Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

Each year, we have a Relief Society activity geared to celebrate the founding of the Relief Society.  (For those of you who might not know, the Relief Society is a women’s organization within my church that serves the ladies within our local vicinity.)  As I was thinking about themes for the night, the story of the woman at the well came to my mind (John 4:5-14) and I felt that the message could be applied to us.  I presented the idea to my committee and they all agreed that it was a good theme and message to share with the sisters in our ward. We recently held our activity and everything turned out so well that I wanted to share it with others who might be looking for a theme for their own ward’s Relief Society birthday dinner.

The decorations:  The colors we chose were: dark/navy blue, white and gold.  We set up round tables with white tablecloths.  In the middle of each table, we laid out a few larger pieces of blue and cream/white scrapbook paper with small gold doilies.  Then we placed a brown paper sack with a white doily folded over the top and secured the two sides with a blue ribbon.  We added gold ribbon around the handles and tied two balloons (one white, one gold) to the handles.

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

On the serving table, we used the same blue and cream/white scrapbook paper and gold doilies.  Then we placed labels for each food item on the table using blue paper and white labels (I designed and created these using my Silhouette Cameo.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

For the paper goods, we purchased soup cups and blue striped paper straws.  We already had plastic forks and spoons and white napkins.  I rolled the fork and spoon into the napkin and tied it with cream/gold baker’s twine and slipped the straw in the front.  We laid the silverware in each place at the table so it was already there and didn’t need to be carried.  (The soup cups, paper straws and twine was purchased from a lady in our ward who owns a darling Etsy shop with all the party supplies you could ever want.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

In the center of the room, we had a well (made from styrofoam and wood) that had been used for our ward’s Christmas party (we had a Jerusalem theme).  In the middle of the well, we placed a metal bucket and put ice and bottled water so the sisters had to get their water from the well. *wink*

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

The food: To keep things simple, we decided to bring four varieties of soup (one of which was my Crock Pot Minestrone) and serve them with rolls (from Costco) and a green salad.  The soups and salad were on one table and the toppings for both the soup and salad were at a separate table.

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

For dessert, we bought plain cheesecake and pie filling (cherry, blueberry and raspberry) for the topping.

The message:  The woman at the well is a fairly well known story in the New Testament about a Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at a well as He and His disciples are traveling to Galilee through Samaria.  When Jesus speaks to her and asks for some water and the woman is confused and replies with a question of her own: “Why are you, a Jew, speaking to me, a Samaritan.  Everyone knows the Jews and Samaritans don’t deal with each other.” (vs. 9, paraphrase)  And His answer, which is the message I wanted to share, was: “If you knew who I was, you would be asking me for a drink and I would give you living water…for if you drink of this water, you will never be thirsty again.” (vs. 10, 13-14, paraphrase)  After hearing the Savior’s message, the woman left the well and returned to the city to share her testimony and brought others with her to hear his message as well (vs.  ).  Many people were converted and it was all because a woman listened to the word of Christ and shared it with others who then came to hear it for themselves.

The lady who gave the message talked about how we are all in need of “living water” and that it is our responsibility to share that living water with those around us.  She connected the sharing of the gospel to being a mother and teaching our children.  Because really, we are all mothers, even if we do not have children of our own.  Women have natural tendencies toward nurturing, loving and empathy.  She used part of Elder Holland’s talk “Behold Thy Mother” (October 2015) and quoted him: “To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle–and all will–I say, be peaceful.  Believe in God and in yourself.  You are doing better than you think you are.”  She gave each of the ladies this quote (which she purchased from this Etsy shop) and printed it out at Costco on 4×6 prints.  (Obviously, this message was geared toward the sisters in our ward.  But if you feel like it could work for your ward too, please feel free to use it.  Or maybe it will just be a jumping off point for you.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

The activity was a huge success!  The best part was that we were all able to get together outside of church and meetings and away from the craziness of kids and just be women and friends getting to know each other better and create a stronger bond between us all.

What have been your favorite Relief Society birthday dinner themes?

