Nature as the Teacher

TMA_carrots_Garden

I volunteer at our school garden and today was our scheduled garden day. Due to the extreme heat we are experiencing I had to cancel it. Even though I’ll put it back on the calender next week, I did this with a bit of regret. I know how much the children love it. It is the most gorgeous garden. For me, this is another way of reaching out and helping,  but also a way to get to know other parents. Another way of refining myself.

The entire school, class by class spends time in the garden each month. Each class has a team of parents that help the children who learn by planting, maintaining the garden and composting (they love composting). One of the most interesting things to me is that even the children who do not like to eat fruits or vegetables love going to the garden.  They love harvesting time and celebrate by having salad. Each Tuesday, we can buy some of the harvested fruits and vegetables along with baked goods, lemon pops and green juice, all made with things grown in the garden.

I’m kind of bragging about our school garden because it is truly a labor of love and definitely something to brag about.  This is a description of the garden in the Orange County Register “150 parents involved in the TMA organic Garden and Nature Center, which broke ground in 2008 and is the most extensive school garden in Orange County”.  I think it’s a great place for the children to learn. Next week I’ll write about our time in the garden. Until then, here’s the article that appeared in the Orange County Register.

 Nature as Teacher.

For the love of a child.

Twice a week I attend an early learning preschool program with my youngest daughter. The program is run through an organization called “Think Together”.  Parents/Grandparents/Aunts attend with their child twice a week. One day you attend a parent component (workshop) while your children are in the other room learning and the other day you take an active roll in child’s education by assisting in all lessons, craft time, play time, carpet time, etc. I have seen tremendous growth in Ava since attending this program.

The program is planned and led by the director and the wonderful woman who facilitates the weekly parenting workshops (both of whom I just love). The “Teachers” are all volunteers through AmeriCorps (all of them are great!). Each Thursday, we are sent home with bag full of books to read to our children. Our children then draw a picture of their favorite book . On the following Tuesday, we share it. It is so amazing to see all of the children’s growth through their pictures. We then have our weekly parenting workshop that teach you parenting methods and exercises to try at home.

Some how, the weekly parent component classes have turned into so something special. The woman who facilitates the parent component has given the Moms a chance to not only learn and share parenting skills but also to share everything that is going on in our “Mom” lives. Our thoughts, struggles, proud moments and ideas. This has quickly become a place of growing but more important a room full very different women who have become friends. Some of us have become very close.

Today, we made sock puppets for our children. The sock puppet is to be used by our children or us to express feelings or to talk to each other; not as ourselves but as the puppet (I think this could work). The room was quite with all the busy moms/Grandma’s/Aunts working and sharing to create the perfect sock puppet to delight our children. I thought it was great, A room full of women brought together, creating sock puppets all for the love of a child. Amazing!

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http://www.thinktogether.org/early-learning/

http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s day is so bittersweet. I am so thankful for all that God has given me. Every single moment, good, bad, sad and everything in between. My beautiful children and grandson have brought me so much joy.

My husband and girls made me this really big and wonderful breakfast this morning. I’m feeling so blessed.

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I ‘m going to keep it short and sweet today but my son shared this awesome duo with me yesterday. I thought I’d pass it along to you. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.  Have a blessed Mother’s Day.

2 Cellos – Thunderstruck

 

Girl Scout meeting #16 – Brownie Quest Take Action Project and Mother’s day gifts

 A huge part of refining my life is my involvement with Girl Scouts. I am the leader of the a Brownie troop with 11 awesome Brownies (we just had one girl quit Girl Scouts due to a conflict in her schedule). I also serve as the Registrar, GSI Liaison and Lead Organizer for my Service Unit. Girl Scouting has forced me to come out of shell. I was not shy before but after I lost my son, I withdrew. My circle was very tight. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some awesome women and completely inspiring girls. Girl Scouting does so much for a girl (and this Mom). Girl Scouting is another thing I do not want my girls to be without. 

 My Girl Scout troop has been very busy this year. Between running my troop and the positions I serve for in my service unit, I am a bit tired at this point in the year. My troop is currently working on their Take Action Project for their Brownie Quest Journey, so there is no slowing down now. At our meeting we planned how we would execute our Take Action Project to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Also, to honor our very special troop Mom’s (who are also awesome) the girls made cards and lip scrub. We put them in these sweet little jars I found at Michael’s (on sale with a coupon, of course).

