Crafts | Faith | Printables

4 FREE Inspirational Coloring Sheets

By on June 24, 2019

I love the pace of summer. Even though we generally have a variety of different events that mess up the routine, the overall pace of summer is restful. The sun slows me down, invites me to soak in its goodness, and reminds me of God's faithfulness.

Sometimes we need reminding of these truths that seemed so obvious to us at one time. I've shared some coloring sheets before because I love the way that they help one meditate on ideas. When you're creating something lovely that speaks of something beautiful, your soul responds to the harmony it hears. Here are four coloring sheets to encourage your soul!

I Am Worthy

Often we don't feel worthy of much, and that is true because we can't bring anything good to the table without God working through us. We often miss God's goodness, however because we decide that he can't use us because we know how lacking we are. It's that law of protection that rejects someone first before you get rejected. It doesn't work in God's economy though.

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Oh How He Loves Me

The reason that we can trust Him is because of His great love. His love isn't dependent upon our performance, because he loved us before we were lovely. His love is relentless, reckless, and reliable. We can learn to trust Him more as we ponder His great love.

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Bloom With Grace

Learning to trust is a bumpy road. There will be many missteps along the way that can tempt us to turn away. However, if we allow God's love to grow in our hearts, we can show ourselves grace as he works the impurities out of our lives. It is a process that requires much grace.

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God is Love

Our relationship will continue to grow as we learn that our mistakes are not bothersome to our God. He's not impatient or harsh. He's not waiting for us to learn our lesson, but he's calling us to a relationship. It's his nature because God is love. Isn't that a glorious thing?

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Enjoy these free coloring sheets and remember the beautiful truths as you make lovely art!

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Classical Conversations | Latin Helps

10 Ways to Practice Latin Vocabulary

By on June 17, 2019

Latin vocabulary is the bear that you don't want to hibernate over summer. Just like any muscle, if you don't use it, you will lose it. Therefore, taking some time to keep that vocabulary refreshed over school breaks will be one of the most fruitful endeavors you can pursue. Here are 10 ways to keep it fun and fresh:

1 - Flashcards

Flashcards are a simple yet effective method for review. If you just focus on 10-15 flashcards over the 10 weeks of your summer break, you can have anywhere from 100-150 vocabulary words fresh for the school year to start back up again.

You can make your own flashcards, or download and print the Latin with Andy flashcards (included in a membership).

If you've been studying Latin for a while, take this time to focus on the vocabulary that you struggle with the most. It will really pay off when you're back into translations again.

2 - Flashcard Videos

Latin with Andy has videos on YouTube that walk through the Henle 1 Vocabulary cards. Watch a video each day to keep the vocabulary fresh and learn tips and tricks for how to remember the words.

3 - Memory Matching

There are other ways to use the flashcards to help you practice. Print them off single sided, cut them out, and play that old fun matching game with them!

4 - Hangman

Classic games like hangman work well because they involve attention to spelling as well as vocabulary review. You can play hangman by choosing any of the possible forms of nouns or verbs. This expands your game play by having to sort through all of the possible endings they know.

5 - Spoons

Spoons is a fast paced card game that requires players to pass cards around in a circle until they have four that match. When they get those four matching cards, they try to subtly grab a spoon as the others keep searching for four cards. Once someone grabs a spoon, the other players can grab one even if they don't have four matching cards. The one who is last is out.

You can play this game with Latin vocabulary with those same one-sided vocabulary cards you used in memory matching. Just grab some friends/family and start looking for two complete sets of vocabulary words, like this:

I don't like the idea of getting out of the game because that means that you'd stop practicing vocabulary, so I usually just have the same number of spoons as players, and the spoon grabbing just livens up the vocabulary review!

When one person finds matches, they grab their spoon, then lay down their vocabulary words to announce their success. Then they draw four more cards and everyone else keeps playing with the same cards they had.

6 - Pictionary

Another fast-paced and playful Latin vocabulary review game is Pictionary. Students can draw one of their vocabulary words and see if their friends can guess it and then translate it into Latin.

7 - Word Pictures

Sometimes the Latin vocabulary word is just a little more challenging to memorize, so drawing pictures to help them remember the forms of verbs or the Latin word for a particular noun can be a great way to review vocabulary.

