Friday, September 18, 2020

Book Review: Proverbs 31 in 5 Minutes a day


 I fell in love with the words of Proverbs 31 in college.  At the time, I was living in a dorm with no prospect of a husband in site.  I was not a wife, nor a mom and the only thing I had in common with her was I am a woman of God. I spent my time studying, hanging out with friends, and staying out way too late (ahh. . . sometimes I long for the ability to pull all nighters once again!) Yet, something intrigued me at this woman that a random king wrote about long ago.  In so many ways, the bar seems  overwhelmingly high and at the same time so desirable.  Who doesn't want to be more precious than rubies, wise, generous, trusted, and fearless as she runs her household, provides income (a.k.a. she worked. . . hard!), and spent money wisely?

So often, she gets tossed aside as a mythical woman who does it all.  We give into current stereotypes of the "perfect" mom or even the appearance of a June Cleaver wannabe.  We go to war with words trying to justify our decisions of choosing the stay at home mom life or the working mom life (note: there is no wrong answer!).  We long for someone to tell us our way is the right way, when in reality, we are just looking for someone to tell us that we are doing okay.  And truth be told, we want someone to see us and offer us some praise like they do the Proverbs 31 woman.  

Let's be honest, we are all tired and worn out and now throw in all the stress this COVID life has bought us and we feel like we are running around like a chicken with her head cut off.  We probably are trying to get as far as we can away from the words of Proverbs 31 because we are seeing them as a set of standards rather than words of encouragement for our tired hearts.  I honestly was thrilled when my sweet internet friend, Mari, announced she had written a book about this passage.  Her book came out this week and it was perfect timing.  I am exhausted and sometimes overwhelmed and the words in her new book were so encouraging!

She wrote this beautiful book, called Proverbs 31 is 5 minutes a Day, for women like me (and most likely you!), who are struggling to find time to check off all their goals for the day and having a hard time finding time to read God's Word.  When she says 5 minutes a day, she means it!  Her words are beautiful, not long winded and so encouraging to my heart.  If we weren't currently doing distance learning, this would be the perfect thing to read while waiting for traffic at school drop off to die down or even in the pick up line.  There are even spots to journal and really challenge yourself as you really dig into what the words of Proverbs 31 mean. 

Mari does a great job breaking down the words of Proverbs 31 into an approachable and not scary way to dive into God's Word.  

This book takes you through each verse over the course of 7 weeks all while combining stories from other parts of the Bible.  This book is great for individual study or even gathering with some ladies for a weekly discussion of this beautiful & encouraging passage.  This a fantastic book and I hope you love it just as much as I did!  

You can buy this book over here.  

Happy Reading! 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Friday Favorites: Things that are bringing me joy

 Happy Friday everyone! I don't know about you all, but I am so glad for the weekend!  We are four weeks into distance learning and while there have been some frustrating moments, they have been minimal and the days are mostly smooth (I never thought we'd be buying internet range extenders but it's 2020 so I have stopped questioning things).  But, as with any week, the weekend comes bringing reprieve and rest. . . and I am ready (even though it was a short week).  

Any many ways, this week has been filled with both hard and good things.  I am still trying to find my groove in this new routine (working moms. . . I can't imagine the stress you are bearing right now, but I'm praying for you!).  There have been other things and well we're going to pile them into a category that is labeled 2020.  I heard someone say that home improvement projects were there way of grasping something they have control of and all I could respond with was a simple "Amen." I thought that because there are just so many depressing things out there, I would make a list of a few things that are bringing me joy right now.  Making lists of things that bring me joy definitely shifts my attitude!  So here's my list of joyful things.  I'd also love to hear what is bringing you joy these days, so feel free to post in the comments!  Also. . . no one is paying me anything to share these things. . .I really like them!

 My new sewing machine.

I finally got a new sewing machine and it has been a total game changer!  It sews so smooth and quiet that I just can't wait to sew again!  I am currently sewing whenever I get a chance.  I plan on doing a review on the sewing machine so I won't go into too many details.  But, just note that I really like it compared to my cheaper singer that I had from when I first started getting into sewing. In case you don't want to wait for the review, it's the Eversewn Celine. . . and she's a cutie!

