Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winter Crafts

I just painted Madeleine's nails "shiny peeenk" for Valentine's Day.  William is building snow monsters out of his grape-scented Jello playdoh.  And I'm listening to my Debussy station, sipping my first mug of tea, and wondering how to spend this chilly Wednesday morning.  This winter has been a challenge for me.  Not necessarily because of the winter blues--though, those are always lurking in the background--rather it's been due to the fact that we live in such a spot that I can't walk my neighborhood.  The sidewalks that do exist are piled four feet high with dirty snow.  We're utterly dependent on the car.  And we share our one car with Andrew during the week.  Tricky, very tricky.  We've been keeping afloat with daily crafts, games, and Little Bear (I love Maurice Sendak).  I'm learning new ways to get them involved in the kitchen, and the concept of "chores" has been introduced.  You relearn what you consider a productive day.  And slowly, slowly begin to appreciate the quiet and simple routines that mark the winter months.  I really like winter.  I like the way we pull inwards and hibernate.  I like all the ways we seek coziness and warmth.  I'm a strange duck, though.  And I'm reminded frequently that you're not supposed to enjoy snow and cold in the Northeast.

By the way, here's a list of some of the crafty things we've been doing around here--in case there are others like me (stay-at-home-barely-sane-mamas):

+ Jello playdoh: 1 C water + 1 C flour + 2 T cream of tartar + 2 T salt + 2 T oil + packet of jello.  Cook on stove till it pulls together into a ball.  Cool.  Then play for weeks!

+ Potato prints: Slice potato in half and wittle any shape feasible.  Cut around the shape.  Use whatever paint is available on heavy paper (I use watercolor paper).

+ Paper bag puppets: Use paper sandwich bags, and color with markers and crayons.  Use the fold for the mouth.  Andrew rocks at this!

+ Wooden bead necklaces: Use either a plastic over-sized needle and yarn or a shoelace.  Knot one end and have them string wooden beads (I found mine at Micheals) till it's long enough to tie into a necklace or bracelet.  I think Madeleine has five right now!

+ Treasure Hunt: In a large bowl, empty a bag of dry beans and 2 Cups of dry rice.  Hide pennies and nickels (or whatever) and give them turns locating their treasure!

+ Snow Candy: Using chocolate syrup or maple syrup, drizzle onto clean snow.  Wait until it hardens.  Scoop it up, break it, eat it!  By the way, your average pancake syrup doesn't harden on the snow, but, it does make for great Snow Cream.  We scooped it up in a bowl and took our spoons to it!

If you have other indoor activities you love to do with your little ones, please share!  I'm always eager to try something new.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stuffies and Stiches

Attempting a blog post while my children are awake is like trying to fold clothes, or make a phone call, or bake bread, or take a nap, while my children are awake.  Not happening.  Well, not in one sitting.  They have a sixth sense when it comes to activities that involve their mother's concentration or comfort or To Do list.  MUTINY!

Okay, back to the blog post.  My parents were here last weekend, and though it was frightfully cold and windy, we managed to make it to three beaches and eat seafood!  Anthony's Seafood does take-out!  We had "stuffies", lobster rolls, and salmon burgers.  I think William only ate the French fries.  But, he'll get there.

I've been exploring different kinds of crochet stitches.  I usually have an idea of what I want to do, but, rarely know how it's going to turn out.  Madeleine's new hat turned out... like a tea cozy.  Yup.  Fluffy and pink.  But, she liked it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Years and My Lists

I'm listening to Madeleine and William jump from the couch to the chair, from the chair to the couch, repeated a million times.  It's not too far, but, I know that I'm happier not watching, my back to the mad jumping.  This is life with my children.  Sometimes it's best to let them test their wings.  And be there to kiss the boo-boos if they fall.

Christmas has come and gone--in a flurry of wrapping paper and ribbons.  I love this age--magic runs through their blood.  It permeates everything in their world.  And I get to soak it up, belief by proxy.  They woke up at 5AM on Christmas Eve morning.  And on Christmas morning.  And on Boxing Day, too.  Granted, I'm usually up at 4:30 most mornings these days, so I can make it to the Y, but, while on holiday, I dream the dream of a proper lay-in.  New Years Eve was highly comical this year.  I drank my champagne, kissed my sweetheart, and promptly fell asleep at 9PM.  I actually congratulated myself.  The babes woke up at 5AM the next morning.  I can't win.

New Years is one of my favorite holidays.  And it has nothing to do with the champagne and the turning of the calender.  It has everything to do with the new journal I buy.  The shiny new pens in my new leather pen case.  It's the list of goals, dreams, trips, classes, and skills I want to accomplish in the coming year.  Its the holiday for List-Makers!  So, here I go:

1. Take a yoga class--develop my practice
2. Crochet a sweater
3. Learn to sail
4. Photograph a wedding
5. Buy geraniums--keep 'em alive
6. Read one of the Classics per month (any recommendations?)
7. Go camping
8. Grow out my nails
9. Move closer to down town
10. Visit the wineries on the Island

I love these types of lists--send me yours :)  I would adore it!

By the way, we're doing a ton of crafts over here--wooden bead necklaces, chalkboard drawings, sandcastles, chocolate whiskey shortbread, yarn sewing boards!  I love winter for all the cozy crafts we get to do.  Also, we are starting new holiday traditions for our wee family.  We have Christmas chai tea on Christmas Eve after we set out the cookies, milk, and carrots.  And we explore a beach on Boxing Day!  It's wonderfully fun!