Sunday, April 30, 2017

Wrapping Up Most of April

We've started into one of our marathons of field trips, so I decided, before we get into that, to go ahead and wrap up most of April, and then another post (or two) about all the field trips.

We started April by celebrating the girls' birthdays with the grandparents. Which I, apparently, didn't take any pictures of.

For school, Little Bit and I are learning about "form drawing", a pre-writing skill (that grows into some rather complex drawing skills as children get older) taught in Waldorf curriculum. To help practice the form before writing it in her book, she draws it on the sidewalk with chalk.

Then, after I've smoothed out the form, if needed, she practices walking the form, using movement to help her brain remember it better :)

Another event that I didn't get any pictures of was the little birthday party Little Bit begged me to do. In general, we keep birthdays simple, and family-centered, but this year she begged to invite a couple friends over for a party. She argued that we could do an "American Girl party" that was the same as what we do for co-op each month. So I gave in. And then I was sick on her birthday, and had to postpone it. So finally, 2 weeks later, we had a fun little party for her and 2 of her friends. They made glass paperweights, and Lexie made petit fours that they ate with ice cream and lemonade. Then they played outside, and with their dolls.

With spring finally here, we met friends at a nearby (ish) zoo! There's a playground at the zoo, so all the kids convinced Lexie to push them on the merry-go-round and generally took a break from animals to play.

The zoo doesn't have giraffes yet, but they're working on building a place for them, and taking donations to be able to get them, so Little Bit had to pose as a baby giraffe. We enjoyed the animals that were there, ate our picnic lunch, and then the kids spent an hour or more pretending to be wolves at the "wolf den" (rock overhang for kids to play on), and rolling down a grassy hill while us moms (and teens) got to visit.  It was a pretty awesome day!

There's a store near us called "Art of Recycle" that sells recycled junk as art supplies, and also has various workshops and classes. Recently they had a "miniature fairy garden class" that the girls thought sounded fun, so all 3 of them went to it. It was really cool. For $5 each, they got to choose a teacup (or similar) with a succulent in it, and some small "toys" as props and some sea glass/marbles/rocks etc for additional decorations. Then at each table there was additional plants and dirt and water.

Each of their little fairy gardens turned out different, reflecting their different interests, but all 3 are really cute. I should have thought to take pictures of the final products.

We've been enjoying lots of park days while the weather's nice. One of the parks near us has lots of paved paths right near the playground, so I can sit on a bench and read while Little Bit rides her scooter on the paths and plays on the playground. Ashlyn can sit on the bench and watch for people to walk by with their dogs :) Lexie can read her book, or swing on the swings, because even big kids like swings, and that park has some swings that are tall enough to be worth swinging on.

Now that Lexie finished making the pioneer  doll dresses for Little Bit for her birthday, I thought maybe she'd sew some wipes I've been wanting done. I cut them out for her, and left them for her to do. I heard the sewing machine going and thought she might be working on them, but no . . . a little while later, she came down and showed off the doll dress she'd made. Rather than just making one she had a pattern for, she'd taken pieces of various patterns and put them together to come up with this dress. I had fun giving her a hard time about making a doll dress instead of the wipes I asked her to make. Her response was that sewing plain squares are boring :)

When Little Bit was younger, she watched quite a bit of "tv" but it was mostly things like Wild Kratts and Martha Speaks and other shows that were teaching her something. As she's gotten older, she's tended to prefer less educational things, which means I'd prefer she watch it less. So a couple weeks ago I made up a system (putting together 2 or 3 different ideas I saw online and then tweaking them) where she earns "jewels" (the little flat marble things that we seem to have millions of) for doing the things she's required to do anyway, like feeding the cats and putting her toys away, and also for doing things I'd rather she do instead of watching tv. Like playing outside or "creating" (drawing, painting, etc), provided she cleans up after herself when she creates. Then the idea was she could use those jewels to "buy" tv time. The one exception being, if the whole family is watching tv she can either watch what we're watching, or watch something she'd rather watch on her tablet. That was the system as I designed it. When I presented the idea to her, I also pulled a small mug out of the cabinet for her to keep her jewels in until she used them to buy tv. I was fully expecting her to pretty much "spend" the jewels as quickly as she earned them. . . She asked what would happen if she filled the cup? Could she have a "second date" (each month each of the girls gets to choose to go on a "date" with either their daddy or me. Little Bit generally goes for instant gratification and the first time we're anywhere near Auntie Anne's pretzels or an ice cream place, she decides that's what she wants for her date. Then she spends the rest of the month planning elaborate things that will be her next month's "date"). I said sure! Still didn't really think she'd be willing to give up tv enough to fill the cup, and figured if she was willing to do that, I'm more than happy to buy her an ice cream cone or pretzel to help her break the tv habit. Ummm . . . I think she only "bought" 2 or 3 shows since then! She still gets to watch tv in the car (but that's usually What's in the Bible or Friends & Heroes). She started asking for audiobooks a lot more. . . and the commented that she wished there was a way she could listen to stories while she played with dolls in her room, so I set up my tablet so that she could listen to audiobooks on it, and once she could do that, she's been perfectly happy to listen to librivox audiobooks instead of watching tv. It's meant I've spent more time reading to her, and on the nice days she gets me to go sit on the porch swing while she plays in the yard.

One afternoon she brought her paints out to the front porch and painted the Mary, Joseph & Donkey who are traveling to Bethlehem for the 40 days of counting the Omer.

It's been great and she doesn't seem to miss watching tv in the least. Within a few days she had filled the cup to the top and we stopped for pretzels the next time we were near Auntie Anne's. Since then, she hasn't even bothered to collect her jewels. I'm still a bit in shock at how simple it was to break the tv habit!

And that gets us caught up to the middle of last week, which is when I STARTED writing this post. The rest of the month, is pretty much back-to-back field trips, so those will get their own post :)

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