This morning, while packing lunches, wrangling breakfast dishes, and keeping an ear cocked for sibling trouble, I decided to make mayonnaise. (Because apparently it’s not multi-tasking until you’re actually doing four things at once).
I enlisted Col to read the directions from this indispensable book while I stood poised with ingredients and whisk. (My prior mayo recipe was unreliable; sometimes perfect, sometimes an oily flop. And washing a greasy food processor ranks just above extracting my own splinters with my teeth.)
Col read. I whisked. “Continue this until you have a thick yellow sauce,” Col recited, while a golden emulsion sprung from my hands. The mayo turned out so voluminously whipped, fluffy and yellow, Rose was finger-testingly certain I had actually made lemon frosting.
“This makes me so happy!” I announced, whisking in juicy squeezes of lemon.
“How happy did that make you, Mama?” Col asked with all the wryness of a 9-year old who’s got my number.
Well, shit. Extremely happy.
Which is to say, as happy as I was to add creepy chicken feet to the latest batch of bone broth. (Chicken feet clipped off the carcass of our own hen who, no fooling, fatally impaled herself on an elk antler, leading to chicken anatomy lessons, chicken enchiladas, chicken soup and the best broth ever.) Or as happy as I was to get this text last week from Dan at 7:15 am, on his way to Mancos to do an energy audit, “fresh deer backie tonight!” I read it aloud: we all cheered. Translation: found roadkill deer and am bringing home the backstraps (prized for tenderness). Put the champagne on ice, baby. (metaphorically speaking; still off the booze).
Sometimes it feels like the Standard American Diet is a slippery slope off of which I’ve been belaying myself for years, each year certain that I’ve finally reached the bottom. Back when I was scooping homely clouds of spelt flour from the bulk bins into plastic bags, I was pretty sure there was nowhere left to fall. And now spelt, according to my current diet, is somewhere between toxic and satanic. I feel confessional admitting that we haven’t bought a loaf of bread in weeks.
I’m not even sure how these things happen exactly. How one decade you’re eating cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and the next there’s not a crumb of wheat flour in the house and you wake to your husband sauteing a symphony of vegetables and you’ve never seen anything sexier. I heard someone say recently, “I’d stop eating donuts if I had a good reason to.” I totally get this. I can’t tell if I’m blessed or cursed by my motherfreaking good reasons.
I want to heal as completely as possible, and yet there’s a very large part of me that goes cartoonishly blank when I try to imagine a June afternoon, or evening campfire without a beer. Every day I gather gorgeous eggs from our chickens, eggs which are still off my diet. I could share some recent recipes but I wonder, does anyone really want a recipe for grain-free pizza crust or applesauce-sweetened chocolate truffles? (This is not a rhetorical question.)
It feels like the domino theory of kitchen history. Fat free gummy bears leads to low fat cream cheese leads to whole wheat flour leads to spelt flour leads to gluten-free flour leads to rubbery chicken feet throwing their health-giving gelatin into broth. (Or soy sauce to tamari to coconut aminos). As my friend (who’s also healing an auto-immune condition through diet) said, “we’re really not so weird, for 1903 anyway.”
So, I keep getting weirder, sending the kids off with bread-free lunches, with root cellar apples, which now, in March, boast other adjectives besides “crisp.” Bless their little palates, they love these pocked and softening apples; they eat bowls of homemade yogurt which is the very definition of plain; they still have fervered dreams of sweet things swaddled in bright wrappers, but they squeal with happiness over a dessert of dried fruit. I don’t know if I’m at the beginning of something or the end, or where exactly this is going, but if a chicken has to die, I’ll take the feet.
Rose and her buddy Lucy.
We’re driving to the trailhead on our new weekend program: We’re going hiking and everyone’s going to love it even if we have to commandeer our friend’s dog and stop for snacks every .01843 miles.
We pass a parked car with a For Sale sign in the window.
Rose: What happens if you’re not in your car and someone wants to buy it?
Me: What do you think?
Rose: Probably you would just leave a note that says: please leave your money in the glove box.
Dan and I erupt into the laughter of the front seat sophisticates, of the adults who Know Things About The World. Like, for instance, that money is exchanged under the context of subtle negotiation and binding contracts; or, that despite Col assuring me I’m mistaken, he will want to eventually fly the coop; or, that someday climbing into bed to sleep will hold more allure than any late-night lego rager. (Or that David Bowie DID NOT invent the bowie knife, a fact Col refuses to accept).
Also, hard to believe, but someday Rose, you won’t beg to do dishes.
