Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Slow Advent

Oh, this poor little neglected blog of mine.

Our Tree (9)

This Advent has not gone exactly as planned.  Not at all as planned, actually.  There’s been a month’s worth of sickness and many, many things have just been laid aside.  I am ashamed to say I’ve turned to store-bought craft kits to keep M busy.  There is nothing wrong with these really, but they aren’t exactly the memory-making activities I had hoped for.  Maybe we will get to them during the actual Christmas season (which lasts from Christmas day to Epiphany), or maybe not.  I am thankful to just be well and functioning again, to be honest.

M was sick the first week of Advent, and then for almost two weeks it was my turn.  I was couch-bound, watching the house get messier and messier through feverish eyes, and not caring.  That nasty flu finally caught up with this anti-flu-shot girl, and gave me quite a beating.  We all had it to a degree, but somehow I was the lucky winner of the worst case.  Poor M was getting his own breakfast and lunch most days!  He felt very proud, but it hurt this mama’s heart a tiny bit to see him taking care of himself like that.  And then I had an awful case of pink eye, you know, just to round things off nicely.  That meant no cuddling or snuggling with anyone, which after being sick for a long time is just incredibly depressing! 

But somehow I was given the grace to realize that Advent is all about waiting and hoping and remembering just exactly where to look for the joyI woke up on Joy Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent), unable to go to church, again.  And I wondered, just what was it I was supposed to be joyful about? None of my plans were actually happening, the house was a disaster, and I was being treated like a pink-eyed leper. 

But time and time again, these past few months, I’ve been brought to a place where I’m gently reminded that fulfillment, joy, etc. are not found in plans, good times, or even health.  Joy is found in placing hope – confident hope – in God and His goodness and love and mercy.  Hoping for what I know is coming… Who I know is coming.  Each evening of this Advent when we’ve managed to have our little devotional time, M places a straw (length of yarn) in our manger and whispers, “Come, Baby Jesus, be born in our hearts.”   The simple and even boring Advent that has been our lot this year has, in the end, become a greater blessing in a way than a lot of fun and good times could ever be (although fun and good times are blessings too!).  Our emptiness is slowly being filled with an amazing sense of anticipation – the joy of knowing that what we truly hope for, what we most need, is coming soon. 

We are better this week, finally getting back to normal.  But we are not going to try to fit a lot in.  We are going to work on preparing our fantastically messy home and our hearts for the Love that is on its way.  I’m just going to go slowly through the days, and savor the sense of anticipation as much as I can.  tree decorating (49)

M has recently discovered Johnny Cash, and as I write this, Hey Porter is on (blaring even, you might say), and these particular lines are perfect:

“Go tell that engineer to make
that lonesome whistle scream.
We're not so far from home,
so take it easy on the steam.”


Friday, December 16, 2011

Magic Bubble ARt – review



Growing Tree Toys recently sent us this fun little kit to use and review. 

We’ve done bubble art before – with dishsoap, water, and food coloring – and truly the fun part of this is the bubble blowing.  So, yes, that’s simple to do at home without a kit; but I noticed that the colors this time, with the kit, turned out to be much more vibrant, and the included crafts were a bonus.

Here’s everything the kit includes:magic bubble art (1)The picture is so very bright it isn’t showing the tons of punch out pieces that came with this.  There are 90 shapes and stickers included, and a little booklet that gives ideas of things to make.

Also included: pipe cleaners, dye, a stir stick, straws, green embroidery thread, paper cups, and a large bottle (much more than we needed) of soap with gold glitter in it. 

I was not sure about the glitter soap, but it did sparkle up the bubbles (as long as we occasionally stirred it), and looked so pretty on the paper after it had dried!  I’m afraid my photos aren’t good enough to show this, but take my word for it – very pretty!

The basic concept is to fill the cups about 1/3 full with water, soap, and dye; then stick in a straw and start blowing bubbles onto the papers and shapes.  This MUST be done over some sort of covering – we used an old towel – because the dye will stain.

M really had so much fun doing this.  I wish the kit had more disposable cups because they got very soggy very quickly, what with the bubbles spilling over the sides, but obviously regular cups could be used also.

magic bubble art (6)

magic bubble art (11)

Blowing 4 colors of bubbles all at the same time proved to be a lot of fun too:magic bubble art (17) Take a look at that towel – definitely a good thing we used it!  Fingers were stained too, but all in the name of fun, and no worse than when dying Easter eggs.

Now, M would have been content to blow bubbles all day long, but he knew this was a review and very seriously did every single craft included.  In one sitting.  He is a sucker for punching perforated shapes out of cardstock, so I think that had something to do with it. ;)

Here is a look at about half of the bubble prints he made:magic bubble art (14)


A few things he crafted from all this colorful goodness…

A crown:magic bubble art (19)

A hot air balloon:magic bubble art (20)

Flowers:magic bubble art (22) 

Stick puppets, a fish, a door hanger, and some pretty patterned paper to use in the future:magic bubble art

As we were doing this (yes, I did get in on a little of the fun too!), I kept thinking about how perfect this would be for a birthday part, or any group of children.  More cups and straws would have to be used, but there is definitely enough soap and dye mixture and paper crafts to make this fun and engaging for a group of 4 to 5 children.

M ended up loving this much more than I anticipated!

Have a beautiful day! :)

*I was provided a free Kid Concoctions’ Magic Bubble Art kit in exchange for writing a review.  This review is entirely my own, honest opinion of the product.


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