Crafts for Kids + Christmas Gift Ideas = My Art Workshop in Littleton, CO

It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping…I say that every year, purchase couple of wonderfully thoughtful gifts and procrastinate on all the rest – till about the week before Christmas (yes, family members, your hunches are confirmed.) I’m a #WellIntendedProcrastinaholic.

So, this year I’ve decided to pace myself – a little here, a little there - easier on the budget that way too. Pretty soon, I’ll have that perfect gift for everyone on my list!

Here are my thoughts for Christmas 2011:
We all know that a gift from the heart is more valuable than any other which money can buy…and being the mother of two little ones who don’t seem to stop growing (sometimes overnight,) I thought a sentimental “moment in time” would be darling – and for years to come. A handcrafted something, made by my two favorite artists, with names, dates, handprints and the like. Now, where to find such a creation.

My ARt WoRkShoP in Littleton, Colorado.

A darling place with more options than I had imagined – from t-shirts to wheel pottery, custom stepping-stones, canvas paintings, mosaic art and more - the list of possibilities had me excited…and the kids liked it too! With the drop-in hours at this art studio, a quick visit whenever we had the chance and we’d have all our family gifts in plenty of time for Christmas!

The staff was amazingly helpful (and patient) when we came for our review. I had taken the kids right from school, which was a poor decision on my part because I showed up with two exhausted and grumpy kiddos. The sweet gal that helped us surely thought my kids were “something else” but she kept a smile on her face the entire time…including the couple of minutes I had assigned to my son in a “thinking chair.”

For the first person on our list: Daddy. *Not to worry, while he is an active subscriber, evidence shows that his receiving posts does not actually mean he reads them, ha! In his defense, he’s very busy and has to listen to me verbalize all my random thoughts, so I can understand why reading them may not be at the top of his to-do list….So, yes, his gift will be a great surprise.

Once we had gathered our emotions and the understanding that we were agreeing upon a coordinated gift (rather than spending our budget on his one item,) we were ready to go!

I let the kids look around the workshop but with the many choices, they needed a bit of guidance. I pointed out to them that several of the pottery options would allow for a darling handprint from each of them. Noelle thought my suggestion of a salt and pepper shaker set was great – each of the children would have their own work and just enough space for a print! PLUS, in 2009 Si and dad had created a lovely cookie jar that also had two little handprints on it. It would match perfectly in our kitchen/dining area – AND would be useful, yay.

Both kids had a fabulous time creating their special gifts and I had just as much fun watching them. They each picked colors and brushes, taking their time as they intently lathered on layers of paint. One thing I love most about glazed pottery is that it always ends up beautiful – no matter how wild the mess gets, the kiln takes care of it! I know the kids’ efforts will be appreciated and the artwork adored…we’ll look at these pieces of work years from now and search for the hazy memories of a Christmas long past, thinking back on those little hands and toothless smiles…and wonder how the time does pass.

A Taste of Colorado, Dever

Invigorate your taste buds and spend time with the ones you love at one of the most happin’ end-of-summer celebrations in the city of Denver! A Taste of Colorado is held annually over Labor Day Weekend in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. So, put on your walking shoes (you’ll be parking downtown) and prepare for a crowd…over 500,000 folks come out for this four-day event!

Tickets are sold in sheets of 12 and can be exchanged for games, rides, food and drink. Sample tastes may be as few as three tickets (just under $3 value) while entire meals, some gourmet, can take a bit more than an entire sheet. Shop around for the deal that suits you and you’re family! Our kids settled on a giant snow cone with two spoons…the remainder of their tickets were decidedly spent on rides including the bungee jump trampoline.

My top pick at this year’s festival was the 6 ticket fondu – cheese or chocolate – can you guess which I went for? With dipping selections such as brownies and rice crispy treats, the choice was easy. Nick sampled Indian food and shared pulled pork bbq with the family. Part of the epicurean fun is sharing a bite or two!

 

Make A Taste of Colorado a Labor Day Weekend tradition for your family! Stay late and relax to live music or arrive early and beat the crowds. Do both and make it a full day of fun! Don’t forget your sunscreen, bring your ID if you plan on sampling wine and beer…strollers are welcome – have fun!

Encourage One Another

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to tell a hurting friend how wonderful they are? When someone is projecting vulnerability, it seems natural to pour out our hearts and assure them that they are wonderful and loved, complement their best features and give them a giant hug…but what about those who either aren’t as open with their hurts or who simply don’t have trusted friends to turn to? Some might not know Christ either and have nowhere to turn.

