Children’s Ministry Decorating Challenge.

Crafting

A CALL INTO CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here yet, but in September I will be starting my Masters in Children’s Ministry. I’ve been running the Children’s programs at our church for about a year and truly feel that I have found my calling. Recently we decided to renovate/redecorate some rooms in the basement to accommodate our growing Sunday School. We made it into a challenge and had three teams participate.

I led one team and we chose the preschool room. Here is the before:

Before

We had many different ideas for our room and changed our direction many times. Finally, we settled on a sea themed room, complete with a boat. Each team had six weeks and a budget of $500 to complete their room. Our team had many unfortunate circumstances and scheduling conflicts, so we were pretty crunched for time. There’s a still a bit of work to be done even though the time is up. We spent very little of our budget which will enable us to do a few touch-ups over the summer before the rooms are put to use in the fall.

HERE COMES THE AFTER PHOTOS:

Here are the pictures for the after:

After I will make you fishers of menFaith keepersRainbow Children's ministry

My team was amazing! They did a hefty chunk of painting the main colors (and all of the cutting in! My least favorite part.) Once we had that done, I sketched out the fish and other murals. It was here that the scheduling conflicts hit. One team member started a new job that prevented her from being available when most of us were. I was down to one team member. She helped fill in some of the mural pictures until her own schedule conflict came up. I was so very thankful for all of the help they gave though and feel we managed to create a really fun and inviting room for the kids.

THE RESULTS:

By now you’re probably curious as to whether or not we won the challenge. I am happy to say we did… but barely!

The Sunday School kids got to be the judges. We had 14 kids and they each picked their favorite room. Four went to the first room, five in the second and five in ours! We had the four from the first room be the tie-breaking votes and we squeaked out a win by one!

Of course, it really wasn’t about winning. We now have three beautiful, inviting, and fun rooms for when our Sunday School starts back up in the fall.

And just wait till you see what I have planned for the hallway! 😉

Sometimes life gets a bit crazy!

Homeschooling

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit neglectful when it comes to posting regularly. Well, as the title says, sometimes life gets crazy!

I work part-time/seasonally for a wonderful local accountant. Most of my work comes during tax season, which has just ended. Well, mostly anyway. This year was particularly crazy! So my life lately has looked like this: (please excuse my messy floor!)

Bags of returns

Also, we’ve had a decorating challenge going on at our church for our Sunday School rooms. I was leading one of the teams. Therefore any free time in the last six weeks has been spent at the church. But more on that in another post!

HOMESCHOOLING?

As for homeschooling… we’ve been squeezing in what we can. A little Life of Fred here, a novel there, some spelling practice strewn throughout our day. Mostly, we’ve just been out in the mud enjoying the sun… and a little rain as well.

Mining

Mining rocks, with a hammer of course!

Sleepy muddy boy

What’s a l’il mud?

Silly girl

Don’t you just love that hair sticking out?

Hammering pipe

Gotta feed those ants!

Pirates ahoy!

Grandpy turned the play structure into a pirate ship

silly boy

Not happy about being on the ship. lol

Clean that boat

Waiting her turn to swab the deck.

sandbox

Mr Moo just wants to play in the sand

the plank

Walk the plank! Mr T built this all on his own!

helpers

Helping daddy dig the garden

Muddy muddy

Oh the mud!

There’s been some building: a plank, and an ant feeding tube. There’s been some mining for rocks and ore. Trips to Nanny’s to play in the pirate ship and sandbox. And there have been a few wheelbarrow rides. Best of all, there’s been dirt and mud!

Mr. T has also been working on a quilt. He asked for the Easter Bunny to bring him a sewing machine and set straight to work! As soon as mommy gets the bindings cut we will finish it up.

Quilt top

He’s also decorated his wall in quite a unique way. He was making “machines” on it, though I think most of those are gone now.

Creating

Inventor in our midst!

