Monday, May 27, 2013

Unschooling: Geography

I read about this idea in a magazine years ago, and I tucked it away for "someday".

I purchased a large world map, and placed it on our table, covered with a clear plastic tablecloth.  Now, when we're eating we enjoy looking at the map and talking about it.  A simple, low-key way to start learning about other countries and their locations.  At their ages, my goal for the kids is nothing more than exposure, but even Ezra knows where the water is and Benjamin can identify a couple of countries and where we live.  Geography has never been my strong point, and I love that I'm learning a lot, too!  Someday, a U.S. map used in the same way will be a great way to learn to identify states and their capitals.

Fresh off the Needles

After learning to knit last year, I've slowly been working my way through a few projects.  Mostly I'm still making dish clothes, but I've been picking up new techniques along the way.  A couple of months ago, I purchased a skein of locally grown and spun yarn, and my goal is to make a cowl for this winter!  I just need to find a simple-enough pattern!

I love that knitting is a great project to bring in the car or work on while watching a movie.  I don't often sit down and knit during the day, but when I do, Joanna helps herself to some needles and yarn and "knits" along with me!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

To the Children's Museum

We discovered that our local children's museum offers free admission every third Friday of the month.  A great deal, considering it would cost over $20 for us to go even on half price days.  Last Friday night was our first opportunity to go, and it was a hit!  It was definitely crowded (no surprise), and there was a bit of sensory overload for us first-timers, but we'll be back the next chance we get.

Joanna wanted to try everything, Benjamin would have been more than happy to have spent the entire evening at the (huge!) train table, and Ezra was somewhere in between the two.

Other than the train table, the highlights were the airplane (Ezra loved driving!), the veterinarian's office, and the stage (especially after they discovered they were on camera!)  We only scratched the surface, though; there were many stations that we had to skip entirely, including the rooftop playground, so we can't wait to get back to check out the rest - if we can drag Benjamin away from the trains!

In Preparation for Baby....

There isn't really much that I will have to do to get ready for baby #4, since we pretty much have everything that we need, but one thing that was on my list was to make new cloth diaper wipes.  I made cloth wipes way back when Benjamin was a baby (shown here), but after nearly 4 1/2 years of constant use, they were a little the worse for wear.....

I was lucky enough this time to have lots of cute flannel scraps in my stash, so our new wipes are very colorful and cheery!  I improved them a bit from last time, too, making them two layers instead of one, so they are thicker and work a bit better.  To save time, I skipped the serger and just zig-zagged around the edges.  They fray a bit the first time they're washed, but then they shouldn't.

My storage method has remained the same over the years - I still keep them in the same wipes box I had  4 years ago, and I still use a squirt bottle of water to wet them down as needed.  This works great for us!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This Year's Garden

I was absolutely thrilled with my garden and its production last year, but I also had a few plans for improvements this year...

First I expanded it about a foot - enough to give me a little extra planting room without cutting into the back yard too much.  Then I asked Seth to help me build a border - just something to look nice and make it seem more like an "official" garden.

I've planted a few things so far, which have started growing, and we'll be planting the rest of our garden in the next couple of weeks.

I wanted a low-maintenance (hopefully weed-free) walkway, so I took a suggestion from one of Seth's co-workers and laid down pieces of cardboard and then covered it with some garden soil we had purchased.  It will probably only last a year or two since the cardboard will break down, but it was low-cost, simple (fortunately, we had some large pieces of cardboard from an outdoor bench we had just purchased), and natural (no plastic!).

Seth also dug out the rest of the rhododendrons and azaleas that were in the backyard to make more room for our blueberry patch.  I added a third bush, and hope to add three more this year.  Our back yard looks so much more open with the big plants gone, and I love having a spot for plants that will provide food for us - especially such a favorite!  The middle one looks like it might be dying right now, so I'm keeping an eye on it and hoping it will bounce back!

Here's to another great gardening year!  =)