Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cool Clay.

There is something about the feel of clay in your hands. The dampness, the coolness, the slick powder feeling on the fingertips as it dries. The boys seem to love it too, and always have fun working and creating.

The process of working with it is the interesting part too...whether you can tell what it is in the end...

...or if you can't.

This is G's abstract sculpture. I love seeing his little 3 year old fingers rolling and pinching away. He says it is a bowl with a snake and wings. He says he likes it better than the red bowl he made. My 4 year old? He made two trucks (his semi sculptures, he says). Their personalities just come right out when they create - love it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Little Bit'o'Sunshine.

Can you tell they are feeling a lot better today?

They draw!

They paint!

They giggle!

They sing!

Sunshine helps too. We basked in the rays in the living room and enjoyed every minute of it.

Deep Freeze.

Good morning!
Temperature: -8
Wind Chill: -32

The good thing about this kind of cold is that is is always sunny. So as long as you are inside and cozy, it is just a nice bright, sunny day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In the Kitchen.

Is everyone else having the wacky weather too? Yesterday was in the 40's, and everything melted. This morning was 42º and cloudy. By this afternoon it had dropped to 20º and we had sleet and then snow. Tonight it is already down to 1º, with wind chills way below zero, snow, and with 40+mph wind gusts. By tomorrow morning the temperature will have dropped about 50 degrees within 24 hours (not to mention wind chills). Wow!

So, more days at home - it seems this is what we do every January. Today we played in the kitchen to warm us up, have some fun, and get messy. We made a delicious soup and baked a yummy sweet treat - Pineapple Coconut Bars from the Tassajara Cookbook (yum!).

The boys won't even let the bars touch their lips (coconut! egads!), but they had fun helping. My husband doesn't mind having the whole pan to himself though!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Coughs & Classification.

Our days are getting back to normal, although the boys are still a bit worn down. The nights are hard...coughing little guys who cannot breathe. It hurts me to not be able to magically make the aching chests and throat feel better so they can simply sleep and get well.

This week we have a few new books that A is excited about. The other night, we were sitting and chatting with A, who was asking about names of rays and skates. He wanted to know how they get their names. Who got to name them? So we got to where we were chatting about the "fancy" real names of plants and animals, and then the common names which we use, since it is easier for regular people to remember. We just happened to have the new The Deep book (very cool book) in from the library, which has the scientific names with each image. From his questions, we ended up on Wikipedia, with him wanting to know how all animals are classified. He was so excited to know that there were actual scientific names that were much more interesting than the normal names - and he wanted to pronounce each one (well, as much as WE could pronounce them), and thought it was so cool that each animal had a kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and so on. We have several books coming from the library, and he is a bit excited to find out that the scientific world is categorized! :) I love watching his excitement and interest grow from things like this. Fun!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Growing, Growing.

Thank you for the well wishes. I feel like I am finally moving out of the worst of it today, although the boys are still at the rough stage. Today we spent most of the day again snuggling on the couch reading books and watching some DVDs.

Even though they are sick, the boys want to check on their plants often, and today was no exception. We start with the ceramic pots. A finger in the soil to feel for dampness and determine what needs water. Rotating the pot placement as we put each back into the windowsill to help alleviate the sideways growth. We then go upstairs to look at the RootVue, to check that soil as well and just look at the roots crawling and weaving their way down.

Everything is growing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Photo of the Day.

Love the color.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Snow and Bugs.

I'm a bit out of commision this week. My husband came down with the influenza bug first...then a few days later, A, then me, then last night, G. Bad headaches, high fevers, chills, shaking, body aches, coughing. YUK!

During the days of immobility in a pile of little boys on the couch, the snow came down. A lot of snow. It is white and beautiful and windswept out there.

Hope this goes quickly.

Monday, January 21, 2008


We have really been enjoying watching the birds at our feeder this winter. This week we checked out Common Birds and Their Songs from the library. It is a book featuring 50 common birds with photos and info about each bird. The fun part is the audio CD that goes with it. The CD has about a minute of song from each bird in order. Several of the birds in the book visit our bird feeder, and many others we see out and about (wild turkey!). The boys love to sit and flip through the pages and listen to each bird, and chat about it.

And for those of you with cats? Our cats love the CD too, and will sit all puffed up and twitchy staring at the speakers!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Boy, it is cold outside. This weekend, with my husband down and out with the flu bug and us staying cozy at home in this extreme freeze, we spent lots of time playing games. We have some board games, some card games, some silly guessing games, and many games we just made up. We choose games that G can play too. Here are just a few of our favorites from this weekend:

Zingo! They take turns operating the chip dispenser. Loud, boisterous, and great fun.

The Tea Party Game. We also have The Picnic Game. Who doesn't like spinning when it is their turn (and watch out for those ants/bees)?

Charades. We have a card version of charades which is good for little people. We also love to play our spunky free for all guessing game that we call "Who Am I?" A prefers the marine animal Who Am I? clues - but it is fun to see how creative they get!

