Adventures in Unschooling

Archive for March 2009

I had promised the kids a nature walk since the temperature was acceptable but the sun never showed and the wind was cold.

They were really excited so we bundled up and headed outdoors for some rock collecting. I was thrilled to see some signs of spring. This winter has seemed to be never-ending and I know there are others who feel this way too.

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dsc04694I really like this picture. The boys look like they are skipping in unison but in reality they are just running and I caught them at just the right moment.

dsc04693 As you can see we have plenty of snow left. Winter is my least favorite of all the seasons by a long shot. I hate being cold.

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And, like I mentioned in my last post (probably the one that got deleted) we finally have space to set up a small nature table since Hammy passed on.

Here are some pics of the nature table.

dsc04700dsc04702You can see that there isn’t much on it right now as we just put it up. I am hoping for a really good nature walk where we can collect more pine cones. I am also looking forward to learning how to make some felted bowls for these little treasures.

That clay bowl is the one I made back a long time ago. I hadn’t posted pics before because I hadn’t glazed it yet but oh well…maybe another day.

I had spent a half hour this morning writing in this very spot about how I am frustrated by the lack of progress in certain area of my children’s development (Trey’s toilet training to be specific) and how they just wrestle and fight all day.

I feel like I have such a hard time remaining sane in this constant state of chaos. I also wrote about how I have so little support from other parents and all sorts of things like that and then WordPress wouldn’t publish it. So I saved the draft and thought I’d go back and try again later.

Well, as you have probably guessed WordPress didn’t save that either. It also wouldn’t let me load pictures. I don’t know what is wrong with it right now.

Anyways, I don’t feel like I can pour my heart out again so here is some superficial stuff.

add-embroidery-next-timePants I made for Joel. They were inspired by SouleMama’s version but hers are nicer. These are my first attempt at this sort of thing so I imagine it’ll get better with practise.

I made the patch to cover a big acrylic paint stain and the cuffs to match the patch.

This morning we also had some family art time. Here is some of our work:

dsc04678This is the boys’ works of art. Which they hung on the fridge all by themselves.

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We have had such a full and busy weekend and I am now officially bushed.

We have my brother-in-law staying with us for a month (for schooling) and so we have had to make some changes to our bedroom set-ups to accommodate him. We have moved our bed in with the boys and Anna is not adjusting well to the change. She has been keeping me up and I am just exhausted now.

Here are some pics from the weekend:

dsc04662Kevin is teaching the boys about colours. My nephew is the smallest one.

Below Trey is making “food” for his new company.

dsc04661This weekend I also picked up some inexpensive frames from IKEA to start an art display area for my kids’ art.

dsc046661Sandra, my sister, also taught me how to knit this weekend. I want to learn how to make those felted bowls. It is not my forte but I am pretty sure I can manage it good enough to finish the few projects I wanted to do.

And speaking of knitting she had knitted some squares for me to make some bunnies I had seen in a Waldorf book. dsc04676Then I stitched them to make them look like rabbits. Here is how they turned out.

There were three squares but the first two bunnies took so long to stitch up and stuff and everything that I decided to forgo the third little bunny and let Trey have the square as a wash cloth.

And of course I promised to show you all what Kevin was sewing the other day. Here it is:

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The elastics hold the mags in place instead of the noisy velcro flaps.

Now he wants to sew himself a new vest. His last one turned out very well and he wants one in this colour too.

What a handsome little sewer I’ve got. Pretty soon I will have the whole family sewing up a storm.

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dsc04649I was very inspired by the vintage finds of some of these crafty online mamas out there that I decided to do a little thrifting of my own.

I picked this thermos looking thing up today. It has a Tiffin in it! Granted it’s not a real Tiffin but it’s as good as and the thermos dealy helps keep everything at the right temperature. The lid doesn’t seal and I can’t figure out if it was ever supposed to but it’ll be perfect for events like pic nics. 

Each container has a seperate lid so the lid could conceivably double as a mini plate too.

dsc04650<-I also found these items.

A colourful scarf, some items to get the boys and I started on embroidery and some knitting needles (my sister can show me the basics) and some yarn.

I would have never seen myself learning how to knit but lately I have been seeing the cutest things being knitted and then felted and it is really the felting that convinced me to try.

Other projects I will enjoy doing will be hats.

dsc04651We also took a trip to the library today. Here are some books I borrowed.

A quilting for baby book, a knitting project book and Grimm’s Fairy Tales (I am pretty curious to see what those are like). The Wishing on a Star one is one I bought at Save On Foods when I was there picking up dish soap and it is about finding constellations and explaining the story behind them. I think it’ll be great for camping trips.

And last, but definitely not least, Fabricland is having a 50% off sale so we went and stocked up on piles of goods. These are prints and patterns for Anna. I am hoping to be able to sew all of her clothes. At least it’s my goal. I also bought four metres of denim so that I can make overalls etc. for my boys. We’ll be busy bees for a while.

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I have some fairly unhappy news. I am down two pets in one day.

jan-03I was looking for a new home for my kitten for a while and he finally found a new home. Now I miss him terribly. We weren’t supposed to keep him and frankly my home (especially the kids’ felted toys and my furniture) will be better off without a cat but still.

dsc03461We had rescued him from a farm because his mother had abandoned him when he was just a week or so old. I fed him from bottles and even had to teach him to “go.” But we never intended to keep him, just save him.

