Thursday, February 19, 2009

Multitasking is a must

When you're a Mom you have to know how to multitask. It seems I am never just doing one thing. For instance, I may start out the morning feeding the boys breakfast. Once they are all settled with all they need (10 minutes later) and eating, then I take the opportunity to throw some laundry in the washer. On my way upstairs I grab a few odds and ends that belong up there and put them away. While I'm upstairs getting the laundry, in the boys' bathroom I notice their shoes on the floor so I grab those to bring back down with me to the laundry room. After putting in the laundry and refilling their cereal bowls or juice, I start putting away the dishes left out to dry from the night before and grab me a bowl of cereal to sit down for my breakfast and you get the idea... all day long, trying to squeeze every minute of the day out to get everything done. I'm really not a clean freak nor am I even a semi-clean freak. I have my secret closets and rooms where I can hide the mess. But there seems to always be a million things that need to get done and I haven't figured out yet how to get others to help out around here. (But someday I will!)
I have learned a few secrets to the multitasking. For instance, the bathtub is a wonderful place to keep my boys happy in one place and out of trouble atleast until the water gets so cold their lips start turning blue. One of my favorite multitasks is to get the boys in the tub and then clean their bathroom! Sometimes I even cut their hair first so that I can clean it all up at the same time while they're stuck in the bathtub where they can't scatter the hair all over the house. Another favorite is to get all my baking done at one time. The worst thing about baking/cooking is the messy dishes afterward. But if I can make dinner, bread and my breakfast granola at one time, then I just have one sink of dishes to clean- an awful lot of dishes but they're finished at the same time!
One disclaimer: I feel like there are times when I need to turn off the multitasking. Sometimes I need to concentrate, put all my attention on what I am doing. Time playing or reading with my boys should be such a time. Or really any time with another person, I should give them my full, undivided attention. I have a tendency to be a Martha instead of a Mary. I like the quote by Elder Maxwell: "What are calories compared to good conversations?"

N is for numbers

Two great books to introduce numbers: "Bean Thirteen" by Matthew McElligott and "Missing Math" by Loreen Leedy. We talked about how great numbers are and why we need them/how we use them. Then we make these homemade fingerpaints from and did some color by numbers.

Snack: nachos or nuts

Note to self: The fingerpaints need lots of time to cool down and were pretty messy but fun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

L is for Lion

Here's some fun books we read about lions:

"The lion and the little red bird" by Elisa Kleven, "The happy lion roars" by Louise Fatio and "The show-and-tell lion" by Barbara Abercrombie. We also enjoyed learning more about lions from the nonfiction section.

After reading our books we made lion faces out of paper plates. You draw the face on the plate. Then cut out some ears and thin strips of colored construction paper. Wrap the strips around a pencil to make them curl up and then glue them around the plate.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Marjorie Hinckley

One of my favorite people of all time is Marjorie Hinckley, wife of our late prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley. In "Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, she offers some wonderful insights about many things, including mothering. She tells this story:

Our children grew up in a semi-rural area. We had a fairly large piece of property with lawns and gardens and orchards and plenty of work to keep the boys out of mischief. A wooded ravine ran through the property; we called it "the hollow."

One day our oldest boy turned up missing. There were lawns to be mowed, irrigation ditches to be cleaned. The hours ticked away. All afternoon I practiced a speech I would give him when he showed up. And show up he did, at mealtime, which I knew he would. "Where have you been?" I asked.

"Down in the hollow."

"And what have you been doing down in the hollow?"

His reply, "Nothing."

Some years later I had rason to be glad that I had not given him the speech. He was home from his mission and a senior at the university. It was test week. He was under a lot of pressure to do well in order to get into the graduate school of his choice. Things were not going too well with his girlfriend. The pressures of adult life were beginning to be felt. I watched him as he drove home from school one afternoon. He got out of the car, kicked a clod of dirt, went over to examine the swelling buds on the lilac tree, came in the kitchen, straddled a chair backwards, and said, "Mom, I had a wonderful childhood, didn't I?"

"Well, I hope so. You did your share of complaining about all the work that had to be done."

"Oh, it was wonderful," he said. "Those long summer days when you could lie on your back in the hollow and listen to the birds sing and watch the ants build their castles."

The memory of the peace of a summer day-- "God's in his heaven, and all's right with the world"-- sustained him when the pressures of adult life began to crowd in.

Things are different now. Children hear so many voices from so many directions. There are so few empty summer days. There are pressures to excel. It has become a challenge to let children be children.

It has never been so important that children have a home that is a place of refuge, a place of peace, a place of unconditional love-- even when the report card may not be what you hoped for.

I love this story. I was very blessed to have had a wonderful childhood full of peaceful summer days, exploring outside and letting my imagination run wild. I was blessed to have inspired parents who helped me develop my talents without putting too much pressure or stress on me. There are so many great things for our children to learn and great experiences for them to have but I think the most important thing is as she says "let children be children" and enjoy a few empty summer days. I think that nature is the best classroom and curiosity and imagination are great teachers. I hope my boys will look back on their childhood and have warm memories that will give them a foundation of security and a sense of what is most important.

L is for lemon and limes

We read "Lemons Are Not Red" by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, "The Red Lemon" by Bob Staake, and "Maisy Makes Lemonade" by Lucy Cousins. All fun books that my boys loved! We talked about lemons and limes and all the things you can do with.
For a craft we made stamps out of lemons and limes. You cut lemons and limes in half, dip them in acrylic paint and stamp away. I had my boys decorate a large letter "L" with their stamps.
Then we made real lemonade! They thought it was delicious and were proud they'd made it themselves!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

My son, who doesn't usually like bread, loves this recipe!
1 1/2 c whole wheat
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t gr cinnamon
4 med ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 T oil (preferrable olive oil)
2 t vanilla
1/2 c chopped walnuts
cooking spray

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; make a well in center. Stir together bananas and next 4 ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Gently fold in walnuts. Pour batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 min to an hour. Cool in pan for 10 mininutes and then cool on wire rack. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

N is for Nest

Great Books about nests:
Albert by Donna Jo Napoli

The Best Nest by PD Eastman

The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend

There is a nest on your head by Mo Willems

We made our own little nest out of blankets and pillows and then read our books. Then we made no bake cookies for our nests and put pink Whoppers in the center for eggs.