Look! Something Crafty!

After all of your sweet comments and suggestions on Monday’s post, I’ve felt really inspired to do a few things that will hopefully make my time in Uganda a little easier on the four year-old here at home. Alex and I have had some great bedtime talks the last couple of nights, and aside from the fact that he says he wants to go to Africa with me and find all the bad guys and fight them and put them in trash cans, his little heart really is becoming increasingly tender for the people on that side of the globe.

And truth be told, I’d sort of like to put all the bad guys of the world in trash cans myself.

Anyway, I’ve had big fun putting some of your ideas into practice. Bailey’s Leaf suggested that I take a Flat Stanley with me on my trip so that we could make a scrapbook (HA! HA HA!) with all the pictures when I get home. I LOVE the idea (aside from the whole making-a-scrapbook part, because OH, THE TWITCHING), so we have the beginnings of a Flat Stanley in the works.


Only I’m calling him Flat Howard. Naturally. And we’ll be coloring him later this afternoon.

Elizabeth also had a fun idea. She suggested that I make a paper chain to help the little man count down the days until I get home, and I thought that oh-so-cool since time can be such a nebulous concept for a preschooler.

And y’all? To do this little craft?


Somewhere in Colorado, Barb is clapping her hands.

I found a template online for a Valentine’s paper chain (oh, I realize that I could’ve drawn the hearts myself, but that could have possibly resulted in some sort of pencil-related injury), and after about two hours, I managed to cut out eight little hearts.

The things you do for your kids.

I also thought it would be neat if each heart had a Scripture reference on it so that when my hubby helps Alex take a heart off the chain every morning, they can read that verse together and say a little prayer.

Now, of course, I want to cry.

Excuse me while I compose myself.

All better now.

Alex asked me to put the chain in the living room, and I hung it over a painting because, well, that’s where the nail was. Here’s what the finished product looks like.



Two crafts! Voluntarily! In one day!


And clearly I am all done crafting until at least 2009.

Because between traveling overseas and MAKING THINGS WITH SCISSORS, quite frankly I don’t think I can handle much more.

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  1. You must make him a flat Alex (if that is your little boy’s name)! My nieces have done flat versions of themselves that they send off to relatives (just like flat stanley, you see). I like the paper chain idea.

  2. I love the heart chain idea. It turned out really cute. I reminds me when my hubs made me a message in a bottle when we got engaged. He put sweet messages and verses and I got to pull one out every morning until we got married.

  3. Now, I am crying! And, this is the sweetest most wonderful thing you could have done with him and for him. I just wish I could come and hang out with him one day while your gone and do all his favorite things. You have such a sweet heart and just full of beautiful love for that son.

    Ok, now i’m composed. And, the thought of this much craftiness in one day makes me a little sick. :)

    Love you Boomama!

  4. That heart chain is precious! He is so lucky to have such a sweet, thoughtful momma!

  5. What a good mama you are! The time will fly by and you’ll have awesome stories to share with him when you get back! God’s grace will be more than sufficient for you and your men while you’re apart! :-)

  6. I hope the siscors were those “safety ones”

  7. Flat Stanley (Howard)! I love that guy. What strange concepts came out of the 70s, eh?
    When Husband and I were at the San Diego Zoo last spring, an old gentleman was struggling while trying to take a photo of his Flat Stanley with camels in the background. I offered to hold FS for him, and he was overjoyed (literally–he was quite the character). So in some old guy’s photos, there’s my hand with a FS.

    Husband was royally freaked out by this, having never heard of a FS. He thought the old guy was nuts. I explained how sweet it was, and that he was probably doing it for his grandkids or his sickly wife at home or something, but Husband still found it odd. Ah well. I’m glad you appreciate a FS!

    And the heart chain is adorable, by the way.

  8. Yea, I don’t do crafts. Period. Yay you!

  9. Those are both really sweet crafts! And you say you’re not crafty!!!

  10. What great ideas. You are such a good Mama. I am praying for you as you prepare for your journey. I’m praying especially for peace for your family while you are apart.

