Sunday, April 10, 2016

The sound of sunshine

soaking up the sun in big brother's sweatshirt sunshine mint chocolate chip Vice cream (dyed with natural food coloring) yum! sprouting c's sprout checking out C's bed sunshine day car ride for Beowulf tunes photo by C photo by C *Above photos by C* climber climbing climbing sunset Oh my - spring is here! The bright sunshine is bringing me back to life as it fills every corner of our home. We have been making endless batches of vegan ice cream using the Vice Cream cookbook (made from simple ingredients of cashews, maple syrup, water and whatever flavor we choose). It's incredibly delicious. I can't believe we haven't made it in years. I sort of forgot about the ice cream maker my Mom gifted Kevin back when we lived in Virginia.

 This CD has pretty much become our warm weather soundtrack. I love watching my kiddos dance around and act crazy to it. We pretty much have gone without music in front of the children (via CDs, radio, etc.) since K was born, following the Waldorf way of only having music that is played or sung live by us or other people around us. The thing is, Kevin and I both don't play any instruments and I can't sing to save my life (even though I still do sing all the time throughout the day for my children), so I gave in and am allowing some carefully chosen music into our home.

Our garden should really be ready for planting right now but I am so far behind. The plan is to get everything ready and seeds and/or sprouts into the ground this week. I am hoping that with my little helpers it will actually happen but we'll see what this week brings.

We have been spending the weekend in preparation for Purple Grandma's visit this week. Some days it's hard to keep up on the children to clean up their things as they go, it seems harder when we are trying to clean for guests. As K was cleaning up some things in the front room, she said something that really struck me. She said, "Mama, I wish we didn't have any toys - well, except for Horseshoe. I enjoy cleaning up in Purple Grandma's hotel room because we don't have anything there. Plus I really enjoy using my imagination more without toys." Out of the mouth of babes, right?! I understand that Grandma's hotel room is something new and exciting so of course they might find more pleasure in keeping it clean but there is a lot more to it. All three of my children have said similar things before and K had a lot of wisdom in her words there. Kim John Payne sheds light on the problem with children having too many possessions in Simplicity Parenting. If I could get to my copy right now I would share some great quotes from it, but alas it is with a temporarily sleeping baby. To each her own, of course, and we all have different ideas of what is "too much" for our own families.

But what it boils down to, at least for my children - It's not about children who "won't listen" but rather about having too much stuff.

 I need to work harder on keeping our home simple, I know it. I allow too much to come in some days and then pay for it soon thereafter. I am curious what it is about our culture that makes Americans feels the need to constantly buy things. Is it a need to fill a void in our lives? I know I was guilty of that when we first moved here, and still struggle with it at times. What is really strange to me, too, is that those of us who choose/try to shun this way of life are deemed ungrateful by some. Why is this? I happened to pick up my copy of The Creative Family yesterday as I pondered these questions and I wanted to share with you a little excerpt that jumped out at me:

"When it comes to playthings for our children, I can't emphasize enough that for creative play, less really is more in regard to toys. Between generous gifts from family members, hand-me-downs, and accessible inexpensive toys, it is quite likely that our homes are cluttered and full of play things. A sad product of our modern world is that our children are taught early on to over-consume and to want more, more and more. Chances are that they do not need more toys, but fewer. When there are too many things around, there's little room for imagination."

That quote reminded me that whatever others' views or opinions are on our desire to live with less, we need to stay strong as a family unit and stick with it. Not just for our own sanity but for our children's futures, shaping them to help bring change to our modern society.

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