Kids Crafts

Easy stickers

Okay, so I absolutely love these stickers. My 3 year old can use these stickers and color a pretty picture and then my 7 year old can be really creative (see photo on left). I actually found them originally at a stamping convention I helped at with my mother-in-law a number of years ago. She had bought a couple sets for the kids to play with and they were really a big hit. They are called Elizabeth Craft Design Stickers (or peel-off outline stickers) and come in a variety of colors. My favorite is the gold and silver. It helps my littles stay in the lines when she colors and provides an opportunity to get really creative for older kids. As you can see here, JT decided to make a stick-figure band with his music stickers. Anyway, these types of stickers are a hit in our household so I definitely thought they were worth sharing! You can find them at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. 


Honoring God with My Creativity

So someone shared this article, Why I'm Not the Room Mom, with me the other day. As I read through it, something didn't sit well with me so I read it again... 


"I don't stencil names onto fancy pieces of cardboard. I don't hot glue the perfect candy heart message onto cardstock. I don't bake heart-shaped cookies from scratch. I don't help my boy cut and glitter his own valentines out of red and pink construction paper. We buy a box of valentines and stick them in the envelopes. Last year, we left the envelopes blank because we ran out of time to print the other kids' names on them.


It's not that I'm a slacker mom, exactly. It's just that the Lord reminds me often about what does and does not really matter as I mother. Essentially, anything I can find on Pinterest falls into the "doesn't matter much" category. Anything that requires the work of my heart and the selfless service of my hands tends to hang out in the "matters a great deal" side of the ledger."


And there it is... I'm that mom. I use stamps, stencils and paint, and I LOVE the hot glue gun. I like to make homemade cards and I love to make and decorate my kids' birthday cakes. And I enjoy pinterest.

What struck me most was her last two sentences... "Essentially, anything I can find on Pinterest falls into the 'doesn't matter much' category. Anything that requires the work of my heart and selfless service of my hands tends to hang out in the 'matters a great deal' side of the ledger." 


Maybe I am reading too much into what she is saying but I feel like she is making a contrast between 'anything on pinterest' and things 'done from the heart or out of selfless service' as if you can't make things on pinterest from the heart. Really? Well, maybe I am overthinking it, but then she states "The primary goal of our marriages, our homes, our families should not be to impress the watching world. The goal should be to honor God." She goes on to quote Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."


Assumption: If I'm doing something on pinterest, I must be trying to impress the world? 


Okay, so maybe I'm totally interpreting this wrong... Maybe it's the way she worded it or maybe I'm just being overly sensitive. I'm guessing the main point of her article was to encourage mom's to remember their purpose- to honor God.... particularly for those momma's out there trying to do it all. Amen to that! I totally agree"God is more honored by a woman who makes wise choices with her time than by a momma stretched so thin she has no time to seek Him.


But here is the thing.  I find pleasure in collecting a zillion memories of my kids on 4x6 cards and glueing them to scrapbooks. My kids LOVE to go through them over and over and over again... reminiscing about the things we have done... the things that God has done in their lives. It brings my heart joy when my kids want to take scrapbook after scrapbook off the shelves so they can ask, "Is this me when I took my first bath?" or "Is this that time when grandma and I went swimming as a baby?" or "Look mommy, this is when we were on the airplane to Mexico!" I think God is honored by that. 


It warms my heart when I see the expressions on my kids face when they finally get to see the cake I've been working on just for them... the laughter and the giggles as they come down the stairs and see the colorful balloons and the unique streamers all over the place because today is their special day. They feel loved, valued and unqiue because we celebrate their birthday big... because God made them special and I want them to not just know it, but feel it! I think God is honored by that. 


And we invite lots of kids to their parties and give them fun things to take home in their goodie-bags... Things that I made because that's our love language... it's one of the the many ways we can express our love for our friends, share that we appreciate them and that we hope they had fun! I think God is honored by that. 


 I enjoy making personal handmade cards to give to friends and strangers because while crafting & designing those cards, I get the opportunity to think about and pray for that person I'm designing for. And although it's a simple piece of paper with glitter, ink and glue, a folded piece of paper that will more than likely end up in someone's trash, I did actually give them something from my heart. 


And here is the fabulous thing about creating and crafting... It was creative people that designed the vehicles we drive. It is crafty people that painted the artwork we hang on our walls. It is talented people who bring sweet music to our ears and innovative people who invented the kitchen tools we cook with. And lets not forget we serve a pretty creative God. He's so creative he designed billions and billions of people all with their own giftedness and passions and uniqueness in how their affections for Jesus are stirred. 