The girls were having a great time making the cards so I adjusted the meeting and gave them more time to keep creating. These girls are so creative, one girl drew an amazing picture of a quail and another made this really cute pop up card. When I told the girls we were making a lip sugar scrub, they all looked a bit puzzled but they loved making the scrub. They enjoyed the freedom my co-leader and I gave them to fill and decorate the cute little jars. They also starting “testing” the scrub and saying that it tasted good.

It was a great meeting. Just within the last few meeting I have let the girls enjoy the moment a bit more by not being so strict with my time line. I have also learned to put a little less on the agenda. If we don’t cover that last badge requirements, it’s okay. We’ll get it next time. They all enjoyed the meeting and making these sweet little gifts for their Mom’s.

This is the basic outline of our meeting:

Pre-meeting: Mothers Day Cards

Opening: Flag, Promise and Law

Business:

  • In a Brownie ring discuss our upcoming tour of Ronald McDonald House
  • Discuss field trip to Mini Horse Camp

Exploration:

  • Read Chapter 4,5 & 6 of the girls book
  • Discuss our TAP

Craft: Mother’s Day Gifts & finish up Mother’s day cards/notes

Snack time

Closing/Badges/Friendship Circle

 

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My God given abilities are fantastic!

Ok, so in reading this mornings devotional it got me thinking(as it should). In Girl Scouts I am always telling my troop that we all have very different and very amazing abilities. Each one is different and when working together we can make a huge difference. Yet in my own life I sometimes feel it is necessary for me to learn how to do something that I am clearly not good at.

Let’s take braiding hair. I can not braid hair, even if my life depended on it. I’m always told how easy it is. Well, for me such a simple task is difficult…which bunch of hair did I just put over or was it under??? Okay, I think you get the picture.

But the reality is my girls are perfectly content with their unbraided hair. They thrive and survive all day long with their beautiful unbraided hair and I can do many other things that the other braiding mom’s just can not do. Maybe it’ll all make sense when I take the Knots and Latching class for my Girl Scout Troop but if that never happens, I’m okay with that.

Here’s the daily devotional that started these crazy thoughts of braiding hair.

Dailyhope

Your Abilities are God’s Map for your life
by Rick Warren
via: http://www.purposedriven.com/blogs/dailyhope/

“May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.” (Hebrews 13:21 NLT)
Once upon a time, there were some animals that wanted to start a school for animals. They decided the courses would include running, climbing, swimming, and flying. Then they decided that all of the animals should take all of the courses.
That’s where the problem started. The duck was better than his teacher at swimming, but he only made passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. So they made him drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his webbed feet to be badly worn, and his grade dropped to average in swimming. But everybody felt less threatened and more comfortable with that — except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of his class in running, but because of so much make-up work in swimming, he caught pneumonia and had to drop out of school. The squirrel showed outstanding ability in climbing, but he was extremely frustrated in flying class because the teacher insisted that he start from the ground up rather than the treetop down. He developed Charlie horses from over-extension, so he only got a “C” in climbing and a “D” in running. The eagle was the problem student and was disciplined for being a nonconformist. For instance, in climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but he insisted on flying to get there. Finally, because he refused to participate in swimming class, he was expelled.
The point is that God has designed specific animals to excel in specific areas, and he doesn’t expect them to do all the other things. When you expect everybody to fit in the same mold, all you’re going to get is frustration, discouragement, mediocrity, and failure. A duck is made to be a duck and not something else.
And you were made to be you. God has given you unique abilities, and he wants you to use them the way he intended.
Your abilities are the map to God’s will for your life. It points the direction. When you know what you’re good at, then you can know what God wants you to do with your life.

Ideas to Get Your Family Outside!

I love being outdoors exploring nature and thankfully so do my girls. These are some great reminders of how easy it is to get outdoors and explore as a family. I am definitely looking at doing some geocaching with my family this summer (also a great way to be prepared to do this with my troop next year).

My First Post!!!

Ok, so maybe not an actual post but a promise. I will get my blog to look better, lol. I will learn how to use this blog and how to design it.

So don’t be surprised when you look at my blog and its completely different. Soon people will be knocking at my door, waiting for me to help them with their blog. Hahaha, well I can dream.

Thanks for your patience while I grow,

Annette