Card Swap

Continuing on with my thoughts from yesterday, I’ve made a few moments to be creative yesterday and today. I had a project up on my to-do list and I also happened to have all the materials on hand, so I jumped right in.

I’m not a card maker.  I usually feel like someone else could have made the card so much better and so I don’t really try.  But i’ve been pinning away on Pinterest different card designs and I was so excited to have a card making challenge come my way. 

One of my favourite LSSs (Local Scrapbook Stores), The Scrapping Turtle, is the Canadian host for the Bazzill Basic Card Swaps. This is the first card swap I’ve heard of that isn’t just a group of people I know saying; ‘hey let’s share our craftiness’.  

Here’s how it works. 

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The theme of this card swap is one of Bazzill Basics’ new lines: Ambrosia.  The Scrapping Turtle has put together product packages so I didn’t have to pick and choose which products to buy I only had to choose which cardstock colours to use.  

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The hardest part for me was going to be choosing a design since I don’t make cards regularly and I usually get my inspiration from the pictures I’m scrapping.  Luckily I pinned this card a few weeks ago that I was dying to try- and even better it is a tutorial! 

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I cut up all the pieces I need and put the card together following the tutorial.  I made a few changes of my design, the hat pin did not make the cut. 

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Then I cut out the pieces for 9 more cards.  The way a card swap works is that I’ll take 10 identical cards to The Scrapping Turtle and when the swap ends they will mail me back one of my cards and nine others that were submitted by others.  I only had to come up with one idea, copy it, and I’m going to end up with 10 original designs! 

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Here’s the finished product!  I’m so excited to see what I get back when the swap is over.  It will be so inspiring to see everyone else’s designs, and to have on hand cards to give to people, which I always wish I had but never do.  

If you’re interested in joining the card swap you still have time! The deadline for submissions is July 15th.  Just go to the Main Page for the Bazzill Basics Card Swap, read the details and get crafty! 

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Creative Limits

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Today I am thinking about the discipline of creativity.  The words ‘creativity’ and ‘discipline’ are not usually found in the same sentence; just take a minute to consider their meanings.

Discipline: “training to act in accordance with rules”.

Creativity: “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns and the like to create new ideas, methods, interpretations, etc.”

It would seem that discipline and creativity and contradictory MO’s.  The quote I put above is so true at our house. The Hubster never knows what kind of environment he’s walking into, my creative chaos, or the chaos of having 5 kids…..wait…..okay, so maybe he’s always walking into chaos….I digress.

School is out in 10 days, 10 days and I will have my hands full of entertaining 5 children from sun up until an hour after sundown and that leaves very little time for my personal creative endeavours.  I have several scrapbooks I was hoping to finish during the school year that still sit undone; I can count 4 projects for friends I have not yet gotten around to starting; and so many ideas from Pinterest I want to try! How will I ever get there?

That’s when I think creativity and discipline have to go together.  Creating a new method of domesticity- one where there is time to create, and the time spent being creative doesn’t negate ones domestic efforts.  Some people have craft rooms, and for a long time I thought that was the answer, simply having boundaries to keep the creative chaos under wraps.  But that does no take into account the time factor. It’s so very easy to sit down to do one project and emerge days later.

But how do you discipline the creative flow?  When inspiration strikes you can’t stick a pin in it and come back to it later.  I may or may not have written a poem on the can last week, (I wont tell!), and most of my ideas for the kids birthday parties come to me after I’ve laid down to sleep.  If I don’t start talking out loud to myself, repeating the idea until I can find some paper, or focus on the thought until i get it sketched out i lose it.  So many great ideas lost in the recesses of my subconscious.

My creativity has no discipline.  It is more of the ‘binge and purge’ variety, and we all know that’s not healthy.

So what do you think: does your creativity have discipline-and if it does how did you get it?  Does the idea of getting lost in a project keep you from getting creative?  Does creativity keep you from being disciplined?  Anyone up for a challenge to discipline their creativity this summer?

