Several years ago, I made an egg carton wreath for my mother. We were on a budget, and I wanted something extra special for my mom on Mother's Day. The wreath took about 8 hours for me to make, but literally cost pennies to put together. It's made from recycled egg cartons. I did this craft with a friend, which might have attributed to the longer craft time. We had little kids under foot, and we talked a bit as we worked!
I often buy eggs from different places, so I have a variety of styles to choose from. You might think egg cartons are all the same, but they are not. And this wreath can be made best from several different styles. You can have different shaped flowers depending on the piece of the carton you use.
The hardest part is the cutting! I still haven't figured out scissors that will easily cut through egg cartons, and I own a pair of Cutco scissors which are supposed to be strong enough to cut a penny. Scissors just rub your knuckles the wrong way when you cut up egg cartons. I don't think there is a pain free way to do. But it's all worth it!
After the flowers are painted, and glued on the cardboard ring, you are left with a wreath that makes you smile. Every time I see this wreath hanging in my mother's kitchen, it makes me happy. It also makes me remember the act of love which went into the making. I never could bring myself to duplicate the wreath for my own house. The time spent on cutting the different flowers scared me away from trying again.
Without having to be super creative on the cutting, you can always make each flower different in the painting. Be creative with the centers! Each flower is unique!
The only part of the wreath that isn't made from the egg carton, is the cardboard ring I painted for the back. You can make it as big, or as little as you would like. I didn't even add any kind of hook to the back of the wreath. A simple brad will hold the lightweight wreath on the wall.
Remember that act of love I never wanted to duplicate for myself?
I didn't have to! For my birthday this year, my mom surprised me with my own egg carton wreath in my favorite colors. Now I can smile every time I see it on my wall, and I can remember my mom loves me enough to spend hours making her fingers sore.
I loved how instead of coloring the middle of these yellow flowers, my mom glued a brown pom-pom into the center! It adds a little depth to the flowers!
If you want to use it as a craft for your kids, let them paint the flowers as you cut them! They will love putting their own special touch on it!
Nestled in the flowers on my wreath, you will find a sweet little bird.
My favorite summer activity we do each year is our Shadow Puppet Theater Performance. We invite our family over to watch an original show written and performed by my kids. We've been doing this for 7 YEARS!
It's very simple to make your own Shadow Puppet Theater! I bought a sheet for a couple dollars at Goodwill. All they had there at the time was a peach color. I would have preferred white; however the pale pastel color peach works just fine too. You can still see through it perfectly when you shine a light behind it.
I made sure to sew a small pocket, with each end open, at the top of the sheet so we could slip a PVC pipe through it to hang. We now own a set of Fort Magic which works GREAT to build our theater on. We've been using our Fort Magic set for several years.
To get the theater look, I used some painters tape around the edges of our sheet, and painted it with house paint I had on hand. I made sure to do several coats so you can't see through it when the light shines behind.
Through the years our transparency puppet collection has grown. Each year we do a different performance, and typically will chose a new character to make. Sometimes I have printed the characters on transparencies, but most of the time I have printed a coloring picture of the character out, and then I transfer it to the transparency by tracing over it with a permanent marker.
I've tried using super glue to attach the transparencies to small dowel rods, but they often fall apart and break off during the show. Now I simply use a couple pieces of clear tape to get them to stick. If it's good tape, you won't even be able to see it!
We always make a day of summer fun with our theater performance. We write the story ourselves, make the characters, we practice repeatedly until it's perfect. And we invite family to watch the show in the evening. We also like to provide some yummy snacks for everyone. The boys will often take drink orders before the show, and will bring a treat to everyone during the intermission. The kids love this part of serving!
This night is always a favorite for all. It's so fun to watch the kids act out the show through shadow puppets and I love the different voices they do for each character. They always make me laugh. I enjoy it just as much as a night out at an expensive theater.
To make things funny, this year we decided to do our play based on the game Mash. We wanted our main character to be my husband since he wouldn't get to participate in the planning. The kids thought he would make a great main character. All of us chose one suggestion for each category of the Mash game. If our suggestion ended up being chosen, that meant we had to write that part of the story. It was so much fun! This play ended up being a collaboration of all four of us writing different parts to Titus' Grand Life. It was silly and memorable. I know the kids will remember this night for quite a while!
One of the fun ways I've found to teach kids a Bible verse is to turn it into a game. You can use the cube shape, and break the verse into six equal parts. I typically use one side of the six for the Bible reference. Have the kids write the verse out onto each side of the cube. Tape or glue the cube together. Once you are finished building the cube you have the makings of a very simple game.
You can play the game alone, or you can play the game with a friend. Make sure the kids know how the verse is supposed to read from start to finish.
Each player takes a turn rolling the cube. The goal of the game is to get each part of the verse, in the order it belongs, ending with the Bible reverence.
