Sunday, May 26, 2013

If a child is happy and learning...

Originally saw this because Katherine Anderson posted this in Unschooling Quote-arama (on facebook) and it got sent to my email inbox. -

"If a child is happy and learning, I think that should take precedence over the (sometimes more) political question of whether she's in school or at home. A child who is home against her will might be worse off than a child who is in school against her will.

If all the homeschooled kids had chosen to be there, and all the school kids had chosen to be there, both would be much improved. And every child's life would be more peaceful. And the lives of those around them would be more peaceful.

Life isn't perfect, but pressure and lack of choices are in the negatives column in most lives." ~~Sandra Dodd

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sweet moment...

We have some tiny seedlings growing in eggshells and egg cartons. Kanoa and I were watering the new seeds we planted yesterday and he said excitedly, "Isn't this the best day of your life!!" I looked at him and smiled and said, "Yes, it is!"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kanoa shows off his spinning and pretending skills (from 5.7.2013)

Kanoa thought it was so cool to spin the rubber snake fast and wanted me to get a picture of him doing it.  
I got a short video first, and then a quick picture!  


video
 A short video with a high pitched squeal/scream as Kanoa spins the snake! 


Now the picture....Can you see the snake spinning in Kanoa's hand...a blurr of green towards the bottom?

And here he is pretending to be a zombie!  We love playing Plants vs Zombies and had been looking up many videos related to that such as other people making their own homemade Plants vs Zombies music videos and Plants vs Zombies videos with various cartoon or game characters in them.  I can't believe how many there are.

video



5/21 - Jim just received a package in the mail for Kanoa which he'll give to him tonight.  It contains little characters from Plants vs Zombies!!!  Kanoa will love this!  Even has Dr. Zomboss ("the big guy!")


Friday, May 10, 2013

Dandelion Cookies


Today Makana and I picked a bunch of dandelions and used the flowers (no green parts) to make "Dandelion Cookies."  Makana went through each flower thoroughly to make sure we didn't include any green parts (sepals) as they cause bitterness.  


We followed a recipe in the book called "Dandelion Celebration" by Peter Gail.

Here is the recipe for "Dandelion Flour Cookies" - it takes about 20 flowers to make a half cup, though if you lose many petals in trying to get rid of the green sepals, you will need more.  Make sure they come from a place that doesn't spray chemicals or anything on them.  

This is how the cookies turned out!  They were pretty good.  Not oh-my-God great, but okay.  We thought that the lighter ones tasted better.  They weren't a crumbly cookie.  They aren't too sweet, yet there is a sweet aftertaste.  If you are used to healthier versions of cookies, you might like them even more.
 I'd make them again.  They'd be good with a cup of tea.





Makana made her own breakfast, etc

I know Makana likes to do things by herself and is proud of herself when she does so.

Yesterday morning she made herself scrambled eggs and an onion bagel.  I think this was the second time she ever made them on her own.  Totally on her own.  




Also, she and I have been playing Mastermind and Sorry, she's been riding her bike (Katie's old one) and last night she began to read Amelia Bedelia aloud before we went to sleep (though she had to stop to let people talk for a bit and then fell asleep before she could finish).  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Will you marry me, Mommy?



Kanoa was so sweet.  While we were at the Union Fairgrounds today (riding bikes and scooters with other homeschoolers), he asked me if I would marry him.  Twice.  Right after he asked the first time, he picked a dandelion and gave it to me saying, "Here is a dandelion for you." And the second time it was a dried out oak leaf.

I told him he was so sweet and thanked him for the treasures.

I don't think I got around to answering him the first time because he moved on to giving me the flower and then getting back into running and playing again.

A little bit later he asked for the second time.  He had stopped playing and running and had more time to listen to a response.  I should have said, "Yes, I can marry you" and give him a hug.  For all he must mean is I love being with you.  And he probably wanted to feel secure knowing that I would always be there for him and that I love him.  But what did I say?  Lightheartedly and gently I said I was already married to Daddy.  I asked him if I could give him a hug and a kiss.  He looked at me and with a yucky face said that if you give a person a kiss, it means you are married!  

