Category Archives: Yes

A Super Important Mission

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Winter (4 years old) was having a tough afternoon. He was overtired and probably hungry looking back on it. He was on full on wild feral mode.

I was trying to put away groceries and start dinner when the eggs I just got at the store dropped and the majority broke. I absolutely need eggs and was frustrated. I sent my husband back to the store to grab some, but he had to take Winter. No way I’d be able to cook dinner with Winter’s state and Dexter while he was gone.

Knowing they were in for a tough trip, I tried to think of a way to set the trip up for success. I pulled Winter to the side and whispered “I have a super secret mission for you.” He was immediately intrigued. I continued, “At the grocery today I forgot something very important that you asked me to put on our list. I forgot Rainbow Ice cream.”

The day before, he had suddenly brought up the Superman ice cream he had eaten at a firefighters fundraiser back in August. He talked about it all day, so I had added some to my list.

Back to our conversation, I told him” Rainbow ice cream isn’t so easy to find sometimes. It’s like a super mission. Do you want to go to the store and help Papa?” His eyes filled with excitement as he started talking about the ice cream again. He was ready to accept his mission. He quickly cooperated in a manner he wasn’t capable of a few minutes before.

I thought the job was done there. I knew they now had their best chance for a smooth trip. But of course, life is rarely like that. I get a panicked text from my husband saying the store doesn’t have any rainbow ice cream like he wants. Thinking in my feet, I tell him to offer rainbow sherbet. That too was quickly rejected. “Superman ice cream has all the colors! ” Winter would say. Mission failed. I told hubby to tell him we would search for a store that carried it this week.

I thought that was that, until I called a few minutes later to see if they were on their way home. Mark and Winter had not accepted their mission defeat so easily however, and they were at a second store. Surprised, I wished them luck.

I finished dinner and served everyone at home, and set plates aside for Mark and Winter. They walked in the door, rainbow ice cream in hand after THREE stores. Winter ran to me to tell me he had completed his mission, and helped Papa not to forget what he came to the store for too!

I’ve never purchased a bucket of ice cream like this for our home before. We usually go for more homemade ice cream, but I looked at it and thought about how hard my husband worked to make sure Winter got it. I think about how determined Winter was to get it, and how having a goal turned his mood around. I am thankful that I bent down and offered that connection to him amidst the chaos and frustration I was feeling, and likely he was feeling too.

Our Unschooling Day 9/23/2019

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It’s the first day of autumn! This is the majority of my household’s favorite season, so lots of excitement here today. We are ready for the weather to cool off, leaves to change, and fall traditions to start. I decided today would be a good day to share what our unschooling day looks like.

First thing this morning Elijah wanted to show Winter how to play a game on the Switch. Winter doesn’t quite get it yet, but he’s learning and having fun trying.

We had breakfast while watching some YouTube. The boys played a game that got a little rough, so we had some cuddles. Then I read a book to them. The baby started giving hugs on demand, which was pretty cute.

We headed outside for some fresh air and they did some chalk drawing.

They drew on themselves, pretending it was wounds from bites and scratches delivered by jungle animals.

Elijah told him to say “Panked ya!”

Back inside for snack while I laued down the baby for a nap. Elijah played some Roblox, Winter watxhed some more YouTube, and I started waking up Neon. While I get her breakfast ready, I clean up a bit.

We made Naan pizzas for lunch. Winter asked to play with the magnet shapes while we ate. Elijah started playing with them too.

I laid next to Neon for a bit while she showed me some funny videos se liked. She then joined in on the magnet shape play too. They played for a couple of hours making up their own games with th shapes too.

We read this book the other day about witches making bone soup. They wanted to make the recipe in the back. I got the ingredients at the store this weekend so we could. We reread the book together.

The boys were so excited to help make it. They chopped veggies with me.

They took turns adding the ingredients to the pot, while we all some the phrases from the group. We pretended to add dragon wings, flies, and earthworms to the pot.

I whipped up some pumpkin and cauldron shaped biscuits to serve wth our soup. We ate it up. Two kids loved it, one said it was okay, and the last was satisfied with the tastes of each ingredient and a snack plate.

The rest of our night will probably be chatting and relaxing, maybe reading some books before bed.

How was your day?

Unschooling today 4/22/19

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Browsing Instagram, it can sometimes look like all people do tons of outside of the house, nature based, super cool activities. We try to do plenty of that, but we have lots of home days that flow with what everyone wants to do. Today was one of those.

Hailey and Elijah were the first ones up today. Hailey walked Elijah through creating a character for a gacha life story she is working on. I made breakfast for everyone.

