Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Playing" Church

My kids are playing creatively this morning....using their imaginations and playing well together. I love watching and listening to them during these times. I try to stay in the background and just observe quietly. I do not like to interrupt this special time they have together. Usually we do our chores in the morning, then work on reading and writing skills. I will not interrupt this creative play on these special mornings though. Today they are "playing" church. They went and got dressed in their "dressy" clothes. My son is in dress pants, a button down white dress shirt and a vest. One of them did the children's sermon and now they are working on a craft together. I love being a quiet observer in their play.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How We Simplified Our Candy..............

We did it! I had a plan for our candy and we did it! This post is a follow up to Simlifying Candy. I offered the kids each to choose 10 pieces of candy from their loot and we put the rest away. The 10 pieces of their choosing went into a small brown lunch bag and they placed their names on it. The bags got tucked in the pantry for safe keeping....and it helped keep the candy out of sight and hopefully off their minds. I offered each child $10 to spend at Target in exchange for their candy. We also particpated in a candy buy back program sponsored by a local orthodontist. I talked to the kids about it before hand. For every pound of candy received, the orthodontist gives the child a dollar. Then he sends the candy overseas to the soldiers. It is really a win-win situation for everyone. We went on Monday to the candy buy back. It was the first day. He had his office all set up nicely for this event. There was a separate table over to the side in the office. It was set up with a scale and petty cash box next to it and a huge plastic tub to pour the candy in underneath the table. The kids actually seemed excited about it. When we arrived there was another little boy my son knows just ahead of us. After we were in line, there was someone already coming in behind us. We had just under 4 lbs and they rounded up to 4 and gave us $4. The kids split the money $2 each in addition to their $10. They realized they each had $12 now to spend at Target. We went specifically for that purpose, just for them. They took their time, looked at all of the items and prices. They asked me questions about taxes. They each did a wonderful job. They were both able to choose a larger item and a smaller item. We went to the register and they each rung up separately, paid with their own money and received the change, receipt and bag. They were excited and proud! Amazingly they were both able to stay under the $12 and got a few cents change. I was so happy! I have lost weight this year and gotten my body back in shape. I did not want to be tempted by all of this Halloween candy. I was thrilled to release it and let it all go.....and to a good cause. What do you do with your Halloween candy?

"Little House" - A Heartwarming Book Series about Simplicity and Family

We are reading the Little House series currently. We just finished "On the Banks of Plum Creek" this morning. The kids and I really enjoyed it. I grew up watching the "Little House on the Prairie" series. So it was an important moment when the kids met Nellie Olsen in the book. My children and I were most touched by the loss of Charlotte in this book. Poor Charlotte, Laura's doll. It was so sad when Laura found her frozen in the ice and torn up. Both my daughter and I had tears streaming down our cheeks.
We are reading the books in sequence, so after reading "Farmer Boy," we spent some time talking about the different families - Almonzo's and Laura's. It seemed to take a bit longer to get through "Farmer Boy." I was surprised when the kids pointed out that Almonzo's family had 2 boys to help their Pa with the chores, whereas Laura's family had none. Laura's Pa did all of that work on his own.
Of course I have a fondness for this series as I grew up watching it. I love the simplicity of life in the books. I love that families are close and they work hard to help one another and help the family. I can hear that when I am reading....I get a good sense of it and so do my children. They do go off to school in this book but they also spend a lot of time at home studying (secondary to the weather), home with family, and helping Mom with the chores. My daugther couldn't believe it when in each of these books, the children were left alone to mind the house and sometimes a younger sibling, while the parents took a long walk to town or went away overnight. One such incidence Mary was nearly 9 and Laura nearly 8. I had trouble accepting it myself! My daughter and I spent some time talking about it....if she felt she could manage the house. She did not. I also love the simplicity of their play. They had a few precious things to play with....I wouldn't even call them toys - some paper dolls and rag dolls and a corn cob doll. They played games using their imaginations and played outside all day when the weather was warm. There weren't so many "things" and the things they did have held a special value to them. I feel it when I read to my children and they feel it too. It's heartwarming and a special series to read together as a family and discuss.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Project: Save the Lizard

This morning, we had all been up a few hours and hubby was off at work. The kids started getting excited about something. Well, it turns out the excitement was a small lizard in our fireplace! I figure it crawled down the fireplace? We have the black chain netting in front of the fireplace and the lizard was on it. There is no glass or doors on the fireplace. HOW am I going to get a lizard out from there?!? My son is a lizard, toad and pretty much all creatures lover! I asked him, if he thought he could get it himself. "No, Mom," he replied. "Those little lizards are fast. Only Dad can get them." Great! Kids chimed in, "call Dad, call Dad!" I call Dad to bother him at work with our big house emergency. He said to tell my son, "He (the lizard) got himself in this situation, he can get himself out." That's my husband's survival of the fittest thinking. I worried. I worried about us running our errands later today and coming home and finding the lizard running around the house. Or worse, not being able to find the lizard when we returned home. My children were thrilled with a homeschool project so early in the morning. How can we rescue the lizard? Problem solving hats on, they scurried out to the garage to make a plan and gather their tools! They came back in the house after a few minutes with their ideas, plans and tools. They explained each plan to me and we determined the best plan of action. We put plan 1 into place....when I approached the lizard from behind, he didn't move. So we modified that plan then and I approached him again from behind with a small net. When you are a creature lover, you have all sorts of different size nets! I got him! He must have been in shock about the whole situation as he didn't object or really try to get away. I gently guided him into the net, then we got him into a small critter container. My son took him right outside, let him go, and said, "this must be the happiest day of that lizard's life!" My daughter added, "the lizard rushed off to his natural habitat." We all high fived and shared our excitement that we helped rescue the lizard and return him to his habitat. I love being a homeschool Mom and the adventures we find......