Mindful Monday: Ice Skating, Hockey and Ankles

I thought I would give a little update on Paul’s ankle injury.  As some of you may remember, in the fall Paul completely shattered his ankle and the lower part of his leg.  All the bones had to be reconstructed.

It took weeks and weeks on our couch with his leg elevated and then months and months on crutches and in a cast (he was even still in a cast on our trip to San Diego).  It was probably one of the most intense times of our lives as a married couple (aside from the birth of children).  I was a bit stressed to say the least, as we were just beginning homeschooling and my husband was very seriously injured and needed a lot of assistance to do basic things like shower.  Going into the fall/winter season also meant there was much to be taken care of around the house (like leaves, winterizing things, cleaning gutters etc) and I was not used to taking care of all of this on my own.  Oh ya, and toss in the fact that Ezra broke his collar bone…yep October to January was an uber stressful few months.

I am so happy that he is now walking and doing great. We are in our homeschool rhythm, Ezra healed extremely quickly (only 4 weeks) and life is looking pretty normal these days!

 A couple of weeks ago we even went up to an indoor ice rink to give Paul’s ankle a shot on the ice again.  We were all a little nervous as ,like I said, his entire ankle was new, but he was comfortable and enjoyed skating.

Here are the boys in their skates getting ready to take the ice.  (please forgive the photos in this post- they are all phone shots)

ice skating

This last weekend he and his father along with his uncle who lives in Boston met in Chicago to watch their beloved Pittsburg Penguins play.  I was so happy he was able to take this trip as I know hockey is something he enjoys so much.  Even though he isn’t able to play this year, I am happy he was able to have such a great (and very cold) experience especially coming out of such a horrific injury.

hockey game

One last picture, here is our newest little ice skater.  He was so upset that we had to leave the rink.  I think we may have another future hockey player on our hands.  He was all over the ice.  We were so impressed for such a little guy he was a natural!  (This is not comforting to a mother, just sayin’).  Look how sad he was as we had to leave the rink.

sad boy

xoxo

Making Gifts for Kids

Here are some fun gift ideas that you, YES you mama, can make for your little ones this Easter season.

handmade kid gifts

Rainbow Stacker (post)

Gnomes (post)

Matching Game (post)

Wooden animals (post)

Tree House (post)

Hand Warmers (post)

Jammie Pants (post)

Easy Skirt and bow (post)

Color Matching (post)

Lap Table (post)

 

Here are some ideas I have not tried that I am super curious about!

Play Mat (pinned)

Needle Felted Dolls (pinned)

Spring Peg Dolls (pinned)

Hand Dyed Playsilks (pinned)

Do you plan on making any gifts for your kids for Easter?

xoxo

 

 

Preschool Phonics Game

My Lucas loves the sounds of the letters!  We spend many moments in our day very unintentionally talking about the sounds the letters make.  I mean, isn’t that what free form learning looks like… at random he will tell me “that starts with M, right?” and I nod.  This is my cue to talk about other things and what they start with.

I don’t take a ton of time doing “organized” learning with my Lucas at this point, but because he loves to talk about the letters that things start with, I made up this little game for him.  (Actually, my friend Stephanie spotted it on Pinterest and I went with it).

I went on a mad purge of his room before Christmas and any little plastic junk toy I found was scooped up and put in a little treasure chest.

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A few times a week we pull this chest out and sit and go over the sounds of each item.  Ha-Ha- Horse… H!

Each item he pulls out and makes the sound then tells me the letter it starts with.  He loves this game.

Some of the animals he can even sound out and spell…like P-I-G.

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He also has a fun little game with hand movements for each letter that he learned in preschool that we still do every now and then.

I love that we can make learning fun for him.  He seems to crave certain activities like the phonics and reading, and I am happy to give him the opportunity to practice!

Tunes on Tuesday: For a Dancer

This one is a pretty old one, but in my opinion is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.   This song in particular always makes me think of my mother, because it is one of her favorite songs ever.  She would always speak of the lessons to be learned from this song.

