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! 😉

Toothless the Dragon

Toothless the dragon.

Crafting

Have you seen the movie, How To Train Your Dragon? In the movie, there is a black dragon, a Night Fury, named Toothless. I found a pattern online to make a Toothless stuffy and I set about to do so for an artisan showcase.

This was not an easy sew. The difficulties began with the fabric, minky, a super-slippery fabric. However, it makes the softest and cuddliest stuffies. It took me over an hour just to cut out all the pieces. Toothless has many tiny scales and spikes. Putting him together took quite awhile as well due to lots of fussy sewing. So many tiny pieces, and not only tiny but curved as well! I’m not much for the fiddly sewing like that, but I gave it my best go.

All that said, I could not be more pleased with how he turned out!

Toothless the Dragon

It’s hard to get a good picture of him, since he’s all black, and his nostrils are black glitter felt. Most of the little scales and spikes are on his back. You can get the idea from this picture though. I doubt I will ever make another one because of how fussy it is. Also, I’m super happy I didn’t sell him at the showcase because he’s just so darn cute! I want to keep him for myself… I won’t even share with the kids!

I also made a dinosaur, some elephants, and some owls. I haven’t snapped any photos of those just yet. They’re cute, but not as nice as Toothless here.

If you’re interested in the pattern you can find it here.

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! 😜😂

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