Adding New Dimensions To My Life!!

HI Everyone!! I certainly hope that Spring is showing up in some parts of the world!! We have had snow almost every day this past week. It is wet and melts by the end of the day and then starts all over again.

I wanted to share some photos with all of you.

I have missed working with children so much since I haven't been able to work. It has taken me several years to come to terms with the fact I won't be returning to gainful employment.

I LOVE kids and our grand daughters are all so far away. I miss them terribly. There are some neighbor kids who seem to keep flocking to my door to visit. They always want to 'make something'. But they were coming several times a week and staying several hours. I was gettting tired but I Loved every minute of it.

Bethany, one of our daughters, suggested I have an art class one specific day a week. Every Monday for the past 6 weeks I have been holding 'ART DAY here at the house. I have 8 children from 6-11. One boy comes with his sister. They are very familiar with our house and myself. They spent all last summer playing with our two grand daughters when they were living with us.
The kids picked their own name... Li'l Artists.......and we wrote up a list of rules. They decided on most of them....... like....... don't criticize your own art; don't criticize someone else's; be respectful to each other, don't waste supplies, respect ME and my cats--and always be nice to John when he comes home.......isn't that cute? We have about 15.

The parents got a list of the rules as well as rotations for who brings a snack when.
I love each and every one of the girls. I have some who are very artistic/creative and some who want to make a bunch of something and hurry through their projects not caring what they really look like.

I truly think two of them are in 'at risk' families so I am happy to be a "new ear' for them.
Every week I have a new project and no one has complained about anything we have done yet. My big goal for the summer, when they will come longer hours, is that they have a garden in our back yard. Our yard is huge and I am going to make a big area for them. Tomorrow we are planting flower and veggie seeds indoors. Then when we come back from Hawaii, we will plant outdoors. Each child will have their own area in the garden. They will weed for 15 minutes each week when they arrive. When their flowers bloom they can come and pick them any time. We will dry some of them for future projects.
When the veggies are ripe they can also come and pick them to share with their families.
This past week the kids were on Spring Break from school. They brought pictures of their Moms or themselves to give their Moms a gift for Mother's Day. I copied the pictures then we glued them to card stock. I had several dress patterns for them to trace. Then they picked out fabric and doo dads and what nots. In between we took a break and made brownies.
Macey did her family. Isn't that sweet?
Everyone got a turn in the kitchen.
We spent one class working with fimo and sculpting animals.

Pretty paper flowers were this project. Many of them p icked the colors of their rooms so they could put them in there.

Two weeks ago it was actually nice out and no snow!! They love taking a break and running laps in our back yard!!! Go figure!!
We decoupaged cigar boxes and the girls really liked that. My motto is "IF you aren't making a mess, you aren't having enough fun!"
Oscar came with his two cousins and made this doll of his mom. He drew the heart on her chest and said "my mom's heart is full of love for me."
I wanted to cry he was so emphatic. He will visit occasionally in the summer.
I supply all the stuff that is needed for projects and sent a list parents could donate if they want. Or they can send cash donations for 'stuff'. I have received $5 so far and two moms sent small bins of useful 'what nots'. I know several cannot afford to pay and I do not need the money. I am doing this to give something back to my community and to work with the kids. I am getting as much out of this as they are.
The girls work hard when they are here and hate to go home. Every Sunday since we started there is always someone who comes over to help me set up for Monday. They all help with clean up.

Tomorrow everyone is bringing a cake mix or ingredients to make a cake or cupcakes and frosting. I have decorating tips and all kinds of sprinkles and choc chips and lollipops walnuts, etc. I also have icing tints so they can color some of their frosting to put all sorts of fancy stuff on their baked goods.

I am also taking pictures as I am able every week. We are going to make our own scrapbooks and I will make copies for each of the girls to put in her own book.
John tells me I am much more animated on Mondays and that is a good thing. I have this to look forward to every week. I also have to make a sample of whatever we are doing to show the girls so that keeps me experimenting.

I have several mother tell me in person or over the phone that their kids LOVE being here and taking part in so many fun projects. They think it is wonderful to have a place to come and be creative. Their schools have cut way back on art.

Last week we went for a long walk--me with my walker and slow gait--but they just take it for granted and it isn't a big deal. We picked up 'found objects' came home and washed them all and will make a special project with those items and plaster of paris next week.

I will keep you updated on how it is going. I am especially excited about the garden. I will be sure and post pics when it is all planted.

Robins are chirping in the trees and I had John put up three birdhouses.
SO far they are unoccupied. We have had a wren family in one of them every year the past three years so I do hope they will return once again.
Sending Big HUGS to all of you!!!


Jessica said...

What an awesome post! I needed a pick-me-up today and this really made me smile (and get a little choked up.) Those kids look like they're having a great time. I love the idea of planting veggies and having them pick them when they're grown. Good way to get kids to eat healthier! I especially like the "respect me and my cats" rule, too funny!

Dolly said...

Aw CatieAnn that is so sweet!

Every neighborhood needs a mom like you!
What great memories these children will have!

God Bless,

Lolly said...

Oh, Catie Ann! I felt like crying for the sheer joy of what you are doing for these children....you are wonderful!! Congrats on this new venture....you are doing good, girl!

vivian said...

wow! how awesome. what a blessing to for kids! And I'm sure a blessing to you also. I'm truley impressed that you are doing this! I used to run our towns summer art program and had 60 kids (3 classes) a day, but I got paid, had two helpers adn a budget! If I can remember any of the projects we did, I'll let you know!

Paula said...

Oh, Catie!! What a wonderful idea and so much fun for you and those kiddies. I love it!!! I can't wait to see more projects that you're doing with them. I may steal some of your idea's for my Puddle Ducks. Is that okay?
We planted sunflower seeds last week in tiny pots and this week I'm going to have them paint terra cota pots to plant something in at home...

Sonia ~ C. Crafts & Collectibles said...

Hello CatieAnn,
This is so wonderful what you are doing with the kids. I haven't been in blogging for a long time but thought i'd come see you. My baby is due in the next two weeks and can't wait. Hope to hear from you sometime...

Heidi said...

That is so sweet! What a wonderful way to give back. Now I see who you "& Co." is!

bluemuf said...

Catie Ann. I just loved this post. Oh how I wish I could help you with this, What fun.


The Rose Room said...

Catie, I am sending a big hug to you, what a marvel you are, these children will always remember there lovely creative times in your home with you, John and the cats:) Rachael

Natalea said...

Oh my goodness Catiean!!
I love that you do this! This is the most special thing I've heard of in a long time. What a special person you are. I'm sure you're making these kids create memories to last a lifetime and I'm sure you'll get back tenfold! How great! Have a wonderful day! xo natalea