Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tyler Thankful

Homelessness by matkaminski:
  He sat crumpled up against the wall of Walmart, with the cardboard sign propped up against his legs.  Head down, he didn't look up at the shoppers who passed by him, most only glancing at him (like myself) out of the edges of their eyes.  A dog lay curled up near him and his hand stroked its head.   

  Daniel and I hurried by, but just inside the entrance, my husband stopped me.  He pulled out his wallet and looked through the cash we had wistfully, finally pulling out a few dollar bills. 

  "Do you mind if I go give this to that guy?" he asked.

   I nodded, adding, "And you can take a few moments to talk to him too, if you want.  Me and the kids will hang out and wait for you."

  Daniel does this every once in a while.  He never gives without trying to start a conversation with the person he is giving to.  To introduce himself and hear the other's story.  He hasn't yet run in to someone who is unwilling to talk.  Most of the folks he has chatted with seem to crave, for just a moment, the chance to converse like a normal human being with someone else who will look them square in the face and ask...and listen. 

"Most of those people want that life.  They don't have to be there--they've chosen it.  If they really wanted to, they could find real work."

  I know, I've heard the arguments.  Even recently.  But after the events that have transpired in my own life, I don't believe them any more.  Sometimes, even with a heart full of faith and an incredibly loving God at the helm, life can be tough.  Just ask King David.  And sometimes, getting a job isn't all that easy. 

  Does it make me doubt God's love?  Well, when I'm in the middle of a really crappy day, maybe it does.  (I've said before, "I'm not perfect."  Heh.  Here's more proof.) 

  The truth is (and this is what I go back to, after all those niggling doubts) that God is loving.  But here's the clencher:  His ways are not our ways.  So when things go vastly different than I wish them to, it doesn't mean He's withholding something.  It means He is actually giving me something I didn't expect (haha, or want?).  Like...maybe a fresh perspective. 

Let me finish my story.

Homeless by Cursed-Beauty47:
  Turns out, this young homeless guy is named Tyler.  Growing up, his parents were never that much in the picture, and even as a youngster, it was his older siblings who raised him.  Apparently, that wasn't a healthy home life (big surprise).  His older siblings were abusive so when he turned fifteen, he left.  He's nineteen, now and he only keeps in touch with his younger brother.  Where does he stay?  He doesn't have a place to stay anymore because his camp (wherever and whatever that was) just got "cleaned up" by the cops the other night.  But don't worry, he told Daniel.  Things are looking up for him.  He's got a dog, now:  A homeless stray, much like himself.  He calls the dog, "Benji".  It took him awhile to teach Benji to trust him.  But now, it's Tyler and Benji, and things are looking up.  Was it cold last night?  Yeah, it was pretty cold.  But things are going to get better.  Don't worry. 

  What the heck was I doing suggesting Walmart to Daniel that morning?  I never go to that Walmart.  It's one of the dirtier ones, in a not so great area of town.  I don't even think the prices compare to where I usually go, and prices matter these days because we are in challenging circumstances ourselves.  I have been frustrated in my prayer life, griping to God about why He has us staying on the good graces of family for so long.  It's a humbling and uncomfortable place to be for an extended time period.  I have been desperately trying to find His answers to me, somewhere.  So, this morning, God gave me an incredible gift:  the chance to go to Walmart and meet Tyler. 

  An opportunity to realize anew how rich and how blessed I am.  Right now.  In discomfort and humility, I am blessed.  The cops haven't "cleared out my camp".  I get to take a shower each morning.  I have food to eat.  It's cold at night, but I'm warm.  Wow.  I've been given so much.  And I'm not to worry, either.  Because things are going to get better. 

  Thank you, Tyler.  We'll keep praying for you, Daniel and I.  We're so glad we got to meet you and Benji, and we really thank you for giving so much to us this morning from your own meager store.  We really appreciate it.  Thanks. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thanksgiving Advent and Thankful Tree

Okay, here's what my son and I did for our first Thanksgiving craft this year.

