Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Sorting with water beads

After we had had fun playing with our water beads, I asked DD to sort them into separate containers to put them away. Away she went, sorting out the green beads from the blue and clear ones, then onto separate the blue from the clear ones.

At first she used only her fingers to sort them, then used a small set of pincers or plastic tweezers to grasp each slippery, squishy bead.
As she sorted, she would tell me what colour she was putting into which container (yes, each bead. was a long process) and she even tried to keep count. Of course there were too many for her to do that at this time. In the end, she and her brothers all had a fun time playing with the water beads and I hope I can find another non toxic alternative to use in the same way soon.
Happy playing!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Sensory Play with Water Beads

This is something I have never even thought of until I came across it at one of  the local dollar stores. Playing with the water retaining beads you put into a vase! I wasn't so sure they would be great to play with at first. But the package said non toxic, and my children don't often put things that aren't food into their mouths anymore so I picked up a package.
I had to try it out myself first, so I put the beads into a cup and filled it up with water, skeptical about whether they would grow at all because they were so tiny and hard. After only a few minutes, I noticed a difference in size and in their shape too! They seemed to be getting bumpy, getting little grooves in them. But since the instructions said they could take up to 6 hours to fully expand I decided to wait before writing them off. It was worth the wait!
All evening, mommy and daddy kept on going back to the beads to check them out, often touching them and playing with them too. After a couple of hours (we couldn't wait) we took the beads out and drained the extra water. They were bouncy, smooth, soft and squishy! the kids picked then up with spoons and little plastic tweezers and fingers. they bounced, tossed and felt them with their feet.
After having so much fun playing with them all in a bunch, I had DD sort them out into the separate colours. She had fun, and with "help" from mommy, Petit Monsier and Big Bro, we had them all organized for another play adventure on a different day.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Some of our quiet games

Do you ever play games with your children? I don't mean video games, I'm talking about board games or other games away from the screen.

I try to make sure there is quiet time every day, whether we read some stories, listen to music or just sit around and talk as a family. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but I also try to make sure we play a game as a family (or as a portion of the family) at least a couple of times a month.

While my oldest child, who will soon be 13, enjoys playing chess, and the middle child can now sit still long enough to play a co-operative game such as Harvest Time or Scrabble jr., the youngest can't yet sit still long enough to play any games yet, unless they involve a lot of movement which sometimes involves some creativity.
One sit down game he did enjoy was "Feed the Penguin", and even that got a little rough near the end.
The latest games we like to play are matching up games. My youngest, being 2 and obsessed with Thomas the train, loves to play a railway matching game I bought when my oldest was only about his age (so 10 years ago now).

There are a few "official" ways to play, but most of the time right now I just lay out the cards, give him a board and let him try to find and match the cards to the pictures on the boards. There are times I will call out an engine or other vehicle name and let him search, other times we just see how fast we can find the matching pieces and fill up the boards. As he learns to sit still and listen to direction I will add more games to his play.
Until then he enjoys trying to play the other games alongside as a "team" or just doing his own thing while the older ones and I play. I can't wait until he can join in and play with the rest of us.

Happy Playtime!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

3-2-1 magic cake in a minute

I have seen "make a cake in a mug" packets before, and at nearly 3$ per serving, I cannot afford to buy enough for the whole family (imagine, spending 15$ on 5 servings of cake that doesn't even satisfy us all?)
I found instructions online on how to make your own microwaveable mug cakes, and it's as easy as 1-2-3.  Especially if bought on sale this is also very cost efficient. I have even thought about giving small jars of the mix away for the holidays as hostess gifts! Splendid!

The first thing you need are packaged cake mixes, one of whatever flavor you choose (we chose rainbow confetti sprinkle) and one MUST be angel food cake.
Mix the 2 cake mixes together and store in an airtight container. When you want to make the mug cakes, take 3 TBSP of the mix, add 2 TBSP of water and stir in a microwave safe mug or bowl.  Place in the microwave for 1 minute on high power

. VOILA! an easy, sweet treat almost anyone can make.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Homeschooling: the first months home