I wish I could say that life was going to settle down now that tax season is slowly coming to a close. Unfortunately, it won’t, as now we move into birthday planning for Lil Miss and Mr. Moo (they share the same birthday), Vacation Bible School planning and decorating, and planning for a women’s retreat. I do tend to thrive on being busy, but a little break here and there is nice! 😜😂

Cutest Kid ever!

Apple Tree Sewing Patterns Review

Crafting

It was love at first make when I first sewed up Apple Tree Sewings Bunny Hug Hoodie. Since then I have made two for Mr. T and L’il Miss. Mr. Moo has three. Apple Tree has many other wonderful patterns as well, a few of which I have tried and love. I have made the Grow Along Pants, the Grow Fonder, the On the Grow Romper, and the Grow On Romper.

Below are the four most recent Bunny Hugs I’ve made. Are they not just the most adorable things ever?

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BUNNY HUG PATTERN:

The pattern is super easy to follow with plenty of pictures to guide you. It takes very little time to whip one of these up once you’ve got it cut out. I spent roughly 6-8 hours sewing on Thursday and managed to make three of these, three Grow Fonders, and some things for myself. My kiddos are also in love with these hoodies, as is my husband. I would highly recommend this pattern to anyone who makes children’s clothing.

You have a variety of size options (more-so if you buy the bundle with the older sizes added). It is available in 3-12 months, 9 months-3 years, 3T- 6, 6 – 8/9 and 8/9 – 12/13. For Mr. Moo, I made the 9 months-3 years. L’il Miss got he 3T-6 and Mr. T the 6-8/9. I love that they can wear it for a few years, or until it wears out! 

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE GROW ALONG PANTS:

If you’re looking for a pants pattern for your kids, look no further! This pattern is awesome for so many reasons. You have a few options when you make these. You can put in the reinforced knees to extend the longevity of the pants. You can just sew a plain pair of pants. Or you can choose to do a reversible option. I have yet to try the reversible, but the other two options are super simple.

The best thing is these pants grow with your child, much like the Bunny Hug. Mr. Moo’s (the tractor ones) are size 1-3T. L’il Miss and Mr. T both have the 3-6 version. You can see the difference when they have them on, it’s a looser fit for the smaller kids, and a tighter, legging look for the older.

Another pattern I would highly recommend and the kids also approve of!

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE GROW FONDER PATTERN:

In the search for nice tee shirt pattern for the kids to wear in the summer, I found the Grow Fonder. I’ve made them tons of raglans but was looking for something a little different. This pattern again comes with different options and size ranges. You can choose your sleeve length, regular neckband or cowl neck. I made each of the kids a cowl neck, and one regular neckband for L’il Miss (I don’t have a picture of that one because she was sick this week and didn’t feel like having her picture taken.)

Once again Mr. Moo is in the size 1-3T, L’il Miss in 3-6, and for this one, Mr. T is also in the 3-6 which is a tad short on him due to how tall he is. Unfortunately, the pattern doesn’t go any larger at this point. Though I imagine it would be easy to add some length. The rest fits him perfectly as he’s so skinny.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE ON THE GROW ROMPER AND THE GROW ON ROMPER:

Make all the clothes!

I’m combining my thoughts on these two, mostly because they are similar in a lot of ways.

The On the Grow Romper is the one that looks most like overalls. I love this. These will last the kiddos so long! Only L’il Miss and Mr. Moo got one of these, and they are both at the smaller end of their size ranges so they have lots of room to grow. There are drawstrings on the inside to ruche the sides up and make it smaller. There are two snaps on the shoulders to allow for some adjustment, and an option to add a third. I added the color blocking to mine, that’s not in the pattern. It is super easy to do if you so wish.

I have to say, these look so comfy that I want a pair!