    Also, it warms my heart to know that there is at least one other mom out there for whom the scrapbooking induces twitching. I just can’t do it, and sometimes I have these flashes of my kids saying to a therapist someday, “All the other kids had scrapbooks, but not me. My mom just wasn’t crafty enough. All she could do was blog.” I just pray they’ll understand.

  11. Flat Howard. Perfect. Too bad he doesn’t have on his swimming trunks!

    I hope you have a great time and your family realizes how much they miss you and can’t get along with you, only with everything done so you don’t have to wade through the undones and spend days catching up.

  12. 2 crafts in one day – there will be no stopping you now!

  13. Cute! We’ve loved our Flat Stanley advertures here!

  14. I’m with you on the scrapbook making. Makes my head hurt. LOVE the flat Howard and heart chain. Praying you will have overwhelming peace as you get ready to leave for your trip.

  15. That looks fabulous!

    Why don’t you stretch your crafting muscles a bit more and make Alex/Howard a Flat Boomama? Get him a disposable camera to go with it. That way he can document what HE is doing while you’re away.

    No pressure.

  16. If you don’t like traditional scrapbooking, you might like digital scrapbooking. You just download your pictures into page templates and type in any text you would like. Then the company makes a beautiful bound book and mails it to you. I made one from Creative Memories for Jack for Christmas. It was fun and easy, and Jack loved it! You could make an Africa book to remember your awesome experiences.

  17. You done good. Of course, I realize that you’re really doing all this for D. It wouldn’t do for A to have to hold his sobbing father for all that time.

    You’re a true giver.

  18. I’m tempted to make one of those paper chains myself–for Troy, of COURSE. The only problem is that scissors are not my friend either and I would take the entire year to cut out the 400-ish hearts. My hand would get mighty tired, I’m afraid.

  19. I love Kelli’s comment. That is so true anytime we leave the hubby . . . far more trauma for him than for the kids.

    You are a precious, sweet mama, and I think your crafting outside of your comfort zone in honor of Alex is outstanding!

    Take that much-needed break and go to Family Fun.com in ’09 when you’ve recovered!

  20. Bailey's Leaf says:

    I love it being Flat Howard! That kid will never live that down, will he?!

    Glad that you are working on projects to make you both feel better about the upcoming trip.


  21. Oh my. That’s a lot of hearts.

  22. I saw that comment that suggested the paper chain idea, and I thought it was genious! I’m so glad you used that one!!! And I love your “take” on it! I’m highly impressed!

  23. Those are awesome ideas! I bet they will help the little man out too!

  24. I’m just thankful that you didn’t try running with scissors.

    The thangs you do for your kids.

    Well done, Sis.

  25. Wonderful craft work – Howard will be so comforted! I love the flat thingie – although the concept of scrapbooking is WAY beyond me. I do think a nice daily blog entry of Flat Howard checking trash cans for bad guys (that young man has a future in international relations – or a Rambo sequel!) Flat Howard wiping Sophie tears, Flat Howard posed with a beautiful little boy just his age! You know – you have a zillion creative ideas – even ones that don’t involved cream cheese OR fried things!
    Bless you girl – the Lord is using your family in a mighty work here.

  26. Boomama:

    The paper person thing reminds me of a paper bear that Baylor people take around the world and take pics of in cool places. Other Baylor people that is.

    And by the way, thanks alot for State stealing one of our top football recruits. We need help at defensive end, and were counting on that guy starting as a frosh.

  27. One more idea that I have heard Navy wives will do for their kids. Count out enough Hershey’s kisses for each day you are gone. Each day he can get a “kiss” from you.

  28. I love the paper chain! What a clever idea!

  29. When Youngest Child was in kindergarten, her class made Flat Stanleys and they were to give them to people who were traveling so they could “map” wher Stanley had been. Well, you know her over-achieving mother…and it was fall…and I am the ultimate Nascar fanatic…yes, you guessed it…Flat Stanley went to the Atlanta Motor Speedway with me, complete with garage passes and all…The look on some of the drivers’ faces as they posed with Stanley was priceless! But they were sports and they did it willingly…as will the people on your trip. Think of the conversations you can have upon your return!

