Hey, I’m on Etsy!

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions, but as you can probably tell, I’m making a concerted effort to kick off this year with more consistent blog posts. That said, it’s time to do a little catching up.

In 2014, I sensed God leading me to launch a creative fundraising effort to aid my dear friend in bringing clean water, medical services, and education to rural Ethiopia. Enter CuppaLove Cupcakes for Ethiopia. God has blessed this little calling abundantly! I’ve been able to bake thousands of delicious treats for people all over my local community, which has given me a fun creative outlet, provided others with high-quality confections at a competitive price, AND helped bring life-giving relief to an impoverished community across the world!

CuppaLove is still going strong, and in 2015 the Lord put another endeavor on my heart. This time, my boys got to be involved too. It started with a homeschool project, making homemade playdough. We had just moved from summer into the cooler, cozier days of Fall, and I felt an urge to give our playdough a little added seasonal flair. So, we tinted it orange and added essential oils – orange, cinnamon and clove. Delightful!! We could not stop playing with it. We shared some with friends, and then quickly got to thinking how many other scents we could try.

Realizing this project was marketable, and could reach way beyond our local community, the boys and I whipped up a dozen scent varieties, and then launched our online shop, HappyDough!  Through it we’ve been able to raise even more funds for the latest project, a much-needed high school building…and the awesome thing is we can ship it anywhere in the USA! I hope you’ll visit our shop and check out what we have to offer. All proceeds are donated to the relief project, and once you try HappyDough you’ll never want the storebought stuff again!

Here’s our current scent lineup:
P1180290CinnamonP1180284
TangerineP1180301
Spiced OrangeP1180256
Lemonlime
Limecold and flu
Cold & Flu RemedyP1180323
SootheP1180501
LavenderP1180317
Chocolate MintP1180327
Gingerbreadrose.png
RoseP1180277
VanillaP1180258
Candy Cane

And Coming soon…
Fennel
Ginger (gold sparkle!)
and HappyDough toolkits, complete with rollers, cutters, and all sorts of fun accessories for hours of building fun!

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Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

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Confession: I have never seen Frozen. Gasp. My kids have, and they, unlike everyoneelseintheworld, were not impressed. Thus, no exposure for mommy. I do sing “Let it Go” whenever they bicker with each other, which is mommygenius because it forces them to instantly team up in an all-out mutual effort to silence me. Heh. Heh. Heh.

But that is beside the point. Despite the fact that I’ve seriously neglected this blog all year long, I’m gonna post a fun DIY to keep on file for next year’s Christmas shenanigans. Ready?

Felt. Snowman. Wall.
Easy as 1-2-3, and makes for hours of creative, mess-free, wintry FUN. Did I mention the no mess part? No paint, glitter, sprinkles or cookie crumbs to sweep/wipe/scrub off the floor. Those activities are glorious, of course. But THIS project is one where you can send your precious little mess-makers whilst you detox the house from the aforementioned explosively-festive crafts.

First: buy some felt. It’s cheap, folks. Buy a couple yards of your background material – I chose red – don’t use white! You could use black, grey, brown, blue…whatever floats your boat, but not a color you plan to use a lot in the foreground. Because a snowman in a blizzard just doesn’t have the same appeal. Buy several other colors as well – white, green, yellow, brown, orange, black, red, etc. You can get half-yards at the cutting counter or those little sheets of felt they sell in crafting supplies.

Pop in It’s a Wonderful Life or While You Were Sleeping, and start snipping: cut out your building pieces. Fabric scissors are best here. Cut big white blobs (snowman body parts), stick pieces (arms), little black blobs (coal), – or multicolored buttons if you’re really up for a challenge! – orange triangles, mittens, boots, hats, scarves, etc. You can cut out big green trees and geometric shapes for presents, or brown geometric pieces to build gingerbread houses…the possibilities are endless! I added lots of white strips and geometric shapes to build giant snowflakes. My kids requested a felt nativity set to put on their wall, but by then Mama’s hands were stiff from all the cutting. Next year, kiddos.

Adhere your backing piece to the wall. We have a big blank wall in my kids’ room that worked perfectly. It ended up being about 5 feet high, 6 feet wide. Next year I hope that wall will be filled with shelves, frames, etc. so we will have to find a new spot. If you have to go over any outlets or switches, measure where they are and cut them out from the backing piece, so they aren’t covered up all season long.

