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Easter Crafts with Littles {Thoughtful Thursdays}

Thoughtful Thursdays on as Jules is going

portrait of a happy young studentThis week I want to feature a guest post from Olivia Glendale, a a 20-something year old mother of two, both under 2 years. When she’s not busy soothing tantrums and changing diapers, you can find her blogging about home décor, organizing, and DIY projects at www.DIYMother.org. Today, she has super cute ideas for Easter crafts you can easily do with your littles!

My family has a tendency to get caught up in spring fever. My husband is a DIY addict like me, so springtime means outdoor projects every weekend: staining the deck! Cleaning the gutters! Yay!

I, on the other hand, prefer to garden and host gatherings with the extended family. And Easter is one of my favorite holidays to fill with family and fellowship. Because, really, what better way is there to celebrate a season of new life and growth than with the resurrection of our Lord?

This year will be the first year I can involve my 18-month old in Easter crafts. Naturally, I’ve been looking around for fun crafts to do with her, as well as all of her cousins on Easter Sunday. Here are a few of my favorite Easter crafts I’ve found. The links to the tutorials are listed below each photo.

Egg Carton Cross

Egg-Carton-Cross-10
From Housing A Forest

This is a great craft for the kids after church on Easter Sunday-especially if you have some cooking to do. It’s pretty simple: cut out 5 cups in a row and then 3 cups in a row from an empty egg carton, preferably the cardboard kind.

Glue the inside of the middle cup in the row of three and glue the cross together. Let the kids paint it, add glitter, beads, or cover them with fabric.

Rice Krispie Eggs

Easter-Egg-Rice-Krispie-Treats
From HTYM.com

I absolutely love this idea and cannot believe I’ve never done it. Prepare the Rice Krispie treats as your normally would; no need to go through the steps, we’re all parents here…we should be pro’s by now. Then wash and dry some plastic eggs and spray the insides with non-stick spray.

Push the Rice Krispies into each half of the plastic egg, working it up the sides. You want to create a cavity, so leave enough room to fit candy inside. Let the Rice Krispie mix set and gently slide them out of the plastic egg. Put a few pieces of candy inside (jelly beans, robin’s eggs, whatever you prefer) and press the egg halves together using a little bit of pressure. You can even decorate the Rice Krispie eggs with sprinkles or icing.

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Plarn Balls {for Operation Christmas Child Boxes}

For years, I've loved the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child Box ministry! We've packed boxes with our small children as a family and now pack dozens of boxes with our church family as part of our way of spreading the gospel across the world.

My mother in law recently let me in on a little project she's been working on for our boxes- Plarn Balls! "Plarn" is short for "plastic yarn". Plarn is made by cutting plastic grocery bags into strips, which are then strung together into a single long strand, like yarn. She used to make water proof mats with a group of ladies as a ministry to the homeless. Since that time, she has discovered endless uses for this recycled material. You can use plarn to crochet sturdy, reusable tote baggs, purses, pool/beach bags, doormats, and more.

Today I want to share her awesome idea, how to make plarn, as well as the pattern for the plarn balls that will fit perfect into OCC boxes!

How to make plarn

  • Lay bag flat and fold it in half lengthwise.
  • fold bag in half again.
  • cut folded bag into loops, discarding handles and bottom.
  • Knot lops together to form a single strand.
  • Roll the strand into a ball and crochet or knit as you would with yard.

Plarn Ball Pattern

Abbreviationss
  • st/sts- stich/stiches
  • sc- single crochet
  • sc 2 tog- single crochet 2 together

Round 1: Make a foundation row with 6 st using the magic ring method. Optional, but highly recommended, place a st marker at the beginning of the round, moving it to the first stitch of each new round as you go.

Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12sts)

Round 3: 2 sc in next st, sc in next st around (18sts)

Round 4: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (24sts)

Round 5: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (30sts)

Round 6-10: sc around (30sts)

Round 11: sc 2 tog, sc in next 3 sts around (24sts)

Start filling iwth plastic straps or plastic bags.

Round 12: sc 2 tog, sc in next 2 sts around (18sts)

Round 13: sc 2 tog, sc in next st around (12sts)

Round 14: sc 2 tog, until the opening end is closed enough to tie off.

Weave in the ends hiding inside the ball.

