Sunday, May 6, 2012

Helping my Children to love, not loath, what I do.

Growing up I took it for granted that my mother calmly allowed me to use all her spices to make 'witches brew', sew outfits with her heirloom quality cottons, and (during the hippy years) paint flowers and butterflies on my bedroom walls.

I thought it was normal as a 12 year old go just go out and boot up the band saw to carve out wooden letters--or frozen french bread. I grew up calling it "mom's wood shop" and remember going to salvage yards with her looking for windows for our house she was building.  Oh, sure dad helped once in a while, but everyone knew who the table saw really called master.

Maybe she wasn't the neatest house keeper, and perhaps we didn't really consider fashion a priority. At 16 I was given her credit card so I could go buy my own birthday presents. Then I wrapped them for everyone else to see.  Talk about a 16 year old's dream! Yes, she hates clothing shopping that much.

Our family car was 'jokingly' called the jellymobile by my brother's friends. And I remember getting soooo annoyed when my pickup truck still had the remnants of manure from her latest load for the garden.

 "MOM! Did you haul manure in my truck AGAIN?!"

All this being said . . . she managed to get 7 college graduates with her parenting methods (well, ok, #7 is still in college). And so, I'm hoping to adopt some of her parenting methods . . . as hard as it may be not to freak out it when a child happily shows me his bugs he's collected in MY shoe--I want my kids to love creating and love being inspired.

So, here's the game plan:

Step 1: Create lots of opportunities for them to be creative in a way that suits us both . . .

Play dough . . . lots and lots of play dough. I never buy the stuff at the store--we go through this stuff by the bag daily.

3 cups flour
1 cup salt
3 tbls oil
3 cups water
6 tsp. cream of tartar
Food coloring

Mix all the dry ingredients, add the water and oil. Cook over medium heat until it comes together and pulls away from the sides. If you're just doing one color, then add it when it's still in liquid form, otherwise divide the cooked play dough into as many parts as colors you're doing and hand kneed the colors in. Keeps for a few months in the fridge. Keep it sealed.

Tip: I buy salt in the 25 pound bag at Costco.  And load up on cream of tartar when ever it goes 1/2 off.  

Yeah, your hands will look like a rainbow.

 But see how happy they are:
And not fighting.
And not crying.
And worth it's weight in gold.

Recipe Edible Finger Paint:

You can just use instant box pudding, but I rarely have this on hand.  I REALLY hate grocery shopping. REALLY. We have to make powdered milk at least once a month b/c I've slacked.  So here's a good recipe to have on hand in a pinch:

Thick pudding:
2 c. milk
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbls. corn starch
1 tsp vanilla

food coloring

Mix all your ingredients in a microwavable bowl and cover with Saran wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes. Stir well and recover. Continue microwaving 1 minute at a time and stir well in between each minute until you bring the pudding to a boil.
Separate the pudding into as many bowls as colors you're making. Mix the food coloring in--a few drops usually does it. Once it's cool--let em' paint!
Keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Yep: It's yummy. Just ask Kate.

Side walk Paint:
1/4 C. cold water
1/4 C. Corn Starch
Food Coloring

Mix and paint. And yep, it washes off.

Sorry, no pics of this. ;)

Step 2: Don't freak out when they apply what you'd taught them . . .on something you really didn't want their 'help' on. I am, after all, raising children not furniture.

Back story: In the middle of spraying these chairs a mix of Paris Grey and Antibes Green Annie Sloan CHALK PAINT (TM) I had to run upstairs to comfort my baby who had just woken up from his nap. As I was holding my little guy, my oldest son (read: Jr Sergent major) came up to inform me his sister's were painting my furniture.

Guess they didn't like my color choice. They found the open can of Paris Grey and had at it.

 "Hello dear sister, do you mind if I help myself to your paint?"
"Hey wait, they're not getting in trouble?? Where's my brush?!"

Step 3: Practice what I preach. Breath in. Breath Out. Calm.

"James!! Stop painting your sister's head!!"

"Kate, Please paint the furniture, not the walls. We're renting."

Thanks for stopping by,

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  1. Too funny! You are raising some very creative children!

  2. You are my hero! I probably wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry.
    Good job Mom!