Jessica and I are both Momprenuers that juggle both the lifestyles of stay-at-home moms and working moms. My art and design business, Kidspired Creations, went on an exciting and unexpected journey this summer that has, to say the least, made it especially hard to find time to blog (my deepest apologies). But let me tell you a little bit about what has been going on and about how we have been giving back to an amazing organization called St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – perhaps you’ve heard of it?
This is Bennett. His story has touched thousands of lives and counting! In December 2013, the Coleman family began an unexpected journey as Bennett, just 17 months old at the time, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He was admitted to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for treatment where he and his family spent the last few months of his life here on earth. On april 28, 2014, the cancer died and Bennett began his new life, healed, happy and free of pain in heaven. The staff, nurses, doctors, patients and families at St. Jude are incredible and held the hands of the Coleman family all the way…
Being close friends with the Colemans, my business partner, Brooke, and I shared updates about Bennett with our kids. They learned all about St. Jude, cancer research and treatment, and the wonderful care that the organization provides families free of charge!
Brooke’s son Cooper, age 4, decided that he wanted to raise money for Baby Bennett. He said, “I love God. I love to paint. And I love Bennett.” He asked his mom to help him sell some paintings so he could donate the money to St. Jude. Brooke started a Facebook page, Cooper Paints, to document Cooper’s donation efforts and art endeavors…
…and this got Brooke and I thinking… thinking about how much our kids enjoy painting… and how beautiful each creation is… and how more kids would probably like to do what Cooper is doing… and who can resist a beautiful piece of artwork made with love from a child?
Photo Credit: Kelsey Ann Photography
And thus, Blue Balloon was born – named for the blue balloons that family, friends and prayer warriors have released to celebrate Bennett’s life. Here, child artists can donate paintings to sell and the proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Bennett Coleman.
Cooper and his friends have created true KIDspired art! Each 8″x10″ piece was hand-painted with love and is available for purchase HERE for $15.
This summer, Blue Balloon has been blessed by our community here in Lafayette, Louisiana. We were given space to host a Paint and Donate station at the Mommy & Me Expo in June where nearly 60 kids donated their time and talents to make and sell artwork for St. Jude!
We then were invited to sell those paintings at Applause for a Cause, a play, also benefiting St. Jude, and the organizers of the Baby & Kidz Expo donated booth space for us to sell paintings at their super successful event as well.
Our wonderful donors, volunteers, artists and vendor events!
Many businesses around the area donated materials and services for Blue Balloon to participate in these events! Many thanks to Office Depot and Lowe’s of New Iberia and Michael’s Arts and Crafts and Super-1 Foods of Lafayette for donating art and cleanup supplies. Also, to Kidz 337 Magazine for donating ad and article space and Kelsey Ann Photography for providing professional promotional pictures!
We surpassed our goal!
With the help of these businesses and events, our high school volunteers, child artists ages 1 to 16 years old, and including the auctioned artwork that raised $200 at Bennett’s Bash in Lafayette, Blue Balloon has raised over $1300 for St. Jude! More than $300 over our original goal!
So, now we have a new goal!
We are hoping to raise $1500 by August 15, 2014! For just $15 you can purchase a painting and help us meet our new goal! Your entire $15 will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help toward research, treatment and care for patients and families as they battle this horrible disease. St. Jude operates solely on donations and at no cost to the families so they can focus 100% on their loved ones.
To read all about Bennett and the Coleman family, you can follow them on Facebook and #pray4babybennett. If you would like to make a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, please visit http://www.stjude.org.
LSU’s Mike the Tiger came to my son’s school the other day for a surprise birthday visit!
It was such a memorable experience for ALL of the children.
But, it actually could have been CRAZY and chaotic if I didn’t “think fast” and come prepared with a few ideas to keep the kids somewhat calm.
It could’ve turned into a bunch of injured kids or an injured Mike, but I always keep a few tricks up my sleeve.
Any time I am in front of a big group of kids, I always try to get them to do something along WITH me. So, here are my 5 top picks to fill wait -time or keep crowd control when you have a group of kids to organize.
1) “Silly Says” – Today we played “Mike Says” and everything he did, we had to do. I play this with kids a lot and I just play “Silly Says” – whatever silly thing I do, you do.
2) “Going on a Bear Hunt” – I was at the park once trying to keep the kids away from the sandbox and this chant did the trick!
3) “I Spy” – The classic game – I usually play it in a variety of ways. “I spy something shaped like…. I spy something that starts with…. I spy something the color…. I spy something that sounds like…. I spy something that rhymes with…” You get the picture.
