Thursday, July 31, 2014

What the Kids Are Up To... Branding

If you are following "What the Kids Are Up To This Summer" then you've already read...

after which the children were so anxious/excited to get their business started,
they grabbed their bracelets and pleaded to go outside to sell to the neighbors

But instead of the green light

I reminded them that this is a business and introduced yet another important lesson...

The focus:                                                                                                                      
Business Branding

The lesson:
The importance of branding a business to build success

A look at branding as the way a business is presented to the world,
which includes, but is not limited to...

company logo
marketing materials

The assignment:
I wanted them to first take time to plan out their

business design
establish a brand and
create a brand identity

So I asked them to...

Design a Logo
Create a Slogan
Streamline their Packaging
Create a dream board as a visual representation of what they wanted their brand to say

 Then a quick look around our home led us to find items we could
turn into something else

 And with some tape, a few sheets of paper, and a 1/4 can of leftover spray paint...

our repurposed chocolate box and paper towel
holders became their new bracelet display case!


Color*full Creations
creating a life full of color

What the kids are up to next...

(and a field trip!)
Link-ups below...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thirty-Eight Candles

I could get used to this...
(waking to the sound of the ocean waves on my birthday)
This year I woke to a beachfront view in Maui
had the chance to
witness my son
witness the sun
took a morning walk with friends along the beach
and explored the Twin Falls along the road to Hana with "my Moses"

I'm thanking God for another year of gratitude and grace
and happy to be living my life like it's... GOLDEN!

Twelve Candles

My son doesn't ask for much these days

Just give him...

music and ministry
sports and swimming
his summer business venture

and he's all set

So imagine my surprise

when the week before his birthday I overheard him casually mentioning to his sister
that he wanted a SURPRISE PARTY for his birthday!

(Yeah right kid, highly unlikely at this point)


since I am learning how to use what I have, to get what I want


I remembered that he would be amongst a group of his friends later that week
I made plans to surprise him there with a cake and twelve candles!

And after he counted his candles he

blew them out
looked at me

and said...

"the next time that I do that I will be a TEENAGER!"

(two to go!)

Friday, July 18, 2014

What The Kids Are Up To... Brainstorming

It all began...
as we sat together creating a list of things to do over the summer
(their list starting off great)

with things like...
Go swimming
Go fishing
Learn to sew
Ride bikes
Get new books at the bookstore
Make pizza
Tour a college campus
Have friends over for a play date
but then the conversation quickly shifted...
Go to an amusement park
Go to a water park
Go to the indoor trampoline place
Go to the zoo
Go to the county fair
Go to the children's museum
Go to the movies
Go to Hawaii
and as I began to notice just how price heavy their list was, I asked...
How do you plan to do all of this?
Who is going to pay for all of this?
And when they could not sufficiently answer my questions,
I suggested that they earn their own money this summer by becoming business partners!

The focus:                                                                                                                      
Brainstorming and Strategic Planning

The lesson:
I presented "An Introduction to Business" and explained the pros and cons
of two business venture categories (selling a product vs. offering a service)

The assignment:
Brainstorm business venture ideas
Bring a list of at least 5 business venture ideas to the next meeting (at the end of the week)


Then when the Kid's Edition of the ABC Television Show "Shark Tank" re-aired
(I knew that it was no coincidence)

so I decided to use it
to help evoke their entrepreneurial spirit and get their creative juices flowing!

And together we


the ideas
the pitches
the presentation styles

and when the end of the week finally arrived we had our first official business planning session!

(which means...)

we ordered pizza
spread a blanket out in the middle of our living room floor

and brought our

pens and notepads

(yes, very official, I know)

listened as each took turns sharing 5 business ideas

discussed them
finally deciding that

since they already

love making rubber band bracelets
are good at making these bracelets and
have all of the supplies and materials necessary to make them...

it would make the perfect business venture!

Rubber Band Loom Bracelets
also known as "Rainbow Loom" bracelets
 (that I first wrote about here)

The next step:
Create a Business Name
Identify Business Goals and Objectives
Create a Written Business Plan

And after a few days I asked if they had given any thought to

their vision
their mission
their values

and my daughter said she was thinking about

Colossians 3:17

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed do all
in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by Him

And after a second meeting, we decided upon...

Colorful Creations
adding color to the world one band at a time

(but soon realized the name Colorful Creations was already taken)

so I suggested a play on words...

