We still are on a summer schedule in our home, which will last for the most part, until our homeschool year begins anew. Over the next few weeks we will s-l-o-w-l-y spend more time focusing on our books, experiments and such.
For now, though, there are summer crafts still to make....inspired by our week long camping trip at a beautiful state park on Lake Michigan.
Along with my sons bird journal, we thought making a nest might be fun as well. I think I saw these in Midwest Living magazine? I'm not really sure. It's sort of a classic craft, really.
We put some brown paper bags through the shredder, yet you could cut them up with scissors as well. Alternatively, you could use brown construction paper as well.
Also, we had some watered down elmer's clear gel glue nearby.
Place saran wrap around a regular bowl, on the under side of it.
Tip it over at your work station, with something to protect your table from glue underneath.
Just dip the shreds in the glue and place them onto the bowl where the saran wrap is. Make sure to have a good layer of them, so there are no "holes" in your little nest.
My 3 and 6 year olds enjoyed this very much--though, it is a bit messy. We think that's part of the fun of it all.
Wait until they dry to peel them off of the saran wrap.
As we arrived upon the beach later in the evening, there was quite a group of us. Six adults and sixteen children, to be exact. We had been on our way to a marina, but had been too late and it was closed. Instead of returning back to our campground where we have been enjoying a week together, we turned a corner and found a beautiful beach with a pier leading to a lighthouse.
It was near dusk when we arrived. Sixteen children ranging in age from 8 months to 16 years. Sixteen pairs of legs all declaring freedom of movement in their own ways. Some doing backward flips in the air, and astounding the rest of us. Some younger ones copying the moves of older siblings and friends. Placing their heads directly into the sand to attempt a somersault, as parents watch, smile and shake their heads. They know how much work it is to remove the sand from those heads! Most of the children, including some of mine, are balancing along the concrete ridge that follows along the entrance into the beach, and along the sand.
Jumping as high as they can.
Seeing who can go the farthest.
We go along at whatever pace feels fitting. No rush. No certain bedtime this evening. And as a child, aren't those the best kind of nights? Full of friends, warm breezes, and late bedtimes.
As we come closer to the pier, my nerves seemed to well up inside of me. It looked very narrow. My mind seemed to have many fears. Would all these children be safe on there?
The sun was quickly sinking.
My nerves had an effect on my six year old as well. As we approached the pier, he said, "Mama, I don't want to go on there!" "Okay, honey, I'll stay with you," I said. I told my husband we would be staying back. He tried to convince us to come, yet saw the fear in my eyes and went on with the rest of our crew and the other families.
As the other families walked on well in front of us, my son and I suddenly felt a bit alone. We both wanted to go on the pier, yet were fearful. I said a silent prayer. I told my son that I had said a prayer for God to help us be brave.
He looked at me with a bit of fear still in his eyes.
I reached out my hand to him, and he held his in mine.
He is still so young, and yet growing up so fast, this eldest boy of mine.
We tentatively walked together along the pier. The sun was mostly gone now, with only a few spots of orange-red glow on the horizon. The stars had come out, and the breeze had calmed. It was a beautiful evening to be in God's creation.
Someone well ahead of us shouted, "Look, it's a falling star!" As my son and I looked up, there it was. A falling star. As we gazed together into the heavens, he said, "Woah, I can't believe I see a falling star."
I couldn't help it. I started to softly sing the words to a song. "Catch a falling star and put in your pocket, never let it fade away. Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day."
I sang it a couple of times, and then my son joined in. We sang it softly as we walked along, holding hands and sealing the memory into our minds. If we had let fear hold us back, we would have missed that precious moment.
We have been home now from camping now for a few days. Our schedule is returning to our "normal". My son was on the floor playing with his trucks yesterday afternoon. As I walked by him, busily focused on putting the baby down for a nap, my son looked up at me.
He smiled and sang, "Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away." Memories of that night, I hope will stay with him always. Memories of a loving family, joy in friendship, answered prayer, and late bedtimes.
:: Heading out to be near the water and camp with our family. In the next week my plans include: relaxing with my knitting, laying on the sand at the beach, smiling and laughing with my children, playing lots of card games, and more relaxing with my knitting. And talking with my husband. Lots of that. Will be back in this space in a little over a week. Enjoy your week! ::
You may have noticed an absence from me on the blog last week. I couldn't find the words to type. I could hardly find the breath to breathe in and out. We are going through some very challenging times.
I strive to keep my blog a positive place, where others can find encouragement. It is a help to me as well, to keep my mind in a positive place, and give thanks to God for all He has blessed me with.
However, the enemy was busy trying to steal my joy last week.
What to do when your joy is being taken?
Get renewed joy in the Word. I have been immersing myself in his promises, and his Word many times through the day. It is truly amazing the power God's word has. It has enabled me, through His help, to submit myself to whatever He has for me.
What last week I saw as problems, I now see as challenges. I have renewed my mind in the word, and have armed myself for battle. I was being defeated, and am now ready for battle. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6 : 12
You know what excites me about all of this? We see the enemy working VERY HARD, and aiming at us from every possible angle. However, it must mean God is moving and working in our family, or satan wouldn't be trying so hard! That thought keeps me pushing onward.
I've taken to writing down things that I am praying for, to see how God moves. The answer may be no, yes, or wait. Whatever it is, I want to be able to look back and see how God worked in our family, and through our prayers. What a testimony this can be, of God using our humble family, and writing His story the way He chooses.
We've been motivated about praying for specific needs we have, by the biography of George Muller. If you have not read this, I could not recommend it highly enough. We are going to be reading it again, for the fourth time. It's one of those books, that inspires, encourages, and strengthens your faith. There is a large number of Christian biographies in this series, and some have become our favorite stories. Gladys Aylward, Hudson Taylor and Adoniram Judson have also become favorites in this series. They would be great for read-alouds from about age 8 or so, and older. Inspire your family to be all God has for them!
:: Spaghetti Night. We don't have pasta often, since it isn't sprouted or soaked. However, it makes for a quick simple meal. As I'm reaching for the pots and pans to feed my family a homemade, mama cooked meal, I am always thinking. What could I add to this, to make it more nutritious? When I make spaghetti, I oftentimes add grated liver right into the grass-fed beef while I am browning it. Not a lot, but enough to add some nutritional value, without adding the flavor of liver. Also, something to boost nutrition, but stretch the budget, is to brown half ground beef and half ground heart. Why do we choose to eat organ meats? More on that here.
::Homemade lemonade....My cowboy S, (who is 6 yrs. old), and I made this, and brought it out to a neighbor and daddy, who were both working outside in the 100 degree + heat. We thought that surely deserved some yummy lemonade!
:: Picking the first of the garden bounty. You may recall that this is a second planting. Being the first garden met an early demise from John the Rabbit. The kids were overjoyed to finally set foot in the garden, and see something they could pick. We are in the garden most every evening. The chickens pecking the ground all about, walking through the garden, and the dog running around with the kids trying to chase the ducks and hens. It's a lovely way to end a day.
:: I'm not sure "who" was in my kitchen this day...but she had some serious writing to do. She was telling me all about it, as I prepared lunch. As I'm preparing meals for my family, or cleaning up said meals (I think this makes up 90% of my time, or at least seems that way), I can look up at any given moment, and see a new character waltz into my kitchen.
It may be Davey Crockett, a balerina, or someone dressed so fanciful, and begging to have tea and cookies with me.
How cherished I am to have all these lovely characters surrounding me each day, bringing smiles all along the way.
:: Some crafting has been started at the kitchen table this week. Hopefully, the finished version will be found on here next week. Love bringing the outdoors in, and this was a special way to do so.