Art for Adoption: Face Painting #2

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This past Saturday I had the privilege of setting up my little face painting booth at the Heritage Festival in downtown Andrews, NC where we live.   As soon as I was set up to paint,  kids began lining up and before I knew it, I had been painting faces for 3 hours with no break! These kids were so excited to have their faces painted. When I was finished with each one, I would hand them a mirror so they could check out their transformation… it was my favorite part!  Some of the little ones actually squealed with excitement when they saw their faces painted! Shy little girl’s lit up in smiles when they saw themselves as a butterfly or kitten.  One little boy got his face painted like Spider Man, then after lunch, he came back to have his face re-painted like Spider Man again!

The people at the festival really enjoyed it, and so did I. I painted faces from 10am to 4:30pm and raised over $185! I am very thankful for such a fun and rewarding way to raise money to bring  our new son home from Haiti.

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So far, I have been able to raise $241 painting faces and I am scheduled to paint faces this Friday night (4th of July) for ArtWalk in Murphy! So, if you are in the area and would like to get your kid’s face painted, stop by. I will be set up outside the Murphy Art Guild.

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Check out our fundraising project and help us raise money to adopt from HAITI

Check out our fundraising project and help us raise money to adopt from HAITI

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DIY: Branch and Initial Wall Hanger

girls Room 3This DIY is from a photo I saw on a pinterest “rabbit trail” the other day! It was an instant challenge!
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I had all the supplies required and a few minutes of free time to work on a project! Since I took down the girls bunkbeds last month, I’ve been looking for ways to personalize their bed that was unique and not over the top! A wall hanger displaying the first initial of the girls names was a great idea! This little photo was just the inspiration I needed!
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This is what I did:
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Dead, dry branches = check
dead branches
Spray branches with gold paint = check
branches and gold paint
spray gold
Attach dry branch to the wall and hang decorated initial = check! check!
A closeup

(Daughter finds a roll of left over birthday streamers and insist you use them in “hers” = check!!)
girls Room 1
Easy as pie!
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Check out our fundraising project and help us raise money to adopt from HAITI

Check out our fundraising project and help us raise money to adopt from HAITI

DIY: T Shirt Rug

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We have a large amount of old t shirts in my closet.  Every summer we try to sort thru the old SWO shirts that we love and make room for the newest round of SWO T’s.  I was happy when I found this tutorial on a DIY T Shirt rug because I could do a craft with Alani with supplies I already had on hand!
Old Tshirts – check
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Hula Hoop – check
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Sissors that will cut said T Shirts – went thru 3 pair, but yes found a pair that would work – check
5 year old who likes being an artist – check, check
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I cut the shirt into useable strips and then followed the directions here on this tutorial…

Changes and/or suggestions from trying this at home:  

  1. I cut enough strips to make 2 rugs actually. You do not need more than 3 or 4 shirts for a small rug.
  2. I used a smaller hula hoop (because my kids are small and we have not entered into the big size hula hoops quite yet), so the final rug is just big enough to put by their bed for them to step on when they get out of bed in the morning.
  3. I pulled the “spokes” too tight when I finished knotting the ends and it made the first rug “bow” or “pucker” in the middle. On the second, I did not pull anything tight and it laid flat better.

 

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Other than cutting the T shirts up, this took about an hour to weave… I started it and helped with keeping the pattern, but for the most part she did it herself. My 6 year old loved this idea and worked hard on her little rug. I am so proud of her!

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Today we are also trying to get the word out about our ADOPT AN ENVELOPE fund raiser for our adoption from Haiti! Share the link and help us get the word out!