Sit Down Meals, or Not

"Life is where connections are made. You don't need to try to set up meaningful situations (special dinners, family meetings etc) for big things to happen. Meaningful moments come from the people gathered, not the context. From being together. Unschooling families in action." - Pam Larrachia's newsletter, issue #13.

I love this!!  I was thinking about it in the context of "sit down meals," though it applies to so many things in life in general.  

We don't normally sit down all together in one place at one time for a meal.  Food  is made  when we are hungry and unless we have ants, it is eaten by the computers, in the living room, dining room or kitchen, with other people or not.

If I make a big breakfast, I usually make extra in case Katie is hungry after school as I know she eats very little while she's there.  Because Jim works and likes to have dinner after returning from work, I save a plate for him or have leftovers available to heat up.  Sometimes we eat late at night and so eat with Jim.  No matter how we eat, there is no "should." Wherever and whenever we decide to eat is okay.

Some evenings, Jim will eat his dinner while he, Makana and I (and sometimes Li) watch Little House on the Prairie.  We all Love that show and enjoy viewing it and talking about it together.

I love the freedom to eat when we are hungry and not feel like there is a certain time to eat what was put out on the table or that we somehow should come together to eat when we're into doing something else.  Even if I wanted to do this (which I really don't), Jim gets home so late that it wouldn't be a good fit for our family to wait to eat with him.  And Kanoa is too young to be comfortable eating at the table and I don't believe in making him do so.  I don't believe in making anyone do so.  I'm not up for coercing people to eat what I prepare and put out when I say so.  It isn't how I roll.  So....the idea of sit down meals is out and we do what we do are are content with it.

All that being said, there have been times when the kids wanted to have gone to a friend's house where they have sit down meals.  And sometimes afterward they have asked me to make a sit down meal at the table like xyz's house has....and also to make the macaroni and cheese just like they did too.  So I call for the recipe, the kids usually help prepare the table and the event is fun and special in and of itself.

How does anyone else feel about sit down meals?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What a GREAT Day!! Rockland Breakwater Light and Owl's Head Lighthouse

I woke up and felt awake at 9:30am this morning.  That is pretty cool!  Guess I'm getting used to getting up "early."  How many weeks has it been now...3?

Made a nice breakfast of eggs, mushrooms, red peppers, bacon with toast.  Jim and Makana had onion bagels and salsa with theirs instead of toast - Jim says salsa is a great replacement for ketchup.  Also made a mushroom omelet for the Li and Wolfgang, though he needed to go to work before it was done...but luckily had eaten beforehand, so it was okay.  I offered a ride, so Kanoa and I dropped him off, then came home.
The food was finally finished - and was delicious!

Briefly checked email and did some odds and ends.  Went outside to rake out the leaves from the rosa rugosa plants along the driveway.  Jim came out and helped move the leaves to the woods and also swept the top of the driveway off as we have so much dirt there from the winter season.  We really could use one of those blowers to get rid of the dirt and dust as no matter how much we sweep, there is still more.  And the driveway is long!

Kanoa hammered things with a rubber mallet, then picked up a shovel and came to where I was raking and dug the shovel in, but the black flies were too much and so he opted to go inside.  Shortly thereafter he came back out to ask if he could have some of "Daddy's cookies" (the ones Jim takes to work).  I got some for him and he tried to eat them and avoid the black flies.  He ended up sitting in the back of the minivan to eat them as that was a place the flies couldn't bother him.

Makana rode Katie's old bike around the yard and was so proud of herself as she is getting better and better at it.  It is different riding Katie's bigger bike then it is to ride one of the shorter ones that she used to.  Plus she hasn't rode in a while and is trying to acclimate to it again.  Last week at Emma and Anna's house, I ran along side of her to help.  At least two or three times this week she rode Katie's bike while I pulled Kanoa in the wagon or pushed the stroller.  Jim moved the bike seat up a little bit for her this morning and she says that it helped.

