Thursday, November 20, 2014

DIY Fall Wreath for $5

All I used was my pool noodle wreath form/base. Then I picked up four bunches of flowers/fall foliage from the dollar store (sorry for the poor quality images. I also took these while my camera battery was missing).

I plucked, or used wire cutters to take off individual flowers. I also trimmed the leaves off the bunches of flowers.

Then I placed them around the uncovered pool noodle to get an idea about where I wanted to place them.

Then, I started gluing them with a hot glue gun, added some pine cones my kids picked up for me, and I was done!

I didn't know if I'd be a fan of the plastic flowers, but I really love it. I especially love how the magenta flowers add a burst of color. So there you have it. My first wreath made for $5. It definitely makes me happy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stamping with a Pool Noodle

Remember how I said you'd want to hang on to the excess piece of your pool noodles when making your wreath form? Just add paint...

and you have a fun little stamp. This works best with the pool noodles that are shaped like a flower, but I'm sure kids would enjoy stamping with a circle shape as well.

My youngest two kids are still learning about colors, so we had fun mixing primary colors. Red and yellow makes orange etc. It's a great way to mix things up and use a fun activity as a teaching opportunity.

Here's the results:

The kids were super proud of their art.

I should have a post up showing my wreath tomorrow. Till then, happy stamping!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

DIY: Make a Wreath Base/Form for $1!

We've had a blast this Fall doing all sorts of crafts like this one. Besides finger painting with the kids, I also was able to make my first wreath! The best part is that I made it all for $5! I'll show the results in another post. Before I get some pictures of the wreath I made, I wanted to share how to make a wreath form for only $1. I learned how to do it when I happened upon this post, and I couldn't be more excited! All you need is a pool noodle from the dollar store and a dowel, or you can be more creative and improvise by trying to use a marker, or hoola hoop...maybe just some duct tape...

Before we move on, I apologize for the crappy quality of pictures. These were taken on my iPod because I couldn't use my camera since the battery was missing.

First, I decided how big I wanted my wreath to be and then I cut off part of the pool noodle I didn't need (By the way, If your pool noodle isn't completely round, save the piece you cut off for another fun craft you can do with your kids. I'll write another post on it soon) :

Then, I'm pretty sure you could just duct tape the edges together and call it good, or you could try to make it a little more secure. I wanted to make mine extra secure so I used a broken piece of hoola hoop. Snap off a good sized piece like this:

Then, put the hoola hoop piece (or marker) in both ends to see how long it should be. Adjust the size accordingly. Then, wrap and glue (with a glue gun) a piece of felt around it to make it a bit wider. After your felt is on, put more hot glue on the felt and glue it to the inside of the noodle. As a heads up, the glue will melt the pool noodle a bit if you squeeze the glue directly on it. Here's what the felt looked like:

After I'd glued the felt covered hoola hoop piece to both ends of the noodle it looked like this:

Normally, you could just secure edges with duct tape, but I skipped this part because I was already planning to wrap fabric around the whole form. So, I just bound the edges with fabric. Here's what it looks like so far.

And that my friends, is how you can make your own wreath base for a dollar!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Why Do Mormons Believe in Joseph Smith?

picture found here

Joseph Smith is a central figure in Mormon's beliefs. There are many interesting rumors mixed with truth about Joseph Smith that have caused many people to question his character.  Those outside (as well as member of) our faith might have misconceptions about our belief in him. Some claim that we believe he was/is Jesus, or an equal to Christ. That idea can easily be proved wrong. However, there are other doubts many have about Joseph Smith that cannot be explained as easily. As I stated earlier, there have been a lot of half truths mixed in with hearsay that have spread false information about Joseph Smith, much of which can't be confirmed, or denied. There are also a lot of mysterious and curious things from Joseph Smith's, and our church's, history: polygamy, treasure digging, free-masonry etc. It's natural for doubts to come up since so many people question Joseph Smith and our history. You either believe he was called as a prophet of God, or you likely think he was a genius fraud or delusional man.

While we were in New York we had the opportunity to visit Palmyra. We visited Hill Cumorah where Mormons believe Joseph Smith found the golden plates which he later translated in three months time into the Book of Mormon. We went to the printing shop where the Book of Mormon was printed. We explored Joseph's Smith's old homes, and the farm he'd worked on. We also visited the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith's journey as a prophet really began. It was there that, as a fourteen year old boy, he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. It was there that he prayed (about what church to join), and it was in the Sacred Grove that his prayer was answered.

picture found here

As we walked through the beautiful Sacred Grove, I couldn't help but feel moved. I thought back to different doubts I'd personally had about Joseph Smith. There were a couple of times I'd heard, or read a well articulated argument against Joseph Smith. I remember those articles caused doubts to creep in and I started to feel a little worried or confused. Whenever I'd start to have questions about whether or not my religion had really all been a sham, I'd go to the Lord in prayer and would let him know just how I felt. Every single time those feelings or doubts were eased as I would "coincidentally" happen upon another article or a discussion that had answers to my questions or concerns.

While I still have questions and there is plenty that I don't understand, I've come to realize that any concern I've had has always led me back to whether or not I believe Joseph Smith truly experienced what he said he had in that grove of trees.

In his own words he describes what happened in the Sacred Grove:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me... When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
If Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and Jesus Christ, and if he was called as a prophet of God, then the Book of Mormon is from God. Likewise, if we come to know that the Book of Mormon is true, we can know Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and that the church of Jesus Christ (with all it's keys and authority from God) has been restored.

While the articles and discussions Heavenly Father led me to happen upon were helpful, and reminded me that God hears our prayers, I've come to learn how fundamental it is to have a testimony in the restoration of the gospel. As I walked through the Sacred Grove, I was also reminded of the times that I'd received a witness from the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith's story was true...that the Book of Mormon is true. We Mormons could spend all the time in the world pointing out Bible references that confirm our beliefs, or all the scientific and all the linguistic evidence there is throughout the Book of Mormon, but all that effort would be in vain. Those who oppose the church can do likewise. There are plenty of convincing arguments on both sides. Which is why I believe, it really does come down to faith. The only way to know whether or not the restored gospel is true is through sincere study and prayer.