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Friday, February 4, 2011

Elle's idea of ART

This is a "train" Elle made. Yes, those coins are glued down, and everything else is glued or taped together.... I'm not quite sure this is going to fit on the fridge...  =)

That is a "bowl" with a bell in it that Elle made on her pottery wheel, that is now secured with tape (Elle's favorite "tool" of choice) it is the "caboose".

This is something she made with her birthday tape. (Elle's birthday was a couple days ago and I got her 16 rolls of scotch tape!) She is telling me about it.... "the ruler is the holder upper thing" and then lid to the bottle of glue is to "poke any raccoons that come in from the woods"....

"and this is where the penguin's cage is."

There is nothing simple to Elle's art... although... I don't think I will be framing any of it anytime soon. =)

My Kids Cleaning

My kids love to help clean. Elle's recent favorite is scrubbing the tables and counters. We use the peppermint Dr Bronners pure castile soap and it makes a really good lather and smells really good which I think entertains her.

She is suprisingly thorough... the table is cleaner than when it was brand new.

Christian is finally happy to use the vaccum when it is ON! He has loved pushing it around for a couple weeks now, but having it on scared him. But now he is no longer scared and likes that he knows how to turn it on and off. He pretty much just went forward and back about 30 times... so that one strip of carpet was SUPER clean. =)

They really love to help me clean. I have always tried to make it fun. (For them and for me, even if they are not helping-I want to make it clear that I do not dread it.) They never have HAD to do it. I have never used it as punishment. They don't get "sick" of doing it, because honestly, we don't do it much. The place gets pretty messy and dirty throughout the day- we aren't really "clean as you go" type people. By the end of the day it is quite disaray. But just before Michael gets home from work, we turn up some music and dance and clean. The kids LOVE it. They run around putting things where they go, scrub, sweep, vaccum and place dirty clothes and towels into the washing machine. They probably really do only 10% of the work, but they are cleaning the whole time I am cleaning and they are happy doing it. I make sure that whatever they do is always good enough. If it is clear that Elle is not doing something thoroughly or putting things away "wrong" than I address it another time when we are not being the "pick up crew". I will just have her watch me do it the way I would like to see it done and we talk about what it looks like. They don't always get it perfect (if ever) but that's not the point....They are learning that they are a valuable help to the family.... THAT is the point. These methods may not work when they are older, but they work now and I can honestly say that it is fun to clean our home.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter

Oregon Trail Sourdough Bread

I sent a self addressed stamped envelope to:
Oregon Trail Sourdough
P. O. Box 321
Jefferson, MD 21755 USA

and they sent me starter that originated along the Oregon Trail. Click HERE to access website with more information. It is a really special history they are preserving. And the bread is delicious. =)

Think outside the box

We didn't have tape or glue... but Elle REALLY wanted to "build a box"

I have heard/read some GREAT ideas this week that I thought I would share and I think I am going to try and do a "think outside the box" post every month or so to share what comes up along my path that I think is just fabulous. =) Here are some of the latest things, PLEASE, PLEASE feel free to add/share more- I think this could be a fun source for sharing creative ideas for kids, home, life, etc... If you want credit for your ideas please tell me and please don't flatter me thinking these are all MY ideas- they are not!

1. My sister in law has a friend that loved the little leather shoes with elastic for her kids, but they grow out of them so fast and are $20-30 a pair, so she went to the goodwill and bought a cheap-highly outdated I am sure- leather jacket and some elastic and made her own! She has plenty of leather to make multiple pairs.
2. My friend Zoe wanted to change her childs carseat from pink to a more suitable design for the new little boy she is expecting so she took the cover off, undid the seams and used it as a pattern to cut out "boy" fabric and sewed it right over the pink- leaving all the cushioning in tact and woo-la! A "new" carseat. She even re-did the shade cover.
3. This one was from this past summer, we were playing volleyball at some friends house and Emily was watching my little boy and he was in a phase of loving keys.) Emily's yard is BEAUTIFUL- she is a Master Gardener (program through WSU) and it shows. The grass is lush, flowers abundant, so many great places to for keys to "hide". Emily didn't skip a beat, she went to her van where she had a ballon and took the yellow string off and tied it to the key ring. I STILL have that string (although it is barely hanging on by a thread and not so "yellow" anymore) on my keys. It makes them so easy to find in my purse/diaperbag/lunchbox/file cabinet, I can easily hand them over to Christian to play with and can always find them when he is done.

For the Birds

My mom had a little get together for Elle while we were there and the kids made these bird feeders. Take a pine cone, roll it in peanut butter then roll it in bird seed and add something to hang it with. (string, wire, twine...) It was a fun project for the kids, and even more fun for them to get to watch the birds come and enjoy such a treat... especially this time of year.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Back from a trip home!

It was so nice to be home in Washington for 11 days. What a wonderful trip! The kids had SO much fun. Carpeted floors where as good as heaven for them. They rolled and played, jumped and fell and danced to their hearts content without any worry for the pain they endure here with these rock hard tile floors in every room. I haven't blogged for a while, I haven't really taken many photo's lately and I know posts are more fun with photo's, plus I have a few "how to" things in the works that are not done yet.

My hands are soft, nails long and never dirty.
Nails broke, caluses, dirt under nails, blackberry scratches and thorns in my fingers... not to mention washing my hands in the large water trough that sits in the field.... only to find out 2 1/2 hours later that there was a dead squirel at the bottom....

I had no idea how clear the air is in Washington (or how unclear it is in Miami) until I got back and realized how far I could see THROUGH the air... I had never felt like I couldn't see through air, until I realized I was... interesting...

It is nice to be in warm weather, the kids got stuffy noses and coughs at home and it is a good reminder of how nice it is to live in a warmer climate during the winter.

It was so fun to WORK on our property. I LOVE it. Even in the winter when it is much less than it's glory, it is so beautiful there. So many people expressed pity to me for having to go back and work on hauling bark, rock and cleaning out a smelly chicken house and clearing blackberries. But that is what I enjoy! That is was makes me happy. It was so uplifting to be back home and do those things. Even though we are not going to be there to enjoy all the beauty and suprises spring brings or to see all the hard work we have put into it all, it is still very much worth it, not only because it is right to take care of what is ours, but because it takes care of us.