Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer 2012 Buckets

We've been working on our Summer 2012 List for a few weeks now and finally completed our project. Putting together our summer "bucket" list is one of my favorite activities to kick of the summer months. We loved last summer's craft sticks so much that we used the same idea this time, only with smaller sticks and using actual buckets.

Also, we have not one, but two lists and two buckets. One is for the bigger outings, trips, ongoing learning, and activities that require some planning and time.

The other is a list of home-based or quick activities we can do any time we're bored, on rainy days, on days when it's too hot to leave home or during Maya's naps. It includes playing games, quick and easy art projects, reminders about craft kits and toys the girls might consider when they feel like there's nothing to do, baking activities, reminders to work on our library challenges and summer workbooks. There's always something to do!

Maya painted sticks too this time!

Here's some of what's on our list:
Fly a kite
Go berry picking
Go to Nature Center classes
Roast marshmallows and hotdogs at night
Make a picnic basket and go on picnics
Learn to ride a bike (Sabrina)
Learn to swim (CC)
Visit National parks
Make rhubarb recipes
Make plum recipes
Write poetry
Visit the Washington monument
Go to see outdoor movies
Go to local beaches
Go to concerts
Visit a butterfly show
Learn about whole foods
Visit a working farm
Shop at the farmers' markets
Make masks
Have a Beatles dance party

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dots and Stripes for Playful Learning

Hello! I'm so very excited to share that I'm now a contributing blogger for Playful Learning, a blog and enterprise that I've long admired. When Maria Bruehl put out a call for contributors I couldn't resist sending her a note even though I have so much on my plate right now that my own darling blog reflects none of the good + happy stuff going on these days. But, I thought, this is probably just what I need--working with someone as inspiring and committed and successful as Mariah will surely get my blogging creativity going again. Lucky me, she accepted my offer to write a few times a month. My first post is for a sweet bandana that has gotten plenty of use already and will surely be a proudly worn accessory on July 4th. I hope you like it and all the other great ideas on Playful Learning!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Creating Together

Lately I've been making an extra effort to sit with the girls while they make art.  At least once a day, and especially if I've prepared a special project for them, we sit together and all work on the same thing. It's no longer just CC and Sabrina while Mommy works on the computer or makes dinner and Maya scootches under the table or stands on tiptoe trying to squirrel away a sticker or marker for herself. Now we're more often than not at the art table all together.

I totally enjoy this relaxing creative time where I'm not just directing the process but actually participating in it... and it makes such a difference in the way the girls work too.  They stay at the table longer. They take an interest in each other's work. They ask me to teach them. They offer compliments. They ask each other questions. I feel as if we have a true little artist's atelier going in our dining room.

Here we continued our work with paper and collage materials, this time using little red dot stickers and markers to make family portraits. It's funny that Sabrina in a moment of irritation made CC all frowny, and it's sweet how CC teaches herself to draw things by partly copying my work. And then there was Maya, chubby little fingers working so hard to peel those stickers and hold the markers! I think in the end she was proudest of all.
Sabrina's collage
CC's collage

Maya's collage
My collage

Monday, January 16, 2012



We've been following our plan to focus on one art material or technique at a time.  Throughout November, December and the first weeks of January we worked with colored pencils, crayons, markers, though we remained flexible and incorporated other holiday crafts and added materials as necessary for a specific project.

Now we're getting started on paper as our material of choice. Scissors, glue, tape, and simple stickers are always on hand as is a big stack of colorful construction paper and white drawing paper. So many possibilities in paper... folding, cutting, tearing, crumbling.

So far we've practiced some simple origami folding and made collages using contact paper. I imagine cutting snowflakes, making paper chains and working with tissue will make their way into our time using paper, and, as has happened with each unit, I expect this one to extend well beyond the week we originally allotted for each material.

Look who is beginning to participate in art projects!

Snuggles and Gerald, CC's class guinea pigs, were with us for the weekend and Sabrina created this wonderful collage portrait of them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Morn

So fun waking up to last night's rainbow of decorations and enjoying them in the bright sunlight of late morning.  We all slept in a little longer than usual, with Maya being the first up.  So she and I put together a simple brunch for everyone to enjoy. Berries, bacon, balloons, oh my. And even a little left over New Year's Eve cake. 

So, happy new year!  Last year was a good one that answered many questions for our family and put us on a path on which we are confident and happy.  For 2011 I am grateful, but I like the sound of twenty twelve and the gentle turns I anticipate in the path ahead even better. 

New Year's Eve

25 white balloons, 14 glassybaby votives, party hats, bead necklaces and maracas for the five of us, a Magic 8 Ball to help us predict the year ahead, 12 grapes each and a Nutella cake covered in sparkler candles. That's what New Year's Eve looked like for our little clan.  We first walked to our favorite neighborhood restaurant to feast on Japanese food and toast with sake.  Then back home to ring in 2012 at... 10 pm!  Yes, we set the clocks forward a bit so the girls could participate without being too tired. This is the second time we opt out of leaving our home to celebrate and instead make our own little romance right here at home, and it suits us so, so well.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Dinner Party


After a day of playing and lounging in our nighties we hosted a little Christmas dinner party for family.   For some years now we've had a tradition of cooking pulled pork barbecue and all the delicious sides that go with that for Christmas.  It is always a hit with children and adults and keeps things fun and informal.

The food did not keep us from dressing fancy though.  With three girls in the house we never miss a chance to dress up, put bows in our hair and spread glitter from our sparkly shoes all around.

For dessert I continued my tradition of making one very outrageous holiday treat and served a triple-layer candied pecan buttered pear bourbon cream cake.  It was indeed pretty outrageous!

We exchanged gifts with our guests and sent them home with little pouches of chewy peppermint sticks and Sabrina's spontaneously assembled goodie bags of clemetines, candy canes and chocolates. It makes me so happy that my girls really enjoy welcoming people into our home... they loved preparing the house, setting the table, welcoming everyone and treating them with warmth and generosity. What a nice thing for a mama to witness of Christmas day.