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Creating a richer environment when you live an ordinary life. - Page 2

post #21 of 34
Originally Posted by genifer View Post

What an awesome thread! We just took our kids out of school to home educate.  Im getting some pretty groovy ideas here and its spurring my own imagination. I had a look to see how much it would cost to purchase some butterfly eggs and its SO cheap!! Do I need a special cage to hatch them in?

There are companies that sell cages, but you could easily make one yourself - bonus activity! I've seen homemade cages made of plywood frames wrapped in a fine mesh. Make sure you have mesh on the top too so your caterpillar has something to hang from while making it's chrysalis (I prop up long hefty sticks for the same purpose). The most important thing is to have a plant your caterpillar will eat. Some caterpillars are very finicky (e.g., monarchs will only eat milkweed).
post #22 of 34

Something that's made a huge difference for us is having our good friends and neighbors over.  We alternate hosting Monday evening dinners before our boys head off to their scouting meeting.  Sometimes we eat something a bit fancy, but sometimes it's just a pot of spaghetti or pizza or soup and bread.  Sharing our week with each other enriches both families. 

post #23 of 34

One thing we incorporated into our days years ago ~ At dinner we all share 'our favorite part of the day'. This is a very sweet and fun moment for all of us, and it really has helped me get to know the kids and their individual preferences better. They tell me clearly, in their own words just what happens in our days that is memorable, enjoyable, and important to them. I was actually thinking last night that I wanted to share this idea on my blog. We get so much out of it, even though it is a short, easy thing to do as a family. My dd 4 often turns it into telling your favorite 3 things as it is hard to pick just one. Too fun!

post #24 of 34

A few ideas:


Listen to classical music - the Beethoven's Wig CDs are great, and the 2-CD set from classicsforkids: http://www.cinradio.org/store/   (I posted the link because it is hard to find)


Practice instruments


Read children's collections of Aesop's fables, mythology, classic fairy tales, Just So Stories, etc.  Stuff that gets the brain going.


Watch science DVDs.  Do experiments.


Paint with different types of things - sponges, toothbrushes, toothpicks, feathers etc.  Look at art books.

post #25 of 34

This is a GREAT thread! So easy to get stuck in ruts. Thanks everyone!

post #26 of 34

Dancing in the Kitchen (always)


Watching cool videos - especially around the world type videos (we love YouTube)


Making obstacle courses in the backyard (or throughout the house)


Watching movies with crazy popcorn - blue cheese popcorn, pbj popcorn, maple syrup popcorn...


Singing - through which ds is learning about Beatles, Doors, Dylan, Marley, politics, philosophy, and awesome vocabulary words. (we're terrible singers btw, but it's so much fun)





post #27 of 34

Such a cool thread to read! 


Really quickly, I want to tell you that I own Shel Silverstein's cd where the poem, "Ickle Me Pickle Me Tickle me too" :




Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Went for a ride in a flying shoe.
"What fun!"
"It's time we flew!"
Said Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle was captain, and Pickle was crew
And Tickle served coffee and mulligan stew
As higher
And higher
And higher they flew,
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too,
Over the sun and beyond the blue.
"Hold on!"
"Stay in!"
"I hope we do!"
Cried Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle too
Never returned to the world they knew,
And nobody
Knows what's
Happened to
Dear Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.


Tearing? I mean, my goodness.. does he not say it all? :D! It gets me! I sneak it into some of the Raffi playlists. I think it is about how fleeting childhood is, and like the beginning "Went for a ride in a flying shoe."Hooray!" "What fun!""It's time we flew!" , how fun growing and living those years are. Sometimes when I am feeling so ordinary it reminds me that my kids are so new and it is actually rather healthy to focus them on the free, organic (schooling, living, being), and the priceless love that comes when I am not planning for it. I know I am suppose to be prepareing them and giving them an awesome life, but sometimes I like to think back to a film "Baraka" which shows the human story, good and bad, but the first part of the film in a great way. The first actor is a monkey, which is an accident (director's voice over tells this, " the camera was set up, actor was called to the set, but then the monkey decided to hop in" ). The monkey wound up meditating in a hot spring with ice in his/her hair. It was perfect because they wanted to have the first scene represent all of humanity and let this monkey be in the film and not the actor they originally had. The monkey looked around a little bit, then started to close and reopen it's eyes, then let them be closed for a quite a few relaxing breaths, I am sure by the sweet warmth of the springs. What I mean to say is, life is so simple sometimes; don't forget how perfectly sweet thoughts you can have sweeping. 


