Making Dolls for Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child shoebox time is approaching!

My heart for this ministry has grown over the years - especially since I had the great joy of delivering boxes to Ecuador in 2013. 

I saw firsthand the POWER of a box, and how important it is to fill a box with love, prayer, and handmade gifts. 

When my sister-in-law (an avid quilter) asked my 16 year old if she wanted to invite some friends over and make dolls for OCC, I was thrilled! My daughter and two friends spent the afternoon creating these sweet dolls from scrap fabric. I can only imagine the joy they will bring to sweet little ones in some part of the world.

(We don't know who will get the boxes, but it is my firm belief that GOD knows where each box will go!)

Making Dolls for Operation Christmas Child

Simple Dolls for Operation Christmas Child

While I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, my daughter assured me that sewing this little dolls is easy (basic sewing knowledge required).

The original pattern has lots of buttons and more elaborate faces, but in the interest of time the girls used fabric markers to draw the faces on the dolls, and left them without buttons.

Simple Dolls for Operation Christmas Child Boxes

I would imagine you could do as little or as much as you want with this simple pattern.

The important thing is this:  Many of the children who receive an OCC Shoebox will have NEVER received a gift in their life. Just the fact that you cared to pack the box and make a sweet doll is what matters. They will treasure this gift! 

Download the Doll Pattern Here


My family and I will never forget Ruby - a 12 year old girl in Quito, Ecuador, who had never received a gift in her entire life. She was living in a refuge home for abused mothers and children - each time I pack a shoebox I think of Ruby and the many children that were with her. I think of what I would like to see them receive. I think of the prayers I prayed over her box. 

I think of the love of Christ demonstrated through one shoebox.

Simple Dolls for Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

If you aren't familiar with this ministry of Samaritan's Purse, read this simple article about how to pack a shoebox. 

It's so simple - and it is a beautiful way to teach children to serve and love.

And of course, I'd love for you to learn more about my journey with OCC -- some amazing stories there, too.


(image courtesy


A Good State of "Busy"

I am not a big fan of "busy". 

At this time of year, though, I think a certain amount of busy is unavoidable, and actually welcomed. 

We've had such a great couple of weeks - from school events to volunteer events, birthdays and home renovations. I don't think I've sat down much, but we have accomplished so much and have made a lot of good memories. 

We are doing simple schooling in December to allow ourselves time and space for other things.

Despite having a tooth pulled last week (yuck) and general craziness because of construction in our home, as I look at this update I see we've really had good times. 

Operation Christmas Child

Once again this year we traveled to the Operation Christmas Child processing center just north of Atlanta. 

This is becoming a tradition with the students in our Challenge community, and I love that. 

There is something very special about serving with teens, and this is one of my favorite events of the year. 

Operation Christmas Child Processing Center in Atlanta - 2015

Wrapping Up School Work

This week is officially the END for us. (well - at least until we begin again in 2016)

It was a lot of fun to attend a production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at a local theater. This books is a WONDERFUL read aloud if you're looking for a fun Christmas book! 

Grant is continuing to review his memory work each day.  I love that the memory work is ENOUGH during times like this.  We add in a Saxon math lesson and quiet reading and I feel like his days are complete. 

Anna took her midterm blue book exams for Challenge I on Tuesday. There was Latin translation, writing two papers on the spot in science and literature, reciting the outline of the Constitution, and also a Shakespeare presentation that she did about The Taming of the Shrew.  (She did a modern day retelling of one of the scenes and dressed up as a "thug" Kathryn.  I wish I would have gotten pictures, but you know how teenage girls are about having their pictures taken, right?!) 

In addition to her Challenge I work, she is still completing her online math and Latin classes for the semester, so she's not truly "finished" until the end of next week. 

I LOVE that Anna is learning to budget her own time and sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing.  We have a safe place to fail right now, and it is a perfect growth opportunity. 


Homeschool Fun and "School" in December

Celebrating a Birthday

Grant's 11th birthday is this weekend. He wanted to celebrate with a few good buddies during the week.

We took the entire day off on Tuesday. We went bowling, ate lunch at the pizza buffet, then came home for football in the yard and Minecraft. It was the best day I have had in a long time!

Best of all, Grant asked me if we could make a cake together the night before. We used a simple, delicious cookie cake recipe and it turned out so well! 

When your almost 11 year old asks you to spend an evening with him baking a birthday cake, you say yes automatically.  I realize we may not have this chance many more times, and I savored every minute of the cake baking. 

Grant's 11th Birthday Collage

Basement Update

Maybe in next week's Collage Friday I will be able to say that the basement is 100% finished and passed the final inspections. 

Right now we are just waiting for flooring and the final fixtures to go in the bathroom. 

I'm SO EXCITED about the way this is all coming together. It has been a challenging 7 weeks, but we are very pleased with the efficiency and speediness of the project. We have a great contractor! 

It's become apparent to us in the past year that we needed this space to be finished. Having daddy at home 100% of the time now is a blessing, but he needs SPACE, and we need more room as the kids are getting bigger. Finishing this space was easier (and cheaper!) than moving, so we decided to go for it. 

I decided on a Sherwin Williams' Light French Gray for the walls - with an accent wall in Sea Serpent for my husband's office.  

The floors are a very dark laminate vinyl tile (LVT - a hot product right now I understand). 

The new school room is open and airy, with lots of recessed lighting. It has a large closet (for LEGO® Education things) and plenty of room for the IKEA Billy bookshelves that will hold our books. 

I don't have any pictures of the family room yet - but it's a good size and will hopefully be a comfy place for the kids to lounge with their friends or for us to have family movie nights. 

The door leading to the basement has been the joke of the whole project! From the very start I said I wanted a glass door painted black.  I don't know why, but it's been my "one thing". When that door was painted and installed this week it made me very happy! 

I need your help, though -- don't you think the door to the left of the glass door (that's actually my pantry) should be painted black, too?   Help me settle a debate, please!   {wink}

Nearly completed basement project

That's it for our Collage Friday today!  

How has your week been?  Are you still schooling or are you taking some time off -- or a combination of both?  


Collage Friday

*Note: Collage Friday will return on January 8th.  Please enjoy your holidays and link up here again in 2016! I will leave this linky open until then if you have a post you'd like to enter. 

Join me each Friday for a wrap up of the week - or just to share pertinent thoughts that have been rambling in your head during the past week.

Be sure to include your photo collages!

Then, visit other bloggers that have linked and leave them a supportive comment.  I love the Collage Friday community!

Add your link using the widget below. Additionally, if you'd like to join further, use the hashtag #collagefriday on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.