As any of you who may be following along on here, we have decided to school at home this year.
 It was suggested by other home schoolers in my community to "de-school" my oldest, who was attending public school for the last 7 year. De-schooling, to my understanding, is basically teaching the child (and sometimes the parents as well) that learning doesn't always have to happen at a desk or in a classroom by staying away from formal learning activities as much as possible (workbooks and lessons) and to just relax.
So far, I am learning a lot about what my son knows and doesn't know yet and am starting to find out what he is actually interested in doing. 
In public school, I found that so much of what he was doing was basically getting away with doing next to no school work, just fooling around and "socializing" every chance he got. I would attend the portfolio nights and parent teacher conferences and when it came time to show work, it was almost never there. The teachers comments were almost always something along the lines of "needs to focus on schoolwork" and "needs to better manage his time in class".
Now, I can focus on what he likes, and find a way to incorporate the core subjects into that.
I hope that over the next few months my son and I will both learn what it means to love learning again and will be able to find something to focus on to motivate his learning to reach the next level.

Fall Theme Sensory Bin

I like to provide as many sensory activities as possible for my younger children to explore. Here is a look at the fall themed sensory bin I made after we spent a week collecting various nature items to add into it.
The children enjoyed the gathering as much as playing with the leaves, nuts and seeds (among other items) in the large bin.

They used their toy cars and other items in the bin, as well as enjoying the feeling of the rice and pasta running over their hands and fingers.
We always love to play with our hands and get messy while exploring and this was no exception!
The contents of the bin ended up mostly on the floor at the end of their play, (even with the shower curtain!) but all in all I think it was worth the mess.
Until next time, Happy playing!

Canadian goose crossing

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Sensory Play

We have a little bit sensory play every day, whether it's with water in the sink, sand in the sand table or mud in the garden. I never realized that the things I have been doing with my children over the last 12 years are considered sensory play!

The thing they like most of course seems to be the water play. There are days I will just let them play the day away in the bathtub with their toys and little bottles of soaps to make "potions" or other imaginary food or drink.

Being comfortable in the water is very important for me to instill in my kids. I want them to feel at home in the water as much as possible, and I have a feeling that all this bathtub play has got my sweet DD, who is almost 5 years old,  into swimming in a big way!
She now shows me (and her 2 brothers) how long she can hold her breath underwater and how many bubbles she can blow in the water. Of course she has also learned to squirt water out of her mouth at her little bro, and he is learning to get her right back with his buckets.

 On a semi-regular basis we trek to the local YMCA with friends and go swimming in the "big pool" as my sweet DD calls it. She enjoys getting into a pool that she can barely touch the ground in, and has a blast sliding down the small slide set up just for the little kids. I love the family pool at the YMCA because it's just the perfect size to get comfortable in the deeper water.

She loves going to all the splash pads in the summertime and we have now explored 3 different splash pads and 2 different wading pools this summer and already have a list to try out for when the warm weather comes around again.

I can't wait to get her into actual swimming lessons so she can learn to really fly in the water, but for now just getting her in and exposing her is good enough.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

home at last

I'm very happy to say my oldest wll be coming home for school. Well, part time at least. I spoke to his school last week about him attending certain classes: band, art, gym and practical arts (or as we used to call it, shops) and they said YES!

So instead of sitting in a class bored most of the time, he will take the classes I can't offer him there and do his own pace here for the other subjects. I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to have this opportunity.

 Having him home means we can learn about each other as a family, teach each other and grow closer. My ultimate goal in all of this is to become closer as a family, but also to let him learn at his own pace. I found that he seemed bored at school so much of the time, and was distracted easily by the other students, noises and teachers in the school. I also found that he was often overstimulated at school, and when he came home it would be nothing but fights until he went to bed. I hope that not going full time will help him focus more on his studies and complete his schooling early. Since I plan on teaching year round, I'm sure that won't be too much of a problem.

I am super stoked to really begin our new journey and to learn a lot along the way.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Horray for School

My oldest child, who is going into seventh grade, has decided to "not put up with the bad days and all the bs" (his own choice of words) and stay home this year.
What to tell the family?!

He has has issues with school from the beginning, but I really never wanted to take him out. I thought it was good for his socializing skills. I only really realized recently that he was basically isolated from his peers at school most of the time. He was diagnosed with ADHD, and ODD. After finally leaving his first school, a great counselor at his next school noticed signs of asperger's syndrome, and suggested we get tested. He was officially diagnosed at just a few days from being  10 years old.

