Monday, December 31, 2012

Closing out 2012

I would love to catch you all up on all of our Advent crafting, Christmas activities, and all the other holiday happenings in our humble abode...but that would take awhile and I only have a few moments before my sweet hubby finishes making our special, adult only New Year's Eve dinner. 

What I do want to do is commemorate another year of great blessings and time with the people I love most.  Some days/weeks/months are tough around here - financially, marriage, parenting, everything all together.  Others are easy, careless, and beautiful.  But the point is, at the end of another year, we all have fallen even more in love with each other.  We all have grown individually and as a family.  We all have begun to further establish our family traditions.  And Hubby and I have deepened the resolve in each of us that shapes the direction our family will take and the ways that we will raise our children in an often chaotic world.  The days of 2012 have been filled with tons of love and extreme chaos...and still overriding it all is the sense of peace that we find by having each other.

Just a glimpse of the ever appropriate way that we closed out 2012!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

For those band-aid lovin' kids

Do your kids love band-aids?  Mine are obsessed with them.  I think they would easily go through a box a day if I let them...but I don't because they cost money and I am cheap.  They want one for the smallest of "boo-boos" and for all the imaginary wounds they dream up during their play.  I needed an alternative that was quick, cheap, and easy.  And this is what I came up with - felt and velcro band-aids.

 Mama had a boo-boo on her wrist.
We made a wide variety of sizes and colors - ones to fit mama and daddy arms and legs, all the way down to ones small enough to fit toddler fingers (not pictured here because they are on a sleeping toddler at the moment).

I thought I'd offer a quick how-to for how I whipped these together with my little helpers one morning.  I let the kids pick out the colors from our felt collection.  We cut a variety of strips ranging for 1/2" wide up to about 3" wide, at varying lengths.  I rounded the edges of each strip to give it a band-aid shape. 

I cut squares (actually, more like rectangles) of white felt and sewed them to the middle of each strip - nothing fancy, just a straight stick with thread of your desired color.  On that same side, to one end sew one or two pieces of velcro.  It doesn't matter if it's the soft or rough side of the velcro.  On the band-aid pictured below I sewed two horizontal strips (with the soft part of the velcro) on this side to allow for more flexibility in the circumference of the band-aid when wrapped closed.

Flip over the felt piece and sew the other piece or pieces of velcro on the opposing end.  I used only one vertical strip.  I did this to cut down on the amount of velcro used, mostly because I was running low.  On the next band-aid I used the inverse pieces and had two horizontal pieces of rough velcro and one vertical piece of soft on the other end.

Wrapped closed.

And that's it.  You're done.  Nothing fancy at all, but they have been a huge hit around here.  Mannchen especially enjoys using them when playing firefighter/parametic.  Töchterchen has now decided she would like some pink and purple ones.  I guess this mama better get more velcro soon!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

{this moment}

One day late....

A concept borrowed from Soulemama.  {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My therapy

Rhythm soothes us all.  Babies are calmed by rocking or patting on their bottoms.  Rhythm to our days gives us grounding and stability.  The steady beat of music is soothing. 

My rhythm of choice is running.  Nothing calms my mind more than than a good steady run.  When life becomes more than I can take, the greatest therapy I know is hitting the pavement. 

My irrational thoughts become rationalized.  My impulses are calmed.  My problems find solutions.  Thoughts come into my head and the steady beat of my feet on the ground smoothes them into polished ideas. 

When I don't have enough of the steady beating of my feet on the pavement, the hard things become harder.  Running is my time for meditation.  I need the space of the open road and the quiet of my thoughts - no double jogging stroller, no dog.  I become so wrapped up in my thoughts that the running itself becomes effortless.  Mile after mile passes without much notice.  I just go until everything has been reflected upon and all my thoughts are organized.  Then I stop - no more, no less than needed.