New hair elastics!

I have been using the same elastics for my hair for years and I thought I really liked them. . . except they never lasted very long and they always pulled out my hair.  I started hearing all these instagramers talking about these and I won't lie, I was intrigued.  Plus, they were available on amazon which makes it a win-win since we aren't doing much venturing out these days.  I went with the thicker ones and might by the thinner ones later, but I love them!  My pony tails are so perky and they don't fall out or loosen when I am working out.  They are definite keepers.  I want to try the thinner ones in the more neutral colors next!  They work great for top knots and cute, perky pony tails.  They are perfect for day of adventure or working out and they are machine washable! Here's a link.


I have to admit that one of the hardest things about 2020 is that I haven't been able to go to they gym (ours are all closed!), so I needed to figure some things out because I was not enjoying they way my body was feeling.  I am not usually one for clicking internet ads, but its 2020 and it happened and in this case, I am so glad I did!  I have had the best, most consistent workouts over the last month that even my best friend got herself one.  It is a yoga mat with a yoga bar zipped on that allows for resistance bands to go though and attach to weights or straps.  It mimics machines at the gym, allows for pilates/reformer-like exercises, and they have a ton of workout videos that leave me very sweaty!  The kids don't have school until 9 each morning, so it has given me plenty of time to get a quick workout in before they start. I am actually considering quitting the gym completely after all this because it is seriously the best thing ever!  Here's the website, but yesterday they posted they are almost out of stock until the holidays. 

Nail Polish

I broke down and ordered myself an Olive and June nail polish kit and well. . . it was not disappointing!  I bought the fall box with some of the most gorgeous colors!  I used the light pink one (HGC) and I love it!  I love neutral colors on my fingers so I think it is going to get lots of use!  In all honesty, I love them all!  The olive green one (WKF) is the one I was probably most excited for. . . is it too early to do fall toes?  Probably not, since we're all secretly drinking pumpkin spice lattes and dreaming of leaves changing.  Also, their finger nail polish remover is amazing and so is that poppy thing (I am no good at painting my nails and it helped tremendously!).  One thing that I love about Olive and June is that they are a 7-free nail polish. . . which means they don't have as much yucky stuff in them. (I still love my Ella and Mia and Essie. . . but this was just too much fun!).  

Creating and Reading

I am really trying so hard to have the best attitude about life right now.  There's a lot of hard stuff going on (one of them being our state is pretty much on fire, one being in an area we are not far from) and it's so easy to make a list and wonder where the heck is God.  I've been doing a She Reads Truth Study on God's Presence and it has been so encouraging.  I know that God never leaves me and that he gives rest and comfort.  He is here amidst the chaos and destruction.  That alone brings me joy.  There are many things that I could be complaining about, but each morning I have to make a choice to choose my attitude about things.  I can't dwell on all the bad things because too much dwelling in the negative allows the fear, anxiety, and anger to creep in and engulf my heart and mind.  Instead, I am praying (a lot) and focusing on what I can do in this moment (or just this year in general).  God is literally giving me rest because we aren't rushing around getting everybody to everything.  We are, in many ways, getting to enjoy entire church services instead of just partial ones because we are serving.  I am also getting time to read and create. . . things that often got overlooked because of the busy.  Right now I am working on a quilt top for Jon and soon a surprise for someone expecting and trying to catch up with Weston on Harry Potter books (he has somehow made it to year 6 over the summer!).  


I hope you have a great Friday and even better weekend!  If you are having a difficult time finding joy. . . it's okay.  Sometimes, it's really hard and digging deep for those joyful moments that bring life is crazy.  I am praying for you! 

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Cultivating spaces that feed the soul


"...Friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious -- the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse." Philippians 4:8, msg

 I remember the day I read this passage.  Not just glanced at it, but really read it.  I was in college, living away from home for the first time with a roommate who spent the nights in her boyfriend's dorm.  I was lonely and so I read a lot.  I dug into scripture more than I had ever done in the past and I read all sorts of books.  I was reading through Loving God with All your Mind, by Elizabeth George (if you haven't read it. . . it's pretty on point!) and her thoughts on this verse really helped me truly understand what Paul was writing to the church at Philippi and how guilty I was of doing just the opposite.  This verse changed me.

