Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cousins come to visit!

Last week my cousin & her family came to stay with us for a few days!  It was so fun!  Big A is 5 like Tweeters & Little A is 3 like Jam so they had a blast :0)

Some tether ball at the 'little park'

A beautiful sunset & evening at the lake

Mostly just pictures here, they speak for themselves...
Our 4 sweet babies (Flash is carrying Jam)

A few painting pics n art

We enjoy a wide variety of painting around here, so when our neighbor came by to ask if wanted to try out their homemade finger paint, we finished dinner speedy quick & ran over.  JN is 4 & it is so fun to have a little neighbor close to our little one's ages!  He also has a new baby brother, so of course I had to hold him when he woke up from his nap :0)
"my hands are on fire"!

Tweeters has been at this stage for awhile now: blue sky across the top, green grass along the bottom, with figures coming closer to earth instead of floating.  Just finished reading the chapter on art in 'Heaven on Earth' so I guess I'm more observant of it today.
painting with cars

HB did an art class with a family of girls last week & she wanted to try it with Tweeters...she used shrinky dink paper to trace a profile picture on her ipod (see her below).  Then they colored them in w/ sharpies (her fav. art medium!) & shrunk them up.  Voila!  Little cameo necklaces!


Yesterday before we went outside I made butter - we had cream that had been waiting for about a week to be made into something.  I LOVE our own butter, but I use the blender so it is very loud.  A hand churn would be so much quieter, but I don't have an hour to do that!!  So I put off the noisy job til I can't wait another day....
on the left is some butter still in the blender & the left over buttermilk, right is what I've taken out so far.  I push it up against the sides to get out the buttermilk, then rinse w/ cold water, squeeze again, salt, & pop into a little container.
Oh, yeah!  Today we picked another big batch of blackberries, and came right in to make southern blackberry cobbler with Breyers vanilla ice cream!  This was lunch!!  Tweeters made the cobbler & Jam snuck the sugar & berries.

What a treat!

Ok, we also had corn on the cob from our garden, with lots of butter & salt ;0)  Hey, see the chair Jam is sitting in??  I found that at a thrift store for $10 - one of those old Cosco tall children's chairs!
Weekly granola (front) & yogurt (back)

Birthday Boy!

Not a big party, but a fun, relaxing day :0)  Grandma & Grandpa L came, and later a 'big boy' friend with the same birth date!  He shared the cake - that's why there's a groovy 18 in roman numerals behind the 3 candles!

Jam woke up to 3 of everything!  3 balloons, books about things in 3's, 3 kisses & hugs!

 what to do with your trampoline net when it starts falling apart....tie up your baby brother!

Jam loved unwrapping his present - a big workbench!  A great thrift store find, with all the pieces still intact!

The cake for Jam & "Charlie" - it is my favorite: chocolate chip cake with cinnamon sugar on top!  I got the recipe from a lady I cleaned house for back in my college days.

Papa J loves to sing opera with me ;0)

"Charlie" brought Jam one of his old matchbox cars, so of course that took center stage over the workbench!  He loves his cars & Charlie knows just what he likes ;0)

Some of my Waldorks

Gma L reading Jam's card!

One of his books - he colored all the vehicles in it in the first 2 days!  Now to go back & color the dinosaurs!  He covers the whole page with color - sometimes just one color & sometimes several different. He doesn't seem to prefer markers or crayons at this point, just getting that color everywhere!  Thank you Gma & Gpa L!

Tweeters worked on her fun sticker book from Gma & Gpa L - I have actually been very impressed with the learning activities in this one :0)
My girlies

My 'other' Zach....we may have anywhere between 4-10 children here on any given day - this one is 'Charlie's' brother, but to mine, a brother from another mother!  He'd been building a retaining wall all day & was sooo tired!

