Unschooling today 6/30/2020 summer days

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Myself and the boys all got up at the same time today. After a few minutes of couch cuddles, I set the boys up with their shows and made requested breakfasts. Our mornings are almost always fairly slow around here as they blend into early afternoon before we are ready to adventure much.

Elijah asked to play the VR headset, so I set him up with Rick & Morty VIRTUAL Rickality and Winter wanted to watch him. They both love watching YouTubers play this game and then trying things for themselves.

While they played Dexter and I made pudding pops. Dexter got a taste of the pudding before freezing of course.

The other boys finished on the headset about this time, and started pretend cooking with Dexter.

Elijah started asking for random ingredients to mix together. After a bit of that he decided he actually wanted to make oobleck. I gave him the cornstarch and helped Winter make a batch too. We moved outside to help contain the mess.

They covered themselves as usual and played until they were ready to be hosed off. Before I could get the house out however, it started pouring raining unexpectedly, cleaning it all up for us. They ran in the rain, then came inside to get dry and have lunch. This was about the time Neon got up, so I made her a quick plate of food and she showed me her latest art.

I got the baby down for a nap, then had myself some lunch. I offered to play Neon’s current favorite Roblox game, Flickr, with her. We played a few round together while Winter took a turn on the headset, and Elijah played Roblox and video chatted with friends.

The boys seemed to have some energy to get out so we did some wrestling and play in the bed, then moved into the playroom. Neon took her turn on the headset at this time.

Neon seemed like she was hungry. She said she wanted muffins, so I asked her if she’d like to bake some. She was excited about that idea, and asked me to read her the instructions while she mixed them together.

While they baked everyone played in the backyard. Now they are cooling while the kids are jumping around on the beds and playing.

That is our day so far. I’m guessing there will be muffin eating, maybe some books, and probably some TV and/or YouTube.

My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe!

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Most of us have a sweet tooth around here. Chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite way to satisfy mine. I’ve played around and tweaked many recipes over the years until I found the recipe that was perfect for us. I don’t want to lose it, so up on the blog it goes.

It doesn’t have to be just chocolate chip either. Today we mixed semi-sweet, milk chocolate, and butterscotch chips.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cornstarch 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2-3 cups chocolate chips to taste (other types can be subbed for part here too. Get creative!)
  • INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Preheat oven to 350.

    2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, and vanilla until well mixed. Add eggs and beat until mixed.

    3. In a separate bowl , mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda .

    4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

    5. Stir in chocolate chips to taste.

    6. Form golf ball sized portions (an ice scream scoop can be useful here) and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

    7. Bake 10-12 minutes or just until edges are light brown. Watch closely here.

    8. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before transferring.

    We love these. Hope you enjoy!

    Following their curiosity

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    Yesterday the boys found some helicopter seeds. Elijah asked what tree they were from and I didn’t know so I Google it real quick. We found out it was the maple tree, and the seeds were called samaras. Him and Winter opened some up to examine the seeds.

    He then asked me if they were edible. Once again, I looked it up and read it to him. They are edible and considered a survivalist food. So they popped some into their mouths and said they weren’t bad. Elijah then asked if we could try roasting some like the website said. He popped them out of the shell and helped oil them and we roasted them. He liked it and ate a few and Winter didn’t want to try it like that.


    It was an interesting and unexpected “one thing led to another” type of experience. I could not have predicted it. I love when something sparks interest naturally and they run with it as far as they choose. I love helping facilitate that, but not take it over. I love the things I learn because of their questions.

    There are still things to look forward to

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    A few weeks ago one the kids was having a hard time with our playdates canceled, and their favorite places closed. I sat with them and listened and then when they were ready we talked about things we could still be excited about. The thing that really stood out for him was our kitties first birthdays.

    I’ve never celebrated a pets birthday before, but we planned a big celebration. He picked out a present for them. A few days ago we searched for a cake recipe.

    Our two kittens got lots of love today. The boys wrapped their presents.

    Elijah helped me bake the cakes. Winter found candles for them.

    We gave them treats from grandma and helped them open their new presents.

    They played with their new goodies for a little bit.

    We sung them happy birthday and let them eat their tuna cakes with sweet potato frosting.

    Happy birthday Sora and Luni! We are lucky to have you apart of our family. Thank you for giving the kids something to look forward to. ❤️❤️❤️

    Processing Big Feelings

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    Today was the first time one of the kids expressed sadness and frustration at this virus situation. We spent a lot of times indoors over the winter, so I feel like the kids were kind of adjusted to lots of home time. However, as the sun began to come out more, I know we were all itching for some change.

    Elijah (7 years old), was having a bit of a tough morning. We all have those days when it feels like everything keeps going wrong. I held him as he released his big feelings. He then asked when this will be over. He told me he wanted to go to his favorite fun places. Dealing with the unknown is hard for all of us.

    After hearing him out and giving him some love, he moved past those feelings and is having a much better day. The boys are playing cars and dinosaurs. We will bake a cookie recipe that Neon picked out. Grandma is going to be over for lunch. After today, friends will be back at their houses again so we can go back to video calling and gaming together. The weather is going to slowly start warming up, although the forecast is all rain.

