And here she is, the second half of the Six One Way project! I think I first heard of Eren in Mothering magazine in an article about amazing, crafty, blogging moms. And she is indeed all of that. Today she talks with us about creating a culture of learning, carving out mama time and she even shares a great recipe for kale chips!
It seems that learning is constantly taking place at your house; how have you cultivated a culture of learning within your family?
Amy, you are so right. Learning IS constantly taking place around here. And sometimes it is exhausting answering all of the boys many questions. But it is also one of my most favorite things about our family. First of all, I come from a family that encouraged a love of learning. I come from a long line of public school educators who laid a very strong foundation. My kids most definitely learn a lot in public school, but we try really hard to encourage learning outside of the classroom as well. We believe that children have a natural motivation to learn. So our job as parents is to be mindful and try to encourage that natural learning. Which can be tough sometimes sharing the education of our children with the public schools. Luckily this year both of our older boys have two amazingly passionate, experienced teachers and both boys are having great years.
But I think my husband and I and the culture of learning we
create in our household will have the biggest impact on our boys…much more than
even “school”. My husband and I are both committed to lifelong learning
ourselves. So we all learn together as a family. I am never afraid
to say “I don’t know” to questions about how much water is in the Southern
Ocean, but I always follow up with, “But we can find out”. We have a wall
in our kitchen painted with chalkboard paint and we list any questions the boys
have throughout the week. Then on the weekend, when there is more time we
can look up the answers online. Whether it is the boys and I looking up a
fungus species we found on our nature walk, or my husband looking up
definitions of new words in the dictionary, we are always learning
something. “Mama, do turtles have ears?”
With a house full of wild cowboys, how do you ensure some quality mama time; what do you do to refill your creative reservoir? Its interesting you should ask this question as my husband just left for deployment overseas. And my quality mama time left on the C130 with him. However, when he is away so much, it is even more important that I make sure my creative tank is full. Otherwise my boys have one grumpy mama…and that is not fun for anyone. When my husband is home, he is really good about taking the boys out to give me a break. But when he is out, which is 2/3 of the year, I have to get creative in finding time for myself. I am a stickler for our 7:30 bedtime. My boys don’t have to be asleep by 7:30, but we try to have them in bed drawing, reading or doing puzzles by that time. This creates time in the evenings to write or knit. Also, we are truly blessed to have a wonderful group of intimate friends. We all help each other, can see when one of us needs a break, and we watch each others kids. I couldn’t do it without them.
I loved your Six One Way project. After a year of capturing daily, small things did you feel a shift in how you looked at the world or your family? I know when I look at the world through a camera lens, I gain a new perspective. Thank you. I loved the Six project too…and I loved partnering with such a wonderful woman in Stefani. Yes, the Six One Way project definitely changed how I look at the world and my family. Taking photos everyday began as a way to capture these fleeting days of small children and busy schedules. I asked Stefani to participate first because I found a mother with whom I had a great deal in common, but I also I knew I needed someone to hold me accountable. But I learned things about myself and my family I didn’t expect. Through posting the photos each week, I realized what a huge connection I have to the natural world. I always knew that stopping, taking time, breathing and focusing were important. But putting that into practice on a regular basis, was an amazing experience. I found myself more mindful, more focused on my mothering, more appreciative and more bonded to my children. I also found an amazing friend in Stefani.
To me you seem like a progressive pioneer; do you think so too? In what way? Like everyone else you have interviewed (I have enjoyed reading each one), I love the term you use. And I love the thought of being a “progressive pioneer”. My ancestors were pioneers as some of the first white people to settle in the state of
I don’t want to return to life like it was in the 1800’s,
but I think if I can incorporate self sustainability, independence and an
appreciation for the world around them I will have done well by them. I delivered
my boys with a midwife, without medications and carried them close to me for as
long as they would let me. We grow vegetables in our backyard. I
buy most of our meat and eggs from a local farm. We cook together.
We shop at thrift stores. We teach our boys to make things. We “use
it up, make it work, wear it out."
Your garden is lovely; what's been your favorite garden-inspired, jaw-dropping, taste-bud-tingling dish this season? I love gardening. I love sharing my love of growing things with my boys. And they love eating what we grow together. We planted our first fall/winter garden this year including peas, lettuces, broccoli, chard and kale. I had seen a recipe floating around for “kale chips” and thought it would be a fun recipe to try to get my guys to eat kale. We love making terra chips, so why not kale chips. They were a hit. I hate to even call this a recipe, but it is what we’re eating a lot of these days.
Directions: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees
F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
We’re also enjoying finding new ways to use pumpkin and squash in recipes we already make like beef stew and vegetable soup. Yum.
Eren, thanks so much for stopping by today; it was such a treat to learn more about you and your lovely family. Keep in touch!