Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DIY Classroom Farkle Game

This year for my class at church I wanted to make them something extra special. I love these kids, and it is a joy for me to use my craft skills to make gifts. I started out making this as a Christmas gift, but then it turned into a Valentine's day gift. It's a lot of work when you are making multiple sets, and Christmas came and went before I was finished! This game would be great as a gift, but also would make a great game to pass the time inside the classroom. There is always down time where a quiet game will do the trick. 
DIY classroom farkle to make for classroom or teacher
Farkle is a game played with usually two or more players. You can bend the rules for a game played alone too. Each player has an opportunity to throw the dice which will equal a score. The scores accumulate more as the game goes on. Some turns result in no points being made. The first person to reach the goal score will be declared the winner.

teacher gift idea classroom farkle game with students photos

Kids love to see their faces on things. It makes it special to hold something in their hands that is uniquely theirs. All the kids I gave this game to were SO EXCITED! Some were literally jumping up and down as I handed out the gifts. They couldn't wait to play, and it didn't matter if they had a friend to join them. The kids played the game all by themselves! The game is best for a few players, but can be used for solitary entertainment.

I started out by taking a picture of each child on a grey wall. This made an easy background for good face recognition later. The kids assumed I was going to give them a framed photo later for Christmas. Boy were they surprised to get their Farkle games!! I put the photos into Photoshop and sized them down very tiny! The size all depends on the wooden blocks you are going to glue them on to.


You can buy already cut blocks of wood from Hobby Lobby, or you can save money and buy long blocks of wood that you cube yourself. Either way it's a very inexpensive game to make. I have a miter saw, so I opted for the cheapest wood and set to work cutting my cubes. My cubes weren't perfect, but they pass the test for kids. Hobby Lobby sells the cubes in a variety of sizes. You can make them small dice, you could make them large! It's all about what you want. Just remember if they are too big, you might have trouble rolling all 6 of the dice together.

photo sheets of kid faces for Classroom Farkle

Once your cubes are cut, or purchased, it's time to size the photos to fit on the cube. This can be a little tedious as you glue the tiny photos on all 6 sides of the 6 dice required to make one set of Classroom Farkle. That's 36 photos you must glue on for one set of dice! I glued the photos on with Mod Podge. I did NOT seal them with Mod Podge. I'll explain why later.

A cube has 6 sides, so 6 different photos are required for each die. All cubes are made exactly the same. Just think of it as a regular die with the numbered dots from 1 to 6. The game needs 6 dice, so each of the 6 dice look exactly the same. (Except for the 1 Farkle die I explain later) If it makes sense in your head, assign each child a number. Then place their pictures on the dice in place of those numbers. Since I have more than 6 children in my classroom, the kids didn't get every single classmate in their game. I had to narrow it down and assign a few friends to their one-of-a-kind dice.

Photo cubes for classroom farkle

For Christmas one year I made Family Farkle for my son. He is an avid board game player. All of the Farkle dice had members of the family on it, with one side that had a family photo.

For these Classroom Farkle sets I thought it would be fun to make a special Farkle die. When you Farkle in the traditional game this means you rolled some non-scoring dice and your turn is immediately over, and all points you might have previously rolled during that one turn will be forfeited. To make the game even more fun, I called the die with my picture on it a Farkle. If they ever rolled the die with my picture showing, this would mean their turn is over with zero points added to the score.

You farkled die for Classroom farkle game

The special teacher Farkle photo is only on ONE side of ONE of the six dice. If you had the teacher Farkle photo on each die, it would make the game practically impossible to score on.



Classroom farkle dice with special teacher farkle die


This also means that one of the kids in your Classroom Farkle set will only have 5 photos instead of 6 like all the rest of the dice. When I gave the gift to the kids, I made sure the kid who only had 5 photos was NOT the one that gift set went to. Each set I made was unique for that kid it was given to.

After the photos were glued on each of the dice, I made sure to coat them in a Polycrylic protective finish. I bought this at Walmart in the paint section. This seals the photos in. In the past I have used Mod Podge, but found the items always stuck together and after time ripped the photos. So frustrating! This sealer does not stick to itself! It's water based and easy to clean up!

