Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Solstice

Happy Holidays everyone, however you choose to celebrate. I am still unsure what to call what we do here in our house. We celebrate Christmas but not the birth of Christ. Some will say that we do not celebrate Christmas then because you "can't take Christ out of Christmas". But somehow we do.

We put up a tree and we do open presents on the 25th. It is a day full of wonder and joy. We all LOVE picking out presents for each other, on the sly. My boys know where their presents are kept (in my closet) and know they can look at any time if they like. BUT they so prefer the surprise. Even though they get what they want/need during the year. That special day is such a nice day full of surprises and family, being together. Not sure why we do it on the 25th other than that is when their friends are opening gifts, most of their friends.

We also make solstice bread on the shortest day of the year, we keep the fire stoked throughout the night and we get up just before sunrise to watch the sun as it comes back up over the mountains and trees to greet us after the longest night of the year. Then we go back inside and eat our solstice bread and have hot tea and cocoa. We make dream sticks, decorated with yarn, ribbon, etc. With writings all around our sticks of the dreams we have for the coming year.

We also have our solstice lights. Which I keep lit for as long as the bulbs last. This year I crocheted flowers for the solstice lights. This is sort of my tradition. Each year I think up another decoration for the lights and spend time decorating the lights, thinking about family, friends, all the great things in my life, and each time I look at my solstice lights I think of the many wonderful blessings in my life. Which is what I want to share today. Pictures of this year's solstice lights. Enjoy. And again Happy Holidays.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Television and Its Addictive Nature

That caught your attention. LOL.


I wanted to talk about television today. I have heard so many people tell me how addictive TV is, that if my kids (or any kids really) have unlimited access to TV they will watch it all the time, and not be able to pull away. They will be "addicted".


If you looked at me and my life you could easily say "see...I told you so". As my life follows that theory and seems to prove it based on the outcome. I was given unlimited access to the TV, my parents enjoyed watching TV, that was a relaxing, family-time end to our day. Pick a TV show and we would would all watch. I watched Saturday morning cartoons, I watched those after school specials, I did my homework in front of the TV, I got ready for school watching TV. It was a huge fixture in the living room.


And now I love TV, I have it on much of the day, although I can go without it and do sometimes (especially with nice weather...I do so enjoy getting outside in my gardens), but much of the time it is on, even if I am not watching it. I read with the TV on in the background, watch a movie while I knit, work on the computer with the TV in the background. So one could say that "if you give a kid unlimited access to the television that child will become addicted".


BUT if that were true it would also follow that my children would be addicted. They have unlimited access to the television. And something I did not have as a child, they each have a television in their room, and we have a large screen television in the family room, smaller one in the living room (that is how much I enjoy TV). So for the theory to hold out, my children should be there glued to the TV right along with me, watching it all the time, putting together legos in front of the TV, reading with the TV on etc.


BUT they are not!


Actually my oldest watches hardly any TV at all, I would say less than an hour a week. He asked me the other day if I could turn it off when I am not watching it or at least turn it down. So my TV watching has decreased dramatically because of him. And when I leave the room I make sure to turn it off, for him. My youngest watches maybe an hour a day, sometimes less, sometimes a little more. Again not glued to it at all.


Why the difference? Who knows. I certainly don't. I did have games, toys, a younger brother to play with, growing up. It isn't because I had nothing else to do. So I really don't know what the difference is. I do know that the theory has not been proven as fact in our house. On the contrary it just proves to me that we are each individuals with individual likes and dislikes. And given free access, have the freedom to choose what it is we enjoy. And for that I am truly grateful.


And now to get off the computer, turn on the TV and read.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Explore Science Day

I was chatting with a friend today and she mentioned she wanted to get together a fun science club. I have been doing the Explore Science Day today for about a year and a half so I mentioned this and thought I could share the ideas we have put on the table, as well as the links to help her out a little maybe. No since reinventing the wheel when I have done a little searching for ideas myself. I thought I would post it on my blog as well in case anyone else was interested in some fun science ideas, things you can just put on the table and let everyone play. So here it is:

1. Kitchen Chemistry, got the idea from this site http://ezinearticles.com/?Ultra-Cool-Homeschool-Chemistry-Experiments&id=534216

2. We made slime (have done this several times and it is always a hit) http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000039

3. Baggie ice cream, we made the ice cream and I provided all the fixin's for banana splits if they wanted that: http://crafts.kaboose.com/ice-cream-in-a-bag.html

4. Blood typing, got that kit from Carolina Biological they have many different kits. During this day I also got out my microscope and stereoscope and we looked at our blood, saliva and a whole host of other things the kids found to look at.

