The Family Meal: A Place for Common Ground (guest post on Simple Mom)

Contributor Rae Grant is guest posting on Simple Mom today while Tsh is on maternity leave.

When I look back on my family memories as both a child and as a parent, some of my fondest recollections revolved around our traditions for the family meal. It was the daily ritual of our family meals that pulled us all into the same orbit at least once a day, all week long. It was a place for common ground.

A good family meal is nourishing, restorative, allows for conversation and simple exchanges to take place. It marks a beginning and an end to a day of work and activities, and it allows families to touch base, tell stories, connect, laugh, and be supportive about the day ahead.

In our fast modern times, slowing down for a family meal can be a bit of a challenge. Busy schedules, longer work days, and eating on the run can deprive home life of this special time. Here are a few tips that encourage this time-honored ritual and help to keep the family meal running smoothly.

Read the Rest at Simple Mom …

At the Craft Table with Rae Grant: Dandelion Flower Paintbrush Cards

If you want to add a little more nature and artistic flair into your child’s everyday life, try a craft project using freshly picked dandelions to serve as natural paint brushes. Even though Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day off from business as usual at home, it is still fun to work with your kids on a natural flower card project that can double as a Mother’s Day gift.

One of my favorite weed flowers, the bright yellow dandelion, shows up in the spring and lasts into summer. There is just simply nothing not to love about dandelions. They make charming flower bracelets, fanciful bouquets, and turn into soft white globes that can be blown, along with a wish, into the wind and across lawns and fields. They are magical, useful, and edible.

Dandelions also make great flower brushes for stamping and painting cards. Part of the fun of making Flower Paintbrush Cards is going on a walk outside to pick fresh flowers. The other joy (at least for kids) is the tactile thrill of twirling the flowers gently across a clean sheet of white paper to make a printed pattern.

[Read more...]

At the Craft Table with Rae Grant: Egg Cartons – Imagine the Possibilities

Egg cartons have been a fascination of mine in recent years. They seem like the perfect invention; a snug cup which holds delicate, breakable eggs securely enough to travel miles from farm to table, and they have a solid lid which closes and opens easily without breaking. They simply are useful.

Kids have caught on to this handy container and use them to store favorite collectibles. In our family, many a summer day was spent filling the little cups with pebbles and natural treasures down by our brook. Kids quickly learn that an egg carton houses acorns, rock, marbles, insects and butterflies, small dolls, pennies, feathers, and leaves.  Their treasures were safe in that egg carton. (Mom was less likely to throw out the treasures right away.)

While utilitarian at heart, the recycled cardboard egg carton is an opportunity to repurpose.

[Read more...]

At the Craft Table with Rae Grant: Good Old-Fashioned Paste

With early spring fast approaching there is still time for plenty of indoor crafting projects before the shift to outdoor weather play begins. Getting your kids to sit down at the craft table can sometimes be a challenge. Time and organization is one hurdle and having useful basic materials in the house to get the process started spontaneously is another.

Be Resourceful

Having a few simple materials on hand can help make crafting a creative outlet rather than a dull chore. That is very good for everyone! One simple item to have on hand whenever you want to get started at the craft table is good old-fashioned paste. It’s easy to make, non-toxic, and easy to store for your children’s daily and weekly craft time.

[Read more...]