It’s about living life, learning how to be you, making mistakes and maybe a bit about death as well.  It really is a beautiful song with very thought provoking lyrics.

I hope it brings you joy on this Tuesday!

I love you mom!

xoxo

Fun Boy’s Room

I have been so bad about sharing some of the projects that we have done on the house to make it seem like home over the past 10 months.  I had a vision of blogging about every little thing, but the truth is, when something isn’t looking somewhat close to the way I want it to, it is hard for me to share.

Lucas’ room is finally coming together, and although it isn’t perfect, it does look pretty close to my vision for his room.

Here are some of his toys out on display.

toys

His gnome treehouse found a great spot in his room too.  I love how all of his new toys look out on display.

waldorf toy area

Across the room is his play kitchen, which surprisingly is played with more than any other toy in the house!

play kitchen

We were given this vintage cradle and I painted it white.  He does not play with babies as I had assumed he would.  (Glad I didn’t spring for the Waldorf baby boy for him! ha.)  Instead he cares for little animals and uses it to tuck them in and care for them.

bookshelf and cradle

As I mentioned last week, he now has a little book nook to sit in and read or play.  I find he uses it a lot.

book nook

I am trying to think of something clever and frugal to hang over his dresser that he will love.  I will keep you posted there.

dresser

Additionally, the wall where his bed is tends to look a little bare.

boy room

I covered two little pillows (again with this method) for the top of his dress up chest.

trunk

I adore the sweet nautical fabric.  I used outdoor fabric as I thought it might be a bit more durable for a kids room.

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I wanted to share this photo to illustrate how the chalkboard wallpaper boarder that I painted last summer (remember it was a southwestern design before).  He loves marking on the chalkboard.

chalkboard boarder

As you can see, there are a few small things to take care of in here, but I feel like his room is pretty done for a four year old.

xoxo

Goat Farm Tour

Ezra is obsessed with goats these days.  My friend Krista (amarmielife.com) arranged for us to tour a friend of hers little goat farm.

nubian goat

 The kids had so much fun looking around at the animals and their pens.  Look at this cutie exploring the goat pen.

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 I was so surprised with how friendly and loving the goats were.  They were like large dogs, coming to get love and petting.

goat

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 Ezra got to milk the goat, which he was very excited about.

goat milking

 Check out this beautiful milk.

goat milk

 She then showed us how to strain it.

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goat milk

We enjoyed the visit to the farm so much.  It fueled Ezra in his desire to have a goat all the more.  Seeing them in real life made him feel like he really could handle taking care of them.  We will see how this adventure continues!

xoxo

 

Judgment vs. Criticism

positive

I have been contemplating something for a little while.

People often say things like “dont judge me”  and I think, isn’t it natural for a person to make judgments?  This is human nature and actually a necessary act that helps us all get through life.

Let me elaborate and see if you catch me.

I see Jane once a week for a couple of months.  I notice she always wears very lovely high end shoes.  My judgment- Jane really likes nice shoes.  There is nothing wrong with making that judgment about Jane… it is probably true.  There are other judgments that can come from this observation- Jane enjoys buying shoes, maybe she even enjoys shopping, Jane and her husband have enough income for Jane to offord said shoes.  Again, nothing wrong or mean about these judgments.

Here is another example.

Kari is always posting on facebook that she is at or going to the gym.  The judgment- Kari is trying to get in shape.  Fitness is important to Kari.  I could even go to make the judgment about Kari’s free time.  Kari has enough free time from work and/or kids to make it to the gym.  Again, nothing wrong with these judgments.  They are pretty elementary.

Think about how we use judgments every day.  Are they always valid?  Maybe . Maybe not.  But they help us understand people.  This has always be a necessary human function.  We have to make overall judgments about people in order to learn about eachother and get along.