How to Make a Chore Chart for Preschoolers

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I wanted to give my daughter some daily chores.  She’s turning 4 next week and it’s the beginning of a new year so it seemed like a great time to get a program going for her.

I started out by making a list of chores.  The easiest way to do this was to search for ‘age appropriate chores’ on Pinterest.  There are tons of charts that break it down by age that I found so it didn’t take long to make a list of my own.

Next I had to consider her development in terms of what she understands.  The best way for her to know what chores need to be done is by using a picture.  So I looked through my list of chores and thought of one picture that represented that chore (make your bed=bed, brush your teeth=toothbrush, etc).

The biggest challenge was deciding how to help her make sure she was getting her chores done each day.  In other words, what type of chore chart did I want to do?  What was going to make the most sense to a 4 year old?  I made a list of ideas and settled on something simple: a magnet board with accompanying sticker chart.

I researched a few options and the least expensive one I found was at Hobby Lobby for $8.99.  Throw a 40% off coupon on top of that and I only paid $5.39 for an 11×14 whiteboard/magnet board.  I already had magnets and clear glass accent gems (see picture in ‘how to make magnets’ section) on hand and knew I could find some simple clip art online for the chores.  I also decided to use stickers and vinyl to organize it into an easy-to-understand chart that I could always change up or take off completely if I decide to go in another direction later on.  Plus, using my trusty Silhouette would make the design a cinch!
I took my daughter with me to pick up the magnet board and let her choose some stickers for the days of the week.  My husband and I had told her a few days earlier that I was going to make her a chore chart so she was aware of what was coming.  Plus, I wanted her to be involved in the process as much as possible so it wasn’t just us saying, “here’s a chart that I made you with all the chores you have to get done every day”.  My daughter is one that likes to know what’s coming ahead of time so she can prepare herself.

Before we get any further, let me give you a list of supplies you’ll need to make your own chore chart:

  • Magnet board or whiteboard/magnet board, size of your choosing
  • Stickers for days of the week and child’s name
  • Magnets
  • Strong glue for gluing magnets to glass accent gems (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
  • Inkssentials Glossy Accents clear adhesive (or similar)
  • Clear glass accent gems (I found mine at the dollar store)
  • Magnet paper (I used the Silhouette brand)
  • Vinyl
  • Cardstock
  • Printer 
  • Ruler

*Note: While I used my Silhouette for this project, it is not necessary to have one in order to make this chore chart.  I will make small notes in each step where you could tweak it if you don’t have a Silhouette machine.

Making the Chore Chart

When I got the magnet board home, I measured the magnet/whiteboard itself so that I could plug those numbers into my Silhouette design studio.  I found that while the entire board was 11×14, the usable part was only 9.5x 12.25.  Glad I measured!

I opened up my design software and inserted the dimensions of the board into the ‘design page settings’ so I could see the full size I was going to be working with.  Then I opened a new page and chose the ‘letter’ size.  I pulled the clip art I saved onto this page and sized it down to fit the approximate size of the clear glass accent gems (about 1.5″) and drew a circle around it.  (Without a Silhouette: Open a word program and pull clip art from online and size it to fit your accent gems.)

Then I made it into a print and cut file (check out this tutorial for more details) and sent it to my printer.  I loaded the paper into my Silhouette machine and changed the settings to cut out the circles around the images I just printed.  I pulled them off of the cutting board and set them aside.  (Without a Silhouette: Print images, trace a circle around them and cut out using scissors or circle punch.)

Next, I opened up the file with the dimensions of the magnet board to start laying it all out.  I decided to put the days of the week going down the left third of the board and two columns going down the remaining two-thirds for the done/not done chores.  In keeping with using images instead of words, I used an ‘X’ for the ‘not done’ column and a check mark for the ‘done’ column.  You can see my screen shot of the layout below.

