The Summer Expectations… and my inability to meet them

 

My kids didn’t want school to end.  In fact, the last week of school, every DAY they’d say with a sigh how much they were going to miss school.  As school got out, I’m shoved handfuls of books (pictured below), watercolored papers (pictured further below), bits of yard and half made whatnots from handwork class and phone numbers from various friends who expect to play together lots this summer.  All the mama’s and papa’s hugging, saying their summer goodbyes.  Parents taking pictures of students with teachers and teachers with students.  In the Waldorf curriculum the teacher stays with the class all the way up to 8th grade.  So it’s not a very long goodbye but the milestones between each year are special and need to be recorded.  I unfortunately forgot and had to track down my teachers later, forcing picture moments on them like the good parent I am.

waldorf book

My kids each came home with a book, the spirals removed and sewn together to create a years worth of memories and teachings they will never forget.  I’ve saved school papers before we went to this Waldorf-Inspired charter school, and they are quite plain compared to these brightly colored creations. sewing together books

…. so my whole reason for this post is the question that’s been looming in my head the whole month of May, WHAT WILL I DO WITH MY CREATIVE CHILDREN THIS SUMMER?  How can I compete with this?!  My paints aren’t this bright?!  I have a mini-ache in my back when the glue and glitter are pulled out! handmade work

My kids are so much happier if I’ve got a plan.  Even if the plan isn’t taken to the level we were hoping for, there is a PLAN.

the PLAN:

Every week will have a theme.

Every week will have a drawing lesson (I will do a future post about my drawing lessons)

Every week will have a craft or activity and something to bake.

Now I’ve got something to pull out when the time comes. And the time is usually first thing after breakfast so they feel loved and inspired.  After that I can say “go play” and they’re like “ok”.

Disclaimer: I have not successfully gotten through a week yet and I’ve twisted my knee and ankle… so my expectations to achieve these goals are LOW.  But it was fun paroosing on Pinterest.

Week 1:  Fairy Week (I wrote the theme on our chalkboard, they liked that)

Make a small fairy garden, bubble wands and bubbles, and fairy looms

Bake cereal bars

Week 2:  Maps and Exploring

Make play dough worlds (we use plastic flowers and leaves to create jungles), cut USA map out of fabric (I will use this for a future project), make each other a gift to go into a treasure box.

Write out a treasure map and hide treasure at Grandma’s house.  At the end of summer we’ll go dig up this “treasure” and see what we made each other. (hopefully won’t be eaten by bugs)

Bake granola

Week 3:  Camp Out

Make hobo dinner and campfire cones, best tent competitions, sleep out in the tree house, water blob

Bake pop tarts

Week 4:  America (or as my husband patriotically says, “Merica”)

Finish sewing USA quilt, Library research a president, paint a big sheet the USA flag and hang for the 4th

Make spinach balls

Week 5:  Rainbows

Paint the fans in our house, Tie Die T-shirts, cornstarch painting, yard twister

Bake miniature pies

Week 6:  Space and Stars

Paint styrofoam balls into planets, put together and hang planet mural, study the stars, sponge star water fight

Bake cinnamon swirl bread

Week 7: Textures and Shapes

Puffy paint on black paper, weave ribbon and plants between two logs outside, foamed soap play in pool,

Bake bread shapes

Week 8: Pirates!

Fizzy Mud play, design and make flags for your own ship, layered liquid experiment

Go on a pirate adventure (dig up the treasure you hid at the beginning of summer)

Bake cheesy crackers

 

Hope your summer is full of color, dirt, and inspiration!

waldorf watercoloring

Repurposed Sheets and Fort Kits

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Our home is small.  Back in the 40’s when it was built, I’m sure it was considered a decent size.  And even after a bedroom and larger bathroom addition, I bet they thought it was grand.  But when you put three kids and their parents, a dog, and two home businesses into 700 square feet, you get some very tight moments.  I’ve tried to section off the house when I’m working.  The kids can play in this area, and as long as they clean up, they can do pretty much any crazy imaginational play they want.  The routine has been to play school time, craft time, snack time, ninja sneaking/ballerina dancing time, and fort time in that order.

fort play

And almost always forts are the hardest thing to clean up.  Tears!  Tears ensue because of all the work putting it up and their expectations of sleeping in it for the night.  I never said they could sleep in it, mind you, it’s just those high hopes.

fort kit bag

So my high hopes this year was to make them a fort kit.  It was such an easy process to sew Tshirt yarn ties to the ends of sheets, I started making more and using up my vintage fabric stash.  I’ve got an etsy shop and I thought I’d test the waters to see if they’d sell (which they’re selling wonderfully).  So here’s my shameless plug for my shop, or if you’re so inclined, inspiration to put a kit together yourself.  It’s been very worth it for our tiny home.

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The idea of repurposing sheets to be used in kid play makes my heart happy!