It's actually a combination of two different ideas I got from Pinterest.
The first were these nifty little edible acorns, pictured here:
This photo and how to make these can be found at the link to Michelle Clausen's blog: Sugar Swings.

I admit, I didn't catch the first time through that they used mini vanilla wafers.
Ooops.  Ah well, it's still cute, even with original sized cookies.
Super neat idea, right?
 And Caedyn already knows about acorns since we have found them on our nature walks.  But how to incorporate?

Well, here was someone else's great idea for a classy Thanksgiving lesson about thankfulness...

This photo and how to make the tree can be found at Simply Vintagegirl Blog at:

Putting the two ideas together was a blast (and will be more than a one day project with your toddler!)

1.  Make the tree.  Doesn't have to be super fancy.  A container from the thrift store would work or in our case, we used a tin can and covered it with fabric.  We found a single branch that worked great.

2.  Caedyn and I tried to think of his favorite things.  These included trains, God, Daddy and Mommy, his cousin A.J., books, and numbers.  We wrote one down for each leaf (or tag).  A simple hole punch through each was all that was needed, and then he got to put it wherever he wanted on his tree.

3.  Then we talked about the holiday coming up (Thanksgiving!) and that it is ten days away.  As Mommy put the frosting on the cookies for glue, Caedyn unwrapped the Hershey's kisses and stuck them on.  Then we wrapped them up with saran wrap to keep them fresh and added a hanging ribbon.

4.  Ten days til Thanksgiving and ten acorn kisses hanging on his tree!  Now all we have to do is make sure we remember to eat one a day!  This is also great counting practice for his numbers, and it's great timing for us since we just finished learning 1 through 10. 

That's it--super easy to do together, and really great for getting little minds thinking about what he really has to thank God for.  Turns out, there's a lot!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Treats to Eat

    I'm not a big celebrator of Halloween, but carving out jack-a-lanterns is a nostalgic memory from childhood that I have guilty pleasure about passing on to my children.  We don't make scary faces, but it is a warm fall sight to see the candle-light brimming out of a cheery face out in the cold.  This year, it was hard for my three year old to wait to carve his pumpkin.

"Waiting's hard, huh, Mommy?"

  So, we here's a Halloween sweet treat we made that helped ward off those "waiting to carve the pumpkin" blues. 

What You Will Need:
Rice Krispies
a dessert cup for molding
Green Apple Twizzlers
food coloring
Twist ties
Cellophane paper
Black construction paper or black puffy paint

This is pretty basic, really.

      First you make your Rice Krispy Treats, adding in some orange food coloring (or in my case red and yellow until I got the desired color) at the mix in stage.  Now I had forgotten how it can be tricky to mold the treats, but remembered right away how important it was to slather my hands in butter to help do this.  

I tried to mold it by hand in little globes, but it seemed to work better to have the dessert cup to press the treats into.
My three year old happens to not like getting his hands sticky so he opted to hold the pre-cut Twizzler pumpkin stem while I did the dirty work. 
We let them rest on wax paper until we had the whole batch molded.
Licking the spoon when all is done is another very important step.

Then we wrapped them in cellophane and tied them off with little twist-ties (green preferably).
 Next, we glued on a pre-cut jack a lantern face...
and Voila! 
A fun treat that my son got to deliver to a few of his friends. 
 And he ate one of them, too!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Decorating for Toddlers

I love to scavenge adult crafts for my kids to do.  Not all are feasible.  But some are.  And it's really
fun for my three year old to come away from doing a project and know that Mommy might do this one too because the end result looks so awesome. 

So awhile back, I found this on Pinterest: 

Ahhh.  I love this one!  And how easy is it, right? 

These are black thumb tacks arranged in super cool swirlies...yay for EASE and ELEGANCE!!!!

