Saturday, February 23, 2013

Getting Organized

Every mom I know of a 4 - 5 year-old is going crazy over the same thing - kindergarten. We are lucky in Santa Barbara in that there are so many great choices, but it does make the decision really hard. I keep going back to the idea of homeschooling. Even if we don't decide to homeschool our kids, I really want our house to be set up in the best possible way for them. I recently organized the art cabinet, which makes using my list (see below) even easier. The homemade play-doh in baby food jars is on the top shelf with the beeswax, modeling clay, and crayons. The paint and art sets are on the middle shelf, and the stamping supplies and paper are on the bottom. I even went for it and cut all of the corners off of their watercolor paper and sketch pad paper. Feeling inspired...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

...And We Shall Never Be Bored

There are list people and there are normal people. I am a list person. I can't get anything at all done unless I first write it down on a piece of paper. Of the many things I'm responsible for, momming is by far the most important, and so it is also the subject of most of my lists. I thought I'd share this last one. It's unlike my other lists, in that I don't have the day of the week specified. The lists I made which categorized activities by the day of the week didn't work for me, since much of my life is spontaneous (Will I get called in to work at the coffee shop? Or to substitute in the kindergarten class? Will the girls be invited to Brody's? Will the ocean be irresistible tomorrow?...) and then my lists would seem stressful and unfulfilled. This is my master list, and I just refer to it throughout the day. If we are in need of a good in-breath, maybe I'll check the art projects; if it's out-breath time, I might whisk the girls away to the tide pools, or choose an activity from outdoor play. To me, it's a list of inspirations, not a to-do list. It is a list of reminders of all of the things I want to remember to do, when they work with our schedule. Hopefully there's some fresh ideas for your family, too, and I'd love to hear your suggestions as well!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter Window Stars

It does not snow here, but I would like my children to feel a deep connection with the seasons. When Winter comes, we sing Winter songs, do Winter crafts, and decorate our home in the spirit of Winter. One thing we do to bring Winter into our home is make "snowflakes" that will last all winter. See this post for directions on making window stars. For Winter, we just use all-white kite paper, but you can make them out of regular old paper, in any color. How do you bring Winter into your home?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nature Toto

It is a little tricky at times to keep up a mamatoto group now that most of the totos are in school and most of the mamas are working. The nap schedules of the second crop of totos usually conflicts, and it's hard to find a day and time that works for everyone. Our answer to this was to add more times to meet up. My favorite of the additions is "Friendly Fridays," otherwise known as "Nature Toto." We try to get out in the beautiful nature of Santa Barbara every Friday morning and have done things like: apple picking, blueberry picking, hikes (such as Coldsprings, pictured), the butterflies at Elwood, The Backyard at the NHM, miniature donkey-riding in Santa Ynez, the beach, and White Rock. I am much less concerned with getting my girls in organized-anything (sports, ballet, other classes) as I am with getting them in nature. While organized activities can lend an atmosphere of competition, our Nature Toto has fostered cooperation (building teepees together, searching for treasure, playing house in the roots of a tree...) while still giving the children plenty of opportunities to develop their gross motor skills. And all the while they are developing an attitude of love and respect for our Mother Earth!