Running is my therapy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Advent Adventures

It's almost December, which means it's almost time for our family to begin our advent activities for the second year.  Since last year, I have discovered pinterest - meaning I have been gathering ideas all year!  That helped with the initial planning, but now that the time is upon us, I'm realizing if I want this to go smoother than last year, it's time to pull out my teacher's skills and PLAN PLAN PLAN.  There were quite a few days that I threw together at the last minute last year.  I don't like doing activities with the kids that way.  It makes them too stressful.

So, this year I have lists of the activity for each day, complete with all directions and supply lists.  My plan is to organize each day into it's own hanging folder in a file box tomorrow - go ahead and do all the cutting, sorting, etc that goes with some of the crafts.  But, I also have three tier baby shower cake to decorate, a million things to do to get our house ready to sell (yes, we are selling the house - I will blog more about that soon), and two kids to love on.  There's a good chance, this is as far as I will get with the ahead of time planning...but I can always hope.

Several friends and family have asked for ideas and what we're doing.  Here it is, complete with links to pintrest when applicable.
1 - Decorate large paper trees.  Today the kids used green water colors on a large sheet of watercolor paper.  I will cut each sheet into a tree shape and let them go crazy with markers, glitter, sequins, etc.  I think buttons would look better, but I haven't created a large button collection for them to create with at this point.
2 - Salt Dough Ornaments.  I'm using this recipe for the dough, but we're cutting out a variety of shapes and let the kids paint with acrylic paint after they are baked.
3 - Christmas movie and/or hot chocolate
4 - Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments for Christmas Mobile.  Here's the recipe.  I'm not following all of Martha's directions...we're just cutting out Christmas shapes and hanging them on the mobiles we used last year for our gingerbread ornaments.
5 - Angel Tree gift shopping.  Pick up a tag, shop for a kid.
6 - St. Nicholas Celebration.  I picked this idea up from a friend.  Here is a link to what she did last year.  I also found more info here and here.  I also purchased a few books on St. Nicholas that we have begun reading so the kids are familiar with him and his story.  We will make cookies using the recipe in one of the books, read a story, leave letters and gifts for him, and the kids will put their shoes outside (or maybe just in a window).  I'll fill the shoes with something special, but I don't know what it will be yet - maybe something crafty.
7 - Pinecone Christmas Trees.  Easy enough.
8 - Wool Felt Garland.  My ideas came from here.  We might make our own felt balls for the experience of learning felting, but there's a good chance we will just restring a bowl of felt balls I have which used to hang from the reading nook ceiling.
9 - Christmas pancakes.  Add green and red sprinkles to the batter for fun-fetti pancakes and pour into metal cookie cutters (i.e. cheap pancake molds) when cooking. 
10 - Snowflake ornamentsPopsicle sticks, glitter, and decorations.  Should be a huge mess that resembles snowflakes in no way.
11 - Handprint Christmas tree cards.  Cute.
12 - Local Festival of Lights.  I'm assuming teachers still get a free pass.
13 - Waffle cone Christmas Trees.  I'm planning to make a gingerbread house.  They get to make a forest to surround it.  Good and messy.
14 - Handprint hand towels.  Hoping for the best on this one.
15 - Reindeer thumbprint cards.   So cute.
16 - Make soap for gifts.  This was a huge hit with Mannchen last year.  The soap came in the mail the other day and he's asked everyday since to make it.  This year we adding scents and herbs to both goat's milk soap and castile soap.  Link to the article my friend wrote on how and where to get supplies.
17 - Decorate gift bags.  I have stamps, stickers, and markers for the kids to decorate plain white bags with and we will put homemade gifts in them for friends and family.
18 - Write a letter to Santa.  Good time to remind them about the spirit of Christmas and to remind them of St. Nicholas.  I want to set the tone now that you only ask Santa for one thing.  This isn't a time to be greedy.  It's a time to be thankful for all we do have and to share our love and blessings with others. 
19 - Visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop.  There's a ton of activities for the kids to do - games, crafts, and of course see Santa.  This will be our kids' first visit to Santa.  We tried last year, but he was on his dinner break.  It was probably for the better.
20 - Make pinecone birdfeeders.  We collected large pine cones at the Noland trail awhile ago.  We coat them in crisco and roll them in a large pan of birdseed.  You can also use peanut butter, but we don't due to Mannchen's allergies.  Tie a ribbon to them and hang them from an easily visible tree.
21 - Watch a Christmas movie and/or hot chocolate.
22 - Decorate Sugar Cookies.  I make the cookies ahead of time.  The kids get to have a blast with icing and sprinkles.  We may make a few other types of cookies, but time will tell.
23 - Take a night walk to look at lights.  Load the kids up in the double jogger and walk or run the neighborhood after dark.
24 - Open an early gift!  The gift will be special mugs, hot chocolate, Christmas PJs (maybe...if I get the chance to make them), and a new Christmas book (The Polar Express).  Enjoy a quiet family evening together.
 Then it's CHRISTMAS!!!!

