Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life is Science

The creek at the end of our street (where I previously posted about our boat sailing) has now become the main attraction when we take our nature walk each morning. My girls run ahead so they can steal a few extra moments of playful bliss. Last week's discovery was tadpoles!
Out came the old fish bowls and they were hard at work with a butterfly net (!) and the tadpoles didn't have a chance. About 45 muddy minutes later, 8 were in the bowls and swimming in their murky new home.
I now know all about the eating habits of tadpoles. They will eat algae and other plants until their back legs come in. Then they turn into carnivores.. for now they are eating fish food and newly added creek water daily.

Isn't it amazing how life becomes our school if we just take the time to notice it?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Simply Sacred Play

Each morning my girls get up and begin their daily play. Realizing how important creative play is, over the years we have provided open-ended toys and natural items (shells, acorns, tree blocks) to enhance their stories. My twins are 7 1/2 now and the other morning I sat in my office and listened to their play. I was amazed. The ideas  and items they used to mold into what was needed for their game were incredible. I hear vocabulary words that far surpass what an average 7 yr old says (I especially love it when I hear a word from a book we just read). Their play is divided into "chapters" with interesting titles like "The magic snake finds the golden key"

I am currently reading a fantastic book called "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne. He is a waldorf education counselor and has worked extensively with Waldorf school and parents to "use the power of less to raise calmer, happier, and more secure children" (subtitle of book)

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure KidsI highly recommend this book and I am only halfway through! After reading the first few chapters, epecially the one on a child's environment, I spent an afternoon with a large trash bags and some boxes whittling down my girls room. It ended up a truly calm room. The girls had so many clothes (my niece is one size up so we get many hand-me-downs) They could never keep their closet even remotely organized. I realized they didn't wear about 80% of the items! I cleared all but a few favorites and was able to consolidate into 1 dresser. This left room to make a "reading nook"-an old beanbag chair with a makeshift slipcover, a pillow,  a few favorite books, crayons, and paper. They love it and are spending time in their room like never before. I just like to peek in, smile and wish I was 7 for a day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Springtime Celebrations!

We celebrate Spring each year planting Wheat Grass. My girls and I love it! We plant, cover and spritz the seeds each day until a tiny shoot pops up. It doesn't take long and is so fun to watch. By Easter, the grass is long and full and what says Spring more than vibrant Easter grass with a few eggs tucked in it?

Here is some we did from last year
It felt invigorating to feel that soil and seeds and plant new life!

We also updated our Spring Nature table. I am so excited to show you the lovely needle-felted Spring Maiden that I received from my friend, Jen at Ancient Hearth. She has just opened her virtual doors at her Etsy shop. Take a peek!  Her work is amazing...

You can find all her hand-made creations at her Etsy Store...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St.Paddy's Day

We always bake the Irish Soda Bread and dress in green. I will include the recipe, it is very easy and tastes delicious! I brought some shamrocks from the garden in to decorate for our holiday table.. Did you know those are edible? Check it out..

Back to more tasty treats.. Here is the bread recipe:

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups white flour, 2 cups wheat (I used 4 whole-whitewheat)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp. chilled butter, cut in small pieces
1 cup raisins (I used brown & golden)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Cut-in butter until pea-sized.
Stir in raisins and buttermilk. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead
1 minute. Shape into disk and cut an "X" on top. Bake on greased baking sheet
for approx 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees F.

After our bread and tea snack, the girls wanted to go into the garden to visit the daffodils.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Racing Fun

My girls (and I) ran in their first race on Saturday. It is the yearly St. Patrick's Day Health Run, a 4k race that runs through our neighborhood and right down our street. Each year, we watched from the windows and the runners sped by early in the morning. In more recent years, we went outside and cheered them on (kids idea!)

Last year, they started asking why they couldn't run, so I checked it out and we did the 1 mile Fun Run.
It was a blast! They got to chase the leprechaun down the street and back and mommy found out quickly she needs a bit more cardio work!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sailing into Science

My girls received 2 wooden sailboats for Christmas which they have been sailing in our large whirlpool tub. I noticed a creek that formed at the end of our street from all the rain this winter. I suggested we take a test run on a warm day this week. What a blast!  We walked down and I sat on the bank and enjoyed an hour of active play, imagination and science exploration!  It is what 1st grade science should be!
Of course, L & B were soaked and shoes were black with mud and slime, I smiled and tossed the clothes in the wash.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Patchwork Cat

My daughter, L loves cats! Each week she check out a new cat book from the library. Not story books, but big books on all types of cats, how to care for them ,etc.. This week's cat book was filled with color photos, and that usually means I draw one for her.  She handed me a large piece of heavy white paper and gave me particular instructions on the modifications that were to be made to this picture. I drew it as specified.
Later, she asked for the felt basket. I said she could use the sheets of felt.  Here is what she created!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Touch of Spring...

Finally, I little bit of spring coming our way.
Even though it is March these daffodils are just peeking out their sweet little heads. I have tried to enjoy the colder, snuggly weather and just go with it.. It has been nice to knit and bake and cuddle under blankets, reading. O.K. Now, I am ready to plant my garden and get my hands dirty and my face in the sun.