Thursday, January 22, 2015

Learning fun with Littles

While in the trenches I often didn't think we were doing much in the way of learning during the preschool and toddler years, but looking back I can see we did so much.  Bear was blessed with rich learning experiences that traditionally schooled children would never have access to. 

The things that occupied our time when scribbling was was the norm and cuddles on moms lap was still cool.

  • Sensory Bins: These are bins that I fill with a wide range of textures and items. We have used baking soda, bubbles (water and dish soap), shaving cream, rice, corn meal, beans.... really the limits are your imagination Then I toss a few fun items in the mix and a small garden shovel for kids (like what you get with plastic buckets) and let the children dig, scoop and more. If you have the space and inclination you could get a water wheel and let the little ones use it as well. Funnels are a fun toy to use in the bins too.
  • Paper time: This is time we have with paper and scissors. Crayons and glue are generally married to it as well.
  • Stickers:  'Nough said. 
  • Play dough: Be sure you have some cookie cutters, rolling pins (you can find them reasonably priced at stores like Target, but be sure to not forget looking in the Dollar Store) and if you can get your child to do it, a sheet of wax paper or butcher paper for working on. Sometimes this works for me if I think about it.
  • Small easy craft projects. Things that require cutting easy straight and slightly curved lines for littles are best. Complicated cuts should be kept for the older children. Stringing beads, using pasta and glue, using colored sand and glue on a paper plate, etc. Again the opportunities are limited only by your imagination. just remember to keep it within the scope of your child's abilities.
  • Old cards and magazines can be used to make collages. One could even do one that would be specific to a certain unit or event.  

From an earlier adventure but a fun reminder!

Above all, remember that as the mother and father it is our job to gently guide when needed. Let your child scribble and paint and get messy; just make sure its an area that is appropriate for the craft. Of course we don't want scribbled walls, so provide gentle guidance but try not to tell your child that the sky is blue if he paints it orange or yellow. If your little girl is painting all sweetly and the next second decides that fingers are much better than the brush, smile, she is exploring and discovering her world. Those explorations into cause and effect will be invaluable as they age. 

world's best sensory bin; Seattle
Its more about the creating and exploring than the end product. It has no need to resemble a tree to you, in her eyes it tells a whole story and what she is looking for from you is validation and enjoyment in her creative self; have her tell you the story it tells.  You may be surprised. 

In our home "art" products are easy to be had often and that is another key to allowing creativity to flow.  When Bear was younger during her preschool and kinder years (and younger still!) I would often have our coffee table covered with butcher paper so impromptu art projects weren't very messy. When the paper is completely used you can remove it and replace it with something new. I use the blue ore green painters tape to attach the paper to the table, and trust me that painters tape is your best friend.

Once a month I will be exploring books and corresponding crafts as we continue on our educational journey and continuing on with our "after-school" learning adventures.  Next month, I will be looking at a fun craft for Valentines Day.  Some months we will be looking at Nature Studies, some months science and others reading helps!  While our journey has changed a bit this year, our goal to instill and encourage a love of learning for a lifetime has not!

We will be linking up once a month in 2015 with The Story Corner Blog Hop!  


Monday, January 19, 2015

Passing time

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its life believing it is stupid. -- Albert Einstein-

We all are bright and capable people, we just need to encourage a love for learning and doing.  We need to try to do things, even if they are hard.  Why do we go about setting goals we already know we can attain?  I am guilty.  GUILTY. 

Each of us are creative beings, but society puts restraints on us, shackling us into their confines and ideas of what is and isn't beauty. We are constantly being told what is and isn't good.  Why do we feel we have to color within the lines?  Shouldn't we set goals that stretch us beyond those lines?  Goals should stretch us, and make us leap. We need to open our minds and step out of the box that someone else put us in.  Goals are something we should set high, and they require work. 

I am busy making plans for what to create for the February Barter Fair here on the KP.  What will Promise Farms have to share in the middle of winter?  Nature Bags, Chicken Goodies, Doggie Goodies, bread, and later on very possibly flavored adult beverages. But in the meantime, we dream and set goals, making a leap and stretching ourselves.  Taking action and actively working toward our dream. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Remaking Jim Dine

Hence we attempted to recreate our own version of the great master's artistic endeavors with this project.  Hence Jim Dine Hearts.   Find our more about Jim Dine here....

