Thursday, November 5, 2015

Reboot your life, yes you can!

Sometimes the day is gone from bad to worse and all you want to do is lay down on the floor in a fetal position. Have you been there?  I know I have.  But once you get to the place it doesn't mean you give up, it means it's time to do a systems check and REBOOT.

Here are ten ways to reboot the day or week (heck, month maybe?  I know I have been there). 
  1. Go outside.  Just grab a coat and head out the door.  Of course the littles need to come too.  Go to the park, yes even if its raining (that's what rain coats and hats are for). Go to the beach, this time of year it will be your own private escape. If you have the forethought, pack a thermos of hot cocoa to enjoy and ward off a little bit of a chill.  Even half an hour can do wonders. 
  2. Call it an early night.  Make an early night of it.  The day has been going down hill all day and the steam engine is screaming at lightening speed, just figure you will eat cereal and toast for dinner.  Get each child into a warm bath.  Pull out a feel good family movie and grab blankets and pile everyone on the couch.  Watch a movie and cuddle.  The cuddles make the world feel just a little bit more normal again.
  3. Make meatloaf.  I have no idea why, but meatloaf makes everyone happier.  Meatloaf like they made it back before everyone decided it was boring.  Spices and garlic and oh yeah a yummy sauce on top.... 
  4. Add water and paper...  If you are home alone or your kids are older, take a bath, pick out a book and figure its quiet time for an hour or so. 
  5. Bake cookies.  A spice cookie, oatmeal cookie... even a chocolate chip cookie can slow everyone down.  just one batch....  if you don't feel like baking more than a dozen or so, the dough will keep a few days in the fridge, or freeze them for the next time you need the smell of baking cookies in the house.
  6. Get Organized.  Sometimes we need to get organized to relax.  But don't take that to the extreme.  Organize one thing.  Hang a key rack, write birthdays on a calendar, something small that can make a difference.  I use to lose the basement keys ALL the time.  I hung a key hook/rack and it has helped tremendously.  It not fancy, just a piece of molding left over from the kitchen that I put a few hooks into.
  7. Time Out.  Yep, mommy time out.  Hopefully you can get all the littles into a quiet time and you take a time out.  Read, pray, whatever you need to do.   
  8. Put music on and dance.  Put on something fun, has a beat and sing and dance, with the kiddos.    It will leave everyone in giggles.
  9. Go off grid....  Turn off the phone, computer..  all those devices which "connect" us and get back into a real connection with people.  Go for a walk in the mall, let the kids play in the play area while you have a coffee or coke and relax.  Kids don't need constant adult intervention.  Yeah we need to make sure they don't disappear or kill each other, but we don't need to have our fingers in the pie all the time either. 
  10. Practice realism.  Make real goals for yourself.  Forget what you think everyone else does, make realistic goals for you and your family. 
I am in the boat with you as I continually strive to de-stress and simplify.  What do you do to de-stress you life?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Give thanks in all the things

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thess. 5:18
This day, I am thankful for love.  There is a song which states that love makes the world go 'round and there is a cup full of wisdom in that.  The greatest love known to man is that of God.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:9-11  There we have the two greatest commands.  We are to love God and then love our brothers and sisters as God loves us.  This is what I am thankful for today, and every other day.  I am truly blessed with having many people around me whom show me love, even on days I don't deserve it.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what's going on I neglect to see the love right before my eyes.

Happy tending of your gardens my gentle friends; and remember think of the raindrops as little drops of love!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thankfulness Project 2015

Gentle Friends,

It has been so long since I have published in Garden Tenders.  Life has been full.  I will update soon, but here are a few things I have learned more fully....
  • Everything happens for a purpose.  We may not know it or understand it but there is a deep purpose to it.
  • God is in all things, even trouble and turmoil, all you have to do is call upon His name.
  • I never considered myself a leader, but I do think God is putting me in places for this to happen. I know I am not a follower, I think too much outside the box for that.
  • Worry about tomorrow will hinder your today.  This is something I am still working on, but its so true.  God wants each of us to lean on him and cast our worries at the foot of the cross.
Join me in our November 2015 "30 days of Thankfulness Project" and look for God's blessings, love, and peace in every area of your life. What are you thankful for?

Feel free to use this picture when you post a Facebook status giving thanks this November and spreading God's grace and love to the whole world.  Check me out on Facebook at Garden Tender's Facebook Page

Feel free to use #gtthankfulnessproject2015

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