DIY Day!

Yvette, from Abernathy Crafts, came over the other day to share a kid friendly craft with me. It was fun and easy. My 5 year old was so excited to do this one all by herself! Just draw a picture onto the back of Styrofoam plate, cover with paint, and press your paper onto it. It’s a child’s introduction to printmaking!

Have you tried this project with your kids before?

The Loss of the Independent Childhood

Last night my husband and I were discussing sending our daughter to girl scout camp. I am pro-camp. He is against it. He never went to camp as a child and doesn’t see why our kids need to go. So I lay in bed recalling my camp experience for him: the feeling of freedom, making new friends, archery, hiking, friendship bracelets, bug juice, the joy of making your own purchase at the canteen, swimming in the river, camp songs, camp fires… I could go on and on. I want my kids to have those experiences too!

But there is something else that is making me push for camp. When my husband and I were kids, we had full reign of our neighborhoods. Both of our parents set the boundaries as to how far we could travel on our own and then boom, out the door on bikes, roaming the neighborhood with a pack kids, running in and out of yards and houses. At each house there would be a parent ready with a popsicle, a sprinkler, or 5 minutes of air conditioning, but mostly we stayed outside. After school, weekends, and especially summer meant FREEDOM!

And when dusk came, children’s names would be called and we would all head indoors for dinner. Our parents barely saw us during the day and it was OKAY. There was no boogeyman lurking around every corner to snatch us up.

We don’t live in that time anymore, at least not around here. We live in a high anxiety world now; post Columbine, post 9/11, post meth. We no longer look at strangers as a potential friend but as potential crazies. I’ll admit, when I do let the kids play in the back yard I stand at the window, on the lookout for the boogeyman.

Kids are so heavily scheduled after school that there is no laughter filling the yards. Weekends too are scheduled with soccer games, recitals, and family activities. I’m starting to realize that summer is the same way. Every parent I speak to talks about how their summer calendars are filling up with family trips and supervised, organized day camps such as cooking camp, computer camp, youtube camp (seriously), and princess camp (again, seriously).

So, where are today’s kids going to gain any sense of independence or freedom? I’m thinking the only place left to experience that freedom that used to come with childhood may very well be camp.

Luckily, I found this article backing me up so maybe, just maybe, I’ll win this one!

Read This Magazine

Have you seen Le Petite Magazine? It’s such a beautiful magazine focusing on children’s fashion, diy projects, toys, and parenting. While I love the content, it’s the graphic design and photographs that have me hooked. They are well executed, creative, just all around beautiful. One of the fashion spreads reminds me of photographs by one of my favorite artists, Loretta Lux.

Le Petite

Loretta Lux

 

What do you think of the magazine? What are your favorite online reads?

Wish You Were Here

 

Years ago, I lived about an hour from the beach. Granted, it was a Texas beach – not the Riviera – but it was a beach nonetheless. I got accustomed to heading down to the shore almost any time I felt like it; before work, after work, days off. Now, with two kids, a busy schedule, and a 7-hour drive to the nearest beach, a trip takes lots of planning. So right now, I wish I could skip the planning, the waiting, and the traveling, and just transport myself to any one of these places:

St. Martin

Edisto

Puerto Rico

Edisto

 

Where do you wish you be right now?

Art That Makes Me Think of Life

I saw Miranda July perform years ago at a small club in Texas. It was an amazing experience. She has this tiny voice but a huge presence. In the performance she took on multiple personalities and told a variety of stories, in a very abstract manner. She drew out so many emotions from the audience and held the attention of the 100 or so college students that were in the room for over an hour. I’ve been a huge fan since. I even did a few assignments on her Learning to Love You More project.

Have you seen her films, You and Me and Everyone We Know or The Future? What did you think?

Cooking With Kids

Ohmygod, I just found the perfect thing to cook with my 5 year old! During last week’s trip to library (and my mad rush through the adult section – see this post) my daughter grabbed Anne Burrell’s cookbook, Cook Like a Rockstar, from a display. I’m pretty sure she picked it because it had “rockstar” in the title though I have caught the budding chef watching the Food Network a few times, so maybe she recognized the author. She was thrilled to find a recipe for gnocchi, which is her favorite dish. Tonight, we made gnocchi. It was very simple, though kinda messy. I did all the stuff that required using the stove or oven, but she went to town mixing ingredients and playing with the dough. It’s just like making play dough snakes. So easy, my five year old can do it.

Gnocchi waiting to be boiled

with basil, oil, pepper, and mozzarella

tomato goodness

Happy gnocchi lovers!

Read This Book

 

By now I am sure you’ve heard of this book. It’s been all over the talk shows and blogosphere. Being a lover of all things French, I was first in line at the library to get it. I was hooked by the first page when she recounts her experience with her 18 month old at a seaside cafe where her child screamed and tossed food for the duration of the meal. My now 20 month old does the exact same thing. I break out in hives at the mere thought of dining out with him since our family was almost ousted from a low end Mexican restaurant due to his outbursts.

I have read some reviews of this book where they say the French way of parenting stifles the child’s creativity but, according to Druckerman, there are not many French children who play the role of l’enfant roi (child king.) I see plenty of demanding, screeching children everyday at the playground, on play dates,  and at the store (mine included.) Perhaps we American parents could learn a thing or two about parenting – even if it means stifling our kids a bit.

Yesterday I attempted to use some of these common sense French techniques such as telling the child the rules, using a firm no, and setting a framework of rules while allowing for some freedom within the framwork. My daughter had soccer practice. I took my 20 month to the playground across from the fields and at first, he obeyed my firm no’s and seemed to understand the rules I was laying down. After a while though, he got bored and began to test me by running directly towards the busy parking lot. He would look back at me with a mischievous grin and run like mad. I abandoned my experiment and spent the rest of practice chasing my son from the playground to the parking lot and upon catching him, having him fall on the ground screaming. We made quite the spectacle. I was exhausted and frazzled!

I guess next time I try to be a French maman, I’ll do it in safer place, like a fenced in yard that has been completely baby proofed. And until I master it, my family will just keep ordering take out and steer clear of restaurants (except on date night.)

Have you read it? What did you think of the book?