Rubber Band Bracelet

DottyThis post is brought to you buy my 7yr-old, Dotty.  She’s such a creative chic!  Some mornings I’ll wake up to her creativity spread out all over our kitchen table and deep in artsy-meditation with paper shreds all around her.  Today she found some extra fat rubber bands.  Our home policy for crafts is very loose.  As long as they clean up, they can do most anything that’s offered (paint and glitter excluded).  I think it teaches them great responsibilities while letting those creative juices flow.  I’ve taken away using stamp and ink pad privileges if they don’t ask or don’t follow the guide lines of craft mats underneath their work.  “Just ask” is a very common phrase out of my mouth.  And if things are knocked over, a calm “clean it up” phrase is said and THEY clean up the mess (as best they can anyways).  So the rubber bands were chosen and the crafting will commence!

gold scrollingShe found a gold pen, which has proven to not stay on very well.  If she’d have used a sharpie instead it would have worked great.

First she started making the gold scrolling all around.

black sharpieOnce the gold scrolling was done, she filled the rest in with the black sharpie.  And notice the cleaver use of a “knee-mat”.

 That’s my girl!

go girl powerShe made one for each of her sister with initials to tell them apart.  And then a club of sisterhood was declared!!

 

 

Tapioca Glitter Collage

results-of-the-glitter-hater

     Never, in all my years of mothering, have I ever liked a substance known to the common world as GLITTER!  It’s evil and should only be bought by responsible people with amazing hand-eye coordination.  The last time we had glitter usage in this house, my Dotty asked, opened, and immediately spilled gold sparkles ALL OVER my living room floor.  In only 10 seconds it looked like a Gnome and Tinkerbell had wrestled in my house.  So I have vowed to never allow that kind of mystical hooligan to romp where I am until I’ve reached the point of feeling somewhat sane.  I’m still recovering from toddler years and I don’t know how long it’s gonna take.  For now, here’s my approach to filling in those spaces in our hearts that need glitter.

how-to-makeSupplies:

  • dry tapioca noodles
  • gel food coloring
  • tacky glue
  • card stock paper
  • sharpie
  • paint brush’s
  • plastic baggy’s
  • toothpicks
  • weird Grover finger puppet (optional)

coloring-tapioca-noodles

Place about 1/3 cup of noodles in a plastic baggy.  Very carefully, use a toothpick to dispense a dab of food coloring gel into the bag with the noodles.  For small hands I tied the top so nothing escaped.  Now rub so that all the noodles have coloring all over them.  It doesn’t take much gel to create a very vibrant color.  Once they’re done, pour into small bowls or store for later use.

They store indefinitely.

blue-yellow-green-purple

 These were the colors we decided on.  It’s a nice color pallet I thought.

sharpiesSharpies make great drawing pens and the kids love the feeling of drawing with them.  But I’m a risk taker and my table’s old.  Usually we put down mats for messy crafts but these little balls roll everywhere.  So after the craft time, I do a good sweep.  They sweep up just fine.  Unlike my nemesis, the glitter, that creeps in all the cracks of my old wood floors.

bowl-of-tackyglueFill a small dish of tacky glue.  We went through quite a lot, so be generous.

brushWhen brushing on, keep the glue really thick so the noodles can squish in.  The more noodles the more colorful the collage.  Your hands will get a little messy from the coloring.  But it washed right off for us.

glue-your-noodleReally pack in the noodles.  After they’re all stuck, funnel them back into the bowl to get rid of the loose ones.

more-noodles-to-glueWe used both white card stock and some previously water colored paper.  I don’t know which I like better?

sharpieMake sure to sign your work.

TaDa!

We made gingerbread people in February

Tradition!  Tradition!

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Candy, icing and cookies are never tied down to a specific season, but once it’s in the shape of a gingerbread man, am I really so limited to Christmas?  IMG_0200

Well, the girls and I broke that box this week.  Or at least the box this kit came in.

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Over Christmas we inherited a kit from Costco and never really got around to doing it.  I was saving it for a rainy day.

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The girls were home for the whole week, so we’ve been pulling all our rainy day kits out and breezing through them.  I’m a very anti-kit person myself but when it comes to quickly pulling out a project for the kids, kits are very nice.

 IMG_0199Keeping things simple and sweet. IMG_0204 IMG_0215

Makeup

I don’t have much restrictions when it comes to makeup as long as my kids know it’s only for special play times.  After dinner a few nights ago my two oldest and I got inspired to do some crazy eye makeup.  Afterwards I took some photos.  Then they washed it all off.  It turned out to be a quick 30 minute glamor shoot but was such a fun and intimate time with them.  I know they felt special and beautiful with all the play.  You might be thinking I’m feeding their drive to be only outwardly beautiful, but if most of our lives are spent working on the inward beauty, the outward beauty is just for FUN.  And it was!

glamdori

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