Afterschooling, Two Months, and Creating Hope

At the suggestion of a blog friend, the Small Hands Creating Hope fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is open throughout the month of October in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month. One of the great tragedies of my childhood was watching my grandmother’s sister (who was like a bonus grandmother to me) lose her life to this particular cancer. Research has made a huge difference in life expectancy since then, but there is still so much to learn. Go to the Small Hands Creating Hope page to learn more about this project, or you can donate now using this button:

Donate to the American Cancer Society

We have raised $1,220 so far – Thank You!!!

two months old

My house is starting to look slightly neater, but for the most part, our family is still in the busy newborn phase. Anna turned two months old today, and we are all so grateful to have her as a part of our family. She charms and delights us with moments like this:

baby in the mirror

We enjoyed two afterschool outings this past week, but I’ll write about them later this week. The Afterschool Blog Hop is a place to share learning that happens in your home outside of school. What did you learn this week?

afterschool linky

Cohosted by:

Just Playing Around

Little Wonders’ Days

Mama Smiles

Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

The Educators’ Spin On It

What Do We Do All Day?

Butterfly Crafting

butterfly craft
On Sunday, we decided to give another craft from the Small Hands Creating Hope book (only two days left to donate and get your copy!) a go.
These butterflies (ours are slightly different from the version in the book) were submitted by Sun Hats and Wellie Boots. I especially love the transparent wings!

drawing with sharpies on a laminating sheet
We didn’t have any plastic sheeting available to make wings, so I took a laminating pouch, opened it up, and had the kids color the inside with Sharpie pens. This has the added bonus that the pen ink is permanently enclosed inside the plastic.

four hand-crafted butterflies
Once the laminating pouch was sealed, we cut it into wing shapes, added pipe cleaner bodies and bead eyes, and it was time to play! The kids love that they can slide their fingers between the butterflies’ bodies and wings to easily carry them around:

wearing butterflies
Emma was even inspired to make up a (very quietly sung) butterfly song:


It’s Learning Laboratory Monday! What fun, creative, hands-on learning have you been enjoying? Here are a few favorite posts from last week’s linky:

learning laboratory at mama smiles

Inspired by Small Hands Creating Hope

Making a butterfly counting book

Johnny (4 years old) has caught his six-year-old sister’s enthusiasm for the Small Hands Creating Hope book, and it is a joy to watch them plan and make projects from the book together. They both enjoyed making this counting book today (2-year-old Lily as napping), and – while for now I am happy for them to focus on the projects – I am also looking forward to the day when they read the stories. Cancer is a piece of their legacy, and I want them to face it with hope, not fear.

butterfly counting book

Thank you so much to those who have donated to this project – and if you haven’t donated, please consider doing so. If every person who visited this website in the past month donated as little as ten cents, we would raise over $3000!

Small Hands Creating Hope
Donate to the American Cancer Society

Creative Inspiration

The Purple Girl

While I created the Small Hands Creating Hope project as a way of raising money for the American Cancer Society, it’s been fun to see my six-year-old daughter Emma put our copy of the book to use. She has spent hours scouring the many projects, and has plans to recreate every single one!

For her first project, she picked The Purple Girl book that was submitted by Kitchen Counter Chronicles – and then turned it into a series! The Purple Girl does get cancer at the end of the first book, but – as in my life, and hopefully all cancer patients’ lives, someday – she gets better.

The Purple Girl Gets Married

The purple girl grows up, meets a green boy (who isn’t quite as dedicated in his wearing of green clothing as the Purple Girl is in wearing purple), and they get married and have baby girl twins. I love the pregnant belly on the cover of the third book:

The Purple Girl Has Baby Girl Twins

I am so pleased with how the Small Hands Creating Hope book turned out. It is truly inspirational – and full of fun, creative ideas for kids. If you haven’t already, please consider donating at least $15 through this link to the American Cancer Society. As a thank you, we will send you a link to download the ebook, as well as links to purchase a paper copy, if you would like.

Butterfly for Small Hands to Sew


Welcome, Sew, Mama, Sew! visitors!  My giveaway today comes from the Small Hands Creating Hope project, which I created with the help of over 40 fantastically creative bloggers to celebrate thirty years of cancer survivorship! Together, we created a beautiful ebook that we are sending out to anyone who donates at least $15 to the American Cancer Society through this link. Donors will also receive a link where they can purchase a physical copy of the book at production cost, if they would like.

child-sewn butterfly

My daughter made this butterfly to feature as our contribution to the book. It’s a very simple sewing project for young children – two layers of felt stitched together, with a pipe cleaner forming the antennae and stick-on jewels to add a little glamour. My six-year-old daughter opted to stitch the layers together with a running stitch with no other decoration, but this is also a great way for kids to practice some simple embroidery stitches! Simple sewing projects are always a hit in our house – here are a few others we have done:

And a few projects that you can make for your kids (or a child who is old enough to use a sewing machine can make):

kit for a child to make a butterfly

Today I’m giving away a kit with supplies (minus needle and thread) to make two butterflies. To enter, simply fill out the form below. I will give three extra entries to anyone who publicizes the Small Hands Creating Hope project, and five extra entries to anyone who makes a donation. Just make sure your email address for the donation matches the one given for your entry!

Donate to the American Cancer Society

This giveaway will run through 5pm PST (8pm EST) May 25th, when a winner will be chosen using I am happy to ship anywhere in the world.

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations, Stephanie, and thank you to all who entered!