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homeschool, Page 2

winter wonder.

we headed out to share a favorite spot with friends, still early in the day, before the others were up and about. i was shivery and didn’t want to stay long; nor did our friends. we did a quick tour, and they headed out, on the road for their next destination.


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the little boys begged to stay, and we weren’t layered enough, but for once i remembered to stop, to listen, to be in the moment.


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they tumbled and rolled, leaped and climbed over the dunes, their laughter ringing through branches and across icy sand.  one found a nest, long deserted for warmer times, and climbed to inspect its innards.  they’d dressed themselves, and for once i didn’t worry about look, but used my camera to capture reality, in all its beauty, and appreciated it without reserve.


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the quiet loomed large, with no one else to brave the frigid air, and it was a gift we shared in thankfulness when, their energy expended, they trudged through paths alongside my curious self.   no other brothers or sister to compete for words, just the freedom to wander and explore and have me to themselves, not knowing the greater gift was mine, by far.


i’m reading stacks of books just now, and one this week challenges me to stop, to still myself, and to absorb the detail in the moment.  i do this here, with the fine art of my own children as my object of study.  i watch, and i make mental note of the wonder.


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i’m never lacking appreciation for the gift of their smiles (in some seasons with others down the road, i wonder if the hormonal gloom of adolescence will ever give way to sunshine again)… though often i’m ashamed to admit, i don’t enough appreciate their very presence.


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so today, i soak them in.  i watch and i listen and i hold mittened hands.  we run for the car, and crank the heat for all we can.  i smell their joy, and i know thankful.


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do you have moments of “keeping and pondering in your heart?”  i’d love to be privy to your sharing below.


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recipes for play {homeschool craft ideas}

“dear mess,” the book begins, “why are we not better friends?”  and so my heart is warmed, and i’m invited to play with my littlest.  to dive once more (years into parenting teens and working at a more orderly home) in to the sweet times of play dough and finger paint.  the book recipes for play* by rachel sumner and ruth mitchener is full of homeschool craft ideas.


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as we dive into a cross country move (well, it’s more “up” than “across”), we look forward to slowing down, to playing more.  to structuring formal school around hearts and gifts and callings.  so when the publishers offered me this book to review, the timing was perfect.


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“creative play provides the foundation that learning is built on.  while great joy comes from play, great learning comes, too.”  i believe this – i do.  so why do i so easily fall into the rut of “sit down and do your worksheet” and ignore the sweet memories of marching ’round the room with made-up Bible-verse-songs and stacking blocks till they tumble?  so i dive into the book Recipes for Play, determined to resurrect the heart of a mom-of-littles, and get my hands dirty with my youngest.  i’m betting the big ones will join us.


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i love the authors’ introduction, encouraging us to engage all five senses in learning, and indeed, enticing us as parents to not just survive, but to thrive ourselves in the act of (intentional) messy play.  “engaged children are happy, connected children,” she asserts, “and happy children are a lot easier to parent!”  while of course my goal goes way beyond raising happy children, i know that my Papa has been calling me to engage them more deeply, and to not fall into the rut of engaging those who are intellectually “easier” to engage as they grow older, but to keep part of my heart and mind engaged in playfulness with both the littles and the big kids.

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“although it is aimed at pre-schoolers, Recipes for Play is designed to be compatible with the differing interests and abilities of siblings and friends.”  as a mom of multiple ages of children, and one who passionately promotes their being each other’s best friends, i embrace this vision of the authors’.


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oh, those precious little-boy fingers.

creative play shouldn’t be difficult, or dangerous.  i love that there’s consideration for allergy-free play, for non-toxic creating and clean-up, and for simple recipes without expensive or difficult-to-find ingredients.


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projects are ranked with set-up time, clean-up time, and mess factor.  love this – makes for no-thought planning.  vital when parenting and teaching five.  🙂


we received this book as a digital review copy, and i’m happy to share the information with you.  if you’d like to purchase a copy through this affiliate link, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which helps us keep writing and playing.


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this, our first “messy” project with littles in a while (sadly, sometimes things get more “practical” when they get older), was a somewhat-messy tactile and joyful meandering back into the world of giddy playfulness with my littlest.  i can’t wait for our next one.


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strawberry buttercream macarons {strawberry macaron recipe}

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my kitchen may be a mess, but our hearts are full from the laughter that rings through the house.  sweetest of friends, enjoying the age-old art of baking – in this case, strawberry buttercream macarons.


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most often i find my a-girl is more suited to baking than me; she loves numbers and formulas and order, and finds rest in the following of precise measurements.  some nights, the evening grows late, and batch after batch is required for perfection, as the focus is more on the time together than the equations.  and that is just fine.


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baking reminds us that life is, indeed, sweet.  it connects hearts as it pleases palates.  enjoy this recipe, inspired by martha stewart’s recipe for parisian macarons.


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as my dearest girl prepares for the leave-taking of her heart-friend, headed off to college, and our own leave-taking toward a new stage in our family’s journey, we are so thankful for sweetnesses, and time together with kindred spirits.  do you have a favorite kindred-spirit memory making activity?  please share…


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