Supplies we used:
  • Chalk Pastels
  • Tissue/soft cloth
  • Black Construction Paper
  • Small Scraps of Multicolored paper cut in little "tiles"
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Glitter if wanted
  • Stickers if desired

Paper scraps.....  we have a pile we can use for lots of different things.

I really love playing around with chalk pastels and have no clue why I never had them in the house before Bear.  Its one of the most fun artsy things to pull out on a rainy mid-winter day.  Paper and chalk...  total artistic license to create and have loads of fun with.  Ok, the kiddos have fun too, not just the moms.




So with just a little bit of thought, you can have a whole lot of fun one of these rainy days.  
How do you beat the rain and keep the kids entertained?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Hubs

The Hubs. 

The Hubs and Bear
I don't share much of what he's doing....  I make comments every so often, but he is always here in the background.  Grounding me, lavishing encouragement, helping me to see another side....  He makes me complete.  I know, I know....  in our modern age, telling someone, much less the universe (or at least a handful of readers) that I wasn't complete before I met and married my husband is about equal with someone saying they kick old dogs in their free time. 

I am taking this space today, these few minutes it will take me to write about him, and devoting it to him.  When I say he is awesome,  he is.  I'm not just whistling Dixie and trying to prove something.  Anyone who knows him knows the truth.  Is he perfect?  No.  But he is the man that completes my life. 

Hubs is calm where I am like wild rapids.  He truly does ground me. 

When family squabbles occur between my siblings and I rather than goading (as one SIL is want to do) he steps back and attempts to get reason to reign again .... and waits.  He knows that I will calm again and with his calming presence I will do it more quickly.  He is right to do this.  I know he understands me, sees my side, but he also knows that getting involved in family dynamics that he wasn't brought up in is pointless.  The best thing he can do is be the calm life raft that I can reach for.  When I reach for it, he can then pull me to safety.  My youngest brother should realize the man he puts down as weak is a much greater and stronger man than he will ever be. 

Hubs is a great father.  Bear adores him and will run and greet him at the door.  Each morning she requests her kiss before he leaves.  He encourages her in her adventures.  He teaches her about things I could never even fathom being important.  But he also teaches her how to change spark plugs, tie knots, throw a ball, and catch the football.  He gives her a side of life I could never give her alone.  She is learning what a good man is, how a good man treats his wife and family.  My prayer is that she finds a man like her daddy one day.  A man that understands what family is and how important his role is in it. 

He is consistent.  In love.  In Discipline when its needed. 

He works very hard at a job that is tough, and still comes home to deal with crying females on days that have went to you know where and a hand basket.  Just his entering the room Bear knows....  His calmness permeates everything.  REALLY.  In all the years we have been together he has only raised his voice once while upset, that I can recall.    It was enough that I was immediately shocked into stunned silence. 

I wish he could do more of what he wants to do.  I wish with all my heart he could.  He has never said he is upset or disappointed in not having his single days backNEVER.  Some men go around and say they still need to be with the guys and they insist on doing all or many of the things they did when they were single...  Not Hubs.  I have told him I have no problem if he wants to, I understand the need to completely relax, but he has rarely went out with the "guys".  He says he has more fun going out with his family.  He asks for so little, his greatest desire is for his family to be happy and healthy.  I wish he could have everything he wants, and he says he already has it. 

He thinks I am a great cook, gifted writer (HA!), talented artist, and the best lover in the world.  I am humbled.  I am in awe still that God directed our lives to find each other.  It was through God.  If I had never became a Christian, I would have never met my husband, nor he I....  I can see God's hand in our lives, and for that I am eternally grateful. 

Hubs is my best friend and he will readily admit I am his.

So here I am, a fairly modern educated woman, admitting that I am not complete without my husband.  I am not ashamed.  I am honored and humbled that one so perfect for me cherishes me and loves me.  I am proud to take his name, keep his home, raise his child, and love him. 

In October we celebrated 10 years of marriage.  I am not saying that every year has been a honeymoon, but he still can make me feel butterflies, he still is my knight, he still is who I want to fall asleep next to.  I love him. 

**Reposted from an earlier post

Friday, January 9, 2015

3in30: January 9

Its that time again! Time for a weekly update!

