Saturday, 31 May 2014

Blogging through the Alphabet {Ecstatically Excited about things Extremely Extraneous to Men }

Ben and Me




It's amazing how your perspective can change as a wife and a mother.

When I was younger I got excited about very different things than what I get excited by now.  Maybe it's because my life is very child-centred - caring for their needs, and dealing with their ways (all very joyfully, I add!) - that I then get rather excited over little things.

I love getting post.  Unexpected, hand-written, snail mail and  packages - expected and unexpected - bring great excitement in me. I can't wait to open them and see what's inside! I especially get excited about books arriving. I have mentioned before that our curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, regularly means I have books arriving.  *I* have ordered them - I *KNOW* what they are - but I still get excited when they arrive!

Better still, this week, was a book that arrived EARLY! I had pre-ordered a novel, by Dee Henderson (one of my all time favourite authors), and was told it would be with me in mid-June.  To my extreme joy, I got a package the other day, and THERE IT WAS!!! Earlier than I expected, and making me rather pleased! I got as far as reading the first few pages, last night, before falling asleep with it in my hands. Yes, I do that. Pretty regularly.

I also managed to squeeze in a hair appointment this week.  I love getting my hair cut, but it had been about NINE months since my last haircut! OOPS! It had got very messy at the ends (which my lovely husband doesn't seem to notice, but it bothers me!), and it was time for a tidy up.  I'd noticed, in the last year or so, that my hair had got wavier, especially in the last pregnancy.  Getting it trimmed has now made it even more so, and I LOVE IT! It has so much more volume and bounce.

(At this point, any males reading are going to be TOTALLY zoning out - sorry!)


From behind (I could have had shorter layers, but I want to still be able to put it "up")


From the front (look at those WAVES!)


Moi!

Seriously, when you've had poker straight hair most of your life, this is extremely satisfying!

Then, I had another exciting event this week.  I seem to have very few clothes for Church just now, that are in good condition, and that fit me properly.  I have lost a bit of weight, but still want to lose more.  I like very long skirts and dresses, but they are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find - new, or second hand.  I had trawled the charity shops (thrift stores) and even looked for new things online, to no avail.  No long skirts.  Well, a few, but not a fabric or style that  I liked.  I could find dresses, but when you are nursing a baby, they are not great for when you need to feed with others around.  When my friend was visiting on Monday, we came up with the idea of looking for a nursing DRESS! WE looked, and we found! I found one I liked, found out where to buy one, and went for it. I decided to go for economy shipping, even though it would leave me little time to find something else if it didn't suit. (Oh yes, I was trying to get it for a week from now, for our Service of thanksgiving at our Church!  Really organised, me....)  To my surprise, it arrived in just 2 days! I brought it upstairs to try on, telling myself,  "now, it probably won't fit, and you'll have to return it, so don't be disappointed". I have got so used to things not suiting, it's what I tell myself! Imagine my delight when it DID fit!!! I was like a small child at Christmas!!



I'm still no Twiggy, but I think it looks quite forgiving!  I will get a picture of the full outfit, once I have all the accessories.

My further excitement was to realise I would have to get some RED shoes to match! I have no navy ones, or any other colour in the dress, and I have ALWAYS wanted a red pair of shoes.  I went with one of my favourite brands, Hush Puppies.


I gazed at high heeled varieties, but the reality is, that with a small person to carry around, comfort wins!

I also bought a navy beret (we wear a head covering to Church), which I will embellish with some kind of crochet creation to tie in with the colours in the dress.

I have also bought some yarn, to make some kind of "covering" for my shoulders, but I will wait to reveal that, too!

So, there we go! An ecstatically excited grown woman, about a new haircut, a new book, and some new clothes! 

Yup, that overgrown kid is ME!



Above all else I thank God, for EVERY good and perfect gift - all that I have comes from Him, and His great goodness and generosity to me. 