The Grow On Romper I love even more than the other. Mr. Moo looks so adorable in his, the picture does not do it justice! This also has the drawstring on the inside. You can choose to add snaps through the inseam like a sleeper. I added the snaps to Mr. Moo’s to make it easier to get on and off. I love the little hood, though it does hang slightly off to one side due to the crossover. This one I lined with minky, mostly because I forgot to cut it out of the black french terry and had none left when I realized it, and partly because the minky is so soft I thought it would be super comfy.

Mr. Moo calls it his ‘Zebra’.

Both of these patterns I would recommend.

In Closing:

And with that, I will leave you all with some pictures of the most adorable model ever… and urge you to check out Apple Tree Sewing for some amazing patterns!

When you love to sew…

Crafting

Recently my husband and I decided that I should make our daughter a Pinkie Pie stuffy for Easter. The one we were planning to buy for her was sold out. This decision led to a trip to Fabricville to buy the materials needed…

Sewing Clothes:

Some really nice French Terry that was on buy 1 meter and get 2 free called out to me andI came home with some extra fabric! The day after the trip to Fabricville some fabric I had ordered from Water Tower Textiles and Funky Monkey Fabrics arrived. Most of the week and the weekend was spent sewing new clothes for the kids.  Mr. T had been asking for a Superhero uniform, not a costume, for quite some time. So I hacked the Jolly Roger Raglan pattern from Patterns for Pirates and added a cape. I made the two older kids each a pair of Harem Pants from Max and Meena.

My sister-in-law over at Sewing with Rascals had shown me some pants she had made from a pattern from Apple Tree Patterns. Looking at their site I found a few patterns that I liked and made each of the kids a Bunnyhug Hoodie and the Grow Along Pants. I also made Mr. Moo a Grow On Romper, but I need to attach the snaps so I don’t have a picture of that just yet.

I made myself a Tami Revolution Hoodie from New Horizons Designs but I haven’t managed to get a picture.

Now I’m running out of fabric and anxiously awaiting my next paycheck in the hopes that I may be able to get a little more! I just purchased a hoodie pattern for hubby from 5 out of 4 Patterns. I’m hoping that will help convince him that I need more fabric! 😉

Any recommendations for places to get decent quality but inexpensive fabrics?

 

 

 

Sometimes, we just play in mud!

Homeschooling

Has your homeschool day ever not gone as planned? That’s how a lot of our days are lately. We always have the best intentions but sometimes it’s just not worth the fight or stress. This has left our school days kind of low-key lately.

We’ve found some more William Joyce books at the library so we’ve spent a lot of time reading. Mr. T has also fallen in love with The Curious Garden by Peter Brown.

After reading it the first time he is convinced we can grow a grass staircase in our garden. Should be an interesting experiment, and I’m not quite sure how he plans on accomplishing it.

The kids have also spent some time playing the Teach Your Monster to Read app put out by Usborne, who also make some of our all-time favorite books. Mr. T’s reading has really taken off since he started playing.

But, most days…. we just end up outside playing in the mud with rocks and sticks, and visiting the chickens. The kids love to dig in the mud patch which was left behind when we took down our pool. Mr. T has been telling me he’s digging a mining shaft. Mr. Moo and L’il Miss just love to find rocks and acorns to fill their toy car or the tricycle. We have a willow tree in our backyard which has provided the kids with hours of entertainment, and mommy with much shady relaxation. In a few weeks, the yard will also be filled with various bird songs. The Cardinals are already out singing, as are the chickadees and goldfinches.

As much fun as these days are, they do tend to provide a lot more laundry for mommy to do… yay!

How do you handle days that don’t go the way you’ve planned?

French Macarons

Cooking

Have you ever attempted French Macarons? Or tried one? They are ridiculously delicious! This is another one of the desserts I learned to make from one of the Craftsy courses.

My husband absolutely loves them. So today I decided to whip up a batch and surprise him.

Of course, I had some help!

