I love nature. I love God’s creation, and I think it’s beautiful, marvelous, and I often stand, or sit, in awe of it. And sometimes (often) I interact with it. Since I was a child, one of my favourite flowers has been the snapdragon. If you’ve never experienced snapdragons, you don’t know what you’re missing! These flowers begin to bloom in the month of August. In our neighbourhood, we they are scattered along the walkway in our ravine. Each year, I anxiously await their emergence.
What, you might ask, makes these flowers so special? They are TONS of fun! Fun? How can flowers be fun? Well, because they “pop”! Take a look at the three photos below:
Snapdragon Seed Pod
Popped Snapdragon Seed Pod
The first photo is of the snapdragon flower itself. It’s a brilliant orange, with specks of red. The second photo shows a seed pod. It looks kind of like a bean. A ripe seed pod is longer, and rather plump. These are the ideal pods. The third photo shows a popped seed pod. That is where the magic happens!
Once you find a ripe pod, very gently squeeze it. I can’t emphasize “gently” enough. Once you give it a gentle squeeze – POP! If they are particularly ready, even just brushing it with your hand will cause the pod to explode.
It’s a little alarming at first, but it is a LOT of fun 🙂 I promise!
Do you have a different name for snapdragons?
My mom (who is amazing, and helps us out whenever we need it) came over on Saturday so that I could hopefully get some cleaning done. Little Miss C (3.5) decided that our roof had a leak (likely inspired by the Berenstain Bear book Too Much Vacation). So, she took every plastic cup, bowl and Tupperwear container we had in the house, and placed them around our living room.
As you can see, we weren’t very far into our cleaning efforts 😀
My mom turned to me and said, “who needs toys?” And it’s true. We don’t have a lot of toys, comparatively speaking. And, because of this, her imagination is allowed to run wild! Next, she created a fort with our freshly washed sheets. Why can’t they use the dirty laundry, right?
And, for the hat trick, she played for half an hour in the dish water – we washed the dishes and the floor!
Children don’t need a lot of toys to be entertained. They can, and will, take every day items and see them in a new light, stretching their imaginations, and yours.
What everyday items do your children play with?
While at one of our co-ops a couple of weeks ago, Little Miss had the opportunity to try out some nylon knives by Curious Chef. I was so enamoured with the idea, that I bought a set for her. We tried it out the evening we got them, and they were a hit! They are really neat because they will cut through fruits and veggies, but won’t cut skin. Here she is prepping some of the green peppers for our fajitas:
She also chopped up mushrooms and my avocado. She was so eager to continue helping that she suggested making lemonade:
The beautiful part? She ate it. Woot! Because, you know, when children participate in food prep, they are more likely to give it a shot when it lands on the dinner table. (Yes, I said “more likely”. There are no guarantees in life.)
Just like that time we made pizza, and she added all the toppings herself. She never eats the whole thing, but she did this time!
How do you include your children in the kitchen?
It’s a long weekend here in Canada. We took this opportunity to visit a lovely petting zoo near Stouffville, ON. Lionel’s Farm is a family owned farm, and it has a wide range of animals that you can feed. You are also able to bring your own food, which is a nice treat. The price is completely reasonable, and the animals are very happy to see you.
Interestingly, on our way to the farm, we happened to see a model airplane club flying their airplanes. On our way home, we stopped by (they welcome visitors anytime members are present), and boy, oh boy, did Little Miss have a wonderful time. She’s been asking us to take her to watch the planes land for quite some time. Our store is close to the airport, so we regularly see planes preparing to land. We were there for half an hour, and she probably would have happily stayed for an hour more if we had the time. The members there were more than happy to answer our questions, and were obviously passionate about their hobby.
I love random adventures. It’s so neat to be able to experience something you couldn’t have imagined earlier on in the day.
As they say, “Blessed are the flexible, for they won’t get bent out of shape”. (Author unknown).
We are very blessed to have the opportunity to visit a pond, which is right next to our accountant’s office. We pick up cheques from our accountant biweekly, so we try to get down there before or after each visit. This picture was taken in May:
It’s a bit hard to see, but there are 3 Canadian Goose eggs in the middle of the little island. We had watched the geese take care of these eggs for a few weeks. The last time we saw them, the geese were close by, but no longer sitting on them. I knew then that these eggs likely wouldn’t hatch. When we came back, and the geese were gone, but the eggs were still there. Although my Little Miss was SO excited to see some goslings, it was a great opportunity to talk about the life cycle, and how not everything turns out the way we think it will.
I love learning through natural opportunity. I like to call it casual learning. Children are insatiable when it comes to curiosity – which I can absolutely vouch for now that my daughter asks “why?” roughly 35,000 times per day! Feed it as much as you can. Let them learn!
These next two photos are fun shots of our little piece of pond paradise. Can you spot the frog in the second one?
The first post. No pressure or anything, right?
The other day, my daughter (Little Miss) was playing outside (a very common occurrence), and said “Look Mommy, I painted my toes!”
We aren’t afraid to get dirty in our household. My heart swells when she digs in and gets dirty. We are very blessed to have 3 older girls living next door to us, who also love to make mud pies, and thrive in the dirt. You can often find Little Miss trying to make “soup”, and if there’s an opportunity to include water, she dives right in.
So, I invite you to follow us as we embark on an adventure (one of her favourite words), and learn and grow together.