Avengers Assemble

Has it really been a month since I last posted?  I cannot believe it.  Bonnie, I’m sorry you’ve been waiting so long!  Thank goodness for birthdays or I could have been AWOL forever!

DSC_0083This little guy turned four.  As in “I’m going to school in the fall”-four.

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So we gussied up the house a bit.

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Enlisted the services of a {SUPER} seamstress

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and suited up.

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To make sure Captain America had his shield,

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leap over buildings in a single bound,

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take our union sanctioned coffee break,

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help buddies open presents,

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and humour mom while we pose for photos.

Nolan had a super fab time turning four, (which he technically did monday but try explaining to a four-year-old that your birthday isn’t the day of your party…..that takes super powers), he was a ball of energy and thoroughly enjoyed the 90 minutes of controlled chaos in his honour. Thanks to all our friends for making this a {SUPER} occasion.

Nolan will now resume his super hero duties…

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I Fancy that Nancy

ImageBack in 2010 I had a little girl who loved to dress up in pink, ruffles, jewelry, hats, scarves, gloves, basically anything she could get her hands on.  The more girly the better.  You can imagine our excitement when we met another little girl, like her to the Nth degree, Fancy Nancy. 

ImageNow both those Fancy girls have grown up, just a little. 

Inspiration?

Do you have a hard time accepting compliments?

I do.

Just last week someone told me that I inspire them. My gut reaction was to negate that statement. Me? How can I be inspiring?

The dictionary defines an inspiring person as “someone who stimulates or arouses one’s mind or feelings to special activity or creativity.” A definition like that brings stories like Bethany Hamilton’s  to my mind.  Overcoming incredible obstacles, a genuine faith in Christ despite circumstances.  On the other hand, it also brings to my mind people like Anthony Robbins  who have figured out what words to say and the body language to use to make even the most downcast of us believe that we can achieve our dreams because we deserve it.  Those are inspiring people.

That is so not me, I started to say.  But then I stopped.

I’ve been contemplating true humility for the last couple of weeks after it was the topic of a Sunday sermon, specifically a point made that a mark of true humility is an accurate appraisal of who we are.  How tempting it is to stack ourselves up against others to decide if we are making the cut.  There are so many devices by which to measure ourselves to see our worth.  Popularity. Bank accounts.  Trophy shelves. Scales. Printed accolades. Billboards. Movies. Magazines.  Expectations. Interpretations.

My gut instinct is to believe that I could not be inspirational, not because of who I am, but because I am not yet what I aspire to be.

This dear heart said that I inspire her because my plate is so full and yet it doesn’t consume me.  I have more than enough legitimate reasons to stop, but I keep going, and that inspires her.

I didn’t really know what to say.

I wanted to point out all that I’m not doing, or at least not doing well.  But if there is one thing I am proud of it’s that I’m not two faced. If my hair has been in a ponytail all week at home, it’s the same when I go out. If I leave the house frazzled I’m pretty sure you can see me visibly shake it off before I walk into a social situation. (I’ll confess that at home I send the kids racing up the stairs while I bounce on the balls of my feet, throwing fake jabs, shaking it off a la Rocky while I pump myself up to take them to the mattresses, so to speak.) If you ask me how I’m doing and I’m just okay, I’ll tell you. It’s no secret that only one room at a time is clean around here. I am who I am, take it or leave it.

This person knows that and has seen me being me, and yet she still said the words; ‘Amanda’ and ‘Inspiring’ in the same sentence.

I stopped myself from talking her out of this compliment because I think I’m beginning to get it. I’m beginning to see that I am not inspiring. Honestly.  I am so ordinary it takes effort not to overlook me.  I, in and of myself, am nothing.

But in Christ I am everything.

I’m reading through Crazy Love with some women at church and this is a quote from this week’s chapter;  “Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient onto death? If your honest answer to those questions is yes, how are those intentions manifested in your life?” (117)

I want that for my life. I do. So I keep going. When I get selfish and want a day off, I find someone to serve. When I wish for a nanny or a chef or a maid, I start being a nanny or a chef or a maid. I want people to know that I esteem them above myself so I write notes, or send texts or emails. I want people to know I am grateful so I give of what I have. I want people to know that I’m broken so that they can see Him heal me. I want people to know that the most important thing is loving Christ and so I try to draw them into His presence.

