"We All Wear a Lot of Hats" Name Art

We all wear a lot of hats. Some hats are literal, while others are figurative. This name art project is a fun way to look at the many hats we wear.  

I don't wear a lot of literal hats, but I wear tons of figurative hats, many of which are listed on my artwork. Some are difficult to represent with a drawing - what hat does a neighbor wear, for example? Or a blogger? I chose a chef's toque to represent my love of cooking and food, as well as my job as meal preparer for our family. The Scout hat is one of the few literal hats that I do wear in my role coordinating community service projects for Trevor's troop. The warm hat represents the time I spend at the ice rink each week, watching Trevor progress as a skater. The graduation cap represents my love of education and time as a classroom teacher, as well as everything I do now to teach others. The flower hat represents me as a Lutheran, even though I have never worn a hat to church in my entire life and no one else in my church does either. 

To make your own artwork, write your name in block letters in the middle of a sheet of copy paper. Add a hat to each letter, representing jobs/career goals, hobbies, sports, religion, or anything else that represents you. Draw a line about an inch below the letters to give them something to stand on. Add smily face and legs. Color in the characters, then list all the many hats you wear underneath.


Taco Tuesday: Paper Taco Craft

I just missed National Taco Day, but at least I'm sharing this on a Tuesday! I'm not sure we really need a National Taco Day, now that I think about it. So many restaurants, cafeterias, families, etc. celebrate tacos every week. Anyway, the next time you have tacos, pair them with this craft. Affiliate links below.


Paper Taco Craft



Fold the yellow cardstock in half, then cut a half circle, keeping the fold intact. This is your taco shell.

Use the brown colored pencil to make dots all over the taco shell. Don't make a pattern- just randomly dot all over the place. 

Glue strips of brown and red construction paper inside the taco shell. 

Now tear the tissue paper into strips. Keep going until you have a nice pile of lettuce.

Add glue all over the inside of the taco shell and add the tissue paper lettuce. 

Good enough to eat, right? Happy Taco Tuesday!


Empty Bowls

As it turns out, we did lose power during the Public Safety Power Shutdown last week. It was out for 48 hours, which was inconvenient, but not that bad. We had to make some changes to our routines, but it was well worth it to prevent wildfire outbreak. The PSPS allowed us to see where we can improve in our own emergency preparedness. It also helped me appreciate all the conveniences we have that we take for granted.

Anyway, I'm back and wanted to share a really neat event we attended this weekend. It's called Empty Bowls and it's a fundraiser for our local Food Bank.

Ceramic artists, as well as students from the community college and high schools, donate gorgeous, one-of-a-kind bowls to the event. As attendees arrive, they select their favorite bowl. The bowl becomes theirs to keep, as a reminder of the problem of hunger and the many empty bowls in our community. 


It was SO hard to choose our bowls! There were so many beautiful choices. I found a sage green one that I aodored right as Trevor fell in love with a blue bowl. 

Steve pointed out that I'd chosen the 'wrong' bowl because I hadn't stuck with our family colors. He was totally right, and as soon as he said that, I wanted a red bowl instead of the green one I'd picked. Steve happily took the green and I picked out a red.

We set them down at a table and went to check out the silent auction and raffle prizes.

The raffle and auction are organized by 4-H members and staffed by high schoolers. 

All the prizes had something to do with food or bowls. 

At the silent auction table, we ran into one of our all-time favorite people, Trevor's first grade teacher. She's a 4-H Mom and has been volunteering with Empty Bowls for years. 

Soon, it was time to eat. We each brought our bowls to the serving table, where we had a choice of three different soups: Tomato Vegetable, Creamy Potato with Bacon, and 15-Bean. The soups were made by soup kitchens served by the Food Bank and are the same hot meals that people in need receive. 

It was really hard to choose one soup because they all looked and smelled fantastic! I had the Creamy Potato (YUM!). Between the three of us, we tried all the flavors and they were all delicious. Along with soup, we got bread and lemonade or ice tea. 

