Monday, July 27, 2009

Label those mason jars!

One of the problems with storing leftovers in the fridge is often it's difficult to determine the exact contents and date of storage of various foods. Labelling the containers is the obvious solution to the problem. But labelling creates problems in and of itself. You have to make a point of finding and marking labels, sticking them on (but only if the food's not too hot or cold) , and then you have to remember to remove the label once the food has been eaten. The labels are rarely reused.

But wait!

I think I've found an easier solution!

I just took one of my kids' markers and wrote right on the glass! lt's visible, washable and I don't have to throw it away after!

Now, if I can just make sure I've always got a marker within my reach when I'm putting away the leftovers...

This is the greatest invention ever!

I am writing this entry with a pen. This is soooo much easier than typing!!

Part of the reason I have had a hard time blogging in the past is that I have always found typing to be somewhat tedious. I like the feeling of wielding a pen. My thoughts flow much more easily from my headthrough the pen than using a typing motion.

I am hoping that this new computer will allow me to form my thoughts and transfer them to electronic media much more easily. Look for more Journies in Homemaking soon as I figure out just how to make it work as a homeschooling, stay-at-homing, childbirth educating mom of at least three little ones!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shaping is More Important than Controlling

From Parenting the Fussy Baby and High-Need Child by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN
pp. 181-2
Shaping is More Important than Controlling
Parents often confuse being in charge with being in control, and they feel that good disciplinarians must always be in control. Clinging to the control model of parenting will drive you crazy and set you up for constant power struggles, most of which you are unlikely to win. Think of your job as shaping your child's behaviour rather than controlling it. Unlike controlling, "shaping" means that you take your child's temperament and need level into consideration in your decision making and your style of discipline. Making this mind-set change from controlling to shaping does not mean you are weakening your authority; you are simply making your authority work for you. A wise disciplinarian is like a gardener, and the child is the garden. You can't control the color of the flowers when they bloom or how they smell, but you can prune the plants, pick the weeds, fertilize the soil so the flowers will bloom more beautifully. In disciplining a high-need child, you will find that you need to work in the garden daily lest the work get away from you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

But how will they learn they can't get what they want?

I waver back and forth, finding a balance between Waldorf-like schooling philosophies (which I don't completely identify with, some of it just seems so contrived) and John Holt/unschooling philosophies. Child-led learning makes so much sense to me.

I keep coming across "but if they get to follow their own interests, it'll be a rude awakening when they realize they won't get to do that in the real world". Obviously, I don't believe this. I enjoy my life tremendously and am pretty much exactly where I want to be right now, overall. Yes, there are some of the finer details I'd love to tweak . . . but overall, I'm really, truly happy.

And right now, I can't help but just be really sad for those people. People stuck where they are, simply because they've picked up somewhere that life isn't meant to be fun, and what they've got now is as good as it's going to get, so why bother looking to something else. Or that they have such a strong "work ethic" that they can't quit something they've committed to, no matter how miserable it's making them or how adversely it's affecting their health.

Life can be beautiful.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not your typical "First Day of School" pictures:

Music: Niesha playing on the wooden piano with one of her dollies

"Mom, I'm not ready for a picture yet!!"

Anja: Geography lessons?

Art: Katja draws giraffes

Seasonal Craft: Noodle-making - working with flour

Ani nurses in BabyHawk while we make noodles

'nother nursin' in the hawk pic

Researching a stroller

I have a confession to make. I used to roll my eyes at women who would spend their pregnancies researching the "necessary" baby gear and not bothering to look at the research on things like breastfeeding, birth interventions, neurological development of babies/children, etc, etc.
Well, 3 kids and 4.5 years later, I find myself shifting my research from breastfeeding, birth, neurological development, attachment and discipline to . . . strollers. You see, for the most part my 4.5 yo will walk somewhere. But my 2.5 yo often won't. And when the 4.5 yo sees the 2.5 yo in a stroller . . . well, why should she have to walk? *sigh* So I need something for 2 kids (thank goodness I have a multitude of carriers for the baby!). Something that will hold a 30-something pound 4yo and a 20-something pound 2yo. Something I can push through snow. Not too wide, it has to be sidewalk friendly. Ability to go on trails would be nice too. I'm looking at a jogger, maybe a Phil & Ted's. I don't plan to take up jogging, mind you, but I really do like to walk. It's just been nearly impossible to do so frequently with all three kids up to this point.
So, there you have it. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Life with Fewer Regrets

Our homeschool year started yesterday. It's funny - in the preceding days I realized that our lives are already starting to naturally look like what I envision "school" to be.

Sunday, the girls watched a show on the formation of the Rocky Mountains (not particularly Enki/Waldorfy, but the TV is another topic I'm reassessing my position on right now - the little box causes so much discontent in so many ways, but so much expansion of knowledge and horizons in others), then Katja played with some of her stuffed animals while Niesha went outside to play with Jeff.
Katja joined Niesha and her dad shortly thereafter and they all dug up some potatoes together. Sometime into the digging, Katja and Niesha got bored and grabbed big branches with leaves that Jeff had just trimmed off the trees a couple of days ago and used them as microphones, tails, brooms, etc They brought in a sunflower for the nature table, had a quick visit from grandma (who came to drop off the chickens her friend had just delivered), watched their dad use the mulcher on a few of the tree branches.
Then they came in with their dad to watch football and draw (Katja drew our family and Niesha drew volcanoes). After a while we had a really nice chicken dinner, then the girls played in the bath and we put Niesha to bed. Shortly after, Katja, after tucking in ALL (40 or so?) of their stuffed animals, each in turn, told us that she was tired and wanted to go to bed as well. She elected to take about 10 of her stuffed friends with her.
I don't remember exactly what we did the day before that, but I do know that we made muffins together :)

Yesterday was our first official homeschool day - we're using the Enki Kindergarten curriculum, and it was a resounding success!
My plan for the year is to focus on seasons. So our "theme" for the next three months is Autumn. Our "sub-theme" for the next two weeks is grain harvest.

