Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family legends and stories

'Family' isn't just a bunch of people. Family is what is between those people: the bonds of shared language, jokes, memories and stories. The telling and re-telling of family stories are very important to us in our house. They remind us of what has happened to us and where we have been together. They allow for exploration of feelings both good and bad within the safety of home. They give us history and place and a sense of belonging. They allow us to make sense of who we are in the world and where we come from.

The children love hearing their birth stories. Rebe loves to hear how she was 'coming anyway' even though she was 6 weeks early. She giggles when I tell her how we argued with her, but no she's was 'coming anyway'. I see the tenderness in her face as I tell her of how I first felt her tiny breath on my upper lip as the midwife placed her on my chest. She gets cross at the part where she had to sleep in a plastic box and have silly eye protectors on from the bright lights.

Every year we add to our family legends. These are occasions that have really touched us; when we have discovered something about ourselves and the world. We have had some pretty great times in 2011 and some of these have turned into legends, told agian and again to each other. As the year draws to a close I have been thinking of them and remembering them.

Often in the day we say to each other,'Do you remember the time when...'
Benny won a medal running in the race. He ran so fast that the man at the finish line had to run after him to give him his medal. And remember how he was shaking with excitement and kept repeating 'me won, me won'.
Do you remember the time Rebe rescued a mouse from Tiny and gave it it's life back?
Do you remember when we found real treasure on the pirate beach?Do you remember the time we went camping and Benny's marshmallow caught fire and he cried so I had to eat it and toast him another?

Woven into our stories are characters and places.
As we walk through the woods we find ourselves rooted in our own stories.
Benny's dragon tree is a big feature of the woods for us. It is often the reason we go there, we have talked about what it eats and we know it's favourite food. It has entered our stories and the stories that feature Benny as the hero, the dragon is his faithful side kick.

Some characters have been celebrated and remembered in play and drawing and craft. Do you remember the time the robin came into the kitchen through the open door and Rebe caught it very gently and let Benny softly stroke his little red breast before setting him free in the garden? Do you remember how the only place he pooed on was Rebe's homework?

We have changed the words of songs so that they now belong to us. When Benny found a woodlouse (which he loves) being eaten by a spider (which he is scared of) in the loo at playgroup, we retold that story (and changed it round) by singing : 'My name is Tricky (Benny's name for woodlouse) he he he, and I eat spiders for my tea.'

We also use story and legend to imagine answers to questions I have no idea how to answer. I ask the kids 'Where do you get those curls from?' and they tell me the story of how at night while they are asleep the specials, Lambie, Mio and Nuggle sneak quietly, quietly out of their room, down the stairs and out of the front door to the Curls Shop where they buy a bag full of curls each. They bring these home and knot them into the children's hair in time for them waking in the morning.

Stories are so much more than just tales in books, they are important, they are a gift, a celebration. They are very dear to us...

What were your family legends this year? Write about them and link back to me here, I'd love to hear some of your family's 2011 legends.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

child labour

Firstly let me apologise about my postings here on the blog. It seems of late all I post about is Buddies and making dolls. Well that is really because all I'm doing is thinking about buddies and making dolls. Of course there has been other loveliness going on, but I seem to be out of touch or practice with my camera and although for the last few days I have tried to have it at hand, none of the pictures I wanted to take to capture the moment came out. Oh well, so if you can bare another dolly related post read on...

I have been really busy trying to complete all of my custom order dollies with plenty of time to spare for shipping. Joa, thankfully, is getting into a good sleep rhythm now so that I am getting a predictable hour or so after lunch to work. It's actually been quite lovely, the heating on, music playing softly or just quiet and the kids working happily along side me.

Benny loves sticking pins into everything, including his own clothes. I hear him occasionally saying 'oof me brave', and I know he pricked himself.
Rebe has gotten really good at sewing. She spends much of her quiet time before bed sewing now.

Although I think I might sack her soon if the quality of her work continues to deteriorate and she keeps cutting corners:Benny has his own little making pot that he keeps on the window sill of my room. He has lots of scraps and pieces of ribbon and the odd button he likes in it, and of course some wool roving.

When Joa isn't asleep I can do the odd bit of cutting out with him on my back, but mostly he would rather get down and fiddle with everything and then we move on, back downstairs to where he is free to fiddle.

This is Rebe's latest project:
This is the pattern sheet, it also has written on it what exactly she needed to make this. She spent a couple of nights sewing and this is the finished toy:

It's great isn't it? She's only 6 and she's designing and sewing her own toys. I love it and I love the quiet time we spend together working peacefully with our hands (well apart from the oof me brave) :-)

Of course I do allow the odd snack and tea break. Benny is still on 'eating mode', after his month or so of being sick and needs lots and lots of snacks.

