the way and still busy. We also set up an extra table for the girls to keep their crafts once they were finished. We taped a sheet of paper with their names on them to the table.

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Inspired by the tulips growing in my yard which I planted last fall, I came up with a tulip garden craft which was fairly easy and turned out wonderfully.

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For this craft, I chose the following supplies-

  • Clear, plastic bowls, labeled “garden bowls”, from the craft section of Dollar Tree
  • Floral Styrofoam disks, also from Dollar Tree (2 per package)
  • Brown or green paint, and sponge brush, to paint the disks to look like dirt or grass
  • Craft moss, from Dollar Tree or a craft store
  • 4″ x 6″ foam sheets, from Dollar Tree and Walmart (32 sheets per package in assorted colors)
  • Green or green patterned paper straws, from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby (in the paper/craft and party sections)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (I found the high-temp gun worked better than the low-temp)
  • Elmer’s Craft Bond glue (I love this brand of craft glue)
  • Cotton balls, as filler (optional)
  • River rocks or glass rocks, from Dollar Tree or a craft store (or from outside)
  • Craft thread, from Dollar Tree or a craft store, and a large sewing needle (optional)
  • Stickers or washi tape (optional) to decorate the outside of the bowls

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I did do some prep work beforehand for a group this size. Otherwise, I would’ve involved the child in each step, supervising the hot glue of course:

  • I cut the straws in half because I felt this was the perfect stem size
  • I painted the foam disks brown to resemble dirt (allow time to dry)
  • I hot-glued the painted disks to the bottom of the bowls
  • I made a tulip template out of cardstock and used it to cut several tulips out of various colors of foam (but I left plenty of uncut foam for girls to make their own designs)

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Most of the girls chose to decorate the outsides of their bowls first with washi tape. I tried to get them to apply the tape in small pieces, but they thought it was more fun to roll out long lengths at a time, haha. They turned out adorable even if the tape didn’t go on evenly due to the shape of the bowl. 😀

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For every tulip, each girl either cut her own tulip design out of the foam or used my pre-cut ones, or a combination of both. Each basic tulip took two matching parts, one for the front and the other for the back, with the straw-stem glued in between. Then the front was glued to the back, with a little cotton fluff as filler, if desired.

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Some of the girls chose to create their own, more intricate design, and some girls were up to stitching their flowers with craft thread, which was great sewing practice. I overheard one girl ask, “Why don’t we just use a sewing machine?” 😛

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I supervised the girls with the needles and hot glue gun, of course. I ended up helping several tie their ends and I tried to show them two different ways to stitch. Once the tulips were finished, the girls placed them in the Styrofoam disks and glued down moss and river/glass rocks as desired. One girl made a caterpillar and rock totem.

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We could’ve added foam leaves, but I didn’t think of that in my prep work and I kind of like the simplicity of the stems alone. The important thing is that what I gave the girls to do sparked their creativity, which is the goal. I’ve heard it said that art is more open-ended than craft projects, but I disagree. I think crafts can be open-ended, too!

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♥ If you or your child makes this craft, I’d love to see it. Thanks for visiting my blog, and Happy Spring! ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

3 Surprising Ways Homeschooling Has Blessed Me as a Mom

We often hear how homeschooling benefits the child, as well as improving the quality of family life and family relationships. But did you know that homeschooling can benefit the parent who is directly involved in the homeschooling process? That is how it has been for me ever since I embarked on this journey seven-plus years ago. While I could make a lengthy list of ways homeschooling has blessed me as a mom, today I wish to focus on three blessings I did not anticipate. So, without further ado…

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#1. Homeschooling has given me opportunities to truly be apart of my children’s passions. In public school, my son’s enthusiasm for science and my daughter’s flair for art would merely be scratched on the surface. Our relaxed homeschooling days have provided unrestricted time and freedom for my daughter to create her own inspired artwork and for my son to conduct his own science experiments (with parental supervision of course). There is time to thoroughly study the lives and historic periods of famous artists and their masterpieces, scientists and their inventions. I have been front and center as I’ve witness each child embrace their natural curiosities and discover new talents. This type of learning has become a part of their hearts and minds. It’s truly beautiful to witness that kind of meaningful growth in my children.

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#2. Homeschooling has reconnected me with classic literature. I love to read, but daily life often gets in the way of good intentions and there are always newer novels competing with the classics. Homeschooling to the rescue! I wanted my son and daughter to know more classics than I did when I was in school, and there’s something magical about reading a classic together with your children. Some of the classics we have enjoyed are: The Secret Garden, Little Women, Swiss Family Robinson, Mary Poppins, Treasure Island, Around the World in 80 Days, A Christmas Carol, and The Hobbit, just to name a few.

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Last week my son and I created these original art pieces after an inspiring fieldtrip to a little museum.

#3. Homeschooling has brought out my creative side. In a homeschooling frame of mind I have rediscovered classical music and poetry, two things I would’ve otherwise only thought to share with my children on special occasions. Our unit studies have led me to creative ways to bring multiple subjects together. For example, while reading The Hobbit, we ended up composing our own riddles and creating foil art. It’s been fun for my children to see me try my hand at creating alongside them. I just know I never had this much fun when I was in school and there’s something immensely satisfying about using my own hands and mind to create something original and unique.

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My daughter’s Hobbit foil art

♥ I’m extremely thankful to homeschooling for giving me these blessings! If you homeschool your children, what surprising blessings have you discovered? ♥