Since I knew I was using stickers for the days of the week, I only needed to cut out the ‘X’ and the check mark.  I had recently used the Silhouette magnet sheets for a project and knew it would be perfect (check out this tutorial for more details).  I found an ‘X’ and check mark clip art online and moved the images onto my page and sized them according to my layout.  Then I moved them to a new page and cut them out using the same method as the tutorial I just referenced.  (Without a Silhouette: You can still use the magnet sheets, but you would need to cut the shapes out by hand.)

With all my cutting done, I grabbed the magnet board and my ruler to measure out a little more exactly where I wanted everything.  I used a dry erase marker to draw my lines out to my liking then I got the stickers for the days of the week and put them on the board. (Note: Make sure that you have enough letter stickers for the days of the week, otherwise you may end up having to go back to the store to buy more.)

I used my paper cutter to cut thin strips of vinyl to separate each section which made it look nice and clean.  Then I placed the ‘X’ and check mark at the top of each column.

Lastly, I used some other stickers I had on hand to put her name in the corner of the board.

Making the Magnets

To make the magnets, you will need:

  • Clear glass accent gems
  • Magnets
  • Chore images (printed and cut)
  • Strong glue (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
  • Glossy Accents (or similar)

Lay out your chore images in front of you.  Look through the accent gems to find the ones that are mostly round and will cover the image.  I had to sort through a few to find the ones I liked.

Open the Glossy Accents and turn it upside down over a piece of scrap paper.  Do not shake it, as this will create bubbles.  Squeeze a little out to get the flow going and then squeeze a decent amount in the center of the paper.  Take your accent gem, flat side down, and place it over the top, pressing down slowly.  As you do this, the Glossy Accents will spread out underneath the accent gem.  If it oozes out the edges, just wipe it off and set it aside.

Repeat with the remaining gems.  Let dry 20-30 minutes.

When the Glossy Accents is dry, get your magnets and strong glue.  Place a small amount in the center of the magnet and then place it on the back of the gems/chore images.  Let dry overnight.

Sticker Chart/Reward System

The sticker chart is how we keep track of how many days she’s done all her chores each day.  If she gets everything done, she gets a sticker.  If not, no sticker for the day.  If there are chores that didn’t need to be done that day, they don’t count against her.  I made a simple chart in my Word program with rewards for every 10 stickers she gets.

10 stickers=treat or candy of her choice
20 stickers=toy from the dollar store
30 stickers=ice cream cone

For my daughter at age 4, these rewards are enough to motivate her, but you could easily change them to suit your own child’s interests.

How It’s Going So Far…

As I was putting my daughter’s chore chart together she kept asking me, “Is my chore chart ready?  Can I use it yet?”  I was happy to see her excitement as I made it for her and even more happy that she likes using it so far.  It’s only been 4 days but it’s encouraging nonetheless.  Each day she moves her ‘Today’ magnet to the current day (which also helps her learn the days of the week) and looks to see what chores she needs to do.  The fact that she knows exactly what’s expected of her and that she has control over moving the magnets to the ‘done’ column is something she really enjoys.  It’s a great visual for her.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and that your new chore chart works well for you!

What chore charts/systems have you liked using for your kids?

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Over the last few years, I’ve been working on discovering my own personal home decorating style and slowly but surely things are coming together.  This has, of course, extended into my holiday decor.  Each year, I’ve been getting rid of decorations that I no longer like or use and buying or making some that contribute to the overall cohesiveness of the look I’m going for.

A while back I was browsing through a local boutique that was closing their business.  They had a back room with tons of random items I wouldn’t have expected to find there considering it was a clothing and jewelry boutique.  Out of everything in the store, I didn’t buy jewelry or clothing–I bought glass blocks.  They only had three of them but I took them all and at a killer price.  I had the best of intentions to make something cute out of them for my home but never got around to it.  (This happens fairly regularly and it drives my husband crazy.  But I do get around to it eventually. *wink*)

When I bought these glass blocks, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to use them for but this year I figured it out.  Once again I pulled out my trusty Silhouette machine and started designing different layouts and words to see what I liked best.  (The blocks I have are rectangular–about 5×7–but I’ve seen different sizes as well.)  I decided to go with a more simple design due to the smaller size of the block I was working with.

