October 9th: Simple Kids Showcase and Weekend Links

This week’s Showcase comes to us from Catherine of Adventures with Kids:

I am very grateful for my son’s wonderful grandparents. They provide our family with plenty of help and support whenever we need it.  But the greatest thing that they give is spending time talking and playing with their grandsons and passing on their skills and knowledge.

My mother is a wonderful cook and when we visited earlier this year she showed my son how to make pasta.  They also spent lots of time looking through and discussing the photographs in wildlife books.

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My father-in-law will tinker with anything and he always has time for my son to help and to teach my son how things work (my husband has this talent for tinkering too, but is often more pressed for time when fixing things).

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My mother-in-law loves to spend time with her grandsons and has a great passion for gardening.  My 4 year old son will spend all day in the garden with her, potting plants, raking leaves, mowing the lawn (on a ride-on mower), pruning and pottering around.

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I’m very happy that there is such a close relationship between my sons and their grandparents and to share the raising of my sons with our extended family.

What a blessing for both Catherine and her children to have grandparents so close by who are lovingly involved in the life of their family!

And now, your weekend reading:

Simply Practical

Simple. Organized. Life: Print Books of Pictures, Not All Your Pictures
Steady Mom: How to Teach Your Sons to Express Emotion
Where the Wild Things Are and National Wildlife Federation Team Up for Launch of Be Out There Campaign to Get Kids Outside

Simply Delicious

My Charming Kids: Rainbow Cake
itty bitty fish: waffle crazy
Berlin’s Whimsy: Healthy Snacking: Fruity-Nutty Nibbles

Inspired Projects

Kids Craft Weekly: Five-Minute Crafts
The Crafty Crow: Homemade Party Favors: 40 Party Favors You Can Make Yourself!
The Berblog: Fall Leaf Crayon Resist-Watercolor (via Crafty Crow)

Inspired Images

A Foothill Home Companion: Making
Grass Stained Knees: Right now . . .

Inspired Words

Zen Family Habits: How to be Minimalist with Kids (Zen Family Habits launched this week with SK community member Sherri of Serene Journey at the helm!  This article is one of many filled with inspiration for “simple happiness” in the home.  Congratulations, Sherri!)

*** Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win Rae Grant’s beautiful books Crafting Fun and Cooking fun. ***

Bathtime Meditations

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Bathtime is an important part of our evening ritual.  For both of my daughters, time in the tub signals the end of the day, and they know the pouring and splashing and washing and rinsing will soon give way to pajamas, storytime, and lights out.

Now that my girls are older, I bathe them together every night.  This works nicely for me because they love to play together in the tub, and I find I can bring a magazine, book, or my daily docket for the following day to keep me occupied as I sit closeby to supervise the bathtime play.  While this does offer some much-needed wind-down time for me, it occurred to me a few weeks ago that bathing the girls could also provide me with just a few minutes to be mindful in my end-of-the-day connection with my girls

What does a bathtime meditation look like?  Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. Prayer
As I bathe each daughter, I might say a simple prayer like, “Thank you, God, for these sweet little feet.  May they carry her to exciting places to do life-changing things someday,” or “What a blessing this chubby cheeks are to me.  May her smile be an encouragement to everyone she encounters.”

Even if you aren’t a participant in organized religion, you might think of ways to speak positive thoughts over your children as you spend a few mindful minutes bathing them.

2. Gratitude
Whether your child is six weeks or six years old, I think it is important to model gratitude.  You might say something like, “I’m so thankful we got to go to the library today!  We have so many new books to read!” or “I am so thankful for the visit from Grandma and Grandpa.  They love you so much.”

As your children get older, encourage them to offer their own words of gratitude and appreciate for the day.  The things my four year old comes up with to be thankful for always bring a smile to me.

3. Affirmation
This is particularly important to me at the end of the of a day that has been filled with more tears than giggles and more correction than encouragement.  My oldest daughter when through a phase where one hundred was absolutely the biggest thing she could imagine, so I might say something like, “You know, I love you ONE HUNDRED!”  Or I might tell my toddler, “Even if you marked on every wall in every house on every street, I would still love you so very, very much.”

Sometimes we get silly and say things like, “I’d love you even if your elbows looked like your knees and you had horsey breath!” and “If your hair looked like a rainbow and your nose looked like a blueberry, you’d be my most favorite rainbow-haired, blueberry-nosed person in the whole world!”

Now certainly, there are evenings when I really do just lose myself in the glossy, perfectly put-together pages of Martha Stewart Living or enjoy a few precious minutes with pen and paper and no one trying to grab them from my hands.  And yet some evenings, it really works for me to turn the time spent kneeling beside the tub into a mindful, intentional, reflective celebration of my daughters and our day.

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photo courtesy of Ernst Moeksis