I cannot wait for him to come home for school. I plan to at least try to follow a curriculum with him, but for the most part I'm going to leave him to his devices, spend family time and volunteer. I'm mostly scared about what my family will think. Extra-curricular activities, such as sports, I'm sure I can find outside of school. Music lessons, and practical life skills such as cooking I know we can find almost everywhere, and I an definitely not worries about his academics. But I know my outside family will be. I don't need to justify my reasons behind home schooling my kids, but I know I'll have to prove myself to them.

And maybe a little bit to myself.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Baking with children

I love baking with my children. My oldest was baking with me when he was a year old, and his siblings aren't too far behind. His sister's wandering hands kept us from baking as a family for awhile until just recently.
Baking relaxes me. No matter how busy the day is, or how much "trouble" the baking project will be I always have a feeling of pure satisfaction when I am all done especially when the finished product is being enjoyed.
I think the easiest thing to bake with kids is cookies. Almost any type will do, but mine especially enjoy making gingerbread kids and other shapes. The smell of freshly baked cookies is so inviting, and they really like to decorate them any way they choose.
Every holiday season I have them decorate cookies to bring to the dinners at the grandparents' houses, and of course no Christmas would be complete without a Gingerbread house complete with gum-drop roof and red licorice window frames.
The summer this year has been so hot, I can't wait until it cools off a little bit and I can begin baking again. I know I miss the downtime, and I'm sure the kids miss the treats.

Until the smells and sounds of fall are in the air, the sights and smells of baking will be out of my kitchen. Good thing it's coming soon!

Easy snack ideas

I try so hard to have snacks and meals that include at least 3 of the 4 food groups. There is only one night a week that I REALLY allow treats, and that's once a weekend, a family treat night complete with movie and a later bedtime.
Sometimes it can be hard to find things that kids will eat and enjoy, instead of leaving behind, or in some cases throw around.
A few of the easy snacks I make for the kids (and sometimes even myself) that include more than one food group:

Yogurt with uncooked quick oats and frozen chopped berries. I find the kids really enjoy this snack (well except for my more sensitive child) and my middle child loves when I layer it so she can do the mixing herself. I love that it fills them up and they think it's a treat.
Peanut butter on crackers, sometimes with raisins. I call it sunshine surprise.
Apple slices with peanut butter. I'll sometimes cut the apples into really thin rings and make a sandwich from the peanut butter and apple.
Crackers and cheese- a classic that kids usually love
Celery with cheese or peanut butter and raisins- ants on a log
Sliced  or grated carrots with dip or peanut butter (yes, peanut butter)

Other easy snacks I'll serve are banana muffins with butter, frozen berries (especially great for teething), applesauce with cinnamon, orange slices or other prepared fresh fruit, sometimes with a tiny amount of sugar on top for a treat,  a fruit smoothie and dry cereal.

I almost always serve milk or water with our snack time, but sometimes they get juice as well.

I believe healthy eating is as important as healthy play in life and that by eating well (with a few treats added now and again) we can teach our children good habits that will follow them throughout life.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

20130317 colour changing car

One Great City!

We went exploring today and discovered a new interactive work of art in St.Boniface. It was really neat. A giant carousel with grocery carts to ride on! It was even big enough for mommy to have a ride.

While we were there, another family joined in our fun, and all 3 mommas had a ride while  we got pulled along by the kid's dad. I loved seeing how other mothers joined in the fun with the kids, and we all had fun together, playing.

Even grown-ups need to get dirty and play along sometimes, even without kids.

There was also beautiful sculptures of children laughing and playing in the small walk through garden, in addition to a couple other beautiful works of art. It was a beautiful sight to watch my 2 younger children play and laugh while also enjoying a little bit of art and culture. As much as I would love to be in the country, where else would you find such amazing, interactive fully public art?

I think the next garden we go explore before the summer ends is the one at Assiniboine park where you can see the beautiful sculptures in the Leo Mol Garden.

 Happy Exploring!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Home? School? why not both?!