8 - Vocab Quizzes

A quick way to get in a little review is to offer a vocabulary quiz. Focus on one lesson at a time and have your student take the same quiz every day. They can complete as many as they know and then use the answers to add two or three more answers to their list.

As time passes, they will get faster at taking the quiz and eventually master it. At that point you can move on to the next lesson. Every once in a while, you can bring the old lessons back as a review.

9 - Make a Dictionary

One of my favorite ways to really practice the forms of your Latin vocabulary is make your own personal Latin Dictionary. This isn't so much for actually looking up words when you're translating, even though you could definitely use it that way.

The beauty of copying all of these forms and translations over and over is that you build muscle memory. As the forms become familiar, it makes translation work faster.

10 - Word of the Week

If all of these vocabulary review ideas just feel like too much work, you'd be surprised at how many words you can really internalize by just focusing on a word of the week. Write it on the family chalk board, or post it on the fridge to get it out in front of your family. Make it a point to bring attention to it throughout the week.

If you can find ways to keep Latin vocabulary fun it will make it easier to keep reviewing. The rewards of your efforts will be worth it!

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Crafts | DIY | Organization | Simple Style

Designing a She Shed for Your Teenager

By on June 10, 2019

It all started with a cardboard box and a creative teenager. Last Christmas I ordered a new chair for the living room and my daughter confiscated the box. She said she'd only keep it for a week, but then I saw what she made out of it. It was the most creative box clubhouse I'd ever seen. I talked her dad into letting her keep invading his workshop for a little longer, and then she started making bump outs. This kid needed a real project, so for her 13th birthday she built a she-shed with her dad in the back yard!

Last summer my son wanted to fix up our back yard a bit, so he came up with a deck project for him and his dad to complete. They had some left over decking materials, so they added a little deck space on the other side of the yard.

The problem with this side of the yard is that it is either in full sun, or getting Pecan tree sap dropped all over it. No one wanted to sit over there, so it gave us the perfect base for our she-shed.

So we mapped out the space and dreamed up a design and my two little worker bees got to work! I scoured Pinterest for inspiration and we found these two projects extremely helpful:

This project offered great opportunities to learn the basics of building from how to drive a nail, to framing walls and a roof. Our baby girl worked hard at every stage of the project. It's easy to overlook my baby because she's my youngest, but I'm learning to let her grow up and do amazing things like this!

March surprised them with chilly temps for Texas, but that didn't slow down these two workers. They finished the whole roof in a day!

I was more interested in the design of the space. We found some used windows at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. My husband made sure to frame out the windows to fit our unique window sizes.

Since the decking was pieced together, it was a little uneven in some places. That was just fine under the table, but once it was the front entry of the clubhouse, we needed to reinforce it a bit. We found this fun flooring at IKEA, and it worked beautifully as a sidewalk with grass to the front door.

They painted all of the inside white and laid some easy peel and stick vinyl tile on the small 8'x6' floor. This will help keep the place clean while offering a little bit of style!

My girlie couldn't have been more proud of her outdoor retreat:

I found this sensory-friendly water-resistant crash pad at Target that made a perfect window bench cushion. My husband built the little bench system with scraps from the build. It was a great use of the materials!

On the back wall we hung this cute SKADIS pegboard from IKEA to organize all of her treasures. A clear tray at the bottom holds all of her bouncy balls.

On the other side of the space, we mounted the NORBERG wall-mounted drop-leaf table from IKEA to provide a little desk space for working on her school work.

This table is a great space saver for the small footprint of this room.

We also tried to use all of the framing as built in shelving. Her friend even gave her a cute hexagon letter board for her birthday that fit perfectly in the space.

This project quickly became a family favorite. I wanted to help her realize her clubhouse dream so that I could go and enjoy the space with her. I'm looking forward to endless fun in this cute little space for all of us!

It's amazing how this little underwhelming deck space can turn into a backyard highlight. The best part is that my little girl experienced her creative engineering come to life.