Here's the link if you want to pin this one for yourself, by the way:

So I thought to myself...this one has possibilities for my toddler to try out.  And so we did.

What you need for this craft:

A Pumpkin
Thumbtacks (we couldn't find black but gold worked, too)
A marker

We bought our son a mini pumpkin because of how easy it was for him to handle.  Then Mommy drew the lines on with a marker, including a very special "C" for Caedyn, (so everyone would know it was his).

He followed the lines and pushed in the tacks himself.  Sometimes, they overlapped, but that was fine.  Every once in awhile, he'd push one in crooked so that the pin was cock-eyed.  So, Mommy would pull those out and put them back in at the right angle.  

But overall, he owned this craft.  And was VERY proud of it. 

As he added the last few pins, he said, "Wow, when Daddy sees my pumpkin, he's going to say 'Cool!', huh Mommy?" 

The pins were super easy to push in, even though we got our batch at Dollar Tree, so they weren't the toughest of thumbtacks.  We had two casualties, but that was it.

So, if you're dreading the mess of pumpkin carving this year, and want to try out something different, I say give this one a shot.  The hardest part is coming up with your design and drawing it on with the marker.

Happy Fall!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Artwork of Lhune

Last post, we shared the exciting news that Ilse Gort, also known as LHune on deviantArt, has agreed to be a part of our Kickstarter project.  This is super cool!  I just want to show off one of her pieces to you, so that you can see the level of detail and the skill of her work.  Check it out!
"Wild Soul" by Ilse Gort

If we can get both Ilse and Andrea funded in the next 8 days, every backer will receive a copy of the artwork she does for us!  Woo Hoo!!!! 

To learn more, go to

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ilse Gort on Kickstarter

Andrea Meloni

We've been sharing the awesome news that Andrea Meloni is on board to create some artwork for a "The Races of Tarsia" Art book.  This amazing Italian artist has done cover work for comic books, and his beautiful technique with lighting can be seen in this image here at the right (Rim light, people, and BEAUTIFULLY done!).  We are mid-way in process on getting this artwork funded.  Only $195 left to go as of right now! 

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'm shamelessly plugging our current Kickstarter Project, located here:

We have already gotten the funding for one artist, Djamila Knopf.  Now, we are only $195 away from having Andrea Meloni completely funded.  Soooo.....I thought this would be a good time to put out a carrot.  To show you one of the other artists whose work we are going to begin funding, if we can reach the current stretch goal. 

Ilse Gort

Her name is Ilse Gort.  You can see her work at
Isn't her work amazing???  If you love fantasy artwork, help us get the word out!!  Feel free to share, or come be a supporter of our Kickstarter Project.  
Ilse shares about herself here:

 "I was born in 1990. I am a freelance illustrator and game artist as well as a student of Game Art, currently in my third year. Since 2008 I have worked for dozens of private individuals, working my way up in the business and becoming more recognized for my work. In 2012 I started an internship as a 2D Game Artist for Triumph Studios, a triple-A level company in the Netherlands who are currently working on Age of Wonders III. Additionally, I am doing trial work for S2Games (Heroes of Newerth) which so far is positively received. My favorite genre is fantasy and my goal as an artist is to breathe life into both my and other people's imagination, using what I knowledge I have of the real world mixed with the possibilities that magic offers. I have felt connected to fantastical imagery since I was a young child and hope to create and share that connection with others through my work."


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Introducing Andrea Meloni

Super Exciting Kickstarter News.  Let me introduce you to an amazing artist.  This is Andrea

Andrea is an Italian artist, born in Turin (or Torino) in 1982. 

He's been drawing since he was a kid and has worked in many different fields, including advertising, illustration for school books and toys, and storyboarding for films and movies.

He has been published in Italy, France, Spain and other European countries and is currently doing some brilliant cover work for comics and books.

Here is more of his work:

 And he is has agreed to help us with some of the artwork for our next Tarnished project!!!  If we can get him funded, that is.