We are really trying to play on the spirit of Christmas and the true meaning of the holiday and minimize the Santa/gifts part of the season.  Our kids are each getting only one gift from "Santa" this year in addition to their stockings - this is something I intend to keep up for years to come.  We feel that Christmas has become too focused on "getting" and we want this to be a special time of year because of what we do together and with/for others.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they start to pick up more from outside influences, but for now that is our hope.

Please let me know if any of the links don't work.  What are some special activities you do to celebrate?  Please share!

Merry Christmas!!! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweet Töchterchen

Dear Töchterchen,

You're two now.  And you're fabulous.  Just the way you are.  You are smart, sassy, beautiful, confident, and undeniably headstrong.  While some of those qualities make it a little more difficult to parent you, I pray that they will pay off BIG time for you in the long run.  Each and every one of them makes you you.  And YOU are so easy to love you for who you are, just the way you are.

A year ago I was struggling to deal with you turning one.  I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was losing my baby as you transitioned into toddlerhood.  But this past year with you has been so much fun.  You are becoming an independent little lady with strong opinions and great ideas.  Most days, nobody tells you what to do.  Your daddy and I pray you keep that up in your teen years.  You are a smart one - no denying that.  I can't wait to see what the next year with you brings.  I can't wait to start hearing all your thoughts and ideas.  Your language skills are developing with each passing day and it's so exciting to hear more and more of what's going on in that pretty little head of yours.

You love your babies and we constantly refer to you as a "little mommy".  You feed them, tuck them in with you at night, love to have us change their clothes, but I think your favorite is pushing them around in your stroller.  You love tea parties, Cinderella, and playing in your kitchen.  You're starting to love books.  Having you snuggle up in my lap is one of the best parts of being your mama.  You know your colors - your favorites are pink and purple.  Mannchen taught you how to count to three.  Many days it comes out as "Three, two, one, two, one, two, one, three....", but I know you're getting there and I'm amazed that you know all you do.  With each week you become more focused on the details of your life - you like to make decisions and do as much as you can on your own.  You are tough as shit.  Pardon my language, but girl, you are TOUGH.  I feel sorry for anyone that comes up against you in sports.  You love to help me in the kitchen.  The trickiest part about having you help cook is you want to taste as much as possible while we're making it.  Right now one of your chores is to set the table.  I love that you know who gets which plate, fork, etc.  You are loud and you think it's hilarious.  You love to pretend you don't understand just to see how much you can get away with, but your daddy and I have caught on to your tricks.  And now that you're also understanding consequences you've learned that it's better to listen than get in trouble.

