Showing posts from August, 2016

Teaching children to cook

We have always encouraged our children to learn to cook and become self-sufficient in the kitchen, starting at young ages. (This sounds a lot better than I want them to get their own breakfast and lunch because I don't want to do it, doesn't it?) Even the littlest toddler can help tear lettuce for salad and preschoolers can learn to carefully wield a small knife to cut vegetables. By the time our children are developmentally in middle school, they can each cook a meal by themselves if I need them to. Of course some children are more interested in doing this than others, but the abilities are there. 
This paid off for us significantly when I was expecting G. and L. and pretty much spent the last three months sitting in a chair. It was about all I could do. M. did the grocery shopping with a list I made and M. and B. (with some help from A.) did the cooking. I would direct from the sidelines. 
For a while, I had it set up that each of my older children was in charge of fixing d…

It all started at IKEA... or a Venn diagram activity box

I was at IKEA a while ago and saw these adorable little containers. They were so cute I had to buy some, even though I had no earthly idea what I was going to use them for. But I love little containers and these were cute and happy and came in more colors than these and you should be impressed I only bought a few.

Then in the midst of homeschool planning, I ordered a bunch of peg people blanks. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but when they arrived, I realized I had absolutely no memory of what that good idea was.

So I had cute little containers and bunches of peg people. Surely I could do something with them. And then it came to me... Venn Diagrams! (Bear with me, here.) I love Venn diagrams. I love the sorting and the logic they require. I always thought they were fun. Peg people are fun. Cool containers are fun. Venn diagrams are fun.

Thus the Venn diagram activity box was born.

First, I painted a bunch of peg people with different attributes.

Some are happy.

Some are sad.

Block Party 2016

It's a good thing that I have block party photos to share with you today because otherwise, I'm pretty sure there wouldn't be a post. R.'s three hour EEG turned into a nearly six hour fun fest, for no apparent reason. I got home just in time to swallow a plate of lunch, grab Y. and head back out for her PT appointment. I'm home now, have a cup of tea, and am beginning to recover.
But, I'm going to leave all that now and focus on something else. Like the fun of yesterday. D. started the day off by expanding his bread baking horizons. (He already bakes all of our bread and sells a couple loaves on the side as well.) He decided he wanted to try cinnamon bread. It turned out beautifully. See?

I'm ready for him to make a whole bunch of loaves of the stuff. It tastes as good as it looks.

Then the street was blocked off and the block party began. There was badminton...

and hanging out...

and street hockey...

and finally, at the end of the day, a movie in…

When life gets in the way of blogging


Everyone is now in bed.

We have enjoyed a day long block party.

B. and A. moved their stuff out and back onto campus for the new school year.

M. set up a studio in the basement because Chicago apartments can be so annoyingly small.

Piano lessons.

And one distraught L. because the Tooth Fairy forgot to take her tooth and leave a quarter for the second night in a row. If it hadn't been for the distraction of a block party, a stern note was going to be written.

Pictures on Monday. Of the block party, not the stern note to the Tooth Fairy. I'm hoping we can dodge that bullet.

If you need something to read in the interim, you can take a look at my new article: Is International Adoption Right for Me? 

In which I pretend to be part of the media and my children eat their weight in snacks

Who says blogging doesn't sometimes pay off? It's just a little harder to see it if you so strongly dislike advertising that you don't put it on your blog even if it pays you money and product reviews are few and far between. Every so often I will say yes to an offer that arrives in my inbox and the invitation to a sneak peak at the new Regenstein Learning Campus at the Chicago Botanic Gardens was one of those times.
So this afternoon I loaded up nine children (no P., who had a guitar lesson, but we had B., a special treat) and headed up to the gardens. The new campus is really lovely, and it was doubly nice to have it virtually to ourselves. The first thing you come to are outdoor play areas.
There are grassy hills for climbing and running and rolling up and down.
And other areas with rocks to climb on and tree trunks to crawl through.

L. (on left) and G.

More grassy hills
There is a winding stream where children can play or walk through.

And a little waterfall to …