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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fairy Garden

For the past two years we have joined Donni at The Magic Onion creating little fairy habitats. 

We recreated last year's World Within a World in our front flower garden.  The fairies, and my young son, are delighted!

See what the fairies left us!

The fairies have left tokens of affection - baskets of flowers, acorn caps and tiny sea shells

Bright stones lead to the fairy ring where they dance at dusk.

Fairies rest on a bed of moss in the shade of London Plane tree bark.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Simplicity - Bringing it Home

The notion of simplicity has been on my mind lately.  It started a little over 2 weeks ago when we had our carpeted first floor and stairs in our home replaced with hardwood.  For the job, we  cleared our living room, kitchen, dining area, and bathroom of all furniture and major appliances.  Now that it is done, we are delighted and my dear husband spends weekends painting walls, ceilings, and trim.  In the meantime our rooms are sparse and I like it.  The children like it too.  There is room to play, or lounge without constant visual distraction.  It seems the family is more calm as a whole.

One of my favorite parenting books is Kim John Payne's Simplicity Parenting.  How wonderful it is to have a reminder that our children, and ourselves, thrive in a simple, calm, rhythmic environment. 

I intend to center our home toward simplicity over the next few weeks.  This new focus will play out in both obvious and hidden ways.  To begin, I need to think about our homeschool space - we have decided to homeschool our sons next term using the Charlotte Mason method with some Waldorf techniques - more on that later.  There are so many charts, pictures workbooks, etc that tempt me to make it a busy space, but one of the reasons I am homeschooling my 7 year old son is the fact that he is over stimulated in the brick and mortar school.  He simply cannot settle his little mind on one thing when there is soooo much to look at. So our learning space in the dining room will remain simple with 2 desks, a bookshelf and a line to clip on special drawings and paintings.

One of the biggest challenges in simplifying our home will be in the land of toys.  Soon the boys will share a bedroom - a place to be enjoyed with a dreamy aspect with bunk beds, a few bookshelves, favorite stuffed animals and the much loved indoor swing.  The second room will turn into a playroom that will hopefully inspire hours of imaginative fun with a train table, lego stand and a special place to hang dress up clothes, and play swords, bow and arrows and sling shots.  Arranging that room will require a toy purge.  Our oldest is all for it as long as we keep the legos and dress up stuff - an unexpected compliance from a child who use to pile toys all over himself and smile content to be surrounded by all his stuff. The youngest wants no part of it! If something is missing, he knows and makes it clear that he wants it back. Now!

With the challenge of establishing a more simple environment before us, we will look for day-to-day opportunities to...

Slow Down

Enjoy Simple Pleasures
See Simple Beauty

and Simply Be.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blowing Winds... Cracking Limbs... New Toys

This evening I am sitting on my deck listening to the soft chirps of robins and finches in our willow tree.  Within the hour, they will settle down for the evening.  The scene was quite different just a few days ago when the willow branches were whipping in the wind as a fierce storm moved through our area causing damage & frustration from to power outages and uprooted trees.

Having two young sons, when I see the downed branches, I see opportunity for imaginative play, creative building, and toy making.  Our home is strewn with bits of wood, some for our nature table, others make great swords, and others wait for a rubber band to turn into a hero's slingshot.

My in-laws live in upper rural Connecticut on forested property.  We often come back from a visit filling our car with wood limbs, rocks or little items for the nature table.  After our last visit, we came home with a pile of birch limbs with which little Shane made a shelf.  We also came home with one of our favorite homemade wood toys made by my father in-law: Walking Stilts.  

To build stilts, all you need are round branch cuts and two six foot cuts of  rope.
We cut a birch trunk 3 inches tall & 4 inches in diameter to make the stilts.

-Drill holes 3 inches apart with a small drill bit.
-Using a larger drill bit over the small hole, drill in the bottom of the
stilt 1/4 inch so the knots of the rope do not stick out at the bottom.
-String the ends of the rope through each hole and tie them off.

There you are.  A fun new toy.
 Have your child put the ropes over their shoulders. 
(Tie them off at the top if the ropes are too long.)
Put their feet between the ropes on the stilts, hold the ropes, and take a walk.
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