Next, we heard presentations about the Food Bank's mission, as well as stories of the people they serve.

4-H members acted as MCs for the event and did an outstanding job. I'd expect nothing less from 4-Hers!

The evening ended with cookies and a tour of the Food Bank facility. We've volunteered at the Food Bank often enough that we could give the tour, so we skipped it. About half of the people attending Empty Bowls had never been to the Food Bank before and they appreciated the chance to see everything and learn more about how this organization manages to distribute 25 million pound of food to people in need each year.

They also got to see where this commercial was filmed:

It looks like a familiar warehouse store, but it's not! This was filmed at the Food Bank in Fairfield, in the same building where we enjoyed Empty Bowls.

Despite being so involved with the Food Bank for so long, this was our first Empty Bowls. But it won't be our last! All three of us loved it and will definitely go back.


Blog Break

We've received notification that our power may be shut off for an extended amount of time to prevent possible wildfire. I'm going to take this time for a blog break. If we don't lose power, I'll work on some under-the-hood blog tasks. Happy crafting, everyone! I'll be back soon.


Unexpectedly Awesome Cities for Family Vacations

San Francisco is an AWESOME destination for tourists. People come from all over the world to explore the City by the Bay, and deservedly so. You could spend weeks there and barely scratch the surface of all the city has to offer. (See my San Francisco Bucket List here.) But everyone knows San Francisco is awesome. Same with New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington DC, or Honolulu, for example. They're popular tourist destinations for a reason. You know before you get there that there will be a ton to do and see.

Today's blog post is about awesome cities that are flying under the radar, places that aren't on everyone's must-visit list, cities you may never have considered for a family vacation. Each of these places had so many fabulous things to do that we couldn't squeeze in everything.

I present to you...

The Top 5 Unexpectedly Awesome Cities for Family Vacations

#5: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Does your family like history? Art? Architecture? Food? Santa Fe has all that and so much more. Throw in the natural beauty, native cultural traditions, and great weather and this is a city your family needs to explore. We loved visiting the nation's oldest capital city, poking into the many art galleries, checking out the unique architecture, tasting local specialties, visiting museums, and exploring everything Santa Fe has to offer.

#4: Cleveland, Ohio

It's true what they say... Cleveland rocks! It's worth visiting just to go to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but there is so much more to do and see in Cleveland. We loved the science center and all of the public art, including the World's Largest Rubber Stamp. The history and geography of Cleveland are really interesting. All in all, a great place to go as a family. 

#3: St. Louis, Missouri

Before we visited St. Louis, I thought of it as the home to the Gateway Arch and the birthplace of the ice cream cone... and that's it. I had no idea that St. Louis is such an incredible destination for families! Not only are there a ton of kid-friendly things to do, but many of them (zoo, science center, history museum, art museum, and more) are completely free. We packed in twelve different activities and there were plenty of places we ran out of time to visit.

#2: Louisville, Kentucky

The Louisville Slugger Factory is reason enough to go to Louisville. Same for the Kentucky Derby Museum. The American Printing House for the Blind is a real hidden gem (and free). The waterfront area, the public art (horses, everywhere you look) and oh, the food! Louisville is a great vacation destination, with plenty of fabulous things to do with kids. I can't wait to go back someday.

#1: Omaha, Nebraska

To be perfectly honest, my expectations for Omaha were not high. But I was so wrong. Omaha blew me away and now ranks among my favorite cities. We spent a full week and it wasn't enough to see and do everything Omaha has to offer.


The most difficult thing about making my list was deciding which cities are unexpectedly awesome versus which are widely known to be awesome. Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington are both fantastic, but I decided that most people probably already know that. Same with Austin, Texas. I highly recommend all three for family vacations. Other great places for family vacations? Salt Lake City, Utah. Kansas City, Missouri. Annapolis, Maryland. Boise, Idaho. Juneau, Alaska. I could go on. Phoenix, Arizona. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Baltimore, Maryland. We are blessed with a country full of treasures, justing waiting to be explored!