I hope that you are always as confident in yourself and your body as you are when you do the "naked dance" to that obnoxious singing dinosaur each night before bathtime. Now, let me be clear - that in NO way means you should flaunt or put your body on display. I just wish for you that you always accept and love yourself. You are beautiful and I hope you never fail to see that in yourself. You aren't beautiful because of what you wear or how your hair is fixed. Even when you're grown you will always be more beautiful to me first thing in the morning with your hair a mess than when you're all fixed up with make-up on. You are beautiful because you are beautiful. You are beautiful because you are confident, smart, and ours. Your daddy and I honestly believe there has never been a more gorgeous Töchterchen. Even when you're going through that awkward puberty stuff, you will still be number one in our eyes. I hope you will always see it too.

Sometimes I like to think about what my grandmother would think of you. You are named in her honor.  She was known to the family as the "Queen". In that regard, you're living up to her in everyway. You certainly try to rule this roost. I think she would admire your spunk and whit - but I also think she would have met her match in you and may have been interesting to see. I wish you could have known her.

I consider myself the luckiest mama in the world because you are my daughter (and your brother is my son).  You are the sweetest baby girl.  Your hugs and kisses make my days brighter.  Your smile makes this world a better place and your laughter brightens the gloomiest days.  When I see you and your brother playing sweetly or snuggling in your new (to you) big girl bed, my heart melts.  I know that what I'm seeing in front of me is what life is all about.  You two may fight like cats and dogs at times, but mostly you're best buds.

When your daddy and I peak in on you sleeping you look like an angel.  To us, you are and will always be our baby girl and one of life's greatest blessings.  We love you so much sweet Töchterchen.

Happy 2nd birthday Töchterchen

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Little bit of catch up

It's been busy around always.

The kids went to my parents' house for a week before Halloween.  I thought I could conquer the world in that week...only to realize that even though I had more time without the kids around, I am still not Superwoman.  So I had to settle for "only" accomplishing having the most immaculately clean house in the world (or at least in the past three years since JB was born - three years of dirt in some of those nooks and crannies, is a lot of dirt); two 60 year old windows stripped of old cracked glazing and prepped for new, fresh glazing (but no time to actually glaze them - btw "glazing" is the stuff that goes around each individual pane of glass that weatherproofs the window on the exterior side); and one wedding cake, one Elmo cake, one Halloween birthday cake, and two regular ol' "Happy Birthday" cake cakes.  We also went to two weddings over the weekend the kids were gone and one was up in Northern VA.  Wow.  I'm tired just thinking back on how much work I put in that week...and crazy me thought I could do even more.  I had hoped to finish the windows, strip and repaint our bottom cabinets, start on Summerlin's quilt, and make a wedding gift for one of the weddings we attended....and maybe, just maybe, tear out our old carpet and refinish the hardwood floors.  Ohh how I make myself laugh. 

The kids got home the Monday before Halloween and I had to rush to get their costumes made on time.  Thankfully they weren't anything elaborate and came together quite easily.  Jackson was a firefighter.  Anyone who knows him shocked about that one?  Summerlin was a fairy princess...or something like that.  Basically she had on a tutu, carried a wand, and wore as much flower/pink/purple/girly stuff as we could put together.  The only answer I could get from her on a costume was that she wanted it to be pink and purple.  We accomplished that for sure. 

The following weekend was CNU's Homecoming football game.  We tailgated and went to the game.  It was a blast.  We were impressed with CNU's tailgating experience.  Justin's best buds since childhood came down and so did his parents.  It was a full house and totally worth it.  Plus, Grandparents = free professional babysitters during the game. 

Last Wednesday evening we left for Blacksburg again for a long weekend, including going to the Tech vs. FSU football game.  After tailgating at Tech, maybe CNU's one small parking lot wasn't so gigantic...  My mom's younger brothers also came into town with their combined six boys for the weekend.  Some of my cousins are far closer in age to my children than me - kinda funny to think about sometimes!  Jackson absolutely loved playing with them and they were incredibly sweet and gentle with our kids.  I was so impressed.  They played with play-doh, Mr. Potato Head, Candy Land, and had a huge wrestling match on the living room floor to conclude the evening.  I hope we can see them more often!

