No, that takes too long. Let me sum up. (Thank you, Inigo.)
First, I went on a three-week-long family vacation. It was wonderful. We went to a wedding, we went camping in the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota (my kids' first time camping, and they loved it!), and we saw all of Cowboy's siblings and their spouses and kids, plus his mom and a bunch of other relatives. Good, good times. Here are a few photos.
When we got home, we were home for one full week, then took off for a long weekend to attend my dad's retirement & farewell party. Very emotional weekend saying goodbyes to the people who have been my "church family" since I was 12.
And ever since we got home from that, I've been preparing crafts for our church's Vacation Bible School (VBS). This is my first time being in charge of VBS crafts, and when I looked through the options offered by the place we ordered our VBS program materials from, all their crafts were really junky. I remember doing amazing VBS crafts when I was a kid, making things that were so cool, I still have some today. So I decided to come up with my own crafts to go with the theme and lessons this year. Which was a lot of extra work, but I think it's going to be worth it. I ended up with a couple crafts that are kind of standard, though I tried to find ways to make even those unique and cool.
And today, I finished prepping the last of the crafts. Here are most of them:
The ones that took the longest to get ready for the kids to work on have been the prayer journals. Each one has a different combination of outside and inside papers, which I had to glue onto the cover boards.
My sister-in-law designed the interior for me -- the first part of the book will have prayers printed out that kids can learn, interspersed with illustrated Bible verses about prayer for them to color. The second part of the book has lots of prompts with spaces for kids to fill in people and things to pray about. I can't wait for the kids to make this craft! They'll be sewing the pages into the book and personalizing them.
I also really love this craft. Our VBS has a shipwreck theme, so the older kids are going to be using stamps to create treasure maps! For this one, I aged paper that I'd cut to the right size so that when it's rolled up, it will fit inside these adorable plastic bottles.
(That day, the preschoolers will be making "I Spy" bottles filled with "lost" things from some of Jesus' parables, like sheep, a coin, and a boy, plus a heart and a cross. But I don't have one of those made up to take photos of cuz I don't have any extra bottles.)
This is another craft for the older kids -- a tin-punch lantern with a battery-operated pillar candle inside. They'll be punching the words "Jesus is the light" and a cross into the tin, then using paper fasteners to hold the ends together to form the tube shape. I ended up making my own pattern for this one.
The preschoolers won't be doing the tin-punch, they'll be decorating these windchimes instead. I bought the chimes and the dove-shaped wooden cut-outs, but I had to drill the holes in the doves and string all the chimes for them. I'd originally planned for the kids to string the chimes, but when my 6-year-old couldn't manage that, I knew preschoolers wouldn't be able to. So I found some awesome stick-on gems for them to use to decorate these instead.
Here's another craft where my original plan didn't work out. And in this case, the improvisation turned out way cooler! I originally got "suncatcher paint pens" for painting these cross-shaped suncatchers, but the pens were really gloppy and hard to use, and the paint took days to dry! Plus, it wasn't washable. So then I had the bright idea of using glitter glue instead, and that was SO MUCH BETTER. I love that these crosses have stands too, so they're not just another thing to hang in your window. You can put them on a kid's dresser, the family display table, a mantelpiece, whatever. And the glitter glue makes them so pretty and translucent! And glittery. Plus, it's totally washable. I'm using it for suncatchers from now on.
This is my least-favorite craft because... they're just bracelets. Pretty ordinary. But they DO involve glow-in-the-dark beads! The older kids are making the one on the left -- the glow-in-the-dark beads spell S. O. S. And the preschoolers will make the ones on the right that have the words "Jesus helps me" interspersed with glow-in-the-dark beads. So those are fairly fun. Worth wearing for a few days, anyway.
After VBS is over, I'll finally have more time and energy to return to writing and reading blogs and hanging out with all my favorite bloggy people again. Until then... hope you're having a happy summer!