Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yarn Along

Some time ago, I started reading Ginny Sheller's blog.  It is amazingly lovely.  Enter the Yarn Along.  A photo of what you are knitting and what you are reading.  (Oh, that it were just a bit easier/possible to do both!!)


Rules of Civility.  Reminds me of Mad Men, with a younger female heroine.  Something rather big just happened...  Lacey Batkus.  I've done it once before.  It's a lovely fun knit.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy (or Hoppy) Valentine's Day!!!

The kids this year used the computer for the first time to make their cards for classmates.  I thought they came out pretty darn cute!  Each kid knew what they wanted and had fun designing their own.

EWL's Vals
Emma's: a la Andy Goldsworthy.

MRL's Vals
Maria's: toad - found last summer locally.

NJL's Vals
Nate's:  a coqui frog from our PR trip.  (He has used "Hoppy Valentines" for the last 3 or 4 years.  I can't even remember.)

Then, using this post as inspiration I made a brown paper heart for each family member and we all had turns adding things we love about them.  This was so much fun!

Val's Day 2012

Val's Day 2012

We read them at breakfast.  Nate said "I really love compliments!"  Well, who doesn't!!?  It was a great start to the day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Practices of Parenting: Reading Out Loud!

Some time ago I came across Sarah Bessey's blog, Emerging Mummy.  I loved her writing immediately, her take on parenting and marriage, and her honesty through it all.  Some time ago she started posting about parenting practices - or what helps us enjoy parenting right now!  I loved this idea and when she asked for contributions I knew right away I wanted to write about reading out loud to my kids.

When my first daughter was born I began the practice of reading out loud to my own children.  It was a day I had longed for.  It was something I knew I could do well.  I am a big reader.  I am a former classroom teacher.  I am a daughter of a mother and father who read out loud throughout my childhood.  I read out loud to Maria as often as I could in between nursing and napping.  I remember loving the rhythm of so many early board books.  She was turning pages by the time she could sit up.

Down the road two more babies were born, and both my husband and I read to them as often as we could.  I read to the littles and Daddy read to Maria.  They read through Caldecott and Newberry books, they went to Narnia, to Hogwarts and beyond, while I read board books, while the littles learned to turn pages.

 And I don’t know when it happened but one day, the littles were ready for chapter books too and we could all read together.  Whatever we are reading out loud we are reading to all three of them at the same time. 

There is nothing like being read to, and for me there is nothing that compares with reading to children.  I love having their attention – having them fully engaged in a story.  Reading out loud allows us to process in a different way, to really hear.

In my classroom it was the time during the day that refreshed us as a group, that reset us and allowed us to start over.  It gave us topics to discuss, characters and plot to wonder about - aloud with friends.  I find it does this at home, too.  I love listening to my kids wonder aloud what will happen next – what they would change if they were writing.  It gives them a common language.  It helps them bond with each other and with me.

At ages 8 and 11, there are so many wonderful books to read, I find myself wondering if we should quit school for a year just to read books!  It continues to be our favorite time of the day.  It is the way to help us reset after school or after an argument.  It has the power to calm and distill tempers – to refresh us. 

I hope no matter the age of your kids you can find something to read out loud to them each day – a poem, scripture, a novel, even non-fiction.  I also want my kids to be life-long learners and readers.  Reading out loud plants the seed.

(These photos are old ones - it seems if you read out loud, there isn't anyone to take a picture of it...  We are currently reading Tolkein's  Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbit.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Batik Crosses Finished

I finished this one up last week, just in time to head out of town for some fun with my besties from college!  This quilt was gifted today and I think it will be well-loved.  If you haven't given this zig-zag tutorial a try, I'd highly recommend it.  I did the reverse of what Rachel did - that is, I sewed the binding onto the back and then zigzagged the binding sewing it on the front, so I could see where I was sewing.  I also tried a 3/8 inch and that didn't work for me - I ended up sewing it on with a 1/4 inch just like I normally do.

Batik Crosses Quilt

Batik Crosses Quilt

Batik Crosses Quilt

Batik Crosses Quilt

Now onto the weekend...  The time spent together was fantastic and we had some of the best food ever.  My mouth has been happy all weekend long!  Sorry, no pictures of food, just the yurt we stayed in.