Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday Evenings

Sundays became family days long ago. Recently, creative urges have compelled us to paint together or carve pumpkins at the late hour of 7 pm.  That's not a traditional time to start a project that requires cleanup before bed! But I have given into their creativity without regrets.

The Sunday before Halloween we carved pumpkins instead of painting. With lots of help from Nana and Papa, and Meenu who sadly, are not pictured, we accomplished pumpkin carving 2013. Lots of ideas came tumbling forth, and they all turned out well (except for my Pinterest Fail, also not pictured: it's between a hedgehog and a puffer fish.)

One of Boo's pumpkin's many faces

Fairy Girl made a fairy house
Daddy went with a spooky house

Eggbert went traditional

And Z for Zibs

 It was fun to have everyone in on the action. We rounded out the carving night with a viewing of, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Late bedtime again, but totally worth it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Handwork Inspiration

Spools of yarn. It's something we spend money on, just like paint and drawing pencils. They are natural tools we're always using and don't really know how to live without. I am not a knitter.  I have knitted.  I find sewing more gratifying. Despite that grudge, I think learning to knit and eventually crochet are important parts of our homeschooling. First, children finger-knit, then they learn on needles, and then they learn to follow a pattern. In Waldorf schools, knitting is used to reinforce math skills, develop fine motor skills, prepare children for handwriting, and give them the satisfaction of making something with their own hands. (It is much more than that, but that's the gist of the motivation behind learning fiber crafts.)

Within a few days of each other, Fairy Girl mentioned she wanted to know how to knit better, to make something other than a washcloth, and Bubba said he was ready to learn on needles. So being the non knitter I am, I asked my friend who knits avidly to give us a lesson. We were invited up to her parents house and while I intended to only require 15-30 minutes of instruction for the kids before they ran off to play with their friends, the day wonderfully exceeded my expectations. It was a beautiful fall day, in an ideal country setting.

The sunlight on the nape of her neck, nom nom nom!

After parking the car, the kids found their friends and disappeared. My friend's mom was winterizing her bee hives and she invited me to watch. If only I had had my camera/phone! I watched as she removed the drone frame and checked broods. I smelled the heavenly bee food supplement she handmakes with essential oils, bee protein, and honey. She showed me the fuel she preferred for her smoker. I watched a young worker bee emerge from her cell and drones without stingers hiding out still in the boxes. In the meantime, Zibs had wandered into their garden where my friend's dad was pulling up all the squash and getting beds ready for winter. As a seasoned grandpa, he handed her a toddler sized hoe and let her mess around.

I love the leaf in his hair, evidence of other play...
With food as a lure, we gathered the kids on the deck in the lovely sun. My dear friend taught Fairy Girl how to purl and start a pattern for a cat and then she patiently started Bubba on needles. After he finished a row, he retreated for a trampoline break and surprisingly came back for more knitting. He was hooked.

See, knitting in the warm autumn sun, ahhh!
Setting traps; something is at the chickens.
Meanwhile the other children were petting goats and getting cart rides behind grandpa's four-wheeler. It was a pretty great way to keep everyone happy.  When one of my friend's twins went missing, he was always found in the garden. What a lovely afternoon. I feel like I said that too many times, but it was just one of those days you'll remember fondly for a long time. Before I left, I had some black tea with fresh honey and I think I may have found something I like more than coffee!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Arboretum Season Comes to an End.

Fall at the arboretum is magical. The weather is cooler, the colors are brighter, and it feels like a small getaway. With families coming in and out of the group over the years, some moving onto school and others just moving to town, the kids always seem to know just how special the once a week meeting at the arboretum is.  They devise their own games: sometimes bringing props from home, ideas from shared camp experiences, or just whatever the day inspires them to play. Our big kids are ten/eleven and the youngest are just a year old. The big kids incorporate the littles into their play and bring them back to the mamas' blankets when they've strayed too far. Fairy Girl is a bit outnumbered by the boys her age, but the gender pendulum swings back to female for the under five years old group.


Sporting color shirts from our "Not-Back-to-School" tie dye party.

Mamas dole snacks out and chat about homeschooling, child development, marriage, politics, recipes, library dues, and getting ready for winter. Speaking of winter, our arboretum time will be replaced with ice skating lessons and visiting the Mobius Science Center. There are rumors of archery lessons and leather working too, then hello ski season!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Knapps Farm

We made the annual pilgrimage up to Greenbluff to pick our pumpkins from the farm. One of Boo's friends had a birthday party up there and it was good timing for the whole family to come. Family pictures are hard to gather with both parents and 4 children looking. One child loves posing for now. You'll never guess who. The rest are just nice to have in the same frame.

He immediately named his pumpkin, "Eggbert."