4) “Mirror Fingers” – hold up the same number of fingers that I hold up in a different way.
5) “Imitate my Clap” – this is an old teacher-tactic where the kids simply have to listen and follow the beat that the leader makes.
A couple other easy ones:
1) Coordinate “Little Sally Walker” – you may have to YouTube it if you aren’t sure what that is.
2) Play “Man in the middle.” One person stands in the middle of a circle and throws the ball to someone on the outside (who can’t move their feet). Whoever catches it and follows the rules becomes the man in the middle.
3) Play “Duck, Duck, Goose!”
4) Sing “If you are Happy and You know it” – I always come up with lots of things to add to the song like “wag your tail, hop like a frog, roar like a lion, etc” STRETCH IT OUT! 🙂
I have always admired artists and dabbled in some pitiful attempts to paint, draw, and the like.
My husband actually found a painting that I did and thought his sister gave it to us and said “This is by far the ugliest painting that Kelsey has ever done.” Yeah, I’ll probably never let that one go.
But, that same sweet husband helped me paint words on the walls of our new business, and he isn’t an artist either.
After my years in the classroom, I was gifted an overhead projector from my superstar mother-in-law. This came in handy. I printed the words (in the font that I wanted) onto transparencies (at Office Depot), and then simply projected the image onto the wall.
We then just painted over the shadow of the letters and it nearly looked like someone with art skills had something to do with it. Murals can also be done this way. My friend painted the sportsman fleur de lis onto my son’s wall using our projector too.
I took my son to see the doctor for his routine “return-from-traveling-with-a-cold” visit. After asking the typical questions about his diagnosis, “Is he contagious?” “What can I give him to stop the whining pain?” my next questions were, “Can I take a picture of your art work?” and “Can I blog about it?” From the look on her face, this was the first time she had gotten asked that question at an appointment.
You see, I fell in love with how she had her own children’s artwork displayed in her patient rooms. After she agreed to allow me to take pictures and blog about them, she showed me around the office to see all of her kids’ art! I just loved it all! It’s so hard to not just love a painting or drawing done by a child… even if it’s just lines and dots.
The ways that she had the different projects displayed turned simple child art into masterpieces… framed and hung as if they belonged in a gallery. What child wouldn’t feel so special to have their artwork displayed so prominently in their home?
This is the one that especially caught my eye:
She took her kids to a local art class and this was the project they did with water colors and crayons. I love this because she framed the same project done by all three kids. It’s beautiful and so cheerful!
These paintings could have easily been placed in their baby boxes and forgotten for years until re-discovered down the road when the kids are heading off to college. Instead, my eyes were immediately drawn to them when I walked into her office.
Arts and crafts stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels do custom framing, but you can also just bring them an old frame and whatever artwork/pictures you want to frame. They will cut a matte to fit (that’s the purple part you see between the frame and the picture). The matte is what makes this look so polished.
I also love how she had each of the kids sign their names under their artwork. Real artists in the making!
Here is my other favorite from another of the patient rooms:
What a great idea to allow your child to use his or her own picture in his/her painting! I can’t wait to do something similar soon!
This also made me think of my friend’s house and how she displays her kids’ artwork:
1. I love the wall decal with one of my favorite quotes and 2. I love the fact that this is interchangeable, but still clean. (You can purchase a similar wall decal here on Amazon and the wall mount with clips here).
These ideas are all way better than how I have most of our artwork displayed (I’m pretty sure the whole alphabet will not fit on our back doors):
And obviously my kids now think they can stick anything on the doors since they are now covered in stickers as well.
Here are two other ideas from my house:
Jessica also sent me these two amazing pictures and I am totally going to steal this idea because I love it so much! Let the frame-collecting begin!
How do you display your child’s masterpieces? Please share with us on Facebook @themommyteacher!
I do not have time to post pictures of my little ones doing these crafts at the rate I am making these printables for the “24 Days of Christmas Printables!” (You can like the album on our Facebook page to get notifications when I add new ones each day). I am enjoying filling our playroom with options.
This gingerbread man template is great for choosing to use it however you feel up to it maybe after reading a Gingerbread Man book you check out from the library or after making a gingerbread house in time for Christmas.
Each day the kids get excited about the templates because I give them options like:
Do you want to decorate the gingerbread man with glue and sprinkles?
Do you want to color him or paint him?
Can you trace the gingerbread man with markers?
Can we give him sticker buttons and yarn hair?
These templates just make it easy to use however you feel up to it.