Eventually Jim and I were done and Kanoa wanted to go back inside.  I went with him and while he played on the computer, I tidied up the kitchen, started laundry, cleaned up some things and packed up water for our outing.

Jim, like Kanoa, wanted to get away from the black flies.  Makana wanted to walk. We decided that we'd try walking the breakwater to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.  (I use "try" because we never know what will happen...one of us may not be able to do it or not want to because of the wind or cold or some other reason...and that is a long walk...so even if we end up hanging on the beach by the breakwater or doing something else, it would be okay...but we were hoping to walk out to the light.)

While Kanoa and I were inside, Jim and Makana played catch with Jim's Dad's baseball.  Makana LOVED the one on one time with Daddy and told Jim later how much she loved playing baseball with him.  It meant so much to her.  Jim felt so glad that they did that too. Though one time Makana missed the ball and it hit her forehead...yikes!

Li opted to stay home and skype and play games on the computer.

Wolfgang got off of work early and got a ride home with Jessica (mom) and Emma and AJ who happened to see him downtown.  Then Katie asked if Emma and AJ could come over.  I said yes.  She then asked if later today I could take them and Kaylin and Keely and Rebecca to Emma and AJ's house.  I said I'd drive one way if someone else could drive them back.  She thought Chipper could bring them home.  I told her that we were going out this afternoon though.  She asked if I could take them first and I thought about it and said okay if we left very soon. But then a text came in that Keely was walking a dog until 4pm and so we decided I'd take them when we got back.  If we had waited for Keely to be done, by the time I got back from Lincolnville (as they are far out in Lincolnville, not just 15 minutes), there would not be time for Jim, Kanoa and Makana and I to do what we talked about.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
Jim and I and Makana and Kanoa drove to Rockland and parked in the usual area.  It was cold and kind of windy.  Jim thought I'd change my mind and not do the walk because of the weather.  However, with Kanoa on my back keeping me warm (he didn't want to walk), I was feeling okay!!

The walk out to the Light is 7/8ths of a mile out and 7/8ths of a mile back.








 I carried Kanoa for most of the way out there, stopping briefly to rest and nurse (he likes to nurse when he's cold).





I thought he was done and we'd walk back to the land, but he did want to go to the lighthouse.  Good!  Because I did too!  So we went the last bit and caught up with Jim and Makana who had been there ahead of us and were beginning to walk back.









They turned around and we all went to the white benches atop the stairs and looked back towards the mountains and green lawn of the golf course by the Samoset Resort.  How beautiful!!!  The sky was not crisp and clear this day, and even in spite of that, it was still breath-taking!  Wow, we sure do live in a beautiful area!!  (No pictures of looking back toward the land this time...sorry!)


Makana took this one.

Makana took this one too!


The man next to us pointed out a seal that was swimming back and forth between two spots.  That was neat to see!  Kanoa didn't seem interested in the seal, but Makana and I looked at it.

We nursed once again, Makana took some pictures and we headed back.

Kanoa was feeling ready to run and go go go!!  So we held hands and leapt over the crevices, which he called "caves."  We referred to ourselves as speedy and man, we went fast!

We were way ahead of Jim and Makana - geez! (not that I was trying to stay ahead of them....just trying to keep up with Speedy Gonzales there!)  

Kanoa did fall one time after stepping in a puddle by accident.  And I did ask him to "stay in the middle" of the breakwater instead of on the edge as one side was like a cliff and the other had a short buffering of rocks.