Each day our minds are bombarded with so much information and "stuff." A few months ago, when summer was just approaching, Annie Downs had Carlos Wittaker on her podcast, That Sounds Fun.  He mentioned that when our parents and grandparents were growing up the amount of info they soaked in was about a a tenth of how much is filling our minds every day.  (let me be honest, I totally butchered that statistic and have no source, but I will link the podcast at the bottom).  Basically, the gist of it is that because of how accessible technology is today, we are constantly being bombarded with information.  Every day our brains are filled to overflowing and it mentally and physically drains us.  We are tired and running ragged. I think that the reason why is we were not created for information overload.  

When you think about all the information that you get each day, a lot of it is not true, pure, lovely, authentic, or even gracious.  I know many of you are ready to throw in the towel and turn off social media or even just crawl in a cave and hide for awhile.  It's okay.  I've been there too.  

I like pretty things.  I think I always have, but I think that this verse gave more meaning to the word pretty. . . I like lovely things.  Chasing sunsets along the beach, stopping the car to look at a grove of cypress trees or redwood trees, or even getting my hands on some rifle paper fabric to create something beautiful all bring me joy as I look for things that are lovely and beautiful.  When me moved into our home, I had a hard time looking for the beauty in the drab walls and ugly carpet, but soon found ways to create a space that was lovely . . . a space that brings a quiet peace amidst the daily insanity.  

I think even more than ever we need to be cultivators of beauty and goodness in a world that seems so harsh and ugly.  Taking the time to cultivate spaces that bring you joy will no doubt feed your soul as you find rest and peace in your day-to-day.  

But, how do we do this?  It's 2020. . . the year alone just screams ugly and depressing?  Friends, take a moment and just breathe deep breaths.  God is sooo much bigger than all that 2020 will bring us (or has brought us already!) and he never once leaves us alone.  We can get through this and we can find beauty and joy despite of the ugliness.  After all, if God is right here, holding our hand as we journey through the hard moments and He is filled with beauty and grace then we sure can find it we just take a look around.  

Here are my tips for cultivating those spaces in our lives to bring joy and peace.  

1.  Breathe.  Get out of the house and (safely) go on an adventure.  Trek through the trails, walk barefoot along a sandy beach.  Look for beauty in God's creation.  Despite 2020, it's still a beautiful world that God has created.  Even taking a moment to throw on your ear buds and blast some music while you walk around your block offers a chance to just breathe. 

2.  Guard your heart.  Proverbs 4:23 says to "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." We need to guard our hearts from things that are ugly and stir up feeling of disgust. Those things do not align with that verse in Philippians.  Look at your social media account.  I use mine for connecting with this blog and keeping up with my Bible study group, so getting rid of facebook just isn't something I am willing to part with, because it has so much good.  It's a pretty good way to stay connected through social distancing.  But, it doesn't mean you have to look at all the crap (just keeping it real, folks) that invades your facebook feed.  You have control over that.  Feel free to snooze those people who cause you to not think about true, lovely, reputable, and authentic things.  You don't have to unfriend them. . . but you can hide them from your feed for awhile.  You can also hide posts from certain media outlets.  Remember, not all news is actually news and depending on who's writing it the bias can be a little off causing truth to be twisted (this goes for both sides of the spectrum). 

 Just a quick note: I refuse to get political on this blog because there is just so much hateful division that it breaks my heart.  This blog will never be a place that causes division.  I want it to be a place that brings you joy, encouragement and inspiration as you navigate your life. 

3.  Follow people who bring you joy.  My favorite social media outlet is Instagram because I can choose who shows up on my feed.  I pay close attention to check if my feed is bringing me joy and encouragement or even inspiration.  