Thursday, 29 May 2014

Engaging boys {how to prevent unnecessary discipline}

I had a friend ask, recently, how to deal with boys, who never seem to do as they are told, and don't listen.  I meant to reply to her, but thought it would make a good blog post, as my answer may be helpful to others, too.

Now, let me start by saying that I am not a perfect parent, will never be, and still struggle to do things the best way. I am always learning, and trying to improve.  More than anything, I seek to be open to guidance and advice from others, which is how this little piece of advice came to me.

What I am sharing is my experience, and what works for me - not a hard and fast "secret to success". So, give it a go, if you don't already, and it may work for you, too. No promises, only praying that it may help!

I was talking with my husband, and my brother-in-law, Edward, a couple of years ago. I was bemoaning the fact that my boys, especially my oldest, constantly "disobeyed" me, when I gave him instructions.  It was making me feel sad, and frustrated, and I felt like I was having to discipline him all the time for his behaviour.

One of them (I think it was Edward), asked me a question.

"Do you make sure he has engaged with you, when you tell him what to do?"

Hmmmmm.

Well, that threw me.

Engage?

He gave me the example of waking my lovely hubby up from a nap, or in the mornings. (He could give this example, because he knew his brother well!) He sleeps deeply, and there have been times when I have brought him coffee, told him it was time to waken, as he had requested, but I had gone back later to find him still asleep!! ( I tell you, DEEP sleeper!) He wasn't deliberately ignoring me, I just hadn't ENGAGED him properly.

What do I mean by "engage"?

Getting him to look at me, respond, and tell me he had heard, and was, indeed, awake.

Eliciting a TWO WAY communication.  MEANINGFUL two way communication.  Not just a grunt, or "uh-huh".

He then applied it to my boys.

When I communicated with them, and they didn't obey, did I just holler from another room, hear a "uh-huh", and then hope they did as they were "told"?

Erm, yes...

Is that not enough??

Apparently, not.

You can even do it in the same ROOM, and still not engage.

With boys, particularly, it takes MORE than that.  They gave me this advice, and it helped no end.

You need to go to the child, or call them to you.  Look them in the eye, and give them VERY clear instructions.  Make sure they are listening to you, and not still looking at the DVD that's playing, or listening to the audio-book, or thinking about the book they left behind.  Then, get them to repeat back what you told them to do, and make sure they totally understand the instruction.

THEN, you have engaged.

You see, they informed me, boys, in particular, become VERY absorbed in what they are doing.  When you speak to them, they don't even hear you speaking. They may, and respond, but it doesn't mean they have HEARD you. Properly heard, and understood. They're not doing it out of wilful disobedience, just because that's how they are.

If you think about it, being focussed on something is a good character trait.  Just not when you need them to focus on you.

When I used to ask them to do things, and they didn't do them, resulting in me disciplining them, I was actually being unfair, and unkind.  *I* was the one at fault, for not making sure they had ACTUALLY heard what they were to do. I was in danger of provoking them to wrath, by not treating them fairly.

As a parent, we have to be so wise to ensure that we are not making unfair requests of our children.  I have, in the past, ended up having to discipline a child because I have not been wise when asking them to do something - whether it was not making sure they fully understood the request, or because I didn't think before telling them to do something.  For example, making an unachievable demand of a small child, and then when they didn't do it, having to tell them off for disobeying. So, if a small child is quite obviously tired, I would be unwise to push them to fulfil certain instructions. I would be wiser to take the tiredness into account, and not expect them to obey commands when they are going to struggle to follow them through.

We have to remember that children ARE children. As much as they need to be trained to obey, and to follow instructions, we have to be wise in what we ask them to do, and when we ask them to do it.  Not all misdemeanours are entirely their fault.  We, as parents, can be as much to blame, at times.

So, if you have a boy who doesn't ever seem to do as you tell them, try making sure you are engaging them fully first.  If you do, and THEN they don't obey, you know you are dealing with a heart issue, and can deal with it appropriately. If you don't YOU are really the one to blame, when they don't do as they are "told".  I look on it as *me* being lazy, really! It's usually more work to get a child to come to you, or you go to them, and take the time to get them to look at you, and listen to you! In essence, *I* am sinning, by being lazy.

