Friday, September 28, 2012

Let's go fly a kite...

...up to the highest heights.  (One of our favorite movies.)

Kite flying is an activity often seen during celebrations for Michaelmas.  It is a terrific way to let children (and adults alike) test their own strength and experience the force of nature.

Kite 6

Kite 5

Kite 4

Kite 3 

 An addition to our Michaelmas preparations that my girls will certainly enjoy.  Even if our kite spent a lot of time on the ground.

Kite 2

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Virtual Book Club: Leaf Man

We're joining in on the Virtual Book Club for Kids for the month of September.
The nerd in me just can't help but get excited over a book club of any sort. Each month they select an author for everyone to explore together. The author for September is Lois Ehlert, which is perfect since we happen to have a couple Ehlert books in our book basket right now.

For our first choice we picked Leaf Man. This was a new addition to our book basket this year but we all love it. Following the leaf man through the book as new leaf creations are discovered and ultimately leading us to make our own Leaf Man as well.

Leaf Man 5
We started out with a nature walk to gather all the supplies we'd need to create our very own leaf man later that afternoon. 

Leaf Man 1
Unfortunately most of our trees do not have the beautiful fall leaves we were hoping for but we were not discouraged, and it gave us a great opportunity to discuss when and why the leaves actually do change in this season. 

Leaf Man 2

Leaf Man 3
When we arrived back home it was time to get to work.  With the bits we had collected on our walk, some large pieces of paper, and school glue we got to work. 
If crafting with my children has taught me nothing else, it has shown me that in creating with kids the only thing that really matters is the process.  Very rarely do the girls actually want to do any sort of craft project the way I had envisioned.  They nearly always have better ideas and hold true to them.  This craft was no exception. 

Leaf Man 6

Leaf Man 7

The idea of making a Leaf Man was quickly pushed aside in order to make a "super awesome nature collage" so that is just what we did. 

Leaf Man 8
Though I did notice this very bird looking creation...

Another great feature of this book is the ability to learn a bit more about the leaves we collected.  We discovered on our walk that we didn't know very many of the names to the trees we were borrowing from.  Thankfully we were able to look up many of them on the front and back covers of the book.  I think we'll need to do a bit more learning about leaves this Autumn.

Leaf Man 9

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week, inspired by Soulemama

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Leaf Jumping

"Can we please rake up all the leaves so I can jump in them?? I've been waiting my whole life for this season!" Well, when you put it that way we can't hardly say no.

The only unfortunate part is that these aren't the pretty multi-colored leaves you expect with fall.  These are the leaves that are dying and falling off this summer because it has been so hot and dry.  I hope that soon she'll have a beautiful fall leaf pile to jump in.  But until then she is more than happy with this one.

Leaves 2
Leaves 4
Little sister, however, is much more cautious about the entire thing.  Are you sure this is really a good idea...
Leaves 5
Here, I'll stick one foot in for you.
Leaves 6

Nope.  That was ridiculous.  I'll just perch myself right here and look cute.  Okay?
Leaves 3

Monday, September 17, 2012

Autumn Book Basket

One of my favorite parts of the transition into a new season has to be gathering the books for our seasonal book basket.  I love books so any excuse to display them in a new way is fun for me.  The girls love revisiting old favorites and checking to see if there are any new surprises mixed in.

Autumn Basket

Here's what is in our basket this season:

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf   -  Lois Ehlert
Every Autumn Comes the Bear  -  Jim Arnosky
Autumn Leaves  -  Ken Robbins
Children of the Forest  -  Elsa Beskow
Leaf Man  -  Lois Ehlert
Autumn  -  Gerda Muller 
In November  - Cynthia Rylant

I think this year we'll add a seasonal label of some sort to our basket, just for an extra touch of fun.  Do you have a favorite seasonal book on your reading list this fall?  

Living with intent

Summer feet 

 Do you ever wish you could go back in time? I do. Lately I feel almost overcome with the desire to go back a few years, keeping the knowledge I have gained, and do many things differently. I have learned so much over the past several years and as such I feel as though my general stance on most things has changed. I suppose that is natural, with knowledge comes growth and change. Unfortunately for me it also comes with a bit of regret. Regret that I didn’t have some of this knowledge when we started our parenting journey nearly 5 years ago now.  There are many things I would like to go back and change, adding and removing some influences and altering the way we allowed things to go.

 There are still changes I feel should be made but for one reason or another haven’t made them. Maybe it is the ease of continuing down a path you are already on. It is much more difficult to break away and make your own path isn’t it? Maybe it is the resistance I am sure will come with these changes. Both from within and outside our small family. Maybe it is simply a lack of certainty as to how to go about making these changes or if they are really best for our family.

 That’s the hard part about parenting (and life) though, there isn’t a user friendly guide giving you all the answers. There is no crystal ball showing you the future so you can be certain you are doing the right thing. All you can do is follow your heart and do what you feel is right…living securely in the knowledge that you made informed decisions with the best interest of your family and future in mind. It is with that thought in mind that we step forward into the next chapter of our lives, with purpose and intent.  Join us...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Name Puzzles

My camera has started eating pictures...isn't that lovely?  So I don't have many terrific pictures of this activity but since this is such a quick one it shouldn't be a problem. 

We've been trying to take advantage of the summer sun even though we are itching with anticipation for fall to finally arrive.  Kaitlyn has been naming letters and "spelling" words for us lately so I wanted to do a quick activity that would help her learn to recognize the letters that spell her name and not simply call everything the letter 'e'. 

We took some construction paper and gathered the letters to spell each girls' name and headed outside.  Just place the construction paper in a sunny spot (it was windy so we used rocks to keep it from blowing away) and spell out each child's name with the letters.  We left our pages outside all afternoon. 

The sun will fade the paper and you'll be left with a great matching game.  I didn't tell the girls what we were doing so they were really surprised to see what had happened.  You could also use shapes, random letters, or anything else you have on hand. 

Letters 3

Letters 2
Kaitlyn worked hard at matching her letters and spelling her name outloud as she went. I'd like to do them again on a less windy day and then laminate the pages so they can be used over and over.  It didn't take her long to draw all over hers and tear it to shreds. 

It didn't take long for Kinsley to tire of spelling her name over and over so she started mixing it up a bit.  Spelling it backwards, trying to do it with her eyes closed, and then we started talking about why the paper changed colors and the importance of sun protection.  I love when I can find an activity that both girls actually like doing together. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Creek beds

It only just occurred to me that today is Monday. What a lovely long weekend this has been. My biggest girl hasn’t realized this little fact yet, and I’m afraid she’ll be quite disappointed to learn that there is no ballet class tonight. Thankfully we’ve had an adventure filled weekend to make up for it.

  Creek 5
Creek 3
Creek 2
Creek 4
We headed to a nearby creek bed in search of treasures, "like heart shaped rocks and fairies!".  I'm not sure we found either of those but we did find a good deal of family fun and a few explorer bags filled with some special rocks that we can't wait to use in some activities this week.