Category Archives: crafts & activities

They’re off!

It has begun.  They got up, put on uniforms, donned backpacks and smiles.  We cooked a yummy breakfast, laughed, prayed and took some pictures.  As we stood for prayer I thought about how nice it was to have my husband standing on both legs again.  It gave me a sense of normalcy that has been scarce around here.  And then they drove away with their Dad to start another adventure.  After they left I sat outside on my back porch to read my scriptures and enjoy the cool air and sounds of the sprinklers in nearby yards.

They’re all a little nervous, some more than others.  One has been in tears off and on since Thursday.  I remind myself how resilient children are, how quickly they adapt to new rules and new settings and I feel confident that all will turn out well.

I purchased these little wood “conversation bubbles” a while ago from Pick Your Plum and they’ve been sitting in my pile of things to paint for months.  They got a few coats of chalkboard paint over the weekend and at last they’re in use!

I hope we have a lot of fun with them in coming months.  Someone was already enjoying them this morning:

I’m not sure if he is crazy nervous about first grade, or if he was just in an obnoxious mood, but this little guy was full of yelling and goofy all morning.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for him.  First grade is such a big deal, bringing a lot of exhaustion up front as their little bodies adjust to such long days.

We’re off for orientation at the high school and a long list of things to take care of.  It’s going to be a great year!


Cupid’s Arrow Game – Valentines Day Party Game

Looking for ideas for your Valentines Day class party games?  We played the BEST game at my daughter’s 2nd grade Valentines Day Party, and I just have to share it.  It’s simple, easy to prep, inexpensive, easy to clean up and lots of fun for both girls and boys.

It’s called Cupid’s Arrow and here’s what you need:

q-tips and straws for cupid's arrow valentines day party game

Q-tips and straws.  I went to my local dollar store and found q-tips in different colors.  Score!  We used two boxes, or 800 q-tips for our class (I took twice that many with me, you never know how fast they will shoot their q-tips!).  You also need straws, but I found that all the straws for sale at local stores, including the adorable paper straws we all love, were too narrow to fit q-tips inside them.  I ended up going to a local fast food chain and buying some milkshake straws for a quarter.

You also need a large bowl and a large blanket or tablecloth that you don’t mind having kids walk on,  because they will.  Oh, and I recommend a trash bag as well.  I’ve learned that taking an extra trash bag to any class party is always helpful, just like bringing your own dish towels to any church kitchen.

bowl and blanket for cupids arrow valentines day party game

To play the game, simply lay the blanket out on the floor and place the bowl on one end.  You may need to move desks to make room, or even use the hallway if needed.  Line the children up on the other end and give them all a straw and a fistful of q-tips.

kids playing cupid's arrow game

When you say “go” they start putting q-tips into one end of the straw and blowing through the straw to “shoot” their arrow.  The goal is to get q-tips into the bowl.  We had two teams, represented by the two q-tip colors.  Stand back and let them shoot.  Seriously, you will end up with q-tips all over the place but they will have fun learning how to aim and get them in.  I found that the girls enjoyed this activity as much as the boys did.

The blanket on the floor is intended to help the kids stay back an equal distance from the bowl.  I found that their excitement caused them to get closer and closer.  I let them.  The point is to have fun, after all.  We didn’t end up counting which team won at the end anyway, because they just wanted to shoot the whole time.  At the end of each rotation we collected the q-tips from around the floor and dumped them in the bowl, which I dumped in the trash.

Sometimes planning activities for classroom parties feels intimidating or overwhelming.  Playing Cupid’s Arrow reminded me that Valentines Day party games can a lot of fun without being expensive or over-planned.

Before they went to the next station, we also did a quick Jello Slurping contest.  They kept their straws, sat on my blanket (to protect the classroom carpet), got a cup of jello and waited for “go”.  It was fun to watch them.

My daughter and her cute friend…they make me smile.

Cupid’s Arrow was a really fun Valentines Day party game!  I wanted to play it later as a family but the night was just too crazy.  Instead, we’re going to have a q-tip war sometime soon.  I can just picture it:  ten people blowing hundreds of q-tips around my family room.  It’s going to be great!

Hopeful Homemaker

Teacher Gifts for Christmas

Yesterday’s peek at my flower embellished paper clips and the chalkboard painted tags came together last night to make these little Christmas teacher gifts.

It’s really a simple gift so I needed to do something to make the presentation great.  I cut this shape using my Epic six machine (that has sat in its box forever) to make large tags.  I played with it to arrange the gifts on the paper.  For the paper clips I cut two small slits with a razor blade and inserted them.

I sanded the edges of the chalkboard tags and added a ribbon to each.  I then sewed a piece of elastic to the paper to hold two tags in place.  Then I stapled a piece of ribbon to the tag to tie a piece of white chalk on.

Super simple, but I feel like I put it together in a really cute way.  I hope our Elementary school teachers like them, or at least find them useful.

Lastly I stamped a little Christmas greeting on a decorative tag and slipped it inside the elastic.  I wrote the name of my child at the very bottom.

The entire gift fit perfectly in a 5×7 inch envelope.  Simple but cute.  My son’s kindergarten teacher raved about it when I picked him up this morning.  I was thinking this would also be a cute end-of-year gift for teachers.  All you would need to do is change the color of the paper tag it’s placed on.  I added up my costs and these gifts came in under $2 each.  I already had the chalkboard paint on hand.

So they’re done and delivered.  Hooray!

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