Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Life

So I usually change out certain decorations around the house with the seasons. Since my husband does not allow me to move furniture around at all. - No serious. He doesn't even want anything moved 3 inches.
Seriously. So.
  Changing out decorations helps me feel like I can make the place look fresh and new.
This year for spring I wanted something very very clean and simple for the front table. I also really felt like decorating for Easter this year, - but didn't want to spend money on something that I would have to put away in a few weeks...SO.
Took a trip to wal-mart to pick up some letters and painted 2 words that I believe best describe spring, AND the beautiful Easter story.

The Willow Creek couple (Andrew gave me when I had Justice) with a new baby fits in pretty well, - though I was picturing a birds nest with three baby blue eggs.... Just haven't figured out how to make that the way I want.
I couldn't decide between plain white and antique white, and painted one of each, - then decided I liked having them contrast, so did every-other on both words. I thought about embellishing them, - and since paint is easy, I may at some point - but for now this is the simple clean look I wanted.

These words feel especially fitting also since this week I found out that my grandma, - who was a very bitter, agnostic woman for years, - finally accepted Jesus as her Savior.
Every since I asked Jesus in my heart at age four, - I worried about her salvation, and for 25 years have earnestly prayed for her to understand her need for him.
Once in my teens, - as I gently tried to talk to her, she got very angry and slammed her hand on the table and yelled, - 'Don't EVER talk to me about the bible again!"
I didn't for a long time. This last year after my son Justice (who has been close to her)  began to understand what Jesus did on the cross, - he to began to ask family members and wonder what they believed. When he realized that she was hoping  that she was good enough to get into heaven, he to started praying for GiGi, - and through the year as cancer took her strength, - there were days when out of the blue he would come to me and ask to pray that Gigi would trust in Jesus.

There is always guilt, with a family member who you love who isn't saved. Even though several times this year she allowed me to broach the subject, she was closed to hearing what scripture had to say. -
She knew God was good, - and she hoped she was good enough, - he surely knew all the things she could have done but didn't.

Then this week, - a chaplin who had tried to visit her all year finally got her permission to talk to her.
And she listened. With her heart. - A little later, - when he asked, 'Would you like to pray and tell God what you've told me?' She asked him to help her get up,- becuase she wanted to kneel.
The woman who I had never known to be subject to rules, or anyone elses opinion was submiting her heart to God.
The next morning when she woke up, - the caner that had broken her body had taken her mind, and she didn't even know her son. In the last week, - her physical and mental condition declined drastically.
And yet, - I have done nothing but rejoice! Because, - for the first time since I have known my grandma, - she is a new creation, - old things have passed away, - behold, - all things are new.
And now, - in a little while, when she leaves this world, - I know she will be in God's presence, - experiencing New LIFE!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Eric Carle Inspired Easter....

Just thought I'd share something fun Justice I did this week. - Last time we went to the library, he picked out some Eric Carle books.

Then I happened to notice in their video department that they had this vhs of Eric Carle. It shows him creating artwork for his books, and he tells about why and how he writes and illustrates them.  It was a lot of fun to watch, - and a great introduction of the technique he uses which is collage.
Watching it really makes you want to get your hands dirty and create!!
So of course we did! :)

Since we wanted to follow his technique we started by painting papers of different colors we would use later.

It is best to blend colors and create interesting patterns and textures on your page... very easy for beginer!

Felicity enjoyed watching!:)

Once we finished our papers, I wasn't sure what we should make...
Justice at first wanted to do a book, - then he decided to illustrate his favorite Bible stories. - He also really really wanted to use the brown lunch sacks I have on hand for crafts.
I wanted something that wasn't to big or long term!
Together we came up with the 'Genious' idea of creating the Easter Story scenes on paper sacks that we can then use to throw an egg in for points or candy. They will also serve as decor for the holiday. Perfect!!!

I sketched very basic pictures on the bags to give us ideas of what the scenes would look like. Then we cut and pasted shapes on to make the scene. We added details as we went along... it was so fun!! 
 - I was floored by Justice terrific handle of the entire story. Last year for a while he asked me to read it to him several times a day for weeks, - from the picture bible.I read it so many times, I had it memorized- I guess it sunk in deep!! :)
Above he is holding the bag he mostly  made himself. I helped cut out Jesus robe, and head, and he did the rest. Including drawing Jesus face. Justice even cut out the cup and bread 'for the passover mom,' and the plate and knife in front of Jesus.

Here is one I made of Jesus in the garden. If you try this, - I am warning you, it is addictive!!! You will NOT want to stop, - you'll keep thinking of more and more details you want to add! :)

"Mom, - we need one where he is standing before Pilate, and the Pharasees say 'If you don't kill him, you are no friend to Ceasar!', and Mom, we need to show the men hitting and whipping Jesus, - who forgave them already....."  The best part of this project was hearing the entire story told in detail and with passion by my five year old. :)
This one Justice made completely by himself.

  The empty tomb!! We ran out of time to make all the figures Justice wanted on here, - the angel of the Lord, the women in black (he called them!:) and the fainted soldiers....

                                                       Lined up as Easter decorations...
(with room for the last bag which we are making today which shows Jesus talking to the disciples ALIVE!! 
       This is one of those projects that I wish I could say I planned for, - but actually was just one of those that fell into place. However, - since I saw more videos of other author/illustrators at the library, I am now planning on doing this again. Get the books, watch the video, and then see how we can incorporate the technique or style into a project here at home. - I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Busy Hands #2

So here are some ideas for creating activities for your little hands I've seen on other blogs.
Sorry, - most pics are blocked, but trust me these are GREAT ideas and worth your time!! :)

 Easy disposable home-made easel and paints.