*gulp*

 Food for thought.

So, if you have a boy, that you think is being disobedient, think it through, and make sure you are engaging them first, before deciding they are being disobedient.



"provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Ephesians 6:4




Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tots on a Tuesday {play dough shape mat}

Today, I found a super duper activity for my tots to do. I realised, recently, that Elijah loves playing with any left over icing I have (the fondant variety) when I have been cake making. He sits for ages playing with it, making all sorts of little creations.

When I came across an idea, based on play dough, I realised he was going to LOVE it.

Better still, to capture MY interest, it included BUTTONS!

My interest is always captures by activities with the potential of teaching about mutliple concepts, and this one totally fit the bill.

It involved using a printable, from Learning 4 Kids, which you can find here.

First of all, ELijah had a turn doing it. I thought he did a really great job, filling in the shape of the bear. Then he had fun putting buttons on, too.  We talked about what colours they were, how many, which colour there were more of, what size they all were, and how many holes were in the buttons.

It's funny, because they ALL appeared at various points, wanting to play with the play-doh!



This was Elijah's completed bear (it did end up having "claws" added, after the camera was gone - a manly bear! )


ELijah "posing"

THen, Simeon had a go. He REALLY loved playing with it, and tried very intently to fill in his shape.


I thought this was a very admirable attempt, for a 2 year old!

His big brother (erm, the 12 year old) helped him a bit, then he added some buttons, too (Simeon, that is.)



Would you just look at the level of concentration?! He enjoyed trying to count as he stuck them on, and although the buttons DID end up on the floor later, they all had fun with it.

I think that the lady who shared the free printable used them for alphabet themes, this one being "b".  I was thinking, however, that I could print other shapes of my own, and make more colours of play-doh, to have some variety.  

This is one we will being doing again, for SURE! Fun had, all round!

Oh, the recipe I used for playdoh was from The Imagination Tree, but I missed out the Cream of Tartar, as I didn't have any!  I could have done with more food colouring, as it didn't come out very blue (yes, that's supposed to be blue...). . I know for next time. Cuz, there's gonna be a next time! 



TheJoyfulKeeper
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Monday, 26 May 2014

A warning against spiritual OCD {pouring out love}

Have you ever read the account, in the scriptures, about Simon the Pharisee, and the woman who washed Jesus' feet?

It heard a deeply challenging message about them, whilst on holiday, about an issue I see cropping up all too often.  I see it amongst Christians, in a general sense, and I see myself doing it as a mother, too. 

What?

Being so worried about the externals, and how things are done, that you lose the passion and heart of the Lord.

Simon, as a Pharisee, was obsessed about the outward appearance, and particularly about cleaning rituals. They had hand washing routines that were almost ridiculous. Always concerned about the outward, yet the Lord likened them to whitened sepulchres...white and clean on the outside, rotten on the inside.

Simon had huge issues with the woman who was in his home. Having let her hair down (which was culturally frowned upon in public), she cleaned his feet with her hair, watered by her tears - pure joy and emotion upon being with Jesus. Despite the fact that she was in the home of a Pharisee, surrounded by many, she "wore her heart on her sleeve" and willingly displayed her love. 

Simon didn't like it. 

Ironic, really, since (as Jesus pointed out) HE had omitted to extend the courtesy of washing Jesus feet himself, as custom dictated he should have! All his obsessions about washing, yet he hadn't done it when he ought to have.

It's so easy to hear about this incident and frown upon Simeon, and see ourselves as ever the one washing Jesus' feet.

"*I* would never have been the one that was neglectful - I would have done the right thing.  NO judgement from me, only love"

Really?

Seriously?

Oh, my sinful heart - I see myself, upon deeper reflection, as the Pharisee.