Sometimes our roles seem so prescribed. I mean, the jet stream of movement swirling through the playground is undoubtably the children. Those slow-moving and sensibly dressed people lumbering behind? Right. When Col and Rose ransack our house of sleep at 6am, begging for tickles, for books, for breakfast, I feel like a representative from The Coalition of Grown-Ups, uttering, ”just…a…few…more…minutes.”
Fun discussion on FB re: best caption for this photo
I never meant to become so predictable, so soft and cautious, so overly fond of the bedtime hour. I could tell my kids stories about when everything I owned fit in my Honda Civic, which I piloted to Southwest Colorado, having never been here and knowing no one; or about backpacking alone from one wild mountain basin into the next; or about the time a million years ago when their Daddy asked me on the mattress of my Southside Durango rental, “Do you like to kiss?”
Undoubtedly, they’d be more interested in what’s on tonight’s dinner menu.
Wondering who you might be without children is like not being in the forest when the tree falls. Does it make a sound? Who knows, my ears are plugged up with one kid’s incriminations against the other. Recalling Dan and my first, eight (eight!) childless years together is like watching some grainy movie with subtitles in Farsi. We’re not those people anymore. But we’re also not not them. I don’t understand it either.
Eating pancakes on the back porch of that very same Southside rental. 1995
At a talk I recently gave on growing food year round, someone asked if I’d do things differently if I had more space (like maybe plant in tidy rows rather than cram food in every soil cranny). I couldn’t really answer because my little 1/8 acre backyard plot has shaped me as a gardener as much as I’ve shaped it.
And I like how parenthood too, is a mutual shaping. Rose taught me long ago that employing punishment as a behavior-modification tool is adding fuel to a fire that will blow up in my face. Col has led me through the testosterone-ripe fields of trains, backhoes, ships, and airplanes, while teaching me to trust that every precious flower of a child has their own timetable for blossoming. (And certainly, 4 decades ago, my parents and I began shaping each other)
And really, these roles will never be a fixed target at which I can aim my arrow of perfect, lasting understanding. It’s more like being a soft stone in the river, forever altering the water’s path, while constantly being shaped by the water flowing over and around.
I like these ever-evolving roles, this changing partnership. Right now, we keep the kids in green vegetables, encourage them to hike a bit further, and to refrain from leaving money in people’s glove boxes. And they remind us to crawl through the snarly oak brush to investigate the hole under the boulder that they’re absolutely certain is a bear den.
Experiments #15 and #16.
What’s happening right now is Rose is wondering if, “cats have a good rememory.” Col is adding data to the scientific record. Dan is painting a lot of gorgeous watercolor landscapes, which I’ve been put on notice NOT to grandstand in front of unsuspecting guests. I am playing Free To Be You and Me for the kids, wondering why we traded the notion of living in a land where the children are free for living in a land where children are over-scheduled and over-evaluated. (Beam me back to the 70′s, Marlo.)
Col’s new home away from home, or the tree fort he built behind our house.
Rose’s tree house, with all the necessities of living.
Also, I’m trying to populate our meals with vegetables. (I’m not the only one; Mark Bittman must be reading my blog again.) And it’s not that Col and Rose are veggie adverse; it’s just that I keep infiltrating our dinners with the same toothy chard bursting forth in our greenhouse, which is like insisting that if you live in Vegas you must see every Bee Gees reunion show.
I’ve tried to breed gustatory preference out of the children, parading my own austere and frugal banner at the dinner table, titled: if you’re hungry enough you’ll eat it. Meanwhile, the kids have become experts at mining their plates for goodies, leaving the tailings of kale and bok choi behind. So, I’m tuning in. Rose likes veggies crisp, raw and prettily sliced. Col likes homely cooked veggies mingling in a mosh-pit of elk-based stew. This can lead to slight variations on a dinner theme (Rose has a salad with her elk burger, Col has steamed broccoli), which really, is the least of my parenting problems.
Reference materials for parents.
There is still some downright vegetable prejudice in the house, which, like any other, is born of misconception, fear, and just a bit of inexplicable crazy-making. (Like when my friend Joy reports Rose didn’t eat the lunch I sent her with because she devoured three bowls of Joy’s chard soup. “But she never wants my chard soup,” I lament like some 50′s housewife).
Some of this is simply a branding issue; I remember my friend Caraway’s 3-year old son Noah referring earnestly to the kale on his plate as “wishing leaves,” before gobbling them down. Last night I served a five layer casserole (spaghetti squash, mashed cauliflower, elk sausage, cheese, tomato sauce) while deflecting my mom’s repeated question, “What’s in this?” The kids needed to successfully ford the cauliflower river before all was revealed. They loved it. (Hint: mash steamed cauliflower with ample butter).