We are going to be releasing a new update shortly, explaining all the details, but the gist of it is this:  if we can raise another $350.00, we can have this amazing artist do our first piece for the World of Tarnished Art book!

Please,  please, please...if you love fantasy artwork, and would like to be a part, come visit the link above, and let's get this amazing artist funded for a brilliant piece of art.  If he does, every backer will get a 4x6 print!  Yes, yes, yes!!!

Not convinced?  Well, look here.  This is a beautiful art piece of his.  It is called "Dual Wielding". 

Come support us!  Let's get this brilliant artist funded and a new piece of art for Tarnished!!!  Yay!!

Friday, April 19, 2013

He Speaks In Dreams

Lots of times God will share stuff with me through a dream.  Night time dreams.  Like when I saw Daniel, my husband, in a dream about 5 years before I met him.  Job 33:15 says that God "speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds."  
 He sure does in my world.

Like right now, we've been going through some challenges with Daniel's work.  I use the word "challenges" very lightly.  It has been incredibly physically stressful to our entire family.  And this, after picking up said family and moving three states away in order to come serve these folks.  But in the midst of the worst working environment we have ever experienced, God gave me specific dreams that have to do with our situation.  I love it when He invades my world in this way.  It brings hope. (Image at right is by forgottenx: )

In the past, I have sometimes looked up symbols in dream books to try to bring more understanding to what God is telling me.  But I really think that dreams are incredibly personal.  You can only get so much interpretation from a dream book.

For instance, Grandma's house in your dream might represent all that is loving and warm and delightful.  In my dreams, my Grandma's house always represents a place of fear.  Usually I am blowing up my Grandma's house or leaving it.  I have no idea what a dream book would say about that(Image at left by Gilmec   But in my world, with my background (which no one really knows except me and God), a dream like that actually means that I am becoming more and more healthy in leaving Fear and trusting God when Fear attempts to torment me.  And what did "Grandma's House" mean to Little Red Riding Hood...well, before or after the wolf?  See how symbols can be so personal?

So, I had this dream recently.  It was actually rather morbid.  It didn't "feel" morbid while I was dreaming it.  But I woke up and thought, "Uh.  That's a hard one to share with people.  Just cause it's gross sounding."  And with that introduction, here ya go:

"Daniel and I were working in a dark, dank basement kind of place.  It was rough-hewn,
unfinished; not a good working environment at all.  (We talked it over later and agreed that pretty much sums up the working environment we are currently in.)  A lot of folks were working in this place as if it was a normal office.  Not far away from me on the ground (here's the gross part) was a clear plastic garbage bag and in it were a whole bunch of my internal organs.  I was worried about these, since I knew that a garbage bag couldn't be the right place for them (especially my heart, which I was pretty sure was in there).  Then the bag began to seep blood into the groundwater and other people began noticing and getting grossed out.  I mentioned it to Daniel and he told me not to worry.  He would throw the bag away.  It would be okay."(Image at right by Alipants: )

Needless to say, this was something of a disturbing dream.  We're throwing away my heart here?  That can't be good, right?   Well, I don't know what it means, (half the time, I don't, the day after I dream it), but I write it all down, as much as I can remember and file it away for future reference.

Fast forward a month or so.  The working environment we are in has degenerated even more.  The leadership is a fiasco:  there is constant under-cutting, juvenile-like pushes for power-plays, and my husband is having to deal with antagonism that we have never experienced before (and he worked for a stint in the state capital of California, for goodness sakes)!

Did I mention we currently work for a church?  So the leadership happens to be our pastoral leadership also.  Double ouch.  Nothing like the fun of getting friendly fire from the folks who are supposed to be spiritual family.  This has created just a tad more internal pain and stress than I am used to.  Ah well.

But, Daniel reminded me of something beautiful in the midst of this mess.  It's from this neat verse in Ezekiel (36:26):  "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

(Image at right is titled "Heart of Flesh" by Arteigel, who's gallery can be seen at .

