Special Agents of Christ: Spring Training {lenten activity for kids}

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It’s been awhile since I’ve come up with new activities for the boys during Great Lent.  We always do our Lenten Treasure Chest, which is really quite fun but I could tell last year the excitement about the activity wasn’t there. So, this year I decided to use one of my favorite books, Special Agents of Christ by Annalisa Boyd, and create an “Agent Training” program.

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**Note:  If  you need a copy of Special Agents of Christ, you can order one from Orthodox Christian Children at 15% off.  Just be sure to mention Adventures of an Orthodox Mom (the discount amount will be refunded immediately back to you since paypal doesn’t offer a ‘coupon’ option). [Read more…]

Felt Christmas Tree Tutorial

felt christmas tree diy

felt christmas tree Last year, I remembered the adorable little felt tree I’d seen on Pinterest but like always I remembered a bit too late.  It was only a week or so from Christmas so I just made one really quick to see how the kids would like it.  They all had so much fun with it that this year we made a bigger project of it.

While the point of this tree is to help keep little fingers off of the real tree, I’m not quite sure I think it will do that.  At least, not in our house, lol.  But it’s worth it anyway to watch them use their imaginations and have such a good time with it.   This morning when they woke up, it was the first thing Lucky and Sprout ran to.  <3 [Read more…]

DIY Burlap Chevron Wreath

Burlap Chevron Wreath Tutorial

Fall is here!  Hooray!

Come mid-September I begin experiencing some serious fall fever.  I itch to pull out all of my favorite over-sized sweaters and boots.  It’s the time of year when our house fills with the sweet aromas of apple and pumpkin as various cakes, crisps and breads bake in the oven.

Though, other than me walking around my house in sweaters and boots and consuming more baked goods than one person ever should, there aren’t many signs of fall here yet.  The weather is still hot and muggy for the most part and leaves have not yet begun to change, but  I do my best to make it feel like fall inside our home.  I turn down the air low enough so we can at least snuggle with blankets and sip hot apple cider topped with cinnamon and nutmeg while reading our favorite fall book The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado.  The boys are catching a bit of the fever too and are looking hard to find those first acorns that fall from the trees.  They’ve been successful a couple of times and before I know it I’ll be crocheting acorn necklaces for them, their teachers and whoever else they decide should get one this year.

Fall and Christmas are my favorite times to decorate the house, too.  We have rich, vibrant colored pumpkins, gourds, and fall leaves scattered around.  I’ve also been in serious need of a new wreath for the front door so I made a pit stop at Hobby Lobby one day while running errands and picked up a few supplies.

[Read more…]

Best DIY Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father's Day Gift Ideas Collage

{Xristos Anesti!  Christ is Risen!  Today is the last day that we use this Paschal greeting as we prepare for the Ascension of Christ tomorrow.  A blessed feast to all of you!}

Father’s Day is right around the corner!

We don’t really go all out on holidays, both DH and I prefer simple gifts made by the kids and a nice day spent making memories. This year, I think we’ll head over to one of the local springs for a picnic and some canoeing.  It’s been awhile since we’ve done that and it will be a nice break from the hot summer heat.

I always try to find gift ideas that don’t require too much preparation or extra “stuff”.  This helps make the project fun for both the kids and myself.  Almost all of the projects listed in this post can be done very quickly and are sure to make any father smile!

Every year, we make a “#1 Baba Hands Down” t-shirt for him.  It’s become a tradition.  The little hands are growing bigger and every couple of years there’s another little set of hands to add.  We get a t-shirt, a paint pen and a bottle of paint.

I write the words (Ace may do it this year) #1 BABA HANDS DOWN on the shirt and then we paint all of their hands and let them stamp their hand prints in between the words.   Darling Hubby loves them and bless his heart, he acts completely surprised every year.  ;)

I love looking at these old shirts and seeing  how big their hands have grown and watching the number of hands go from one to two to three.  <3 (Sorry for the wrinkles, these are straight out of DH’s pajama drawer, lol)

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Awhile back, we made him a hat rack.  I was (very) pregnant with Lucky and Ace was only three!  This was a quick, easy and inexpensive project.