5. Electricity, I bought a kit from Carolina Biological and printed off about 5 different experiments from different sites and let the kids go at it.

6. Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction, from this book: http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Weapons-Mass-Destruction-Implements/dp/1556529538 The kids LOVED this, I copied 5 simple *weapons* and had all the stuff spread out on my table and the kids went at it.

7. Elephant Toothpaste: http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/toothpaste.php

8. M&M survival challenge: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Zoo_p012.shtml

9. We did an egg drop challenge. I put out different things like pantyhose, toilet paper, paper towels, tape, balloons, straws, cotton, fabric, rubber bands, Styrofoam cups, etc. And 2 dozen eggs, the challenge was to create something to *hold* a raw egg, then we dropped them from my deck, which is high off the ground, but any high place, and checked to see what contraptions protected the eggs.

10. We did the tower of pasta challenge on this page sort of, we used more items, less restrictions and for fun, then we tested to see which tower could hold a small Tupperware dish and how many pennies it could hold. But there are a lot more ideas on this page as well http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/practice/default_cat.php?Id=2

11. We did water testing, with tap water and creek water, got the small kits from Carolina Biological. Everyone brought samples from their home, yard and they tested their own water.

12. Animal track casting. I have a creek at the house here, plenty of tracks. What I did was put some dry plaster of paris mix in small baggies and we took the baggies and some bottles of water to the creek and looked for tracks. When we found one, we just added a little water to the baggie and zipped the baggie back up and squished it and mixed the plaster. Then pour the plaster from the baggie into the track until you fill up the track. Went to play for an hour, then went back and lifted out the tracks and looked them up to see what they were from.

13. One we are doing in December if Fire starting. My dh and a friend's dh are actually doing the work, LOL, different ways to start a fire, making a bow drill, using a flint etc. Should be fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Socialization is Overrated

A friend of mine said this recently...."Socialization is Overrated". And I heartily agree. I know I have been absent from the blogging community lately. I have so much to blog about. But I have been in a funk as of late. Just don't want to be social, can't seem to do it. I have always been an introvert but have really enjoyed friendships. Even though it is hard for me to develop friendships, when I do, I treasure them. For some this is hard to believe ;-)

A few weeks ago I went to a party at a friends house, people I knew, friends. But when I walked in I felt overwhelmed, even though there were only I think 5 families there when we arrived. I couldn't make a connection, couldn't jump in on conversations. It was a paralyzing feeling for me, but my boys were so excited about the party so I struggled through it. A couple of my closer friends could see something was up, and it does show me how strong my friendships are when my friends notice a change in me. But I couldn't explain my feelings, I couldn't even talk about it without wanting to cry and just needing to get out. I did have to go for a couple of walks during the party. I know they are trying to help and I don't know exactly what helps. It is just a feeling of wanting to cocoon myself in the house and not go out, not feeling social, not wanting to be around other people.

So in going through this I thought a lot about my friend who is staying more and more at home. Why, in this society, do we put such importance on socialization? If children, or even adults, do not want to be social, should we be forcing them? Can you lead a fulfilling, joyful life with only minimal social interactions? I really think you can. I do need social interactions, and value friendships, but not everyone does. For me this feeling lasts a week or two and I try to honor that feeling and get the "down" time I need.

Is there something "wrong" with not wanting to be a social being? Shouldn't we all be honoring our internal voice, and living a life that brings us joy? The mom of my friend (also a friend) is really handling her son's need for isolation with such grace. Allowing him the space to be alone, without feeling hurt by his needs. She knows that it will all work out as it is supposed to be, and that he knows what he needs better than anyone else.

So today I am grateful that I can hear and honor what my body needs. Grateful for friends, friends that show me a different way to be, friends that care.

I do have things to blog about and will do that soon, as I come out of my cocoon with renewed energy.
:-)