DIY: Ice Chalk Paints

This summer we are in “GO” mode! Sharing in ministry at a summer youth camp (Snowbird) with 3 small children is a CRAZY lifestyle! I’m thankful for the calling the LORD has placed on our family to be a part of Snowbird, for sure… but the days can get pretty long when we spend so much time together. So, I’ve come up with a plan to keep our time at home enjoyable and entertaining.
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I started a pinterest board full of summer activities and crafts I plan to try out this summer.  The first one I tried out is an Ice Chalk Paint recipe found here. I was impressed with how easy it was to mix up the paint, pour it in ice trays and freeze it!
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Changes and/or suggestions:  
Wet the driveway or concrete before trying the ice paint. The wet surface helps them melt and mix together easier.
Using baking soda (which the recipe calls for) can make the paint fizz when you spray vinegar on the ice paint, but I wasn’t feeling the vinegar this day so we skipped it. Next time I’ll be sure to take a squeeze bottle and let them squirt the paint and watch it fizz, they would love that… but this was my trial run!
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So, this does work and it was a success.  I made two trays (because that is all I had in the kitchen).  It was a short activity, but I turned the water hose on for clean up and that stretched this activity in to a solid 45 min of summer fun!

 

 

Low Budget Summer Porch Decor

frontporch3A friend of mine just sent me an amazing book by Myquillin Smith, aka TheNester! (Go here to order and get your own copy.) It is called The Nesting Place – It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! I have been so encouraged and spurred on in my quest to make our home… OUR home sweet home.
I mean, she’s right. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! I have thought about this a bunch over the past week as I’ve been spring cleaning and re-decorating outside.

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I’m not trying to put out the vibe that I’d rather have my own hand-made pallet furniture on my front porch than a bright new set from West Elm. But, it does make me happy when I can create something useful, pretty and cozy to make our home feel relaxed and inviting for only a few dollars!

– Pallet Benches: I purchased 6 pallets from a tractor supply place for $2 each last spring. After trying out my own design (which was a big fail), I followed this tutorial and made two benches for the corner of our porch.
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– Quilted Seating: For the quilted seating I actually cut up an old quilt and sewed together these cases and stuffed them. To make sure the quilt pattern was enough for the project, I used a brown sheet as the underneath side of one and an airplane blanket for the underneath of the other. Luckily, I had enough to make two pillow cases as well!
– Side tables: Recently I moved my poppy red side table from the porch to another part of the house. I am in love with stumps as side tables (which The Nester uses in her book as well). Walking to camp everyday we pass a huge pile of tree stumps. So, I piled some in my truck and gave them a new home!
These sell between $159 and $199 on West Elm’s website, so… score!
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– Christmas lights: I tied Christmas lights to the ceiling of our little corner to make it nice to visit once the little’s are in bed. It really is a cozy spot and I only spent about $15 total!
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One last little tip I wanted to share had to do with my entry way to our home. Last summer a group came to pressure wash and re-stain our porch. One gal asked if I wanted to keep the 5 gallon buckets they used to do something artsy with them one day. As it turned out, she was brilliant. I chalk painted them white and used them as flower pots for these hostas! Grouped with some fire wood, poppy’s and a hand-made wreath… I’m happy I went with the blue door… maybe I’ll do the backdoor this summer!
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There IS beauty in the imperfection. – Myquillin Smith

Myquillin’s perspective and insight on decorating our homes, is refreshing and enjoyable. I’m thankful for this reminder as my family opens our home for guests and visitors over the next 10 weeks.

Spring Time Mayhem

I guess I’ve had a bit of spring fever this month. While it may seem like I’ve been a bit quiet here, our days have been filled with learning cursive, lots of reading, hiking back and forth to camp, meals at home, and lots of playing outside. My days have been super full! Jed gave up his nap. Now, the 2 hour block of downtime I have cherished for the past 5 years, no longer exists in my house… So, now I’m exploring other blocks of time that will serve to fan the flames of inspiration and creativity!

The hardest block of time for me to stay “engaged” is the time after lunch. My new aim is to do at least 1 intentional crafty/experiment with my kids each afternoon. We do school stuff until lunch, so I have been looking for things that are just FUN… not too much of a mess, but something more than coloring with crayons.

I am excited about these links I have found to share with those of you who may be needing some inspiration for playing with your own littles.
Enjoy!

Watercolor over Crayons! Follow this link to find creative ways to keep watercolor interesting for littles.
Solar Smores: Follow this link to a Youtube video that explains how to make a solar oven. Bake smores while you play outside!

Solar Smores


Ice Chalk: This fun DIY experiment seems perfect for the littles who are at home ALL day! My kids love side walk chalk, so any variation of sidewalk chalk is a fun find for us!

