April 2010

Life26 Apr 2010 07:56 am

Do not let the title of this post mislead you. My philosophy is open to change and not complete whatsoever. Neither is it overly complicated or academic. If you have interacted with children in any art form, whether drawing with sidewalk chalk or carving wood, you are sure to have a philosophy as well.

I find it challenging to come up with new art projects at times because Leah and her friends and still so young. Sometimes I have be remind myself that they are only approaching two years old. Usually we do painting, gluing and play dough as well as goop when I am up for a challenge.

At this age, they are mostly focused on the process and not on the end result. Though I want them to take pride in the finished product, even more so I want them to enjoy and discover through art. Before I take away their work to dry, I like to take a few seconds for to draw their eyes what they have accomplished so they can appreciate it. Though I want them to see the end, the main focus still is during the work and what their hands are doing.

While they are working, I like to try get them to think about what they are doing. I want the children to understand what effect their paintbrush, stamp, glue stick, hand etc is having on their paper and to put thought into the process.

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The vast majority of the projects are completely open ended, meaning their is no specific proper way to perform the task. I do teach them proper technique when appropriate. For example, using the paintbrush instead of the hand (except when finger painting of course), keeping the paintbrush on the paper and only getting more paint after you have used the paint on your brush. But in the end, I want them to have performed the project mostly on their own. If I do everything for them, then it really is my art project and not theirs.

The goal is not for everyone’s art to look exactly the same. That is the opposite of the point of art. I want them to use their creativity and to expand it. I do struggle with the urge at times to help them make their art ‘right’. For example, at Easter I drew a bunny and got the children to glue on cotton balls. In the end is it better to have all the cotton balls even and within the confines of the bunny or for the children to use their own discretion and make the project their own?

There are so many things in the life that are absolute and rigid that I don’t believe we should force these same standards when they aren’t necessary at all. The children will all learn in time that two plus two is four. Leah might like to think the answer is five or eleven or be really creative and think one hundred thirty two but she would be wrong. I will correct her until she gets the right answer. Though this rigidity is appropriate in math, she also needs outlets to express herself creatively which I believe art is the perfect medium for.


When I want to show them a special technique like the stamping shown below, I show them how to do it and what effect it has and then let them choose how they want to continue painting. Some of the kids will stamp away and make a cool looking design while others go for the smeared look. In the end, they both did art and learned, discovered and enjoyed. Though one picture might look a lot more accomplished in the end, I want to give the same praise to both. For we have been trained to look for neat and perfect but the joy in the process and work involved was the same and that is of much more importance than perceived perfection.

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In celebrating the process, we can enjoy their short childhood even more. Treasuring the moments of discovery and learning while watching the delight on their faces is amazing. They are worth it.


Life25 Apr 2010 08:40 am

I love when Leah helps me with whatever I’m doing. Actually, that is mostly true. It can be a little tricky when she wants to help me with something that is hard to scale down to her level but for the most part it is one of my favourite parts of parenting. Here we are making strawberry custard pies at Grandma’s house.
We have a great park very close to our home that Leah loves to visit. Daddy got to come with us to the other day so it was especially fun. Leah loves to go as high as you will push her on the swing. She doesn’t quite understand why I won’t push her that high when she is in the big kid’s swing where you need to hold on.
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I was helping my mom clean out a bedroom at her house and we came upon a suitcase that my mom thought was empty. It had some weight to it, so I opened it up and found some treasures from long ago. There were sweaters that my great Oma, my Oma and my mom had knit as well as some outfits that we had as kids. I found a cute sailor dress that my Oma had sewn for me that Leah can wear as a top.
Lastly, here is Leah fixing her watering can with a wrench and then proceeding to water the flowers with a funnel.
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Life24 Apr 2010 12:59 pm

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Life23 Apr 2010 02:44 pm

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Now my husband thinks he doesn’t have to buy me flowers….

Life20 Apr 2010 02:18 pm

A couple of weeks ago we had a crazy hail storm which made our yard look like it was covered in a blanket of snow. I bundled the kids up and out we went to have fun.
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Not even a week later, I was looking through last year’s summer hats to try to shield Leah’s face from the hot sun.
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As I was taking pictures of Leah, I took a few pictures of some treasures the previous owners left for us. I have been happily surprised this spring at the beautiful flowers sprouting up that I haven’t planted.
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They also left garden beds that were very overgrown but had a wonderful layout. These beds were full of unique, interesting and not so charming garden ‘art’. I have thrown a few of them out but have left many because they make me smile in their own tacky way. This is one of the better ones.
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Speaking of tacky, this is the fence ‘art’. Yes, they are all different colours and styles. All throughout the yard there is driftwood with marbles embedded in it. This one just happens to be screwed to the gate.
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There were so many wind chimes I have lost count. Several I have moved so the kids can play with them and make music. I did remove their anniversary platter and love sign from the deck as that was a bit much for me. Especially because they moved and are no longer together.
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All in all, we love our yard and are loving it even more as we make it our own.

Life19 Apr 2010 04:20 pm

Leah and I went to visit the aquarium with a few of our mommy friends and their kiddies on Friday. My mom also came along to be an extra pair of hands as I was bringing my two favourite little girls. Here they are in all their cuteness waiting to enter. Once we were inside, the real fun began. There was so much to look at and explore while trying to keep up with the boys.
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There were tanks of sea creatures everywhere you looked. Some were full of colour while others were full of shades of gray. Others were full of fluttering motion while others were slow and graceful.
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Leah and Gabby took it all in.
There is a cool spot just for kids under eight that all of them loved to explore. These bubbles that Leah was looking at kept coming up and would change colours every few seconds. They could also pretend to be vets and check out the seals. Leah was very hesitant at first but then once she saw Gabby petting the seal, she was all over it.
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There was a cool, mini aquarium next to the floor so all the little kids could peek in. Leah and her friends loved going under the tunnels that had fish in them. Leah always ducked even though there was lots of clearance. Better safe than sorry.
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We had a lot of fun and the girls enjoyed themselves too.
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We didn’t explore everything but what we saw was amazing. They have thought of so many interesting ways to show you the sea creatures and have thought of kids too. Lots of viewing areas are right to the floor so everyone can get a great view, they had a puppet show for the kids and a great play area for the kiddies too which made it a great day with great friends.

Life08 Apr 2010 02:42 pm

This weekend we had a lovely time with family and friends celebrating Easter. Leah loved hanging out with everyone and enjoyed the excitement. Grandma and Granddad put together some plastic Easter eggs with goodies for Leah to find.
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Grandma even bought her special fruit snacks for the eggs as she knows I’m not to fond of giving Leah chocolate. Leah is definitely a picky eater and wouldn’t eat them saving all of the goodness for mommy and daddy. She loved searching for and finding her eggs though.

Maybe we will try a few riveting games of hide and seek with the empty Easter eggs at home as that was the highlight of the day.