I bought an unfinished wooden rack from the craft store, painted it and wrote the words Babako’s Hat Rack on it with a paint pen.  It was sort of a selfish gift on my part, I would have done anything to get his hats from off the apron hooks in my kitchen, lol.   It only sort of worked but he loved it and that is all that matters!

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My boys call my dad, Pop-Pop, the same nickname I used to call my grandfather.  I heard everyone else calling him Pop, and so it stuck and carried on for yet another generation.  So, a couple of years ago we made a “World’s Best Pop” package for him.  I tied curly ribbon around all kinds of “pop” themed items like Blow Pops, Popcorn, Soda Pop, Pop Rocks, Freeze Pops, etc.  Then we printed out a certificate that said “World’s Best Pop” and the boys signed their names on it.  He still has the frame on his office wall and the boys beam with pride every time they see it.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo but you can go here to download some “Best Pop” printables.

Best Pop Printables

 

Here is a roundup of some terrific DIY Father’s Day Gift Ideas that I thought were really fun:

Father's Day Gift Ideas Collage
1. Family Portrait Plate from Mermag

2. Shrinky Dink Tie Tack from Oh Happy Day

3. Homemade Jar of BBQ Sauce from Special Events

4. Swiss Army Key Ring from Instructables (a lot easier than it looks!)

5. Father’s Day Breakfast by Hubby Made Me

6. Daddy’s Stache Jars from Artsy Fartsy Mama

7. Color Your Own T-Shirt from The Blue Basket Etsy Shop

8. Memory Frame from East Coast Mommy

9. Hand-Stamped Belts from Craftaholics Anonymous

 

 

DIY Teacher Gift

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teacher gift supplies

Xristos Anesti! Christ is Risen!

I can hardly believe the end of the school year is here already! It’s always so bittersweet, isn’t it? Saying goodbye to yet another school year but filled with the anticipation of a fun filled summer.

Thanks to Pinterest, we made another easy and fun project to give Ace’s teachers as a thank you for a fantastic school year. It’s not a new idea, but I had never done it so we gave it a shot.

All you need is:

  • can of chalkboard spray paint
  • small bottle of yellow paint
  • terra cotta pot
  • potted plant
  • piece of chalk
  • black sharpie (my bff)

1. First, we spray painted all around the can and let it dry. It dried really quickly outside.

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2. Then, we painted the rim yellow and allowed it to dry completely.

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3. Next, I took the Sharpie and drew a ruler around the yellow rim. You don’t have to make real inches, I just did three lines in between each “half inch”.

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4. Finally, add your flowers and write “Thanks for helping me grow!” on your pot!

You can write whatever you want though. I was going to write “Thanks for not being impatient (or maybe just impatiens-depending on how old your child is the misspelling might look kinda cute) with me!” since the flowers are impatiens. Get creative! Come to think of it, I’m not sure if that is actually creative or just plain cheesy but the point is to have fun!

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I think this is a really cute and practical gift for a teacher. I love that it thanks them, too. These teachers work so hard all year and are so patient and loving with our kids that they deserve something sweet at the end of the year to simply serve as a reminder that they are appreciated.

teacher gift 2

 

DIY Shrinky Dinks Sihouette Charms

Silhouette Necklace

Here’s a fun DIY project just in time for Mother’s Day! It is so quick and easy and seriously adorable. [Read more…]

the giving plate {another diy sharpie project}

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Awhile ago, I posted a tutorial on DIY Sharpie mugs. Since then, I’ve done quite a few different projects using the same process. Of course, my NYC mug is still my favorite. But, DH and I use our everyday mugs quite often. I have heard some people say that their writing scrubbed off after using them, but I haven’t had that problem yet. My NYC mug is decoration, so I can’t say I’ve actually washed that one. It did rub off a little before I baked it, but after that it’s set pretty good.

