Wednesday, June 30, 2010
As a homeschooling family, I feel following a schedule helps keep our days flowing smoothly. My children know what to expect and they aren’t kept guessing at what is coming next. Even before we started homeschooling I organized my days around a simplistic schedule. It helped me to feel less stressed. I accomplished more. And my little boys knew what to expect.
Head over to At The Well to read the rest of my most recent article.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Hey, mom, you wanna play H1N1?
Without leaving me a choice, she swooped in gave me an imaginary shot and slapped a sticker on my imaginary owie.
I guess I’m innoculated now.
If you don’t do your chores, Poppa says he’s gonna haystack you!
I’m not sure what that means but it sounds pretty scary, especially if your, like, four.
We’re seriously taking cover over here. Someone let a bossy, shot totin’, self-proclaimed princess loose.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
What would lure a girl into braving ticks, mosquitoes, deer flies, nettles, prickers, brambles and POISION IVY?
No, it wasn’t temporary insanity.
Okay, maybe partially.
I was desperate for a half hour of sweet silence spent picking these…
I wish you could have been with me, it was GORGEOUS day. The sky was a brilliant blue full of puffy white summer clouds. There was a steady breeze that made the branches of the trees rustle a comforting, mesmerizing cadence. The birds filled the thickets where I was picking and kept me company with their various scoldings and flirtings.
It was PERFECT!
It was just what I needed. As I walked along the edge of the field searching for berries I took in deep breaths of fragrant air and I felt God’s calming hand on my heart. The beauty of God’s earth never fails to calm my soul.
It is AMAZING!
This week has felt scattered. Lauren was really sick Monday and Tuesday. When she spiked a temperature of 104.2, Monday afternoon, I decided a visit to the doctor was in order.
Thankfully by Wednesday she was perking around and I was able to begin catching up from the two days I took “off” to care for her. It’s astounding how many weeds can grow in a garden in two days time and laundry…EEEK.
Plus it is the height of Black Raspberry season and their was and is jam to make.
I think I am catching back up with all that needs to be done, now I if I can only tackle those extras I’d like to accomplish like window and curtain washing. However, I suppose those can wait until another day (or year) because today it was
Can you tell who the camera diva is? She kept saying, “Take a picture of me, take a picture of me!”
What a camera hog!
As if the day wasn’t already blissfully perfect, when I came up to the house after berry picking, a package sat on my front deck. I was trying to figure out what it was, because I hadn’t ordered anything. Then, I saw the word SURPRISE written on it. I immediately new that inside that postal package was a handmade delight!
My friend Bevy had made me one of her amazingly, creative bags.
Bevy, thank you so much! Words cannot express how grateful I am to you for your friendship and generosity. You have such a precious, loving spirit and I thank God that he arranged for us to meet through blogging. You are a treasure.
If you’re in the market for a new bag check out Bevy’s Etsy site, you won’t be disappointed!
With all that said, I’m looking forward to this weekend. I’m on a mission to accomplish much and have a great time hanging out with my kids and husband.
I have a feeling it’s going to be OUTSTANDING!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
With summer comes bounty!
And a momma busy with picking and preserving.
And beauty gazing.
With garden work and gleaning.
And most importantly seeing my girl enjoy simple pleasures such as “Smallberries” (mulberries).
Thank you, Lord!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
When Tyndale Publishers gave me the chance to preview Bringing up Girls by Dr. James Dobson, I was thrilled. It is a book I have been looking forward to reading. I had gleaned so much from his book Bringing up Boys, I knew I would truly learn from Bringing up Girls.
As I read this book, I did learn, not as much as I had anticipated, but maybe because I have gleaned some of the information from other sources, a “hazard” when your a life learner! In this book Dr. Dobson covers subjects ranging from, Girls in Peril (ch. 2), to Teaching Girls to Be Ladies (ch. 5), to Why Daddies Matter (ch. 9). It is full of useful information regarding how to help our daughters be what God created them to be. Also it helps parents to see how our culture is changing how our girls act, respond and what they believe.
One of the topics in this book focuses on how our society has shaped many young girls thoughts on how they should act and what they should wear, this is already knew, but I was astounded by this statistic:
The American Psychological Association (APA) warns that sexualizing children leads to three of the most common mental health problems among girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression. Does the APA really have to convince moms and dads that making their six-year-olds into sexpots is just plain stupid?
The unanswered question at this point is, “Where are the parents?” Five-year-old girls certainly can’t buy thongs or jewel-encrusted underwear or dolls that look like little prostitutes. Their parents have to be forking over the cash. Sales receipts from a few years back indicated that parents spent $1.6 million on thong underwear for their seven to twelve-year-old daughters.(pg.10)
WHAT! This shocked me! Thong underwear for little girls. What is wrong with people.
Anyway, this book is a great resource for parents raising daughters. I would recommend it to each one of you.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A couple weeks ago I wrote this post on why I don’t take it upon myself to be my children’s entertainment source. My goal is to build their imaginations so that they will play independently.
These are some of the ways in which I foster imagination within my children…
Tent Building~ Let them drag out blankets and sheets and build a fort using furniture, your kitchen table and chairs, or construct one outside using the clothes line. My children love doing this! They drag into their tents all sorts of things, pillows, stuffed animals, army dudes, you name it!
