Monday, May 27, 2013

5 Ways To Have Fun With Dandelions

dandelion Collage

Spring weather is finally here for us and the girls have been having fun with the plethora of dandelions they are finding in our yard and around the neighborhood.

I'm certain this list could easily turn into a 100 but for today we'd like to share 5 of the ways we've been having fun with dandelions.

1. Make Wishes- Really, how much does this scream childhood! Kids love to pick wispy dandelions and blow wishes. They love it even more if you do it with them. We had fun asking how many wishes they each made and how many seeds do they think they blew away.


2. Make a bouquet- Often it's the simple things that are the most fun! My girls had a blast walking around the yard and creating their own dandelion bouquets. After they create their bouquets it's a nice touch to add them to vases and use the as centerpiece for a meal time.


3. Observe them with a magnify glass- This is a great way to discuss science words like magnify, comparing and contrasting, and observing. You can also discuss parts of the flower like seed, petals, and stem. 


4. Make An Observational Drawing- I set up an "invitation to draw" for the girls using a clipboard, paper, and oil pastels (with the dandelion colors). I encouraged them to look at the dandelions to make their drawings. Again, another opportunity to discuss the various colors and parts of a dandelion.



5. Paint With Them- I love finding ways to connect nature with art! The girls loved using the dandelions in lieu of paintbrushes to create a mural.


My 4 year old used it to make dandelion prints. 


My 3 year old enjoyed using it as a brush and making stokes and circles with it. 


There you have it! Five of the many ways to have fun with dandelions! 

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Let's Thank The Teachers

I write often about this journey of motherhood and how important I think it is to embrace who we were before becoming moms and to take the time for ourselves. On that same note I also think it's important to remember those individuals from our past who shaped our lives and helped make us who we are today.

Somewhere along the way this journey of motherhood inspired the journey of gratitude. Being thankful for all the people and things in my current life but also all the people that once touched my life in such positive ways.

I would imagine most of us can remember a teacher from our youth that truly made a difference wether it was a small subtle triumph or something that changed the course of your life. I was lucky enough to have many amazing teachers throughout my life. It wasn't until after I graduated from college and started teaching myself did I realize how fortunate I was to have these incredible women as teachers in my elementary years. Specifically there were three that stood out to me and all for different reasons.

At that time I felt a strong desire to reach out to them and let them know how I remembered them and most importantly I needed to thank them. Lucky for me they were still all teaching at the very same elementary school.

I sat down and wrote them each a letter.

I told my 1st grade teacher how I remembered she used to play guitar for us every Friday and that very ritual inspired my love for guitar. I asked and received a guitar for Christmas that year in first grade but it wasn't until my early 20's that I finally learned to play guitar. All the while I never forgot how I was first introduced to my favorite instrument.

I told my 4th grade teacher how she was a huge influence in my decision to become a teacher. I told her how much I loved going to school everyday because of her teaching style, her sense of humor, and passion for her students.

I told my 3rd grade teacher how she inspired my love for writing. It was in 3rd grade that for the first time I was encouraged to write short stories and I absolutely fell in love. I told her how I remembered she used to keep some of her favorite ones in a binder call the SSS Book- which stood for Super Short Stories. I remember how proud I felt when some of mine were chosen for the SSS book.

Two of the three teachers wrote me back and it was the greatest feeling to know how much they appreciated their letters. Solidifying the old adage "When you give you get back!"

Little did I know just how much I would get back.

Included with the letter written back to me from my 3rd grade teacher were three of the short stories I had written when I was in 3rd grade! I couldn't believe my eyes as I read the stories I wrote as a child that I hadn't seen in nearly 20 years!! She had saved them all these years in the SSS book. It was like finding the letter you wrote Santa Claus when you were 8 years old. It was truly one of the coolest things that had happened to me. Had I not written her the letter I probably never would have seen them.

The stories are affectionately tucked away in a memory box and I can't wait to share them as well as share this very story with my children someday. It's definitely a favorite of mine in the chronicles of my little life and all because I thanked a teacher.

Is there a favorite teacher you've had that touched your life? Have you reached out to them to let them know?

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