While we were at my parents' Jackson realized he can peddle a bike.  Summerlin realized she can climb out of a crib.  One is awesome.  The other not so much.  Once we got home, Justin put away her crib and moved one of the twin beds from Jackson's room into Summerlin's room.  Our hope is that after the holidays, we can move them into the same room.  We tried it in May and it was way too much party, not enough sleep.  Hopefully, once Summerlin is used to sleeping in a twin bed, she will be able to handle sharing a room.  She was way too young when we tried before and all she did was play and run around for hours.  Just this afternoon I peaked in on her and she had thrown everything off her bed, packed a bag full of PJs to go to "Ruth's house" (that's what the kids call my mom), and added two skirts under her dress and a pair of pants.  It was a lovely outfit.  Finally she did settle down and nap, but it didn't happen as quickly as I had hoped.  It never does.

 Oh crap, forgot to mention.  Summerlin turned two.  Wow, what a fabulous mom I am.  That's a pretty fabulous milestone.  Ironically, since turning two she has become much milder mannered, listens better, and is INCREDIBLY sweet.  I'm starting to think she just likes to buck expectations.  You've gotta watch that one, trust me on that.  She's going to do great things in life, I know it.

There you go.  Our last several weeks in a nutshell. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Play, as we know it

I absolutely love seeing my babies play. Here are a few shots of some recent favorites.

 Parking lot in the kitchen.

 I'm always a fan of play that also helps me cross chores off my list.  Töchterchen likes the job of supervisor, while Mannchen does the heavy work.

 Just one of those days - campout in the living room, watching The Lion King.

We even had a "picnic" lunch on the floor while we watched the movie.  Mannchen's response: "OH!  That's so special.  I so excited!"

We made felt/velcro band-aids - Mannchen is showing off red and orange ones while coloring.  I could not afford to keep putting real ones on the kids every time they asked.   They have been very happy to use their play ones instead.

Mannchen loves to spread out the hay from his barn and "mow the field" with his tractors. 

We've made a lot of elaborate train set-ups lately.  I forgot to get a shot of the whole set-up.

Mannchen's drawing of a firetruck - his favorite thing to draw.

Töchterchen's favorites include changing her baby doll's clothes, having tea parties, and destroying nearly everything Mannchen does.  She's really good at the last one. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Latest in Sewing

I wasn't sewing as much as I had hoped for a few months - mostly after we moved Töchterchen back downstairs and we lost our crafting/office room.  But I've been getting back into the swing of things lately...and once again getting used to pulling out and putting away my sewing machine each time I use it. 

First on my list of "must-do's" was pajama pants for the kids.  I bought flannel fabric last spring on super clearance for a mere $1.99/yd.  A few weeks ago I created my own little pattern from pajama pants they already own...but I extended the length.  In fact, I super extended it and created a cuff at the bottom of each pair of pants.  I'm hoping this year they can wear them with the cuff up and next year with the cuff down they will still fit.  But in the case of Töchterchen, who grows like a may just mean she will get one full season out of them.

 Modeling her favorite pair of PJ pants.  I've recently learned my baby girl is not a pastels girl.  She likes things bright, cheery, and a bit on the wild side - just like her personality.  Unfortunately two of the flannels I bought were softer colors, but she seems to be ok with wearing them when the mood strikes her just right.  I tried to get a standing shot of either kid, but this was the best I could do.   

 Next on the list was to finish up this fun little jumper for my girl. Again, it was fabric I bought on clearance at least a year ago - I'm a sucker for baby cordoruy. I was just waiting for her to get a little bigger so that I wouldn't have to alter the pattern quite as much as I did with the other dress pattern I've made for her in the past. I made it in a 3T and I hope it fits her for awhile.

Close-up of the fun fabric.

Complete with two pockets on the front for collecting rocks, acorns, and grass girl's favorites.