Cut plarn 1" wide when marking plarn.

[note: I no NOTHING about crocheting so I won't be able to answer an questions in that regard- so so sorry! I just copied this pattern exactly as my MIL wrote it having not idea what any of it meant. Also, remember food items are prohibited so no filling the balls with beans...I don't know who would have had that bright idea :/ lol] 

I'm so excited that more and more people are falling in love with this simple but life-changing ministry!!! Click learn more about Operation Christmas Child!

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Indian Joyn Purse

In my Fair Trade Friday Club trail box, I received the gorgeous purse. The most beautiful part of this item were the 3 names, individually written, specifying who personally did each step of crafting this purse. Skimming my fingers across the ink, I can just imagine the sigh of relief that was breathed as each women pinned her name after her hard work was complete and she knew she was finally able to provide for her family.

signitures

Gagan, Samtagoh, and Serita, THANK YOU for your quality work and craftsmanship. This item will be used and treasured for years to come with it's thick fabric, tight piping, and sturdy magnetic snap.

Joyn Purse handmade in India

“We are so thankful for this partnership. Our hear ts align and our missions align. Fair Trade Friday purchases JOYN products - each one made some of the most  marginalized and oppressed people in the world - individuals with leprosy, disability, those who have grown up begging on the streets, former prostitutes, former  addicts and your purchase employs at least 70 of our artisans with every order,"
-Melody, Joyn Founder, India

Interested in joining the Fair Trade Friday Club or Earring of the Month Club? click those highlighted thinks!

note: If there's a waiting list, DO IT anyways. That allows them to plan ahead and increase their boxes for members, product production, and inevitably empowered women working to provide for their families!

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Synopsis of The Valley Church

