It’s Worth the Details

I began sewing when I was pregnant with my first child. My personality usually lends itself to me finishing projects as fast as possible and being done. But after a few projects I realized that I should put just a tad more effort into my work. It’s a good principle regardless of the work in question, but not always an easy ideal to employ!

I put sewing stuff away and didn’t want to make another sewing mess until after baby came. Well, I don’t wait well because the other day I decided to sew again. Here is my most recent project and I did something I’ve never really done; I decorated my dresses. It was a bit slow, and I’ve never worked so long on a finished, wearable dress, but it was worth it! Lesson learned!

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I can’t wait til the baby fits it so they can all wear them together! My first shopping trip after baby might be the fabric store to make three more matching outfits.

My Verdict on Sensory Play

I have been torn back and forth between this issue of sensory play. I can honestly say that I do not completely understand the necessity of it for most children. I have not put much effort into making special sensory play for my kids, but wanted to know if I was missing something.

I decided today that I am okay with the experiences I already give my children. I try not to be lazy, and I do my best to teach my children, but I believe that simple is better. At least for me. I do not want to own any special sensory play bins/toys, and I especially do not want to make any extra messes.

That is not to say I disagree with sensory play, I just do it in a more practical way. Here is a list of the sensory things my children have done in the last two weeks, all without any forethought of giving them sensory play.

1. Swimming

2. Playing in the water hose

3. Playing in the rain

4. Playing in the mud (yes I’m serious about this, it took a few mins for my kids to understand that it was allowed, but getting muddy is perfectly safe and healthy….as long as you get clean :)

5. Making biscuits

6. Playing with flour from baking (eating it was not encouraged but somehow it still happened)

7. Making bread

8. Rolling cookie dough

9. Playing with bubbles

10. Playing with snails and frogs, surprisingly my children are not afraid of frogs. I am, but won’t let them know that.

11. Picking tons of flowers (we categorize them like nerds :)

12. Rock hunting

13. Walking barefoot outside

14. Playing with chalk

15. Breaking eggs. This is messy, and highly unsanitary, but its their favorite, so I just clean well afterward.

16. Playing in the sand. Not a sandbox, real, outside sand. We live in FL, so its not hard to come by.

17. Eating with their hands. Usually not encouraged, but it happens, and my son especially thinks textures are entertaining.

18. Eating TONS of different types of food. I rarely make the same meal in a month’s time of being home (which usually takes a whole lot more time than a month for us!)

19. Playing with toys of different textures (they have some weird slimy, squishy toys along with normal toys)

20. Painting with our hands and feet

21. Making our own music with kid made instruments

22. Singing and dancing, we sing songs nightly with hand motions to them.

23. We did fireworks and that definitely peaked visual and hearing senses!

24. Watching construction workers

25. Helped Daddy mow the grass and fix the mower

26. We were eyewitnesses to different flying birds, snails, wasps (one eating an inchworm!), dragon flies, and different bugs in action. We like to just watch nature.

27. Visiting the river. There are lots of things to see, hear and feel at the river.

I have decided that sensory play is great! The only catch is that normal life provides plenty of thrill for the senses already. We talk about how things feel, we notice experiences together. We coin words for new sensations, and we giggle about silly feelings. No extra messes or equipment required.

Do you do sensory play with your children? Has it been helpful or exciting?

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Summer Crafts ~ Paper Mache

I am getting a tad behind in posting! I keep documenting and writing bits here and there to post and have not finished anything yet! I am just going to share this quick post about our craft of the day and continue writing my other posts! I could blame my lack of energy on the fact that I am STILL pregnant! 5 days past my due date, and the not-yet-named baby girl is welcome any time now.

There is something I am planning on working on in the future, but it requires a bit of paper mache, so I thought I would practice during some craft times with the kids. One day we made a bowl for daddy, and today we did an overlay on a shoebox to turn it into a gift box.

Our recipe was a simple 1:1 ratio of white Elmer’s glue to water.

I let the kids ‘paint’ the glue on with paintbrushes. For the bowl we made I covered a bowl with regular plastic wrap and painted a layer of glue on and added several layers of ripped construction paper on top, gluing between each layer with a final layer of glue on top. When it was dry we removed it from the saran wrap and had a little bowl to give daddy for his pocket change.

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Ripping paper is def my son’s favorite part, while putting the ‘paint’ and pictures in place is an art for my daughter.

Adelle picked a special picture for the front

Adelle picked a special picture for the front

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Have you ever tried paper mache? lt is a handy little crafting skill we will certainly use again :)

Inquisitive Mind

English: Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons...

Complete neuron cell diagram. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My sweet daughter wants to understand every facet of every topic. If you do not give her every detail, she will quickly drain the knowledge out of you with questions. I do LOVE that she loves to learn, but it sure can be exhausting! Aside from the exhaustion, the most amazing thing is that her questions sometimes catch me way off guard and I am left absolutely speechless.

Speechless because she is either 1. Not supposed to know enough to ask the question in the first place, 2. Not old enough to be concerned with such. 3. or sometimes the audacity of the question itself just makes me laugh!

