autumn days

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gingerbread Friends (preschool book club)

Hannah and I had been reading the Gingerbread Man story in Spanish and wanted to get together with friends to enjoy the tale.  We centered this preschool book club party around the book Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett.  We played together, decorated cookies (the kids didn't care that they were made with garbanzo flour), read the story all together, and then shared lunch with friends.  When I am not overwhelmed by schedules and projects, we love to host these book clubs with friends.  What a delightful way to learn and play with others.

reading the book while decorating our own gingerbread men

help from a friend to glue the man back together

Hannah's final incredibly edible man

gingerbread pieces

That's What Leprechauns Do! (preschool book club)

Hannah and I love to host book club parties with friends.  I don't remember ever having this much fun celebrating Saint Patrick's Day!  Holiday are truly more enjoyable when  you can share them with children.  Hannah and I wanted to see our friends and to paint the town green for this holiday, so we chose the feisty little book That's What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting, one of my favorite children's authors.

When friends arrived, we created green-stamped cards, put them into addressed envelopes, and talked about leprechauns and rainbows as we all walked to mail them to grandparents and friends.  When we returned to the front porch (much more a step than a porch), we all read this book together.  We talked about mischievous little leprechauns and how to trap them, feed them, and catch them.  Upon entering the house, we found green confetti and toys littering the floor!  Large toys were flipped on their tops!  Those little tricky green people played a trick on us while we were gone!  Needless to say, the kids were all thrilled by what they found.  We promptly created black pots complete with a gold coin and painted our own shamrocks.  After sharing a delightful lunch (I recall green pesto), we then decorated shamrock cookies with green frosting and green sprinkles.  This was an exciting way to share a day with friends!

Those mischievous little leprechauns were at it again!

green-haired book club fun

edible green shamrocks

Earth Day rant

Oh my goodness!  On this most glorious of Earth Days, I have a need to rant!  I usually just read others' blogs and then go about my day, but I just read a post that begs for a response.  I live out in suburbia and feel like I am the only "Radical Homemaker" around these parts, especially when my ideas seem to contrast so greatly with those around me.  

The specific thinking of one suburban mom (about whom I am now ranting) is that there is something seriously wrong with having a car so small that she can hand her child something in the backseat while both of them are buckled.  This contrasts with my thinking: I can reach my child easily in the backseat while buckled and I still want a smaller car.  In fact, I'd like to cancel the whole car deal and biking to the bus stop.  And each day I get closer to this choice.  (The little guy's head needs to be big enough for a helmet first.)

No, I am definitely not perfect, far from it, but my view is to think about these choices I make that have an impact on everyone else in the world.  I know that my consumer choices already impact the health of people in faraway lands.  And our consumerist lifestyle is being greedily spread to other countries, multiplying the damage to our world.

And the second thing that irked me is when the suburban mom made the statement that Earth Day is great, but this is the time to think about the glories God shares with us even after the earth has expired.  What?!  Okay, I am so happy you love God and live your life by his rules, but can you help take care of this precious earth that we all live upon at the same time?  Can you think about both things at the same time?  Can you love both God and Earth (capitalized for importance)?

Wow, this is so political, but I suppose everything I write about is, as every part of our lives seems political in choice, be it breastfeeding or recycling. It upsets me that someone is so pointedly discounting earth on Earth Day, but it does take all kinds to make the world what it is.  I know we all think differently, but it is nice to respectfully take the ideas and needs of others into account.  Diversity of opinions makes things more thought-provoking, balanced, and interesting.  I am grateful for the sharing of opinions that are different and similar to my own.  And to my fellow blogger, the suburban mom, I wish her many happy blogging days and many thoughtful followers.

Honest hypocrite that I am, I celebrated this Earth Day with my family at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest.  Yes, I drove 40 minutes in each direction to eat sausages and greasy French fries and and take too many goofy pictures.  We also studied differences and details in some of the 700 varieties of beautiful tulips (pistil and stamen, anyone?).  On this special day, may we all be able to reflect on our lives and our choices and find ways to live simply so that others may simply live.  Happy healthy Earth Day to you and yours.

a lovely cold Earth Day at Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest

Sunday, April 17, 2011

hibernation-style blogging

Yes, the bear sleeps six months of the year, while most other creatures are up and productive each day and sleep each night, or vice versa.  I am slowly accepting my writing style as a byproduct of my full-time parenting role.  I love reading my friend Holly's new blog post every week, as routine as Sunday comics.  I wish I were more consistent with writing, though my hands are not routinely free enough to write my thoughts and meanderings.  Thinking deeply and reflecting upon my roles as a mother, a teacher, an activist, and a writer keep me company as I lay awake at night nuzzling my little milk-drinker.

So I do half-heartedly apologize, mostly to myself, for my hibernation-style blogging.  And if you're unhappy about grammatical errors, hopefully you will understand how little time is actually devoted to editing my posts before tending to a needy child.  Perhaps as my children get older, they will allow me a little time here and there to focus on writing my thoughts.  Until then, I will complete four unedited posts and quickly return to nuzzle that little fuzzy-headed delight and his boisterous sister.

Full-time parenting leaves a lot of time for taking photos of boogie boarding babies.

But there doesn't seem to be enough personal time to read all the library's books before they are due.
p.s.  If you like to read these posts regularly, or as erratically as I post them, if you "follow" this blog or post, I will know there's an audience out there.  Thanks!

The Cloud Book (Hannah's weather station)

Hannah has been working on her weather station, inspired by our friend Weatherman Jon.  We've been keeping track on a calendar of precipitation, cloud formations, and wind.  We can tell we're having a windy day when the wind actually blows over the wind sock.  As the weather changes throughout the day, three year old Hannah likes to change the weather station calendar to reflect changes.  At the end of February, we moved all the weather symbols into a bar graph and she spends some time each day counting how many days of rain and wind and sun we had in the month.  She likes to tell others what weather we had the most (rain and dark clouds and not much wind) and which we had the least (sun, sun, sun).  It is amazing how we can learn so many things from this little station.  We've even found library books that teach us about different cloud formations.  Our favorite is The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola.  We hope you enjoy the photos!

On windy days, our wind sock and pinwheels get knocked over.

February's weather bar graph (we started mid-month)

the blue print for the weather station from a preschool science book

little pockets to hold the weather symbols

drawing and coloring enough weather symbols to last all month