Okay. The other thing that comes to mind is ----- why be ordinary? Something *must* be itching in you. Listen to it. I agree with the "wallpaper" Miranda spoke of. Some ways we can on the brink of bringing out something inside us. Please play around with it! Write down a list of free things or abstract ideas you want, or want more of. 


Pinterest.com is a site that has really been changing my life lately! Pandora for free music too. Both of those are free ways I have really begun to express more of myself. Basically try to get some inspiration. I am trying not to list examples because sometimes it can make you think and think like you are window shopping. Maybe that is okay, but linking some of *your* passions with a list of free ways to get there and then searching pinterest maybe closer to target. Even searching there for just blah things you want to change as well. (I follow a lot of art, nature, and some style, but about 300 homeschooling moms are the bulk). 


I once did a year of not buying stuff and only got stuck a few times. Three things happened: I got more creative, I found more time, and I by taking myself away from buying places, it seems I took the elevator to the top floor of design (and "designing" my life). It seems that the stores...trying to think but it seems like I can't think of ones that I really loved after that year..anyway, it seems like the tons of choices in those places kept my life very ordinary. I am much more into free ways, clearing clutter or handmade, or next to nothing and hopefully reused way of life now. I just did a cloud painting on cardboard for a play kitchen - which use to be dining hutch, etc. I had to stomach the cost of the paints and brushes though, but I like having the supplies. I also love making those colored books of scrapbook making into - anything. Like this (making one): http://pinterest.com/pin/245305510923339133/

Also doing this over the windows as curtains, but in white (cause the room has a lot of rainbow going on): http://pinterest.com/pin/245305510923332826/ .. 


I also have been wearing red lips lately for fun. :D 


I guess the biggest change has been a juicer. Whole different topic but really rocked my world and great! 


The suggestions made by other members are super great! I think I have done most of them and highly suggest it! I am organized about it too. I take notes that we did it (digital stuff) and see a trend.. it is super rewarding to them as "school". It may be hard for you to start a new gig or process in your life with all the ways we get ourselves busy, but make a list.. look at it next month and then once again the next. Something will begin to surface like "Making indian food." you may get a few recipes printed out... in a sense like riding a bike. 


I know I am going to have a raw food party because I am trying to meet hippie moms so badly! I am asking a few new friends (relocated) to invite any cool people over to it. 


I also have a big fluffy dress I got a bag thrift store sale that I wear to "Tea." :D A few crazy days are fun times!




Edited by greenacresmama - 3/18/12 at 10:52pm
post #28 of 34

Loving this thread, so inspirational!


greenacres love your post and just wanted to say how much I love in your signature "semi-unschooling". That's where we are, or at least where it feels like we are moving towards.!

post #29 of 34

lurk.gif so many beautiful things shared. Lots of inspiration.

post #30 of 34

I am loving this thread!

We are pretty ordinary too, though I have all kinds of neat hobbies I rarely have the uninterrupted time for now, with 3 between ages 1 and 7. 


We have started grooving out to loving our home, and being in it, when we are not either having to clean it, fix or clean up after a meal, get ready for bed, or get ready to go out. That precious time at home, when the meal is done til the next meal, when the meals are cleaned up after and the house is tidy and swept, and we then don't have to pack up and rush off somewhere, are GOLD.


Sometimes we slouch in front of screens for some luscious Netflix Roku for them, and some private computer time for me, and that's good, but the best of all is when we turn off from the screens and turn on with each other, and that is when the magic happens.


During that magic timespace, we discovered, we LOVE to:


-Have tea and toast in the dining room

-Play Parcheesi

-Play dominoes, cards, (little kid games) or something else

-Crank up the Pandora on the big speakers and dance til we feel betta

-Cuddle and read just like on those pretty homeschool-life-is-perfect blogs

-Cook something that is a treat, just for fun, instead of a meal, out of necessity.

-Sit outside on the sunny steps and watch the world go by while sipping something cold and yummy.

-Make tissue paper flowers, sew something, or paint, or some other cool art or craft

-Decide to go for a walk to the park and play, and stop by the corner store and say hi to the people we know.

