Category Archives: Arts & Crafts

Our 2016 Thankful Tree


We put up our 2016 thankful tree! We traced handprints for the branches this year and we have Bible verses that we are working on memorizing every week that are about being thankful. Each day the kids all say something that they are thankful to God for and then we add leaves to the tree. Their answers are sometimes silly and sometimes serious, but they are all things that we are thankful for . . . today the kids said they are thankful for Squishy (Joshua’s nickname), Gabby, bunnies, making stick people, Jesus, and fluffy wookies!  I am so glad that I started this tradition in our house! Here’s a walk down memory lane of some of our thankful trees from years past.

Here’s our 2011 tree with Joshua and Eliana


Our 2012 thankful tree with Eliana and Isabel


Our 2014 thankful tree with Danielle


Our 2015 thankful tree with Danielle, Eliana and Gabrielle


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Our Thanksgiving Tree – 2013

“Why should we be thankful for things?” I asked my younger son. His reply was simply, “Because God wants us to.”

Chronicles 16:34 says,

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

This is the third year that I have made a Thanksgiving Tree for the month of November. We add leaves of things that we are thankful for almost every day, usually right after dinner. I think that when we are always wanting more and longing for the newest, latest, biggest, and best of everything it can lead to being unhappy. I firmly believe that being thankful is one of the keys to being happy and we have to practice having an attitude of thankfulness. The Thankfulness Song always comes to mind when I think about practicing thankfulness!

This year I wrapped an oatmeal container and two potato chip canisters in brown grocery sacks to make the trunk of our tree and then added branches that are attached to the ceiling. In previous years I have put our tree on the wall. This year we are using sassafras leaves on our tree, but in years past we have used maple leaves and different types of leaves.

We put the first set of leaves on our Thanksgiving tree this year.



This was our first Thanksgiving tree in 2011.



This is last year’s Thanksgiving Tree.


Click this link you want to read my previous post about our Thanksgiving Tree.

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Paintings by Mommy

Our boys got their own room and when they moved I moved the 8×10 laminated photos of animals at the zoo to their room.  That left the walls of the girls room pretty empty. My girls love animals so I decided that I would paint them some animals on canvas. I googled photos of the animals and then used them as a guide for the paintings that I did. This week we hung the paintings and the girls love them.  Every time Isabel goes into the bedroom she points at the paintings and tries to say their names. I have shared the sea turtle painting before but I included it in this post as well.

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A Little Decorating

Due to my current “condition” and James busy work schedule/getting over the pneumonia or whatever plaque he’s been dealing with and his newly discovered asthma the switching rooms has taken a little bit of time.  I don’t mind though, because it gives me more time to think of ideas for decorating.

Since the kids have shared one room there are two walls that have a row of laminated 8×10 photos of lots of different zoo animals.  There are also a few animal paintings that on foam. Andy who is on the top bunk has a sports themed comforter and Joshua has a camping themed comforter.  To go with the zoo photos animals my dear friend made the kids curtains that are safari-themed.  My friend also made us a matching light switch plate.  These will all be moved to the boys’ room.

Eliana recently moved to a twin size bed and so I got her purple sheets and a blanket that is purple with pink and aqua butterflies and flowers.  I searched and searched for curtains and even thought about making my own set for the girls, but finally I ended up buying the curtains that match Eliana’s blanket.  I still had to do some hand-sewing to shorten them a lot. (I actually almost cut them in half!)  I bought four 11×14 canvases to paint with different animals that are the girls’ favorites. Eliana has said that she wants a turtle and a bunny rabbit. I’m still debating about which animals to paint for Isabel, but I’m thinking about a bird and a fish.  I made the first painting today.

This was the photo I found online to use as my inspiration:

This is the final painting:

Eliana said she wanted a pink turtle. Pink is her favorite color, but it’s not really my favorite color so I added pink flowers and hearts to the turtle’s shell.  She loves it!



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Memories In My Closet

I wasn’t expecting to take a stroll down memory lane, but that is exactly what happened when I was digging through my closet the other day.