So I have decided to keep my middle child out of school this year and "homeschool" her this year. Really, I plan to continue until I can't anymore. I'm hoping my oldest will choose to come home as well this school year, and he seems to be leaning towards just that.
Now, I think sometimes people get the wrong idea about schooling at home. Yes, sometimes it involves sitting around a table and learning lessons from books. But that is NOT all it is. For our family, school at home means life is learning. We learn everyday, through work and play. My children mainly play the day away, which to me is the most important aspect in their learning right now. They learn and discover by watching and imitating mom and dad. They play grocery store together and "buy" things and "sell" things, bag them and bring them home. They re-enact programs and movies they have seen. They help me cook, bake and clean the house. They go to the park and play. They draw and colour and everyday we read, read, read, read. Sometimes my DD will want to write, and she is in the process of learning to write her name, although she knows most of the letters by sight.
  I truly believe that before age 7, in most cases, formal schooling is not required, and children will learn what they need to learn as long as they are given the opportunity. Right now I'm grateful and lucky that I am able to stay home with the children to do this. I hope I will be able to throughout their entire educational career until they choose (or not) to pursue a post secondary education.
And whatever they choose to do with their lives, I will be right there along the way to support them.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Playing with dough

My kids, like many others, enjoy playing with dough. Whether it's real dough (as in bread or buns) or play dough, almost any child will have fun squishing, building and creating things with the dough.

I sometimes like to add other sensations to the dough I make for them to play with.
The other week I set some dough in the middle of the table along with dry used coffee grounds, oatmeal, acrylic seashells and dried split peas.

The kids chose to do whatever they wanted with the dough and other materials they had.
Petit Monsieur reveled in the new sensations brought on by adding the coffee grinds, peas and oats, and DD decided to make a scene with the shells with her dough.

 Get messy with your kids, explore with them and open new worlds for them and be sure to try and enjoy the small things with them.
The end results are not always what matters, but the fun they have and the new things they learn along the way.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cornstarch Magic (and other play)

Wow, we had tons of fun playing with the mixture I made out of sand, water and cornstarch the other day. The two little boys spent a good amount of time squishing, mixing crumbling and burying toys.  Long after the older one got bored, the little guy continued to go back to explore the container I had it in.

I never realized how much different my "cornstarch magic" would feel and mold together when mixed with sand.. I'm under the impression that this mixture is similar to moon sand, but I have never bought or used the store bought version. (As a matter of fact I have never even seen it other than in commercials)
Of course I had to add a little bit of colour while they played to see if it would change, and of course, it did (but it took a lot!)
They had so much fun, I can't wait to see their reaction to my next soft mold-able dough type stuff.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

gooey slime

I tried making slime for the first time today with one of the older kids. She decided she wanted to measure and mix everything, but I just couldn't let her do the Borax measuring. That was really the only thing I got to do.
We gathered all of the ingredients, and I halved the recipe I found on
She did the halving all by herself in her head when I told her the measurements out loud. It was great! Learning math and science at the same time.

After measuring and mixing each solution separately she poured them together and started to mix them. Almost immediately we noticed a difference in the texture of the mixed solutions. It no longer looked like Glue and water, But a slippery, slimy goop.
She played around with it for awhile, adding different colours until she was satisfied that it looked like bloodied body parts.

 She had a great time playing, and kept asking to make more. Going to try another recipe tomorrow with her and the Older Boy.
I'll bet they can come up with great ideas on how to use it, and get messy while having fun.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Reading with your child

Invitation to read
I love to read, so trying to instill a love of reading and books in my family was always important to me. Surrounding my children with books was the first thing I did, and teaching them to respect the books by keeping them on the shelves, not writing or colouring in them, and never tearing or cutting them was a difficult task.  I also have made time for reading nightly before bedtime, and whenever they want to (within reason) during the day.
When they say they're bored, one of the first things I suggest to them is to go read or look at a book. I don't think how long you read to your children per day is important as long as you're doing it, but I have heard that a daily goal should be at least 20 minutes. In our house, we can go over that amount of time (and do frequently) easily.
I think the most loved book in our house (we are on copy number 3 now) is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  We have also been reading a few books by Sandra Boynton that my youngest received for Christmas. There are other books that make it into our nightly routine, but almost every night for 10 years I have been "reading" Goodnight Moon to at least one of my three children.
I know as they get older, the reading time before bed will turn into their own time, for homework, friends and other activities.
So I will enjoy these moments while they last, and make the most of them because I know it passes way too fast.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


One of the kids favorite pass times is playing with blocks, whether it's legos or good old fashioned wooden blocks. My oldest has always enjoyed building with his lego-type blocks, creating different scenes with his "guys" and completing various sets that he received for birthdays and holidays.

