Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fairies In A Jar: Easy Gift Idea

My daughter is always drawn to the beautifully packaged craft kits when we walk through a store like Michael's or Joann Fabrics. I am too, but not so much the price: $15 - $20 for maybe $5 worth of supplies and a nice instruction sheet? I can do better!
Remembering the fun we had with our Flower Fairies last month, I suggested we make a fairy kit for one of our little friends who is having a birthday, and as I was about to get a plain ol' zip-top bag to package the supplies, I happened across a Mason jar instead. Voila: fairies in a jar!

Here's what we packed inside:
* One "silk" flower (from a Dollar Tree bush), separated into petals and leaves
* Four green pipe cleaners
* Two wooden beads for heads
* Hand-full of pretty plastic beads
* Two 4-inch hanks of embroidery floss

I hung a tag with a link to the instructions on ribbons around the neck of the jar, and that was it.
Quick, easy, pretty, and best of all, cheap! *

Here's my tag image if you want to print your own. It's a little "quick and dirty," but it has the key info! (It's designed to fit on an 8.5x11 sheet)
* We had all these supplies on hand. If you're buying special, expect to pay about $2 for pipe cleaners, $3 for wooden beads, $1 for a flower bush, $0.35 for some DMC floss, and $1 or so for extra beads (optional). That's less than $8, and will make at least dozen fairies, especially if you buy two flower bushes.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Kids' Photo Prayer Book

Kids Photo Prayer Book Project (and a Freebie!) 

I've always wanted our bedtime prayers to be more than a simple rote recitation.  In addition to thanksgiving, personal requests, and repentance, I want my kids to grow up praying for the important people in their lives. But there are a LOT of them! First, there are something like 10 cousins on my husband's side, most of whom they have never met as we live on opposite coasts. Add an extra set of grandparents / step-grandparents on that side, four total great grandparents, and the three cousins on my side and the list is getting pretty long. Plus, I'd really like to have them pray for our missionaries, our sponsored children, and our own friends from church and preschool co-op.
Do this all by memory, with squirrely children who are frankly less than interested, was becoming unworkable.
Enter my upgrade to the Toddler Family Flash Cards project.
In a nutshell, I labeled and printed photos of our family members at 3x2 inches, arranged 2 to a 4x6 "page," printed them at Costco (I refuse to own a photo printer at this time!), laminated them, punched holes and hung them on a binder clip.
Included in the back is a sample prayer that I hope they'll eventually learn and then make their own - although since neither of them read yet, this is more for my reference than theirs.
At bedtime, we will pray through perhaps 2 or 3 pages only, flip them over, and start where we left off on the next night.
This way we (I!) can be confident that we are covering everyone, while remaining sensitive to the attention spans of tired Mommies toddlers.

Here's my freebie: the templates I used for laying out the pages in Photoshop Elements!
(Download The Templates)
Included are a title page with four small photos, two separate two-photo layouts, a single-photo layout, and our sample prayers

Tips for making your own

* This time 'round, I used a laminator and binder ring to assemble the book.  I used 4x6 pockets, but because I was making two "pages" from each, I cut the photos in half before I laminated and laid them out with a little space between them.  This way each still have four sealed edges when I cut them in half again.
* If you don't have a laminator, you can use badge holders from an office supply store - see link to Flash Cards project above

* A confirmed perfectionist, my struggle was in collecting and assembling the photos from distant relatives.  While most were quite responsive and eager to give me pictures, the quality was not all that I could wish, and in some cases there was no single photo that contained an entire family group.  In fact, there is at least one aunt and my own brother's entire family missing.
Eventually, I got a grip and decided not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I sucked it up about the poor quality photos, and arranged them two per page when necessary.  My brother's family I simply wrote in. I reminded myself that this is something I want to Use, not make all perfect and shiny.  So just get it done!  :)

* Here are some of the people we included

  • Immediate family
  • Grandparents
  • Great Grandparents
  • Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins
  • Special Friends
  • Missionaries we support
  • Our "Compassion" sponsored children

And here is the prayer I like to use when I don't have specific requests to cover for any of the above people
We pray for Provision, Protection, and Transformation. 
or simplified for children
We pray for Health, Safety, and the Love of Christ 

That's all I have.  I hope that you will be inspired to make a prayer book of your own, either for your kids or yourself.  I find they really help me focus and release my concerns for "remembering everything" so that I can focus on the people I want to pray for!