What we’ve been up to

Life has definitely whizzed by. And a lot has gone on.

Party Time

Today we are getting back in to the routine of school. Tomorrow we are going to a Valentine’s/ 100 Days of School Party with our homeschool group. We are all excited about it.

Yesterday we made valentines:

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I gave Peanut full creative license on hers. She decided to add her own artistic touches with glitter glue and ball point pen.

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Bubba and I worked together on his. He loved the stickers.

Today, we counted out 100 goldfish and 100 chocolate chips for the group trail mix, and 100 crayons for show and tell. Peanut was shocked that we had 100 crayons, and was amazed at how small of a pile it really was.

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This afternoon we will be making cupcakes and cookies to bring to the party. (I’ll post pictures when they’re done!)

Random Projects

I have been working hard the past week crocheting a blanket for a friend who is about to have a baby.  It took me four attempts to get the width right, and I feel like it’s still shrinking. It could be the yarn I chose, but I think it’s the variation in my tension with each row. I should be done by now!

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Bubba thinks it’s his blanket, even though I told him it was for his friend’s new baby sister. He keeps taking it and wrapping it around himself, which pulls out some stitches. Ah, but he’s so cute putting the blanket over his little toes.

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I am so excited, however, that my dining room has FINALLY gotten the second (and last) coat, and I can hang my pictures back on my walls! I am so relieved that it’s done, and I can check that off my list!

The Process in Childhood Activities

I had grand last minute plans for this afternoon. Peanut went with her dad for some “snow-caching” (her term for geocaching with snow on the ground), and it was just me and Bubba. After their spur of the moment departure, I quickly decided I was going to make up for the guilt I had been feeling for not putting my two year old through a more substantial “early learning regime”. Peanut had a much more structured toddlerhood.

While I was doing in-home child care, I either ordered a toddler curriculum, or wrote one for the small group I had. I haven’t done any of that with my little guy. My child care enrollment slowly dwindled down after he became a toddler, and I didn’t seek to add to the attendance. My desire to do group activities was also dwindling. I was thinking about this the past couple days, and I felt as though Bubba was missing out on more targeted learning activities.

Our together time today started when I broke out my playdough bucket, and found that there was maybe half an ounce of usable playdough left! I gave him what I had, then got out what I thought was my playdough recipe and started making more.

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After I mixed all the ingredients together, I realized this was my aunt’s Salt Dough recipe that is baked so it can harden. Oops! I changed our plans again. I finished making the salt dough an I decided I was going to incorporate some learning into this two year old’s time!

I sat down with him and began making letters for him, placing them on a cookie sheet. He wasn’t too happy with me. Before things got out of hand, I broke out my Christmas cutters, and started having him make shapes. We got two shapes on the cookie sheet, and those went into the oven before I realized that he didn’t want to bake them at all. How boring!

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It was at this moment that I realized what I had been doing wrong. I was trying so hard to give him a lesson to learn, a project to complete, and a tangible outcome. I had to remind myself that HE IS TWO YEARS OLD. The poor child does not care about the outcome. He doesn’t look at something and see a project to complete.

HE WILL LEARN THROUGH THE PROCESS.

I look back on that hour we spent at the dining table, and AFTER I learned my lesson, I can see so many lessons that Bubba learned.

Instead of making shapes to bake, I rolled the rest of the dough out for him to do with what he pleased. As he was picking out shapes, he started telling me the story of how we made cookies for Santa. He remembered this wonderful time with family and fun!

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I cut out a circle with him, and he said it looked like a snowman. So we built a snowman. And talked about all the pieces to a snowman. I added eyes and a mouth, and he suggested a nose. I added arms and a hat and he said it looked like the snowman from the book The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. He said it needed “the boy” from the book. Yay for literacy! I love incorporating books into activities, and he did it for me!

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I stepped in to the kitchen for a minute, and when I came back, Bubba had tried to pick up the snowman. He had pinched some of the dough and deformed the shape. He started whining, “Fix it Mommy! I can’t do it! Fix it!” I gave him a gentle nudge to fix it himself, and he replied back with, “I can’t! I’m just a boy! I’m just a Bubba! I can’t do it.” Eventually, he did whatever it was he was trying to do. (Sometimes I just have no idea.) He is working on understanding what he is capable of, and trying new things. 

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He tried to make a turtle with the playdough mold, and the sticky dough didn’t work. When he got upset about it, I asked him if he could make one himself. He wouldn’t, and I made a ball and called it “my” turtle. I pinched out a little piece and called that its head. I added two little nubs and called that its legs. I tried very hard to keep the shape as vague as possible, to see if he would accept it as a turtle, and he did. He made food for the turtle and added a longer tail for it. He was broadening his creativity, and stretching his imagination.

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It was only an hour, and I had planned on a nice, structured lesson for my son. It was in that hour that I was reminded of the most important lesson when it comes to teaching our young ones. It is the process of learning that teaches the most. I found, also, that once my perspective changed in this respect, my patience for him grew. Clean up time went much more smoothly. Not because he didn’t whine and refuse (he did), but because I was reminded that clean up time is PART of the process. And my response was much more calm.

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It’s a BRAND NEW YEAR!

Welcome to a brand new year everyone!

What’s a new year without an old habit? Of course, my New Year’s Project isn’t finished yet. In fact, today is already the second day of the year, and I *just* started my project. I should be done by tonight, and I can post it tomorrow. Don’t worry, I will try not to leave you hanging too long!

What else would make a New Year’s post complete? Resolutions? Um, no. I don’t do resolutions. Mainly because I never finish things. So, instead of making a list of resolutions about things that I’ll forget about by mid-February, I’m going to make a list of all the things I want to finish this year. Seems boring, but don’t worry- you’ll be laughing at me and my crazy list of unfinished projects by the time you’re done reading.

I don’t know what it is about myself that makes me get up and leave a project undone. I love starting things, and I love the thought that goes in to planning something. Sometimes I can get pretty creative (sometimes), and certain projects are pretty motivated. But, when the end is in sight, I kind of just want to get up and walk away and drink some coffee and watch another episode of Monk on Netflix.

No more, I say! Well, not as much. Because I have a lot of things to do this year!

Here goes my list of unfinished projects that need to be finished by December 2013:

  • Finish painting the hallway by my bedroom (started in June 2012 just have 1/2 a wall left)
  • Finish painting my dining room and hang pictures back up (pictures have been down since May 2012, started painting in November 2012)
  • Finish the headboard in my bedroom (needs trim and accent painted on)
  • Finish teaching myself how to sew a collared shirt for Jeff
  • Finish organizing Peanut’s closet and hang another closet rod
  • Finish filing (and shredding) office paperwork
  • Taxes (AHH!) for my 2012 Child Care business (not even started…)
  • Finish painting my kitchen cabinets (from February of 2012!)

This list is overwhelming me already. I haven’t even touched the unfinished baby blanket I started crocheting for Peanut before she was born. I started that back in 2005. And her baby book that’s in a box in the attic. Or Bubba’s baby book that’s on a shelf in my closet. Or another crocheted blanket that was supposed to be a Christmas gift in 2011. I can’t even remember what stitch I was using for that one. Or what size hook. Some things are just never going to be finished, I think.

I did, however, get something done yesterday that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I started up a store on Etsy for my jewelry making! Check it out at the banner below!

I have a mental list of all the projects I want to start this year. But, I honestly think I need to finish this list before I tackle anything else. Or at least mostly finish it…