-Make music

-Flip through catalogs or magazines, and talk about what we like in this one or that one

-Make dreidels out of clay (we did this and it was hours, days, and weeks of fun, as we then learned how to play dreidel after they were dry and ready)

-decorate the living room for whatever little celebration or occasion is coming...can be anything, string lights, paper flowers and garlands, flower arrangements, we love it.


And last but not least, often in those moments, we find ourselves sort of dispersing while still together, each to their own muse. The 7 year old wants to work on a project, the 4 year old wants to flip through books or build with legos, and the toddler wants to nurse and nap while I indulge in a magazine or handicraft. Bliss!


post #31 of 34
When I homeschooled in Decatur , Ga. I had a lot of free community events to lean into. My new city has some of these kinds of things but my kids are back to a brick and mortar school now.

for a free lunch and dance show


for lunch and learn lectures

free forest walks, free observatory times in the evenings and special classes year round


log cabin storytelling and crafts at the history center

I could go on and on. There's a lot out there.. you just have to make the effort to find it.
post #32 of 34

Since I last posted, our plans for next year have changed, and we won't be living in the same city. Kids are on spring break this week, and we had hoped to do some traveling, but it didn't pan out because dh needs to work. So yesterday, we did a day on mass transit. We traveled the city end to end, stopped in a few places and strolled and checked things out, and found some cool (and free) fun. It was a long day but a great success, and I imagine we will do it again. You can only hit a few stops in a day, and there's a whole other line, plus bus lines, waiting to be discovered.


Today is another "staycation" day, and right now, kids are making paper animals, and I have a picnic chilling in the fridge to take out for lunch outside.


We used to have all that "extraordinary" stuff in our life--bees, chickens, dairy goats, sheep, gardens--and I miss it like crazy, I really do, but this is where we are right now.

post #33 of 34
Originally Posted by 1jooj View Post

So yesterday, we did a day on mass transit. We traveled the city end to end, stopped in a few places and strolled and checked things out, and found some cool (and free) fun. It was a long day but a great success, and I imagine we will do it again. You can only hit a few stops in a day, and there's a whole other line, plus bus lines, waiting to be discovered.


Little kids especially love buses and trains.  We are lucky in our region to have ferries as well.  The trip across the Puget Sound and back is exciting and relatively cheap for walk-ons.  Just taking the bus instead of the car can make things exciting now and then.


We like going to the farmers market.  We have several to choose from including one big one open 7 days a starting this time of year.  Buying a CSA share can mean a trip to a vegetable farm for pick up.  That would take a drive if you live in town, but is otherwise pretty cheap especially if the kids get to run around.


Do they allow chickens in your town?  A small flock of chickens can keep kids busy and they are so much fun.  So many communities are allowing them now.  I used to take care f my neighbor's chickens when they went on vacation.  That's a great way to enjoy them without owning them.  We are in 4-H and are doing the poultry project, but we are also doing one project called "Horseless Horse", which we are doing as a family not with our group.  Some of the activities are to visit a tack store, a veterinarian etc.  No horse required!


My girls got to dogsit for a week.  (We don't have a dog.)  They were paid handsomely and rose to the task.


Today we are headed to open gym at the gymnastics center, though that is a drive but is otherwise super cheap.  I like to combine that with other errands we need to do.  When we stop at the grocery store, I try to let the girls work the self-checkout.  They are 5 and 7 and love that stuff.  Of course, even if we weren't paying for open gym, just a trip to a different park and bigger library can really make the day.  Some days we visit our little toy store when their allowance jars are getting full enough.  Oh, they love that day!


post #34 of 34

I wanted to add something new and wonderful that has been making our ordinary days feel like magic. WALKS! Especially now that the sun is out and my almost 2 dd is able to walk without a stroller. 

We live in a very hilly neighborhood and watching dd explore the rocks, the "flouw-ahs", the trees, has been so fulfilling. 

We have never seen her express so much happiness and contentment. luxlove.gif Makes mama so happy.


Also, we have been turning off tv in mornings (she loves Sprout) and turning on Pandora. 

Yesterday we made oatmeal cookies, and she helped add flours/sugars in. 


Anyways, I have been encouraged by your thoughts, and thanks OP for starting this thread, because there are many days when I feel so "blah"



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