Each person rolls the cube one time for their turn, then passes the cube to the next player. Each turn you get one chance to roll the part of the verse you are on.
For this Bible verse you would start by trying to roll the side that reads
All Scripture is inspired by God.
Once you have rolled that, your next turn you will be trying to roll
and is useful to teach us what is true
Then your next turn you will be trying for
and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
And so forth...
You continue to play and roll until you have gone all the way through the verse, including the Bible reference. You will have to remember which part of the Bible verse you are trying to roll next. The first person who makes it through the entire verse is the winner.
You could use this style of game for any verse! The kids love it! If you only have a few minutes with the kids, make the cube ahead of time for quick play.
Card stock works best for making the cube. But I've made them both ways with plain printer paper. Sometimes it's really hard for little fingers to glue the flaps of the cube together. I always offer some tape as well to assemble the cubes.
You cut on the thick black lines, you fold all of the dotted lines.
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
A friend of mine is getting married today! I'm so excited for her. I've known her all her life. When my mom found out she was pregnant with my little sister, who is several years younger than I am, her friend also had a new baby girl. To practice for my new sister that would soon be coming, the other mom told me I could hold her little baby girl, Rachel. So precious! That was 27 years ago...
My daughter designed this card for her bridal shower a few weeks ago. We had a plain brown recycled paper card. I wanted a little decoration on the front, maybe with a couple small flowers. Something to make the card more elegant, since this friend is a fancy girl. My daughter came through for my request. I love the flowers. They looked very beautiful with the contrast of the brown card stock.
Congratulations, Rachel! I can't wait to see what a beautiful bride you make!
I'm always looking for ways to serve other people. Acts of service is my love language, so believe me when I say, I LOVE to help people. This summer I wanted to do our normal summer fun, but I also wanted to go a little further and do some acts of kindness for each other.
This summer we have made a pact to do Summer Secret Service. We call ourselves the S.S.S. On the first day of summer vacation we drew names in our family. We also included my mom who spends a lot of time with us.
It's a SECRET who has who. So far, the kids have done pretty good at keeping it a secret. It's not so important to keep who has who a secret, as it is to keep the act itself a secret. It's fun to walk into your room and see that someone made your bed for you. Or it's REALLY neat to think you have to do the dinner dishes and find out someone secretly did it while you were busy elsewhere.
To make it extra special, my son designed a logo for us. I have such talented kids! I love what he came up with. It perfectly captures the love behind the acts of kindness. We printed our logo on labels that we can use for the things we make, and I ordered some business cards from Vistaprint. For example, if you clean the room for someone, you can slip a business card onto the bed or desk to show that the S.S.S. has been there.
We also plan on doing some acts of kindness for people outside of our family. This will be a great chance to use our business card. We can let them know they have been visited by the S.S.S.
I received this very sweet note from my S.S.S. I have spent several days helping a friend through a very trying time in her life. In fact, as I was writing this blog post a couple days ago, I received an important phone call from her. I put everything in my life on hold. I tried to be practical in the love I showed her. I went with her to the hospital. I helped clean her house, and packed some boxes for an upcoming move. I was emotionally exhausted and physically spent. It was a great source of encouragement to find this note waiting for me in my own home. Daisies are a source of comfort for me. To me they are a happy flower. This simple note made me tear up. It was a reminder that God is proud of me. That's enough to keep me going.
*UPDATE*We had our big reveal, and I found out this letter to me was lurking in my house for over two weeks! I love how God has such impeccable timing. I found it the exact day that I needed to find it!
Everyone needs to feel a little extra love and care. This is a chance we have this summer to give a little, and even get a little. It adds the perfect special touch to our summer fun. I look forward to many more special acts of kindness this summer! The gears in my head have been turning in ways that I can give to my own S.S.S. It's exciting to be a part of something like this.
*UPDATE* Our Summer Secret Service was such a big success, we decided we wanted to continue the special acts of kindness. We have started a new round of good deeds.... the SCHOOL SECRET SERVICE. New names have been drawn, and new acts of kindness are being performed. We are keeping it a secret for the entire school year, and plan to do at least one good deed for each other per month... hopefully more.
Feel free to use our logo and ideas anyway you see fit!
Let's all join together and do kind things for each other!
Lately I've become obsessed with editing my daughter's drawings in Illustrator. There is something calming and soothing about smoothing out the lines. I've been searching through all her old drawings looking for things I can edit and play around with.
I'm certain after awhile, the newness will wear off and I'll be looking for a new way to pass my free time. But for now, it's coloring pages. I love all the adult coloring books out there. I've been a fan of coloring my entire life, long before this coloring phase became popular, in fact. So for a little while, I'm certain my blog will be bursting with new pictures to color. Feel free to share and enjoy!
Ariel has become a bit of a celebrity in my class at church. The kid's can't believe she has made the drawings herself. It makes me smile when the kids approach her after church to give her their love and support.
"Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7