The snow is falling…finally! It’s been such a mild winter, that I’ve had to remind myself almost daily that spring is not just around the corner. Today, it’s not hard to remember it is February, and isn’t the snow beautiful? What better way to spend a snowy February morning than baking zucchini bread (I froze a little shredded zucchini from the summer garden back in August for just such an occasion) and making Valentines with my son for his preschool class? The idea for the Valentines came from a Seventh Generation blog post, and the zucchini bread recipe comes from my old trusty Better Homes and Gardens cook book (handed down from my grandma) but I linked to some similar recipes in a previous post. How are you spending these February days?
On this day before Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a fun & festive project to keep little hands busy and to brighten up the decorations for your feast 🙂 It’s a wonderful sensory activity too working with feathers and glue! Both of my children (3 and 1) worked hard and were able to make a turkey of their own.
Here’s what you need:
- construction paper
- glue (we used a glue stick and white glue)
For my son who’s 3 I let him use his own glue stick to glue feathers to a piece of orange construction paper. For my daughter who’s 1 and a half I spread the glue on the paper and let her stick the feathers on. I cut out brown turkey heads, orange beaks, and red snoods (the skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck). I let my son glue his face onto the turkey head. I did this step for my daughter. Then I glued the heads over the feathers with white glue. We drew on black eyes. I think they turned out pretty cute!
I hope all of my American friends are enjoying this prep time for our feasts tomorrow. There isn’t a holiday that beats Thanksgiving in my mind. What could be better than too much food, family and friends, a warm home that smells delicious, and a morning snuggling and watching a parade? All of the best things in life in one day 😀
I keep a basket of books in the living room for the children. I keep it stocked with seasonal books. Right now it is filled with autumn themed books. We are about to add Halloween titles, but for now I’ll share our fall reading list.
- “Let It Fall” by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
- “Leaf Jumpers” by Carole Gerber
- “The Fox and the Falling Leaves” by Julia Rawlinson
- “Joy” by Joyce Carol Thomas
“Let it Fall” is a sweet, short rhyming story about a family enjoying autumn activities. “Leaf Jumpers” is another rhyming book about the shapes and colors of different species of leaves. My son (3) really likes to compare the leaves we find outside. “The Fox and the Falling Leaves” is a lovely book (perhaps my favorite) about a little fox who worries about his favorite tree when the leaves begin to turn brown and fall off. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is so sweet. And “Joy” has been one of my son’s favorite books since he was just an infant so it hold a very special place in my heart. It is a board book and a poem about a child and his mother experiencing the seasons.
I have been catching up on my growing stack of magazines. A few of my favorites are Martha Stewart Living and Midwest Living and Family Fun and Renewal (Association of Waldorf Schools in North America). I’ve been reading some back issues lately. I am also enjoying rereading The Great Gatsby.
What are you and your kids reading?
As many of you may know from previous posts, I have been doing some soul-searching lately. Staying at home with 2 children has been a real adjustment for me. I often feel pulled in several directions and feel that someone needs something from me at any given moment. This does not leave a lot of time for me to gather my thoughts and reflect on the type of mother and person I hope to be or the type of mother and person that I am becoming. I feel as though I am stumbling through most days just trying to keep up with all of the demands of my children and home. By the evening when my children are peaceful in their beds, I struggle to find the energy to do much beyond flopping my exhausted body on the couch and watching a show or two before bed. Then morning comes and we begin the whole thing over again and again and again.
I started this blog as a way to focus on my hopes for the future, to spend some time reflecting on my successes and struggles. Spending time on the computer writing and sharing has led me to browse some of your blogs and to think about some theories and styles of learning and teaching that I haven’t thought deeply about since my time in college studying to become a teacher. As a parent now, I have a new perspective and the information has a new saliency for me.
I have been reading books about Waldorf education and simplicity parenting. While these movements have always resonated with my beliefs about children, family life, and nature; I struggle with the pieces which seem based more in faith than science but touted as science and the prescriptive way that many authors write about their ideals. And perhaps that is at the heart of how I feel about it. It’s an ideal. But I still need and want to live in the reality of my home, my family, my community, my neighborhood, my circle of friends. So I’m sure I’m stating the obvious, but sometimes it helps to just get it out. I’m choosing to take a little and leave a little.