 Sweet baby girl with her baby.  Pardon the Halloween tatoo on her arm - temporary tatoos are the latest rage with my kids.
 Back of the dress.
I love her crazy bedhead.  And her excitement over her new dress.  She had to try it on as soon as she saw it.

Next up, her quilt!  Tonight I'm working on my "pattern" and design ideas.  The fabrics I selected are gorgeous and I hope I do them justice!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend Mornings

We eat extremely well around here, especially on weekend mornings. My boys love to cook up a tasty feast - Mannchen is very quickly becoming a fabulous chef. Saturdays are usually pancakes and Sundays are french toast or eggs, bacon, and on occasion homemade cinnamon rolls. I love watching them work together and Mannchen's enthusiasm is precious.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Springwood Farm

Last weekend we went to Springwood Farm, Hubby's Aunt and Uncle's farm, for a family reunion.  Every Columbus Day weekend his mom's family gathers to enjoy a fall weekend together.  Springwood couldn't be in a more beautiful setting.  Our farm lovin' boy was in heaven - cows, horses, and TWO John Deere tractors!  Three year old boy heaven.  Töchterchen had a blast herself playing with all her (second and third) girl cousins.  There were four little girls ages 18 months to 3 years.  They all brought their strollers and baby dolls.  I think they enjoyed trading babies and strollers, but I'm not sure because there were a few squabbles over who was pushing who in what.  Oh girls...the drama starts early.

Not only was this a great weekend in the country with family, but this was Mannchen's first ever camping trip.  We set the tent up in the living room a few nights before we went and from that moment on he was pumped.  In fact, he's spent most nights on the floor of his room "camping out" since we returned.  Thankfully he sleeps better on the floor of his room than he did in the tent.  Töchterchen was up crying at midnight because of her two year molars (she was sleeping with Mimi and Papa, but after that spell she came back to sleep snuggled up on this mama's chest, which I loved) and Mannchen was up for awhile around 3:00 for who knows why (it was cold?).  Then we all were blessed to yet again rise with the sun.  Are you catching my sarcasim on that one?  I hope so.  We haven't missed a sunrise in a long, long time, but this was just our first one in a tent, in the rain, wet and cold.

But in all seriousness we had fabulous weekend, even if it did take our kids about four days to recover from no true naps two days in a row and one EXTREMELY late bedtime. Sometimes I really struggle at letting go and taking part in weekends away for those very reasons. I think a lot of it comes from having to be the one that bears the blunt of the double grumpy toddler blow for those long days following. But the time with family is precious and worth every bit of it. Our kids won't have first cousins close in age so I am extremely thankful for every moment they get with their second cousins. We made memories that will last for years and that is worth every tired moment in the days to follow.  Plus I was able to get away with Hubby's cousin for a great 10 mile run.  I haven't run in such beautiful scenery with great company in a long, long time!

The most beautiful baby girl a mama could ever ask for.  This picture is from my flower garden several weeks ago.  Last week the flowers decided they had produced enough and started to mold.  We truly enjoyed having a fresh vase of flowers and herbs on the table for the last several months.  Next year I'm hoping to have both a summer and a fall cutting garden. 

Hubby's Aunt does a great job of scheduling activities for the kids (and grown-ups).  This year we made tye-dye shirts and the kids decorated bags for trick-or-treating (and for carrying home their shirts). 
Taking a break from playing in the horse rink to visit with the cows along with a cousin.  Hubby's uncle has about a dozen cows currently - but then again he is a specialist with a PhD such things.

Töchterchen had to fear of any of the large animals.  She loved reaching right in to pet them and even touch their tounges.  I had to hold myself back from stopping her.  I didn't want to pass along my own reservations to her.  I'm so thankful for animal lovin' kids.  Sidenote - the latex gloves she is wearing are from tye-dyeing.  She refused to take them off for the longest time.

Töchterchen pushing a cousin's baby and stroller.

Listening to and participating in the African drum music with another sweet cousin. 

