Becoming Kindred Blog

Sewing with Aneliese

I'd suggested that she might like to do some sewing with the intention of setting her up with some cloth in an embroidery hoop and a needle and thread. As we were choosing some fabric, it become clear that Aneliese had a different scheme in mind.

She wanted to sew something for Kathleen.  A dress, in fact. With a little discussion we decided that a skirt was probably more doable and we set to work.

The thing about Aneliese is that she often decides that she wants to do things beyond her age and ability. My tendency is to try to give her something that she will enjoy that is her level, like needle, thread, and some fabric in a hoop. The issue is that she wants to "really make something". And I'm realizing that she can, sometimes with a little direction, and other times on her own. She actually needs the challenge and the purpose to hold her attention.

We scrolled through a few skirts that I have pinned on my sewing board and decided to make this layered skirt.

It of course doesn't show in photos, but I actually have a really hard time staying relaxed and patient while doing things like sewing. My fingers get itchy to take over and mistakes bother me. I'm learning though. I have to if this homeschooling venture is to be successful. We're learning together.

And little Kathleen has a new skirt.

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Evening Tea

Like most people, we've got a lot on our plates, a lot happening in our day. And like many families, it can become so easy to get caught up in "busy" that we don't take time to connect with each other and to simply enjoy being a family. There's a common idea that families who eat together are more connected to each other and while I know that to be true, often I find that by the supper hour we're all hungry and pretty focused on eating. We also don't tend to do dessert most nights and so after supper finds us wandering off to whatever until bedtime. It's not bad but I felt like we also weren't enjoying as much of a shared interest in each other's day as we could. So when my friend Beth wrote about some things that her family has done to "rescue the dinner hour", I decided to try her suggestion of sharing tea together after the meal.

Frankly, it's been wonderful.

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I've been making a pot of tea before I put supper on the table so that it has time to steep and cool a bit and then while the others clear the table after we eat, I add the milk and a touch of sweetness to the pot, set out the china cups, and pour the tea.

We sip and chat, listen and tell stories, and we laugh. We all really love it. I'm hoping that it's the start of a long lasting tradition.

I picture the friends enjoying evening tea with us. I imagine the girls on visits home from college or with their families some day, gathering around the table to share a pot of tea with the love and connection and respect of family that treasures moments like this together.

Perhaps that is the true gift of a teatime celebration: It fills our cups with joy and warmth and friendship...
— —Emilie Barnes, “A Cozy Christmas Tea”

Bringing Spring Indoors: Forcing Flowering Branches

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I'm trying to keep a good attitude, really I am, but winter this year feels kind of endless. This from someone who usually loves winter. I don't know, everything just feels kind of old, cold, and tiring. But there, I'm trying to keep my chin up.

Look at those apple blossom, aren't they so pretty? A couple of weeks ago, I was walking with Penny on a sunny day when I saw some branches piled that had been pruned from the nearby orchard. They had plenty of tight little buds on them so I brought a few home and stuck them in some water. Apparently they were at a perfect state of dormancy because within a day, the buds started to grow. Now, two weeks later, flowers!

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I also broke some branches off of our own flowering crab apple tree, the old pear tree, and unidentified leaf only tree so I have several branches in varying budding stages around the house. It's so fun and easy. Branches, water, container combined with a little light and warmth and you have beautiful (and free) floral arrangement that lasts for several weeks depending on how long it takes for them to blossom.

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Now, I could get all technical by telling to split the base of the branch, to soak them in warm water that you change daily and even to put them in the dark for a couple of days. Or I could tell you to hammer the base to encourage it to absorb the water. You could do all of that and I have but honestly, this year has been my most unscientific year with the most successful results so there ya go. If I remember to change the water, I do occasionally but other than that, I've just enjoyed them.

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I've found that almost everything that I put in some water works for forcing but here is a list of the commonly used flowering bushes.*

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Enjoy an early glimpse of spring!

*This is a common list but I specifically borrowed it from this gardening site.

Learning at home: A simple ocean inspired nature plate

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I love that with some simple intentional steps, it's possible to encourage kids to learn through their natural curiousity. I don't think that my kids are unique in that they are thirsty to learn about and understand their world; I see the same thirst in so many children. I just find it so exciting that I get to teach these three! I've shared in the past some of the ways that we use our nature plate and basically it's using various parts of nature for learning and making life connections. Right now our nature plate is filled with little gifts from the sea; there's a mix of shells, sea glass, dry vegetation, and rocks.

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To this point we've kept it out of Kathleen's reach due to her tendency to scatter the pieces at random. However, she has just gotten to the place where she is able to handle each piece with a bit more care as she explores. She's particularly fascinated by the colors and texture of the sea glass. Every so often she climbs up on table and quietly(for her!) explores. In a couple of weeks, I'll change it out with a few different objects, probably from collections on one of our spring truly has come walks. When it comes.

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Getting Hay

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Dan laughed at me taking pictures and said that I'm giving you the romanticized version of getting hay because generally he goes for hay in the dark after the girls' bedtime. Sometimes he and I unload and carry to the barn together which is lovely farm romance. More often though, he unloads it himself.  But today, this was getting hay.

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