I mess up. I mess up a lot. But I keep on trying.

I get selfish. I get weak. I get distracted.

But I keep trying.

I am grateful for that compliment last week.  I took the time to accept it and process it and in return I was encouraged.  The dictionary defines encouragement as “inspiring someone with the courage or confidence to do something.” That’s what compliments should do for us. We should accept them gratefully.

I want to be more Christlike.  I mess up.  I keep trying.  If watching that process can inspire someone then I am doing what I ought to do.

To borrow Francis Chan’s words; “The point of your life is to point to him.  Whatever you are doing God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His.”  (45)

That is the desire of my heart, to point to Him, and if He can use me as a vessel to inspire others to the same, I will be encouraged to keep trying.

Get Outta Here

ImageSpring can’t seem to decide if it wants to come out and play this year.  But our kids got tired of waiting. I am not a very outdoorsy person, but I’m working on learning to be.  So last summer we found a few walk-around-the-blocks that we do once or twice a week just to make sure we get out of the house. We paid a visit to our favourite urban woods during the warmish weather last week, to see if Spring had found it’s way there. ImageSince there isn’t any foliage we found a great tree that we could climb in.

From the biggest kid….

ImageTo the smallest kid…..

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Everyone Else

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In

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Between.

I also got in the tree, but I can’t remember if I showered that week, so you’re not going to be seeing that picture.  It’s my blog and I’ll post if I want to, post if I want to….

But I’ll make up for it with these adorable pictures of Lukas relishing in the fact that he is free.

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To check out the landscape….

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Decide where he wants to go…

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And race to see who gets there first.

We like to Party.

Isabella turned 8 in March. Eight. And we had a birthday first, our first slumber party. Yes we survived, and yes, we will do it again.

I wanted to do up a post about the party right away, but so many things did not go as planned and it took me a few days to get over it and see the party through the eyes of the kids, who thought it was great.

I should have taken the cake turning out like this, as a sign that this party was not going to be going smoothly.

ImageIsabella chose a Phineas and Ferb theme for her party.  If you don’t know Phineas and Ferb you are missing out, Google it folks. Phineas and Ferb do a lot of inventing and science on the show and as I mentioned before science is not my strong suit.  Luckily Isabella asked for a Perry cake, (Perry is the boy’s pet platypus and a secret agent), Perry I understand.

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Usually I act as Party Director ushering the kids from one activity to the next.  This time I used codes to say what the activities were and the girls had to break the codes in between activities.  I was a bit wordy and the girls only decoded about half of each one, but they got right into it.  It was neat to see a different girl click with each code and take charge of deciphering it.  Another great thing about the code breaking was that it gave me time to prepare the next activity and take care of Lukas, an added bonus as I ended up being the only adult. 

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 The activities were pretty simple. First I had them hunt around the house for hidden Perry’s.  Since the girls were sleeping over I thought it would give them a chance to get familiar with the space, but not leave them to roam free. Then we did some more games; Pin the Tail on Perry and a few version of a memory game. I didn’t get any pics of the games.

Next we moved on to our science experiment.  I found the project on a homeschooling blog and it seemed foolproof enough.  Using the science of the Charlie Brown sno-cone machines we were going to attempt to make our own slushies, (another request from the birthday girl was slurpees).  I ran out of time during the week to test drive the experiment and just as I hypothesized it flopped.

DSC_0165The idea was that using a frozen bag of salt inside the bag of liquid, the salt would absorb the liquid’s heat.  Thus melting the frozen salt and freezing the juice.  I’m not sure what I did wrong, we’ll try it again another time, but the juice remained juice and the salt melted.  The girls were great sports and instead someone said, ‘let’s just drink the juice’.  So I served it up.  Another lesson I learned, no one drinks Kool-Aid anymore.

