Saturday, June 20, 2015

Painting Party

We had a painting party at our house this week!  I picked up these 8 x 10 inch canvases on sale for only $1/each.  It was too good of a deal to pass up.  Each kid got to paint their very own master piece, myself included. 
Phoenix went with a princess theme, of course.  Greg experimented with a splatter paint technique over the Bat Signal.  I made myself an important reminder to hang over the doors to the kids' bedrooms.  It's inspired by 1 Samuel 1:27 " I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him."  These are the words of Hannah, mother of Samuel.  Samuel was one of the High Priests, but he was also a prophet and the last judge of Israel.  At God's command, he anointed Saul and later David as king.  Prior to the conception of Samuel, Hannah suffered with infertility.  You can read about her struggles in 1 Samuel 1:1-20.  She was so distraught she refused to eat during her family's yearly sacrifice at Shiloh. Instead of feasting she fervently prayed, asking the Lord for a son and promising to devote him to God all the days of his life.  When the child was weaned, Hannah presented him to High Priest Eli so Samuel could serve the Lord in the temple.  You can read about that in 1 Samuel 1:21-2:11.  Why do I tell you all this?  Hannah asked God to give her a child.  Toby and I asked God for both of our children.  We struggled with a season of infertility before the birth of Phoenix.  I can relate to Hannah when she said "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him."  Since I so desired these two beautiful children, you'd think all my days mothering them would be like a dream come true.  NOT!

Some days are difficult.  Some days they do nothing but bicker.  Some days one of them throws screaming tantrums in public places.  Some days they refuse to pick up after themselves.  Some days they completely overlook all the cool activities I plan and focus instead on one or two things that they cannot do.  Some days I wake up cranky and exhausted because one (or both) woke me up a couple of times in the night.  It's not always a walk in the park.  On those days, I need a reminder.  Something to help me shift my focus from the annoyance to the blessing.  Something to remind me that I did indeed ask for this and I really enjoy being Mom.  So I painted my canvas to serve as this reminder.

Here's how I made my painting.  I must warn you, I am not an artist.  I'm probably using some very poor techniques.   But if you want to make your own little 'reminder painting', you might be able to follow these steps and get similar results.  

1) Cover the crafting area with newspapers.  You'll thank me for this later.  Whatever color you want to use for the letters, paint the entire canvas that color.  Even paint the sides of the canvas, but don't paint the back.  The class I recently attended by Paint the Towne instructed us to paint using criss-cross brush strokes.  

2) Allow this layer of paint to dry completely.  The brush I was using continually shed bristles into my work, so I threw it away and got a new one to use.  Using a ruler to create a straight line, arrange letter stickers on the canvas to create the desired message.  I didn't draw a line on the canvas.  I just laid the ruler across the canvas while I placed the letters on top.   

3) In theory, when you paint over the stickers they resist the new layer of paint.  This keeps the canvas concealed by the letters the original shade of paint.  It doesn't work perfectly, but it does work.  I painted a purple-blue over the entire canvas, letters and all.  Again, I used those criss-cross brush strokes. 

4) When the top layer of paint dries, you pull of the letter stickers to reveal the underlying paint.  I peeked before the blue paint was completely dry.  From my experiences, the stickers came off easier when the paint was slightly damp.  The stickers that I left until the paint was completely dry were more difficult to remove.  I also painted a little red heart.

5) I peeled off all the little stickers and put a second layer of red paint on the heart.  As you can see, the stickers do not repell the top coat of paint perfectly.

6) I decided to touch up the yellow paint on the letters.  I used a very tiny paint brush with a very fine point.  Some places I had to go over twice.  It was tedious, but worth it.  Kind of like raising kids sometimes!

Happy Crafting! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Our Summer Bucket List

I've had a couple of requests to see our bucket list (OK, maybe just one).  Here's the list my 8 year-old Greg and 4 year-old Phoenix created.  Last year we did someone else's bucket list, but this year we felt daring enough to make our own.  It really helps fight-off summer boredom. 

Go to the lake. 
Do the Great Plains Nature Center Scavenger Hunt.  You can pick up a scavenger hunt check list at the front desk.
Find out what Rock River Rapids is all about. 
Do an art project that involves lots of cutting and gluing. 
Paint a canvas.
Make a memorial shadow box for Fonzy (our dog passed away this May).
Make and play with fairy dough
Go bowling.  
Bird watch at Sedgwick County Zoo's new Tropics Exhibit. 
Fishing with Daddy.  For you Valley Center residents, you can check out a fishing pole at the library
Make popsicles. 
Go to the Drive-In Movies
Have a reading party.
See a movie at the Palace Theater.  I'm thinking of doing this on a Tuesday when the tickets are $1.50. 
Visit the Lake Afton Observatory.
Go to Exploration Place and see a show in the dome.
Write a book. 
Make ice cream.
Find the Wichita Troll.
Ride the pony at Watson Park
Feed all the farm animals at the zoo.
Bean bag toss.
Play croquet.
Family Game Night.
Make cookies for friends.
Host a fancy smachy pasta party.  (Use table linens and the good china).
Take our picture in a photo booth.
Have a picnic at Botanica.  Admission is only $3 on Thursdays! 
See a parade.
Watch fireworks.
Create an obstacle course.
Catch fireflies.
Tie dye t-shirts.
Make cards.
Turn celery leaves all different colors.
Go to the farmer's market.
Kids versus parents three-legged race.
Make carmel popcorn.
Play a round of mini golf.
Build a block tower.
Do a service project.  The kids love to help people move.
Make sandcastles at Sedgwick County Park.  
Complete those model rocket kits.
Visit all four parks in Valley Center, KS.
Do hand-print art on Dad's shirt.
Pillow fight.
Fly a Kite.
Inside-Out day.
PJ day.
Backwards day.
Make cookies using the cookie press.
Upcycle a newspaper.
Make a fort in the living room.
Paint the kids rest room.
Sleep in the living room.
Water fight!
Build a sand volcano, then make it erupt with baking soda and vinegar.
Engineer a balloon powered Lego car.  
Make pretzels.
Make bagel sandwiches. 
Walk to Sonic for a half-priced shake.
See the lighting of the flames around the Keeper of the Plains
Eat breakfast the the Beacon.
Visit the Sedgwick County Historical Museum.  
Visit the Wichita Art Museum.  It's free on Saturdays!
Walk to the Kwik Shop and buy a drink.
Order slushies during happy hour (2-4 pm) at Sonic.
Food fight!
Burn off a lot of energy at Jumpy Jump Land.

Hope your summer is amazing!

This is what a 200 Citibloc tower looks like!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Devotional for Hymn Lovers

I’ve heard a few people say they prefer traditional hymns to modern worship music.  If you are one of those people then I might have the perfect devotional for you.  The One Year Book of Hymns is a collection of 365 songs, one for each day of the year.  In addition to the lyrics, the editors recount a short testimony from the hymn’s author.  Often it explains the circumstances surrounding the inspiration for the hymn.  Each daily reading ends with a verse or short passage from the Bible for further meditation.  If you’re a hymn lover, check it out!  You can pick up a used paperback copy on Amazon for less than $5 including shipping.