When Kanoa got tired on the way back, I picked him up and carried him a bit and then he walked some and then I carried him on my back again.  We hummed/sung the Lone Ranger tune and he laughed and laughed as he yelled out along with me.  I wish I had that on video because I love it when we have moments like those.  :)

He and I hopped off the rocks onto the land (which is really a bunch of smaller rocks and some sand) and then followed the path to some granite benches and plopped down.  We heard bagpipes in the distance.  Jim and Makana came along and we walked to the car.  Makana showed me the scrape on her knee (she had fallen).  As we drove off, we explored a new road in a little development to the left and by the water.  Nice.

At the light, even though we were thinking about going to Owl's Head Light and the General Store near it (and I was in the turning lane to head that way), I said that maybe we could do that tomorrow as I felt like I should get back to take the kids to Lincolnville and Jim had said that the Owl's Head Park gate might not be open by the time we got there.  But Jim had talked up the 7 Napkin Burger for a couple of months on and off and especially recently, and so Makana Really wanted to try it.  And Jim sounded slightly disappointed at the idea of going back home and when I asked if he'd be okay with going to Owl's Head even if just to get the burger (in case the lighthouse park would be closed), he said he would be.  So, I did head toward Owl's Head.

This is the photo we took after leaving Owls Head Light Park towards the end of the day, so it is "closed" here.  Normally you'd see cars parked right in front.  
Oh...on the way we passed the Grasshopper Shop and I asked if I could grab two bars of Linden soap, my mom's favorite  - one for Mother's Day and one for her birthday.  Both coming up.  It was okay with them and I did that!  Yay...one less thing to do during the week when I'd have to bring the kids in with me.  So much easier to be able to run in by myself.  And I felt a little bit of relief at getting that done too.

We stopped at the Owl's Head General Store.



The inside is practical and clean and homey feeling.  Some useful things for vacationers, some novelty items, a great menu, nice little tables.  Hear their baked goods are wonderful.  All in all - a great place and a worthy stop!

Kanoa was looking for something good to eat.  There were chocolate muffins with green peppermint icing and little pearl looking fancy things on them set out and within Kanoa's reach.  We asked him which one he would like and he chose one and was about to take a bite when it plopped right onto the floor upside down!  He picked it back up - the icing was stuck to the floor.  Before I could take it from him and get another, he took a bite out of it.  I let my worry of germs go...rationalizing and hoping that the icing kept most of the dirt and germs and that the cake part was mostly clean.  He ended up eating only a few bites, then while my eyes were looking elsewhere for a second, he stuck the cake part that was left back up on the platter...ewww.  I took it off and threw it out and wiped up the icing too.

Makana and Jim ordered a 7 Napkin Burger with cheese each.  He told them that the order would be "to go" or outside as we thought that would be best for Kanoa.

It smelled so so good in there!!!  I kept smelling pizza, and finally realized they did make pizza too.  I had just not seen it on the menu.  Not that I'd have ordered it, but it was good to know for another time maybe.

Kanoa was grabbing things and had trouble stopping, so I took him to the car.  He cried and said he won't touch anything and he wanted to go back in.  I picked him up and held him in my arms.  We took a quick peek at some lobster buoys (we had just seen and talked about lobster buoys on our walk earlier along the breakwater), noticed a raised garden bed, and then went back inside.  With him still in my arms, I pointed out different things...until I noticed ice cream!  That would keep him busy and happy!  The ice cream cone had nuts on it, but we found Ben and Jerry's vanilla in a little dish - perfect!  He sat at a little table in the sun and began to eat.

It took a long time (thankfully!).  As I watched him eating it, I decided to get one too.  We slowly enjoyed our ice cream.

When the famous 7 Napkin Burgers came out (even the Food Network calls them the best burgers in Maine), Kanoa was still happily and busily eating ice cream.  So they did eat inside and I took some pictures.


The funniest one is Makana with her mouth open and just about to take a first bite.  It looks to big!






Jim told me it really was that good and to try a bite of his, so I did.  Wow!  Awesome!  I asked Makana for a bite of hers, but she gave me a look that meant she didn't want to share.  Normally she is so generous, but she must have been hungry and it really was that good!

