stained glass paintings

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the painting pre-sprayedSorry, I am late on this one. But here it is and the effect is very nice. This can be done with a wide variety of styles and works for children from age 3 to teens.

Materials:

paper (just the regular printer paper is fine)

watercolor paints

brushes

cooking spray (like Pam)

Directions:

1. Paint a picture using the watercolors. It can be whatever subject your artist chooses.

2. After the picture has dried, spray it with the cooking spray and wipe off any excess.

3. You can make a frame out of cardstock, fun foam, or ribbon (I think ric rac would be adorable.) I made mine with 8 strips of construction paper which I glued to the edges of the paper on both sides. It is a little tricky to get things to stick; so use plenty of glue and overlap the edges so that the frame paper (or fabric) can adhere to itself too.

The finished product

What is Charity?

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Those who know me, know that I tend to keep my spiritual feelings a little more quiet. It is something that means a lot to me and is harder for me to really share a ton. However, I attended this wonderful meeting on charity and become Christ-like tonight and I really wanted to share and put a commitment that I am making out there. I have heard the phrase (becoming Christ-like) so many times that, honestly, I really haven’t given this principle the weight in my life that I should. There is a reason for the repetition though. Becoming Christ-like truly is the whole point of the Gospel. It is the reason we are here on this earth. It is also a very tall order. I think this is partially why I have put it aside in my thoughts, if I was really focused on becoming Christ-like as much as I should be, I would probably be having a lot of negative feelings about myself. We all know that that is the opposite of what Christ wants for us though, right? (After all, man is that he might have joy.)

So how do we go about becoming Christ-like and not feeling like worms? (As Augustine, the Catholic monk so aptly described mankind in his sinful state.) The answer lies (at least in large part) in charity. John Bletzacker (who is a fairly average guy that I really respect and admire) mentioned that while on a mission, he was teaching English classes in the Relief Society room of their church. In this room there is a large poster with the motto “Charity never faileth.” One of the students said that the poster really bothered him, that if charity never faileth, why did he pass a man eating out of the dumpster on the way to class. (Here is the point of this post:) What this man was thinking of as charity is an (admirable) attempt of men to be charitable, but Charity is a way of being. Charity is what Christ had when He atoned for our sins; when he died on the cross. That is pure, true, selfless love. And that is what we should be working toward here.

So, I did mention action at the beginning of this post and here it comes. Our Stake President challenged us to try living as though Jesus Christ were standing right next to us. Needless to say, there are a few things I would do differently. Honestly, the first thought that ran through my head was along the lines of I am good enough for right now. That will be a lot of work and I feel like I am working hard enough as it is. (Not really proud to admit that.) John had tried this for 2 weeks before giving his talk and he said that for him, he was still essentially going through the regular motions of the day, but his motivations were different. And it made a big difference. So, I am putting it out there. I am going to try it and commit to posting about it next Saturday. (Don’t worry, there will be a post for stained glass paintings or a clay project on Monday though.) And thanks for giving me an outlet for the important stuff, the spiritual thoughts that are sometimes hard for me to voice.

Learning to use scissors!

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Megan cuttingUnderstandably, a good pair of children’s scissors is often not high on the list of things we want to give our three year olds. However, learning to cut is a valuable exercise which helps develop fine motor skills. This is what I reminded myself as Megan spotted my cup of scissors from art classes. She has done great with them; relishing the responsibility of doing such a “big girl” task. It is pretty cute. As are the pictures that are now sporting fringed edges.

In other news, she continues to progress on the potty front as well. She proudly told my Dad this afternoon: “I am a big girl. Emily is a baby.” When he asked “Would you girls like to get a cookie?” It is fun to have such a cute big girl in the house. For some fun, I highly recommend getting some scissors and sitting down to an art project. Two things to keep in mind: If you have a little one too (3-4 years old), it is impressive if they make a cut in the paper. Show them how to hold the scissors (several times) and applaud those cuts around the edge of the sheet. As they get better at it, cut out shapes of their own design and then squares and triangles moving to circles. Second, spend the $3 for Fiskars brand as they work so much better (and let’s face it, this is a tricky skill-so make it as easy as possible.) We have been having a ball the last couple of days creating! Take a gulp and risk the cuts to let your little one try out this fun activity too.

huge, whopping update…

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my cute girlSo the last couple of weeks have been a little crazy. We have been enjoying what we think is Cryptosporidia (a lovely little parasite that makes you digestive tract into a veritable rollercoaster ride.) I think all I really need to say about it is that it is keeping me busy and uncomfortable and just doesn’t seem to really stop.