  30. This is too sweet for words. I will be praying right along with Howard for a safe a rewarding trip for you.


  31. What a wonderful way to help your little one get ready to welcome Mommy home!! Praying for you in Uganda. May God’s hand be directly guiding you and your group; may Satan’s attempts to disrupt be totally blocked!!

  32. I remember Flat Stanley when my son was in 3rd grade. We sent him to Vegas to visit family…lol.

    I love the heard chain, and it matches nicely with the painting!

  33. Ooops…I meant heart chain.

  34. You go girl!!!

  35. what awesome ideas!! not only will it help your little man, but I believe it will ease your mind a tad too! both ideas are awesome! i really like the idea of the paper chain because your right, lil ones have no concept of time!

  36. dude, i’m a mess over here in texas. i so wish i could bring big h and the goo over and marvel at your craftiness. i love the hearts and yarn. i love the scripture. i love the flat howard. and i love the fact that it’s 830 on wednesday night, and i’m just so moved by your post tonight.

    like i said, i’m a mess.

    and who are all these crafty people? do they think of this stuff in their sleep?

  37. you are my craft hero.

  38. You with your scissors and me with my sewing machine – surely these are also signs of the second coming soon approaching.

  39. How perfect. What a sweet improvement over the paper chain.

    I’m very proud of you. ;-)

  40. Good job, SuperMom!!
    You probably had 40bajillion people share this idea with you, but JUST IN CASE… I’ve wrapped up little gifts for my girls when I’ve left them; one little gift (or note) a day- a lollipop, stickers, new movie, gum, etc. That’s back when I was SuperMom. Two crafts in one day, though? You’ve far surpassed me.

  41. Kelly in Carrollton, GA says:

    Adorable! You are a good mama, Sophie! The cost of your obedience to go will result in blessings that you can only now dream about…..but which are totally REAL, nonetheless!! The best is yet to come, for you, D. and Howard! Thank you for sharing the ride with us!! Kelly

  42. What wonderful ideas. So sweet.

  43. very cool and i think flat howard is an awesome idea. you don’t have to go super crafty scrapbooky with it, but just having the photos in an album would be fun.

  44. Flat Howard? Love it. You’re awesome.

  45. Very cute! You get a pass until 2009. We’ll be hanging on to know what is next.

  46. Flat Howard… love it! My name is Emilie by the way ha ha – but some man at church has called me Leslie for the past 15 years so I guess that is a payback to the Emily’s out there – some how – in a round about way…

  47. Overheard, at my house:

    Me: Aww..that’s so sweet. What a great way to help Alex not miss mommy so much!

    Hubby: Flat Stanley? I’ve never heard of that. That’s just weird.


    I think it’s precious. I’m pretty sure my ovaries did a little ballet just reading that!

  48. Oh my word, whatever is the world coming to? At the risk of sending you into craft-coma, you should make a “flat sadie” to stay here with Alex so that he can take pictures with it and show you what he did while you were gone. And you could make a paper heart chain for you too. That way you’d both be doing the same thing, praying the same scriptures, etc.

  49. Well, now…color me impressed.

    WAIT! DON’T! That would be yet ANOTHER craft, and we can’t have that, can we?


    Precious ideas…and everything…EVERYTHING…IS gonna be alright :). But you already know that ;).

  50. The great ideas melt my mommy heart :-)

  51. Last year I went on a missionary trip to Mexico with my 2 older daughters (15 and 11) BUT I had to leave my little one home. She was only 8. SHe stayed with my mom and had a great time! We went for 7 days and it was eye opening. I actually lost phone service for a few days but I really think God comforts little hearts while we are gone for Him.

    Mexico is not Africa, but it had a huge eye opening effect on me. We have so much.

    On a funny note, while gone my husband bought a special shirt to wear the Sunday we got back and it was a shirt he didn’t like but I did. I had a FIT how could he spend $20 on a shirt to wear once when there are kids/families with nothing! It was a funny afterwards but nothing like coming home from a missionary trip and having a fight, when the hubs is trying to be sweet!

