Thursday, April 26, 2012

10 Ways to Vary Your Nature Journal Layouts

My kids and I love to nature-journal, but get tired of doing the same layouts and ideas over and over. Here are some of the ways we like to mix it up a little!
1. Explore your shapes. Experiment right in your nature journal.
Don't worry about perfection, just start sketching.

I had only pink and red pens with me, so that's what I used.
2. Study anatomy

A morning glory is just as amazing and beautiful on the inside.

3. Go close CLOSE up. Examine the details.
Use a zoom lens, and draw what you see.

4. Journal it up.
Mix your observations with your art.
What did you see and where? What are the weather conditions?
How do you feel? How is this special to you? What are your plans?
Record the moment.
(There is a great observational checklist here)

5. Don't forget your own backyard.

Here, my 1st grader sketches a daylily that he planted himself.
Front and center, he knew exactly what he wanted on his page.

There are no excuses for not drawing.
If you have dirt and grass, then you have something to illustrate.

6. Don't forget the bugs.

7. Add elements. Press flowers, leaves, clovers, etc.
8. Try a day-by-day, or hour-by-hour format of what you see.
{and around this point, my images are going crazy, getting out of place, because Blogger and my browser are refusing to play nice. Bear with me, and take deep breaths, like I am, if you start to feel lightheaded.}
9. Offer a "Guest Page."
Grab a friend or family member, and swap journals for half an hour, when you're down by the creek. You end up with their unique style as a part of your book, and you give the gift of your own artwork at the same time.
10. Do a Theme Page
For example, "Birds" or "Leaves."

Friday, April 20, 2012

7 Rainy Day Fun Activities for Kids

Springtime is here, and along with it we'll get the occasional April showers. I'm a big fan of sunshine, and I have to work extra hard to have enjoyable rainy days with the kids.

So, without further ado, here's my Rainy Day Fun List!

(notice that TV, computer, video games do NOT make my list!)

My poor Girl was just trying to make it from her bedroom to the kitchen with her supplies.

Take a look at that concentration. This is "fun school" and he doesn't even realize he's learning.

We love tangrams over here.

My Oldest Boy is really into 3D artwork.

He labeled all of the ant parts, and then used his model to teach his little brothers. :)

Other Ideas:

Play a board game or a get-up-and-move game like Twister

Make up your own Mad Libs

Draw half of a picture and let the kids complete it

Play Simon Says or Mother may I?

Play Red Light, Green Light in your hallway

Make a playdough city

Use white and yellow playdough under a black light

Get out those legos, wooden blocks, or train sets

Speed Clean a room and, when you're done, give out stickers to make a picture

Play with magnets (we love the magnetic words for kids and scene magnet sets.)

Do an exercise video with the kids (my kids like the 10-minute videos)

Put on a puppet show

Play dress-up

Videotape dances and singing sessions

Play in a bubble bath

Role-play a history lesson

Train your dog to do tricks

Paint rocks and sticks (first you get to run out in the rain to collect them!)

Make crayon resist artwork

Make food art

Try a new recipe

See how many times you can hop on one foot


As you can see, the list is endless. There's never an excuse for boredom or crankiness! :D

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

5 Everyday Ways to Make Your Kids Feel Loved

Fred helping the kids on their schoolwork and Young Authors progress.

Below, I was helping My Oldest Boy with his diorama for the Education Fair.

You won't see me in lounge pants very often! ;)

We don't always do this Parenting Thing right. No one does. It's not possible.

But we try to do it as well as we can! We work hard at our relationships.

Sometimes it feels like we're taking one step back, two steps forward,

and I have to remind myself that it's still progress.

I need to make an ongoing list like this,

compiling hundreds of ways to make my kids feel special, loved, amazing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

5 Things I'm Thankful For Today

1. My new amazing Electra Townie. A pink bicycle with double wicker baskets.

{Be still my heart}

2. Doing school and artwork outside in the sunshine.

Above, my Littlest's math work, out on the driveway.

Below, his science work.

He's guessing which objects will sink and which will float,

and then testing his theories.

3. Spring!!

Blooming peonies, dewdrops on leaves, and all the beauty that goes along with it!

4. The sign my husband bought at Hobby Lobby. I wasn't laughing at the time, but it sure helped deter some solicitors today. Bahaaa.

(excuse the pic. Wrong settings, still funny, just go with it.)

and 5. Eating fresh greens straight from the garden.

Chard- yum!

I joined a group on facebook called the Gratitude Journal. Every evening the members write five things that they are grateful for that day. It's been a wonderful exercise for me, a constant reminder of the many blessings in my life.
Today my Middlest Boy asked if I was rich (my younger two still don't have a great concept of money yet) and I explained that, while I don't have a lot of money, I am certainly rich!

What are you grateful for on this fine day?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thursday, in photos

Fred was able to take off Thursday and Friday for my oral surgery. Before the appointment on Thursday, we hit up some parks to play.

(Do you see our Littlest in the tunnel *on top of me*? It was quite a squeeze!)

It was good for the kids to work off some energy, and for me to distract myself from the anxiety of being put under.

Yo, every couple should have time to just be goofy together!

On Friday, before the appointment:

I'm blogging, so obviously I survived.

One minute I was lying in the surgeon's room, and the next minute I was lying on my couch at home. I'm very sensitive to pain meds. Apparently they monitored me for about an extra hour, as I wouldn't wake up. Finally I responded enough to get to the car in a wheelchair.

I don't remember any of that.

At any rate, my stitches should dissolve on their own, and I was sent home with great pain relievers.

I'm glad to have it done!