Monday, February 23, 2009

Sun Bread

A book to warm your heart on a cold winter day. And man is it cold and WINDY out here lately.
Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven is a sweet little tale about a baker who brings happiness to the town in the middle of a cold, blah winter by baking bread in the shape of the sun.

We decided we needed a little of that. Doug is the official baker in the family, so he and Zach spent an evening mixing the ingredients for a basic honey wheat bread and kneading the dough. Zach loved getting his hands in there, really working the dough. The hard part was waiting for it to rise. "Is it ready YET mama?"

Our little sun bread turned out lovely, with a face and all made by Z.

The next morning we had fresh baked sun bread with a little sunshine spread on top -- some granny made liliqoi (a.k.a. passion fruit) jam made from the fruit they grow on their land in Hawaii. Mmmmmmm!

Zach was so excited to eat something he made from scratch and has been declaring lately that he wants to be a baker when he grows up!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's the journey...

This is how Zach looks each day when we leave the boat lately.

Yes, those are TWO backpacks on this little 4 year old body. And they are filled to the brim with, well, everything. Books, rocks, gnomes, socks, extra clothes, snacks, gold coins, pencils, notebooks, dolls, wool, needle & thread, rope, compass, binoculars, buttons, you name it. He now needs a a good 1/2 hour warning before we head out the door to ready his packs. And he really does carry them, never once has he passed them off to me.

"You know me, I always need to pack," he says with a sly smile.

"Where are you going pal?" I ask.

"That doesn't matter mommy. As long as I am ready for anything."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beeswax Love

We've become beeswax junkies over here. It started with the realization that our standard candles were not a good thing when we saw how much black soot they left on the headliner of the boat. If the headliner was getting black after an hour, what about our lungs!?

So we stared not only using only beeswax candles (smells wonderful too!), but also playing with it. This led to our Valentine's craft which I got from this way cool blog.

Grate some red crayon for color. You really only need a dash, we ended up grating WAY more crayon than we used.

Melt some 100% beeswax in an old pot you don't care about and sprinkle some crayon in there.

Pour into silicon molds (easy to pop out that way). Let stand for about an hour or so until hard.
(you can also add a wick if you want to make them into candles.) We added pipe cleaners so they wold have a way to hang.

Then decorate! They smell great when the sun shines through the window in the morning. Don't put them in a VERY sunny spot, or they will melt.

Zach wanted to hang feather and pine cones with his hearts. They help brighten up the blah winter view.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Small Packages

Living aboard a boat for the past 10.5 years has been a lesson in simplicity. Way before voluntary simplicity was "in" we employed the rule of "if you want something, you have to get rid of something in its place".

It was pretty easy, until having a baby. We're a tad more lax on that rule now, but Zach still has WAY fewer toys and knick knacks than most land lubber kids. Basically the rule now is the toy has to be well made, open ended (meaning it can be played with lots of ways), no batteries required, and I try to avoid plastic unless it's for the tub or outside. This path led us straight in to a very Waldorf inspired playing and learning environment. But even Waldorf, which is natural and simple in its intent, can end up being a big playroom full of overpriced stuff, just prettier stuff than the plastic box toy store variety. I think kids make the most of what they have. And when they don't have a lot, they use their brain power more to create the scenarios they desire. It's amazing what Z comes up with using paper, cardboard, crayons, wool, cloth, glue, shells, sticks, rocks, and a few home made gnomes. Art supplies are kept in a small canvas crate where he can get them any time he feels inspired. Same with a small sewing kit.

We try to keep certain items out and accessible along the back of the settee.

This little cast of characters may look like your ordinary house gnomes, but with a sprinking of kid imaginations they become astronauts, pirates, the kids from The Sound of Music, the seasons, ice cream cones, knights, you name it.

Little baskets from the Dollar Store hold tree blocks, play silks and felt balls and bean bags, and one filled with coconut shells, coral, seashells, cork, and wool.

And this is our winter version of a "nature table". We keep it confined to a "nature box" which is from the Melissa and Doug instrument set. I never quite understood the idea of a nature table full of expensive Ostheimer and Holztiger figures, and some I have seen don't have one little tidbit from the great outdoors. Ours is all found items from the season as Zach plucks them up, a few candles, and little home made gnomes and crafts. It may not be pretty, but it's natural!

Everything else is stores in little bags under the sette table. A bag for blocks, a bag for animals, a bag for space toys, a bag for the marble run, a bag for the tea set, a bag of pirate stuff, and a load of dress up clothes in the cubby under his bed. There is NOTHING on this boat that does not get used. And if something isn't proving itself worth of our limited square footage, it gets a new home (freecycle, goodwill, friend, or garbage) FAST!

Our best plaything is the great outdoors!

So what happens when we cast off and go for a sail? The baskets and crates manage to stay put. Any other odds and ends get bagged up and put under the settee table too.
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