The other big thing keeping me busy is that Megan and I have jumped aboard the potty express! It is pretty exciting. Last Friday we had a Potty Party with balloons and treats (and lots of diluted soda.) She is doing great. There are certainly plenty of accidents, but it really hasn’t been too bad. It is so cute to see her face when she makes “poopoo water” (as she keeps calling it for some reason) in her potty. She is very efficient and loves to dump the bowl into the toilet and see what color the pee is. (Somehow it is always exciting that it is yellow.) She also loves all of her cute princess and Backyardigan underwear.

Other exciting news: We went to the Rush concert on Monday. The memories of whichMike and Jon rocking out just fill my rock lovin’ heart with joy. It was incredible! I love that after around 30 years of playing together they still love what they are doing. Geddy Lee was nothing short of charming, he seemed genuinely delighted at how much we enjoyed the concert, mentioning a few times what a “great crowd” we were. I just love the energy these guys have and I really do think that a lot of it comes from how much they love doing this. Which, I am sure, is a big part of why they are such amazing musicians. I guess that is enough gushing. Let’s just say that I was totally sick and somewhat miserable and still has a fabulous time at the concert…it was that good!Rush

In other exciting news Mike is off to Scout camp for this week, which leaves me lonely, but also enjoying some quality me time. Last night I kicked it off by watching what is now definitely a favorite movie; The Painted Veil. I am a fan of Somerset Maughm and Edward Norton, so I was excited to see this from the get-go; but it far exceeded my expectations. It is visually lush and completely haunting. I couldn’t do anything else while I watched and couldn’t stop to go to bed. (Which are both my usual m.o.) Really, I can’t recommend this one enough. It was smart and made you feel so purposeful and good about life. (Which is what makes Maughm’s books so great.)

Ah, camping…

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Haning out at campThere is a lot to be said for escaping out of the stagnant 100 degree city heat into the crisp Alpine air. (Crisp due to both the respiration of thousands of Aspens and Pines and plenty of RAIN.) When we arrived at the Jensen family’s campsite it was pouring out buckets of rain. We actually sat in the car and debated about whether or not it was worth venturing out and setting up our brand new (big family size) tent. Side note: tents that you can stand up in make camping 10 times more comfortable. We both were thrilled whenever we needed to scurry out of our bags and realized that we didn’t need to crawl to the pack and play or out the door.

Megan was more thrilled about the enticing mud puddles scattered through our camp.Megan and Zane She and our nephew, Zane, jumped and ran through the puddles with feverish glee. The next morning she emerged from the tent and ran to her favorite big puddle and said (in adorable dismay) “Oh no! The water! The water is all gone!” It was pretty cute. Don’t worry, she still found plenty of ways to get super muddy.

I found plenty of time to read my good book: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (which is a laid back, clever illustration of a life totally remote to me. Yet told in such a familiar way that you feel like you are hearing a string of anecdotes from a (very funny) friend. This month has been a great one for books. I am happily restraining myself from devouring the last Harry Potter right now and have also loved The Razor’s Edge by W. Sommerset Maughm and Twilight and New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. But back to camping.

Mike’s family takes a few of these excellent trips each summer. It is about as perfect as I can imagine. We have a common area where the moms congregate to read, cook, and of course chat. The kids race around hills and through trees. The dads fish or just relax. What could be better. My favorite moment was when we gathered in the amphitheater to watch some very funny plays done by my nieces and nephews. We also have an excellent site which is owned by our church. The campsites are isolated and have a water tap. Plumbed bathrooms are just a stroll up or down the hill; so you have every The performers convenience but still feel like you are roughing it enough. We usually do some dutch oven cooking which makes it tasty too. Now if only there was a way to avoid the cleanup and it would be perfect!