I guess it's pretty comforting to realize that in spite of the pain that hits sometimes, there is Someone who cares, who notices and who plans on taking care of you.  He will allow you to go through the junk, yes.  And He will not ignore the pain--He SEES it (that part is important!)  But, He cares very much about your heart and doesn't want it to feel numb or be stepped on or be thrown away.  Rather, He will give you a brand new one, that maybe doesn't even remember the hurt that destroyed it in the first place.

Oh, and the day after this morbid dream, God gave me another one.  In it, I was going on a date with
my husband and we were going to go to a wonderful restaurant that was an all-you-can-eat kind of place.  We went to peek at the banquet and I remember being delighted by all the possible desserts.  In the dream, I remember thinking, "Hooo, boy.  There's so much good stuff here, we're going to have to be careful we don't eat too much!"

Ha!  How's that for an encouraging thought.  There's good stuff ahead.  And in the midst of working in a dungeon, that's encouragement!  That's what makes us keep our chins up and keep pressing on.  And that is the beauty of knowing that dreams are from God.   (Image at right by Er-ca :

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Fairy Named Kayleigh

    It's been such a long time since I posted any of my artwork up here.  Look, this proves I still do some!

    This is my little niece, Kayleigh.  She is just three.  She loves fairies, I'm told.  She lives in California, with the rest of our family, so we don't get to see her now.  A friend took this photo of her after she was bouncing around on a trampoline and fell.  She even made falling look fun.  I begged the use of the photo when I saw it on Facebook so I could turn her into a fairy.  Doesn't she make a sweet little one, though? 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Influencers: Remembering Corrie

  As an author (who really needs to get back to writing the sequel to Tarnished, I've been thinking a lot about how much it matters who has influenced me.  I'm going to begin putting up posts every now and then that share who the "influencers" are in my life.  My heroes, basically.  Because if I was a reader, I would want to know.

  So, for the first of these, and in memory of the recent anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, I'm sharing about Corrie Ten Boom.

Corrie was also an author.  She wrote a book about the illegal activities she was involved with during WWII, when her country of Holland was overtaken by Nazi Germany.  She was involved with the Dutch Underground and ended up being put in a Nazi Concentration Camp for failing to reveal the hiding place of the Jews she had hidden in her home.  She didn't get started on this stuff until she was in her late forties, I think.  You can tell she was a rather extraordinary person just by hearing this much, right?

(Image above right which shows some of the Holocaust's victims belongs to Color-Her-World.  You can view this artist's work at )

In her book,  The Hiding Place, Corrie shares about surviving the Concentration Camp (Ravensbruck).  It's a pretty amazing story.  Here's a link to the book on Amazon: .   But she begins by sharing about her early life, growing up in the Victorian era.   One of those early stories left a lasting impression on me for how I choose to write.

(The above photograph is of Corrie and her family taken in 1902, Corrie is on the extreme right.
This story actually has more to do with her father, who seems to be quite an extraordinary man as well.  Little Corrie, who was around age 10 or 11, was with her father, a watchmaker, at the train station when the story picks up.  It is here that she asks him a question that had been troubling her.

      "'Father, what is sex-sin?'
      He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing.  At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
     'Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?' he said.
      I stood up and tugged at it.  It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
    'It's too heavy," I said.
    'Yes,' he said.  'And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load.  It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge.  Some knowledge is too heavy for children.  When you are older and stronger you can bear it.  For now you must trust me to carry it for you.'
    And I was satisfied.  More than satisfied--wonderfully at peace.  There were answers to this and all my hard questions--for now I was content to leave them in my father's keeping." 
-page 26, The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom

I love this!  Isn't it beautiful?  A father, protecting his child from hard truths that could hurt or harm her before she is ready to hear them?  It reminds me of that one movie, Life is Beautiful.  Few of us have fathers who understand to this extent that a child should be protected in this way.

