St. Patrick’s Day: How I am Celebrating This Year!

Last year I posted this article on why I choose not to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  And yes, this header certainly looks like I’m reneging on that post.  But let me just say, I still stand behind each one of the points I made in last year’s blog post.  I do not believe that the missionary, Patrick, would have appreciated what this day of “honouring him” has become.

However, that being said, I have spent some time this past week re-thinking St. Patrick’s Day.

In last year’s article, I explained how some believe that St. Patrick’s Day is a day for “spiritual renewal and offering of prayers for missionaries worldwide.” (source unknown)  This phrase actually stuck with me, HARD!  And as I started seeing the shamrocks and the leprechauns floating around the internet and stores the past few weeks, I was again reminded of it and started to re-think my idea of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

What if, instead of teaching my children about leprechauns, I taught them about a missionary?  What if, instead of seeing a shamrock as “lucky” – I started teaching them about how this missionary, Patrick, used a regular clover (something God created!) to teach about the Trinity?

~And a huge light bulb went on over my head!~

And again, let me just say, if you do choose to celebrate with these symbols and others, I am not condemning.  This is my own personal preference and something I wanted to share with others.

I love the spiritual connotations that can be taken from this cultural holiday and this year I am excited about sharing them with Little Man.

I am a big supporter of missions.  Many of my friends are missionaries all over the world.  I have gone to many of these places myself and seen the need for missionaries.  I even admit that Canada needs more missionaries!  I want God to use me as a missionary here at home.

But, in the essence of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to come up with something to teach Little Man (and in the future, Little Miss) to pray for our missionaries and to think of them often.  What missionaries do in leaving their homes and everything they know is special.  It takes hard work, dedication to the Gospel, and a lot of emotional support (that comes mostly through prayer) to stay in the country they believe God has sent them to.

To help encourage Little Man to pray for those missionaries we know, I have created a simple printable for him to colour that we can mail to the missionaries our church supports.  Our church is small and we support 5 missionaries so it’s perfectly do-able for us.   In future years we may choose other missionaries and see where the Lord leads from there.

I also wanted to make it fun, because nobody likes to be bored all the time!  We are going to use glitter and paint to decorate the pages (he is so into painting right now!)

And to make this lesson a little more interesting I am going to make Shamrock cut-out cookies with Little Man.   Those who know him know how much he loves his cookies!  I’ll use them to teach him about the Trinity, the same way Patrick did so many years ago.

I am so excited to be able to share this printable with you.  Even if you choose not to use it for St. Patrick’s Day, you can edit it ad remove the heading on the page and use it to teach your children about the Biblical principle of prayer.

To download, just click on the link and save to your desktop:

Praying For Our Missionaries

I’d love to hear from you:

~What are some ways you let your missionaries know that you are praying for them?

 

 

photo: wikipedia (open source)

Advent Ideas!

It’s that time of year…when the world starts to count down till Christmas cheer, every year…

heheheh…I know I’m terrible at changing the words to a song.  That’s one of my favorite songs at Christmas, though (when the world falls in love every song you hear, seems to say, Merry Christmas). =)

Well, I wanted to get this post in before December hits because you have to start an advent calendar on the 1st!  I mean, you could totally start one on another day, but it would be weird.  Yeah.  Okay…moving on.

This year I decided to use this Christmas tree advent calendar from Pink Suede Shoes

advent calendar tutorial

And for the insides of them I’m using this list of ideas from Live Love Laugh

with a few changes for our own family traditions.

  1. Go outside and look at the moon & stars before bedtime. Remember the star that the wise men followed?
  2. Take Christmas pictures
  3. Decorate bedroom doors
  4. {candy}
  5. Watch a Christmas movie
  6. Bake cookies with Mommy
  7. A special present…To Be Announced (or thought of, lol)
  8. Make paper snowflakes
  9. {candy}
  10. Take Christmas goodies to a shut-in member from our church
  11. Make a Christmas card for friend
  12. Build a fort from blankets & pillows. Read a Christmas book in the fort.
  13. Have hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows or whipped cream.
  14. Donate food to a food bank in the area (or a needy family)
  15. {candy}
  16. Make window clings with fabric paint
  17. Play with our nativity and talk about Jesus as a Baby
  18. Eat dessert first (brownies with peppermint ice cream)
  19. Make a shiny star.
  20. Drive around and look at Christmas lights in our pajamas
  21. Sing carols
  22. Make paper toys (http://www.thetoymaker.com) (this looks sooooo cool!)
  23. Go on a Christmas scavenger hunt (I may regret this with a two year old!)
  24. Read Christmas story from the Bible and open Christmas Eve present from Mommy & Daddy

I’ve changed some of the original ones because they wouldn’t work in our city AND/OR with a 2-yr old.  I’m not sure about the paper toy one, but it looks really fun so I’m game, hehe.