Our church body has had an outpouring of support from friends, family, and complete strangers from all over the state as well as many other states. Most recently, we've had a couple Vacation Bible Schools focus their missions offering collection on us. They want to educate kids on local missionaries as well as support them financially. I thought I'd just share the simple overview we've given them so their kids know a little about us.

~~~

Matt and Julie Rothacher {Roth-ache-r} were youth ministers in Arkansas until God called them to plant a church in a new community.

There was a lot of planning, moving, and remolding that happened before They Valley Church launched on Easter 2013. Lots of other churches helped by donating money, time, and supplies.

This is a picture of the launch Team Easter evening in front of the space they were leasing that used to be Vilonia's old Dollar General. Since that time, God has done some crazy fun stuff through this group of people.

the church in the valleyThe Church in the valley family pics

There has been unspeakable life change, people come to Jesus for the first time, 8 baptisms, and lots of unique ministries done in the community to show the love of Jesus.

the little valley launch sunday IMG_2720

The Valley has services on Sunday mornings as well as Valley Groups {small groups} on Wednesday nights. Children birth through 6th grade met at the building for Little Valley Kids groups where we are walking through the Bible book-by-book using The Gospel Project {by Lifeway} curriculum. During Sunday services, we believe "big kids" {K+} are smart enough to learn from the lead pastor so we don't have a kids church, although we do a few things during the service to make it more kid friendly- provide color sheets, clipboards, and soapboxes full of crayons, as well as do crazy and unexpected things during the teaching portion of the services like have odd props- goats, flannel graphs, giant mountains, painting during the message, and lots of humor to keep their attention along with their parents.

Kids are learning about Jesus as well as how He wants to be apart of their lives every day. They are learning that every story in the Bible points to Jesus as does everything in our life. Kids are excited to love their friends, family, and neighbors like Jesus would and know God has a plan for their life that specific just for them.areal view

Shortly after celebrating our 1 year anniversary, the town of Vilonia was hit by an F4 tornado. It started on the southwest side of town and cut all the way across to the northeast side. One family with a mom, dad, and 2 young boys that go to the valley lost their home as well as a two of their best friends who lived down the street.

The building that the valley was meeting in was in the center of town, right where the storm went through. The tornado knocked down 3 of the 4 walls of the building and destroyed, blew away, or dropped walls on top of all the stuff in the building including all 3 nursery rooms and playground where the kid tables, chairs, books, curriculum, and toys where.

The morning after the storm all the people who attend the valley showed up where the family who lost their home was and started to dig through what was left of their house and possessions. They collected any clothes, toys, movies, dishes, and pictures they could find.

The same people showed up later that afternoon at "the slab" where the building used to be and helped dig through rubble to find anything that was still useable.

After those two places were quickly cleaned up, the valley church was excited to find unique ways to minister to the town of Vilonia during such a hard time. The people of Vilonia lost businesses, restaurants, animals, homes, and people they loved. They needed physical help as well as emotional and spiritual support for healing.

One of the first things the valley church was able to do was start "The Playplace". This was a place kids could come have breakfast and lunch, play, rest, watch a movie, do crafts, and be with friends far away from the sad sights and dangerous areas that were all over town. The local primary {elementary} allowed them to use their giant multipurpose room as well the playgrounds outside and several restaurants supplied food. The Playplace was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

As soon as people heard about what was going on, strangers from in town, all over the state, and some from other states, brought supplies and donations for affected families, along with toys to send home with the children.

Another fun thing the valley was able to do for the town was take all the mommies to a fun night out with their friends since most of them were very sad and stressed. The mom's went to a "Mom's Night Out" that included dinner, shopping, getting their hair, nails, and make-up done, all before going to the new movie, "Mom's Night Out".

Mom's Night Out {group pic} Mom's Night Out

The storm that knocked down the valley's building happened on a Sunday night, and the very next Sunday, the valley church had service on the empty slab where it once stood. People from all over the state brought lawn chairs, folding chairs, and even pews for people to sit on and there were over 300 people out in the hot sun who came to sing praises to Jesus and learn more about Him.

After that, the same school that allowed us to host the playplace let us host services for the valley church. Right now they are meeting at the local fire station in the big bays {with no AC} and the Little Valley Kids and Valley Groups just kicked back off last week. Valley Groups for teenagers and adults meet in homes and the younger kids get to meet at the local Senior Citizens' building on Wednesdays.

at the school:
IMG_0010 IMG_0011IMG_0012

at the SCC:

I know lots of you may think this is weird but not the valley. God has taught us that He is good no matter what. That means, even when bad things happen, we can trust that God has plans for our life. Plans to prosper us, not to harm us. He also taught us that The Church is the people who are following Him and not a place or building.

I will remember our Covenant

We are thrilled to be a part of what God is doing in Vilonia and are continuing to find new and unusual ways to love these people. We are also looking into doing something we never imagined doing {especially only being a year old}; buying land and putting up a simple building for the valley church to use for the glory of God.

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Strawberry Shortcake (cheater) Recipe {Thoughtful Thursday}

Thoughtful Thursday is {usually} a weekly post where I like to share recipes, crafts, DIY projects, or other helpful/thoughtful things I love! Welcome to the 1st 2014 Thoughtful Thursday!!!

Thoughtful Thursdays on as Jules is going

I know you're not surprised but I tend to 1/2 read recipes and end up 'messing up' the recipe. Sometimes it turns out yummy though & my way is usually easier {because I'm lazy}.
Tonight I'm sharing MY recipe for Strawberry Shortcakes that are EeeeeZeeee!
The original recipe {I messed up} was from Betty Crocker's BIG RED Cookbook- classic!

HERE is the online version which is not the same as the tangible cookbook.

easy homemade Strawberry Shortcake

Baking Ingredients

  • 1/2 Sugar
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Milk

Baking Directions

  1. Preheat oven 450'.
  2. In a mixer, combine sugar & margarine until creamy.
  3. Slowly add 1/2 the flour, then the baking powder and salt, and then the rest of the flour.
  4. When that's all mixed up, add the milk and mix until it's a thick pancake batter consistency.
  5. Spray a cookie sheet with no-stick spray and then begin plopping globs of the batter on the pan. {I used a large spoon ~2tbs}
    You can get about 8-11 on a large cookie sheet without them running into one another & baking together.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown {around the edges. if the top is browning, the bottom is likely black}

 

Serving Ingredients {per serving}

  • 1-2 shortcakes
  • 1/4 cool whip
  • strawberry syrup

Serving Directions

  1. I like to either divide a single shortcake or use 2 to make a sandwich
  2. Put the dollop of cool whip inside
  3. Then drizzle with the strawberry syrup.
  4. If you like real strawberries, throw some of those on there, too.
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