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Gardening | Travel

Seattle Spotlight: Chihuly Garden and Glass & Space Needle

By on June 5, 2019

I am a sucker for a garden. Everywhere we travel, I try to find a local garden to explore. When we went to President Clinton's library in Little Rock, AR, I saw some of Chihuly's work displayed there. It also is featured in Atlanta's Botanical garden which is incredible! So when we were heading to Seattle, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit was at the foot of the Space Needle, I thought it would be a great opportunity to see them both.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

From the moment you walk into this exhibit, you know that you're in for a treat. Not only is the glass artwork exquisite, but it is displayed in such a masterful way that every time you turn a corner, the beauty takes your breath away.

One of my favorite surprises was the hallway in which there was a glass ceiling with top-lit blown glass pieces casting a beautiful light on the whole area. It was stunning.

This hallway leads you into a giant room filled with garden inspired pieces. Every angle of the artwork this pretty magical.

It is really hard to capture the beauty and enormity of some of the pieces displayed in this exhibit. You really do need to see it for yourself!

One of my favorite rooms was the boat room. Chihuly loved to throw his blown glass pieces in the water to see how they would interact with it. This display plays with that idea. The glossy black stage on which the art was set reflects all of the beauty back, creating a stunning presentation.

Just when you think the artwork can't get any more beautiful, you walk out into the garden area where playful plantings mix with graceful glass for an incredible effect. All of the colors and shapes were whimsical and awe inspiring. Chihuly truly has a masterful eye.

While this exhibit might be a little pricy, it was one of our absolute favorite places we visited while in Seattle. If we had to do it all over again, this would be at the top of our list.

Space Needle

Right after we toured Chihuly Garden and Glass, we walked next door to the Space Needle to visit Seattle's iconic architecture and check out the view. There was a local artist with a cute sign right outside that let us take a picture with his work for $1!

Even though it was a rainy day, we enjoyed getting to look out across the city. At that point, we had no idea that on a clear day this view would have Mt. Rainier as a feature. This would be a great way to view the mountain!

When the Space Needle was constructed, it was a showpiece for the 1962 World Fair. Equipped with a five star restaurant, you could enjoy the high life at a high altitude.

Now the restaurant has been replaced with a snack bar, and they've installed a glass floor on their rotating level so you can really get a view of the surrounding area. It was pretty incredible!

One of the coolest structures is the Museum of Pop Culture or MoPOP. We didn't make it to this one simply because after walking a couple of miles to the Space Needle, we were pretty worn out and opted for the Monorail instead.

While it was fun to go up in the Space Needle, there are so many hills that give you incredible views, that I don't think it was as awe inspiring as the Chihuly Garden and Glass experience.

If you're looking for that iconic Space Needle photo though, Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill is the place to go. It offered a stunning view of the unique architecture of Seattle and a really crazy introduction to Queen Anne Hill driving. It will make you feel like you're in San Francisco!

This area in Seattle is so rich with attractions, it was really hard to pick just a few. However, if you get a chance to make it to Seattle, I highly recommend Chihuly Gardens and Glass. I'll be looking for other opportunities to see his work in our next travels!

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Fun | Travel

5 Beautiful Seattle Day Hikes for Beginners

By on June 3, 2019

My husband and I got away for our 20th Anniversary to Seattle. When we arrived at our Airbnb, we found this great guide for exploring the city: Best Easy Day Hikes Seattle. As a way to make sure I stayed active on the trip, we decided to try out a different one each day. This helped us explore the city of Seattle in a unique way. Here are five beautiful Seattle day hikes for beginners.

1. Alki Beach Trail

If you're looking for a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline mixed with beautiful beaches and a touch of history, the Alki trail is a great option.

We parked free on the street near Salty's in West Seattle and walked down the paved trail to Alki Beach. It is probably the longest of the trails that we walked, but the views were stunning. You start off with an incredible panorama of the city skyline and as you head towards Alki Beach, you're looking at the Olympic Mountains with the Puget Sound sprinkled with a variety of boats heading in and out of the port.

At the Alki Beach end of the trail there are lots of cute shops and restaurants. Since the trail is 2.5 miles, taking a break for dinner was a great option to rest. We ate at Pegasus Pizza and Pasta which was amazing.

After dinner it was a little chilly, so we grabbed a cup of coffee for our sunset stroll back to the car. The only mistake there is that the bathrooms are few and far between! But the views were worth it.