Color (full) Creations

and we agreed that if we're celebrating color then we need to add some and it became...

Color(full) Creations

then finally...

Color*full Creations
creating a life full of color
What the kids are up to next...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"APFLH" Children's Art Studio... Mud Mania

I could hardly wait
for International Mud Day
to arrive
(and even though we missed the actual date)
there was absolutely no way we were going to
let the season completely pass without some sort of ...
mud celebration!

Official International Mud Day 2011 Logo

 Activities included:
Mud Painting
Mud and Stone Mosaics
Mud Pies

from our very own Mud CafĂ©

hand decorated mini mud cakes... 
(the kids were so surprised when Grammie stopped by to order the "Mud Special"...
they even tried to give her a "to-go" container to take home leftovers for Papa)
she declined
so the kids finished up with...
Mud Creations
(using homemade coffee play dough)
The kids and I had so much fun celebrating mud day together 
that the decision to do this again someday was unanimous...
and some day
just happened to be the next Saturday!
And as promised the following Saturday, we brought out the mud fun
and continued painting with our tinted mud
added leaf imprint painting
made more mud pies
and finished it off with an outdoor mud kitchen
complete with clean-up station!
So many mud activities... so little time

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Kid's Got Heart

We met up with our close friends at the park
to enjoy a lovely day of bike riding with the family
because it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that...

4 kids + 4 parents + sunny holiday in Southern CA  = family bike day!

We started on one side of the park and
and when we reached the other side we stopped for

and snacks packed for us by their littlest one

The sun was smiling
and as we rested under a shady tree to chat

my son took off his sweatshirt
allowing us to notice that he had sweat into...

the shape of a heart??

I had to look twice
and take the picture just to be sure because

I didn't even know that it was possible to sweat into the shape of a heart
and wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes...

But a few days later...
during the end-of-school awards ceremony

I listened as they called that heart-shaped sweating boy's name for...

Scholastic Achievement
(the Gold Award for straight A's)

Perfect Attendance


the Christian Character Award
(for the 6th year in a row!)


I am grateful that in whatever it relates to...


he is willing to give his best
put in his all
sweat his heart out

because he

wants to succeed
likes to win
is striving to hear "well done"

which is why

at the beginning
the end
and all day, every day

I know...
This kid's got heart!

(check out the launching of his new summer business!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Meditation Monday... Open the Door

The children gathered in the gymnasium for "Youth Sunday" service
and he was excited because he was asked to be one of the speakers!

The week before I had witnessed him quietly


notes for his exhortation

His theme: 

"Standing at the door"

His text:  

Rev 3:20 (NIV)- Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

His message:

He started by explaining that God wanting to "eat with us" is not literal
(He's not standing there with a box of chicken) 

It simply means that God wants to

have a relationship

with each of us

but He cannot do that unless we let Him into our hearts

so he asked them...

"Can you open a locked door without a key?"  

and before allowing anyone to answer the question,
he conducted an experiment to find the answer...

His experiment: 

Two volunteers were chosen from the audience 

The first child went into the bathroom and locked the door while
The second child stood outside the door and tried to open it 

Of course it didn't open...

so he instructed the child inside to "unlock the door"
allowing the other child to turn the knob and open the door

which led him to his main point...

Each of us has a lock on the door to our hearts
and it is only us who can unlock it to let God in!  

The lock is on the inside
and in order to have a relationship with God
we must first unlock our hearts because He will NOT force His way in

But our responsibility doesn't end there...

His example:

"During the summer I go outside to play, but sometimes I don't have my key to get back
into the house.  I knock for my sister to let me in, but if she is has on her headphones,
she can't hear me so our Grammie has to come downstairs and ask...

'Can you hear your brother knocking? 
Take off your headphones.  He's at the door'

That's how it is sometimes in the world"

His final thought:

There are so many distractions in this world that sometimes others
do not realize that God is knocking at their door, so we must tell them!

It is our responsibility to...

1.  First unlock the door to our own heart
2.  Then help someone else unlock the door to their heart


Meditation Monday

Take off your headphones and ask...

What is the condition of my heart? Locked or unlocked?
Is God knocking at the door?
Will I /have I let Him in?
If not, what is distracting me?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What The Kids Are Up To This Summer

The kids were so excited on their first day of summer break


bike rides to the park

right up there at the top of their...


