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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pastimes Have Passed Me By...

Welcome to the April 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Pastimes
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about family pastimes. *** much so that I had to look up the definition of the word.

Pastime: noun . something that serves to make time pass agreeably; a pleasant means of amusement, recreation, or sport  (

Oh, yes. I remember pastimes.

Before children I had many. Drawing, painting, beading, sewing, reading, writing, running, epicurean experiments, movies, not to mention napping. All in one day.

And oh the many completed projects. And even some accomplishments: a few art shows, a few 5Ks. Even with one child I was able to “pass some time” during naps. With a drawing in an art exhibit to show for it.


Now, (with a three year old and a one year old) my pastimes are patchy at best.
Babe-O's unfinished baby quilt. In progress for the last 4 years.

A few stitches here. A few lines written there. Napping is out. And completing projects happens over weeks, sometimes months, even years, sometimes not at all. Like a dress for Babe-ala, some shorts for Babe-O so that I can measure just how much they have grown.

Pastimes like reading, exercising, cooking, even sewing have included little hands and a different perspective on my part.

Cooking is an exercise in camouflaging vegetables like these squash apple muffins or our recent spaghetti without spaghetti dinner.  And an exercise in flexibility. Letting some eggshell drop in, allowing a generous amounts of spice to enter the batter, having less than perfectly shaped cookies emerge from the oven with their own piping hot glory.

Art projects can seem daunting, especially when I think about wax resist watercolor painting with collage photo transfers, or plaster casts of molded clay . Simplicity is best. Watercolors and paintbrushes make for a great any-day masterpiece. Popsicle sticks lead to hours of fun.  So do scissors and scrap paper. A few branches brought inside become a "new house" for us to play and read in.

Messy play has become very important to our family. Like action figures and paint! Mud pies and squirrel stew! Baby painting! Giving them the space to experiment, play, make a mess*, do/make something other than what was intended. Honor the process - don't just tolerate it.  Enjoy it.  Live it. Make a mess. Make magic. Together. And love it.
      * Don't do what makes you crazy. Glue makes me crazy. I "stick" with contact paperfor collage projects.
Often our projects don't turn out as I intended. Sewing on the machine often involves little feet on the pedal and wonky seams and hem lines. Projects, even recipes, get dropped mid-way because sometimes a more familiar activity is comforting. Patience. Give time. Split a project up into small parts for those whose attention is so easily directed elsewhere. Let it go. Pick it up later. Accept that I won't always see or even know what was gained.

Yes, this means I have given up that satisfying feeling of a completed project that comes after a hard day's work. Being able to step back and say ahh, that is exactly what I had imagined and I made that.  For now.

For right now, my favorite pastime is finding “something that serves to make time pass slowly, with intention and that helps me savor this time in my life and theirs - full of possibility.” My favorite pastime is witnessing my children grow, showing them my love of creating. Collecting smiles and giggles along the way. Making memories and magic.  And making sure they know that the best thing I have created has been them. 


*** Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • 8 Reasons to Go Camping with Your Kids — The weather is warmer, and it is time to think about taking a break. As you plan your family vacation, Mandy of Living Peacefully with Children, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, explains why you should consider hitting the trails with your kids.
  • Crafty Cohorts — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys crafting with her kids, and the skills they are learning.
  • 10 Hobbies For Families With Young Children — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama knows that finding hobbies families can do together (with young children in tow) isn't always the easiest of feats. She has compiled a list of 10 family friendly hobbies that children of all ages can enjoy and that won't break the bank!
  • Helping Himawari — Sophelia's family at Sophelia's Adventures in Japan share a passion for helping when a dog is abandoned at the nearby elementary school.
  • The 'Art' of Having FunMarija Smits shares some thoughts on family art and fun.
  • How we made our own Family Day — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares how her family celebrates the best day of the week, a chance for connection and adventure and endless possibilities: Family Day!
  • Our Family Hobby — Survivor talks about how animal husbandry has become her family's favorite hobby at Surviving Mexico Adventures and Disasters.
  • Sowing the Seeds of Passions — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs wonders if her interests, and her husband's, will shape her children's passions as they mature.
  • Harry Potter Potions Party — One of the best activities Dionna at Code Name: Mama has ever done with her family has been a Harry Potter Potions Party. She is sharing the resources she used to create their potion recipes, the ingredients and tools they experimented with, and the recipes themselves. Feel free to use and adapt for your own budding wizards and witches!
  • Pastimes Have Passed Me By — Kati at The Best Things takes a new perspective on projects that never get done.
  • Food as a cultural experience for preschoolers — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings finds that food is a good way to engage her preschoolers on a journey of cultural discovery.
  • 10 Reasons I Love Thrifting With My ChildrenThat Mama Gretchen has always enjoyed shopping, but with a growing family she's become more frugal and thus, her little ones are now in tow on her thrift store adventures.
  • Pastime with Family vs Family Pastime — You can share lots of pastimes with your family, but Jorje of Momma Jorje discovered a family pastime was much more pleasant for sharing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Paint Like A Superhero!

Time to inspire some creativity in the hearts of aspiring super heros!
A few action figures and some finger paint is all that is needed. 

We had chases and mysteries to solve by following footprints. We had stuck in the muck criminals and criminals in paint-y jail. We had fun. A new way to tell the Batman story (or which ever superhero is your favorite). 


I tried posting the final painting. It doesn't look like much and feels wrong to emphasis the product on this one.  The story we told, the action that ensued, the mess, the giggles, the fun- these were the best parts of this project. Try it! So easy, so fun!