My youngest right now loves to build up  HUGE towers with our wooden and plastic shaped blocks and crash it down with his race cars, or tractors, while my middle child (who is almost 5) likes to try and build places for her little figurines to play before little bro knocks them all down.
Every once in awhile, the kids will use other toys along with their blocks and create new imaginary worlds, full of wonder.

Spend some time with your children on the floor playing with blocks. Make some blocks out of old cereal or cracker boxes stuffed with newspaper. Use old carton-style milk containers (250ml, 500ml, 1l and 2l) filled with crumpled paper and sealed with duck tape. decorate them as you like, and build a castle you can play in!
The possibilities are endless!
Get creative and have fun doing it!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Pom Pom Art

My little artist loves to use almost anything to make a picture, and pom poms with glue are no exception.
Along with her little bro, she used the back of an old cracker box (I love to reuse when I can) to create a monster face. She received a set of already filled brushes for her birthday from a family friend and painted it all up in different colours.
This activity helps develop fine motor skills, as well as opens their minds to be creative beings.

I want to help them open their minds, and sometimes that means opening my house to a little mess! But it is always worth their happy faces when I admire their handiwork.
Don't be afraid to let go and let a little mess into your life!

Friday, 9 August 2013

TV shows for kids (that parents can stand)

There are certain shows that are on TV and video for kids that I cannot stand (not going to mention any purple dinosaurs here) and then there are some I have seen lately that are just downright wacky.  (YO! Gabba Gabba?)
I prefer to watch TV with my kids (or at least know what they are watching) so I often give them shows from my own childhood to watch.
I pick those shows because, unlike many of the shows on TV  today for children, I can stand to watch and listen to them. I used to go often to the library to "rent" movies there like Bill Nye the Science Guy and a National Geographic series my oldest used to love. I like going for educational shows, but of course the kdis need a little bit of entertainment as well. Cartoons and animated shows they like are Thomas the Tank Engine (ever since shining time station for me) and Gummi Bears. I have a lot of OLD videos from when I was a child (yes, I mean the old VHS tapes) and the kids watch them over and over again.
I like to think that they enjoy them as much as I used to when I was a child.

My top four shows on TV today (at least the last time I checked they were on air)
Dinosaur Train
Sid the Science Kid
My Little Pony
Thomas the Tank Engine

The ones I miss from my oldest's early childhood
Big Comfy Couch
Bear in the Big Blue House
Ants in my Pants

There will always be new shows replacing the old, but I do sometimes wish they wouldn't change so much so often. Which shows do you like or not like for your kids and why? Which ones do you wish they would bring back?

Milk Magic

I love trying new things, so when I found new ways to play with milk and colours, I jumped at the chance.
Who knew, when you take a little bit of milk (I used reconstituted powdered instant skim milk here, but Homo works best), dish soap and food colouring you could make a neat reaction?
I had my DD pour a little bit of milk into an old ice cream pail lid, and carefully add a few drops of food colouring to different areas in the milk.
After dipping the end of the toothpick into some dish soap, I had her put it directly into the middle (or close to) of one of the drops of colour, without stirring, and watch what happened to the colours! They "ran away" from the soapy toothpick quickly, making lovely swirls.
She experimented for awhile trying to mix the colours without stirring them. It was really neat to watch her play with this activity, and I'm sure we will try it again when the weather turns cold again.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

All By Myself!

Up the ladder

As parents we are often afraid to let our children try new things, or do things on their own. Sometimes we are afraid they will fall down and get hurt. It's hard to let go and be confident they can do it on their own. As a parent I had no choice, and I had to learn to let my children do things on their own.
Getting up the big snow pile
My middle child is a little daredevil, and she will keep doing it until she gets it right. She has fallen may times, and gotten right back up (even with repeated warnings from mom or dad) and done it over again. Until.

When she was one, it was hard for me to watch her keep trying to climb up the ladder on the climber. I was afraid her little foot would slip off the rung, or that she would miss the rung completely, and fall right through. My worst fear, her little teeth getting knocked right out of her face.
Climbing up to the top and right back down again
But not my girl. She would make sure her foot was in the right place before placing it down, and hold on tight with her hands as she climbed. And she did it. On her own, momma (or daddy) hovering nearby, arms out to catch her when she fell. She rarely did.
Balancing act
As she grows, she is ready to explore more things, climb higher and I will be right beside her, to catch her if she falls, to guide her along if she needs it, and to kiss the boo-boo's when she gets back up to try again.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Ready Set Splash!