While I was taking pictures, Kanoa helped himself to my little ice cream dish.  He was beginning to walk around a little and went over to an empty table.  Before I got there, he put some salt into his ice cream.  When he tried it afterwards, he didn't like it at all.  I tried to wipe out the salt for him, but he was done by then and not interested in eating any more.  I gave him the salt and pepper shakers on our table to experiment with.  He sprinkled them on his ice cream.  That helped to keep him busy while I finished up my ice cream (I got a new little one since I had not gotten to eat that much and was still hungry) and while Jim and Makana finished eating.

We paid and thanked the person there and headed to Owl's Head Lighthouse.

The gate to the park was open!  Kanoa was full of energy still!  He RAN and I did too.  Right up to the top of the lighthouse stairs.



Makana joined us and we touched the lighthouse.  We met another lady there at the top who said she was going to walk the breakwater tomorrow.  I told her it was cold on the way out, but warmer with the wind at our backs on the way back.  She was glad to hear that as the wind and cold kept her from doing it today. And tomorrow is supposed to be a little bit warmer too!

We came down from the top of the stairs so Jim could get a good picture without people in it.  That is the kind of photo he likes to get to post, keep, and maybe to go in a lighthouse book someday.

Kanoa kept going up and down the stairs and let's just say I got a lot of exercise too!  Ha!



We walked around to the other side of the light and then to some rocks where Jim took some close up photos of the light.



Then down the stairs again.  We ran toward and then past a bunch of visitors speaking in an indian language (not sure which dialect).  Would like to have spoken to them, but no time.  Ran back past some of the visitors, past Jim and Makana on the stairs, and back to the lighthouse for one more walk along it's back which was on a ledge/cliff.  I held Kanoa's hand so I felt he was safe.  Then back down the stairs for the last time, zoomed along the dirt driveway (no cars allowed on it except Coast Guard vehicles, but there were none at this time) and Kanoa picked a dandelion, which he called a "daisy."

When Jim and Makana caught up, we decided to go down the pathway to the beach.  Kanoa was excited about this.  He took off running again.  He tripped and fell.  He cried a little, but I helped him up and I brushed him off.  He said he felt like he was bleeding.  No blood.  No scrapes.  But he dropped his dandelion...phew..we found it!

We finished our walk (and this time he walked or had a piggyback ride) to the beach.  Well, let's call it the rocks as the "beach" is full of rocks.  Not really any sand to speak of!  What nice rocks though...all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Little periwinkles scattered between them.  I found a nice large flat rock that I thought I'd bring home to paint.

Jim went to the other side of the beach to get a shot of the lighthouse with the late day sun on it.  He said one of his award winning shots was from that spot.  So he was rather enthusiastic to get another one...and with the new camera!  This was his first day using it to take lighthouse shots.  Would they come out good?  (They did!)







While Jim was photographing, Kanoa thought it would be fun to jump the waves.  He wanted me to do it with him.  He got undresses...I was thinking just of taking off his socks and shoes, but then he took off his pants and sweatshirt and diaper!  Okay then!  I took off my shoes and socks and rolled up my comfortable, stretchy knit navy pants.  Wherever they are from, they are the best (Lands End?  LL Bean?).  Since I used to wear leotards and unitards so often, I think I have a fondness for comfort - and often I forgo nicer looking clothes (like trendy or fashionable ones) for comfort.  I guess I'm kind of like my Dad...practical.  In the basement I still have many of my former dresses and clothes that I just don't wear anymore or that are too tight (yeah...someday I might fit into them again...lol!  ha!)  Anyway, Kanoa and I walked to the water, him enthusiastically and me gingerly as it hurts my feet to step on the rocks.  In the summer, water shoes make it easy, but I didn't have them this time.  Jim was surprised to see us in the water!



 It was so cold that it felt like an ice cream headache in my feet!  Yet it was fun!  I was surprised we were doing this!  This was not something I'd of done if it weren't for Kanoa wanting to!  What I'd of missed!!