I’ve already gotten a couple of sources together for next year..and following.  But YOU might be interested in them now.

I love the idea of having the wise men follow the star in this countdown activity from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots:

 

And this wreath (that she apparently found at Target, WHAT???) is pretty cool (I feel a DIY coming on)…also from Live Love Laug’h

And if you’re like me and love using fun activities to include a teaching moment…here is a REALLY neat idea from Creekside Learning

Character Traits Advent Calendar

Unfortunately, the Littles wouldn’t quite understand this for a couple years yet, but it’s tucked away on my Pinterest board for when they’re old enough to appreciate good character.

December Photoaday Challenge

This year I’m also planning on doing something a little different.  I want to join in on this December “Photo-a-Day” Challenge from Raising Mighty Arrows.  I WILL NOT be posting the pictures here on my blog, but I will be posting them on my Facebook page: Quiet Workings – and if I miss some, well, what can I say?  I have a lot going on in my house right now, lol.

 

I hope you all are enjoying the “Make Me a Blessing” series.  I plan to continue it on into December with some ways that we can all be a blessing to others.

DIY Chapstick

photo: Growing Home Blog

*Disclaimer:  I am not a naturopath, or a doctor.  I do not claim to heal anything.  The opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own and have come from my own research.  You should check with a doctor or naturopath if you have any concerns about your health.

 

I have been struggling since my pregnancy with EXTREMELY dry lips.  It was so bad while I was pregnant that the skin actually cracked.  Yeah, ouch.

I tried EVERYTHING to heal them. I drank a TON of water (because everyone says that’s a sign of being dehydrated) and, if you’ve ever been pregnant, you know what that did for me!  Not much except for lots of bathroom breaks ((grin)).

I tried buying “natural” lip balm from the drugstore and while it definitely soothed, it did not heal.

Then I read a few blogs on making your own and I was intrigued.  Would it work?  Was it worth it?  Would it be really expensive?

One thing I’ve learned about making my own products is that, while it “looks” expensive up front (ie. buying coconut oil and your essential oils are not cheap), in the long run it is cheaper (you use such a small amount of each that they will last a really long time).

The recipe I liked the best came from the blog: Growing Home.  She has a couple of good recipes on here (for lotion and room spray) besides this lip balm one.  I think one of the reasons I liked it the best is because it has all natural ingredients AND it uses tea tree oil.  I have a love affair with tea tree oil.  Seriously, I use it for everything!  If I run out of it I am totally lost.

I use tea tree oil in my shampoo when I have an itchy scalp.  I use it on cuts to disinfect.  I use it to wash down my counters when the fruit flies get bad.  I’ve even used TT oil as a bug spray.  It’s pretty great stuff!  I use tooth paste with TT oil in it because of a problem that developed in my mouth when I was in highschool…and before I used the tooth paste I actually applied it directly to the sore in my mouth (DO NOT INGEST TEA TREE OIL!).  It is okay to apply topically but do not swallow it!

The only ingredient I didn’t have when I made it the the first time was the Spearmint Essential Oil (hoping to get some soon).  However, because I’m so used to the taste and smell of Tea Tree oil I was totally okay with not including it.

And, I have to say, it is amazing!  I applied it every couple of hours the first day in order to get rid of the really dry skin and by the time I went to bed my lips were soft!  Yup, I was sold.  The scent is not for everyone…but I thin if you added the Spearmint it would mask the Tea Tree oil.

     I don’t think I will ever go back to using store bought lip balm.  I like stuff that actually heals, doesn’t just mask the problem.  Come back next week and I’ll share a lotion recipe with you that you can also use on your lips!

Happiness in a bottle.

 

P.S.  If you’re wondering what I used to put my lip balm in…I found an old chap stick tube and used that.  However, you can also use small containers from the craft aisle at the dollar store.

DIY Wednesday–A New Quiet Book

For Little Man’s 18month mile-stone I decided to create him a quiet book.  I usually try to make more than one at a time in order to cut down on actual “work” time that one takes to make.  So I created a birthday book for a little girl that turned two in May.  I just forgot to take pictures of it before I gave it to her, so I’m going to have to see if I can grab some pictures of the pages that are different from LM’s at church some Sunday.

