Friday, November 30, 2012

Not Wood Butchers!

These photos are from a few weeks ago but I know there are some grandparents, aunts and uncles that my find them interesting. 

Yip and Yap signed up for woodworking in 4H this year. I grew up knowing very little about woodworking. Not that I didn't help my dad build stuff growing up, I was the oldest of 7 on a farm after all, but my dad willingly confesses that he's a wood butcher. (oh, the joy of building those basement steps with you dad! *sarcasm*) 

Anyhoo...DR and the boys spent a warm Saturday morning building in the garage. 

Yip is working on a coffee table.....

....while Yap is working on a shelf. 

I was all excited about the new furniture I was going to get but DR informed me these are only practice and not good enough yet. Shoot, they sure looked good enough to me! But I was raised by a wood butcher so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. One things for sure I didn't marry a wood butcher and he's not raising any wood butchers. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"I'm Blind!"

It's a happy day on the Kansas prairie for we have received our copy of 50 Dangerous Things (You should let your children do!)  Yip and Yap pounced on the book as soon as I walked in the door from the post office and often I've found them huddled over it trying to decide which "dangerous" thing to do next. 

I'm rather impressed with this book. Tully hasn't written this book so that we can just give it to our kids and let them run wild doing dangerous stuff. He realizes, as I hope most parents would, kids should go through this book with parents and have a conversation about all these activities. What skills do they have and what do they need to complete each activity? Is it even feasible right now? (No public transit out here to ride across town!) Do the parents feel the child is old enough?  I'd feel comfortable with allowing my boys to go throw rocks somewhere (dangerous thing #11) because I trust them to not throw rocks towards anyone or anything merely to cause damage. I wouldn't however feel comfortable with allowing Yahoo to throw rocks luck she'd choose to throw rocks at my car!  

50 Dangerous Things (You should let your children do!)  is written more like a workbook. On the left page the dangerous activity is introduced along with warnings, what's required for each activity, a how to, and supplementary data. On the opposite page is a blank area for note taking on each activity. How did it go? What did you observe? Or has mom and dad written in the notes that this activity I can't do until I'm older? Activity 32 is Change a Tire and I'm not real comfortable with my 8 year olds doing that quite yet, maybe when they are 12. 

What I really like about this book is that it's a kick starter for conversations between parents and kids. Not that I haven't had any of these conversations about some of these activities already with my kids (Make a Rope Swing, Go Underground, Climb a Tree, Drive a Nail, Stand on the Roof are all things we did long ago.) But there are some "dangerous" activities that I never would have thought to do with my kids; Poison your friends (That's a funny one!) or Cook Something in the Dishwasher (you can do that??) We've spent a lot of time discussing a lot of different "dangerous" activities and how we would need to prepare for them. Doing dangerous things with your kids is a partnership! 

Activity #21 Spend an Hour Blindfolded. 

 DR and Yap were off running some errands one Saturday morning when Yip decided to spend an hour blindfolded. (Hint: I probably should have made a blindfold from darker fabric since he could still see light.)

He folded laundry. I must say his laundry folding skills certainly didn't get better or worse while blindfolded. 
I told him if he was going to go blindfolded for an hour he couldn't just sit on the couch the whole time! 

We decided to go for a walk. Without any help from me he went down and up steps to get his jacket and he made his way outside. 

He even remembered where to find a stick to use while we were outside. 

He even ambitiously climbed a tree stump, pretty well I might add. 

Then on to the playground across the street. 

I have to admit I REALLY enjoyed this hour of blindfolded Yip because it forced him to slow down. I am constantly yelling at this kid to quit running and bounding through my house and to stop walking/jumping/standing on my furniture. He has this whole crouched, four legged, catlike bounding thing he tends to do, at great speeds, through my kitchen. An hour without that was heaven! 

He did very well navigating around his environment for that hour which ended up with all three of us sitting on Yahoo's bed reading before her nap. I didn't expect him to have any trouble going blind for an hour near home where he knew where pretty much everything was and knew he had me there if he had any trouble, though the only thing I ever did for him was hold his hand as we crossed the street. 

This makes me wonder though how he'd do if he was blindfolded for two hours or more? How would he do if we went to Walmart or a restaurant blind? What if I wasn't with him for the entire time? What kinds of problems would he have to find solutions for? (I kind of want to do this activity myself!) That's one of the great things about this book is that it gives a space to work through questions and encourages you to perhaps do the dangerous activities again differently to answer those questions. 

Currently the boys have our old television set partially dismantled in the garage. Fun, fun, dangerous fun! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Art Nights, NO TV!

We have instituted a new rule in our house this school year which is "No TV on School Days". That means no television before school or after school or in the evenings. I must admit I was a bit worried how this would work. Last year I'd regularly allow tv watching while I was making dinner but it never failed to turn into a big fight. "Just one more Mom!" or "It's ALMOST over!". Every school night was full of arguments. I was imagining there would be a lot fights over tv once school started but those only lasted about a week. 

