Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Childhood Magic via The Water Heater Guy

Earlier this week I came across this article from the Huffington Post, I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical. In the article the author reflects on how parenting has become practically a competitive sport and how parents are trying to schedule everything perfectly in their children's lives from perfect crafty playdates to the perfect birthday parties and how exhausting it is. (My sister made the point that this is exactly the reason she doesn't read parenting magazines any more, because they just perpetuate this notion that parents have to perfectly plan everything.) Not to mention how completely pointless it is because kids don't need grown ups to orchestrate it all for them since they are more than capable than doing it perfectly themselves. Which leads me to my water heater....
My water heater, without my realizing it, has slowly been dying! Yesterday afternoon The Water Heather Guy came to put in a new one and he was still here when the boys got home from school. Of course the boys stood outside the door and talked the poor guy's ear off while he was working. But then Mr. Water Heater did something awesome; he gave the boys two pieces of scrap foam pipe insulation, not to mention the giant cardboard box my new appliance arrived in.
My boys were thrilled! They spent most of the afternoon until dinner "sword fighting".

I didn't plan it.
They didn't plan it.
Mr. Water Heater Guy didn't plan it.
Nonetheless, Yip and Yap adored their new toys that cost them nothing.
Cost me nothing.
And got the boys out of Mr. Water Heater's way.
Had I tried to "organize" and "create" this moment for my boys it surely would have been a flop. I can't create that magical sense of daydreaming or losing time in their imagination. Kids have to do that for themselves.
If you have the chance read the article, I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical. It's a good read for parents, parents to be, and grandparents.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Book Addicted Family

The kids just left for school and I just finished dishes. So I walked around the house to get started on my day when I realized my kids and I might have a problem. Books. They are always all over the house ... except the bookshelf!

Follow me on the literary trail through my house that was left over this morning.

On the blanket chest and chair; a dictionary, three books and a magazine.

On the window seat; two books, two magazines and a kindle.

Dining room table; two books.

Yahoo'a bedroom; a Bible, a hymnal, and three books.

My bedside table; a kindle, a devotional and two books.

Oh, and my sketchbook on the bed.

Yep. Books have always been important to me and it looks like I've successfully passed that gene on to my kids too! Now if only someone would invent a book that would reshelf itself.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break...thank goodness it's over!

Oh, were we busy over spring break; road trip, museum visits, art projects...a filthy house. It's nice to have the kids back in where IS spring??? It's kind of windy and cold outside but there were sure some nice days to remember from last week!
We took a trip to Wichita to hit up some museums.

Outside the art museum the boys struck their best "statue pose"!

Ah!! A Chihuly! I love his stuff!


After the art museum we went to Cowtown, which the boys love.

Cowtown is a rebuilt 1800's town with mostly original buildings. As you walk through there are reenactors and plenty of antiques on display.

And look at that...a honest to goodness real grain elevator.
I thought I was able to get DR away from work for a day...guess not!

But guess what the biggest hit was with the kids at Cowtown....a bowling an alley! Wooden pins, a canvas backstop, a rail/ramp to roll the ball back on. We could have stayed there for hours!

After Wichita we went up to Manhattan to the Flinthills Discovery Center that had a great display about the ecosystem of the plains.
They even had a really neat exhibit about the science and physics of football. It was really neat!
We had one gorgeous day over break where ther was no wind and it was up in the 70's so we went down to Meade State Park and enjoyed the great outdoors!

There aren't too many trees out here in Kansas but this is the one spot where we can enjoy them occasionally. They were still bare but they were still lovely!

Now we are back to the grindstone of work and school....but we are still waiting on spring!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wake up little garden!

It's barely warm enough to be outside without a coat, it's supposed to snow tonight BUT it's officially spring so time to get in the garden !!!! DR tilled yesterday which madee so excited and we received seeds in the mail (which made it feel like Christmas ) and now all I have to do is wait a month or so before I dare plant anything!! How about you? Are your waking your garden up yet?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring break art time

We are on spring break this week and the weather has already been crazy! Warm then cold then warm again. Wind, wind and more wind. Today is WINDY!

So we've decided to spend the day doing some artwork. Yahoo playing with a bit of clay.