4.  Read the Bible.  Seriously . . it is filled with so many beautiful truths of God's faithfulness throughout the whole book. Go a step further and memorize a verse or two. It definitely helps me cultivate beauty in the daily.  

5.  Think about things that are true.  This one was a real eye opener because so many times I hear the voice in my head telling me things like, "you're not good enough" and "why even blog. . . no one's going to read it" or even "that idea isn't good" and friends, those are all lies that the devil send you to stop you in your tracks and prevent God from doing His work in and through you.  I know that not everyone will read this post, but maybe one person will and be encouraged and if that's true, then I know I was obedient to God's calling to write this post.  Fill your thoughts with scripture to combat those lies that fly your way.  

6.  Create something.  Look around.  What can you do to make something lovely?  Sometimes, just painting the walls or hanging up some pictures and putting a throw blanket down takes a space from drab to lovely in an instant.  Is there a new hobby you want to try?  Or are there some projects that you need to finish up that will result in lovely things when you finish?  

7.  Make a list.  I am a fan of a list.  But, why not this month keep a list of all the things that you find each daily that are true, lovely, good, noble, authentic and see what it does to your mindset. . . to your heart. 

 Let's fill our hearts and minds with the things with the things that Paul listed out in Philippians 4:8.  Let us embark on a journey to create spaces within our daily routine that feed our hearts and souls in a way that springs forth life.  Let us live abundantly!


Loving God with all your mind, by Elizabeth George

Annie Downs podcast with Carlos Wittaker 

my pinterest boards with all kinds of potential beauty 

my blog post on adventuring safely during COVID 

Also, I recommend reading this book


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A different kind of back to school post

School starts next week for our family.  The upcoming year looks very different than what we're used to since all schools in our area are doing distance learning.  I must confess, I find myself both incredibly excited. . . almost giddy about the upcoming school year and at the same time incredibly sad.  While we are obviously saying no to a lot of things and letting go of a lot of dreams and ambitions, my kids have some great teachers and they're going to do great with distance learning.  I've got one kid wrapping up his final year of elementary school and one kid moving into the realm of upper elementary, and for some reason this makes me incredibly sad (my babies are growing up!).  There are so many feels this week.

I feel like I should probably preface this post a little. I am a stay at home mom and former teacher.  I one hundred percent get it that most people do not have this option, so the thought of the kids staying home messes everything up and is causing a lot of stress.  I get it.  I hear you.  I am praying for you.  This is not going to be easy. I also am going to say we were gung-ho send the kids back to school like normal in June, but when we came home from a quick trip to Wyoming, our local numbers started getting incredibly high, we sat down with our kids, discussed what the school year was going to be like and talked about sacrificing our time at school for those kids who needed to be at school.  That way social distancing could happen.  There were tears from our oldest but both boys agreed it was the best decision.  So, when the call was made to go district wide distance learning, my oldest was so excited to be able to still see his friends and his teachers (online, of course!).  We are very blessed that our school community is pretty amazing.  The teachers and admin love on our kids like they were their own. We are very glad we are still connected (it would have been weird if the kids had random teachers).

I guess what I am trying to say is we all have different stories, different jobs, different stresses, but please, let's remember to be kind.  

 As we approach this

school year let's just recognize two things:

1.  This year is going to be different and that's going to make us uncomfortable. 

2.  We are used to school being one way and change is hard.  Nobody really likes change.  Also, change is really, really scary.  

We are all feeling so many things with these changes to the school year.  There are A LOT of concerns out there and many of them are legit.  However, if we let our concerns, fears, and inconvenience of it all steal our joy and excitement from our children's school year that will be the saddest thing that will result from distance learning. Our children are watching us.  They are the cutest sponges soaking in our actions, comments and attitudes about everything.  If they only see us complaining and groaning and talking smack against distance learning, they are going to have the same attitude towards school this year. Students are more likely to learn when they are excited about something. Let's get them excited for this school year. Let's take this year of unknowns and disappointment and turn it into a year of adventure and something to look forward to. 

How can we get them (and you) excited?

Here are some tips on getting them excited for the first day of this very weird school year.  