Next came cake and presents.  Remember what my attempt at the cake looked like?  Thankfully I know a lady who helped me take that pile of oozing undercooked cake, (don’t worry attempt #2 cooked them all the way through), turning it into this. My Aunt is responsible for all of the cake masterpieces the kids get.  It amazes me how we start off with a few cakes and get these awesome creations.  Her work at Tierful Designs is amazing, spread the word.

DSC_0173Isabella was over the moon with the end result and her friends all thought it was awesome.

We then moved onto our craft.  It was really, really simple and the girls loved it. Tie-dye coffee filters which we cut to size and put in frames from Ikea.  It took just a few seconds to do each one, but I had 100 filters and let the girls go to town creating until they were satisfied with the results. I once again underestimated the power of the simple.  I had no idea how much excitement they would get making these.  Did you know that dripping water on marker does this!

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Finally it was time to wind down.  The biggest tip I would give on throwing a slumber party is to base it around a movie that you can play at bedtime.  One of the girls hadn’t seen Phineas and Ferb before and she loved the movie.  The other girls had watched the show lots and knew all the characters.  I think it helped them ease into sleeping somewhere different.  Only one girl fell asleep during the movie, and everyone managed to wake her up again.  But by 12:00 all these lovely ladies were sleeping beauties. No parents were called during the making of this party.

DSC_0201In the morning we had pancakes and fruit.  The craft had to dry over night so we finished it up and then the girls asked to re-watch the movie.  Everyone left about 9:00 am and even though all the helium had escaped from the balloons on our party favours, they were they only things lacking in buoyancy.

DSC_0211This party reminded me that we truly are our own worst critics.  A couple girls kept on sneaking away to play Lego, which tempted me to think the party was boring.  The decorations arrived 90 minutes before the party started, which meant they were thrown up haphazardly and that did not sit well with my personality. The science experiment flopped, zeroing out the ‘wow factor’ moment and I only have a handful of pictures from the night.  But none of that mattered to Isabella or her friends. They all had fun, enough fun that they told their parents it was fun, and that’s how you know a party is a success.  Out of the mouths of babes, not the inner dialogue of self.

I think I got about 10 minutes of rest before we started planning the next one.  Nolan’s birthday isn’t until June but he’s already helping me plan a Supremely Superb Super Hero Soiree……stay tuned.

It’s What My Heart Looks Like

Usually my living room tends to look close to this.  I’ll admit I cleaned it up a bit before I took this picture.  There was a few days worth of clutter, (seriously how does stuff move around this place soooo much), and I vacuumed which isn’t a big deal but my vacuum doesn’t suck so it takes a looooong time.

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Last December I was sick for what felt like forever and one day I just needed a nap.  I put the baby to bed and knew I could get a few more hours of silence from him.  The big girls were at school. I set up the middle two with a snack and an all access pass to Netflix.  I took a couple Tylenol and laid down in bed.  I slept well, but I did sort of wake up once and I heard my daughter say; ‘it’s snowing.’.  I thought, ‘how lovely, we never have a white Christmas.” and I went back to sleep.

I woke up a little while later to find my living room looking like this.  That’s 10 lbs of flour and 4 kg of sugar, er, snow.

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I surveyed the scene and in the shock of that moment I sat down and cried. I cried big crocodile tears for how much work was ahead of me to clean up that mess.  I let myself ugly cry in front of two tender little souls because I obviously must be failing as a mother if this is what they do when unsupervised. I held my head in my hands and I cried.

I know they say, ‘one day you’ll laugh about this.”  and I’m glad that that day has come so quickly.  This memory broke into my consciousness while I was putting away laundry tonight, I didn’t invite it, it just came, and when it did I chuckled.

But my initial reaction to this creative, (albeit disobedient), endeavour of the flesh of my flesh was to cry. Gut wrenching, body heaving, sobs of the broken-hearted, over-tired, stay-at- home-mom, who just can’t seem to get a break.  And I cried until my five year old daughter sat down and cried with me, promising on all that she holds dear to never disobey me again and clean the whole thing up herself if only I would stop crying.