You see, it's all too easy to have spiritual OCD. To get caught up in the "hand cleaning" - rules, and rituals - in the "if you don't do it my our way, you must be wrong, because we MUST be right" attitude.  As much as Simon was ridiculous worrying about washing rituals, our judgements and legalism about the issues that we get bound up in, are equally secondary, so often.

Similarly to Simon, we tend to look at things in the light of tradition, and man made opinions, rather than carefully weighing things up beside God's Word. If the Bible clearly says something is sin, that's one thing.  If the scriptures are silent, we need to wisely make choices for ourselves, and graciously allow others to make their own choices.

Just as Simon caused a bad atmosphere, by his outburst, we do exactly the same if we start to argue, disagree, and judge, over the minutia of life.

It must be said, as much as the Internet can be a tool for blessing,  that it can equally become a breeding ground for spiritual OCD.  Pointing the finger at the differences of others, and criticising them for not following certain "rules",  instead of showing love.

Where's the love?

Look at the woman who washed Jesus' feet.

THAT'S where the love is.

Being so caught up with our love for the Lord, that all else fades away and is forgotten.  No legalism - no judging the hearts and motives of others - no bickering and complaining about the choices that are made differently from our own. Pure, perfect, love for the Saviour. Savouring His presence, and seeking His approval, over the approval of the world, and fellow believers.

The woman brought a costly box of oils, and anointed Jesus with it - she brought her best to Him. This box was one that had to be broken, in order to spill its contents.

Am I coming, BROKEN, to Jesus.  Opening up myself, to be filled up with His love, and His spirit. If I come, willing, to be broken, with that kind of love, I won't even be THINKING a legalistic thought.

Is that how I am?  Bringing my best to the Lord - the best of my attitudes and actions? Bringing the best, because I love the Lord more than I love the desire to talk other's down, and criticise and judge?

I pray the Lord would help me to be less of the spiritual OCD, and more love to Him, and those I meet in my life.



1.     More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee! 
 Hear thou the prayer I make on bended knee. 
 This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

2. Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest; 
 now thee alone I seek, give what is best. 
 This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

3. Let sorrow do its work, come grief and pain; 
 sweet are thy messengers, sweet their refrain, 
 when they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

4. Then shall my latest breath whisper thy praise; 
 this be the parting cry my heart shall raise; 
 this still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

(Elizabeth Prentiss)





Friday, 23 May 2014

Blogging through the Alphabet {Daughters and Delight}

D is for "Daughters"

I can't quite believe it, but my oldest daughter will be eleven tomorrow.

ELEVEN.YEARS.OLD

My darling, devoted, delightful, daughter.

Everyone needs a Bethany. She is SO helpful, and kind. She is diligent in so many things I ask her to do. She brings me so much joy, with her sweet spirit.

She is also a little ditsy, easily distracted and a daydreamer, but that just makes her HER, and I love her so much for all who she is.

We also find she is prone to little disasters - moments when she comes and says "Mum, I'm sorry but I (insert random disaster) " I just smile, help her sort out the problem, and think how alike to me as child she is, and  about the fact I have turned out OK, so she should, too!





Then there are my other daughters. I love them all deeply.  They are each a joy, in their own, unique ways. 








D is for "Delight"

We just had a delightful holiday, for 2 weeks, in Cornwall.  I know, I already told you about it last week, but I want to say it again. It was WONDERFUL.

I am back home, feeling refreshed, with many, many happy memories, of time with my family.

I am delighted to be back home. I love the home that the Lord has given me here, and I love the routine of our life.

I delight myself in the Lord, and everything He is to me. That He has saved me, keeps me, and gives me unmerited grace day by day.  I love Him, I love His Word.


It's just a quickie for my alphabet today, as I literally just back from holiday, but I didn't want to miss linking up.

Come back next week for my "E" post!



Ben and Me

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Blogging through the Alphabet {Cornish Countryside, Coast, Crustaceans andCaledonia}

It's rather convenient that it is "C" this week, as my week is full of it!!

