Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Cool Photos

TJ asked me to take photos of him while he was running around listening to music.  After downloading them all it looks like the is doing some cool alternative dancing!








Have a great day!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Natrual Playscapes


Today I am excited to share with you the beginnings our our natural playscapes.  Oh we do have a sandbox, swing set, swing on a tree, and various outdoor toys, but I find that time and time again the children are always choosing more natural areas to play in.  Most of the time it is our flower beds or the planters at the front door.
Earlier in the spring we created a Fairy house.  You can see more details in this post here. The boys often check in on the fairies and still do play a bit with them.  We have had a few toads stop by to visit too.  I also find that the fairy house is a great way to welcome new children to our Home Daycare, as it is interesting for them and opens up dialogue.
In order to create more natural play spaces the boys and I chose an area in the back yard for their own garden.  I am very impressed that with minimal help the boys used my gardening tools to remove all the grass,  brought 2 loads of dirt from the compost, collected rocks and made the border.
 I'm not sure if we will get around to planting any flowers in there.  For now we have been rescuing stuck trucks and making mud soups.
Across our laneway we have used some logs to make a stepping path.  We just mowed a larger area around this area so it does look a little bare.
Next to the stepping logs is the balance beam and ramp.  There is a lot of bouncing and gymnastics that happen over here.  My boys are learning a lot about lining up and taking turns when others come over to play.
We have more plans to turn the last large slice of a tree we had cut down into a table for the kids.  Next to the balance beam is also the future home of next year's vegetable garden plot.  We look forward to sharing our updates with everyone!

We also love collecting nature items we find around the property.  TJ was collecting nuts from a tree to create 'golf ball soup'.  We took the soup for a walk so it could see the world and be introduced to our laneway.  I just love his gentle nature and the way he sees the world!

How are you playing outside?  Any suggestions for us?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pancakes!

My boys love pancakes.  Well okay they love maple syrup really, the pancakes are just a means to getting what they really are after.  They are also somewhat picky eaters, so I have discovered a way to make their favourite foods much healthier.

Firstly we start with the syrup.  We use 100% real maple syrup (although daddy does love his Aunt Jemima).

I am working really hard in our house to use 'real' whole foods.  I won the most amazing cook book called Helpings: Real food for young people by young people.  I love that is it a real food cook book with information and great recipes.  I have made the pancakes from it several times.  I also tried to make the zucchini fritters but got distracted and pureed the zucchini so I made some more pancakes.  Even though they were rather savoury the boys gobbled them up.

Here are some other ideas of things to add (along with some good spices):
zucchini
dandelion
pear
apple
flax
sweet potato
frech toast using different breads

What do you add to your pancakes?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

learning on our hike

 The boys and I went for a hike the other day.  It was our farthest walk yet (I did bring the stroller for MJ).  We had a great time just walking, singing, and marvelling at nature.

TJ's perfect walking stick
MJ found lots of sticks
Although I totally didn't plan it, we ended up having some interesting science conversations along the way.  I can tell you that TJ just loves to understand how things work and to learn cool facts.  He probably knows and remembers more about nature than the grade 4 student I used to teach (not tooting my own horn here, TJ is just so curious).

Interesting roots TJ found

Area that we check on and compare each season.

TJ asked about where all the water went from the photo above, as there was a pound of snow and ice in the winter.  I answered him simply, but he wanted to know exact details.  We got talking about the water cycle and he how plants use water.  We also looked at some fallen trees and talked about decomposition and tree life cycles.  TJ also loves to explain to anyone willing to listen all about tree roots, how they work and what happens if they aren't there. He will also tell you all about cycles and different cycles he knows.

I am amazed each day at what my kids a learning just by taking time to be with them and answer their questions.  My boys are such a joy to me. Being a parent is so fun and rewarding.

Parenting is also very humbling.  They remind me daily of my weaknesses.  Children imitate everything you do (good and bad).  It is a great responsibility to be a model all day long for your kids.  I got very frustrated at MJ yesterday because he wouldn't nap (that is a whole other issue) but mommy had a bit of a tantrum.  Of course I apologized to the boys afterwards.  TJ said "Mommy I'll always forgive you all the way to the sky and back."

Thank you Lord for my boys and the lessons we are all learning together!