Tonight, a few months later, the memory of her reaction to my reaction started me thinking about artists and how often they’re misunderstood.  To my kids the sugar and flour was an excellent substitute for snow, they told me about skating on it, but when I was introduced to it all I saw was mess. Which got me thinking about graffiti.

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(I apologize, I can’t find the name of the person who created this.) Graffiti is a pretty misunderstood art form. I think the action plan of the City of Toronto hits the nail on the head; “The City of Toronto’s Graffiti Management Plan seeks to support graffiti art and other street art that adds vibrancy and artistry to our streets while balancing the need to eliminate graffiti vandalism which can have a detrimental impact on property owners and neighbourhoods.” (http://www.toronto.ca/graffiti/)

Just because something is sprayed on a wall doesn’t mean it’s art, but there are some very artistic things sprayed upon walls. I know only a little about graffiti, but I do know it takes time.  I know that when it starts off it doesn’t look like anything more than a mess. And I know that for every work of artistic graffiti there are 10 tags scrawled by bored folks for no purpose at all.  Graffiti artists get lumped in with taggers and people storm their local politicians for more strict rules, to ban it all. Misunderstood artists.

Rap is another good example. I don’t like rap. I never have, I never will. Rap is definitely music. If you don’t like rap you’ve got a vision in your mind of what ‘all rappers must be like’ and tend to think ‘how could anyone listen to that crap?’ I know I do. Yet I also don’t really like opera.  When I think about it I get a vision in my mind of how refined people who like the opera are and how cultured they must be and I am not.  Both types of music I don’t like, but rap has a bad rap, misunderstood artists?

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I can think of many more examples, Jackson Pollock’s works just look like messes to me and yet this one sold for $2 million.  Art to someone, just not me.

I’m not sure I consider myself an artist, but I understand how every artist leaves a bit of themselves in every piece of work. It must be heartbreaking to have your art misunderstood. That thought brought me full circle back to myself sobbing with my head in my hands over the snow substitute in my living room. My kids are young, a lot of their art is going to look more like a Pollock than a Monet to me.  But how I react is crucial. Crucial in building up or tearing down a creative mind.  Crucial in expanding or limiting their expression of self. Crucial in adding or subtracting another artist from the world.

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“I’m a misunderstood genius.” “What’s misunderstood?” “Nobody thinks I’m a genius.”

-Bill Watterson, Artist and Author of Calvin and Hobbes-

Reading the Pictures

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Our house has always been a house of books.  We started reading to our kids at an early age.  Our Jillian Jiggs collection is totally tattered and most of our baby books will find their way to the recycle bin instead of being handed down to another family.  When our kids started kindergarten they were all very behind on reading though. I think it’s because we spent most of our reading time looking at the pictures, making up our own stories and having the kids listen more than read.  I’m not sure what the first steps to reading really are, but I think the very first step is touching books and we definitely did that.

Our kids are picking up reading quickly, (in my humble non-teacher opinion).  Isabella and Brooklyn both started Grade One knowing very few sight words and by Christmas of their respective years they were reading their bedtime stories to me.  Brooklyn is still very excited to be reading. She now only needs help with names of people and places, and those words that follow absolutely none of the rules of English.  She asks to do her reading website practice almost daily and she smiles, no matter how tired, when we cuddle up and read before bed.

Isabella is a bit of a different story.  Grade One held the same literary enthusiasm as it did for Brooklyn, but Grade Two is proving to be a whole new world. She gets bored very easily and gives up when she gets bored.  She stopped reading challenging books and seemed to start to dislike reading.  Until she found the Stiltons.

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Have you met Geronimo and Thea?

Isabella started bringing home the Geronimo Stilton books from the library earlier this year.  We haven’t yet made it through a book as we only read a chapter or two at bedtime and Isabella insists on returning her library books each week, (she loves new things, even when they’re just borrowed). But I know that Geronimo lives in New Mouse City and works at the Rodent Gazette.  I’ve met his nephew and his sister and followed them around the globe.  My favourite so far being to Alaska.

