My children and I like to do crafts throughout the year. It is something that we all enjoy doing together. But as most parents know, crafts can get very messy, take up a lot of space in the house while in progress, and be time consuming. So, I am always excited when I find a project that creates less of a mess, is age-appropriate, and still lets my children express themselves and do their own work. Over the past few years, I have ordered plate kits several times from amazon.com. The company that actually produces the plate is called Creations by You, but the price on Amazon is the best that I have found (and then you pay a few extra dollars shipping when you send the order in). My girls are making these plates for their grandmothers for various occasions, but all at approximately the same age (between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2), establishing a little, fun tradition of sorts. It was Selah's (#2) turn recently to design plates and she did a great job on each of them. I like that the company sends a new pack of nice, bright markers with each kit and plenty of papers so that the child has enough "mess-up" papers to finally get to the finished product that they desire. You just have to remember to leave a space all the way around the inside of the circle ("1/4" inch, I think) blank so that nothing gets cut off. I usually draw an extra circle inside first with pencil so that the kids can visually see the line not to cross and then I erase it when they are finished with the picture. The picture and message of your choosing is put on a melamine plate and is a nice item to give as a gift to a family member, teacher, or even for the child's own use at home.
There are moments with my children every once in a while that just stop me in my tracks and bring me up short. Even very small children say very profound and sweet things and it amazes me that these thoughts are going through their heads. Last night, I was getting Livia (#4 is going to turn 3 this summer) ready for bed after her bath. We were just goofing off and talking when she just stopped, took my face in her hands, and said, "You the best Mommy ever. God loves you. The moment was so simple, so sweet, warmed the heart of this mother, and reminded me of the most basic and important truths in life - that I am loved by God, and the importance of loving God and loving others.