Recognize these? They are plants from the Plants vs. Zombies game app. My boys love playing it, don't all boys like zombies? Hopefully I can convince Yip (it's cardboard so of course Yip built it) that they need to be painted and put in the 4-H fair this summer. 
Yap even tried his hand at making something from cardboard; Yip enjoyed being the "cardboard teacher" this morning. I can't say that Yap had any success...he made something from cardboard but he wasn't too happy about it. Sometimes I think poor Yap just hasn't found his niche yet. He's a Lego freak and he loves to read but those aren't qualities that shine easily in a tiny town where every one is sports obsessed.

I did get him to sit down and plan out a painting for his summer 4H project.

He loves all things military and war so he chose to draw out a German shepherd. Hopefully we'll get it painted before spring break is over.

I've been busy doing some of my own artwork today too. It's kind of hard to tell from the photo but I'm creating a giant stencil (3'x3') from laminated paper that I'm going to use on a red burlap aisle runner for a wedding. We'll see how it goes. The wedding isn't until October, which is good, because it may take me that long to get this to work!!

My proudest accomplishment of the day though was getting a belt on my Singer treadle sewing machine!! I stumbled onto a sewing store in Wichita over the weekend that services the treadle sewing machines at Wichita's Cowtown.

I've had this machine for over a year but with missing pieces. I'd really like to get it working. I was so excited about getting the belt that I totally forgot to look for a needle or the other missing pieces! But I made sure I grabbed their business card!!!
Today never warmed up or stopped blowing but I'm crossing my fingers that we'll have at least one nice day this week where we can get out and enjoy the short spring we are sure to have!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Family Fun Time at the Bar

One of the things I had a hard time coming to terms with when we first moved to Kansas was the fact that anyone, any age could go to the town bar. What?? Why would I want to take my kids to a bar???

Growing up in Indiana, our town's bar had a seedy reputation. And there was never any bar in Indiana you could get into (legally) under the age of 21. So the idea of kids in the town bar was totally foreign to me. I just couldn't imagine a bar as an environment good for kids.

But over the last few years we've come to frequent the bar more often. I don't even think of it as a bar really. Yeah, they serve alcohol but so does Applebee's and there are plenty of kids in that restaurant. The Main Street Bar (pictured here) is more like a small town restaurant or cafe than a bar. They serve great food (except calf fries....sorry Mel but nothing can make those taste good!) The kids love their smiley fries and as you can see they really enjoy learning to play pool!

DR and the boys started going to the bar on Friday nights after practice for double cheeseburgers and more pool. Every Christmas we go to see Santa at the town Legion and then go next door to the bar to get something to eat...often served by Santa though the kids don't realize it.

The night I took pics of the kids playing pool we were at the bar for a Super Bowl Party. We did leave at halftime though, I couldn't bear too much more than that of the game. We all go to the bar and we see farmers, teachers, truck drivers, friends...all the same people that my kids see out and about in the community.

"Going to the bar" in Kansas is so much different than in Indiana. A Kansas bar is much less about drinking and partying than it is a place in the community, in the great expanse of the high desert/prairie, where people can gather. Sure I wouldn't want to take my kids out to the bar at 10:00 at night or anything but going to the bar for dinner once a month or so is a little treat for us all. So if you come out to Kansas to visit me I'll take you, and your kids, to the bar. Just don't blame me if you don't like the calf fries...I warned you!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Foody Friday - Indoor "Super Easy S'mores"

We finally received a good bit of snow this week!! I wouldn't call it anything serious, only a few inches, nothing like what my family in Indiana is dealing with....8 inches and counting!! But for SW Kansas a few inches and some wind was enough to cancel school for two days. It was too cold and windy to play outside...we tried! By day number two I was already worried that the boys were getting bored...EEEEK!!! Time to shake things up a bit.
On Pinterest I found a photo of Cast Iron S'mores but without instructions.
Time for a bit of experimenting.
Luckily I live two blocks from a grocery store! After a quick Arctic hike I had all my ingredients; s'mores stuff and butter.
First I preheated my oven to 300 degrees. You could probably go to 350 but my oven runs on the hot side. I greased my cast iron skillet, bottom and sides, really well with butter.
Pour in a package of chocolate chips.

Spread marshmallows evenly over the top. Then place in the heated oven. Watch carefully until marshmallows and chocolate are melted. It only took about 8 minutes in my oven. Then I put the skillet under a low broiler for 3 minutes to turn the marshmallows nice and golden.

The boys used the graham crackers to dip all that wonderful gooey goodness straight from the pan.

Yip was in 7th Heaven eating this, so much in fact he made himself sick by eating so much! Indoor s'mores...a quick little treat to break up the cabin fever!

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