MOPS Craft: Courage Key Necklace

Since I posted the other MOPS craft, I figure I could keep going. :p We started out our new MOPS year in September making Courage Necklaces. In our MOPS members welcome kit from MOPS International, we received a Courage Key (The Giving Keys). We are supposed to find someone who needs the message of courage, and give them the key. Our super crafty Creative Activities coordinators, Megan and Kristina, came up with the idea of making the key into a necklace.

10517420_735954056453056_1319747969969472452_o(Photo credit: Kristina)


  • 1 – 30″ bronze etched chain
  • 3 – bronze beads
  • 2 – bronze jump rings
  • 1 – bronze jewelry clamp
  • 2-3 – assorted feathers (I used a 2-in and a 1.5-in feathers.)
  • glue (E6000 recommended)
  • Toothpick
  • Needle-Nose Pliers


  1. Arrange your two feathers (the larger feather below the smaller feather) and trim the feather quills to the same length.
  2. Using the toothpick, apply the glue to the inside of your first bead (the one that will sit lowest on the hanging feather) and thread the feather ends through. Repeat for the second bed.
  3. Lay your clamp over the ends of the feather quills and slide it snugly against the beads. Trim the quills to ensure that they will not be longer than the clamp once closed.
  4. Using a toothpick, apply glue to the inside of the clamp and lay your feather quills in the clamp with the “pretty” side facing the front of the clamp and quickly crimp your feathers into the clamp with the pliers (you want to be sure the hole on top of the clamp is clear of any glue or feather, or the charm will not hang nicely on your chain).
  5. Using the pliers, open the jump ring, add it to the hole on the top of the clamp, attach the same ring to the bronze chain and close using the pliers.
  6. Lastly, using the same method, add a jump ring to your Courage Key and attach to the chain.

10600649_10152748918206155_3563097143993451626_nDo you know someone who needs the message of courage? What message would your Giving Key have on it?

- Joyce

MOPS Craft: Grapevine Wreath with Looped Burlap Flower

I know MOPS Crafts are popular with a lot of our readers, and I haven’t posted one in a long time. I LOVE the one that we just did! It was a fall wreath, and I have to say that even though it might look and sound complicated, it is super simple, even for non-crafters like me! Our MOPS Creative Activities coordinator Megan and Kristina did a great job of finding a deal on all the supplies and organizing every detail. I wish I could show you everyone’s wreaths. They were all unique to each crafter. I love it!

10357260_10152886524431155_7519686835976014374_nWatch this video on how to do DIY Looped Burlap Flowers from Cool2Crafts:
(Start at 1:00 if you want to skip the intro and just get to the instructions.)




  1. Pull out the strands from the short 3” end of the burlap strips one by one (See Example A below).
  2. Cut the 3” wide strips of burlap apart down the middle of the glued sections.
  3. Apply a line of tacky glue along the bottom 23” edge of the burlap strip and fold the top edge over and press firmly to glue it in place (See Example B below).
  4. Apply another line of tacky glue along the edge and using the wooden stick begin to tightly roll the burlap onto the wooden stick tying your best to keep the burlap lined up (See Example C below).
  5. Once completed, you may choose to keep the flower in a bud-shape or you may press down on the flower and it will open it up to create a fuller bloom.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for your other four flowers.
  7. Once all of your flowers are complete, get your hot glue gun to add your flowers to your wreath in whatever fashion you desire.
  8. Now you can use your 10 pearls to add to the center of your flowers or use the sprigs to “dress up” the area around your flowers.

Example A
Example B
Example C

If you’re not up to making a fall wreath because winter is on its way, don’t fret! My friend Faith did a great job using these same steps to create a winter wreath!!!


Have you been crafty lately? What have you created? Is there any fall decor in your home?

- Joyce

My Brave Emily

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

beyoubravely_logoIf you have been around the blogosphere recently, you will see that “Brave” is a hot word! Our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) theme this year is Be You, Bravely! I love it! (You can tell by all the exclamation marks!)

I think most of us who are moms (esp during the new mom stage) sometimes tend to forget about who we are apart from our kiddos. I love how this theme helps us to not only remember who we were, but who we can become as moms, but also as we grow in this journey. I’m sure there are tons of books out there for us about being brave, but I loved when an email showed up in my inbox about a new book series for girls on being brave!