Last Friday I explained about what the 3in30 is and why its a great way to get some needed tasks accomplished. A great winter motivator, and we are able to make each other accountable! Read all about the 3in30: Vs. 2015 here...

The goals I set before myself for January were:
1) Organize my computer desk area; its become a catch all and totally not user friendly currently.
2) Organize my sewing area. Over November and December it got a bit out of hand. It needs to be tidied up a but, well OK, a lot!
3) Go through clothes and get ready to donate or toss all those unneeded.
I decided to tackle number 1 first.  I needed to because I work from home a lot with my Usborne Book business (oh you can see my web  site here if you are curious about Usborne Books & More!).

Without further ado....  here is a before picture....  I am embarrassed to even admit my desk, which is located in my bedroom no less, looked like this. Horrible and embarrassing! How can I encourage and lead other woman when my own home is littered and full of chaos. I do believe when you home is messy, I mean cluttered and messy, depression creeps in and with depression comes so many of the other things. Things like grouchy moms, biting comments from a wife toward her spouse, anger at people, pettiness, and just generally a shrewish woman. 

This is why the 3in3o is so important. This is my journey and thus begins my journey back from that messy abyss. 

Oh yeah....  BEFORE photo

 Can you see anyone being able to get ANY work done at this desk?  I can't! I had taken to working at the dinning room table, a tray in the living room, or frankly, not working. 

 Now I have to admit, I still need to sort receipts and paperwork in my box, but at least they are all in one place.  That will be a task later in the month I think.  This was actually a two day task.   Four trash bags later and I am happy with the end result.  I was actually able to help a Literacy Army member last night with a order at my desk. Right this minute I created a to do list for the weekend, and tomorrow or so I will be purchasing a calendar for quick glances as I am working. I am ready!  So if you chat with me on the phone, I am likely sitting here, with a view out the front, looking at pictures of my family while I help you with strategy as you fight illiteracy in your own way.

I would love to have you do the 3in30: vs. 2015 with me!  Link up here!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

This Morning as I ponder


Outside my window... Its not yet light out.  I am awaiting a watery sunrise.

I am thinking... how I can be a better mom and wife.

I am thankful for... a God who loves; teaches in love; guides in love

I am wearing... PJ's, hey don't judge me...*grin* besides, its very early

I am remembering... People that take advantage of others, trying very hard to not be angry, but to recognize instead that they should be pitied.

I am going... to make red beans and rice, I'm hungry for it.

I am currently reading... Mini Farm and several other books on homesteading, livestock, and even fermenting.

I am hoping... no more trees come down.

On my mind... letting loose of the past, and forgiving deeds done or perceived done...  I can't make people be different than what they are, I can only tackle how I react to it.  Very hard to keep in mind.

Noticing that... real friends are rare.

Pondering these words... The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

From the kitchen... Oatmeal

Around the house... still need to take down the outside decorations. I am sure there are inside ones I have missed...  Don't you just hate that...  finding the lone Christmas decoration after all the things have been put up.

One of my favorite things… Hot cocoa

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lines Written in Spring

Today I sat and thought about this poem as I pondered spring and all the things still left to do. 

My mind began to wander, I began to think....maybe it would be better that I look to how nature treats spring rather than how man treats it.  Its not a season meant to begin the hurry and hustle, but its also a time to reflect on beauty and glory, and new birth.  

Yes, preparing for planting is needed, but we need to be purposeful in what we do.  Do we truly love the air we breathe?  Ok, this isn't literal, but think about what its saying (or at least give some thought to my musings...and humor me *wink*).  Do we love where we are and what God has given us?  Has our season of prayer and thanksgiving really passed so swiftly?  

Perhaps this season of resolutions should be more about reflections and actions and less about weight loss, healthy eating, and getting good grades.

Perhaps, we need to carry that spirit of thankfulness with us for longer than a couple months.  

Perhaps we should seriously look at our life and see what it really looks like.   

Maybe a spring cleaning should come early and we should sweep the dust away so we can look really hard and see where our feet really are grounded upon.  

Is it on solid ground?

and MAYBE I am up to late, got too much fresh air, ate too much birthday cake or any number of things and they have taken their toll on me.  Maybe I am blowing a lot of smoke. Maybe...

Lines Written in Spring
William Wordsworth
 I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sat reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not season to lament
What man has made of man?