When Wylie was little I was a pretty lonesome momma of a preschooler. I only had a two friends who had kids, and since I stayed at home, my world tended to be small, my days often mind numbingly repetitive. Someone along the way (I so wish I could remember who) invited me to a local MOPS group, and since I was happy to go anywhere there was free food and childcare, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn't get to go very often, but when I did I absolutely loved it. Everyone was so open and friendly and willing to share their less-than perfect mothering stories. I no longer felt so alone or rudderless. During those few Tuesday mornings, sitting at a banquet table doing random crafts with perfect strangers, I begin to find my footing and my groove as a person -not just a momma- again.
So when my friend Sarah asked our church to pitch in and help with a Teen MOPS group that she leads, Sweet Man and I jumped at the chance to help and to give back to this program that had given me so much.
Nathan made West Wing Spaghetti (so named because back in the good old days we used to make it and watch The West Wing each Wednesday night,) Iceberg Salad and Garlic Bread. Other friends from our church brought delicious cookies and desserts and helped set up.
Everyone pitched in, even our friends Lilly and Brady. Lilly loves to help in the kitchen and Sweet Man is training her up to be his ultimate sous chef I think. In addition to the dinner, we also provided the nights activity - a craft of course.
.Sarah had mentioned that lot many of the girls give the crafts as gifts to their mothers and grandmothers, so I wanted the craft to be substantial and easy to personalize.
a wall hanging, ornament, door hanging, or embellished frame.-whatever you want to call it.
The theme was " a joyful noise" and when I introduced the craft I talked very briefly about how easy it is to lose sight of the joy to be found in our children's noise making when we are tired, overworked and stressed.
I needed the craft to be affordable, both for me to provide and for the girls if they wanted to make more at home, so I very intentionally made sure that everything I used could be bought at the Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart with the exception of the printable I provided.
(Having things ready in individual portions like this really makes a group craft go so much smoother. )
When I handed Brady the camera my only instructions were"take lots of pictures of their hands." I was pretty impressed with how she did. She got lots of great "hands on" shots.
In addition to the frames I also gave the gals gift boxes that they could transport their frames home in, knowing that some of the may not dry by the end of the night.
(This is a little tip I have learned the hard way in the past ...)
I was worried that the MOPS gals -ages 16-20- would think the craft was dumb, or cheesy or just not their style. But I explained that the could trade out the printable I had given them with a picture of their children or other family members if they wanted and that they could use as much or as little glitter as they wanted. I even showed them a few different techniques for spreading glitter cheer (use a paint brush for spreading glue is my #1 tip.)
Amazingly everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves, embracing the glitter for all it's glitzyness, and really going to town with their frames. One gal even glitzed up her gift box!
During events like this it is hard to know if what we did helped in any way, if it left even the smallest tiny impression of love, encouragement or hope in the hearts of the girls. I hope so. Not so much for my sake but for theirs. After all motherhood is hard, no matter who you are.
(If you would like to make your own version of this craft or perhaps just use these as gift tags, feel free to download and print these off.)