Polycrylic protective finish

Classroom Farkle is a little time consuming to make, but you are left with a beautiful, unique game the kids will LOVE. I made sure to personalize the directions for each child, with their friends names in the directions. This helps them understand what point value is given to each person. I also laminated their set of instructions so it can hold up to lots of use!

personalized Classroom Farkle instructions

Classroom Farkle Directions

To make the set all come together, I found some cute Valentine's Day pails at Dollar Tree. They came in sets of 2 for $1. I also found the plastic juice cups for shaking the dice up at Dollar Tree. You can get 6 of these small cups for $1. They fit perfectly in the small pails. I bought a paint pen, and wrote the name of each child on their bucket.

Dollar Tree Valentine's day pails and juice glass for holding dice


Farkle Directions
To get started: Each player must roll at least 500 points during one turn to get into the game. The players game entry score and subsequent scores are added up.

1. The first player rolls six dice and decides which dice they want to use for score. If they don’t roll a Zechariah (1) or Zakia (5) or other scoring combinations, their turn is over and they must pass the dice.
 Zechariah (1) = 100 points for each, Zakia (5) = 50 points for each

Scoring Combinations
3 Zechariah = 300    (DIE equivalent 1)                                     4 OF A KIND = 2000
3 Mariah = 200         (DIE equivalent 2)                                     5 OF A KIND =  3000
3 Ca'Shawn = 300   (DIE equivalent 3)                                     STRAIGHT = 1500
3 Carter = 400          (DIE equivalent 4)                                     3 PAIRS = 1500
3 Zakia = 500           (DIE equivalent 5)                                     2 TRIPLETS 2500
3 Kahzia = 600         (DIE equivalent 6)

2. Only Zechariah (1) and Zakia (5) count by themselves. Other people count as three-of-a-kind or more.

3. Dice can only count for score once. After dice are removed, you cannot add to them for a bigger score.

4. Some dice must be removed after every roll. You don’t have to remove all the dice that count, only the ones you want to use for score. Continue rolling and remove dice.

5. If you roll no scoring dice, your turn is over and you lose all the points you rolled on that turn. This is called a Farkle.

6. You may stop rolling at any time, take your points and pass the dice if you’re afraid of rolling a Farkle.

7. If you roll Ms. Amanda (the teacher) at any time, this is also considered a Farkle.

8. Rolling the dice off the playing surface means re-rolling all eligible dice.

9. When one player reaches 10,000 points, all other players get one more turn to try to beat them.

DIY Classroom Farkle for Valentine's Day craft

If you have any questions about how the game is played, or how I made some part of it, please feel free to ask. Hopefully I've inspired you to make a fun gift for your kids!

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Cup Overflows Coloring Page

My daughter is an artist. Every Mother's Day I receive a new painting or drawing done by her. This year she gave me the most wonderful gift.

Most people who know me are familiar with my life verse. "My cup overflows with blessings. Your unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life." Psalm 23:5-6. If you have found this blog, than you too know my life verse. My Cup Overflows with Blessings!

Several years ago I made a decision that I would always focus on the positive in life. I went through a depression for several years, and during that time I chose to think about all that was wrong. The bad things consumed me.

When I made the positive change in my thinking, I began to see God's blessings everywhere. I found Him in the big parts of my life. I found Him in the most minute details of my life. I was overwhelmed with God's love. My depression eventually vanished as I focused on the good around me. Since that year long ago when I made the conscious effort to change my thinking, my cup has literally overflowed with blessings. My journals cannot contain the goodness of God.

I don't say this lightly. This was not an easy change. In the beginning I struggled daily with choosing the positive.  In fact, every minute of the day I had to retrain my thoughts. I posted scripture verses around my house. I quoted them to myself. I disciplined myself to start a daily Bible reading routine. I prayed many prayers. I wrote hundreds of blessings that God was showing me. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. I'm happy now. God healed my broken heart. He is so good at doing that!

I can honestly say, my cup overflows with blessings. God's unfailing love has pursued me all the days of my life.

My cup overflows with blessings pencil drawing Psalm 23:5-6

This year my daughter drew me a picture based on my life verse. I LOVE it! It's extra special to me that it came from my daughter. She is one of God's biggest blessings to me.

My cup overflows with blessings coloring page Psalm 23:5-6

To make things even better, she included in my gift a coloring page of my life verse. I love having coloring sheets to use for my class at church. I can't wait until the next time we are learning about God's blessings. You can be sure I will be sharing this coloring sheet!