Now, keep in mind that Corrie was raised at the turn of the century, when sex was never discussed, even at home.   In our society today (which is rather infiltrated with "sex-sin", and therefore might require an explanation a little earlier), we might answer somewhat differently a child who is age 10 or 11.  That's not really my point.   I'm talking about the way Corrie's father valued his daughter's heart.  Like the way a millionaire might care for his Rolls Royce.  The millionaire is not going to drive his Rolls through a bad part of city or over roads that he'd take his beater Jeep on.  Like a man would recognize the worth of a ridiculously priced car, this father recognized the value of his child's innocence.  (Artist of image at left is kawaiikitteny, whose work you can learn more about at the link under the photo.)

Recently, I was hanging out with friends who have children around the same age as we do.  The father was boasting about their 4 year old son, and how the boy could watch anything and it didn't seem to affect him in the least.  The man had showed his son Batman, the Dark Knight.  I cringed.  What about that precious innocence?  To see such dark visions; images of lunacy, hatred, fear, affects me, as an adult.  What must it do to a four year old child?

So this is a legacy that my friend Corrie has passed on to me:  a desire to cover the children.  To bear some of the harder burdens for them, until they are older.  I keep this in mind as I write.  I do not wish to enter the deeper dungeons.  There is a place for that at another time or with another author but mostly I trust you will find my stories free of the heavier burdens that would be more than a child should be asked to carry.

Image at right is by artist *Zindy.  You can find her incredible portfolio at

Another friend and influencer (who you will hear more about another time), L.M. Montgomery, put it this way:   "A pine forest is just as real as a pigsty, but a darn sight nicer to be in."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More Fun With Pinecones

   Earlier this year I put up a post of a wreath I made using pinecones that dropped from my own trees (it's so much fun to use stuff off my acre and a half!).

You can view that post here:

There are other fun things you can do with pine cones, and today, I wanted to show you something else I had fun making with them.

 Here's the first one:

I found some fun DIY projects on Pinterest where people had dipped pinecones in paint and then allowed them to drip-dry.  I had some leftover glossy white paint, so I decided to give it a try.  It was tedious and messy, but I think the reason I had more trouble was because of the kind of pinecones that I had.  They were too fragile and it was hard to make them work.  However, I have one tree that produces a heavy, thicker pinecone.  I think it's a cedar.  And with the pinecones from this tree, I got this beauty:
I screwed in a tiny picture hanging loop, and then tied the ribbon to it.  I'd been looking for something to utilize the knobs on this bathroom shelf. 

All the rest of the pinecones that I had experimented with worked great in this apothecary jar, with a few natural ones thrown in and some more of the green ribbon.  At first I left it like that, but I have these branches (same ones I used in the pinecone wreath) from these bushes that line one side of my house.  I liked the look of them sticking out of the top. 

The bathroom also has this window on the opposite side.  I figured, since I had a few more paint covered pine cones, that I would set a few in the window sill.  And since we have a pine cone theme going on here, I glued some of the pine cone seed flakes to a photo frame of my husband and I. 

I like the contrast of the natural pine cones with the paint covered ones.  It's fun.

Here's a detailed shot of the photo frame.  I used hot glue, but I will say if I thought this frame was going to get a lot of handling, I'd probably use tacky glue instead.  That would hold better on the metal of the frame.

I'll be doing at least one more post with pine cones.  I have another wreath and a small decorative Christmas Tree partially done.  I figure, since I have all these materials (pine cones are still dropping from my trees) that it is a good plan to work on future Christmas gifts now, when I have the time.  So stay tuned for at least one more Pine-cone Post--yay!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Our Letter A activities

Caedyn has begun expressing an interest in wanting to read.  Now, at two and a half, he's (WAY) too young.  But, letting my son experience reading through crafts and games?  OH yeah!  Besides, I've been waiting all my life to have a kiddo of my own who is old enough to do fun things with.  So, here's some of the fun we have recently been having with the letter A.