Color Quiet Book - for the seamstresses out there... so great!

File Folder Games and Activities.

FANtastic Home-made Challk Board Purse... SOOO cool... Chalk paint lovers... this is for you!!!

Adorable Farm Animal Bag...  (scroll down, it is one of the later projects listed)

Fun idea for a three in one indoor version of hopscotch, tic tac toe and 'bomb' mat...Easy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Busy Little Hands

So today I have another take on preparedness.
- How common is the phrase, 'Mom, I'm bored?" This was something we did not say growing up. If we did make that mistake, the response was sure to be a phrase we all knew by heart,
'Idle hands are the devil's workshop, Idle lips are the devil's mouthpeice." (TLB Proverbs)
Then we were assigned a chore which gave us plenty of time to think about anything else we'd rather be doing. - But in all fairness, my Mom did a great job of providing educational and fun things for us to do at all ages that were perfect for those 'don't know what to do moments." 
With a little planning ahead, and a little preparation, you can be ready for the next time your child, (or one you babysit) needs something new and fun.
Below is a perfect example of a cheap, creative project.
My mom had Pheobe and her friends make one of these for Silas, Paul and Justice one afternoon a couple years ago when she was 7. It was twice as effective because it served as a project for Phoebe and her friends, and then as a fun game for Justice! Basically it is a graph with colors along the top, and shapes along the side. A younger child will enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out where each peice goes, and an older child will enjoy trying to beat their time, - or put them all in place while holding their breathe, etc.

Super cheap, and easy. - For the mat, they simply taped 4, 8x11 sheets of paper together.

Here is a book out of the 'Cut and Create' series that I can not recomend highly enough. This is the farm book, and has tons of patterns for adorable easy to cut and paste projects with a page of visual easy to follow directions for each project. Below are some of the ones Justice made when he was 4.

 They are SO cute!! There are cut and create 'zoo', or 'fish' or many other books...

Here is where being prepared pays off. To make this a super easy go to project, - pre-copy the patterns on the correct color papers, and put a copy of the instruction page, and the ready to cut pages in an envelope, and your ready to go.

Here you can see how it is all ready to go. Now all you need are scissors and a glue stick.

For Justice's 4th birthday, my Mom made the entire farm set (30?) in envelopes ready to go. It was an AMAZING present. I can't recomend this highly enough. If you have a first child who naps, - I would suggest doing this now!!! If you are a grandma, or aunty, or just an amazing friend of a mom with one or more youngsters, I cannot tell you what an incredible gift this is!!! -Cousins Justice and Paul are very different personalities, but both LOVED these. (What 3-4 year old doesn't love scissors!?) 

As a mom of a young eager learner, it is fanTAStic to be able to pull out an activity all ready to go that requires no prep time on your part, and give them that undivided attention they need.
As your child gets older, they will find they can do it by themself, - as the instructions are so easy, - and Justice found imense sastifaction in being able to do a project 'all by himself'!
These were a huge blessing when I was so morning sick last year with Felicity, - Justice could do this right near me, - happy and productive, with minimal effort on my part.

Here is Justice with his color/shapes graph completed.

Here is a set of pre-school activity books I love. They are from Rod and Staff, a menonite company, and have wonderful classic pictures and family based stories. Each book helps with cutting, pasting, writing, counting, and more basic pre-school skills.

  Our local wal-mart has some great 'hidden picture' books, which is something else Justice loves. These are perfect to pull out when we need something fun to do. 

 So I grew up in a home with pipe cleaners, glitter, beads, toillete paper tubes, glue, yarn, googlly eyes and more were pretty much always available. Cheap brown lunch sacks can become a as simple, or elaborate creations as your heart desires, - not only are they fun to make, - but fun to use in puppet shows later!

So for those of you who have not yet purged your stacks of magazines and newspapers, here is the perfect way to use them! If you are super organized and have no useless clutter laying around, - I am sure you have a friend like me who would love to give you some when your ready to use them!! :)
        I remember cutting out pictures from magazines to make 'alphabet books' in which our favorite pictures filled one half of a construction page folded in book style with each page for one letter.
   This was another twist on that. - Once again, - it was a project Silas did last year, - (he cut out pictures he thought were interesting and glued them onto paper plates) Then 26 clothespins each got a letter written on them.  Now Justice sits with the stack of plates and clothes pins and tries to find which pin to clip to a picture that starts with that sound. He thinks its a game. - He doesn't know he's playing with a time filler for Silas! Or that he's learning in the process.

    By the way, - something great about these homeade projects is that when your child is done, - you can declutter and throw them away! Cheap and easy to re-make, - or have your oldest child make for a younger one later on! A tip I heard somewhere along these lines is to take pictures of projects with your child, - so that you can throw the actual project and still keep the memory.
I still like keeping favorite projects or papers, -but I think this is a great tip, especially if you have a hoarder child like mine who litterally wants to keep EVERY scrap of every project he's done. NOT kidding. Each scrap peice of paper that fell on the floor."I'm going to USE it Mom!!!"

   Something else that helps is to keep them all in a folder, - and give it time, - then a few months later, go through it with him and ask him to only save the things that mean the most. - Thankfully time usually helps him become 'un-attached' and by then he has no problem throwing out the scraps and just keeping the nice project. I try hard to never throw out behind his back, - or force him to, - I think it would just make him more resistant. So far, - the 'wait and then throw' method has worked very very well.

   So what are things you like to have prepared for those moments when a little one is bored? I'd love to know!!