I have had a lovely week of holiday in Cornwall.  We have been particularly blessed with weather that exceeded the expectations we had from the forecast. At best, it was to be overcast, but it's been truly lovely. It was cloudy over the first couple of days, with wind that turned the rain into horizontal precipitation, but then the new week dawned. 

I am going to photo bomb this post, so get ready for some stunning scenery....


This is the day we arrived... I took the children to see the ocean, but it was drizzling and rather windy. Still gorgeous, though. 


This is what we got the next day!! I did a "panoramic shot" with the iPod, but it doesn't truly show you the sparkling water, and the rugged coastline.


This one is Harlyn Bay. It was still a bit blustery, but just look at the green sea and blue sky!




As the place we stayed faced almost due west at the coast, I HAD to take some sunset shots. It's just my iPod, but I am pleased with what I captured. Amazing!


Would you just look at that?? This was Mawgan Porth, and was another stunning day! 





The next day, I took the oldest 5 to the rock pools, at the bay near us....Treyarnon Bay. They were SUPER rock pools, but I need to find my cable, to share the pictures from that day,mad I used my camera, not the iPod.  I have wonderful childhood memories of doing just the same thing, in Cornwall! I particularly love the sea anemones, little, red, squishiness! They managed to catch a few crabs, which they were chuffed about! We took them back, later the same day, to release them into the sea. 


Look at that handsome fella!




Releasing them back. 


It was another beautiful sunset when the crabs were released. 





The rock pools were all covered up by the sea. 




The next day, we returned to the cove to camp out. I even went into the sea, and swam with the children in the really deep, warm ("ish") pools. So much fun!! 

Then, on another day, they did some crab catching, but with a line and hook, with bait. The rock pool captures were a case of finding, then catching in a net. Quite a bit of investigation, and hunting. Catching them at Padstow harbour was more up to chance. You bait the hook, cast it in, and hope they decide to "take the bait". It took quite a bit of patience, but they finally got two!! 


All this scenery reminds me of my "homeland"... Caledonia. Scotland. It has very similar coastline to Cornwall, with rocky coves and beautiful sunsets.

 I miss it. 




Oh, how could I forget?!

CROCHET!!

My current project is this butterfly shawl. The hand dyed yarn is gorgeous, and the pattern is quite easy to follow. It's a gift for someone, so it needs to be finished ASAP! 

I also did this quick make... Little "sandals" for Tabitha. Really cute, but she keeps pulling them off!! Typical! 




So, there's my "c". Lots of happiness, and treasured moments with family.
























Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Making life beautiful {accepting things you cannot change}

In my garden, there is a corner I have tried to ignore since we moved into the house. For a start, it's at the front, where we spend less time, so easy to neglect. Secondly, it contains something that I considered ugly and an eye sore. 

Laurel roots.

Big, ugly laurel roots.

Robert has been painstakingly trying to kill them off, drilling holes in them, and putting in treatment to kill them off. It's not a quick fix, and they are still there. Without heavy, expensive to hire, equipment, they are not going anywhere in a hurry. This year was the worst. There were thick patches of nettles and dandelions all around them, making it so much worse.

Instead of griping and being frustrated about the "ugly" patch, I realised there was something I COULD do. I couldn't get rid of the roots, but I could clear the weeds, and make a FEATURE of the roots!! I could make it something beautiful, by working around, and with, it.

Those weeds were hard work. The nettle roots were like an underground network, and the dandelions had roots like a tree. It was no easy fix, but it looked so much better with them gone.

I popped off to the garden centre, picking up some pretty, flowering plants. I wanted plants that would not just try and cover up the roots, but to make them look like part of my garden. As if they were supposed to be there, rather than me just making do. 

The day I attacked my garden, I happened to be struggling with a situation in my life, which was irking me. A situation that was not likely to change in a hurry, but I was allowing it to bother me, and rob me of my joy and peace. It was a circumstance that wasn't in my power to change, yet I was letting it fester away and irritate me. My heart and my attitude weren't at ALL beautiful, as I chewed over my frustrations. 

It hit me. 