First, Lil Miss and I weighed out all of our ingredients. This is a recipe that can go very wrong if you don’t weigh everything accurately, and sometimes even when you do! 😳

Next, we layered our icing sugar and almond meal in the food processor and pulsed it until blended.

Up until this point, Mr. Moo had been napping. Of course, once he woke up he had to help too. My mother-in-law got this adorable Cars apron and chefs hat for him because he is obsessed with vehicles and cooking!

Next, we whipped our egg whites and cream of tartar until it resembled foam and there were no liquid eggs. Then we rained in our sugar slowly.

It takes quite a while to get this beat to stiff peaks. The kiddos started to lose interest around this point. Which was really for the best.

After the meringue is whipped it’s time to gradually fold in the almond meal/icing sugar mixture. In the course, you are taught to do this in three increments using a J-fold. Then comes painting the mix up the sides of the bowl a few times until it slowly slides down the sides.

Pop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe your circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Typically I use a template under my parchment, but today I freehanded it.

This next part is fun! Slam the pan on the counter six times, then punch the underside twice on each end. Then let the pans sit for a minimum of 15 minutes to dry a bit before baking at 330F for 11-13 minutes. The first picture is what they should look like, with a few that cracked or went a little wonky. The second shows when something has gone wrong. Not sure what happened to those ones today, but they still taste good! 😊

The Macarons need to cool 10 minutes on the tray before being moved to a cooling rack. While they cool you can make your filling. I’ve done a rosewater buttercream, salted caramel, and others but today we went for a simple chocolate buttercream. You just pipe some on a cooled shell, and top with a shell of similar size. Here’s our finished macaron.

They were enjoyed by all!

Want to try a Craftsy Baking course? Check them out here. Online Baking Classes

Naan Pizza

Naan Bread Turned Pizza!

Cooking

Have you ever tried making Naan Bread?

There’s a great recipe on All Recipes. I’ve made it multiple times now and have even used it as a pizza crust.

You start by proofing yeast.

Next, you mix in the dry ingredients and knead. Then allow it to rise until double in size. This takes about an hour. While you are waiting you can chop up your garlic. I just popped mine in the fridge until I needed it. Once your dough has risen you flatten it and knead in your garlic. Break your dough into golf ball size balls and allow to rise for another half hour. I have a cast iron griddle that is flat on one side and is more of a grill on the other; find one like it here Cast Iron Griddle – Amazon. About half to two-thirds of the way through the second rise I pop my grill onto the two burners and start preheating. When the dough has finished the second rise, you shape it and pop it on the grill. Brush butter on the exposed side and let it cook a minute or two before flipping and brushing butter on the cooked side.

Repeat until all of your dough balls are shaped and cooked.

To make it into a pizza, I preheated my oven to around 350 F. I then topped it with a bit extra butter and garlic powder. Next, I sautéed some veggies in a bit of oil and added salt, pepper, cumin, curry powder and turmeric to taste. Once my veggies were tender and aromatic I spread them onto my naan. We follow a vegetarian/vegan diet most of the time so instead of using cheese on our pizzas we sometimes take panko bread crumbs mixed with a little olive oil and spread that on top. You could season your crumbs with herbs or garlic powder as well. Bake for 5-10 minutes until the breadcrumbs have browned. Keep a close eye on it, so they don’t burn.

This makes a super tasty pizza! Tweak it to your tastes or top with your favorite traditional pizza toppings. It would also make excellent garlic fingers if topped with butter, crushed garlic, garlic salt, onion salt, oregano and nice gooey cheese,

What toppings would you put on a naan pizza?

