Tag: Photos

Saturday Photohunt: I Spy

This week was trickier than usual–it took actual planning since I have recently moved all my images to another computer while getting ready for my Ubuntu installation. Last night I was at a loss–no ideas. This morning I grabbed my camera and looked for “I Spy” messes (like in the books my son adores) around the house. They weren’t hard to find–I did not change anything or set anything up.:) It would have been better if I did but, oh well. The top is my son’s lego drawer, the next is his puzzle train block set, the final is our china closet where my kids like to add their treasures to the mix.

00001.jpgRead More

Saturday Photo Hunt: Different

I debated a bit about this one and actually had a sketch in mind before I found these pictures.

My girls are as different as night and day and have been since day one. One is thin and light and loves all things books and art and bright crazy colors and patterns, the other is solid and dark and loves all things making and doing, outdoors, not to mention very girly.  They love each other though, work together, and bounce off each other nicely.  They compliment each other very well in their very oppositeness.

The Importance of Play

I ran into this news story over here and it surprised me that it was even a story.

Watch any child who is free of schedules, strict socially structured and planned activities, and the freedom to use the materials on hand and you will find that child playing. Any parent who has watched and listened quietly as their little one plays can tell you that that child is imitating and working out what is in the world around him. What parent hasn’t been surprised to find their 2 year old more interested in the wrapping paper than the brightly colored toys it hid? What parent hasn’t noticed a baby’s joy at a set of keys or a spoon?

The only reason older kids don’t play happily with what is on hand is that they have been told they need the latest toy or that cool kids don’t play that anymore. They have been trained to need entertainment, to demand it, and have been taught to be bored without it.

We don’t need to teach children to be creative–we need to keep from killing their creativity by smothering them with talking or overly specific toys and too many scheduled activities.

Yes, I am ranting.

I want my children to grow up happy and fully intact. That means I let them loose with how-to books and the supplies on hand. Rachel has a list of things she wants me to buy at the craft store and I tell her that she can buy it if she saves but otherwise she has to make due with what we have. She has made old fashioned can stilts, a fishing pole with a hook made from a jewelry find earring hook and paper fish, a riding horse from an old broomstick and a sock. She made a card board and clothespin ring toss, and a plethora of clothespin dolls. No, they aren’t high quality but she and her siblings love them because she made them herself. In fact, she is amazed at how wonderful these old fashioned toys are compared to the junk she used to buy all the time at the thrift shop.

Sure my kids play games and watch movies, and other than an occasional “that’s enough, go find something else to do” or a request that chores be done first they are free to play as long as they like. They get sick of it pretty quick when they have that much freedom. Boredom is not tolerated and pretty soon they are engrossed in something else.

Now that they are older they love to plan out games and spend much longer organizing the activity and preparing for play than actually playing. They, at 6, 8, and 10, still spend plenty of time really playing. The girls have a doll house and their cabbage patch kids, Issac has his marbles, race tracks, trains, Legos and Construx–they all play with all of it so when it comes down to it they are only divided by rooms . Every time I enter the girls room I see the dollhouse rearranged–their Only Hearts Club Kids stand in some new fashion–it always makes me want to take a picture as there is so much thought put into the setup. In my son’s room , well it is a mess. They love building things and use all sorts of random objects to build elaborate structures. One day it is Lego vehicles, then next it is Construx, the next it is race tracks. (And, as you can see from the photos, my son likes to play with our rock collection.)

They don’t own any toys that all go perfectly together. They wouldn’t keep them that way if they did. Marvel Super Heroes and Villains often make their way into the doll house alongside my vintage Strawberry Shortcake dolls. The ceramic tea-set my in-laws got the girls are as often used with miss-matched plastic kitchen things and foods and Cabbage Patch Kids as they are used for real dress up tea parties elaborately set up by the kids. Wooden blocks and train tracks are often used with matchbox cars and the old fashioned Little People from my Sesame Street set. And that is just inside–you wouldn’t believe the mish-mash of toys that litter our yard in the summer months. (And you know those boots we went to find–those were so my ten year old could go play in the giant mud puddle that fills the valley out back every spring.)