(Note: While I found my glass blocks in an odd place, you can also find them at home improvement stores, like Home Depot, or craft stores, like Hobby Lobby.)

I used glass cleaner to wipe the block clean of any fingerprints and dust so it was ready for the vinyl.  Then I cut the vinyl lettering out using my Silhouette machine.  I pulled the vinyl off the cutting mat (leaving the backing on) and then trimmed the pieces down so I could more easily see how they needed to fit together.

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Then I got my transfer paper (affiliate link) out and placed each piece of vinyl in the correct place.  I kept the backing on until I was sure it was in the right place.  Then I pulled the backing off of each piece and placed the vinyl on my glass block, making sure it was centered.

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Using the back of your fingernail or a credit card, press down on the vinyl (on top of the transfer paper).  This smooths it all out, gets rid of bubbles and helps adhere the vinyl to the surface.  Then you can pull off the transfer paper.

(Side note: When I first started working with vinyl, I was kind of resistant to using transfer paper, but it sure makes my life a lot easier, especially when I’m transferring intricate designs or words. It’s worth the time and money in my mind, but it’s also completely up to you whether or not you use it. Also, I tend to reuse smaller pieces that haven’t lost their stickiness which saves a little money.)

To complete the block, I wrapped coordinating ribbon around the bottom and sides, tied it in a knot on the top and cut the ends on an angle.  I didn’t have red and white ribbon that I liked so I used a narrow ribbon on top of a wide ribbon and I think it turned out so cute!

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

These blocks would be such an easy gift to make for Christmas, birthdays, weddings, baby showers, etc.  I love that they are completely customizable and not time consuming at all.  You could even make a few of them to keep on hand for last minute gifts.  Start to finish, this project took me less than an hour (including design time in my Silhouette software).

What are your favorite projects to make with vinyl?

Book of Thanks Tutorial

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Last week I posted about new traditions I’m going to be starting this Thanksgiving.  One of the traditions is a Book of Thanks, which is basically a journal or binder that you can bring with you each Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and have everyone write what they are thankful for (or draw a picture) in it.  (You can read more about it here in the original post.)  Today I am sharing a tutorial on how I created my Book of Thanks.  Hopefully it will give you some ideas about creating your own.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will received a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

One of my favorite crafting tools is my Silhouette Cameo, which is a multi-functional, electronic cutting machine.  It has computer software that allows me to create pretty much anything I want and then I plug my computer into the Silhouette and it cuts it out for me using a small and very precise blade.  You can also swap out the blade for a pen and it will draw/sketch whatever design you created.  Honestly, I use my machine all the time for scrapbooking, vinyl, cards, fabric, etc.  (I know I sound like an advertisement, but I am not getting paid to say this.  I just really love it!)

That being said, I knew that using my Silhouette would be the easiest way for me to create a fun cover page for my Book of Thanks.  If you don’t have a Silhouette or other cutting machine (like a Cricut), you could also create a cover page in a word program and print it out, or use your own scrapbooking/crafting materials.

I designed my cover page using the computer software and a combination of sketch pens and cut outs for the final product.

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Since I paid for the images I used, I can’t offer my design as a file, but you can click on the links below if you’d like to get the files for yourself to use with your Silhouette.

Images used in Silhouette Studio:

Font used: Copperplate Gothic Bold (free from Fonts Geek)

I already had a 3-ring binder so I slipped it in the front, then grabbed a small stack of white printer paper and stuck it inside to have ready for Thanksgiving day.  I also got a small zipper pouch and put a couple of scrapbooking pens inside (the ink is archival safe and won’t fade or bleed over time compared to regular ball-point pens).  Once the papers have been written on, I’ll put them in protective sleeves and then clip them inside the binder.

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

I really am so excited for this new tradition!  It will be so much fun to look back on past years and see who was with us and what they wrote.

If you want to know more about what I’m including in my Book of Thanks, check out the original post, comment below or email me!

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

How do you commemorate your Thanksgiving?