Our eyes were not made to judge the human heart – as much as we may try – we have no way of knowing another person’s honest feelings unless they express them to us. We may have a friend with a giant hole in their heart and never know it because of their perfected outward demeanor. They may have been treated badly as a child or lost confidence in themselves along the journey of life…whatever the source pain is, we have no clue it even exists  and would probably be astounded that such a person felt so deeply hurt on the inside.

The next time you see something wonderful in someone, be sure to say it out loud. You never know how much that message might mean to that person.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Douglas County Board of Education Proposes Bond & Mill Levy Override…

and this is a very good thing.

Let not the future of our children be left to the disdain of politics.

A clear, timeless perspective – possibly overlooked in the wave of cool and epic forward thinking – simple, basic foundational values.

Our children’s education.

I use “our” loosely. American youth belong to us…all of us. Inherently, these little ones will someday be ruling our nation and making decisions as we fade into the generations of long since past, leaving only a legacy of what we once stood for. It’s our responsibility to look out for the whole…not just those we consider our own. In doing good for others we are ultimately doing good for ourselves.

Our values.

They’ll hold strong through generations. Evidence will be apparent for years to come as the love from one is passed down to another and another. Can we say we’re leaving this a better place with what we give of ourselves today? Time, money, passions…are they aligned with core values? What we believe today will be evident in tomorrow.

Our responsibility.

I was rather disappointed in a recent article I read on Douglas County Board of Education’s $200 million bond and $20 million mill levy override for the November ballot. The tone of the article was rather negatively leading and incorporated the voucher debate rather than focusing on the issue at hand. If I had simply read the article and not looked further into the facts, I may have considered it a lost cause and possible jumped on the “no thanks” band wagon.

The issue is simple, our public schools need funds to make improvements and pay teachers. Where will we find these dollars and make the burden less upon the individual. Through taxes. Small contributions by many for the bennefit of all.

I don’t know about you, but I would gladly make small sacrifices for the betterment of our country and for the good of the whole. I know I can’t do it all on my own, but together we can make an amazing difference in the lives of many.

I understand that the mention of a proposed tax increase can be daunting when viewed in the short-term, but with a futuristic approach and full perspective of realistic needs and benefits, a little sacrifice now doesn’t sound like such a burden. In opposition to the specific article I stumbled across, I’d advise for each individual to seek education on the issues and don’t make assumptions, be mislead by haughty promises or distracted with side issues…do have faith in our educational system and the caring, loving individuals whom have given their lives to improve the future for the sake of all of us…and absolutely assess your core values when considering what you can do to help improve our community.

Spreading the love.

We all work together as one body…and with each of us doing our own part even when we don’t agree or like what others are doing, our contribution still results in an astounding big picture. I’m not a fan of negative media influences or politically charged debates…be aware of the source when collecting information and don’t let the small disparities divide us in our hearts – in the values that profess who we truly are.

Yes on 3A & 3B

I am in favor of 3A & 3B to improve our schools, pay our teachers and give hope to our future leaders. It is one thing I can do, as an individual, to help improve our community. Yes, arguments can be had – and some within reason – but based on my beliefs, my values, my faith…the answer is simple for me.

Oh, and on a completely selfish level…I live in Douglas County and benefit from the increased property value in neighborhoods with fantastic schools – it is one of the very reasons we bought our home in Highlands Ranch…but that’s not the core value I’m basing my decision on – just being real honest here, wink.

Ask Honest Questions

He Knows the Answers

By Max Lucado

“You answer us in amazing ways, God our Savior.”  Psalm 65:5

God never turns his back on those who ask honest questions. He never did in the Old Testament; he never did in the New Testament. So if you are asking honest questions of God, he will not turn away from you . . .

In learning to depend on God, we must accept that we may not know all the answers, but we know who knows the answers.

 

This was Max Lucado’s daily devotional from yesterday – which I didn’t actually read untill this morning and had to laugh at how amazing God can be.

We’re studying the Book of Revelation in Community Bible Study, which brings about many tough questions, many of which don’t come with solid answers. I love it that this interdemoninational study is respectful of differences and takes only the word straight from the Bible to communicate the truth, but there are still those lingering unknowns. So, yesterday I thought I’d voice an unknown in our leadership study and well, ask an honest question.

Tough questions aren’t comfortable and can still a room full of boisterous leaders willing to shout out answers – believe me, ha. So why are we left with so many mysteries in this book of utmost importance?

I thought about this for a while and about the feedback I received from many wonderful, intelligent women in our leadership study and realized that maybe that’s exactly it: I thought about it for a while. Maybe it’s more like Baking Cookies than anything else…and after baking all those cookies, I did have answers.

Proverbs 3:5 says to Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. I guess that’s it. Trust in Him and know that he has it all under control, even when we’re making a mess in His kitchen.

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