Petit monsieur getting into the mud puddle at folk fest
My children love to splash in puddles. I remember times I have even bribed them with "you can splash in all the puddles if you get ready in time".

Of course puddle jumping can become messy, especially when there is mud involved.
I remember as a child, and even as a teen, jumping in puddles, letting go of my inhibitions in the rain and jumping to my hearts content. Seeing how high I could make the water go, whether I could jump over certain ones, and even playing in the early spring with the thin layer of ice covering the first puddles of spring, or last puddles of fall.
the first mud puddle of the spring

I try to make opportunities for the kids to play in the water, and puddle jumping is no exception. We go outside after most rainfalls, splash pants and rubber boots on, and splash away.

Check out this puddle, it's great!
Sometimes the puddles are deep, sometimes they're muddy, but they are always sure to be a hit.
Get outside every day, even when it rains. It's good for everyone.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Going Camping with the Family

DD and Big guy making a game

Wow,  I can now really appreciate now how much work must have gone into planning a two week out of province trip with three children that my parents did now that I have tried camping (real camping) with my children for the first time.
We decided to take a trip to a nearby provincial park over the August long weekend. With 4 adults, 2 pre-teens (tweens?) and 3 little ones under 5, we sure had our hands full!
I'm not sure how it happened, but we all survived the trip out ("are we there yet?" didn't drive the driver too batty), setting up all the tents, and the POURING rain we had that soaked us to the bones on our last night. Finding out the tent leaks is definitely not the best way to end the trip, but I'm sure glad the rain waited until our last night.
We got to spend some time in the water, and playing in the sand.
Petit Monsieur playing with his smurf in the river we built

I'm sure we had enough food to feed an army, and even with all that planning and lists galore, we still wound up forgetting a few things.
My favorite part about camping is sitting up long into the night next to a warm fire, looking up at the stars and listening to all the wildlife that I can't hear in the city. It is so relaxing, worth all the stress from during the day. I think DD's favorite part was getting to swim in the lake so much.

Although I am exhausted after only 3 nights and 4 days, I am trying to make this a yearly event between the 2 families that went this time.Who knows, maybe over the years there will be another family or 2 that also join in on the fun.

Happy Camping!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Bubbles Galore! (take one)

I really love playing with bubbles, and so do my children (yes, even the tween has shown interest in some of the bubble activities on my ultimate to do list)
So we tried making our own bubble solution to play with and to make stronger bubbles.
With the littles help (seems the big boy is away too much nowdays) I made some simple bubble solution using baby shampoo, water and corn syrup.
The children enjoyed making the solution and really had fun watching the bubbles float up off the balcony into the air.

I know part of the fun with bubbles and kids is trying to catch them, so I told petit monsieur to dip his hand in the bubble juice and he would be able to catch some of them. after a few attempts, he asked me to blow one right onto his hand, which I happily did.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Screen Time

Do you set any limits on how much screen time you and your family have?
I try to set limits on TV, computer and other devices that have screens, but it is getting harder and harder to do with all the gadgets around.
I don't have cable TV, so that helps, but I use netflix, and youtube daily. At least using those I have a *tiny* bit more control over what my kids have access to, plus pretty much no commercials, which is the thing I hate the most about cable television in the first place. (Yes I know there are PVR's but I still get commercials that way.)
There are some studies that show too much screen time is bad for kids. I have noticed in our house when the TV goes on it's hard to turn it off. It's always "just one more show" or "one more minute" and that leads to sometimes wasting the whole day or evening in front of the boob tube unless I strictly enforce the screen being turned off.
But sometimes it's really hard when they are watching something as great as the magic school bus, or another interesting documentary or educational show. Sometimes the things I remember the most were from documentaries I watched on television as a child. I know we need to get out and play outdoors, and read and colour, but sometimes time in front of the tube is just the thing my busy family needs after full days of play and work.

homemade paints

Me and the littles made some home made paints using an easy recipe I found.

DD mixing her chosen colour all by herself

 The children enjoyed being a part of the process of making something they could use later on.
Petit Monsier mixing his chosen colour, with a little help from momma

They used brushes, stamps and of course their fingers to spread the paint all over pieces of cardboard boxes I kept specifically for that purpose.
Our home made paint in action

A little bit messy, but the delight of my children in the end was more than enough for me to clean up this mess and start again tomorrow.