So, this was great--he had so much fun!  My boy's a little perfectionist.  I put the glue (Tacky Glue worked great!) down on the construction paper and he carefully laid down his cheerios.  I will also do this with macaroni and maybe uncooked beans or lentils.  It's great for kids to work with manipulatives when they're this age because holding a pen just right is pretty tough.

Okay, super easy.  You've probably seen this old standby already, but here's our version and I thought I'd break it down.

Green Construction paper:  
1.  A big green A  (freehanded, people-- no one's checking out your ability to make a perfect A, I promise you).
2.  A little u, but you don't cut out the inside of the u.  This is the piece for the alligator's eyeball to rest in.

White construction paper:
1.  A little circle (eyeball, and Caedyn filled in the dark circle by himself--also good practice of shapes).
2.  White rectangle, folded and cut zig-zags out--gives you two teeth pieces.

Marker:  I wrote the "A is for Alligator" and Caedyn drew the tongue.

Another old standby.  Not my idea, but works for the idea, you know?
Red construction paper
1.  Little a, cut out.

White construction paper
1.  Just cut a circle that will fit behind your a.

Green construction paper
1.  Leaf shape (rounded diamond shape?)

I drew the seeds in and wrote the "Aa is for apple".

Okay, the picture at right is another idea picked off of Pinterest.  Someone had suggested using popsicle sticks and putting velcro on them so that your kids could create letters that way.

I like this one because of course they are re-usable for all the letters to come.  
 This one was one we came up with on the fly but it became a BIG hit.  Caedyn wanted to do another craft so I tried to think of something else with the sound of A as in apple.

Ha!  Axe, of course.  We first made it with cardboard and tinfoil and string.  But Caedyn promptly began cutting down imaginary trees, and he cut down so many of them that we had to reinforce his axe with duct tape and popsicle sticks.
 Here it is reinforced at the right.  But, boy oh boy, he caught on that A is for Axe, even if we did have to cover that part up.

When Daniel came home, I got the whole story, as in why the axe really connected with Caedyn.  Turns out, that Daniel plays a version of the Oregon Trail on his phone with Caedyn.  The one part Caedyn gets to do is the chopping down of trees.  Ha!  Gotta love it when things come together for kiddos like that.  :)

I wrote the "A" in dotted lines with a pencil so he could trace over it.  Doing it really big like this (writing one A on a huge piece of paper) was good exercise.  It gave him a chance to see that he could write an A, too.

I got these pictures out of an alphabet book I bought from Dollar Tree.  He cut them out (yay for scissor practice!) and glued them on. 

He is too young yet to be comfortable with too much of pen or pencil practice but writing a letter really big is rewarding for him (he sees he CAN do it) and great for hand eye coordination. 

I also wanted to show off this other neat find from Dollar Tree:  These are stick on letters that can peel off and be stuck back on again.  So much nicer than the magnetic ones.  And one buck for the whole alphabet!

Now, I'll go into detail on this one.  This is "A is for ant". 
These are ants (just in case you weren't sure), and we made them out of a pair of old socks, two pipe cleaners and stuffed them with plastic garbage bags.  I saw an idea similar to this on Pinterest, but it was a caterpillar.  I just adjusted it a little.

Here, Caedyn stuffs his sock with a garbage bag.  No need to use expensive pillow stuffing on something like this, right?  Tie off sections with your pipe cleaners.
Bend the ends of the pipe cleaners for feet and legs.  We chatted a little about how ants have three parts.

I cut two little holes in the top of the "head" section of the ant.
Then I pushed another piece of pipe cleaner through the holes and bended it so he now has antennae.
Then we added googly eyes and a puffy paint smile.  Of course, when your kiddo is just two and a half he needs a lot of help with this project but that didn't stop Caedyn from being terribly proud of his ant when it was all done.  Yay!  A is for "Ant"!