Our circle goes kind of like this:

Opening=Morning Song (Enki)
Autumn Recorder Song (Enki - gets them used to how they should be holding their hands when they start playing recorder in Gr. 1)
It's Autumn. We harvest corn in Autumn, and we also harvest wheat!
Sickle (Enki)
And after all the wheat is cut, it needs to be made into flour!
The Mill (Enki)
We can bake bread with flour. What else can we make? We could make a cake! The baker called out, Let's bake a cake!
Backe Backe Kuchen (Alle singen mit! Mein erstes Liederbuch)
Closing=Round and Round (Enki)

Here's the rhythm I had mapped out for us:

Morning Block wake with N
light snack
yoga with N
make breakfast (& lunch in crockpot?)
wake K and A
eat breakfast
cleanup/helping&free play
pick up toys
circle time
story time
gardening/nature walk
lunch prep
Lunch eat lunch
cleanup/helping&free play
Afternoon Block rest/project prep
adventure time
settling in & supper prep
Supper eat supper
cleanup/free play
Evening Block family time
N bedtime
project with K
yoga with K
K bedtime

But because she went to bed earlier, Katja actually threw a wrench in the cog by waking up at the same time as Niesha!! That never happens LOL!!
So, we changed things around a bit.
We started our day by watching Wild Kingdom, then an episode of How It's Made. Yes, they're TV, but they're educational right ;)? In my defense, Niesha was up for a good hour and a half in the middle of the night (scary invisible men and dinosaurs in the bedroom and whatnot - you know, the usual), so I was very tired.
After I downed some coffee and shook off my exhaustion, and after we'd eaten breakfast, I managed to put the baby down for a nap, start the chicken stock (I make it in the oven), start a load of laundry and hop into the shower while Katja and Niesha did some cutting and drawing. Then Niesha and I got dressed and brushed our hair to get ready for circle time. Katja elected to sit off to the side and watch while she continued to cut paper.
By the time we started our circle Anja had woken up, so I put her in the BabyHawk to join us (BH borrowed from my friend Erin . . . I love it so much I'm going to get my own!). She laughed through "Sickle", an Enki harvesting circle song that crosses midlines and bounces up and down. Niesha did very well at crossing midlines as well!! After Backe Backe Kuchen, Niesha asked for 'pider (Itsy Bitsy Spider), and was so very excited when we went through it! Then we finished up our circle and Niesha played outside while Katja continued her cutting and I prepared lunch.
When it was time for Niesha to come inside, I told her to put the piece of wood she was carrying down. As she was putting it down, she said "no, it's my piano" (she was objecting to me calling it a piece of wood, not to my request that she leave it outside) . . . well, I decided immediately that she could bring her new "piano" inside, and she happily sat on the couch playing it for a while.
After lunch we had our quiet time - the girls rested while I packed the bags for swimming lessons that night.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of making noodles (working with flour), making chicken noodle soup for supper, and folding and putting away laundry.
After supper we went straight to swimming lessons, then out for ice cream afterwards. Niesha fell asleep for the night on the way home and Katja put herself to bed right after we got home (she's elected for an early bedtime every night for the past 4 nights!)

Today was not as smooth, but considering Niesha woke up for the day at 5:30am (she did that Sunday too!!!!) and Niesha and Anja both have stuffy noses and I have a scratchy throat, I think we did very well. We managed to pack the diaper bag and be out the door in time to go to our Pretzel Hour yoga class at Bodhi Tree yoga . . . except I forgot the diaper bag with my wallet and house keys inside! It was a great class though, the kids really enjoyed it and so did I - I'm not used to physically pushing myself, and it was nice to have the opportunity to do so!
The afternoon was slated to make playdough . . . instead, our project turned into a different kind of science project, exploring the nature of water. Also known as "playdate - with - friend - where - we - all - dump - water - on - each - other" LOL, they really enjoyed themselves. The rhythm of our afternoon was pretty good though, we managed to get our quiet time in and everything! Again after supper Katja was in bed early, this time before 8 (unheard of!!) - I hope all this sleep will help my girls get over this cold quickly.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Where does the time go?

I'm 29 on the 29th. Today is the last time I'll ever be able to say that. Today is the last day I'll ever be twenty-something. Tomorrow, I turn 30.

I'm really surprised at how much this is bothering me. I do love my life the way it is right now . . . still, maybe I thought I'd have more by now. At the very least, I thought I would have clear goals. Ironically, the older I get, the less clear my goals seem to be.

Tomorrow night, my husband is going to take the two older children out to play after supper for a couple of hours so that I can reflect on my goals for the next year. Because, of course, in order to reach them, I need to define them.

Do You Blog?

The question came up on a local board I'm on. My answer, if I post it, will be: not very well.

I don't keep up with it, and am not really sure why . . . I'm certainly not at a loss for things to say on that particular board, but perhaps I generally need prompts to get the wheels turning?

I do want to keep up with it. Really, I do. Especially with our homeschool year starting in a week and a half. And I suppose I could say that I'm entering a new phase of my life right away . . . tomorrow is my 30th birthday. Maybe I'll get better at this then.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Little Fairies