A Garden Day

We've decided to let grass grow between the raised beds - makes for a very green, and um, natural look (hee hee!).  It was very Martha Stewart a few years ago when we first put the raised beds in, with sawdust in between & everything in lovely neat rows!  Now we just wander through and collect whatever God has given us, not worrying too much with the weeds ;0)
Yesterday was one of those bizarre July days where it is cool and damp, but still feels warm enough to play in the water.  So the littles got on their swimming suits, turned on the sprinkler, and we had a garden day....I even had a last minute idea to prepare a take-along bag w/ snacks & paints so we wouldn't have to run back into the house for anything.  I wanted to stretch our time outside as long as possible :0)
The bag I used to pack everything in - water bottle to drink, jar of water for painting, an apple w/a knife, graham crackers, little animals & a few cars, my camera, paints, brushes & paper (which Tweeters soaked in the rain buckets for wet on wet!)

Sunflowers going crazy!

Lisa at http://ourcountryroad.blogspot.com/ inspired me to bring the paints outdoors, as we have some random morning glories coming up along the fence.  I brought out tap water for the paints, but we also got some out of the rainwater buckets (not the ones w/ baby mosquitos squirming around, yuck!).  Lisa was actually doing a science lesson - and I think they planted the flowers with that in mind!

painting the dandylions red - but we were singing roses like Alice in Wonderland!
waiting for the can to fill up so his turtle could have a puddle (yes, that's as high as the sprinkler was turned on - they were sooo happy with just the simple running water to add to their play!

We found this old plastic turtle in the playhouse while looking for kitchen toys to use in the sandbox & water.  On a whim I recited this from my Title 1 teaching days:
There was a little turtle, he lived in a box
He swam in a puddle & he climbed on the rocks.
He snapped at a mosquito, he snapped at a flea,
He snapped at a minnow & he snapped at me.
He caught the mosquito, he caught the flea,
He caught the minnow, but he didn't catch me!

Jam asked me to repeat it like 3 or 4 times, then he went off to make a little puddle & 'rock' (bowl) for his turtle.  It was so precious!  He played there for at least 30 minutes, and Tweeters played in the sandbox just as long!  Beautiful to hear all the pretending and make believe :0)

Monday, July 15, 2013

'New' table, and proof that anything truly CAN be anything!

I was reading this great book called Heaven on Earth today - the one with the bits about dolls not having an expression.  In discussing toys the author kept saying - Anything can be anything!  This is true if the toy or plaything is plain enough - for example (in the book): if a child has a fire engine w/ lights, sounds & remote control, it will ALWAYS be a fire engine.  But if they have a plain wooden truck it can be a fire engine if you put a small wooden ladder in it.  It can also be a truck full of produce going to the farmer's market or food co-op, a dump truck in the dirt, a truck for moving the 'blankies' to their new home after the dinosaurs ate it (as happened in our house today, and yesterday....Jam is into the dinosaurs & Tweeters really isn't!), etc etc.  Do you see the potential for creative play, expression, and divergent thinking?  A beautiful thing!

Back to the table...today we finally picked up our big, old, heavy wooden table that we haven't been able to use for 7 years.  It has been in storage at my in-law's house, but now it is home :0)  I liked our other table, but our family has grown since we bought it and it doesn't fit all of our friends & family.  One of our amish friends made benches to go on either side, but I forgot to tell him not to put varnish on so they are banished to the deck til I figure out what to do about the fumes!  Anyway, love the table.  Right away Tweeters took to it, and brought over a little something to celebrate: a jar of strawberry wine (she made that up! It is the big column block) & a cup to pour it into (a small flowerpot from Hobby Lobby).  The silver dish has some velcro wooden food & it is all presented so sweetly on a small white wooden tray.  She was so pleased!  She served everyone in the house - AND - if you were a child like little brother you could just flip the 'jar' over & it was grape juice!  Anything CAN be anything!!!  Love it.  The more I read, the more I see so many things in Waldorf really are careful observations and sweet ideas for making our family & personal lives richer and more peaceful.

What about you?  What have you noticed in your children and their pretend play?  Are their playthings flexible enough to be anything?  I look forward to reading your comments!