I also wanted to share this sweet poster with you:Our neighbours, a few doors up, lost one of their new kittens the day before yesterday. Oh my, the kids were so worried. They went out for ages looking for it, dressed in their high-vis vests. They 'almost' found it, but I think the mummy of the house was worried it was getting dark and sent them home again. This morning Rebe made this poster and was going to put it up along the road when there was a knock at the door and our neighbour was there with the kitten who had been found. We were so glad and my heart was very full of love and pride for my sweet children :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buddies ~ simple advent wreaths

In September 2011, 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. We meet each week in each other's homes and follow a simple rhythm: music and movement, craft or baking, snack, free play and story time. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's activities with you here...

This week's Buddies started, as usual, with movement and music. We began with singing our welcome song in which we name each child and tell them we are glad that they came. Then we sang another few songs that we have been repeating since the start. For the rest of the singing time we used these wonderful finger puppets. Each child had a chance to choose a puppet and hold it on his or her finger while the rest of the group sang the nursery rhyme with them.

a very serious incy wincey spider

a very favourite humpty dumpty
hickory, dickory dock
baa baa black sheep
and 1,2,3,4,5 once I caught I fish alive.

After this we moved on to crafting. As next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent Roisine helped us to make our very own Advent Wreaths.
We started with a ring cut out of a paper plate.

We painted these bright green.

For the candles we painted 3 small rectangle shapes purple and one pink. Roisine told us that the three purple are to show melancholy in waiting for the birth of Christ and the pink is a celebration of his birth (I hope I got this right if not Roisine will correct me).When the little candles had dried we stuck them onto our wreaths.
Roisine then gave each child 4 little yellow cut out flames to take home and to stick on each advent Sunday. It was a really lovely activity and I am going to enjoy lighting the 'flames' each Sunday with Benny.

After our snack the kids had some free play time. Us mummies grabbed a cup of tea and chatted about ideas for a Christmas party. We've had some lovely ideas and are feeling very excited about it.

To end our session Zoe read this wonderful story.

Don't you love seeing kids engrossed in a story. There is such magic about it :-)

Being a buddy can be pretty tiring work...
and we would all like to welcome our newest, tiny and sweetest little Buddy who arrived earth side on Monday morning and whom we are all very excited to meet. Congratulations to Susan and family :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

a rainy november day

Such a dreary, rainy day today. But it was the perfect day to have the heating on, cuddle up and do homely things like draw green cat whiskers on your face,
make granola,
play Lego
read lots of stories, climb on the table until your mama is pulling her hair out with frustration, knitting, cuddling, snoozing.
I finished up my rainbow knitting of the past several weeks.
Another rainbow gnome hat. This is from the pattern in the Children's Year book project 57. This just happens to be the September project with the Children's Year Craft along so I am delighted to be able to participate in that again as my attendance has been ahem some what lacking.
It is knitted for a dear little friend of ours who will be turning 4 very soon and his mama requested this hat for him after seeing Benny's.
It is knitted in cotton, so it has come out a bit longer than Benny's one and I also decided to knit an I-cord as a tie rather than going for the collar as I thought the collar may have less give in it done in cotton.
The colours are lovely :-)
I'm working on a couple of things at the moment, well lots of dolls really. I have a good few custom orders still to complete, but I am also trying to make a few little changes to some dolls that have been in my Etsy shop for a while. They are in need of a few knitted lovelies I think and I am hoping that they may find their way under someones Christmas tree :-)

What are you working on at the moment?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the long and short of it

I got my hair cut today. Before
After :-) wow I really like it. The kids think I am gorgeous and all keep stroking it :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buddies ~ wee houses

***In September 2011, 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. We meet every week in each other's homes and follow a simple rhythm: music and movement, craft or baking, snack time, free play and a story. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's activities with you here...***

To begin our session this week we warmed our bodies up by jumping and bouncing and shaking all over the room.

Flo lead some yoga moves, gently stretching our bodies and getting ourselves ready for our morning's work.
We also warmed up our voices and imaginations pretending to be all sorts of different animals cats, snakes and very loud lions!
Have you ever seen such a cute lion?!

When we were all warmed up we started our craft. Susan helped us to make the gorgeous little row of houses at the top of the picture.
She started by giving each child an empty cardboard pot with a little cone roof stuck on top that she had pre-prepared.
The kids glued on plain paper walls,
These were decorated with tiny paper doors (with people behind), and windows that had little small curtains hanging from them.
The kids really enjoyed this, they could do it all by themselves and were very industrious!
O's house
H hard at work.
Over the weeks we have noticed a beautiful closeness form within the group. This for me is one of the most special things about our wee home kindergarten. I feel a lot of love and affection within the room between the kids and the mums. During free play the children really played together, not just next to each other as they did in the beginning but they worked together to build towers and played music together as a group. It is a very special thing to watch how the children are getting know each other and are happy to allow themselves to relax and form friendships. This is something that may not have happened for all our little Buddies in a more formal out-of-home kindergarten.

However all this work and play made for some very hungry little people and a silence descended on the room when the snack was placed upon the table,
and we didn't hear from them again until every last scrap was gone (after the plates had been refilled several times).
We ended the session with a living story: a telling of the Three Little Pigs that I have posted about separately here.
It was a great session and I'm already looking forward to next week :-)