Elijah spent most of his morning browsing minecraft addons, and trying a few out. Winter slowly ate and watched dinosaur videos. Hailey spent most of her time playing our newest game for the VR headset. It’s called vacation simulator and she loves it. She probably played for for 3 hours or so.

I asked if anyone wanted to do a science experiment that someone had posted about. The boys said yes, and Hailey said she’d come for the end of it.

While the water for our experiment was cooling down, we headed outside to help the time pass faster. It was a really nice day. Elijah noticed a bee buzzing around. We talked about how bees pollinate and how they do a little dance to communicate with other bees. We sat in the shade and picked dandelions and took silly pictures.

We went back inside for our expirent. It was supposed to be rainbow water in a glass but it was a flop. We tried a few different ways to make it work, all unsuccessfully. It was a little disappointing.

Elijah took a turn on vacation simulator for a bit. Hailey napped because she had only slept for a few hours the night before. Winter watched a show, while I used the baby’s nap time to clean up and prep food.

Elijah asked for ice cream comes and we took them outside so we wouldn’t wake up Hailey. They wanted to play in the water for a bit. It was play then fight, then play again type of deal.

Back in for dinner and welcoming Papa home. We then watched some americas got talent–the champions. The boys showed us their talents of headstands, picking up heavy boxes, and jumping off the couch.

Most of us are winding down now. Hailey is playing a game on the computer and having a late dinner after waking from her nap.

The day after Christmas

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Christmas is officially over. We enjoyed our Christmas season quite a bit, but I’m still feeling relived it’s over now. I’m ready to move on and feel excited for the new year.

The kids have been playing with our new things all day today. We really tried to focus on useful gifts, experiences, family gifts, and creative things. We got a Nintendo switch and that was a hit. Last night we all played a game of Mario party together. They wanted to play Kirby Allies as soon as they woke up.

There has also been a mix of Pokémon play, pretend play with their new plush toys, and scratch art. I’ve brought snack plates to them since no one wanted to stop playing to eat.

The kids were gifted these excavating kits. Some have dinosaur bones, others have gems and other little things inside.

Elijah had an idea to try to put some of the “dirt” in hot water to see if that will help the process move along easier.

Winter was gifted a book that was a favorite in a library haul a whole back. It’s called “The book with no pictures”. He had me read it over and over, with silly exaggerated voices of course. Then Hailey wanted to read it to him.

Lots of Christmas candy has been consumed today too. I found these cute little chocolate sleigh and reindeer kits. Yum!

Grandma came by for a visit too. The kids played on the sit and spin for a bit, and Dexter took a turn.

A little bit of minecraft time happened as well. Right now, Elijah is watching a shark documentary, and Hailey is playing a Pokémon battle game on the switch.

I hope your holidays were wonderful!

Unschooling today and yummy snacks

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Some public schools near me started back today. That is almost hard to believe. It is so early! It is summer! I continue to be glad for the choices we’ve made to keep the kids home. 

This morning started out with an oatmeal bar. I got the idea from Our Muddy Boots Facebook page. If you don’t follow her already, head straight over and check her out! The kids made their bowls of oats with their add-ins of choice. 

After breakfast, Hailey picked up a workbook we have laying around. She found these at the store a couple of years ago, and works in them when she wants. I call them activity books. She’s really enjoying practicing her spelling lately, so that’s mostly what pages she chose to do. 

The majority of the rest of day, the kids spent in the computers together. They u watched some shows, played starfall, then some PBS kids games. I’d bring snacks and check in. They’d show me their computer creations, and songs they made. The toddler was running around doing toddler things like building blocks and making messes. 

On the way to taking Hailey to her martial arts class, I mentioned I was stopping at the store while she was gone. She asked me to pick her up a couple of things because she had an idea of a treat to make. 

I grabbed the groceries, and then picked her back up. I made dinner, while the kids played and chatted about their plans. Immediately after dinner, Hailey set to work on her recipe idea. She wanted to create a bar with marshmallows, peanut butter, pretzels, and chocolate chips. 

She had me help her with the peanut butter and breaking the pretzels, but she did everything else herself. The recipe was completely made up by her. 

We baked it. It was hard to wait for it to cool. 

Hailey was disappointed that they weren’t as sweet like a dessert, more like a granola bar. She decided on less peanut butter and more marshmallows next time. 

Elijah had fun making some creations with the extra supplies. 

That was our day. Please feel free to share about your day in the comments. 

Eat the candy!