Rope Bridge: Not sure WHERE we are going to try this at our home, but it will happen next week for reals! Our kids climb our little pine tree so much it’s branches are beginning to turn brown! (Yes, I think they are killing the tree by climbing it…) They love to climb and I think this is going to be perfect! Follow me on Instagram (mavisdavisblog) because there will be photos!

Rope Bridge Example

3 Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day

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We have entered the season of Love. Sitcoms air their Valentine’s special. Commercials promote diamonds and kissing. The entry way at Target is buzzing with heart prints and chocolate candy as you walk thru the doors. Pinterest is alive with party ideas, clever Valentine prints, DIY Valentine projects and thousands (if not millions) of photo inspiration boards of people kissing, holding hands and children holding up sweet sayings on homemade signs. For the single gal and married gal, this is an expectation-building week that can rob us of our focus on Jesus quickly!

I am not a hater! I am a big time lover of Valentine’s Day! The story of St. Valentine is great and should be challenging and inspiring to every believer. But, it can easily be blown out of proportion and we spend the whole season thinking of ourselves.

Here are 3 ways we can enjoy Valentine’s Day this year:
1. Read the story of St. Valentine and lets ask ourselves what we are prepared to do for The Gospel.


2. Put away the stero-typical Valentine’s Day expectations and cut your man some slack! Most men just don’t think about Valentine’s Day as being the one single day when the entire country stops to recognize February 14th as “Day of Love”. And… while I’m still trying to figure that one out, it’s ok! Babysitters get sick and cancel, dinner reservations fall thru, movies sell out and plans just don’t always come together. You are still loved whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with strawberry cheesecake or not.

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3. If you have a Valentine’s Day Date or not, don’t be sad! Enjoy the day! Go for the heart latte art in your white chocolate mocha and pick up some heart shaped cookies to celebrate with your friends and family. Wear those funky heart leggings and pass out the Hershey Kisses. Don’t hate! Enjoy the celebration and show others how much you love them!

Prayer and The Pledge Of Allegiance

photo from letchildrenplay.com

I can remember as far back as first grade when the principal would lead our class in the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom system. When we were finished our teacher would pray. Being raised in a Christian home, it never felt weird or awkward for a teacher to pray. I am not exactly sure when prayer was replaced by a moment of silence, or when we stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance before the school day began, but, over the course of my East Tennessee public education experience, all of those things were eliminated. Some were eliminated because of new laws, while other things just phased out as I passed from grade to grade.

Whatever the reasoning for removing the prayer, the pledge and the pause to each day from public schools, we want our children to learn, understand, and respect the many aspects of our freedoms. One way we can do this is to begin each school day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance and spending a few moments in prayer together .

americanflagSince this is one of the most controversial topics in public schools, we count it an honor to both pray and say the Pledge of Allegiance in our home.
This is how we do it:
I have a purple mat (I got this at Fred’s for $1 on clearance.) designated for all 3 kids to stand on together (FYI: when they get bigger, I won’t make them stand on the purple mat together).

pledgeWe place our hand over our hearts. The leader of the day has usually been decided by this time and he/she begins our pledge by saying:
I pledge allegiance
Then in unison we all say: To the flag
Of the United States of America
And To the Republic for which it stands
One nation, Under God, Indivisible
With liberty and Justice for all!

Next, everyone moves to his or her own mat for prayer time.
These mats are actually woven-placemats from WorldMarket! They were like $3.99 each on sale and worth the investment! I looked for smaller mats for children and could not find anything funky enough for my taste. Also, we are always on a budget for homeschool décor! Here is a link to something similar from Pier One.

During this prayer time I assign each kid something or someone to pray for. This is also the time when they pray specifically for God to help them focus and pay attention in school and that they would do their very best.

All 3 of our kids pray out loud asking God to help them focus as well as intercede for the requests I have assigned.
Finally, I pray.
I pray a short, short prayer, by this time they are ready to be moving again. While I do think it is extremely important that I show them HOW to pray by praying, I kep this prayer short and sweet! Our kids need to hear us pray and pour out our hearts before God, but they are usually not in the mood to sit still very long at this time in our day.