05291089843There are so many things we can be “afraid” of in this world, especially with how fast (bad) news can travel in a tap of a few keys. There are some brave women in the Bible who can show our girls how to be brave in a world that maybe doesn’t really agree with them. I was listening in on a conversation Emily was having recently with some kids she just met. She started telling them about A/OK (Alpha Omega Kids), which is a weekly kids’ group at our church where they have a worship time, attend different workshops (computer, cooking, crafts, recreation, etc.), eat dinner together, and have a Bible time. She told them that it was about God and how God loves them. One of the boys responded that it was weird…or she was weird. I couldn’t hear what he said. I was so proud of her for sharing her faith, but it also broke my mama heart. It didn’t faze her at all, and she just kept right on playing with them. I don’t want her to ever feel defeated by how others view who she is or what she believes, but how much easier it would be for me to tell her now to say those things because someone might not like her. I would hope and pray that those around her would love and accept her whether they share the same beliefs or not.

If you remember, I am not a huge gifts person. It is definitely not my love language, and we don’t always do Christmas gifts and such because we have enough stuff already and it really isn’t what Christmas is about, but I think these books will end up on the list. (The devotionals are available in March 2015 but you can preorder today.)

brave index

It would be neat to have a series like this for boys too. And because I can’t resist, below are some “brave” books for grownups:
*50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith
*50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith
*Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Our Week in Photos (Week 43)

What Happened?
*FPCH Fall Concert

What’s Happening?
*EB’s 30th Birthday Party
*CC Del’Osso Farms Field Trip
*Castro Village Trick or Treating
*Piano Recital

Click here or on the image(s) below, and then click on slideshow on the upper right hand side. My creative captions are a must-read. :p

*Note: If when you click on the slideshow, it brings you to the photo album, just close it and continue to watch the slideshow on our blog.

2014-2015 School Year: Curriculum

Obviously, it is not back-to-school time anymore, but I thought I would humor you all by posting our curriculum choices for the year, and also to remind myself of what all we are doing. 😜 We started back on August 18th, and we are into Week 10 of the school year. We are “officially” homeschooling both girls this year, with Melody being in 2nd grade and Emily in Kindergarten. I am so proud of them for working hard these past two months. And I’ll just repost what I posted last year. –> It looks like a lot, but we don’t do all the subjects every day, except Language Arts and Math. The bolded items are what we mainly work on, and the others are done if there is extra time. We try to get school done by lunchtime (except for MOPS days when school is in the afternoons,and Memory Masters Workshop days when school is during lunchtime/early afternoon), and Melody can mostly do a lot of it on her own. Emily is slowly getting the rhythm.

I’m not quite “on it” with getting the curriculum and materials in order, but it’s getting there slowly but surely. I need some motivation to fix it up a bit so I can get a blog post out about our “schoolroom”. 😝

How has the school year been going for you so far?

20141021_204514 20141023_122131

Melody – 2nd grade/3rd grade

Emily – Kindergarten

Both girls

(We go through lots and lots of other books that connect with what we are learning too, but that might be another blog post as well…if I had the time… 😜)

***(italicized items are done in their classes taught by a tutor that meet on Fridays)

  • 161 events & people in a chronological timeline
  • 24 history sentences: (including the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights)
  • 44 U.S. presidents
  • 120 locations & geographic features in North America (emphasis – the United States)
  • 24 science facts (including the first 12 elements of the periodic table and the parts of 8 body systems)
  • Latin rules & vocabulary (including the text of John 1:1-7 in Latin & English)
  • English Grammar facts (including the principal parts of 11 irregular verbs)
  • Multiplication tables up to 15×15, common squares and cubes, as well as basic geometry formulas and unit conversions
  • Exposure to drawing techniques
  • Music theory and tin whistle
  • 6 great artists and related projects: American Masters
  • Introduction to orchestra and 3 classical composers
  • Weekly science experiments or hands-on projects
  • The practicing and refinement of oral presentation skills

Our Week in Photos (Week 42)

What Happened?
*85 Degree Bakery for Mom & Dad’s Anniversary
*Parents Night Out
*Birthday/Anniversary Brunch for family
*Moore’s Pumpkin Patch

What’s Happening?
*FPCH Fall Concert

Low-key week and full weekend. That was our week. Happy early 39th wedding anniversary to my awesome parents! The girls have to sing at a fall concert at church so we celebrated my parents’ anniversary and my sister and brother’s birthdays with a breakfast/brunch on Saturday. We also trekked out to 85 Degree Bakery for some yummy goodness! Always a good time! :) And to top off the weekend, we took an unplanned trip to Moore’s Pumpkin Patch which was super fun. The girls LOVE the Super Slide for sure! It’s not the most fabulous pumpkin patch out there, but it is a tradition to go. I will be doing a post on this soon because I just took a peek of when we went in 2009…my babies!! :p

Click here or on the image(s) below, and then click on slideshow on the upper right hand side. My creative captions are a must-read. :p

*Note: If when you click on the slideshow, it brings you to the photo album, just close it and continue to watch the slideshow on our blog.