I found my wedding dress. I took it out of the bag that I have it stored in and I honestly could not resist the urge to put it on. I could get into the dress, but I couldn’t zip it up. When I went shopping for my wedding dress it was the first dress that I tried on! I tried on one other dress just be to sure that I’d found “the one,” the perfect dress for me. Looking back on it I do believe that finding the dress was meant to be, just like my husband and I were meant to be! I can’t believe that I’ve married the love of my life for almost 10 years.

Another thing that I found is my camera sweatshirt.  The grey sweatshirt has a camera stitched onto the front of it with straps that make it look like a camera is hanging from my neck. It was a Christmas gift from my boss during my first or second year of college when I worked at Ball State Photo Services. My boss’ wife made it so I am confident that it is truly one of a kind!  The sweatshirt reminds me of my days as a college student and how much I love being a photographer! An added bonus to finding the sweatshirt is that I can wear it!

What things do you still in your closet that have memories attached to them? 

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Other Duties As Assigned

Most often this blog turns into my sharing about what my kids are doing. I figured I’d share some of the other things I have been doing besides staying busy with four kids 5 and under!

Tax time is upon us and  I have spent some time working on tax returns. Not just my own tax returns, but those of my sister, my parents, and my sister-in-law.  Praise the Lord all the tax returns are completed. I don’t mind at all especially when it means that all of us get money back!

I’ve been helping my sister get ready for her wedding.  I have also have been planning a wedding shower for her and my future brother-in-law. There was one night this week when I fed Isabel and got her to go back to sleep I was awake for an hour thinking about wedding shower plans.

I have been shopping online for bridesmaid dresses for the wedding and a flower girl dress for Eliana. Do you know how many shades of purple there are? Add to this the fact that I am not okay with showing too much skin or modeling my “body by baby” and dress shopping is a lot less fun. The wedding is less than a month away!

I am in charge of the wedding flowers. I am using silk flowers and I have am done with the brides and bridesmaids’ bouquets. I love been crafty and transforming flowers into beautiful bouquets. I am having issue getting one type of flowers and have made 2 extra trips to the craft store only to find that the flowers I had ordered have not come in yet! Hopefully the third trip will be the charm!

I have been spending a little time learning some web page design techniques so that I can help with designing the website for the Boy Scout Camp where we have been spending our summers. I have been reading online tutorials about Cascading Style Sheets or CCS.  I have been reading a book about Liferay and trying to learn how to use it! It’s basically Greek to me and unlike my husband I don’t know Greek! I truly believe that you should never stop learning!

These are just a small part of my “other duties as assigned” jobs. I have been trying to read two books and I haven’t gotten very far in either of them! Who has time to read? Please do not ask about my laundry unless you plan to volunteer to come and do some for me!

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A hotdog on his face!

Honestly some times I forget that Andy is just turning 4 next month.  There are times that he talks to me about different things and I feel like I must be the mother of a teenager.  Yesterday while we were making crafts for grandparents and friends he reverted back to his almost 4-year-old self.  Our craft involved stickers that Andy and Joshua had picked out.  Andy picked out food stickers . . . one of which was a hotdog.  The whole process went something like this . . .Andy would pick a sticker and tell me where he wanted to put it.  He picked a hotdog and wanted me to put in on his face!  The hotdog was big enough to cover his entire face and I advised against it and we agreed to put the hotdog in the corner of the photo. While I was helping Joshua place butterflies around his photo Andy moved the hotdog and guess what??? He put it over his face! I had to peel it carefully and then I had to buff the sticker goo off but I saved it!

The Christmas cards are mailed! Christmas crafts started. Christmas gifts are wrapped.  Andy wanted our kitchen to be a “Christmas kitchen” so I made paper snowflakes to put up along our wall.  The Christmas program and candlelight service is tonight and I hope that Andy sings! He has had a lot of practice!  The countdown to Christmas continues!

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The artist . . .

Last week I was trying to find a non-copyrighted image of a tree with roots to use for a new brochure that I’m making up for my church . . .  The image we wanted to use was $55 for a low resolution version!  So . . . I made one up myself using photoshop.  I usually like to paint things though.  I never really share my paintings, so after my tree was finished I thought I might as well snap some photos and show off some of my paintings!  With the exception of the tree, these are all hanging on my kids’ walls. fbDSC_0345





This tree is supposed to symbolize our church's desire to grow more deeply rooted in faith and love.

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