    Looking forward to more of this

    I’m aware of the importance validating and empathizing with all the feelings. I’m trying to get my own needs for those things met through my husband, and group chats with friends, so that I can have the energy to hold that space for them. Remembering that my kids are looking to me to set the tone for our home, and I’m trying to keep it fun, interesting, and open for all questions.

    Unschooling Today 3/18/2020

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    Today was an odd day in the way that my husband worked off and on at home and at work. That’s going to be our new normal some days. I wish he could work all the way at home, but he’s considered essential personnel and even if we get a mandated quarantine, he’ll have to go in some. I’m thankful that means we definitely have a solid income still, but also feeling uneasy being alone as anxiety and tension rise in my area.

    After breakfast we watched a live science video put in by our local science guy. It’s lots of fun and we are going to enjoy watching his daily videos during this time. We did a little bit of Cosmic Kids Yoga.

    Grandma joined with us again today. The kids are really enjoying having her stay here as often as possible. I’m glad to be able to chat with her and feed her 😁. Words cannot express how much my kids love all their Grandma time. Dexter has basically decided she’s Mom number 2.

    The kids enjoyed the donuts she brought. She mentioned that she was a little bored since bingo closed, and Elijah jumped on the chance to play bingo with her at home. I was the caller, while the boys played with her.

    Neon joined us after bingo. Her and Elijah played a roblox game together for hours. I put hair chalk in Winter and Grandma’s hair, and Winter put it in mine.

    The bestest Grandma

    Winter painted Grandma’s nails and she painted his. He was super thrilled about it. He says he’s bei, and of course he is.

    I laid Dexter down for a nap. Grandma headed out. I made some lunch while Papa popped in and out. Winter and I played a round of Hoot Owl Hoot. We barely pulled out a win.

    We watched some TV. I had a quick chat with Neon and Elijah about cooking creatively with the ingredients in our kitchen and how we might have to be a little more adventurous right now. We talked about the grocery stores not having everything on our list and making our own recipes. I told them what ingredients I had for tonight and we collaborated on a dinner idea.

    Myself and the 3 oldest kids played a hand of Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, and then Elijah challenged me to a game of Exploding Kittens. He dominated the round.

    I invited Neon to help with dinner and she gladly accepted. As we started prepping Elijah asked to join. So there we were cooking, chatting. It was so nice to just be in that moment. Winter came in and asked for a job too, so I gave him some small tasks like adding spices and pouring some water.

    Dinner was enjoyed, and Winter even tried tack beef which was new for him. He gave it a thumbs up. I’m cuddling on the couch with the youngest two, while the oldest two are playing Roblox again. We are about to start our wind down routine, which usually includes books before sleep.

    Our days are so normal, but so not at the same time. Such a strange feeling.

    Unschooling today 3/16/2020

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    I made breakfast and coffee first thing. Then I sat with the boys and we looked at the San Diego Zoo’s live cams for their animals. They are loving their site right now.

    After breakfast Grandma came by to sit with the kids so I could try to get the rest of the grocery essentials needed for self isolation time. I’m so thankful we have her and that the kids love spending time with her. It took me 3 stores but I was able to get the basics covered.

    When I got home, I had to do some tetras to fit the groceries within our storage areas. I did a quick pick up of the house. Winter helped. The boys love the vacuum.

    I laid the baby down for a nap and then made lunch. Neon chatted with me while I made food. We played a few rounds of a quick guessing game together.

    We took advantage of some of the cool resources available during this time where most everything is closed. We turned on a live video from our zoo, with a zookeeper doing an animal talk and feeding of the hippos. We watched our local museum do a broadcast of a quick animal talk about the black rat snake. We then watched a cool science experiment video. The kids all enjoyed it.

    The kids all did their own thing for a little bit, mostly YouTube I think. Then we did some legos. I asked Elijah to give me a theme and tried to build it. I am not a skilled lego builder 🤣.

    The oldest two then played Super Smash Brothers for a little while.

    After picking up the dumped legos, I helped my daughter get a book she had been waiting for on the hoopla app. All the libraries are closed, but luckily they had it available for an ebook rental so she didn’t have to wait even longer.

    Winter and I drew together. We picked an idea, a face, then took turns drawing pieces of it.

    Papa came home from work. He brought in the mail. Elijah had requested to get an eye mask for sleeping, and that came in. He was so happy about it.

    Elijah is now playing the switch by himself. The TV is in the magic school bus. Dinner will be quick and easy. I’m sure we will read some of the ebooks I checked out from hoopla before bed too. How is it going for you?

    My Anxiety is Not Playing Nice

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    As someone who lives with anxiety and depression (which comes and goes but is always looking it seems), I’m trying to set some personal boundaries for myself around how much time I spend on the internet, especially social media right now. From the dismissive posts, to the super panicked ones, to the conspiracy theories. It’s all so much.

