the counters top

I am not sure how it took me 3.5 years to realize a good and proper counter top with a bench that’s height is just right for small people to see up high is an absolute necessity.  In fact, it has been such a wonderful asset to our lives that I would recommend all new mothers and fathers consider this type of thing when starting a baby registry.  Forget the pack and play, think about how you will cook supper for the next decade!  Truly, having their “help” has been a joy now that it is simple and convenient.  In other houses we have lived in since becoming parents it seems that the space is just not there or the set up is just not right.  (You know poor Miles has called five places home in his short three and a half years, and Rowan trails behind with three in his two.  Oh putting that in writing makes me feel incredibly guilty for making them go through all that!)  But as many of you know, attempting to entertain a child, or even set them up with some sort of activity while you give supper a go is nearly impossible.  Children want to be close to you.  And by close to you I mean ideally they would like to be touching you at all times.  So, a space where they can see you and be with you and help you is precisely the thing to make an easy transition into the next meal.  And this go it, I feel our kitchen is nothing short of perfection.  Not too big mind you, but much larger than the closet sized ones we are accustomed to.  And trust me, I like to spread out.

Yes its true, when my dear man and I first began living together, had our first grocery trip together, had our first meals together, he slowly gathered a fact he would come to know quite well over the years: I cook like a slob.  I can admit it, it’s completely accurate.  I can’t be bothered with little details such as tidying up while I am in the midst of creating a masterpiece! (Or so I like to think…)  When serving a meal, I have been known to announce, “This may look messy but you should have seen the kitchens I use to work in after a Saturday night in the summer!”, to which my husband sighs and reminds me I made four meals.  Four.  In comparison to the hundreds of plates we put out,  I am not allowed to weigh the two, it really just doesn’t make sense.  But, I don’t care, I am sticking to it.

Regardless, this counter top is treating us well.  I have diced many a vegetables and kneaded several balls of springy dough and rested many beverages upon it already, all with the help from two little munchkins who are undeniably becoming avid little cooks themselves.

IMG_3509 IMG_3505 IMG_3492 IMG_3488 IMG_3514IMG_3485Miles and I like to toast a job well done with a full wine glass of kombucha and a long trail beer respectively.  (Oh the breweries here are plentiful!)  It always wraps the night up quite nicely.  

IMG_3497 IMG_3493So whats cooking in your neck of the woods?

built in down time… The Sparkle Story

Many many, (many, many, many, many times fourteen) early mornings at the grandparents required (and I mean REQUIRED) some, well maybe a lot, of television watching.  And by early I mean oh… four thirty?  And this is after each night looking like I had new-born twins.  Those boys are little creatures of habit, and while they had a lovely time, surely did not enjoy being so far from their beds here at home.

I assumed the tv detox would be difficult, if not down right annoying.  I thought perhaps, I would cave and add the few bucks to our bill allowing me to freely turn on the tube in the morning, do some chores, drink some joe.  But, once again, my boys proved otherwise.

Two days in, and not a mention of the missing piece has been uttered.  Well, there has been some extreme re inaction of a certain super reader, but honestly its pretty darn cute.  I will say, there has been a quadrupling in outside time, making any down time nearly non-existent.

Despite the outdoor times, and the rediscovery of all their toys, there has been a few moments of exhaustion or required quiet time.  Isn’t there always?  Here in this house, we deal with this in one of two ways; lots of books, or a sparkle story.

http://www.sparklestories.com/

A sparkle story?  What in tarnation is this?, you may ask.  Well, I will tell you.  It is a Friday morning ritual.  We subscribe to At Home With Martin and Sylvia, a 20 minute tale of two siblings doing ordinary things that is oh-so intriguing for my boys.  It is comforting and relaxing and I get to knit.  The stories are sent to my inbox every Friday and can be revisited any time.  I pay seven small buckaroos for this amazing service but it is worth so much more.

My boys are learning to be still, to use their imagination, to create a story in their own little minds.  And of equal importance, I get a twenty minute rejuvenation period.  Very worthwhile, I assure you.

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Check it out!  It doesn’t matter the age of your little ones, they seem to have something for everyone.  Join us this Friday, see what its all about.

art-ing with kids

Oh the chaos of paint smatterings, sticky stampings, dough squashing, marker markings, glitter dustings and fiber twistings.  There is not denying it.  It is nothing but pure madness most of the time.  None the less, us mama’s and papa’s continue to painstakingly set up these crazy projects in hopes to let our little one’s creativity shine through.

It is hard to see the results right away.  At the youngest ages they tend to just… well… eat the projects.  If you are one of the lucky ones they may realize there is paper in front of them and disengage from stamping/drawing/painting directly onto their skin.  Then they become engrossed in the dipping process.  It occurs to them that dipping the brush into gooey thick color is much more fascinating than actually using the brush to make a stroke (nevermind fill a page).  Some children move on from these stages sooner than others of course.  Others tend to let their creativity linger inside a bit longer.

While tis true that my boys happen to be in the latter category, of the late I have seen a bit of that magic happen.  Little legs and spindly arms have begun to reach across the page, even some hair is sprouting up here and there.  Of course, my youngest babe is still more into body art than anything else, resulting in bath time fun or a hose down depending on the weather.  Which is equally enjoyed for that matter.  Either way, the half hour set up, for the five-minute work time is beginning to appear to be quite worth it.

There are a couple of things I have realized help my boys keep focused and interested in creating.  I see that they work a little longer on their respective piece when I am participating alongside.  On my own masterpiece of course.  Or, they tend to be a bit more steady handed when I allow a mess and say to myself, “sigh… forget it, that table looks better decorated a touch anyways”.  Of course, the materials are of more importance than I once would have imagined.  If the quality is poor, their attention and care is slim.  If it creates something of beauty, than they usually delve in with much more vigor.  (As do I, don’t you?)  Finally, their sense of accomplishment is multiplied when they themselves are the ones to hang or display their art.  Often, Miles picks his own room, which I find to be sweet.

Oh these tidbits of knowledge are by no means advice for others on how to proceed with their little one’s “art-ing”.  These are just things that heave been helping me on my own journey through the perils of my stay at home mama days.  With out fail they always include some sort of project, it is in my nature, and it is glorious to have some ammunition for the imminent battle of paints.  The sopping and scraping of tempera and watercolors vs. your truly.

A battle worth fighting I believe.

Instilling the desire to create is something we value, as do many of you!  Showing my boys that there is a little part of your brain, a little something deep inside that moves us to use our hands and come out bettered and fulfilled is part of our daily life.  I write down in a little book the random ideas that pop up in my chattering brain of wild and simple things to do, I gather supplies (mostly things around the house), and onward we go.

What are you going to make today?

everyday is good

 

I cannot say with certainty what it is about this tiny state that I hold so dear in my heart.  It is likely the memories; The nostalgic feeling I get.  It is possible it’s the family and friends I hold so dear; My people.  There is chance that it is the sights and smells; The glorious deep blue sea.  And of course it is on the whole everything.  Every. Single. Thing. About being here sings home and love and fun.  Just plain old fun.

The garden… which doesn’t even begin to display the beauty my mama manages to transform (the already spectacular grass into) year after year

 

bubble stomping…

Friends and family and picnics oh my… 

(notice the gait…)

 

All without even leaving the rock.