My life is like those roots in my garden. There are some things in all our lives, that we simply cannot change. It's not in our power, or perhaps not our responsibility, to change. Allowing it to bother us is simply showing lack of contentment in God's plan for us, or lack of patience whilst we pray for a change, which may happen in the future. If we allow it to negatively affect us, it's not very beautiful, at ALL. 

We can, however, be responsible for how we accept, and deal with, our circumstances. If we remember exhortations in the scriptures to "rejoice evermore", "in everything give thanks", "pray without ceasing", "be content with such things as ye have", and put them into practice, we will have much more joy and peace in our life.

It would be so easy to sit, frustrated and irritated, madly praying for the Lord to change our situation, when we could, instead, be living joyfully, and contentedly, in the situation we are in. 

In time, the Lord may answer your prayers, and changes may come.... Or, they may not. 

We can choose to live with joy, or we can choose to be miserable. 

Don't fight the situation that the Lord is allowing you to walk through. Embrace it, and live it with joy. 

Go ahead, and plant some "flowers" in your life, and choose to make your situation beautiful, instead of being frustrated with a wasteland. 






Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Blogging through the Alphabet {B is for Beruhigen, busy, and the blessing of my Beth, and biggest boy}

Ben and Me

"B"


OK, so I had to be REALLY creative here, to make my day fit my blog post for this week. So, I bring to you an educational post, wherein you learn a German word, to suit my blog post.

Is that somehow wrong?

Not sure.

These first two words are somewhat of an enigma, in one sense. Almost polar opposites, well, at least for me.

B, is for beruhigen and busy.

"What," you may ask "does BERUHIGEN mean?"

Unless you are a German scholar, you will not know what it means.  

It means "calm".

Today, I had a calm day, when it shouldn't have been, because I had a crisis, on a busy day. A crisis when you have a LOT to do, is generally not a calming experience, but for me, unusually, it was.

I can't take the credit for it - it was a definite Spirit-filled moment. 

I was busily doing jobs in the lounge, when a child came through, with a look and tone of urgency, telling me to come NOW.

I went, hearing the sound of rushing water as I went.

Ohhhhhhh yes. RUSHING, GUSHING, HIGH-PRESSURE water.

I immediately realised that something under the sink had exploded and water was exiting at a great speed. I thankfully knew where the stop-cock was, threw (pretty literally) the saucepans out of the cupboard where it is, and turned it off. The whole thing probably took less than 60 seconds, but there was a lot of water. Also, providentially, there were a lot of towels waiting to be washed, so they got put to a secondary use! 

Next was to look in the cupboard. Do you know how much you can FIT in a cupboard under the sink? A lot, let me tell you.  Most of it was at least damp, in some way or form, if not soaking. 

I was supposed to be supervising school work, working on a crochet project that is being given as a gift and the deadline is looming, and sorting out a computer issue. Also, lots of laundry was to be done today, and the dishwasher WAS running.  Those latter two things cannot be done WITHOUT water, and the former things cannot be done whilst I was clearing up an ENORMOUS mess.

It's not in my nature to be particularly calm and accepting of such situations.  I don't get easily stressed, in one sense, but my plans being thrown, and not being able to do "what I was supposed to do", bothers me. 

Today was out of the ordinary. I calmly managed the situation, without worrying about wasn't being done elsewhere. THIS is what was happening, so THIS is what I needed to be doing.

The day didn't get better. The plumber came, and it turns out the whole of the tap had just fallen apart underneath. Only solution? New tap. My KITCHEN tap - no tap, no washing up. Robert is busy on a Wednesday, and the plumber had another job he needed to go to, so I needed to do it. Normally, that would also have bothered me, again thinking about what I *should* have been doing. However, the tap was needed, and I was available to get it. So off we all (yes, with all 8 children) toddled off to the Screwfix shop to get a new tap. A monoblock, mixer tap (yes, of course I knew that before....*aherm*). Just being in that shop was an experience - Argos, for home improvers. (ie go in, look at a catalogue, write down your number, go to a till, pay, and wait for your item - I became "the kitchen tap" when it arrived, as in "are you the kitchen tap?". Yes, me, the kitchen tap).  By the time we got home, it was late in the afternoon. The children were certainly educated in the art of tidying up a huge mess, and getting school work done in an unconventional manner, at a strange time of day.