God is so AMAZING!! 

Just wanted to share another recent painting by my daughter. We had a ladies painting party at church. So relaxing and fun!

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Luke 12:34

Here's my painting from the same party. This is another one of my favorite life verses! "Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag." Luke 19:26

Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag. Luke 19:26

Friday, May 19, 2017

Watercolor Inspiration

I have a confession to make. I stole the idea of watercolor bookmarks from a young lady who used to attend my church. Maybe stole isn't the best word for it. I was inspired by this young lady. Her family recently moved to a new town at God's direction. A lot of tears were shed by my family after their move. I love this teenager so much. She has the sweetest spirit, and loves to serve in any way that she can. In all the years I have known her, she never had an unkind word to say, and she is always positive. I want to grow up to be like her!

This young lady plans to go on a missions trip this summer, and advertised some gorgeous hand painted and hand drawn watercolor bookmarks. She only asked $1 for each. I fell in love with the paintings. They were all so beautiful and I just this week received in the mail my bookmarks I purchased from her. She gave me special permission to share them here with you all.

I'm excited! I can't wait to give some of these away to my friends and family members. I put in a special request for the "my cup overflows" bookmark. It's one of my very favorite scripture verses ever! I have it placed in my home in multiple ways because God really does pour out His blessings until my cup overflows...

my cup overflows purple pink watercolor bookmark
even the wind and the waves obey him Matthew 8:27 watercolor bookmark
Hers is so much better than mine! I'm jealous of her talent. I know it comes naturally to her!

the Joy of the Lord is my strength Nehemiah 8:20 watercolor bookmark
Philippians 4:12-13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Watercolor bookmark
watercolor bookmark cup of tea purple blue watercolor
blue watercolor bookmark we love because He first loved us.
green watercolor bookmark with quote Fill your mind with God's word
light pale purple watercolor bookmark with stars
blue watercolor bookmark God's hands quote
teal watercolor bookmark
sunrise watercolor painting bookmark

Aren't they beautiful? Simple, yet so perfect!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Watercolor Bookmarks

Everyone loves to paint, right? This is such a simple craft for children, and it's practically impossible to mess it up! Most of us have watercolors hanging around the house somewhere. I know my kids were required in elementary school to furnish a set each year. At the end of the year, we add them to our collection.

watercolors paint for bookmarks

This is a great gift idea for Mother's Day coming up this Sunday! Watercolor bookmarks are classy AND easy to make. Personalize them with mom's favorite colors. Add designs. Or simply brush on some color.

watercolor bookmark designs gift idea for mother's day

Once the paint is dry, add a quote, Bible verse, or other words of encouragement. My calligraphy ink was completely dried up! I didn't want to run to the store for ink, so I painted the words on with acrylic craft paint. Permanent marker would work just fine for this craft too!

watercolor bookmarks mother's day gift idea there's always time for tea

Simple and Beautiful.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Best Teacher Appreciation Gift Ever

After years of giving gifts to teachers, we finally stumbled upon the perfect Teacher Appreciation Gift! Each year the gift has been accepted with tears of joy. 

We have shown our teachers that we really love them by making a homemade t-shirt with THEIR NAME on it! 

If I had the money, I would buy shirts for the entire class to wear. But alas, I don't have the money. What I do have is time, and creativity, to work on a gift for my child to give. This idea came to me when a friend of mine was decorating the door to their child's classroom for a surprise to the teacher. They came up with a witty saying, and set to work taping on construction paper letters and pictures. I thought, why not turn that idea into a shirt for my kid to wear!?!

A few years ago, I won a silhouette machine. This machine comes in handy! I made my own stencil. But you can always buy stencils with letters and pictures on them.  I taped my stencil to the front of a t-shirt, put some cardboard inside to protect the shirt from leaking paint through to the back, and got out an artist paintbrush and some acrylic paint. I painted the picture on the shirt myself. 

Most people never know the shirt isn't machine printed. The paint fades a little bit after washing, but it still holds the image. I have made all kinds of shirts for my kids this way. You can personalize a shirt for a birthday party! Or if you have a favorite quote or Bible verse, this is an excellent way to share it with the world. I have even made a shirt for my husband with his favorite computer game quote! One year I tie-dyed a bunch of shirts and painted a logo for our church on the front. I gave the shirts to all the elementary girls I took to a kid's camp. They loved that we were all matching!