You can stick the felt backing on with painter’s tape (I used green! So festive!), but the bigger it is, the more reinforcement it will need. I busted out the stapler and punched a few staples in where my wall was saggy. If you can’t do that, you could always make tape loops and put them all over your wall prior to sticking/smoothing the felt.

Find a basket or bin to store the building pieces, and let the kids go to town. My kids played with it day after day for hours! Since we used a whole wall, they could both build simultaneously without disturbing each other’s creations. It makes for a fun room decoration when it’s all up, too! Next year, besides cutting a Nativity, I might cut out pieces for them to play felt tic tac toe or other games on their wall.

What would you make for your kids to build? I’d love more ideas!

In His joy,
Monique

 

 

Cuppa Love update & a simple Sunday school craft

Last month I was so excited to share my new little charitable endeavor with y’all. Well, we had our first Sales Week and it was a HIT! Just wanted to give an update – after nineteen orders, we were able to raise $500 for clean water in Ethiopia. Of course it’s just a small fraction of the overall project cost (46k!), but it means we are inching ever closer towards our goal! Only about $3000 left in the entire project. Two weeks from tomorrow Cuppa Love will be featured at one more sales event for the year, and I’m hoping and PRAYING that puts us over the top. It is so much fun to make friends happy with delicious, gourmet treats, and all the better for a life-giving cause! Thanks to everyone who helped support Cuppa Love and clean water.

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My first official box full ‘o love, delivered to a dear friend and supporter

Now, a change in gears. I haven’t posted any kid-crafts to the blog yet, but I’m constantly coming up with something of the sort because I teach Sunday school 6 months of the year. Doing crafty stuff takes up so much time…finding time to blog about it seems to happen for only about 10% of the things I make! Anyone have a brilliant solution to this problem? I vote we add a few hours to the day…but unfortunately I can’t control the axis of our globe…;)

This month we’ve been in the book of Exodus, both in “big church” and in the kids’ wing. It’s been fun to discuss the stories with the preschoolers, and with my kiddos at home as well. I’m hoping parents will notice the parallels and build on our weekly Bible stories with their own growth in the Word – just layer upon layer of God’s truth. It’s a good thing!

Anyway, back to the craft. A couple weeks ago we taught the story of Moses striking the rock (Ex. 17) to provide water to God’s people. I love the stories of Exodus, and the way they portray eternal truths about Jesus Christ. He is our Rock (1 Cor. 10:4) who was smitten (Is. 53:5) and out of Him pours living water (John 7:38) that gives eternal life. Even the account of Christ on the cross further illustrates the fulfillment of this story (John 19:34).

I wanted the children to have something to remember the story, and also tie it to Jesus. I happened to have several dozen smooth stones from a project, and my vision was to make little paperweights that would serve as a reminder of the Exodus story, as well as Jesus’ living water.

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Several smooth stones (one for each child, and some examples)
Sharpie
Blue paint
Dixie cups or little sample paper cups
Paper plates
Clear or blue glitter
Liquid glue (that dries clear – like Elmers)
Several small twigs (one for each rock)

STEP BY STEP:
First, make examples. Make one for each table of kiddos – we have two tables in the 3’s room so I made two. Write what you want your children to remember with Sharpie – I chose “Jesus is the Rock” but you could use your memory verse, or just Exodus 17, or whatever you like. Place your rocks on a paper plate, squirt paint into a Dixie cup, and pour over the rock so it runs down. Sprinkle on glitter – glitter makes everything better! It makes your “water” look more realistic too. 😉 Add a dab of glue, and put the twig on top (Moses’ rod). The steps with the children are obviously the same, but let them do as much of it as they can. I pre-wrote on the rocks, let them choose their favorite, and wrote their name on the paper plates (not really part of the craft – just for catching stray paint and glitter, and so moms/dads could pick them out of a lineup). The kiddos poured on the paint however they liked, did their own glitter, and glued on their twigs. I love how they came out! Pretty simple, but fun, and no two crafts were exactly the same. I think the children enjoyed these, and I hope they’ll spur on good Bible discussions at home!

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In Him,
Monique