It was a strangely busy day, and it was all crammed into a short space of time, yet I got things done.

God was so good, in giving me the calm I needed to handle my day. It would have been such a different atmosphere in this house, had I panicked, and stressed about my upside-down day. It would have affected everyone else, and that would just not have been a good thing. I also learnt that you can be busy, have more on your plate than you wanted, and yet still get it all done! With God's peace and strength, you can do so much.

Beth was a joy today - she cleaned out my entire fridge, wiping out everything, and reorganising the food that went back in.  She did SUCH a great job, and it was a wonderful thing to open up the fridge, and survey the tidiness that met my eyes. Having such a helpful daughter is a blessing, indeed.

I am now ending my day, with my biggest boy being a blessing to his mother - he is doing my ironing! First time to do it like this, and a good job he's doing! He knew I had other things to do, and that the ironing also needed to be done tonight, so he's doing it.  I can't quite believe I have a son old enough to be doing a capable job of ironing, but here I am, and there he is.




So, my B's -  beruhigen in my chaos, my busy day, and the blessing of my oldest two children.




Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tots on a Tuesday {I-Spy jars, with a writing prompt idea thrown in for free..}

Today, I want to share with you something I made, as per the request of my lovely friend, Christine.

It's an "I-Spy" jar.






The principle behind it, is to have your children say what they can find in the jar. The jar is filled with rice, along with little objects, hidden inside.  I also dug out some glitter and added it in, because it made it more fun!  Crucially, you super-glue the lid on, so make sure everything you want is in there.

 No super-glue = mega-mess alert...

I had tremendous fun, picking up all the random odds and ends my children keep littering the floor with, and spiriting them away for using in my I-Spy jar! Seriously, I was like some kind of crazed woman, who, instead of finding things and thinking "that's going in the bin", thinking "ooooh, I could put that in the I-Spy jar"!! I collected so many that I have enough to make more than one jar. Except, well, I don't have another jar at the moment. I have, in the waiting, a one-legged Playmobil person, a tiny platypus from a Kinder egg, and a wooden seagull, along with other flotsam and jetsam!

I decided to theme the jar - this one is "colours".  I tried to put in something of each colour, for them to find.

Here's a few of the things I put in.












There are loads of ways you could use this. You could give clues "I spy with my little eye, something that's like a rabbit's tail".  That would be the white pom-pom in there. Or, "I spy with my little eye, something round, the same colour as a carrot".

I plan to make a little "tick chart" with all the items in there, listed, with a check box beside each one. I will print, and laminate, so they can use dry-erase markers on there. Then, it will help with motor skills, learning to tick them off the list.

You could do shapes, vehicles, numbers, animals - anything you can find in "mini" form, you can put in there! Little, laminated pictures, could also work, making it more of a challenge, because they would need to be facing the right way to see what's on them!

I also thought of a writing prompt idea, for older children. You could have a jar each with nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. The child shakes each jar, and the first word he finds in each one, is used as the basis for a story. Alternatively, you could have a jar each with places, people and objects, again, as a story writing prompt.  You could simplify it further for younger children, and have them use one or more of the jars as a sentence prompt. You could have a lot of fun making up silly sentences! I know, from experience, that, when it comes to writing, having a fun element can help inspire a child, no end!  For younger children, you could also have a jar for each of the word type categories, and they could add new words to them, as they think of them, so they are contributing to the sentence building.  If you do this, then you can't super-glue the lid, so you would have to make sure they don't take the lid off, or put it on wrong, or you could have one, big mega-mess!

If you have any other suggestions for an I-Spy jar, or something similar, please share them with us!

TheJoyfulKeeper
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