Questions I was not prepared to answer to my three year old:

  1. “How is Baby Sister going to come out?”
  2. *regarding a mother screaming at her children* “What is she doing?”
  3. “How does the brain spider work?” *referring to a picture of neurons* – this led to a very interesting conversation about how our brains work, and she wanted more info than I have! A few weeks later she brought it up again asking, “How does the brain spider help us think again?
  4. Why does my brother have that? *pointing to his lower region during bath time -this was asked at barely 2*
  5. “Why did those soldiers kill Jesus?” “Why did Jesus die since He didn’t do anything wrong?” “How can Jesus die when God cannot die?” *I would be happy to answer these questions usually, but it is hard to know what three year old will understand*
  6. “Does she have a baby in her belly too?!” *no, this poor woman did not have a baby in her belly and I was pretty embarrassed*
  7. “Hey Mom! Do you have any cash?” I told her no and she responded with, “Can you get some?”
  8. “What happens to our bodies when we die?”
  9. “Why can’t I wear a bra?” *also asked at 2!*
  10. “Mommy, I am going to ask Jesus for a very nice husband for when I grow up.” *and on another occasion* “Will you come to my wedding?”

Kidversations ~ Conversations with JJ

My goofy boy waiting for Sunday dinner.

My goofy boy waiting for Sunday dinner.

My little buddy is 2 today! :) I thought I would write down a few of the funny short conversations I have had with my little buddy over the last few weeks. He makes me laugh all the time, I just forget to write most of it down.

Conversations with JJ

“JJ, who loves you?”

“Sissy.”

“Yes. Who else loves you?”

“Sissy.” He answers, very sure of himself.

“Does anyone else love you?”

“No, Sissy.”

“How about Daddy?”

“No, Sissy woves me.”

“Does Mommy love you?”

“Sissy does. I want Sissy.”

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I was trying to understand why I have trouble getting him to leave my ipad alone and finally it occurred to me. “JJ, whose Ipad is this?”

“Its JJ’s hi-pad.” *points to his chest* “I’m JJ.”

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I had to correct a behavioral issue with my little buddy and after he adjusted his attitude and was a bit happier he looked around sheepishly and says, “I ‘unna go ganny’s house.”

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I was undressing JJ from his morning PJ’s to take him to the restroom and dress him for the day and he excitedly exclaims as soon as the last piece of fabric leaves his skin, “I NAKED!!! Yay!”

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The kids were playing with water guns and JJ aims his weapon at me and yells, “I gonna shoot da bad guy!”

“Mommy’s not a bad guy!” I respond in an amused horror.

“You a bad guy!” He assures and then shoots me in the chest.

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JJ comes to me with a pitiful face, “I got a bonk. Tiss it better?”

“Noooo….”I respond being silly, “I don’t kiss it better, I BITE it better!” JJ giggles, “No bite it better! TISS it better!”

“Nope, Mommy only bites it better.” JJ offers his uh-oh for biting better. It is miraculously healed.

JJ now offers all bonks and uh-ohs to Mommy to “Bite it better.” Or even funnier, he bites it himself.

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We always pray for our meal, and sometimes the kids want to pray, so we all take turns at the table praying. JJ melted my heart a few weeks ago when his prayer was this,

“Dank you Jesus for my food. Dank you Jesus a Mommy, Dank you Jesus a Daddy, Dank you Jesus a Sissy.” He thinks for a minute, and raises his happy little head, “H-Amen!”

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Are We Quenching the Desire?

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Old School_House_ (Photo credit: Total Mayhem)

I had a tiny bout of insomnia and was doing tons of reading on different methods and philosophies on teaching young children. I came across a study done on children who were introduced to a new fancy toy. Half of the children were given some time alone with a toy with many different functions and the other half were given teachers who explained what the toy did and how to play with it.

The second group of children played with the toy exactly the way they were taught, while the first group of children figured out the functions for themselves and discovered several features not taught or enjoyed by the second group.

The moral?

The group taught exactly what to do had no need to figure things out for themselves and were unable to enjoy the full spectrum of the toy.

But this study led me to ask: What effect do our daily actions take on our children’s desire to learn?

Are we feeding our children our children enough information to keep them quiet, or patiently waiting for them to discover the world and the joys of knowledge and understanding?

I personally love learning, and adore children who feel the same. I am also blessed (but sometimes feel cursed!) with a daughter who is just a passionate about knowledge and understanding. As my two children have grown, I am trying to learn the best ways to feed their interest in learning. And it is very evident that every child is different.

But I think that I have learned that the best way for children to learn and love learning is to figure things out for themselves. This is very difficult and takes quite a bit of patience.

It is much easier for me, as a mother, to do things for them, not require any help from them, stop them before they make mistakes (especially messy ones!) and finish things for them when they struggle. But those things frustrate children, and quench the excitement of learning.

Some of the most amazing inspirational and successful people were born out of adversity. They experienced success regardless of social status, economics, prejudice, lack of formal education, physical restrictions, and/or countless other options of hardship.

I am beyond grateful for everything God has blessed my family with and would never want to put my children in any of the above situations. But those who have made history can teach us something. They can teach us that the best lessons are the ones we have to learn for ourselves, that those who become great do not become so because greatness was handed to them.