:: Buy School Supplies. I am a sucker for back to school shopping. . . it's the teacher inside of me.  But, nothing says new school year better than freshly sharpened Ticonderoga pencils and beautifully sharp Crayola crayons.  While we keep our art closet pretty stocked with a lot of this stuff, the kids get so excited to pick out new notebooks, folders, and fresh binders.  Make sure they have scissors and all the supplies needed for successful learning at home.  Our kids will have their textbooks at home, so I bought plastic book boxes for each of the kids and a supply caddy to keep pens, crayons, and markers organized and handy. 


:: Create a space in which your child is excited to learn.  Find a space that is quiet and has few distractions and a chair that they can sit comfortably and still see their computers without causing strain on their neck and back.  At our house, Weston gets the kids desk area and Ethan moves his stuff for the day to our dining room.  Thy can't both do online classes at the same time right next to each other. . . that would be a disaster.  

:: Continue your normal first day of school traditions.  This is important!  Take that first day picture.  Make that special breakfast. Go out for that first day treat.  Do whatever you would normally do (safely, of course).  This year is so different, our kids need some sort of normalcy.  Keeping up your regular traditions will take so much of the uneasiness away from everything that is so different.  

:: Find something for you. Parents of littles, you will probably be supervising a lot of your child's learning, but those with older kids who are more independent might find your presence a little distracting.  I realized last Spring, when we suddenly switched to distance learning, that I distracted my kids.  So, I have switched around my day to when I work on certain things.  I created a space in our office to get my work out in and I have a few creative projects on deck.  I have high ambitions for this fall. No matter whether you are working from home, working from work, or a stay at home mom this is definitely putting a dent in your schedule.  Make sure you take a few minutes for yourself.  Breathe.  Go treat yourself to a coffee. 

:: Encourage your child's teachers.  If you are new here, this is not a new concept.  Your child's teachers have been working so hard to prepare for this new (and hopefully temporary) school year.  In many ways, teaching online is twice as much work as regular teaching.  Your child's teacher is going to need to know you are partnering with them and are fully supporting them.  Send them digital coffee gift cards or an occasional email letting them know they are doing great and thanking them for all their work.  They are going to need these words to keep on going.  (I have some ideas on this post for quarantine teacher treats).  

:: Let go of your worries.  Hand them over to God.  He's got this. We don't need to waste our time worrying about it.  I like to make lists which came in handy the other day as I was thinking about this upcoming school year.  I listed out the the things I was grateful about as I looked forward into the unknown.  Here's a few of them: We are slowing down and that's really good for the heart, my kids are surrounded by amazing teachers at their school, I am getting extra time with my kids that I wouldn't otherwise have if they were in school (and they are growing up so quick), and grocery delivery (because who knows when I'm going to find time for grocery shopping!).  If you let go of your worries, you will feel a little lighter. . . I promise!

So, this post ended up being way longer than I had planned.  Let's be kind. . . let's encourage our friends who are in the same boat and our hard working teachers.  And let's celebrate our kids. . . our kids who are going to come out of this much more resilient and stronger than they were before!   

p.s. please check on your fellow mom friends . . . especially if they are also working their own jobs.  We all are gonna need extra love and coffee during this time!

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Summer Art Challenge 2020: Texture

Welcome to the third installment of our Summer Art Challenge.  This week is going to make a mess, but it's going to be a blast. . . no matter how old your kids are! Plus, all the art projects are mom and dad friendly. . . and even babysitter friendly! 

I think I really love these art challenges each week.  It's purposeful time we set aside to do something together and get creative.  Creativity is something that fills my cup. . . I mean, that's pretty much the whole purpose of this little blog (ha ha).  The kids love it. . . even if some days it's hard to pull them away from their books or legos, but we push through and it does all our hearts good.  It's a nice break from our regular routine. 

This week combines a few different projects that explore the world of texture.  Between different types of paper, yarn, random objects, we created some really fun things! 

Texture Castles
We made a mess.  It was Awesome! We used fabric, cardboard, card stock, construction paper, magazine pages, toothpicks, and bubble wrap.  I also pulled out a paper corrugator tool I bought many years ago (Here's one similar).  The kids loved playing with it and adding crimped paper to their art!