This school year of no television has been so stress free, it's unbelievable! The boys don't even ask to watch television during the week. They do REALLY look forward to Friday nights though when they know they get movie night. Of course the lack of arguments might also have something to do with another change we've made in our school week routine; ART NIGHT.  After dinner on Wednesday nights the kids and I started meeting around the dinner table to do some kind of art. Some nights we would have a theme. For example, in October we did some creepy, scary art. Another week the boys wanted to do something with clay but most nights it's an art free for all. They can do any kind of artwork, painting drawing, building, Legos, as long as it's art. 

Lately though art night has kind of branched out into whatever night they want to do stuff. Which is GREAT! The kids know that television is off limits during the school week but the art supplies aren't. We go through a LOT of paper and a LOT of tape and we make LOTS of messes but I'm really okay with that. 

Yip even had a night where he came up with costumes for his thumb! These were outfits for his thumb "wrestler"! LOL!! 

I've been so happy with how the boys creativity and imagination, problem solving and analytical skills have seemed to blossom this year and I think it has a lot to do with limiting tv and never running dry on art supplies. 

Aren't making messes great?! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Coffee from Africa

Have you recovered from your turkey coma yet? 
I think I'll survive. 

I'm posting quickly here to share the special treat I enjoyed on Thanksgiving. 
A while back I commented on my friend Amy's blog, (Amy runs an orphanage in Africa) and made a guess on her husband's and kids' costumes they were making for a fund raising event. As a prize for the most correct guesses, Amy sent me a package of African coffee. It took over a month to arrive. 

And was just a BIT travel worn! I was kind of surprised that everything was still intact inside. 

But once unwrapped I found a perfect bag of coffee. I am such a sucker for any food product packaged in a cloth bag. I'm still trying to think of something to do with the bag once I've used all the coffee. 

Even before I opened the plastic bag on the inside of the cloth bag I could smell the coffee. Boy, was it a STRONG aroma! I love strong coffee (I'll take it black thank you) but even I was a bit intimidated by the strength of the aroma. I bravely brewed a pot and oh, what a wonderful cup of coffee. Yes, it was REALLY strong and no fancy flavorings which I really enjoyed. 

I'm rationing this coffee since it's come so far and I enjoy it so much. Thanks Amy! I'm thankful for the opportunity to try something from the other side of the world. I'll pass on the termites though, thank you! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Veterans Day...yes, late.

I realize Veterans Day was a while ago but I had some photos on my camera that I just felt needed to be shared. 

See that handsome guy below? That's our minister Jerry who is a Vietnam Veteran. 

Every Veterans Day the music teacher at our school puts on a Veterans program where all the elementary students sing patriotic songs. It's a serious and somber program as the veterans in the community are recognized. 

This year Jerry led a flag folding ceremony that explained that each fold of the flag is representative of something.  I never realized that there was a meaning behind it. 

Look at all those solemn little faces. It was very meaningful to some of these kids to see their minister Jerry or their uncles or friends in their uniforms folding the flag. 

Those two gentleman folding the flag are not only active servicemen but are someone special to one or more kids in the crowd. I think it's a great thing when adults take the time to share and model patriotism and respect to the younger generation. 

I know Jerry has meant a great deal to my boys. Although belated, I thank you sincerely veterans! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Let's Lick a 9 Volt Battery...why not??

Wow!! I can't believe it's been a WEEK since I've last blogged. 

DR commented just the other night, "I haven't seen any new posts on your blog lately. Have you run out of things to blog about? Do we need to move again so you'll have things to post about?" I live with such a comedian! 

Truly, it's not that I've run out of things to blog about I've just been busy. How can the life of a stay at home mom get so scheduled? Oh...and I was sick this week. That wasn't any fun. The upside of being stuck to the couch though was that I watched a LOT of Ted Talks. Remember the last post, 5 Dangerous Things to Let Your Kids Do?  I went ahead and ordered Gever Tully's book, 50 Dangerous Things to Let Your Kids Do. (I anticipate BOYS + that BOOK = a lot of entertaining blog posts.) We haven't received the book yet but I did read somewhere that one of the "dangerous" things to let your kids do is lick a 9 volt battery. Ha!! I never thought of that. 

So I asked the boys if they were interested. Yip didn't ask twice, he just ran straight to the garage to find the battery! He was a bit giggly and hesitant at first. 


Yeah, he was a bit "shocked" (pun intended) by the reaction. 

Not only did he laugh but he kept licking the battery over...and over....and over!! 
I bet he spent ten minutes licking this battery before he got bored! 

Yap joined in as well though he didn't get quite the kick out of it as Yip did. 

Licking the battery though was a quick demonstration in electricity and how they only received the shock when their tongue touched both springs, thus completing the electrical circuit. 

Crazy kids! Gotta love em'!! 

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