• Homeschool,  Learning,  Living with Children,  Play,  Self-Directed Learning

    Pine Cone Bird Feeders: 4 easy steps

    We love birds. For years we have been observing them and putting up birdhouses in our backyard to provide shelter. We have also participated in FeederWatch and the Great Backyard Bird Count. If you haven’t heard of either of these, I encourage you to check them out. It is a great way to learn about the many birds living right under your nose and to help scientists track birds. My kids really enjoyed it, but truth be told, I may have come out as the true ‘bird nerd’. This weekend, we revived our neglected bird feeder and decided to also make pine cone feeders. They are super simple and pretty. Be aware, the…

  • Homeschool,  Play

    Funny Bones- A Craft Project

    I’m a sucker for a good craft so when I saw an idea for a skeleton that sticks to the front of the refrigerator that could be moved about, I had a feeling our family needed this.  We are constantly in and out of the kitchen making food and messes now we can make a skeleton dance. Who doesn’t like a little entertainment while waiting on your mom to make your pancakes? I shared the idea with my youngest and she was immediately sold. We got out our supplies and got to it. Total time to make? About 30 minutes. Total amount of fun? Up to you. You will need: white card…

  • Learning,  Living with Children,  Play

    Why Children Need Pets

    I grew up with pets. As a matter of fact, my rather impulsive (he probably thought of himself as forward thinking) Dad brought home a puppy to my two brothers the day my Mom brought me home from the hospital. Because you know, an infant and a puppy go hand in hand. I’m sure the adult conversations in the house that day were not pleasant. Nevertheless, Pierre the poodle and I grew up pals. We had many hours of cuddles and talks in the night when I was small. When I was in the sixth grade, he was put down. I do not remember all the details of his illness, but one…

  • Learning,  Parenting,  Play

    Gun Play: Shooting down Parental Fears

    In the early days of parenting, when all toys were bright and cheerful, when television shows were filled with funny songs, silly dances, and playfully nice characters, and when advertisers had a limited effect on my son’s wants, I reveled in a blissful state adoring my innocently calm, flourishing child. Little did I know, a few years later, the bliss would be replaced with a quietly intensifying internal panic as my three year old son barreled towards the army men in the aisle of the toy store, pining for the plane with the bombs, picking up action figures with oversized muscles and equally oversized weapons, desperately seeking toys with “shooting…

  • Learning,  Parenting,  Play

    Getting out of the Way

    We parents like to help. It’s what we do. When our children are struggling we feel compelled to assist, direct, or support. Sometimes, all this ‘help’ is counterproductive and inadvertently sends the message that you don’t trust your kids to do things on their own, to create, or problem solve without some adult supervision or input.  If there is one constant statement repeating in my head it is this: “Back off, they are capable, be patient. When they want help, they will ASK ME for it.”  The trick is to be available, but at a distance. Yesterday, my gal needed a curtain in order to properly create a fashion show…