The drummers.

Shake it girl.

Mannchen enjoyed studying each instrument.

Riding the tractor with favorite Aunt Meg.  When Hubby's sister got there, Mannchen took off running for her and gave her a big hug.  Needless to say, the boy loves his Aunt.  Story behind this picture - Mannchen, Töchterchen, and I were taking part in the African drumming when Mannchen heard type of motor start up.  He immediately started looking around and realized it was one of the tractors.  Once we realized that he took off running as fast as he could.  I'm sure he was even more overjoyed when he realized it was his aunt driving the tractor.

If Mannchen does it, Töchterchen has to try it too.

Back home, with her own baby and stroller, playing little mommy.  I love how much my baby girl loves her baby.  Melts my heart.  I look forward to all the tea parties and playing house we'll do in the years to come.

Waiting for Fall

Here in Newport News, we're still waiting for significant fall weather. Some evenings are cool, but most days still get up to the 70s. It makes for great outdoor weather, but I'm ready for cold, crisp fall days. I want to wear pants and long sleeves! Spring started in February this year. It just feels like this has been the summer that we never had the chance to long for and it's never going to end. Yet, all in all, there is nothing in all of that to truly complain about. So, while we are waiting and longing for fall and winter, we are reminding ourselves to be happy with the beautiful days surrounding us now. Our fall garden is taking off and providing us with plenty of cabbage and lettuce - keeping us healthy and saving on the grocery bills. Staying outdoors all morning is very enjoyable, rather than hot and humid. Plus, it's been great weather for running!
Our family computer died a few weeks (months?) ago and now we only use Justin's work computer on the evenings and weekends. Recently we cut cable and switched to a cheaper internet service. In the process we went a week without internet at home. It really put in perspective for me how much time I used to waste online. I was able to get so much more done around the house - cooking, sewing, cleaning, and creating. Now that we have internet again I've found I don't care near as much about it or getting on the computer after the kids are in bed. It feels extremely liberating to cross out that huge time vaccuum and spend more time caring for my family. I've upped my "cooking from scratch" efforts and have been sewing more. I realized that spending my time in these ways is far more beneficial for myself and my family than spending hours a week online and on facebook. It kind of makes me sad that I wasted as much of my life as I did in the past.

I'm hoping that in the months to come I can make more frequent, but shorter blog posts. Here's to hoping at least!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Start of School

At the beginning of the month we started "homeschooling".  I use that term very loosely because we do a very short story and activity Monday, Wednesday, and Friday...then we carry on with our day as usual.  I'm still trying to figure out how I really want to go about it all, but I like trying to start now.  It allows us this year to figure things out while both kids are still so young, then with each coming year we can build upon our lessons.  Everything we're doing is very nature based - no formal ABCs or 123s yet.  But the beauty of children is they don't need formal lessons to learn these basics.  They are everywhere around us.  Without ever sitting down for formal lessons, Jackson can count to 20 and Summerlin knows her colors.  Life at home with my sweet babies provides us with all the lessons we need.

This week we focused on the moon/stars, harvesting, and the upcoming "Harvest" moon at the end of the month. I snapped a few quick pictures while they were working on making stars for our moon and star mobile.

Yesterday we went to the pumpkin patch and "harvested" some pumpkins. They had a great corn maze, pumpkin ice cream, and a HUGE variety of pumpkins...and of course I forgot my camera. Big bummer because the kids were precious, as always. But here's a few shots of our collection!

The snake gourds on the steps and "once upon a blue moon" pumpkin on the bottom step are the fruits of our pumpkin patch.  We had three pumpkins start to grow, but two didn't make it.  This is our only one, but it's a beauty.  The snake gourds were Jackson's seed pick and I find them...interesting.  I'm excited to expand next year and try more varieties of pumpkins and different types of gourds.

The ones from the patch we visited yesterday.

All ready for fall.  And yes, there are differing politcal views expressed in our household.