Even though we haven’t read one through, Isabella continues to bring them home week after week and finally she insisted on spending her paper route money on a hardcover Thea Stilton book.  We may actually finish this one.

Technically the Geronimo/Thea Stilton books are considered graphic novels.  From what I can tell they originated in Italy and the author writes under the pseudonyms of the Stiltons.  They were first written in Milan in 2000 and have been written in English since 2004, I am grateful to Scholastic and Elisabetta Dami for bringing the Stiltons to our library.

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Isabella is a very visual person and loves to be doing artistic things.  She colours and draws for hours.  Loves video games and prefers to learn things through TV shows rather than conversation.  It’s important to me that she doesn’t lose the love of reading she had in Grade One.  That she doesn’t stop reading.  She has yet to fall asleep with a book in her hand, begging for just five minutes more, so she can follow Alice down a rabbit hole, or Lucy into a wardrobe or meet Anne or Laura.

I read all. the. time. as a kid and found so many wonderful worlds.  I continue to do so as an adult and I believe my life is richer because of it.  I have always been able to read words and see it in my head. Maybe Isabella’s mind works opposite of mine. Maybe she needs to see it so she can put words to it. These books are written with such a simple concept, to draw a word instead of type it, but it’s making all the difference in keeping my visual learner’s nose in a book.

Creative solutions enhancing life, who won’t say cheers to that.

Conscientious of my Carbon

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You may be surprised to hear that we do not do many crafts at home. One reason being that kids+crafting=mess. The amount of children we have is the same as a home daycare and that makes it a bit different than sitting down with Sally to make handprint turkeys for thanksgiving.  That’s 10 hands at our house, 50 little glue covered fingers touching everything on their way to the sink….and how exactly did that paint get on the ceiling? It’s not so much the kid directed crafting but the kid protested clean up that is cringe worthy.  Every now and then we do it.  I put my best foot forward and remind myself it’s worth it, because it is, but we don’t craft much here.

The other reason I don’t craft much with the kids is the sense of duty I feel towards environmental responsibility.  I have always felt it’s important to take care of the earth, that I want my children’s children’s children to be able to enjoy the same earth I do, (and I’d really like to go on an Alaskan cruise before all the glaciers are in water bottles).  The issue of our carbon footprints is one that seeps from what I do today into the generations that will come after me.  I know this and while ignorance is bliss, knowledge demands responsibility.

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Let’s be honest, 99.9% of what our kids make ends up in the trash.

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I really struggle with the balance between crafting and taking care of the environment.  I am so happy that our kids enjoy Legos as much as they do because Legos are reusable, (but there is the packaging and the factory that makes them and…there’s that balance again….). We also play with playdough a lot.  Which we make at home and since it’s made of foodstuffs I put it in the green bin for compost. We do recycle all the paper crafts like colouring pages and paintings.

But there is just something about scissors and paper and glue. Something about yarn and googley eyes and pompoms.  Something about beads and sparkles and stick-on gems. Something about stickers and ribbon and tape. Something about those supplies that call to young eyes and minds. They work so diligently putting them together, and they have such pride when they show you their creation- even when you have to say; ‘That’s lovely honey, tell me about it.’ because you have no idea what they’ve made. Kids really relish the opportunity to be creative with their hands.

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I totally get it.  Digital scrapbooking is all the rage, but I can’t get into it.  I only understand repurposing when I see someone else do it.  (Who knew that cribs could become porch swings?) Creativity is a sensory exercise for me too.

I do not want to stifle the creativity of my children. I want them to find ways to express themselves and interact with the world around them.  I truly believe the benefits of crafting in regards to mental health are exponential, and that kids who craft become not only Picassos and Rembrandts but also doctors and mechanics and engineers and…..