When Jim came back, I asked Jim for the camera and took some photos of Kanoa playing with a stick by the water and occasionally throwing rocks into it.  He was yelling and feeling free and happy!!  So cool to see!






Makana gathered some of the shells she found and showed them to me cupped in her hands.



 Kanoa became cold eventually and wanted to nurse.  We did so and then I got him dressed.

Jim put the round rock in his coat for me and then I gave him one more as I bet Makana will want to paint one too.  She's been so into painting lately.

On our way out, we briefly chatted with a family that hiked down a steep wooded hill to the beach with a tiny dog.  The man told Makana that she dropped a shell.  She picked it up.

I carried Kanoa on my back up the hill to the car.  I made sure to turn on the heat, especially for him.

On our way back, we stopped to take a photo of the General Store that we had eaten at and then we drove down a couple of roads in our search of the Rockland Harbor Southwest Light, which is privately owned.  If I ever forget, it is on Sherman Drive/Road/Street.  I suggested we remember it is "Sherman" by thinking of Laurie, Paul and Brad and Matthew Sherman (our old friends).  Jim agreed and thought we should imagine them living there.  Even better idea!

Jim took a couple of pictures and then we headed home.  We did look to see if it was possible to see the Southwest light from the other side as we drove along, but we couldn't see it.




When we got home, Katie and friends were headed out to walk Emma and AJ down the driveway where they would be getting picked up by their mom.  I felt bad as if we had come earlier, I could have driven all the kids over there as planned, but I guess it was just getting to be dusk out and maybe they felt it was kind of on the late side to still go to Emma's and AJ's.  Or I could have driven just AJ and Emma home so their parents wouldn't have to do the trip both ways.  Argh...I should have called.  Next time I will be sure to call and let Katie/them know when I'm coming (once I know) and then they could wait or not.  Glad they all got to hang out and have fun together here though.

While we were gone, Katie and friends had baked in the kitchen and had cleaned up too.  I think the only sign of the baking was the rectangular pyrex dish in the sink.  Cool!  Jim did notice some Dunkin Donuts glasses in the living room though and asked her to throw them out and pick up cellophane that was on the living room floor.  But otherwise, the house was clean which we appreciated.

We showered and Kanoa wanted to go right to bed.  He's still sleeping (which is why I have time to write this!).  I will head up to bed and hopefully sleep soundly as I surely got some energy out today too!

Li is in a great mood and told me that he forgot how much fun it was to skype and play with friends!  He does skype and play with friends, so I am not sure what he meant...but I am glad he had a good time!

Jim said on the drive back home, "I feel so happy that my insides are smiling!"  And he thanked me for driving him to the lighthouses (of course I would...no need to thank me!!) and said many times what a wonderful day we had.  I agreed!  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Writing and Publishing Opportunity


Writing and Publishing Opportunity: This was written on a couple of yahoo groups at the end of April 2013.  The person to submit writing to is leslipeterson@gmail.com.  Here is the post where she describes what she is looking for.

Hi everyone. I'm an unschool mom who just got a new job as Travel Editor for Homeschool.com We are going to launch the travel section of the website on June 1 (fingers crossed). Homeschool.com is a traditional homeschooling community, but I believe so strongly that travel is the perfect example of how unschooling can work. Who goes on vacation with a curriculum? Almost no one. But look at how much they learn while you are traveling! Amazing! I really think of this new job as a means by which to share my beliefs, without having to utter the words.

One of the first things I want to launch with the site is a category devoted to kids and their writings. If you have a kiddo who enjoys writing and is looking for a by-line, I would love to publish their work. It can be about a vacation they took across the country or around the globe. Even something down the street....visiting the Aquarium or maybe a festival, a cool hotel, etc. Fun or educational. And parents, if you would like to contribute, I could use your work too. Shoot me an email at Lesli at Homeschool.com for more info. Thx!