  52. Those are great ideas! He’ll feel like part of you is still with him. So sweet!

  53. Amy Martin says:

    I love the heart chain idea!! My hubby is military and trying to explain how many “night-nights” Daddy is going to be gone is over my *almost* three year old’s head. She’s starting to understand the countdown, but the paper chain just might help! Thanks for the idea!

  54. When my boyfriend (now husband) went to South Africa for almost a month one summer, he recorded a bunch of CDs for me. We wrote letters back and forth normally, even when we were in the same city:), so he wrote me some letters too.
    But the coolest thing was the CD — I was supposed to put it in every morning, and there would be one of my favorite songs, or a song that was meaningful to the 2 of us, and then his voice would come on (at which point I would tear up every day:), and he would just talk a little bit about the things he normally would have put in a letter.
    It was a great way to stay connected while he was gone, and a keepsake I have and will always treasure:)
    I was thinking you could do the same thing for Alex — you could even just read one bedtime story onto a CD for every night you’ll be gone:)

  55. Ahhh, Flat Stanley. These are very good ideas and you both go good work.

  56. I love your hearts. So sweet.

    Safe travel prayers for you!

  57. I love Flat Howard. Make sure he gets the appropriate vaccinations before you leave.

  58. What great ideas! I love the heart chain w/scripture for counting down the days. AND, I love the painting that you hung it over. Who is the artist?

  59. LOVE the ideas – and what a sweet mama you are, Girl!
    Alex – he’ll be just fine. Kids are amazing creatures.
    I know that because one of mine just put the baby’s toys in her bowl of cereal.
    Amazing, I tell you.

  60. Delurking to tell you that your ideas are FABULOUS and I will be praying for you while you are away, and all God is going to do in your family’s life. I love Flat Howard and heart chain. And as a retired Navy wife, I agree with the Hershey kisses…my daughter loved it! In His Grio Always, “B:-)”

  61. What great ideas!!!! :-)

  62. haha…what cute ideas, and what clever (insert word i can’t think of here) of those ideas!! :)

    too cool!!

  63. Elizabeth says:

    Yay! You liked my idea! Can I put that on my resume?

  64. I was dying with your Howard story! Holy cow woman, you are funny.

  65. Yeah Boomama for being crafty!

    The heart chain is precious. My hubs will be in the states for 10 days in the near future and I shall use that idea for my girls!!

  66. Boo Mama,

    What about the phone commercial and take pictures for your son every day with flat Howard. I love that commercial.

    Wanda (I read your blog daily but I’ve never posted.)

  67. Loved the hearts. Loved the idea of the Hershey’s kisses too. You need to do that….leave enough for hubby too…..Blessings on your trip and your family while you are gone….

  68. I love the Valentine chain! I will beingoing to Ethiopia this year, and leaving at least two of my children home, maybe all three, and this will be great. I am glad I found it. (Beth Moore’s fault. I found your link off her blog.)

  69. When I went to Russia with the husband and left our three kids behind (gulp), I made packages for them to open every day. I had a letter to each of them and some sort of treat, activity, picture, etc. My mom said that the kids LOVED it and when we returned, they wanted to know if we could keep doing it. I also included a countdown of my return.
    I put each “item” and letter in big brown envelopes and labled them : Day One, Day Two, etc. Just a thought . . .

  70. Emma Kate says:

    Why does your Flat Stanley say Flat Howard?

  71. I really heart crafts; especially sweet simple Valentine’s ones! I will make this with our KIDS Church kids.

    BTW since there is an ad for the return of Paige Davis and Trading Spaces on the craft site anybody know the deal is with her being fired and now returning. I, apparently, was under a rock when all of these happenings took place and feel out of the loop…

  72. The Howard part I get. It’s the “Flat Stanley” idea that has me flumoxed. Who is Stanley and why is he flat and what does he have to do with photos and scrapbooking and WHY ARE YOU TAKING TO HIM TO UGANDA?????????

    I will absolutely NOT be able to sleep tonight now.

    Stupid blogs!