We made sand castles and they turned out so cute! 

Laminated Collage
This was such a fun project and anytime I get to pull out our laminator, I am game (I love laminating things. . . it's weird, I know!).  I was inspired by this blog post over at Art Bar.  I didn't have any contact paper on hand and didn't really want to go to the store, so we adapted and went with what he had. . . laminating sheets! It ended up working beautifully! 

I cut out some wrapping paper, grabbed some tissue paper from our wrapping stash, cut some yarn pieces, pulled out a few cupcake liners and brought out the magazines again.  It was so cool to see how my kids did their artwork. 
Ethan did a bridge and Weston did a boat in the water (not shown).  I did the flowers as an example.  Then we did some messy ones. The messy ones ended up stressing my kids a little.  Apparently, my kids struggle with not having order (ha ha).  But, after really pushing them, we came out with some really fun ones!

For this one, we just opened up the laminating sheet and placed our paper scraps where we wanted.  When we were all finished, we carefully closed the sheet and ran it through the laminator.  Easy Peasy!
One of my favorite ways to study texture and collages are mosaics.  This one was really easy because I let them pick out their own design and cut out their own squares.  They even forced their dad to join us for this art project (thankfully, he didn't object and I think he even had fun!).  I love how they all came out! 
These projects were a lot of fun!  There was lots of space for the kids to come up with an idea in their head and make it a reality on paper.  It made a mess. . . but it was an easy clean up! 

Have you been able to carve out space for some art in your home?  I'd love to see!  Post a picture on Instagram or Facebook and tag me in it: #ootrbsummerartchallenge

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Thoughts on Traveling Amidst a Pandemic

I'm an enneagram 7 and the 3 months of Shelter in Place was kind of tough on my heart that loves adventure.  Like many, many people vacations were put on hold or cancelled.  We had 2 very special weekends away (to celebrate my husband's 40th and our 15th anniversary) and those got cancelled as well as our Big Summer Vacation.  That was so hard on my heart.  Adventures breathe life into my soul and by the time June rolled around my heart was heavy.  Between the anger and hate I was seeing on social media and not being able to go to my usual spots or wander aimlessly around stores sipping a latte. 

Around this same time, we were toying with the idea of going to visit my parents and grandma in Wyoming.  It has been 4 years since we were last there and because there are so many wide open spaces, we could have adventures safely.  There were a LOT of conversations and most of them stopping because the idea of driving that far was not really high on our list and we weren't sure about flying during this time.  When my grandma started having some health problems, we decided that it was actually very necessary to go while we were able. 
Our trip was set in stone a week and a half before we would leave.  There were so many feelings between nervousness (umm. . . there's a pandemic going on!) and excitement (we were headed on an adventure!).  I did so many things to get us ready for this trip.  As we were leaving, reports were starting to show spikes in numbers and being out and about in it kind of made me nervous.  Despite this, we continued our plans and went on our adventure as safely as possible. 