Yes, it gets messy. Sure it isn’t as nice and neat as those little craft kits and running them to t-ball and every other thing under the sun that kids under 12 can be involved in. Yet somehow it is right and it works and the kids are learning and enjoying and growing in ways that they wouldn’t if they were on a schedule and played one kit at a time.

A Day in the Life 21: Snow?

One of the reasons I love homeschooling is the ability to have the kids spend time with their great-grandparents (I am an oldest child of an oldest child of an oldest child–until recently MY great grandfather was still alive) and grandparents. Once a week we travel 45 minutes south-east to visit my grandmother. The kids would often prefer to stay home but it is good for them, and for me, to go. She doesn’t drive much anymore, except for church each day and her only real hobby is being on the prayer chain at church. My cousins and brothers see her even less often, they are all in school except my brother in Florida. Grandma and I don’t have much in common–she usually talks about my aunts (her sisters) and my mom and uncle or what they are doing at church. She is a talker though and I seldom have to try to make conversation–she just wants someone to listen. (Although today she talked about how expensive it was to buy prayers at church and how excited she was that some group had just sent her a plaque that promised that they would pray for her daily the rest of her life and, I am afraid to say, I laughed out loud, by mistake mind you. I was so shocked that someone would be required to PAY for prayer. I had forgotten that one and gently explained that she was prayed for without money and that it should not cost money to be prayed for. Sigh.)

When we visited this afternoon we did so with one eye on the weather–she is 45 minutes south and the weather there is always a little better than here. The sky was nearly black to one side on the way down, and once there I kept my eye on the windows while she kept checking the weather channel (which is useless may I say–I am used to checking the weather on my computer and being able to see in an instant whether there is something coming on the radar–she kept missing it on the eights and would try again, and again.) Eventually it was nearly white out and some of it was starting to stick so I said we had better go.

We left at the perfect time. By the time I got home it was starting to stick for real and you could barely see. Oh, and the temperature dropped big time. Brrr. Now I sit here in sweat pants, several shirts, a fleece shawl, and fingerless gloves trying to keep warm while doing some website work (three at once–I love how God works.). The kids are all cuddled under blankets watching a movie we froze our fingers off trying to get at Redbox outside the grocery store on the way home.

Would you believe it was sunny and clear when we left?

And, while I was writing that we got more– Check it out!

A Mob of Snowmen

Saturday, after 50 degree weather we suddenly got several inches of snow, which then melted by the end of the day, only to be replaced by great winds and freezing temperatures the next day--our weather is a bit odd. The kids took full advantage of Saturday’s snow and attempted to make a village of snowmen. It looked more like a mob to me, especially when several got their heads knocked off or were left partly made because the snow was too heavy.

I was going to show these individually and talk about what was going on but I have been gone all day and just found out I need to go out again to fix someone’s computer. My doodle will have to wait and you can just click on the slideshow if you want to see the whole gallery of pictures.

Wordless Wednesday (or Sludge Pie)

Sludge pie: in our house when a kid asks “Mom, can you make me some pie?” they don’t mean a regular pie with a nice neat pie crust, they mean throw together some biscuit-y ingredients, put fruit in it, and throw it in the microwave for 10 minutes. Sludge pie is more of a tart type thing, or maybe a shortcake. Whatever it is is sure is messy to eat and the kids adore it.

To make it you can use your favorite biscuit mix or pie crust–whatever you have on hand, it doesn’t matter because the kids don’t notice. 🙂 The point is to fill it with fruit with a little bit of sweetener and stick it in the microwave.For this particular one I mixed some about 5 parts flour, 1 part water, 1 part oil with a little bit of baking powder and sweetener. I used my fingers to shape it in the bowl then poured in frozen berries (or peaches and pears for Rachel) and a little bit of honey. The texture when microwaved is very similar to an apple dumpling. This is not a science–it is more of a fun project and mommy thing than a culinary delight (although it is “nummy.”)