Here is one last example.  Marianne is in my playgroup.  She always has a granola bar  or a snack in her purse for one of her kids to have mid playgroup.  I judge that she is a pretty smart mom, who could’ve been a boyscout because she is always prepared.  I also, assume she is used to being on the go with her kids activities and has figured out how to make things go smoothly.

I feel like the problem isn’t making judgments on others but then internalizing them and comparing to ourselves which then is turned into criticism.  Criticism is what hold negative energy.  Criticism is what can be nasty.  When we criticize others about the judgments we make, that negative energy becomes toxic.

Lets go back to my observation of Jane.  Jane likes shoes and likes to buy them.  Great!  Here is where it turns ugly.  “Well, I personally have better things to spend my money on than Jimmy Choos.  I mean, I would much rather buy my children something nice or take the family out for a nice experience with that money. I just don’t understand spending so much money on something so silly.”  That, my friends, is criticizing someone elses life choice, which is ugly.  It is ok even to note differences, we do that.  I can’t afford Jimmy Choos either.  But it doesn’t mean that Jane’s choice is silly or less than yours.

Ok- Kari’s turn.  She likes to work out.  She has time to go to the gym.  Here would be the nasty part.  “I just don’t have that time on my hands right now.  I mean, I am just not that vain.  I couldn’t stand waisting all that time in the gym everyday when I have so many better things to do.”  Ouch man.  Harsh.  Your “things to do” are no better or more important than any ones else’s things to do.  You cleaning your house does not out weigh Kari’s desire to workout or vice versa.

Marianne obviously is a thinker, she makes sure she has some crackers or a granola bar in her purse for those kiddos.  What would be negative of me is to criticize her for this.  “Those poor kids always eating on the go.  And all of that processed crap.  If I were her I would slow our lives down and make sure they were getting more food at home.”  Again, harsh.  Why the need to spill your parenting out onto her.  Does it effect you that her kid is eating goldfish?  Not so much.

We are all guilty of this now and then, but I think the real danger is in the comparison and the need to criticize.  Notice I used all women in those examples?  It was not by accident.  We women are the worst perpetrators of this.  We internalized eachothers choices so much.  Why?  Jane has rockin shoes…awesome for her.  Kari really likes to run on a treadmill- thats great.  Marianne hands out packs of fruit snacks at the park- cool.  Their stuff isn’t your stuff so quit drawing comparisons between them.  Its not about you.  Why must we formulate opinions about every womens choice that we come into contact with.

Judgment is natural.  Criticism is rude.

Just some food for thought for you all.

Goat Dreaming

Ezra has been talking for months about getting a goat.  At first, we thought he was simply interested and that it would pass.

As the weather was getting nicer and nicer, he again began to ask if he could have a goat.  He proclaimed that he wanted to learn how to make his own cheese and soap.

I again, figured once he learned a little more about keeping goats, he would change his mind.  I scoured the library and the Amazon used book section for books about raising and caring for goats.

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He read them all diligently, while taking notes in his “goat notebook”.

After all of his data was collected, he insisted that he could handle taking care of a goat.

 It was time for me to do my own research.  I read the same books, and poured over websites and forums about goats.  We watched youtube videos about goats together.  (I started a board on Pinterest with articles and images for inspiration)

I particularly love this video with information.

It seems we may be getting goats???

We have not completely decided yet, as we still have to get our garden going this spring before we start anything else out there.  However, the idea is growing on me.  The sure do look sweet.

I have a vision of a sweet little goat house like this.  Simple and Functional.

goathouse 1

 Source

And I can see this happening.

goat and chicken

 Source

For now, I am just happy to see Ezra so excited about learning!  Here he is devouring some literature.  See his special “goat notebook” ready to be filled with info.

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xoxo

So You Want to Write a Blog

blogger

Ladies out there, you think you can write a blog?

Let me tell you, it is hard.  It is really hard, it is complicated.

I mean, so many steps, so much confusion, and it totally complicates life, it is awful, that is why I keep doing it.

