A Sampling

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We’ve been eating a lot of “artisan” bread these days.   The breadsticks were made using this recipe – just roll the dough out, slice into strips with pizza cutter, twist to make them pretty, brush with olive oil and garlic, sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary and bake.  The darker breadsticks are using the same method but with my wild rice bread adapted for the no-knead method.  Find many more ideas on the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day blog.  Anything to avoid kneading bread.  I need to conserve energy these days!

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You might notice D’s doll appearing in a lot of photos.  She got it for a birthday gift and it’s been largely ignored (except when other little girls come over and want to play with it).  All of a sudden she is playing with it all the time.  She is sleeping with it at night.  There was a meltdown at bedtime tonight when I said, “I guess you’ll have to find it in the morning”.  Thanks to big brothers helping, we found the missing doll and she was happy.  She spent a lot of time today buckling and unbuckling Baby from the infant car seat.  When she told me Baby had to pee, and I immediately had visions of Baby floating in the toilet, I got her a small diaper and she spent a stretch putting the diaper on and off.

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These two have been into dissecting lately.  They were anxiously awaiting the smelt and/or sucker run, so I got them a dissecting kit to tide them over.  They are still anxiously awaiting some fresh specimens. The smelt run sometime in the last two weeks of April.  Hoping we can somehow take the kids smelt fishing when they run – but it is also right in the middle of birth season for me this year! I’ve got big plans for the smelt involving some eating, but especially some fish fertilizer.  Mmmmm….. buckets of smelt fermenting into garden food!

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This past week has been so sunny and the kids have spent a lot of it outside.

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(Got this idea from Large Family Logistics – laundry reminders)

How about this for a future blog post: “Working Kids are Happy Kids”?  For now, I’ll just say that I wash very few dishes; the household laundry is gathered, washed, and dried without me doing any of it; when it appears clean and in baskets in the living room, the smallest people help me fold and put away; I haven’t put wood in the furnace in weeks; the bathrooms are getting satisfactorily cleaned once a week.  This is a sampling of what they are capable of.  Whenever they become proficient at something it is time to increase responsibility or move them to a bigger responsibility, allowing the next child in line move up to that task.   I am firmly convinced that the harder they work, the happier they are.  There are fewer squabbles (oh, yes, we still have our share), they work more joyfully, they take on new responsibilities with no complaint (as opposed to when I first started asking something of them), and their character is nurtured in a powerful way.  Even before the fall, man was given a job to do – to dress and keep the garden.

This is an area that I really slacked off in training up until the last couple of years.  My kids didn’t do much to help. This was not a reflection of their lack, but my own.  A lack of commitment, a lack of consistency and diligence, a lack of perseverance – all on my part.  It takes time to train a child to do something well.  It takes longer than doing it yourself.  After a couple of tries I’d usually think, “Oh, it’s easier to just do it myself”.  Finally, I realized I wasn’t doing myself or my children any favours.  I feared that I’d already waited too long.  I asked God for wisdom, patience, courage, perseverance.  And we have been richly rewarded! Sure, the initial training slows things down, but in a relatively short time they are proficient.  The payoff is great!  There is such a thrill in watching your children become so independently responsible; in seeing their capability and maturity; in seeing their delight in contributing in a meaningful way to the family!

If you are wondering where to begin, and maybe feeling overwhelmed as I was because you feel that you’ve left it too long, my advice is “baby steps”.  Start with one thing.  Be patient.  Expect resistance.  Be firm but be gentle.  Encourage them.  Let them know how much it is helping you out (and maybe making you more available to do other fun things you feel like you don’t have time for).  Be consistent.  Be consistent.  Be consistent.  And as soon as they can do the task unsupervised and well, start working on the next baby step!

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With seedlings being continually tended, the gardener has moved on to electronics.  We gave the boys Make: Electronics for Christmas.  As our oldest showed a keen interest recently, I ordered the first components kit from Maker Shed Store, and he has been busily absorbed in a world of capacitors, resistors, transistors, bread boards, LEDs, and more.  I’ve already thought of a couple of electronics repairs he can make on  household items with his newly acquired skills!  (Note: the book is only $10 if you order it as an option with the components kit.)  He’s just hit a couple of glitches so we have to figure out if the kit contains some defective parts or what.

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Sharing lunch with  a friend.
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Sharing mischief with a friend.

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She really wants to bike!  Below: Mountain biker in training?

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Other things without pictures:

  • some boys are loving Rosetta Stone Latin.  The program has advanced so much compared to our old version of Rosetta Stone French, and now everyone is wishing for a new version of the French program.  I was just given this tip: sign up for the Rosetta Stone emails and they send out frequent sale notifications (big discounts)!
  • we’re getting bees in early June!
  • check out these young birders at The Eyrie (more posts including samples of submissions will be posted soon)
  • pass the contest info on to any young birders you know; it’s time to gear up for the next season!
  • high priority: create enough garden space on this rocky mountain to house all of the seedlings Z has started!
  • we’re currently gathering supplies for some hypertufa projects for said gardens
  • we’re also gathering Freecycle finds for potting things in
  • we’re all excited to meet a new little baby soon!
  • Mommy is hoping that baby breaks tradition and comes early.  Sooner birth, sooner recovery, sooner ability to move bags of concrete, build hypertufa troughs, push wheelbarrows of soil, net smelt, run bent-over beside bikes with fledgling riders, etc. Such cooperation would make many spring projects a tad easier and allow them to happen a tad sooner!  Meanwhile, Mommy is trying to be patient….. and realistic.   Mostly, Mommy just can hardly wait to meet this little babe who has been so very active, giving such strong and constant reminders of being in there!
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3 Responses to A Sampling

  1. Paisley says:

    I know it’s a lot of work to make a blog post like that but OH BOY do I ever love seeing those little people and hearing what you’re up to!! Thank you for the peek into your day to day!
    Paisley

  2. Rita says:

    I haven’t checked in on you lately, but I really admire what you wrote about teaching/training your children to work and how that makes them happy. Keep up the good job of mothering! (Robyn’s mom, in case you forgot:)

  3. Lisa says:

    I’ve been a little remiss in my blog reading lately, but just checked in and found this gem. Thanks for sharing all the pics. D looks just like N in that photo of the two of them — I had to look twice to sort them out!

    Thanks for the great tips on getting the kids to work — and the reminder that so much of the success of raising our families lies with our own ability to be disciplined and good models of the behaviour we want to see.

    Can’t believe how much the kids have grown! We miss you all.

    Lisa

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