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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.


  1. This sounds like my house :) Honestly, I vaccillate between extreme irritation and active pleasure in not being able to finish anything (as I think most parents do). Focusing on the present, on the kids' needs, helps me be at peace with the inability to *finish*. Then, of course, I start remembering I need me time, I need to fulfill my own passions, and I get antsy! I've been better, as a mama of 2, about asking my husband for some alone time. I've been more able to recognize the need for my own balance. But projects that don't turn out as intended, collecting smiles and giggles - those things resonate with me :)

    1. I am so familiar with antsy! And am hoping to get better at a little bit of alone time. I usually end up incorporating the kids in alone time... isn't really the same, is it? Thanks for commenting!

  2. Yes, when the little tykes are little, finishing projects is just a pipe dream. Don't worry, the projects will still be there later, whereas the kids grow so fast that your relax and enjoy attitude is just the thing!

  3. I could have written this, particularly about the help with the pedal when I'm sewing, ha! I have so many unfinished sewing projects that are for the next birthday…no, Christmas…no, the birthday after that. Ah, well!

    This is the season of life for us, right? One day we'll be like my mom with oodles of time & the pleasure to churn out clothes for our grandkids. For now, I'll deal with the extra help and steal any moments to work toward my goals that I can.

  4. Oh how I can relate to this! For some time after having kids I pretty much gave up on pursuing my passions because I was so tired, or I tried to stay up really late to have time to myself to do things. And I agree, that for a while our passions change when our children are young, as they should. Now that my youngest is 4 I am finding more and more time to do things that I have truly needed to do, by myself, and I my older girls are able to join me when I do them. But when I look back on the stolen moments when they were wee when I was able to pursue my projects, when I felt so frustrated because of the interruptions, and questions, and fighting and crying, I realize that I was working on patience along with my children, who were also learning by watching me. I also think it is important for,children to see us doing what we love, and it is good for my girls to amuse themselves if I want time or if they aren't interested in what I am doing.

    Great post!

    1. Agreed! I love the idea that while completely frustrating at times we are working on patience alongside our kids. Right on! Thanks for commenting!

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  6. Yep, sewing is soooo hard with little ones. And I've had to realize that it's also not one of my favourite crafts so I'm okay with not being able to do much sewing at the moment... ;-)

    And I'm totally with you about the glue (although my little boy adores it so much I've decided to come to an understanding with myself about embracing the everywhere stickiness!)

    Thanks so much for sharing your great creativity!

    1. For me it's not so much the everywhere stickiness as it is the everywhere glue puddles and pools. I have a pourer who uses his teeth to open everything! Ugh! Glue is a very special supply in our house... one that doesn't see the light of day often unless it's in a stick. In which case it usually gets bitten, because really, who can't resist a bite of glue? Oh, man - I really really don't like glue!

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