All it takes is a little patience, time, and non-washable paint. I don't even use fabric paint. I use the cheap 50 cents a bottle kind from Wal-Mart. The ideas are endless and so inexpensive! You simply need a shirt, and paint. You probably already have some of this paint lying around your house... if you are a craft person. It's so neat how a little bit of time can result in a heart being touched.


best teacher appreciation gift ever homemade shirt with teacher's name

Posted on Facebook by Mrs. Beauford

best teacher appreciation gift ever homemade tshirt with teacher's name

Posted by Ms. Jeffrey on Class Dojo

My son gets so excited for Teacher Appreciation Day! He can't wait to wear his shirt proudly into the classroom. This year he got a little sneaky and made sure to wear a light jacket. He gave the teacher a card which told her to look at his shirt for her gift. She LOVED it.

It's a very sweet surprise for a teacher and can be personalized in any way. Ms. Jeffrey is also a photographer and has used this talent to bless us parents with lots of photos of our kiddos this year. The camera saying was perfect for her!

There's all kinds of cute sayings for teacher appreciation day! Make up your own, or use one of these!

  • From my calculations, Mrs. Teacher is the best - draw a calculator
  • You're picture perfect, Mrs. Teacher - draw a camera or draw a Polaroid border around it.
  • Mrs. Teacher you've made a mark that can never be erased - draw an eraser or pencil
  • Thanks for helping me grow, Mrs. Teacher - draw a flower with it
  • I donut know what I would have done without you, Mrs. Teacher - draw a donut
  • Mrs. Teacher made me one smart cookie - draw a cookie
  • Mrs. Teacher brightened my year - draw a sun
  • You're the apple of my eye, Mrs. Teacher - draw an apple
  • I love you to the moon and back, Mrs. Teacher - draw a moon
  • I'm nuts about Mrs. Teacher - draw an acorn
  • Mrs. Teacher is one in a melon - draw a watermelon

Monday, April 24, 2017

Free Candy Corn

I struggled with some distressing information recently. My coloring sheet with candy corn on it is very popular. In fact, if you Google candy corn coloring page, my picture will show up multiple times in the top images. We're talking no scrolling is necessary.

candy corn bible verse coloring page count your blessings


That sounds more like good news, right? The bad news is they aren't exactly my picture. Or so they would like you to think. I designed the coloring page, but it is not my website you will go to if you click on the photo. In fact, my name is nowhere to be found. Another name lies at the bottom of the coloring page. My picture has been stolen more than once. I can't even find any of the image that links back to this website.

This made me sick to my stomach. How could someone steal my hard work? My creativity? My words? How could they claim it as their own? I was devastated. I felt violated and used. It looks as if I am the thief of my own picture. I never put names on my pictures. I share them freely.

This experience left me feeling very angry. I wanted to leave nasty comments on their websites. I wanted to demand they remove it. It felt like such an attack to my person. I thought about revenge. My honor needed to be restored. I'm embarrassed to be confessing how I truly felt.

All day long this ate at me. Even into the evening I felt the attack to my soul. This went deep inside of me. I couldn't shake it off. I despise injustice.

God spoke to my heart as I tried to settle my emotions. These people don't even know I exist. They did no bodily harm to me. In fact, they probably never once thought of me. They simply liked my coloring page. 

God asked me, "Why did you make the coloring sheet all those years ago? Did you do it for glory and recognition? Was your intent to make money off it? No. You did it for the kids."

The air fizzled out of my inflated ego. I made that picture for my kids to hand out to trick-or-treaters. I wanted my neighbors to see a glimpse of Jesus' love. What I felt today was not love. It was plain and simple greed. It was about me, Me, ME!!!

I made a rather unhappy comment on one website in the heat of my anger. I am so ashamed. I never put my name on my creative works. But on this hateful comment I signed my name. Why?!? Why would I sign my name to greed, but leave my name out of love? I wish I could take it back, but the site doesn't allow for deleting comments.  It's stuck out there, along with my beautiful message from God. The two don't go together. It sounds hateful, mean, and greedy. Not loving, kind, and forgiving. Fortunately, the Christ that the picture talks about IS loving and ALWAYS kind. That Christ never makes heated comments that hurt and are rude. That Christ doesn't push to get His own way. That Christ gave everything for us. That Christ asked for nothing in return.