Our trip to Wyoming was to a small town (about 5000) in Northern Wyoming near the Big Horn Mountains.  We took 3 days driving to get there with stops in Las Vegas, NE and Park City, UT. Nevada was probably our biggest risky spot. 
We decided to take advantage of the Paris Hotel opening just a few days before and I'll be honest with you.  We had so much fun.  Our hotel room was sealed shut with a giant sticker that told us no one has been in the room since it was cleaned.  Masks were required everywhere.  That meant there wasn't a lot of smoking (A big plus!).  There were hand sanitizer stations about every 10 feet and some casinos had full on sinks with soap and paper towels in the middle of their casinos along with lots of hand sanitizer.  Tables were marked if they were sanitized and if you sat at one, you were to flip it over marking it dirty, so no one would sit at it, but also so that a staff member could come and wipe it down.  The Bellagio only let so many people go into their botanical gardens at a time and even then you had to follow a specifically marked path.  We found that the Casinos that were open were doing everything in their power to keep people as safe as possible and be able to stay open.  We were impressed.  I will say that most stores were not open yet, as well as clubs, shows, and bars (that was nice. . . until we wanted to grab a cocktail to take up to our room).   On the way home, we ended up getting to go to the New York New York so we could eat a late lunch at Shake Shack (drooling as I type this!).  It was so quiet there that it was easy to feel safe. 
The rest of our trip was pretty much lower crowds.  We followed recommended social distance guidelines and wore masks when out it public.  In Park City, we took our food to go and bought some picnic food for the rest of our journey (there were not a whole lot of places to eat on that leg of the journey. . . except ice cream. . . lots of ice cream!).  One restaurant that we ate at used shower curtains to divide the booths. . . but it was so quiet that no one was anywhere near us!
When we got to the small rural town where my parents are staying, very few stores required masks, but we always carried them with us just in case.  We were even able to go to a parade safely! We avoided lots of crowds, which was really easy to do in a rural area. 
I thought I would share some tips for planning adventures despite the Pandemic. 

We've gone on our big road trip, a beach trip, wine tasting, and a few other random adventures here and there.  There is a way to do it wisely and it's good for your mental health. 
1.  Don't let fear guide you and trap you inside.  But, no matter where you fall in your belief of the pandemic, you can not argue that it isn't serious.  Be wise.

2.  Avoid Large crowds, especially indoors.

3.  Wear masks when around other people.

4.  If restaurants scare you, order take out and go on a picnic. . . or eat in your car. 

5.  Get creative and do a little research.  Some National Parks are closed or limiting cars, or even requiring a reserved pre-paid pass. 

6.  When planning your adventure, look for ways to experience something or somewhere new. . . like a quiet beach that isn't your normal beach. 

7.  Carry Hand Sanitizer with you and spray your hands every now and then. 

I guess what I am trying to say is just because there is a pandemic, it doesn't mean you don't have to stop living.  Let's safely live our lives going on adventures and living life to the fullest. 

Have you gone on an adventure this summer?

Friday, July 24, 2020

Summer Art Challenge 2020: Self Portraits

There is something about summer (even in the midst of a pandemic) that I really just love.  It's more quiet and relaxed.  There's more time for creativity and rest.  It's been pretty great.  In many ways, my kids are experiencing the same summer they normally have despite society kind of hunkering down where we live.  This means we are doing art and lots of it.  This week we moved along in our Summer Art Challenge to Self Portraits. 
Self Portraits are always fun because kids get a chance to draw themselves.  They get to play with making shapes to form their eyes, decide if they want eye lashes or not (my boys decided that despite their long, beautiful eye lashes drawing them looked like a girl. . .. boys!). 

We started out with just a simple video tutorial on how to draw ourselves from the chest up (I'll link it at the bottom).  The kids had to push pause every now and then so they could do what she asked them to do, but it worked.  They turned out great!   We used pencils to draw and crayons to color.  Super simple. 

Later in the week, we took a different approach to Self Portraits.  We did it Abstract style.  I really wanted to keep with the same simple pencil and crayon approach as we did with our earlier self portraits, but change it up again.  We talked about what we had learned last year when we studied Picasso and then got to see a lot of his creations at the National Art Gallery.  We talked about bold colors, strange shapes, and how they don't look realistic at all. 
We used another tutorial (this time not a video) found on Pinterest (why recreate the wheel?).  It was simple and left room for lots of vibrant colors.  This one was super easy also, but we decided that the colors popped more when we outlined everything in black . . . such a simple thing, but an incredible difference. 

And that's a wrap for this week's Summer Art Challenge.  Have you been taking time to get creative?  I can't tell you how much it does a heart good in the midst of all the crazy!  Plus, I love the memories and conversations that are made from these art times! 

If you are doing them, I'd love to hear from you.  Feel free to tag @outoftherightbrain on facebook or @jolieklassen on instagram. . . or use the hashtag #ootrbsummerartchallenge.

It's a joy to my heart to be able to blog here, but also I get so much encouragement seeing what you all are creating! 

Have a great weekend!



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