I was especially delighted that they would be returning to the

highly acclaimed
privately owned and operated

summer camp that they attended last summer...

"Camp Papa and Grammie"

which includes

FREE supervision
FREE meals and
FREE activities and field trips!

(sorry- camp is full and no longer accepting applications)

When they arrived at their "first day of summer camp"
they were each greeted with a mysterious package

(courtesy of their gracious hosts and summer camp counselors)

and the looks on their faces when they opened their bags was... Priceless!

Little did they know...

that these bags did NOT come without price because their lovely mother
(not wanting their brains to shrivel like wilted lettuce over the summer)

had PLANS to make them WORK for those lovely gifts 
(as they also learn how to make those lovely gifts work for them) 

because as

a mother
an entrepreneur
an early childhood educator

she understands the value of "learning through play"


that when you use what you love to promote learning
the lessons just seem to stick better

So with all of that in mind she...  

informed the children that they would be starting a "summer business",
created a "Ten Weeks to Better Business" plan for them to follow,


has been
will be 

introducing and sharing these lessons throughout their entire summer break!

So for now, simply introducing... 

Color*full Creations
creating a life full of color

What the kids are up to next...

Record Keeping and Accounting
Customer Service/ Teamwork and Collaboration

"What the kids are up to"...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Don't Walk Around...Walk Through

We used to take walks together...

down the street
around the corner
and back home through the alley

Here it is today...

Her house was right next to the alley
and at times it seemed that a

child under ten
with a
woman over 70

were no match for the 1980's streets of Eastside Long Beach

but I quickly learned...

that they were really no match for us

Do we have to take the alley? 
Can't we just walk around the block? 

I asked

even though I knew that it didn't make any sense to walk around the block
when we could see the house straight ahead

but there were

men drinking

and other scary things lurking in that alley

so I had to ask every time

even as

we continued to walk

along together
alone together

for years...

Until that one day she walked ahead
and made it home safely

before me...

leaving me to walk this alley alone

and now as I walk

I understand that in order to get home
I must stay on the path


for me

There's no need to waste time trying to walk around...
when He's given me all the power that I need to just walk through

So whether I'm facing

an alley
a valley
or an enemy

and feeling like

a child under ten or
a woman over 70

I'll just continue to walk

along together
alone together

with Him

(also shared over at... Chatting At The Sky)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Lesson from Moses... Take a Shortcut

Inquiry-based learning is the process of learning through the interests, perspectives, and/or experiences of the student and includes questioning that leads the student to new discoveries 

To put it simply, experts have found that…

“We learn best when we are at the center of our learning”

Good teachers use this information (about how people learn) to shape the lessons they present to their pupils.  In fact, God used this very approach with Moses in the Book of Exodus. 

He started by:
Showing him…  (Exodus 3:2-3- the burning bush)                                                                       
Calling him...  (Exodus3:4)
Telling him…    (Exodus 3:14)

But Moses didn’t really begin to comprehend until God
Asked him  (“Moses, what is that in your hand?” Exodus 4:2)

God’s inquiry-based approach required Moses to become an active part in his own learning.
Development experts have found that we use lessons and experiences to create neurological pathways, connections, or “shortcuts” in the brain.  In other words, when we are presented with a problem or a dilemma, the brain conducts a “search and scan” to find the shortest neurological pathway to the answer or solution.  If there is no shortcut available, it creates one, and our brain develops.

So with all of that in mind, it appears that God’s question was more than just small talk. 
It seems as if He was using an inquiry-based approach to lead Moses to the answer; an answer that would create a new neurological pathway in his brain.  God’s questioning would allow Moses to create a shortcut solution for future challenges because now... 

Moses had an explanation and an experience!

The neurological shortcut was created…

“Take the rod in your hand and use that” (Exodus 4:17) and when he did, amazing things happened!

But how do we know that Moses learned the lesson? 
How do we know that he really got the lesson?

We know by his response! 

As Moses went from not even knowing God in Exodus 3 (Who are you?/What is your name?)

to singing His praises in Exodus 15: 1-2 (the Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.)

The experiences that Moses and the Children of Israel endured allowed God to become personal to him as he found God really to be the answer to all of the problems.  His brain made a shortcut!

So when life is troubling or confusing, remember the lesson of Moses and that the shortest pathway or distance between any problem and the solution… was then, and always will be God! 

Have you found the shortcut?

Click to read the next lesson...Don't Miss the Bus