How do you go about finding that balance? I am in the process of deciding what I’m going to stock in our ‘craft supplies’.  Currently we have hand-me-downs, leftovers from birthday craft projects and things I’ve purged from my scrapping stash.  We’ve entered a phase where the kids want to be doing more structured activities on Snow Days, PA Days, Weekends, March Break, Summer and I’m trying to decide what to stock up so we can be creative at home together.

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But I know down in my heart that most of the things we create will become snapshots and trash.  And I get misty every time I see that Coca-Cola Polar Bear commercial. Where is the balance?

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The Suzuki Foundation website, http://www.davidsuzuki.org, talks about taking responsibility for our carbon footprint like this: Simple changes in our everyday lives can help slow climate change — including reducing our energy consumption, choosing to travel sustainably, and being conscious of what we purchase. This is what I want to be mindful of as I lead my kids in our crafting activities.  I don’t want to harm creation in the name of creating.

I struggle to find balance between investing in a child’s creativity and taking responsibility for the environment. Do you?

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Creativity, It’s Hereditary…

This week marked a momentous occasion for us….

Our eldest child had her first out-of-class assignment due.  A diorama of the Arctic. 

ImageI am so proud of her for the effort she put into her project.  And I am proud of us for not doing it for her.  

ImageI nudged her choice a bit due to the materials I knew we had on hand, and Nick helped make the polar bears out of modelling clay.  But Isabella took the ball and ran with it.  She had to feature a dwelling, the landscape, and the people/animals/mode of transportation.  It’s the first of what I am sure will be many projects and it will be neat to see how much different her projects are in Grade 12 versus Grade 2.  

Congrats Isabella! 

Eat your Veggies

Moving more and eating well are on our agenda for 2013.  We’re working on becoming a family that spends less time in front of the TV and more time being active. I would say moving more is the easy part.  Eating well however is not  something that comes naturally to me, I do the best I can, but recently I read this great quote; “Get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen.’ and losing weight is on my personal agenda for the year, so I’m trying to step up to the challenge. 

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I bought this cookbook because of it’s wonderfully chocolatey recipes and have been finding all kinds of gems.  Sweet potatoes have re-surfaced in our home since Lukas’s arrival and this time the kids let me know that they like them as well, so I’ve been trying to remember to incorporate them into our diet.  We’ve been working on eating more fruits and veggies, but the kids, (and the adults), have grown tired of having their veggies steamed which is about as far as my expertise goes. 

ImageSo I tried this new recipe for sweet potato biscuits.  I waited for a day that Nick was home so I could focus on the cooking, but as usually happens everyone NEEDED me the entire time I was preparing the meal.  When I’m cooking something that I know it’s not a big deal but if i’m trying a new recipe, well let’s just say it leads to some adventures, and this was no exception.  The recipe calls for one cup of mashed sweet potatoes, but I was distracted at that point in the recipe and added TWO ENTIRE sweet potatoes.  I had no idea how to recoup the recipe except to keep adding flour until the dough was workable and so I did.  Everyone liked the biscuits still, (score), but I am curious how they’re really supposed to taste.  We’ll try them again for sure.

When it comes to food the thought of trying something creative is almost paralyzing for me.  There are so many foods that I have never tasted, even more that I’ve never cooked.  I don’t know what’s in season, which spices to choose, I really don’t even know what should go on a plate together! Partner that with a very limited grocery budget and the creative juices tend to move slower than molasses in January.  

However, if I want to lose weight and help our family eat better I’m going to have to give it a try. I think it’s the urban definition of insanity to try the same thing and expect a different result, a theory proving true on my waistline.  I’m intrigued by the whole food, real food movement and trying to get processed foods out of our kitchen.  A practice which takes more resources and will require a total makeover in the way I handle food planning, shopping and preparing.  Quite a challenge for me.

ImageI also cooked the broccoli a different way for us, in the oven with garlic then tossed with parmesan.  It was yummy.  Paired it up with one of our fave meats, slow cooker marinated flank steak, and it was a very yummy meal.  My presentation could use a little work….maybe we’ll put that on next year’s agenda.

This week I learned you can try something new, paired with something old, and it’s progress! 

How do you like to get creative in the kitchen?