The real issue isn't creativity or crafting though. It's not pinterest or facebook or any other social media. It's not even about being a good momma.  It's the age old problem of 'keeping up with Jones.' In the past, envy was stirred up in our hearts when we saw our neighbor two doors down pull into the driveway with a brand new mustang or when you're invited to check out your friend's latest Apple gadget. Although that still exists, we now have the added temptation of seeing a whole lot more 'neighbor's' buying not just stuff but doing more things. And that feeling 'I should do that too' or 'I want to do that' is in tow right behind the temptation. 


To me, it's saturated with the age old problem of comparing ourselves to others instead of thanking Jesus for who He made us and the gifts He has given us. Instead of wanting to be like all these other people, why can't we just be content, satisfied and joyful that God made us unique for a purpose and a reason? We are all gifted in some area! We should celebrate that... and then celebrate the passions and uniquenesses of our friends! 


See, I am not a sewer. I can do papercrafts like it's my job but I can't sew anything... I can't even hem a pair of pants without help. I look on pinterest and see all these cute dresses and think, "It would be awesome if I could sew those cute dresses for my little girl." But it's not my thing. It shouldn't make me feel like I'm less of a mom.  I know my weaknesses and my strengths. And I'm okay with that and I know I'm a work in progress. We all are. 


I think I was so struck by this article because it is probably the third piece I have read that seems to have a hidden message in regards to women struggling with comparing themselves to those on pinterest or facebook... But I'm someone who is on the other side of the coin, I see them as a gift and a blessing and a resource to inspire. I actually have prayed since my kids were little not only that they would grow in steadfast love for the Lord and that they would be a window to Jesus for a dying world, but I actually specifically pray that they would learn to be creative! And one way of encouraging that is to be creative myself.


Crafting is not for everyone... just like fishing or dancing or playing volleyball... but lets remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."


So for those of you who felt the Lord leading you to buy valentine cards, Yay!! God was honored in your obedience! But if you are like me, and make a bunch of  homemade cards regularly with lots of glitter and bling bling all for God's glory, He is just as honored. Lets celebrate each other's gifts and passions and stop trying to keep up with the Jones'! 



Marco's Paper

When John and I first got married, one of the many blessings I quickly discovered about being married to him was the fact that his mom is into paper crafts like me! You really don't understand the grace John shows me in regards to my scrapbooking and stamping obsession because he was raised by a crafty lady! Needless to say, it is definitely one of the areas where my mother-in-law and I have bonded! 


Years ago, she and her sisters began helping the store Marco's Paper during a stamping convention held in Texas. Once I was officially a member of the McLaughlin family, I jumped on board and started helping out my mother-in-law and her sisters with set up, take down and even started demoing products. The convention is held twice a year and for most of my 8 years of marriage we happen to be visiting my in-laws during at least one of the two yearly conventions. With that being said, I have helped at the convention while carrying each child in my womb. 


This past weekend was the first weekend my kids were able to help out a little on this side of the womb! Greg is the brains behind the set up, take down and selling madness and he regularly posts a blog as he travels around the country selling Marco's Paper products at various expos. The other day he wrote a blog including pictures about Lucia's first appearance at the convention when she was only 4 months old, the littlest helper ever... to a 2 1/2 year old now able to carrying boxes and put things on the shelf. Needless to say, because I hope that my kids have a special respect for creativity as they grow up, I thought Greg's blog was totally worth sharing... Plus this stamping convention and Marco's Paper hold a special place in my heart! 


If nothing else, you can check out the cute pics of the kids helping set up for the weekend convention:


Homemade Scrabble (My Version for Kids)

One of my favorite things to do is make educational games out of stuff. I won't lie... probably half the time I'm more interested in the creative 'making' part than the actual 'playing the game' part, but I'm okay with that. If you remember some of my blogs and/or crafts we did and made while living in Mexico, I just enjoy 'making' things. Sometimes my ideas are fabulous, if I do say so myself, but then again just as many of them crash and burn. (As a side note, when I say my ideas, what I actually mean is that I stole someone else's idea and maybe tweeked it a bit, gave it a new twist or just painted it a different color... so take my ideas with a grain of salt.)


Anyway, this was my latest project. It's kind of a spin off of scrabble and other spelling games for kids. The idea behind it was 1. I wanted to do a game that helped with spelling words 2. My kids like throwing dice... literally and, 3. I wanted to make something that gave me the excuse to use my stamps since I totally miss scrapbooking (I'm extremely behind in my photos. If you are a scrapper you can understand this... the idea of getting started seems daunting because I'm so behind).  Anyway, since I'm a Close To My Heart consultant, I had a My Creations Collage Cube sitting on my shelf for a while so I thought, "What a perfect way to use it."

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Addition Help

This is a great game that you can print from Confessions of a Homeschooler. It is a pretty simple way of helping kids visualize addition. You can download it here amongst other fun math games. This one is call Add It!


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