Bike and kayak rentals are all over the place, so if you're looking to experience the trail and views another way, you have lots of options.

2. Elliot Bay Trail

Elliot Bay is the body of water right on the west coast of downtown Seattle. As you sail north, you cross over into the Puget Sound. So if you're looking for a fun way to get to downtown Seattle without driving, this trail is a really beautiful way to do just that, and get a few steps in along the way.

I really love all of the trails in Seattle. They are wide and paved and make it easy for people to get outside and enjoy the beautiful shoreline. As you walk down the Elliot Bay Trail, you'll see several beautiful outlooks and benches to stop and enjoy the view.

Just before you enter the city, you'll find the Olympic Sculpture Park. This is an extension of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), and a beautiful free exhibit to enjoy. My favorite was Echo, a 46 foot sculpture of a young girl with her eyes closed facing Mount Olympus. It was stunning from every angle.

If you're up for a little more adventure, the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass are only a couple of blocks up Broad Street. You could even catch the Monorail to take you all the way to the center of downtown.

It "rained" on us throughout most of this hike, but the rain in Seattle was more like an intermittent sprinkle. I enjoyed walking around without an umbrella without any intense frizz problems like I expected!

3. Burke-Gillman Trail

On the east side of the city, Lake Union is the natural freshwater lake that is bustling with recreational boaters, seaplanes, and sailboat races. This was one of the shortest trails we walked, but it offered a great glimpse into another side of the city.

If you don't want to hike the trail, Gas Works Park is a great destination by itself. You get a great view of the skyline as well as get to explore some fascinating historical Gas Works and watch the boat activity. On a clear day you can also see Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.

We followed the trail from Gas Works Park to Fremont Park. This trail follows the Lake Washington Ship Canal that connects Lake Union to the Puget Sound. If this trail made it all the way down to the Ballard Locks, that would have been really cool, but it is just too far away.

We walked down the trail and then headed back to our car down 34th street where there are some really interesting restaurants and bars. We ended up eating at Pablo y Pablo which was incredible.

One really interesting aspect of this trail is that it walks past the Google Seattle campus. It looks like an incredible place to work!

4. Snoqualmie Falls Trail

If you want to get outside of the city, an hour's drive will lead you to a stunning waterfall hike through a beautiful forest. Hiker beware: the way down isn't too bad, but the way up takes some hiking stamina.

This waterfall became famous from the show Twin Peaks, but this 270 foot waterfall is an incredible sight. Parking and admission into the park is free, so that also makes it a great place to visit.

When we made it to the lower observation deck, we were rewarded with an incredible view, and at the same time hit with the realization that it was a long way back up the hill! There is a parking lot at the bottom of the hill if you want to catch the view without losing your breath.

In order to make it back up the trail, we took it slow and paused frequently to take pictures. It was a great way to catch our breath and make it back to the top. Just watch out for those Washington slugs! Yuck!

After our strenuous hike up the hill, we headed downtown to grab some lunch. The Snoqualmie Downtown is a great place for cute cafes and antique shopping. I loved looking through all of the shops down Railroad Ave. You could also visit the Northwest Railroad Museum to catch a little history.

We ate at the Black Dog Arts Cafe and Theater which offered an eclectic environment filled with local art, fresh baked bread, and cozy seating. It was a great place to rest after a long hike!

5. Arboretum Waterfront Trail

We attempted to go on the Arboretum Waterfront Trail, but with all of the recent rain, the entry to the path was flooded.

Although I truly hope this path gets restored, the good news is that the Washington Park Arboretum and Seattle Japanese Gardens are just around the corner, so the hike was saved.

The Washington Park Arboretum is always free. There are some beautiful paths to stroll along. The path from the main gate to the Seattle Japanese Gardens is about a mile in distance, so it makes a great day hike.

The Japanese garden does have an entry fee, but it is worth it.

Any of these hikes offer a great way to get outdoors and enjoy taking in the sights and unique living opportunities Seattle has to offer. I loved that they gave a novice hiker like myself many beautiful paths to enjoy without killing myself!

Have you tried any of these Seattle day hikes? What was your favorite?

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