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Crafting

Crafting, Fun With Tots, Motherhood

Painted Pumpkins

September 26, 2016

When I brought a batch of these little pumpkins home last week I told the boys we’d paint them one day. Then, as the days passed and they asked over and over when I was going to make good on that promise, I regretted the fact that I ever put the idea into their heads! Note to self; be very, very careful about future promises made to your children, especially when it pertains to paint. 

Honestly, it was a simple enough activity, it just required the right timing. The two babies needed to be asleep, the house needed to relatively clean and non-chaotic, and I needed to not be too mentally overloaded to imagine two wild little boys slinging paint brushes and having a grand old time at the expense of their clothing and/or my kitchen counters being stained by non-washable acrylic paint, because seriously, who has time to think about where I may have stashed the kids paints, and then go searching for them on top of that?

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Crafting, DIY, Kids Crafts, Motherhood

This Year’s Easter Eggs

March 24, 2016

Dyed Easter Eggs | www.sarahkeller.com

Happy Easter!

Who gets a little stressed when a holiday gets close? (Me, me, me! Hahaha.) I’m not very good at making a big to-do out of most holidays. I like to think it’s because we’re always in a new place, or that our holiday items are always packed away in a different place, or that Thane (often) isn’t home, or that we just had a new baby, or that we happen to be in between homes and living in a hotel, plus far from family, etc. But there’s also the plain truth that I’m just not that good at keeping up with it. Crafts, decorations, outings, parties, and all of that stuff are a lot of work! So with the exception of making Christmas cookies and (as of this year) picking out a Christmas tree together, I haven’t done a very good job.

Not to mention that I’m always comparing my boys’ childhood to my own childhood. Every time a holiday rolls around I think back to all of the really fun, family events I got to enjoy growing up. My grandparents, parents, and extended family in general did such a good job making those days special! We don’t really have the stability of civilian life, but now that Asher is old enough to start remembering I’m really trying to set some Keller family traditions of our own.

One of the few things that we’ve been able to stick with for the past few years is Easter egg dying! This year we got to go to a really fun egg dying play date (thanks Katie!) and we also did some of our own at home.

Dyed Easter Eggs | www.sarahkeller.comDyed Easter Eggs | www.sarahkeller.comEaster Eggs 4

I wish I’d gotten photos of the actual dying process, but it’s getting harder and harder to do any sort of activity with the boys while simultaneously photographing it. By the time I pick the camera up, mess with the settings, and get ready to snap away, I look over and realize that Asher is taste testing something, Silas stole the scissors, and Finn is dangerously close to grabbing whatever cup of liquid is involved, hahaha. These days I’m lucky if I can get a few pictures of just the end product!

This will be our first of two or three Easters in Germany. Honestly, when we’re far away and we don’t have familiar places and people to see for the holidays, it can be kind of depressing. But this time will be a little different, we have family here with us! It’s such a blessing- strange, even-  to get to be with loved ones and have a little piece of home here with us for Easter. Not that it’s all about comfort or tradition or cute little Easter outfits, egg hunts, or feasts. What really makes Easter special are those quiet moments when we slow down long enough to savor the sweet presence God, His majesty, and His astounding mercy and love for us. The new and abundant life we have through Christ more than compensates for any trivial thing we may lack on earth.

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” John 12:23-28a

Praise Jesus for giving His life for us that we might start anew, and once again, happy Easter!

Crafting, Kids Crafts, Motherhood

A Recycled Milk Carton Village

January 21, 2016

Recycled Milk Carton Village

I started stockpiling our empty milk carton containers as soon as the weather got chilly last fall. After seeing some very inspiring little handmade villages {here & here}, we had to take advantage of these cold winter days indoors and give it a try! They’ve been a work in progress for quite a while… They got their first coat of paint, the holidays came and went, and they sat half-done in our craft cupboard for a good couple of months. But now that we’re in the thick of winter and only halfway through the month of February, I’m kind of glad we took our time. We finally finished them and they are oh so fun!

And they’re easy!

SUPPLIES
Empty milk cartons
Paint {I also used a large tub of inexpensive white craft paint not pictured here}.
A couple of brushes, at least one large and one small.
A black Sharpie, for outlining your painted doors and windows.
And/or: Paper, tape/glue, scissors, and markers/crayons if you want to skip the paint all together and cover your cartons with paper.

DIY Recycled Milk Carton Village | www.sarahkeller.com

DIRECTIONS
Wash the insides of the cartons with hot, soapy water. This might require fully opening the tops of the cartons and then gluing them shut again {after painting}.
Paint! Ours took a few coats of white to cover most of the labeling.