These mugs below have been used and reused and they’re fine too. I think the finish on the piece you’re trying to write on might make a difference. The higher gloss the item is, the more likely it is to rub off. I try to find things that aren’t super glazed.

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For this project, I used a Sharpie paint pen. After they baked, I noticed the writing still had a slight texture to it and so I’m not sure if they’ll hold up as well as the other things, but I think these plates will be used more for decoration anyway.

These are great to give to neighbors at Christmastime filled with different cookies. I also think they’d make an awesome housewarming gift. You could add some everyday items like a handknit dishcloth, cake server, etc. to the top and wrap it in tulle or cellophane.

I first saw the idea at a little farm store and thought it was such a sweet idea. They were selling for over $20.00 though and I knew I could make one for less than half of that. So, I headed to Wal-Mart and picked up a bunch of plates and then went to Jo-Ann’s and bought the Sharpie paint pen. BTW, if you’re a crafter and have an iPhone, be sure to download the apps for Jo-Ann’s, Michael’s and my all-time favorite, Hobby Lobby. They always have awesome coupons and if you’re like me and always forgetting your paper coupons at home or in the car, this app is really helpful. Some Jo-Ann’s (like mine) will let you use as many coupons as you have on the same transaction, which saves you a ton of money and keeps me going back!

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I bought two different style plates. The one below seemed to look better even though I liked the design of the other one. It just seemed to look more uniform with the circle around the actual poem. This isn’t the poem that was on the ones at the farm store, I found this one online and liked it much better. It reads,

“This plate shall have no owner for its journey never ends,

It travels in a circle of our family and friends.

It carries love from home to home for everyone to share,

The food that’s placed upon it was made with love and care.

So please enjoy what’s on the plate

Then fill it up again,

Then pass along the love it holds to your family and friends.”

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I just love how these came out and wish I would’ve had time to make more of them before Christmas. Luckily, I was a slacker this year and barely passed out cookies. But, God-willing I’ll be giving lots of these away next year!

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After writing on them, I baked them for 35 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Once the cooled completely, I wrapped them up in paper grocery bags. Then I stuck a paper doily on the bag using double sided tape. I used a ‘handmade by’ stamp on the doily and a little ‘paris, france’ postmark stamp in the corner of the paper bag and tied the package with baker’s twine.

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The grocery bags worked perfectly because of the way the folded. I didn’t want to put them in gift bags and wrapping paper would have been tricky because they’re circular, so I’m glad I tried the paper bags. It gave them an old-fashioned kind of feel, and I loved that.

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Have fun making these! Let me know what kind of marker you use and if you find anything that works or doesn’t work! xoxo

Recycle Old Christmas Cards

Old Christmas Card Craft

I have a confession to make.  I’m a bit of a pack rat.  Ok, I’m a borderline hoarder, but seriously, I only keep things that either have sentimental value or are totally uselessfull.

Like Christmas cards, for example.  I don’t keep all of them (duh), just the ones that have special messages written inside, or photos of my favorite kiddos, or are from people close to my heart.  I usually just stuff them into a manila envelope and pack them away with the Christmas stuff. [Read more…]

christmas traditions {the nutcracker party}

nutcracker party 2011-4

Last year, money was a bit tight, so instead of taking the kids to see The Nutcracker like we usually do, I threw a Nutcracker themed party at home.  I found an awesome version of the play on DVD.  It’s called The Nutcracker: The Untold Story and stars Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane, and John Turturro.  It is made so incredibly well, the boys loved it.  They probably watched it a dozen times last year.  [Read more…]

DIY Lego Travel Case

DIY Lego Travel Case (blue)

Like most boys, my boys are obsessed with legos.  And honestly, I don’t mind.  I’ve had serious thoughts of hiding them away for all eternity because I’m tired of walking across the house at any given time and stepping on dozens of them (and trust me, it hurts), but I don’t.  It’s too much fun watching them use their imaginations to create people and creatures and buildings that truly amaze me.  So in the end, I decide to keep them in the playroom.  [Read more…]