These books were a lot different from the ones I’ve made earlier because the kids are so much younger.  I had to think of pages that would help them learn some simple skills, but at the same time, be easy enough for them to use without parental help (especially when we’re sitting in church!).

One thing I did differently with LM’s book from all the others I’ve done, was to stitch his name on the front.  It was so incredibly tedious!  I like the look…but it definitely took a long time!   I also hand stitched most of the pages themselves.    It’s definitely a lot neater than hot gluing, but I will admit that I ended up hot gluing some parts of the book because sewing just took soooooooo long!  So far the parts that were hot glued have held up well so I’m not concerned about it.  Anyway, here are the pages.  I might end up doing a tutorial some day on how I put together some of my pages but for right now I’m just going to show them to you.  None of them are actually “originals” so I will try to re-find the links to the pages I took them from and post them along with the pics of my finished pages.  Any questions?  Feel free to leave me a comment or message me through the “Contact Me” link in the above menu.

 

Page 1 is a lacing page from nap-timecreations.com – help the mouse eat the cheese.  When LM first got the book this page was never touched (guess he was a little young for it) but just a couple of months later he’s lacing the mouse through the holes…although not in the right order just yet, hehe.

June 2013 - Quiet Book 001

Page 2 is a shape page.  I don’t have an actual blog to refer you back to here but there are so many of them out there that have done a page like this.  I don’t think I actually followed any particular tute on this page.   I made it the way I thought it would work and it does work, very well.  It was the first page LM went for and still does!  He has a hard time pulling the shapes off the buttons – we’re working on learning how to slide the button through the hole – but if he pulls hard enough he can generally pull the shapes off..and after he has them all off he puts them back in the right spot and has me re-button them for him.  I like that he’s figured out how to match the colours and shapes.

June 2013 - Quiet Book 002

As you can see I’m missing a piece.  He had his book out in nursery on Sunday and it came home missing a few pieces, sigh.

Page 3 and 4 are my farm pages from tjmontoya

June 2013 - Quiet Book 003June 2013 - Quiet Book 008

Little Man snagged his cow to play with as I was taking pictures but here are the pig and horse finger puppets.  There is also a sheep, somewhere at church I’m sure, lol.  These are probably his favorites to play with after the shape page.  He LOVES putting them on his fingers.  He usually tries to put all four on one hand.  It’s quite funny actually.

We’d already lost a couple of apples (from him playing here at home) so I need to replenish those when I get a chance…and maybe add a few extra to the basket in case we lose more!  The only thing I would have done differently on this page is to make the apples bigger.  He has a hard time with the size of them.

 

Ds finger puppet collage

Pages 5 and 6 are from Diary of a Crafty Lady.  However, hers is an American flag so I had to create my own patterns for the Canadian ones.

June 2013 - Quiet Book 009

Here’s my OCD coming through when it comes to teaching my children about Canada, lol.  Of course the Canadian flag is pretty easy to duplicate so I guess I got away scot free on that one.

Now the Nova Scotia flag is a little harder.  I simplified it by just having the four blue parts that create an “x” shape with the yellow shield in the middle of them.  The shield is supposed to have an orange outline with an orange lion in the middle, but that was a little too small and finicky and I figured those pieces would probably end up getting lost at some point.   I also lucked out that both flags have a white background – pretty easy to duplicate, hehe.

 

Pages 7 and 8 are from Meli Melo – she has translated her pages into English along with her own so you can read what she’s done.  There are no patterns for anything so I had to free-hand.  I’ve only gotten the panda done (my favorite animal of all time!) so I have some work to do to finish this page.  I’m debating about whether or not to make some of them finger puppets (since those were such a big hit!).

 

June 2013 - Quiet Book 010

As you can see Little Man was anxious to get his hands on this as I was trying to get pictures ((smile)).  This page isn’t used a whole lot because of the lack of pieces to go in it but he has used his farm finger puppets with it.   There are little hidey holes all over…in the ponds, trees, mountains, etc.  Lots of fun for little animals once they’re created.  Can’t wait to finish it off.  Maybe I’ll take some time today, hmmmm.

What crafty projects are you all working on?   Do you have any plans for future projects?  My brain is already buzzing with thoughts of an all-Bible quiet book.  I’ve even been toying with the idea of making some for the church library for when we have visitors come.  Since we don’t run a junior church right now they do come in handy.   So many ideas!!!!  =)

Happy Wednesday Crafting!