    I’m trying to just check in with some friends, find the latest update in my state, and see governmental response. My husband is supposed to return to work tomorrow, so I’ll be here with the kids as usual. I don’t want to let myself get sucked in and spiral. Most of the time I’ve managed to just sit with my anxiety and uncertainty, and focus on the next thing I want to do with the kids, but I feel it building.

    Last night I got started awake just as I fell asleep. I hate when that happens because it feels so much more difficult to get back to a restful state. I lay between my two youngest children, appreciating their cuddles and warmth. Stuck awake, mind wandering. What will happen? Will the kids suffer? What if we pass it to my mom who is a heart patient? Will we have the food we need? Will I get sick and have to take care of my family so my husband can work? I tell myself to refocus on a peaceful thought, but late at night is when it’s easier to go into a dark place. Eventually I caught a few hours of sleep.

    I could feel it this morning though. The anxiety had grown, the lack of sleep like oxygen to its flames. The normal (loud, very loud) noises of my 4 year old were sending me into sensory overload. Every unexpected touch felt like a new sensory assault. My sensory system was in overload. It’s just a short trip to a panic attack from there.

    I had finally realized that this is going to be a season of continued isolation. The dark winter months are a challenge for me. Seasonal depression hits hard. Add in financial issues that kept up mostly housebound, and illnesses that canceled at home playdates, and I was feeling desperate for spring. We got a few beautiful, sunny days, I opened my windows and even took a hike. Spring feels like a light at the end of the tunnel.

    The tunnel has gotten longer again. With the social distancing practices, which I believe are important, I don’t know where the end of the tunnel even is. I have to continue to make due with flashlights. I know I will, because I have to, I want to. At least, the sun will be out more regardless. Fresh air and warmth will start happening, and I will take full advantage from my yard.

    I’m still not sure how to live with the anxiety and not pass the tension to my kids. They pick up on things even when I feel I hide it. We did get a nice snuggle in this morning while watching a movie, and for that I’m thankful. More of those will be needed.

    This will certainly be a spring we remember.

    Unschooling Today and feeling uneasy about things

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    Our state has canceled schools, the museums and libraries are closing, most events have been canceled or postponed. It feels like a time of uncertainty, yet most of my kids are unaware about what’s going on. My oldest knows a bit. We’ve had a talk about rationing toilet paper and getting more creative in the kitchen with what we could find. However, our lives haven’t changed much, since we are at home often anyway.

    I’m trying to find the balance of trying to remain aware of the covid-19 updates, yet not become consumed with anxiety and what ifs? It isn’t easy, as I am naturally anxious. It does help me to prepare and think ahead, but it can also take me away from my kids and forget to see the joy. I’m trying to find the good stories, the helpers, the hope as much as trying to keep up with state updates and household needs.

    This morning we had a yummy homemade brunch. Good food helps me feel happy. I made pancakes, bacon, fresh whipped cream, and fruit. We had a slow morning, chatting and watching TV.

    I did some cleaning up around the house while the kids ran around, watched YouTube, and played games on tablets. The baby got laid down for a nap. Then we all plaid Exploding Kittens and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza games. Both fill our house with laughter.

    Dexter woke up from his nap. Papa and I got the boys ready to play outside. It had snowed today, and I wasn’t too happy to see it. The sunshine has been so uplifting to my soul. But the joy on my 4 year olds face when he saw the snow made me enjoy it too. Papa and Winter built a baby snowman.

    Neon drew pictures and quizzed me on her art style while I started dinner. Winter colored and froze some melted snow as an experiment. He pretended it was an ice cream sundae.

    Grandma joined us for dinner too. I made a family favorite, chicken Tikka masala. After dinner Elijah challenged Grandma to a game of Mario party. This is out of Grandma’s comfort zone, but she gave it her best.

    I sat with Winter while he played with slime and watched fishing videos.

    We will likely read some books tonight and watch some more TV. That about sums up our day.

    Unschooling today 2/27/2020

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    Yesterday was a tough day. Not necessarily as a mother, more a general “life is hard” type of day. I’m thankful that today was much better.

    After breakfast, we discovered it was National Pokémon day. We talked a bit about that. Elijah and Neon went to her room to watch videos and chat. Winter, Dexter, and I watched some of Frozen 2.

    After I laid Dexter for a nap, I made lunch for everyone. The kids were all sitting around the dinning room and we talked about various topics. Neon drew some Pokémon.

    Winter played with some slime, and I did too. It is way more satisfying than I used to think it would be.

    Papa got home early today, so I went with the oldest two kids upstairs for a bit. We played exploding kittens with the new expansion pack we just got it.

    Papa then took the boys outside to play in the snow. Neon played a game on her computer. I warmed up hot chocolate and got requested snacks.

    The boys played, fought, and played some more.

    I took Neon to the library to pick out some books she’s been wanting while Papa made a quick snack type dinner. I’m guessing we will read some of what we picked out. Neon wants to show me some videos later and we will probably watch an episode of a show we’ve been watching together.

    That about sums up our day today.