I of course and JUST KIDDING!

  I know so many of you who say, I have thought about doing that I would love to do that.  I have so much I want to share.  I have learned so much I need to get it out there.  I love to write.

It really is easy.  I promise.

Step 1: find your blogging platform.  (I suggest Blogger or WordPress)

Step 2: Sign up for a free blog.  (yes it is free, cool right?)

Step 3: write some stuff.

All the rest will come to you down the road if you want it to. The rest I am talking about is the technical stuff, and the beauty is that you can get as technical or not as you wish to.  If you want a certain look, get down with yourself and make it happen.  (Plus there are a ton of tutorials and people on Etsy that can help you).  If you simply want to have a nice little blog where you share your thoughts and ideas, pictures of your kids,  tidbits about what life is like for your family, or things you have done, cuteness that has occurred that you want to remember, then it is the easiest thing ever.  Seriously, just follow those three steps!

At first, I was a bit petrified of blogging.  I didn’t want people to read it, it is scary putting yourself out there, and I am not as good at it as some.  I simply wanted to share my thoughts and my journey with the universe.  It was almost a year before I shared my blog with people close to me.  I remember sitting in front of my computer gasping that 20 people had read my blog and almost having a panic attack that I didn’t know what they thought about it.  It was such a good lesson in just being who I am and being ok with it.  It was over two years before I put it out on social media.  It was my personal spot that I could process and share things as I wanted to.  It made me so much more confident in my choices, in my style, in my thoughts, because I got over worrying about what people may or may not think of it all.  There was no way I would ever know, and that was surprisingly freeing!

As I got over the strange pressure that comes with starting at the beginning and more and more of me was out there, I felt more comfortable and confident.  It was a little piece of me and I could share it in the context I wanted to.  It has built my confidence as a mother, as a wife and as a person.

So ladies, those of you who are thinking about starting a blog.  Give it a shot.  It takes five minutes to get it set up and started and if you realize it isn’t for you then nothing lost.  You don’t have to write every day, or even every week.  That is the beautiful thing…it is YOUR space.  You don’t have to answer to anyone.  You write when you feel so inclined to do so.  If it is once a week, a month or a year, so be it.  There are no rules!

I know so many women have learned so much about themselves simply by blogging about it.  I know so many women who have made connections with other people like themselves through blogging.  I know so many women who love to blog to keep in touch with people far away.  It gives you a deeper understanding of family happenings when you can tell an entire story along with a picture.

So, here is why I blog.

I blog to document my children’s and families life.  (Check this post here)

I blog to share my opinions about issues (Check out this post here)

I blog to share and remember items that I love (Like this, this and this)

I blog to honor my accomplishments as a mother (Check this out)

I blog to share with family what this homeschool thing is really about.  (Check this one out)

I blog so my kids can look back and see what vacations were like (Like this or this)

I blog to share great recipes (like this yummy one)

I blog to honor our traditions (like this favorite)

I blog to share my wisdom (yep, like this)

I blog to show the progress in our home (remember this)

I blog because it makes me feel good.

Plus, it is fun!  It is a blank canvas that you can adorn with whatever you wish.

So, what will you blog about?

Tunes on Tuesday: My Baby

Music is such a big part of my life.  As I have gotten older and I look back, the power of music has gotten me through so many hard times in my life.  I have relished in many great times and music can often take me back there in an instant.

Since I love music so much and it is a part of my life that I really haven’t shared on the blog, I thought I would share some music here and there.

My taste is all over the place.  You may recognize some of the songs, some may be new to you.

I will simply share a song that I am feeling.

This week I will share this funny little song by Karl Denson called My Baby.  The other day my husband and I were running errands when this ditty came on the radio and he turned it up and said “I love this song, it always makes me think of you.”  Awwwe…. so sweet.  So that is the song for this week.  Hope you all like it.

Does music speak to you?  Can it make you feel better in bad times?  Can it transport you to a time far in the past?

xoxo