Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pack Up Your Troubles...

"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile,Smile, Smile."

For some reason that old WWI song popped into my head when I looked at these pictures :)

I know getting a backpack didn't end their worries/troubles 
(like if they will get enough to eat or have a dry home in the rainy season or will bugs crawl on them while they sleep on a dirt floor) 
but we sure did smile, smile, smile when we handed out backpacks.

This was our second trip to Honduras,
 so College Girl and I were a bit more clued in than last year. 
We taught VBS in the school just like last year but we changed some things up for sure!

Last year the team provided tote bags for the school children 
to put all of their projects and surprises in. 
It worked just fine but I have served on the board of Edu-Pack, a non-profit supplying school supplies to children in need for years and 
I thought that backpacks would be perfect for "our kiddos" in Honduras.

I checked in with our Director, Crawford Hitt, who said sure and he boxed up 100 backpacks, 100 pencil pouches, and a few more school supply odds and ends 
and we hauled it all to Honduras.
 (Completely worth the extra luggage fees on our hometown airlines. I would like to say that when I flew to Haiti years ago, the nice employees of American Airlines let our extra luggage slide because it was  full of supplies for children in that poor country!!)

The teachers hung them up around the room.

This little guy would not take his "mochila" off!! 
All week long they put their projects and papers in their backpacks.

This is one technique for finding your backpack :)

Getting their backpacks on the first day, putting their names on them and hanging them up was pretty exciting but nothing compared to the last day!!

They went home for their mid-morning break and we filled each backpack with a ton of surprises - healthy snacks, school supplies, a little Bible Storybook in Spanish, cars, hairbows, and a Beanie Baby!!!

We passed the backpacks out and it was so much fun.
They were so excited to get to take them home and 
once they discovered that we had filled them with goodies....oh my!!

This guy cracked me up all week.

Isn't he the cutest thing with that backpack as big as he is??

We have a history with the taking of Beanie Babies to emerging nations :)
Several years ago I packed up College Girls' 100 Beanies and hauled them to Haiti.
 They were a huge hit with children who didn't own or had possibly never owned a toy. Even the teachers at our school in Haiti fell in love with the cute little beanies.
Then just a couple of weeks before we were headed to Honduras, College Girl sat by one of her cousins at a wedding and they got to talking about the trip, the backpacks and how I took all her Beanies to Haiti. Cousin Karen said she had all of her grown daughter's Beanie Babies and would be happy for them to go to Honduras. How many did we need?? She had 90!! Perfect.
The Monday before we left we met her halfway between our homes at the Alabama state line where we swapped beanies in a Cracker Barrel parking lot and then enjoyed some veggies and iced tea!!
Those beanies made a lot of children smile, smile, smile.

And then they headed home with their backpacks full of goodies.
Some of our team members who were on building sites at the children's homes said they came home smiling and chattering to their mothers and that the moms stopped and they spread out all of their treasures to look at them and ooh and ah!!
So sweet!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Banner Making

Soooo, every year the team gives a banner to the village we visit in Honduras.
There is always a welcome banner hanging up at the school when we arrive 
and we present ours when we are preparing to leave. 
They keep the banners and display them in the village. It's very sweet.

Wellll, I volunteered to make the banner.
 Months before the trip.
Literally months.
Last year we did it at the camp one night and I thought that it would be nice to do it in  advance with all my supplies close at hand.
Makes sense. Except I procrastinated. 
I had a zillion things going, deadlines, etc. and I just didn't get on it.

I thought about it. 

And I barely took any pictures when I finally did it.
And when I did, it was dark and I was working on a table outside on the screened porch.
So this is what I've got :)

I made the banner from a remnant of bleached drop cloth.
 It's about two and a half feet wide by 5 or 5 1/2 feet long.
I made two rod pockets - top and bottom 
and straight stitched the sides because drop cloth ravels like crazy.

I outlined a big flower in black and College Girl and I painted it with lots of bright colors.
We used craft paints and Sherwin Williams Color To Go samples.
We used big brushes and blended the colors in big strokes on the banner. 

I slid a slender branch into the two rod pockets.
I tied twine on the top branch to make a hanger and
 the branch in the bottom rod pocket was to give the banner weight 
so it would hang straight after being rolled up in a suitcase and hauled up a mountain!

But the really fun part of this banner 
was the rainbow ribbons I sewed to the bottom 
and forgot to take a picture of!!

This is the only shot I have of the completed banner which we all signed 
and gave to the village on our last day.

We provide the food for a fiesta which is a big deal and a lot of fun. 

Everyone in  the whole village gets to eat a big meal.

We sing our respective national anthems, there are a couple of speeches, games
 and hugging and goodbyes.
It's hard to leave.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I Haven't Been Everywhere But It's On My List Art Print, Inspirational Wall Art, Instant Download, Travel Quote Print, Photography Print

I love to travel. Anywhere. Really.
I love maps.
I collect globes. 
I love this print, too :)
I read all the books about "how to move to a tropical island and live like a local", 
travel books and magazines and really anything about anywhere that isn't my neighborhood.
Don't get me wrong - I love to hang out at home but I can pack in no time flat!!

Last week College Girl and I returned to one of our favorite places.
It is a little village in a valley that is 7 hours up crazy, half-paved, muddy mountain roads.
No internet. No electricity. Barely running water. 
(And no flush toilets, if you are wondering.)
Not exactly the description from a glossy resort brochure, right?

It does have palm trees - which I like to see in places I visit.
 I consider it a good sign that I will like the temperatures!

Look at all the cocos!!!

What this remote village DOES have are all these smiling faces!

The whole village comes out to welcome us and the children sing.

Look at that baby!!!

We played the sponge/water relay game one day.
Getting wet in the heat was a ton of fun.

But if you really want to make a lot of children laugh and scream with happiness,
 bring a big parachute and some beach balls from the dollar store.

 Best thing ever.
We had a thunderstorm and so we had to do this inside.
We were so loud that no one could hear the thunder and be scared :)

The older girl in the picture above is Yensi. 
She is my buddy from last year.
We were so lucky to return to the same village again this Summer.
They waited a whole year for a team to return - and we were it!!

It was a great reunion!

College Girl and her friend from last year!

And her favorite - Allyson!!

This little guy got tackled trying to get the soccer ball.
College Girl is giving him a little TLC.

I could post pictures from the trip all day.
I took over 1,000 pictures. True story.
But I'm stopping for now.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

We Were Out of Doughnuts Saturday Morning.

So I painted some.


Frosted Strawberry?

Chocolate Glazed?
What's your favorite doughnut?
Waiting for one with sprinkles?
Got it!
I didn't really paint doughnuts because we were out on Saturday.
This painting was for a favorite graduate.
We have an inside joke about her love of doughnuts.
She says it's going to hang in her dorm room next year!
It might make her hungry to look at it every day.