I belive in simplicity. Less of some things makes more room for other things. Less toys, less stimulation, less TV makes room for more conversation, more singing, more baking, more gardening, more crafting, more painting, more loving, more being together. And all that leads to calm joy.
I believe in nature. The outdoors and our natural ability to find with in ourselves what we need, if we give ourselves the space to do it. I want that for myself and my children. So here I am back where I remember being in my 20’s with some of the same high ideals, but now I have a family. And that makes it all more important.
I think I’ll head out to the garden now 🙂
Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you’ve had a productive and joy-filled week. We’ve been baking zucchini bread, watering all of the new plants we planted last weekend (it’s been so hot), keeping cool by the water table and kiddie pool, reading & reading (my daughter can’t get enough books all of a sudden), visiting with a couple of new friends, and listening to and watching a Daiko (a style of Japanese drumming) group play outdoors.
Thought I’d leave you today with a song from my kids’ and my favorite album lately, Elizabeth Mitchell’s Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie. It’s becoming the soundtrack to our days. We often find ourselves humming the tunes while going about our day. My favorite is, Little Sugar. Take a moment to listen and let me know if you love it too!
Hope you all have a peaceful & happy weekend. I’ll see you next week with a word or two on our theme last week, a tasty and easy pasta recipe, and maybe some pickles 🙂
In the mean time, I’d love to hear about your week?
Today I’ll share a project my son and I worked on yesterday. I try to do 1 or 2 crafts each week with my 3-year-old son (I also try to let my 1-year-old daughter paint frequently). It’s been quite rainy this summer so far, so rain sticks seemed like an appropriate project. Here’s how you do it:
1 Paper towel roll
Construction paper scraps or plastic wrap.
2 Rubber bands
1. Cut construction paper scraps into 2 circles 1 inch wider than the radius of the end of the paper towel roll. These will be the caps at each end of the paper towel roll. (You could use plastic wrap instead. You wouldn’t need to cut this into circles)
2. Cut 2 strips of foil twice the length of the paper towel roll and about 2 or 3 inches wide.
3. Crinkle the foil strips into long thin “snakes” and wrap around a pencil to create 2 “springs.”
4. Glue and or rubber band the construction paper circles (or plastic wrap) on one end of the paper towel roll to seal it off.
5. Place both foil springs into the paper towel roll.
6. Fill the paper towel roll about 1/8 full of rice.
7. Cover the other end of the paper towel roll with the other construction paper circle or more plastic wrap using glue and/or a rubber band.
8. Decorate with paint or other decorations and let dry.
9. Play and Dance!!!!
Hope you are having a fun Tuesday!
This is one of my favorite new toys for my 3-year-old son. I bought it on a whim because he loves gardening and games. We opened it and began playing and I was reminded that there is genius in simplicity. It’s like the toys of my childhood (I was young in the 80’s). The board simply fold in half and sports 4 drawings of gardens with spaces for your 4 crops (corn, peas, tomatoes, and carrots). The 1st time you play, you punch out little cardboard chips with pictures of the vegetables to “plant” in your garden. The die is simple with 1 color on each side representing each vegetable and a couple of other actions. In the center of the board is a beautiful painting of a summer day. Included are puzzle cards used to cover the summer painting to make it slowly turn fall and winter. The goal is to work together to plant and/or harvest your gardens. My son loves planting and picking his vegitables. He also loves putting the winter pieces over the summer scene. He feigns being cold and shivers saying, “Mommy, it’s gettin’ cold. Winters coming. Hurry!” I love it! He even plays by himself sometimes when I’m too busy to play.
Perhaps my favorite part is the goal in this game is not to compete with the other players but to work together to get the job done. We have several classic board games in which the object is competition and I think there’s value in competition too. But I must say it’s refreshing to play a board game with my son that includes helping each other, please’s and thank you’s.
P.S. I was not asked to review this game by anyone. I did not recieve a sample of the game from the manufacturer. I simply found a toy that I like and wanted to share it. Here is the link to the manufacturer, Family Pastimes.