Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Fabulous Wonderful Awesome Book Sling!

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I love slings!

I love this kind,

And this kind

Mei Tai

And even this kind

Ok, not really.  But one kind of sling I’ve been wanting ever since I knew it exsited is this kind of sling.

Hanging book display1

One for your books!  I would post some pictures of mine, but our digital camera batteries are dead.  So sometime in the near future I’ll add them in.   I found a tutorial at Penny Carnival, pulled out some old fabric  and whipped them up yesterday. 

Perhaps saying whipped it up is misleading.  That sounds like it was fast to make them, when it actually took me alot longer than I thought.  So I have a tip for you which is probably obvious to most of you  but I was not blessed with foresight this particular time.  Tip:  Get your hardware first.  Go get the dowels and brackets first and then sew the slings.  I got them after and had to unpick unpick unpick (I HATE doing that) and resew because they were the wrong length and the caseing was too small.  OOPS!  But mistakes are for learning, right?  So now I know and you know. 

I also learned something else.  I can’t do crafts anymore.  I actually learned this lesson once before, (see Here) but I guess it didn’t sink in.  It was like the straw that broke the camels back yesterday.  I was busy and the kids needed me so I got grumpy and they got grumpy and the house was dirty and my hubby scraped together some dinner and it was taking so long I couldn’t do anything else.  So.  I guess I’ll just do crafts after the kids go to bed, or better yet, I’ll just wait till they all are in school and then I’ll craft ALL DAY (yea right!) :).  Sounds good to me!

I heart the Library!

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HK Tuen Mun Public Library new books

Image via Wikipedia

I feel like I hit the jackpot at the library last time we visited. Chasing a 3-year-old around the stacks doesn’t leave me much time to be really choosy about the books I pick for her. I usually grab what looks interesting from the displays the librarians set out. They did a grand job this last time! So I thought I’d share the gems I (they) found. Read the rest of this entry

Fairy Tales

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An old crone with no eyes takes in a princess who later goes on a search for said eyes and brings them back only to find the crone dead so she keeps them in a jar to watch over her.  Some parents abandon their children in the woods to let them be devoured or starve to death.  Evil Queens plot and talking animals give quests.  And scariest of all (to me) a house on chicken legs houses a child eating witch. 

Why do we read such things to our children?  I’ll tell you why!  They are simply magical.  I grew up reading fairy tales (boy do I remember the ones about Baba Yaga!) and enjoyed them.  I have read them to my children.  But I don’t think I recognized their power until recently.  Deciding to send my daughter to a Waldorf inspired school has brought them more to my attention.  In a Waldorf school fairy tales have a large part to play and I’ve wondered why.  Why just fairy tales and not other stories? 

Think back.  Waaaaay back.  Back when there was no paper or at least when the common person didn’t have paper.  Storytelling was entertainment, but also more than that.  All around the world, people would gather around a fire, inside or out, winter or summer, and tell stories.  Stories about their beginnings, stories about their experiences, stories about their dreams.  Alot of these stories had commonalities.  A Hero/Heroine, some struggle, magical qualities, a reformation.  Why did people tell stories?  Just for entertainment?

Sharifa Oppenhiemer says in her book Heaven on Earth “Through the use of story, we can give our children powerful tools necessary to make sense of their lives.  Stories offer our children examples of solutions for the difficulties they will encounter as they grow and develop.  They also image for our children various qualities of character that will aid them in these difficulties.  these images can lay a foundation of strength for a lifetime.”  Not only are fairy tales enjoyable (which they certainly are!) but through them our children can learn and experience a wealth of things in a safe place. 

In the book Simplicity Parenting  by Kim John Payne he tells a story of a mother and her 6 year old daughter who came in to see him because of a hard situation they were in.  The mother had a very ill brother who lived a ways away and she had been going to visit him often for 5 days at a time.  The daughter was terribly angry with her mother, not only for leaving but for being sad.  The mother said she had told her daughter the truth about her uncle, she didn’t want to make up some story about her being gone.  He replied “Yes, she deserves both the truth and stories.  But she needs more stories now, to help her with the truth.”  He then suggested that she tell stories about someone in a scary situation who finds a way out.  Though a little miffed at the prescription of “fairy tales” the mother tried it and said the stories soothed her daughter and they made this hard time easier for her. 

I have been worried at times that some of the stories might be too scary for my daughter.  Of course you will want to wait on some stories and tell kinder ones to your 3-4year olds, ones mostly about the world in which we live.  Having said this, you may be surprised by your children’s reactions.  My 6 year old loves the scary ones, and has never had nightmares about them.  S. Oppenheimer says “Fairy Tales characteristically state a problem in clear, unmistakable terms.  The plot is laid out simply, and the characters are drawn in bold, unambiguous strokes-the evil queen is, truly, evil incarnate, the youngest son has a pure and golden heart.  At this point, the child needs to see the various ‘qualities’ of the human soul laid out in understandable terms, personifies in the different figures in the tale.  We see opposite qualities laid side by side:  one sister is virtuous and industrious, the other lazy and cunning.” 

I love reading fairy tales with my kids and making some up with them too!  Truly, there is nothing so entertaining (and educational!) as a well told story.  I end with a quote from Albert Einstein. 

 

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 

Reverse Lent

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I’m not Catholic, but I have ‘participated’ in Lent a few times, in a non-religious way. I’ve given up evening TV watching, chocolate, buying new, and other things. Trouble is I tend to binge on those things after Lent is over. Don’t get me wrong, I do think self-denial and fasting can be good things, they just haven’t worked for me in this instance.  And it doesn’t fit in well with my personal improvement philosophy.  For example, I don’t believe in deprivation dieting, banning certain ‘bad’ foods like fat, carbs, chocolate, etc. If I feel my diet needs improving I’d much rather add things; more whole grains, more legumes, more water. These healthy additions tend to push out the less desirable foods I might be inclined to indulge in. So I thought maybe the same approach would work for my self-refining/development.

With that in mind, this year I’m trying something a little different for Lent. Rather than giving something up, I’m resuming something I’d given up, namely the flute.

Believe me, I’m not taking the easy way out.  I haven’t played for three years now!   And some days are so packed for me it’s all I can do to do the things that need to be done that day (feeding kids, running various errands, blog posts).  I don’t expect that I’ll be able to play my flute every day of Lent, but I can fit it in most days.  It has been so long since I played, all my finger and embouchure muscles have to be rebuilt.  It will take a lot of work and effort not to get discouraged (I used to be better!)  So in addition to reclaiming a skill I once had, I’ll be developing self-discipline and perseverance.   And, in a way, I’m sacrificing some of my time for something better.  Which fits in nicely with the spirit of Lent as I understand it.  Right now I only plan on practicing like this for the duration of Lent, but who knows, maybe by the end it will become a habit I won’t want to give up.