Tea Parties/Picnics~ We have these almost daily! I set my daughter up with a tray and her tea set. She serves water and sometimes crackers. Other times I have her use her imaginary food. Either way it is a game that makes for some great conversations! I usually start out with a cup of “tea” or two, then I tell her mommy has some work to do and let her continue with her party. She usually brings her dollies in for the party and the fun and imagination builds.
Play Dough~ This is one I don’t do every week, maybe not even every month! But, it is one my children love even my eleven-year-old still enjoys creating with it. Plus, now that they are a bit older my boys can vacuum up any play dough crumbs that inevitably fall to the floor!
Box Creations~ When a cracker, cereal or Kleenex box becomes empty my boys will often ask if they can have it. They use them for barns, garages, caves, hideouts and all sorts of things for their toys. If I have bigger boxes they want those, too. I let them color them and create with them. You can also let your little ones use toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls for telescopes, field glasses or hideouts for small toys. (Eventually we do throw them away. This momma can only handle so much clutter!)
Dress up~ This is a major one! My three youngest children have especially enjoyed this area of make believe. Thankfully they have a grandma who is willing to sew costumes for them! They have received as gifts, hats, boots, moccasins, back packs and various accessories to make their outfits complete. On any given day you may find a cowboy, an army guy, Star Wars character, princess, bunny or puppy dog roaming around our house. These games last for hours and I love to hear all the creativity flowing from my children.
Collections~ My oldest son was big into tractors when he was little. He would play with them for hours, setting them up, making fields, working in the fields, selling items and buying others. If your child is interested in a particular area help them expand their play by setting up your kitchen table or living room floor with their collection, then ask questions and help them build a story with their toys.
Watercolors~ Grab some white cardstock and let your little artists paint away. After their creations are dry help them make cards out of their paintings. I have used these sort of cards for years and people always enjoy getting my children’s artwork.
Make A Book~ This is something my children do on their own quite often. They love to make up their own books full of pictures. Most often with my younger boys they fill the pages with pictures and so it turns into a picture book. Lots of fun and a great beginning to writing!
This is just a selection of the things you could do with your children to help them use their imaginations. One of the best ways to get them started is to ask them questions about what they are playing and maybe add in a few of your own outrageous ideas if they so desire. Then sit back and listen close, because you aren’t going to want to miss the great imagination that soars out of your child!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Living in the country has its perks and a few detractors.
Such as having no phone service for 10 days.
No phone. No internet.
A couple years ago our neighbors dug up and severed our phone line with a backhoe. Now whenever it rains significant amounts, as it has for the past week, we loose the ability to use our phone.
When we try to use the phone we get a loud buzzing and crackling which makes you temporarily loose all your hearing abilities.
We called the phone company each work day for 7 days. Each time we got the same song and dance…it would be fixed within 24 hours.
Yesterday, 10 days into this fiasco, the phone repairman finally came. We personally know the guy and he said it was the first time he had gotten any order for fixing our line.
After the phone was fixed I tried to get on the internet, but each time I got a pop-up telling me my access was denied.
SIGH! Oh well.
Today I finally got it all straightened around.
I’m up and running.
This unintentional break once again showed me what a time hog the internet can be. The first few days I was really antsy about not having the internet, but as time progressed I began to realize how much I was accomplishing with my computer turned off.
I need balance in this area of my life.
Less computer time and more living is what is the order of the day. Basic uninterrupted daily living.
Simplicity at its finest.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
When my boys were young I remember days filled with just trying to keep up.
Keeping up with changing diapers.
Keeping up with the dishes.
Keeping up with meals.
Keeping up with picking up.
Keeping up with guidance and discipline.
Keeping up with housework.
Keeping up with keeping up.
Looking back now it was a whirlwind. Minutes, hours, whole days flew by and I remember feeling guilty, at times, for not being a more “fun” mom. I allowed society to make me feel like I was not giving my children the best of my time. There were a lot of times I just said no. I had to. I couldn’t do everything and be everyone. I couldn’t sit for hours and play tractors, goodness one turn around the “field” and I was clueless on what to do next! I couldn’t spend every day at the park. I couldn’t stand to have play dough ground into my carpet EVERY DAY.
Sometimes I said no, because I couldn’t handle one more thing. Sometimes it was out of selfishness. Sometimes it was out of tiredness. Sometimes we needed quiet. Sometimes it was because I didn’t see my main job as chief entertainer.
I still don’t.
It is high on my list to spend time with my children, to build relationships with each of them. We read, do puzzles, talk, have tea parties, create with play dough and build tents, but I don’t feel it is best for me to become my children’s entertainment committee.
One of my goals is to help my children learn to play independently of me. I specifically want them to be able to use their imaginations, create and be active without having me lead them each step of the way.
Often I will get them started (especially the young ones) then I will step back and let them take over. Sometimes I will sit and play for 20 minutes, but then I tell them I need to do laundry or make lunch. Most often my children will continue playing and often take it far beyond what I could have ever thought up.
My youngest son is so content and creative in his play, that once I watched him transform two pencils into flying rockets. I sat and listened to him zoom and create a dialogue between his two flying machines. It lasted for 45 minutes!
There are many ways that a mom can spark that imagination and creativity next week I will highlight some of my favorites.
Until then enjoy your weekend and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t playing with your children all day long, they might just transform into a airplane pilot or mommy extraordinaire when you aren’t looking!