DIY Recycled Milk Carton Village | www.sarahkeller.com DIY Recycled Milk Carton Village | www.sarahkeller.com Wet Paint Brush | www.sarahkeller.com

And here they are.

DIY Recycled Milk Carton Village | www.sarahkeller.comDIY Recycled Milk Carton Village | www.sarahkeller.com
Recycled Milk Carton Village 2

Asher had a blast getting to use the “big kid” acrylic paints on his little houses, and both boys loved setting up a little village equipped with masking tape roads on the floor and matchbox cars.

Recycled Milk Carton Village 5

Have you done any fun crafts with your kids lately? Share some thoughts or a link in the comments so we can see what you’re up to!

And for another recycled craft idea, see our egg carton masks here.

Art + Design, Crafting, DIY, Special Events

Woodsy Wrapping Embellishments

January 20, 2016

Woodsy Wrapping Embellishments

Lately I’ve been feeling artsy, or crafty, or some combination of the two, but since I don’t seem to get around to painting (hello, three kids!) I’m trying to make little things like these woodsy wrapping embellishments. Last week I hosted a coffee-themed Coffee for the ladies of Thane’s unit (an Army wife thing) and we had a trivia challenge with Starbucks cards as the prizes. It’s always fun to dress things up a little, so I dug out my long-neglected “craft bin” (my old plastic tote of junk with a small and sad collection of neglected items) and found the one craft gem I own; the burlap and chartreuse laced ribbon that I never ended up using for Amber’s baby shower last winter.

But all’s well that ends well, and this ribbon finally had it’s (small) day of glory. Between the ribbon, the twine, and some pine needles foraged from the forest nearby, the cards got a nice little woodsy treatment.

DIY Custom Wrapping Ideas | www.sarahkeller.com Woodsy Wrapping Embellishments 6
Woodsy Wrapping Embellishments 5

While I was at it, I made a few super simple, coffee-themed tea light holders for the table using whole coffee beans and mason jars.

Coffee Bean + Mason Jar Candle Decor | www.sarahkeller.com

But all joking of “glorious burlap craft ribbon” aside, it’s such a blessing to get do something- anything- that involves working with my hands! Being a mom for almost five years now has shown me that I’m naturally a total introvert. Sometimes I day dream about locking myself into an art studio all day, every day, and just drinking coffee, painting, crafting or reading the bible without any distractions and peacefully existing in some sort of bohemian, hipster heaven; basically the exact opposite of motherhood, hahaha!

I’m sure all of us moms can relate. It’s always a temptation to want to be something “more” than just a wife and a mom, isn’t it? Yes, living my version of hipster heaven would be an insanely lonely, fruitless, and tragically self-centered way to live my life and when it really comes down to it I love being with my kids. (I just need a little time to myself, pretty please!) And- to be fair- lately that’s been happening more and more and I’m so thankful for it! If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, you know that my life as a mom is a constant lesson in this; even when I don’t get that time, it’s okay. Christ uses my kids to teach me that even when things don’t go my way, it’s a great opportunity to practice patience and work on taking myself and my own preferences a little less seriously. And here’s a somewhat scary thought- before I know it, Asher will be off to Kindergarten, Silas will be a much more independent and potty-trained “big boy”, and Finn won’t be a baby anymore- so truly, why am I stressing over hobbies?! I’m thankful to God for this season in the life of our family and all of the cute, precious things about our little boys. Even if the artsy things that I’d love to have the time for has to wait a little longer.

And since no fun project is complete without a cup of espresso in hand, here you go…

Woodsy Wrapping Embellishments 3

Crafting, DIY, Kids Crafts, Motherhood

An Easy Egg Carton Craft for Kids

November 19, 2014

An Easy Egg Carton Craft for Kids | www.sarahkeller.com

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and inexpensive craft idea for the kids, these egg carton masks are it! With cold weather upon us, we’ve been spending a lot more time indoors lately and it’s great to have simple activities to occupy the boys. I got the idea for it here, and saw another great one for girls here. And the best thing is it didn’t require a trip to the store, we already had everything we needed.

SUPPLIES
A cardboard egg carton
Scissors
Craft paint
Paintbrush
Optional- elastic string to attach to each side of the mask for wearing.

An Easy Egg Carton Craft for Kids | www.sarahkeller.com

Another idea is to glue a popsicle stick to one side to make it like a costume party mask.

An Easy Egg Carton Craft for Kids | www.sarahkeller.comAn Easy Egg Carton Craft for Kids | www.sarahkeller.com

What about you guys? What are you doing to keep your kids busy these days?