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We didn’t control the amount of candy that the kids ate this year. We put it all in a big bowl and the bowl sits in our living room, on top of the TV stand (out of the baby’s reach because he would eat the paper, stick pieces down the vent, and feed chocolate to the dogs!). The only thing I asked was please only take a few pieces at a time into another room (so candy didn’t get left out for the baby to find- see above), and let’s please try to throw our wrappers away. I also put a small trash bag next to the bowl and there is one in almost every room for convenience.

The first night was the big pig out. We all ate what we wanted, but honestly looking at the trash gathered, it was not as much as I thought it would be. The next few days, the kids would eat a handful or two at a time and then none for a few hours. The parents would eat a piece or two when they wanted. It slowly decreased. There was no pressure here, no guilt thrown their way. I didn’t hope that they would stop eating it, or give any looks whenever they grabbed another piece. At one time, Hailey mentioned her tummy not feeling so hot and I suggested ‘Hmmm…. I noticed you haven’t eaten much yet today, but some candy, maybe your tummy needs something more filling”, and offered to make her a snack. No pressure or shame attached.

There was much discussion on Facebook about parentings taking a set amount of their kids candy to eat for themselves. I will be honest and say that both Papa and myself joked about it with the kids, and with friends while we were trick or treating. The kids laughed right along with us though. I never realized that there was this a prevailing attitude of control surrounding how much candy the parents got to eat. I did not have to force my kids to share with me. They were happy to share their loot with us. As a matter of fact, the day after Halloween, Hailey set up a pretend tea party and picked out a few of my favorite pieces for me as the dessert. Abundance creates generosity. At this point, after everyone has had their favorites, some candy was tried and found to not be liked, and they have offered some to anyone who has come over, there is not much left.

This is not just for Halloween though. We live like this all year. The kids are excited about candy because it tastes good, but they are not desperate for it. There is no internal struggle for them to eat as much candy as they can before I take it away causing them to stuff themselves so full they don’t eat anything else. We try to create an atmosphere where food is food, and everyone has a say on what they eat and when all the time. Food is not good or bad, and there is no set things they must eat each day. They are always allowed to ask for what they want and I try to make it happen. The kids are still snacking on their favorite foods as well. I have sliced lots of apples, and peeled plenty of oranges. I have made chicken, eggs, and oatmeal.

If you read my post months ago on food freedom, you know that I have held some very strong beliefs about food in the past. I have struggled with over controlling myself and others. I have let food induce many negative feelings in myself and let it stress me out to a unhealthy point honestly. Yet, I have felt so little stress this Halloween, and it has shown me how far I have come on my journey. It feels good to choose joy, to choose peace.

Hey, it’s been a while!

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Hey all! It has been a while. I mentioned on my Facebook page a while back that I would not be writing as much for a few months because my Mom was having some major heart surgery and I was going to be helping her with recovery. For all who asked, she is recovering well and I have more time opening up again.

So what have we been up to? We had some weeks in and out of the hospital. Then weeks of running back and forth from our house to my Mom’s house. Much of our down time has been spent relaxing because we needed it. But this past week, we have been back in the swing of things.

We celebrated the baby’s birthday. He was affectionately known as Pumpkin in utero so we had to do a pumpkin picture for his birthday.

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We’ve played with friends at the park. Had a bonfire with friends, and handled some appointments.

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Today, we went to our favorite farm for a “spooky” scavenger hunt program. We had a bunch of fun hunting down the clues, and playing games.

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We also got to make Papa a mummy! I was supposed to be the mummy, but we voted and Papa got picked to be the mummy 3 to 1. Ha!

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We also found this cool little creature.

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Back at home Elijah wanted to make “Easter eggs”, which means he wanted to dye hard-boiled eggs like we do at Easter. I have no idea what made him think of it, but I said yes, and searched for the last remaining bits of food die and the last few hard-boiled eggs we had in the fridge. He mixed and dyed and was so happy with his results. He was super proud of doing it himself.

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Hailey has been playing around with rhetorical questions and sarcasm. She has asked a bunch of questions about those two concepts and has been trying it out for herself.

She also lost a tooth!

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Also, I have a very newly started reviewing blog and Facebook page. I will be posting reviews of products, books, toys, clothes, local restaurants and events, and natural products. So if that kind of thing is for you than check that out and give me a like to help me build up my following.

Tomorrow we are surprising the kids by taking them to an amusement park for a Halloween event. The crazy, fun, busy season is starting around here. How are you enjoying Autumn so far? Please feel free to share your days in the comments.

Choosing connection instead of control

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Today we were going to meet with some friends at a nature play area and creek. Hailey (6) was not really wanting to go our of the house but agreed. She brought her tablet along to keep herself entertained doing.

