Little Wagon on the Prairie

I love when my children say, “I’m bored.”  I can’t help smiling with anticipation of what they’ll come up with to entertain themselves.  I firmly believe boredom is the mother of creativity.

It’s summer-time!  The season where I am eager for boredom cause that is when my kids and I sit still long enough to watch the clouds floating by, the trees sway in the breeze, and insects crawling in an endless forest of grass and weeds.   Boredom inspires pirates and forts, poems and art, riddles and “Calvin-Ball” games, short-stories and day-dreams.

But, when my crew has lost all inspiration and originality, it’s time to be inspired by the classics.


This is a time for READING!   


 

As I read Little House On the Prairie with my own Half-Pint, we started to brainstorm how we could better “experience” what it was like to travel to a new frontier in a covered wagon.   This is what we came up with…

  

Here’s a glimpse of how we made our own covered wagon with picnic benches and a few things we found in my husband’s shop:  an extra strip of molding  and a couple bendable seams left over from joining white boards for a wall in the basement, and a ball of twine.

Creativity inspires more creativity! 

When they talked about cooking salt-pork and pancakes on a spider over an open fire, we got hungry.  It was almost dinner time, and time to include the boys in our adventure…

Maybe it would have been “easier” to eat inside, but we definitely had more fun eating by our wagon.  We all agreed it tasted better outside, too!

Just remember, memories take TIME to make.  And, your children are so worth the investment

 

Here is one of our funny memories…  My son took this picture of our puppy just as the scoundrel stole a piece of bacon. 


Note to self:  “There is a time to write and a time to read.”  (Not exactly Solomon, but these are wise words none the less.)  For much of the summer, I have put away my writing because I know this “season of children” will too soon pass, and I don’t want to be preoccupied with a lesser priority.  As fall returns, with homeschool routines with creative writing time for all, I want to remember balance and moderation as I seek to be more intentional and disciplined in developing my writing habit/addiction.

Application:  Is something distracting you from being “ALL THERE” for your family?   If you are too busy, what needs to change.  Find a good book, snuggle up with your husband or child and take turns reading chapters.  Our family has gone through so many adventures together this way.  Don’t miss out on the fun!  How will you be more intentional about making creative memories with your kids?

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We’ve all heard how important it is to read to our children… (Are you feeling more “mommy-guilt”?)

If you doing the bare minimum, I’ve so been there!!!  —  Check out this post:  “I Have Time”.  It was written after I was convicted about rushing through bed times.  Everything about our “tuck-in-time” communicated, “I don’t have time for you.”  A God given change of perspective turns a burden in to a blessing and a chore into a privileged.

Building Character (with blocks)

One theme of our summer has been “Building Godly Character”.

In May, I downloaded several lists of qualities and began focusing on those that we were most lacking.  (Follow this link to download the PDF file of one of my favorite resources.)

After learning what each word meant, reading verses, telling stories, and giving examples of each, we began looking for godly character in each other.

On a family trip, we started a “contest” of who could notice the most positive character in others.   

I kept a pocket notebook handy; so I’d always be ready to give a tally-mark when a child made note of someone with the qualities we had listed.  On another page, I also gave a tally-mark to the child that displayed the positive character.

It was such a pleasant change to have my monkeys praising each other rather than tattling.

As we rearranged a few rooms this summer, we rediscovered our building blocks(For my boys’ birthday present years ago, I cut 12″, 6″, and 4″ blocks from 2x4s.) 

I chose to give these a new purpose by writing the character traits we were learning about on the 6″ blocks and moving them out into the living room.  (I will soon make a post to show you what I did with the other blocks.)

On the back, I wrote a Bible verse that corresponds to each adjective…

with the reference written on the bottom side.

It is easy to review what we have learned with these blocks.  As a “memory game”, you can place the verses face up and ask what character word and reference goes with it, or flip all the words face up and ask the kids to recite the verse. 

The qualities we are looking for each week are placed on the mantle as a reminder.

I have enjoyed seeing my kids play with these blocks again knowing these words are being set before their eyes, reminding them of what our family values.

As an example, here is what I found this morning…

 


What a blessing to see my kids “building character”!

North Meets South

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,…” but my family, friends, and I will never forget what we did here.

And, here are a few words from those that attended the “Barn Dance/Camp Out/Single-shot Paintball Reenactment” that I hope I never forget.

Lessons from the young-ins…

  • “Food tastes better when you’re outside and with friends.”
  • “Black licorice tastes pretty good when you’re in a costume.”
  • “A party is so much more fun with a box of kittens.”

Wisdom from the women folk…

  • “‘Chores’ don’t feel like work when you’re with good company.”
  • “We need to dance more often!!!”

Thoughts from students (of all ages)…

  • “History is fun and easy to learn when you have a great teacher.”
  • “History can be painful to remember.”
  • “War is so complicated; even the Civil War was about so much more than slavery.”
  • “In a real war, shots like these would mean an amputation at best and most would be fatal.”
  • “War is especially painful for wives and mothers!”

  • “Everything is more fun with children.”

A few words on fashion…

  • “If we dressed like ‘ladies’, we wouldn’t have to worry about skin cancer.”

and surprising insights overheard from the men folk…

  • “Girls are so much prettier in dresses.”
  • “It would sure be nice if those skirts would come back in style.”

I have written a general summary of the sequence of events for our party at our NorthMeetsSouth150Years blog.

http://northmeetssouth150years.blogspot.com/

You might also enjoy this blog post related to the Battle of Gettysburg:

150 years ago / 150 years from now?

Other links you might enjoy:
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (audio book), at LibriVox, where all recordings are free and in the public domain
Killer Angels (free download), the book that inspired the movie Gettysburg