Our Mindful Life

Our Mindful Life: August 2010

Our Mindful Life

Our Mindful Life is about paying attention to what it is that we do on a day to day basis and how we impact each other and the planet. We will talk about all of the things that we do here at home to make ourselves and the world a better place.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How Can I Do This With My Kids?

I often hear parents talk about how it is impossible to have a clean house, cook real food, read a book, pursue a hobby, and on and on because they have kids.  People often marvel at how much I am capable of doing in a day, as though I must not sleep.  The reality is, though, that I have simply made my days about caring for my children and my home, and decided that these two things are not mutually exclusive.  My children are young, but they are capable of doing much of what I do.  And they want to help.  Young children do want to help.  In fact, everyone has an inborn desire to help others and feel needed.  By teaching my children how to do a job, and do it well, I have added to the amount that I am capable of accomplishing in a day.

Some of the things my children do to help are setting their places at the table, carrying their own dishes to the counter or dishwasher, and getting the silverware for everyone.  They also put their own dirty clothing in the laundry hamper.  They help to load and unload the washing machine and dryer.  They cooperatively empty the lint filter and put it back in its housing.  They help to hang laundry out on their little clothes line while I hang laundry on the taller line.  They also help to take it down.  They help to empty the dishwasher and put the dishes away if they are awake when that is done.  They get their brooms when I sweep and are learning how to sweep their own little piles.  They gather up their craft paper and coloring utensils and put them back into their proper boxes.  They carry garbage and recycling to the appropriate receptacles.  They help to put toys away in the playroom - made possible by keeping different types of things together in baskets so they can simply drop the cars and trucks into the appropriate basket, and so on.  They get the toys that have made their way out of the playroom and put them back in the playroom.  They help to fold laundry - washcloths are a favorite.  They help to put laundry away.  They can carry the wipes to the potty, washrags to the cabinets, napkins to the drawers, Not Paper Towels to the basket.  The Bean can hang the kid clothes on hangers, and they can both hang the hangers on the rod that Daddy hung low for them.  They can both carry stacks of underwear, socks, jammies and pants to the appropriate drawer and put them in.  They can get their own clothes and jammies out when it is time to change.

Did I mention that they just turned 2 and 4?

I let them approach tasks at the level they are on.  I don't expect perfection.  I show them that work is just something we do, and that we can have fun doing.  They love to show me what they are capable of, and many a task is completed with an exclamation of, "I'm proud of myself!"  They play while they work, and enjoy the challenge of learning a new skill.  We sing and laugh together.  We love together, over laundry, dishes, toys, and brooms.  We all feel productive and fulfilled.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Birthday Party

The Bean and the Bug have birthdays 16 days apart.  For their birthdays this year, we had BIG plans!  We left town on Beanie's birthday for camping, visiting with out of state family, and then another night of camping.  We came home and had one week of unpacking, cleaning, remembering our usual routines, and then it was time for birthday party on the Bug's birthday!  Whew!  What a whirlwind!  But, we had a fantastic birthday party, and I wanted to share.

The gifts were perfect!  There is nothing in life like receiving a special gift that is just exactly what someone knew you would love.  And my kids received just that for their birthdays.  A Hobby Lobby gift card that brought so much pleasure to crafty Bean.  A wooden race car for the Bug.  A patio set that they had picked out from Lowe's.  New craft supplies.  A new cattle round up game and new play food (hand crocheted).  Our first train set from Mommy and Daddy.  New clothes - both kids are wearing the same size tops now!

The company was fabulous.  Not too many, yet not too few.  Just enough that everyone was comfortable, and the kids knew everyone well.  No overwhelmed meltdowns.  No tears of frustration.

And the food was great too!  Grandma supplied a veggie tray and cantaloupe.  Mommy baked a cake.  I actually bought (almost) white sugar to ice the cake with, since I have my natural food dyes now, but the Bean was very upset that we were going to frost the cake!  She'd never had frosting before and was not interested in trying it.  So, I whipped up a lovely lemon and blueberry cake the morning of the party.

We didn't get a picture of it with the birthday ring on it, but it was beautiful.  We actually made the birthday ring decorations ourselves.  And we served it with So Delicious Coconut Water Sorbet in Raspberry and Mango.  The cake was made with whole wheat, almond milk, turbinado sugar, all natural, mostly organic, dairy and soy free ingredients, and blueberries that we had picked at the Berry Patch this summer and frozen.  The sorbet has no milk, no soy, no artificial flavors or colors.  All of it was divine!

The decorations were 6 rainbow colored latex balloons, 3 mylar balloons, and some red crepe paper streamers.

Overall, it was simple, healthy, environmentally responsible, and easy.  It was also the perfect birthday party for my kids.

And now that my crazy 16 days is over, I'll be back to blogging regularly!

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