Tomorrow I will be sharing more on our morning routine. I hope you are enjoying these posts!

Homeschool Morning Routine (Part 1)

Morning Routine Part 1:
(This is what I try to attain at the beginning of the school day)

We always begin with prayer and the pledge of allegiance.

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Next we move on to our Move and Groove section where I play a few songs and let the kido’s work out their wiggles before our Bible Time. I have many playlists on Youtube and we just work through the play list for about 7 or 8 min.

Jed Sings

After Move and Groove, we jump right into our Bible memorization or Bible story or Character building exercises for the week. Right now I am working on a curriculum on being SELF-LESS for our kids.

Next we focus on learning a skill or read 2 books. This week we are working on learning the names of our coins! We include Jed (2 years) if he wants to participate. He likes doing what the girls do.  FYI: Jed does not always participate in skill time. Sometimes he just plays and does his own thing.

Money in Bin

After our skill time or reading, we move over to our calendar and I do a small calendar group time with the younger two. Alani is old enough to find the day of the week on her own calendar. She writes out 3 things she is thankful for and practices spelling it out on her own (priceless… I will never ditch this calendar).

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Following the singing, dancing, praying and reviewing, we take a break! I set my trusty kitchen timer to 15 min. I use this time to switch over the laundry, use the bathroom, pull out the math and reading materials and tie up any loose ends. I may also grab a fresh hot drink, because I love them soooo much!

This is basically Part 1 our school day. If we get thru this part of our school day with no breakdowns, bathroom mishaps or unexpected visitors, everything I listed above happens. Some days I may skip the singing or calendar all together just to stay on message. My goal is that we STAY motivated for a good 30 – 40 minutes before the 15 minute break.

There are tons of interesting things you can do during this time, you just have to get creative. My kids love to sing, so I created our morning routine to allow for singing time. Other kids may enjoy a fun-fact of the day or a game instead of singing. The best thing about homeschool is that you know your kids, what they like and what they need to grow in. Make your morning routine centered around positive things they ENJOY and look forward to, and “school time” will be great fun for everyone!

Davis Nation School of Education

Knox and Alani - 2012 Just getting started with pre-school.

Knox and Alani – 2012 Just getting started with pre-school.

Jed - 2012 Figuring how to do pre-school with a little fella crawling and exploring the house...

Jed – 2012 Figuring out how to do pre-school with a little fella crawling and exploring the house…

I do not claim to be a preschool guru! In fact, as you may already know, I only officially baby sat once before I had my own little girl… (It was 1993. The little boy came at me with a butter knife, I called his mom to come home, and I never babysat again). Learning how to teach my children at home has been a great challenge for me! Sure, I am crafty and creative, but it takes a bit more than knowing the color wheel and the alphabet song to be a good preschool teacher, right?

A few years ago, I was super intimidated! I thought my friends had a special formula for homeschooling and I was just waiting for them to fill me in on their secrets. I also burned up the internet searching for weekly themes, sensory stimulation activities for toddlers, educational programming, age appropriate science experiments and information on what my child should be learning developmentally. It was a lot of work looking for that formula. Finally, I found it!

Knoxy - 2012

Knoxy – 2012

Knoxy - 2012  Oh, remember the bangs?

Knoxy – 2012
Oh, remember the bangs?

The secret to this formula is… THERE IS NO FORMULA, you just have to figure out what works best for your own family. That’s it! And no, it is not so easy. But, if you are on the search for what schooling at home with 3 small children looks like, I would love to help.

To inspire all you homeschool newbies, I am opening the window of our homeschooling room and sharing with you how I school our kids. Sometimes, when I read the experiences of others, I am inspired to do more on my own! So, this is exactly what I hope you gain from these posts…. INSPIRATION!

I am not claiming to have EVERYTHING about homeschooling my kids figured out, my kids are only 5,4 and 2 so, it is always a work in progress. However, I do think that we are at a point where I can share our experiences and help give some resources for your own journey!

So, ready to be inspired? Friday I will post the first part of our morning routine! Sign up to receive my posts by email, or subscribe to MavisDavis on the sidebar!

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