If you see my mean comment out there by my coloring sheet, remember I am flawed. I am imperfect. I mess up. I get things wrong. I need Jesus so much. I need Him like I need breath in my lungs. I am nothing without Him.

I'm excited that so many people are seeing God's love while they color. Those websites are reaching more than this simple little blog ever could. For that I am grateful.

The coloring page states simply, "Count your Blessings and name them day by day. You'll be reminded Christ Jesus' love overflows to you, right now in nearly every way."

That is the cry of my heart. My cup overflows with blessings. I remember praying about what words to write upon that page. I remember crying tears as God gave me a message. Christ's love doesn't just come to you in a half full glass, barely enough for you to quench your thirst. Christ's love overflows. You don't have a container large enough to fill with the blessings that He pours out.

I refuse to dwell on myself like that again. The message on that sheet is too beautiful and sacred to me to squabble over it. It's a gift freely given. I post pictures and messages because I want to make a difference. And I don't want to make a hurtful difference. I stand by the fact that what I have is freely shared.

I did decide to go ahead and start putting my name on the coloring pages I make. It's not because I want to stake my claim to them. It's more about the message behind it. I often pour my heart into the things I create. I love to write and share what God speaks to me about here on this blog. If my name is on the bottom of the page, it might point people back here to hear my heart some more on a different subject, or maybe even the same subject. I feel that God has given me a gift to be able to verbally express myself.  I hope and pray that I express myself in a way that truly honors God. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MASH

Remember when you were young, and you would play the game of Mash with your friends? You couldn't wait to see your name next to your crush, and the perfect life would roll out before you. Or maybe your life wasn't so perfect. Maybe your husband was a trash man, and you ended up living in a shack. Or maybe you got 15 kids with the boy in your class who teases you relentlessly.

I was pretty surprised when I picked up my son from school a few days ago to find him and his best friend giggling in the back seat of the car over the game of Mash! I had no idea that game was still around! It brought back so many fond memories for me.

I'm thankful my life didn't turn out the way Mash planned for me. At least not entirely how it was planned. I keep practically everything, and I had a good laugh that I still had a story I wrote when I was 12. The story was titled A Sad Story with a Happy Ending. It had a sequel called The Good Life. I read these Mash stories aloud to my husband last night and we were laughing so hard at the innocence of my 12-year-old mind.

The past two days I have played Mash with my son 3 different times. Each time we play, he adds more details and questions to the list. It's not exciting enough to have only 4 categories. We want the game to last and be over the top funny.

My husband played the game and ended up marrying our daughter, who had 18 children for them. He was a telemarketer and lived in a shack. They had a pet hippo, and cruised around town in a tank. The stories you can make from this game are endless. So much fun!

I always love to put creativity into action. This afternoon I put together a sheet for my son to make the game easier to play. When I picked him up from school, it was sitting on his seat. He was SO EXCITED! I got to be his first victim, err I mean participant. He is now happily writing his own story about the silliness of my new life. It seems no matter how many times I play the game with my son, I can't seem to marry my husband. I'm so glad life is what we make it, and there isn't a random order of things. We get to choose.

MASH game coloring page worksheet

If you've never played the game of Mash with a friend, it's so easy! You need a partner to play with.

  • Player one gives answers for each category, while Player two writes the answers down.
  • Before you can figure out how your life ends up, you must come up with a magic number. To find your magic number, Player two begins to draw a swirl. Player one closes their eyes and decides when Player two stops drawing the swirl. After stop has been called, Player two draws a line from where they started the swirl to where they ended it. Player two counts how many times the line crosses over the swirl. That is the magic number!
  • Player two counts each answer, starting with the M A S H at the top. When you get to the magic number, you cross that answer off the list. You continue counting where you left off until there is only one answer left for each category. Don't forget to count the letters of Mash separately. 
  • M stands for Mansion. A stands for Apartment. S stands for Shack. And H stands for House.

The answers you are left with are your future. Take turns with your friends. Be prepared to have lots of good laughs.

To make it even more interesting, when I played with my friends we always got to choose one answer for the other person. That way it's not all your dreams coming true. A little twist on life. We may get to make a lot of our choices, but there are still things that are out of our control.

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