Now that we finally found a home for him (four and a half months later) I am feeling very guilty and missing him an awful lot. Goodbye Smitty. We’ll miss you.

dsc00593And before the cat left for his new home my hamster died. I wasn’t that attached to the hamster but it was still hard saying goodbye to a pet.

This is him napping when we had first gotten him.

On a happier note: I snatched this picture of my little angel in bed last night. I love co-sleeping. I was folding laundry on the bed and she fell asleep. Then I made the bed over her and took this picture. I just love how precious she in is in that gigantic bed.

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Yesterday I also reorganized my sewing room. It is so much easier to work in there when everything is in its place.

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Scrapbooking and sewing and art supplies all mixed in together!

It’s not a large space but I still love it. I am getting used to my new machine and I really like it too.

dsc04631I even have a lavender plant in there that smells up the whole room when rustled. I like to run my hands through it to release all that lovely scent into the room.

dsc04632I wish I had more plants in my house but I have so little space and so many little fingers around.

Plus I tend to kill them all. I don’t know why I can’t keep a plant alive.

I do have a little more space in my living room now that Hammy is gone but I have already replaced that emptiness with some family pictures.

The kids just love looking at the pics. It’s like a mini altar for our family. A place to think about each other.

And to wrap up this long post, I have a picture of a belt I made for Trey last night.

dsc04636I have also made one for myself but I’ll just show you the little one.

Now that I have a machine that works consistently I am doing a lot more sewing.

My husband too is doing a lot more sewing. His pouch is turning out splendidly but he isn’t quite done with it yet. So we’ll have to wait for pics.

And I think I am finally dealing with the guilt I had for getting such a nice machine. After spending more time learning about all the bells and whistles I am much more relaxed. It even comes with a knee lever for the presser food. Kevin is really thrilled with that.

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I whipped this little pouch up this morning.

dsc04629I have been having trouble with my new machine sicne I took it home and wanted to see if the problem was me. It was. I like sewing on small seams allowances and my machine likes regular seam allowances. Not a big deal, I’ll just have to remind myself to give myself more space so that the corners don’t get sucked into the machine. Other than that it is one powerful little machine. Wait until you see what my husband was sewing through. Two layers of thick felt plus two layers of thick cotton fabric. It’s goes through it wonderfully. And when he wraps up his project tonight he’ll have to sew through three layers of felt and three or four layers of cotton. I doubt that that will be a problem for this machine.  

Anyways, I used black thread on this pouch because I was too lazy to rethread the machine. And I didn’t worry too much about straight seams. It was really just a little test piece for the issues I had with my machine (corners and zippers). It passed with flying colours this morning.

I don’t know what it’s for yet. I thought of using it for coins but it is s little too big for that. I am not sure what I’ll use it for…maybe safety pins or buttons or something sewing related.

I just love that fabric though.

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I started reading You Are Your Child’s First Teacherby Rahima Baldwin Dancy and I am very impressed thus far. The book (at least the first fifteen pages of it) talks a lot about the developmental stages of a child from birth to age six.

I am finding that some of the most frustrating issues I was dealing with were from my resisting their normal childhood development.

For example, asking them to clean up all their toys. Simple requests like, “please put your blocks back in their bucket” are easier to process and understand and thus easier for them to comply to.

The book also recommends that we don’t give young children too many options as this request can be overwhelming for a child. I think there are instances where it is appropriate to let them choose (like what they wear or what story to read) but there are things (like what they want for supper or what they want to do today) that seem rather futile speaking from experience.

And I am so glad I didn’t let myself be bullied by the comments of some online mamas a while back because I am even more convinced that their approach will be detrimental to family unity and the child’s future ability to work with others and exhibit generosity, than I did before.

I really believe that a child who gets to be part of a team feels protected and loved. A child that gets to call the shots and doesn’t have to share in the toils of the team becomes self-centered and offstandish.

Anyways, I am just loving the new little changes in our house. I am trying to get ourselves more in tune with nature so I am using more candle light and much less artificial light. The boys get to wake up to their breakfast and some soothing candle light waiting for them on the table. This has made them much more content in the morning.

We have also started working on a food blessing from Beyond the Rainbow Bridge that goes like this:

Earth who gives us this food,

Sun who makes it ripe and good.

Dear Sun, Dear Earth, by you we live.

And loving thanks to you we give.

I really want my kids to love the earth. So many people are so disconnected from the earth that they don’t even realize that all of those pillaging and plundering of our natural resources at the expense of people’s health and homes as well as at the expense of trees and plants and animals is wrong. Someday some generation will curse the stupidity of our generation and the one of our parents.

Like Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother says, “You don’t poop where you eat.”

On a happier note. I have found some doll making books at the library to borrow. I can’t wait until they come in and then I can take a good look at them. I am pretty confident in my ability to make the doll but I really want to see how to do the strong sturdy hair.

Plus, we are going to have spent enough money on supplies for our Bamboletta when all is said and done that we really want to make sure we have the little details punched out prior to cutting the fabric.

I am very excited to get started. Even if Anna can’t even play with it yet. If we really do have enough for three (since I am making these with a friend) I would like to make the boys a boy doll too. But we’ll see when I start cutting out a pattern.

My husband has been sewing voraciously these days. He is making magazine pouches for his airsoft vest. It is almost finished and he has done splendidly so far. I wanted to post some pics this morning but he asked me to wait until it was finished.

He has sewn himself one vest already and wants to sew another after he gets a chance to go buy some more camo fabric.