Homemade Doughnuts

Cooking

Sometimes I get ambitious and make homemade doughnuts. These particular doughnuts I learned how to make from a class I took on Craftsy. Check out their selection of baking classes here: Online Baking Classes. I have completed Simple to Sensational Doughnuts (where I learned to make the doughnuts I’m writing about now), Miniature French Desserts, and Classic Croissants at Home. I have a couple more that I have yet to complete but can’t wait to try, Danish Pastries from Scratch and French Pastry Shop Classics. You can expect to see some posts of my results when I finish! I recommend any courses by Colette Christian or Jenny McCoy since most of the courses mentioned above are taught by Colette and the doughnuts course is taught by Jenny. 😊

(I also have some sewing courses on the go, but that’s a post for a different category!😉)

Back to the doughnuts!

These particular doughnuts are a deep-fried, glazed and filled doughnut. The first step was to make the dough and cut the shapes.

Next we heat the oil.

Then we fry our doughnuts, flipping once until a nice golden brown.

While the doughnuts are cooling slightly, make your glaze. I went with a dark chocolate ganache. You want to glaze your doughnuts while they are still a bit warm. Let the glazed doughnuts cool completely. Meanwhile you can make your filling.

I chose to do a strawberry jam type filling. It was too thick to properly pipe in though, so next time I would maybe blend it up a bit to make it less chunky. Pipe some filling into your doughnuts through the side with a long piping tip.

Then enjoy your delicious doughnuts!

What flavour doughnut would you make? What baking class would you take from Craftsy? (Here’s the link again! Online Baking Classes)

Sushi

A Few Things I’ve Been Cooking

Cooking

Since this is a new blog and I haven’t been posting much elsewhere on what I’ve been cooking, I thought I would share a few things here.

We recently had Hubby’s birthday supper. He requested sushi, so I complied. I made a dragon roll, our version of Sushi Fang’s Tasty Roll, and a spicy California roll. I also made our version of Sushi Fang’s spicy crab sushi pizza. (I still haven’t quite worked out how they get the golden color).

It was all delicious if I do say so myself. Next is a picture of some veggies about to be roasted for a tasty vegan lasagna. Unfortunately, I forgot to get a photo of the finished product! 😓 Then you will see a picture of my constant kitchen “helper”, Mr. Moo, my 18-Month-old.

Some other items I have cooked or baked (and remembered to snap a picture of 😜) are lemon meringue pie, rich egg bread, blueberry muffins and peanut butter cookies. All are pictured below.

What have you been cooking?

Joyce's Books

William Joyce, a new favorite!

Homeschooling

Have you read any of William Joyce’s books with your kids?

Another homeschooling mama, My Little Poppies, recently posted on her Instagram about some of his books. We found a few at our local library and they have quickly become favorites. The stories are creative and silly and the illustrations are eye-catching and sometimes goofy. Perfect for capturing a child’s attention.

The first book we checked out was The Mischievians. My six-year-old, in particular, fell in love with it and we were reading it 2-3 times a day. Anyone who came to visit had to read it to him as well. He and my four-year-old searched for Mischievians around our house, made up new ones, and had hours of fun planning their own books like this. This led me to look for more of Mr. Joyce’s books.

The next two books we found were The Numberlys and Billy’s Booger: A Memoir (sort of).

I remembered seeing The Numberlys at a library event I had gone to where we viewed books nominated for the Caldecott Award. Mr. T loved this one as well, perhaps even more than The Mischievians. This book is shorter and is a fairly easy read.

Billy’s Booger was also much enjoyed by Mr. T because, well, he’s a boy and it has boogers in it. What I found most interesting about this book is that contained inside is a book Mr. Joyce wrote when he was in fourth grade. The story, or at least the majority of it, is actually true events that happened. The real beginning of an amazing writing and illustrating journey. Mr. T was incredibly inspired by this fact. He loves to draw and make up stories so he felt truly connected to the boy (Mr. Joyce) in the book.

We have a few more of William Joyce’s books on hold on the library and are impatiently awaiting their arrival. I would highly recommend at least these three books I have talked about, but most likely any of Mr. Joyce’s books. Especially if you have a child who is an outside-the-box thinker or very creative.

Have you read any of Mr. Joyce’s books? Which were your favorites?