Puzzles. We have lots of puzzles. G is definitely the puzzle master and is speedy quick with everything. A doesn't like puzzles usually (although he will take apart and re-assemble a complicated toy in 1 minute flat with only a mini screwdriver)...but A loves the word puzzle since he wants to read. We made up games using the words and images from the puzzles today-fun!

A few other favorites? Simon Says (the boys take turns being "Simon"), marbles, Go Fish, stick puppet quiz show, and many (many!) more.

What are the favorites games in your house?

Saturday, January 19, 2008


For those of you in warmer climates:
Saturday, January 19.
Temperature: -12º
Wind Chill: -30º
Wisconsin in January!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Photos of the Day.



Hope you all have a (warm) wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Peace and Motion.

Every once in awhile someone will ask if my boys are always as calm, focused and happy as they look in the blog pictures and I laugh. I know, with blogs we present a world of what we want to share. We don't hide or lie, but I'm not exactly taking photos as my boys shriek at each other for the 25th time in one day about one particular toy or each time my 3 year old throws himself on the floor to have a 3 year old tantrum.

I like calm. I like balance. I like peace. I have 2 spirited amazing spunky boys. And with the cold cold cold weather we are not out at parks or in the yard as much as in the summer to let it all out - so we look to other places to keep the peace, give the boy energy an outlet, and make our home peaceful and creative and much as it can be, that is.

One of the great winter activities for us is yoga. We can be serious, we can be silly, we stretch, bend, balance, focus, move, and breathe. It isn't about form - we just need time to move our bodies, be with each other, relax and have fun.

And even if there were tears before we begin, it always ends with joyous boys. And a happy mom. Good for one and all.

This is my favorite picture from today. This is 20 minutes after the one on top.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Colorful Pages.

All of the color thoughts over the past week has me looking in our home for those bolts of vivid hues. Today as I was cleaning I noticed some of the old books I have out. Many I have had my entire life, and many I picked up as I searched through those great old bookstores wherever I was living on whatever rainy day I tucked myself inside to explore.

I have always loved the bold color on the cover of this book-I have had this book since childhood.

I remember loving the artwork in this book as a child. Somehow it is in great condition (some of my vintage children's books are not) after all these years.

There are so many books I have collected stashed away until we have enough bookshelves for them - I like keeping some out though, to enjoy and remember. And what wonderful color.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sprouted Bread.

Today we baked bread using the sprouted grains started Friday. YUM. I had to tweak the recipe because I didn't want a log, and it turned out just right. Nutty, light, easy to slice, not too crumby. Want the recipe? I blogged it here...


Saturday I attended a local unschooling conference here in Madison. It is the first conference related to homeschooling that I have attended and I was not sure what to expect. The session descriptions sounded interesting--but with very young children, some topics are not in our scope yet.

The morning started with a keynote from Manish Jain, who is the coordinator and co-founder of Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, in Udaipu, India. His discussion and presentation which included concepts such as learning cities, community, sustainable/self-sufficient villages, organics, integration of life and work, meaningful work and unschooling just floored me. As he quietly discussed concepts and ideas from his own experiences, quoted Gandhi, and showed images from communities in India, I just felt like yelling YES YES YES YES!!!

The concepts discussed touched on so many things we envision for our family and aspire to integrate more fully into our lives. There are many things we are doing (and so many more we want to be doing), but we are doing them in a bubble, in a way, since we don't really know other local families pursuing many of the alternative ideas of education, sustainability, life, food, and economy that we are working through - hopefully to a more integrated community vision. "Community, community, community," as Manish said.

I only attended the morning portion of the conference, but talked to my husband all afternoon about the keynote -- and went through the Shikshantar website and read many of the papers and information on there. What great food for thought. I found out after the conference many others were also impacted by the concepts presented by Manish, and there are people who are interested in continuing the dialog. How cool is that?

What a great morning. And the extra bonus was meeting a fellow blogger live and in person!

Friday, January 11, 2008


They arrived! Today our sprouter and sprouting seeds arrived. This is something we wanted for easier sprouting for our bread - and also a great tie in with all the planting excitement this week. We ordered two blends - Amber Waves of Grain is a mix of grains that we will sprout and use in our bread baking. French Garden is a green sprout mix which we will use as a salad base, sandwich ingredient, or raw snack. Yum.

The boys wanted to do the steps for sprouting, so we started a batch right away. We first measured the mix, put it in the container, rinsed well, and then covered with water to soak. The boys will help check/rinse a few more times after this initial soak cycle is done and then we will have sprouts!

G was more interested in the process of prepping the seeds, but A was very interested in the additional books that came in from the library today. He had two books come in about seeds/plants, a few cool books about the human body, and some other fun story reading. His favorite plant book today:

Plant Packages: A Book About Seeds
by Susan Blackaby

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Photos of the Day.