"I just want Blankies!"

Blankies.  As in people with no faces, not the warm & fuzzy thing the baby sleeps with.  Is this weird??  I bought a big pack of wooden peg dolls to paint for our Godly Play boxes, and when I started telling Tweeters the plan & asking her what colors to make their clothing, etc., she said she wanted them to stay plain!

Here are the 'blankies" huddled together - I think they are afraid of the dinosaurs lurking nearby....
So I was also just reading about Steiner & the Waldorf idea of people/dolls not having expressions, or even just blank faces.  This way, the child can give the doll any emotion - especially since those dolls often express that very child's own emotions.  If the doll always looks happy, how weird would that be if the child wants to pretend there are dinosaurs with big teeth coming to eat them??!!  So much for my creative outlet in painting peg people (for now)...but felting is still in the works because a nice amish lady sold a bunch of clean wool to me this week.......now to find some clean looking used dog brushes to card it all out......

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy 42nd Anniversary Grandma & Grandpa!

We love you big bunches!!!

With Jew Baby & Papa and Great Grandma & Grandpa
There's some resemblance to Jam, don't you think?  Those big chocolate brown eyes of Grandpa's....yes, Grandpa....remember, they used to put boys in gowns, too ;0)

And Grandma with the Tweeters hair - although I see a lot of Honey Bunches with the pursed lips!

New life for the train tracks

Jam loves his wooden trains, but he may love matchbox cars more.  Flash gave him 2 boxes of his old ones (which also contained MY old ones as well as Papa J's!) & now they have taken over the train track.  And the dining room.  And the living room.  Ouch!  The upside is that Jam also loves to clean up & I am now able to bribe him with things like getting to go outside when he's done putting his toys away moohaahaha!  He loves to be outside!

Seed update

Nothing new for those of you who do this sort of thing, but I wanted to post what the seeds look like this week (see earlier post on baggie seeds to observe stems & roots).
Actually, they have leaves today, but I don't feel like taking another picture!
The song we've been learning is one I just made up to the tune of "Little Rabbit in the Woods"

The roots go down & the stem goes up
The roots go down & the stem goes up
The roots go down & the stem goes up
And then you have a plant!

Super Easy homemade crown with repurposed clothing

I was all set to make my own felt for an adjustable crown for Jam - but decided that was too much work right now ;0)  I decided to use some old fabric instead, and while cuttting the leg off a pair of super soft brown corduroy pants, I thought hey!  I can just cut this leg into the shape of a crown!  They were a bit stretchy, too, so even I can wear it if I want.

I think it goes so well with Jam's chocolate brown eyes, don't you?  I know the shadow makes it a bit hard to see, but you get the idea - you can kind of see the hem of the leg at the bottom of the crown.  Nice look, Tweeters.
I might embellish with some jewels or even buttons!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sciency projects

We started sprouting beans & peas this week, and Tweeters is going to draw what they look like every week for 6 weeks.  We already do this in the garden & when we sprout alfalfa seeds, but she'll be able to see the roots better & experience drawing them.  Jam is along for the ride ;0)
We discovered SO much life in our 'One Small Square' of the lake!  Mostly baby mosquitoes, but also snails, nymphs of every shape, and caddisflies!
It grosses Papa J to have these things on the dinner table - but it's such a good place for observation & discussion!

we took out the caddisfly & put him in his own little bowl - then we poked him out & took away his casing!  We added glitter & tiny hearts for him to use in remaking his case, and he used the glitter!  He was so lovely when we put him back in the lake this morning - all his friends will be admiring his gorgeous decorations!  Or, saying, "Groovy man!" (quote from Tweeters)

The directions we followed for doing the caddisfly thing - from the book 'Fresh Water Life'

Sorry for the silence here - but we've moved!

A lot has happened in the past 6 months...here are a few highlights! I became a puppy grandma - meet Finn!  Abbie & James are very...