Thursday, August 18, 2011

Playing Games

Playing games can be a great way to spend time together. They are a way for folks to have fun and build relationships.

 They can teach many social skills like being pleasant, being fair and negotiating conflict.
 Most kids love games.
I realize that there is a whole lot of talking and interaction that can take place with computer and video games, but I  prefer  the 3-D aspect of board games.

 They can be a safe and interesting ice breaker!
Sometimes they can be time-consuming to set up. In that case, it's best to leave them out for a few days so that others can come along and play them, also.
 Parcheesi is my favorite game. I spent many hours playing it with my childhood friends, Laurie and Kim.
I own an older version of this game with the wonderful wooden pieces. I ask the kids to be careful with them because they mean a lot to me.
 Both John and Juby particularly like to play games with me. It's not always easy for a busy mom to sit down and play a game with her children. However, I value the lessons that playing board games can teach in such a fun way. It  would be very wise to build a time for a daily game into my homeschool day with my two youngest! And wiser still to take the time to play with the older kids, too!

Let's Go Swinging!

We attended "The Yard Crawl" which was a day of continuous yard sales on both sides of the road for 40 miles down one route. I gave each kid 5 dollars from their allowance and we walked about a mile down and  then back to the van, stopping at each sale to browse.

 Sam purchased this wooden swing with ropes and clamps attached for a dollar.
 Using a fishing pole, the older guys had already installed a rope over a very high and sturdy limb. They "cast" the fishing line up, and when it went over the limb and down again, they tied a heavy rope to it, suitable for supporting a swing, and then  threaded it over the limb. We had  had a "baby swing" attached to it originally, before this treasure was found at the yard sale.
Now, everyone gets to take a turn going back and forth, and around and around.
 A side rope, attached to the swing, allows the person on the ground to pull it way high.
 Even the big guys can have fun in this old-fashioned way.
 The wooden plank is big enough for two to ride together.
I an grateful for another activity for the kids to play out-of-doors!

Veja Du

 Sometimes a mother can get mighty discouraged when her children suffer from " Veja Du", that is, the feeling that NONE of this has ever happened before!
 It seems like every day, I have to say : 1)unload the dishwasher, 2) take out the trash, 3) get off the computer, 4) load the dishwasher, 5) pick up your socks..... all with a great big smile and a warm and friendly "Please, dear children...", of course! Sure...!
 I haven't been able to come up with a system that automates these daily chores. It's like somehow each day is unlike the 365 days that preceded it and all of these duties are completely new ideas.
You can imagine my delight when out of the blue, Sam decided to organize the mudroom cabinets. On his own, he emptied them all out, and throughout the day, put things back in groups of like items.
He now has in his head, an inventory of the things we already own and where they can be found when needed.
In that very same hour, John took it upon himself to make a bowl of tunafish. This picture doesn't capture how delicious and timely this lunch was!

Meanwhile, I tried to stop Tori, only 24 hours post-op from surgery on her finger and opposite elbow, from doing housework because she was sick of sitting around healing. Tori is ALWAYS a self-starter and like her late Grandma V., can clean 10 times better than me.
 I would like to be at a point where my dear sweet children know what to do and then do those things on a daily basis without having to be asked to do them!
I don't know if a chart, or a point system, or rewards and punishments are the answer. It seems like we've tried them all, but obviously not consistently!  I guess I will continue to repeat myself like a fool, hoping that these habits will become automatic.
I just realized that they never will as long as I'm willing to live my life in a state of  Deja Vu, that is, a feeling that I've been saying and doing the exact same stuff I've done daily to remind them for years!

Nature Walk

 We have been able to add a most pleasant routine to our days lately.
That is, a daily walk, or hike if you will, in the woods.
The weather has been so nice, with no humidity and warm breezes, but the woods are cooler still.
Although the ATV's are no longer welcome there, the wonderful trails they left behind are a hiker's paradise.

 Each day there are new wonders to be seen.

It is a great place to talk and visit while walking.
 We have been trying to go on a daily basis and consider it a real treat. Collecting pine cones and rocks to  paint later makes it even more fun to walk in the woods...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Potty-Training Tunic

After making the pillowcase dresses for Juby, I was pondering how much fun it is to sew for little girls. I wondered what mothers (and grandmothers) of little boys sew. Costumes came immediately to mind, but then I thought of  what our little guy could use and began to make him a Potty-training Tunic (" it's not a dress-it's a tunic", from Night at the Museum!!!).
I loved this fabric that we used for recovering the desk chair aforementioned! Cindi ordered this fabric when she made a hand-made quilt for Greg years ago.There was just enough for the purpose.
Unfortunately, the G-man wasn't feeling the love that went into this here. It is just the right length to keep him covered while potty-training which is his main job now. He is doing very well with that.
 I couldn't wait to surprise his Momma, who I knew would love it!
 Now they both can match! Except that one's a dress, the other's a tunic...
 I had to put a shirt under it because he thought it was a little itchy and scratchy.....Fail....
We all had a good laugh and who knows, maybe we can turn this into some kind of Halloween costume!

Pillowcase Dresses

 Look at this high -tech set-up! The pattern is no longer on a piece of paper, but is on the Internet instead!
 With the end of summer's free-time approaching, I decided to tackle this project that has been in my closet for two years. I wanted to try my hand at making the "pillowcase dresses" that Aunt Nancy introduced us to.
 I picked these two gorgeous pillowcases up at a church yard sale for 50 cents a piece. I bought matching ribbon and thread and left it all in the bag for a rainy day.
 I know that I was afraid to try this project and I was also waiting for my little friend to get tall enough to wear the finished product.
 The day finally came. Amazingly, this was so easy to do that I got one finished in between errands! Note the armholes cut out and the chest and back piece shirred with elastic in a casing.
 The coordinating ribbon trim is the best part, but the older, high quality pillowcases are also very nice in themselves.
I don't mind that this is long on her, because she ( like my tall niece does), will be able to wear this for many years to come.

 The second one is an ivory colored pillowcase with at least 5 or 6 inches of beautiful lace along the bottom.
I trimmed it out in sage green. The arms are outlined with seam bias, and the ribbon was used to decorate the elastic shirring, the lace bottom and is also used to tie the dress on.