At first I looked at her sitting to the side of everyone playing and thought “she is really missing out.” I wondered if I should tell her to put her tablet down and play at the nature park with her friends. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted, but I held my tongue. I stepped back and seen that she did not feel like she was missing out on anything, and she was happy.

It didn’t stop there though because we walked down to the creek and everyone was looking for crawdad’s. I knew she would love it but she didn’t want to go in the water unless she could bring her tablet, which obviously not a good idea, so she chose to sit to the side and keep playing on it. The voices in my head crept up again. “She would love this, if I just told her she had to put it down, she might be frustrated at first but would probably have a good time.” Once again, I stopped myself. She was choosing what she would enjoy most at that moment from the options she had. She didn’t even feel like going out today, but got ready without hesitation because she understood that everyone else wanted to go.

It started to rain a little, but everyone in the creek didn’t mind. I told her that tablet might get wet, and this might be a good time to put it somewhere safe. This time the words were not coming from a place of control, but a place of love. Kids can usually tell your heart; they know the true intentions behind your words more often than not. She understood that there was a legitimate reason for my suggestion and she agreed. She put the tablet away and played in the creek. She used the net to help catch some crawdads to show the littler kids. She had fun.

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She was able to enjoy herself the entire time. I was able to stop myself from making choices that were about control instead of connection. Everyone had a good time and all were respected for their choices.

 

Supporting their interests

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I try to always support my children’s interests. Whatever they are currently passionate about becomes important to me because it is important to them. It could be a hobby, television show, game, or many other things. Sometimes, it is a challenge for me to really get into it, but I do think it is worthwhile, especially if it feels like something that is going to be a part of their lives for a while.

Hailey is very imaginative and loves pretend play. When she was a toddler, she would get ideas from tv shows. It really meant a lot to her when I would watch the shows with her and learn the names of the characters and their traits. She would love for me to tell her made up stories using the characters and throw in real things they might do. I couldn’t fake it, I had to actually watch and learn. This was no small thing to her though. She went from show to show asking me to play with her in this way for about two years. I tried to find good things about whatever program it was, although some were harder than others. Some I really did not like, so I just played along until it passed.

Unschooling flourishes when interests are supported. Part of unschooling is trying to find ways to explore the interest, sometimes expand on it. When Hailey went through a Phineas and Ferb stage it was a lot of fun for everyone. We all enjoyed the show. Hailey talked about inventions she would make and acted out each character. I bought her a Perry stuffy for Christmas. She was also going through a joke telling phase, so I purchased a small Phineas and Ferb joke book to tie the two interests together. Even small things matter, I found some Phineas and Ferb napkins as a thrift store and brought them home. That was a big deal to her.

Hailey loves to make art. I am the opposite of artistic. I try to always have supplies on hand and I try to always find events she can go to that focus on art. She recently turned her into a local art show and was thrilled to see it on display.

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Her two pieces on display

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She also loves Pokemon. You can’t really be around her for long without expecting to hear about it. We bought a pokemon handbook with all the details on the pokemon, we have pokemon stuffed animals and figures, pokemon cards are received for presents. It is a big part of our life.

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Combining her love for art and Pokemon

Whether it is Pokemon cards, tv shows, helping Hailey record her videos for YouTube, playing superheroes, finding a book about bugs, or buying art supplies, I truly encourage you to explore and support their interest. Not only do they learn so much that way, but it can truly be fun and they appreciate it so much.

 

Food Experiments

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My daughter has taken a sudden interest in creating “recipes”. This shouldn’t surprise me I guess, since she likes to create in general. She has found much joy in mixing together different flavors of applesauce, fruit pouches, and yogurt.

My initial reaction did go to food waste and mess. But truth be told, she has eaten most of what she has made and even helped clean up the mess without hesitation. The first time I walked into the kitchen and she explained that she wanted to pour milk into a popsicle holder and freeze it to make a “milk pop”, I almost shut it down and told her how flavorless that would be. I am glad that I caught myself and instead of letting that slip I forced a smile and said “That sounds like an interesting food experiment.” I really love fostering her since of creativity and curiosity. I try to just think of the temporary extra cost as homeschool supplies, after all learning is in all the things.

Also a huge bonus is that she has tried some new things, which is actually a big achievement for the kid who has trouble with anything new or different.

Oh and if you are wondering how the “milk pop” turned out, she offered it to her little brother who did not seem to think it was gross or flavorless at all. She had an ear to ear smile as she told me that someone liking her experiment made her “kind of like a chef”.