Don’t fear the cauliflower. When this blog goes viral I’m hiring an in-house food stylist.
Chard will still make appearances, but I’m totally cool with artichoke leaves becoming the springboard for a dive into a butter pool; or serving frozen peas because the kids will forklift them into their mouths. I’m buying Cali-grown cucumbers and red peppers in February because Rose greets them like BFFs. I’m giving up a little of my inborn frugality, austerity and staunch locavorism, because indoctrinating the kids’ gut biomes with a diverse nation of microorganisms seems the least I can do to prepare them for adulthood.
Also, peanut sauce even makes chard taste good. It’s creamy and rich with deep flavors of cilantro, ginger and garlic.
Makes 2 cups
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
3/4 cup peanut butter (almond butter OK)
1/2 cup whole coconut milk
3 TBSP rice vinegar
1/4 cup (or more, taste for saltiness) tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
juice of 1 lime
1 TBSP hot chile oil/powder (optional)
Blend everything in food processor or blender. You’re done! Now that was easy.
This peanut sauce can be used as a dip for raw or steamed veggies, a drizzle over a stir-fry, mixed into rice noodles and veggies, or as a salad dressing. Or…what else?
This is what February looks like in our garden:
Which is to say, by late March there will be green things from the garden for making salads, for sizzling in the embrace of hot oil and garlic.
We are growing lettuce, bok choi, kale, parsley, chard, arugula, spinach and cilantro, each plant shrugging stoically at the cold Colorado night time temperatures.
Come join me at the 6th annual Homegrown Retreat on Saturday, February 22nd, 1pm at Fort Lewis College to learn How to Grow Food Year Round. (Hint: it’s easy, inexpensive, tasty and you get to bypass the fossil fuel economy for one nanosecond).
There are many other cool workshops, info-sessions and local eating opportunities. More info here
Skijoring is an old Scandinavian form of transportation (originally using reindeer), but leave it to the Colorado new school crowd to ramp it up to a sport. How it works: the horse, duly prodded, runs at 45 mph straight and single mindedly down a short track. Meanwhile, a skier attached by hand-held rope, careens behind, swishing through gates, grabbing rings, and flying over jumps. In other words totally nutty, but exciting to watch. I figure for horse-people and skiers, there’s a lot to love about the Mountain West, so why not unite and go skijoring together? Here are some photos from the annual skijoring races in Silverton, CO, elevation 9300 ft. The true celebrities are the horses.
Lovely Silverton. Someone should set a thriller here. Oh wait, my friend Blake Crouch did: Abandon.
Many of the riders were women. This girl and her turquoise-bejewled horse were our fave.
Rose, if you ever try this, you will wear a helmet even if I have to staple it to your head. Better yet, how ’bout we go cross-country skiing on a nice flat trail?
Replacing the rings between contestants.
Just out of the starting gates.
Another woman and her steed. Skier approaching jump.
Rose wins the kiss-sneaking contest, naturally.
Happy Tuesday; back soon with a recipe (not for bone broth!), info on a workshop I’m teaching (no mentioning of roadkill!), and more of the usual.
Also, I’m reading Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and it’s so insanely good even if I can only finish 3 pages before I’m snoring at 9pm. Only 432 pages to go! And This book was excellent fun.
Col: let’s throw paper airplanes at the spinning ceiling fan! Rose: yeah!
Yesterday, outside: Col on skateboard, Rose on scooter, me performing the Winter Olympic event of soaking up the low-slung sun. Rose ditches her scooter and somehow finagles the first two laps down the hill on Col’s skateboard. After her second run Rose steps off the long board and shouts from the bottom of the hill, full-sass, ”Come and get your skateboard!”
I feel something hot and sharp catch in my sun-bathing throat, something like indignation and protest; something like the words: Hey, that’s not fair! I look up at Col, who’s already walking down the hill to retrieve his skateboard, whistling a cheery February tune.
I swallow and say nothing.
This is not my protest in which to hoist the banner of my opinion. There is no one to protect, no one to scold. Col and Rose have their own karma.
Karma, (as defined by Buddha.net and wikipedia), refers to the principle of causality where our intent and actions influence our future. Karma is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery.
Sibling relationships are a wild and mysterious thing. Something deep and old and unknowable is working itself out while it looks like Col and Rose are simply arguing over who got the best toy at the dentist.
My squirrely little mind wants to control, fix and steer. It wants to wave my red flag when I hear Rose commission Col to build her a lego computer for $3 (3 weeks allowance!), and then again the next day, when she demands a full refund. But who am I to say what’s best, right or helpful? They get to snap the pieces of their relationship puzzle together. If the pieces don’t fit, they can rotate or reconfigure them, sand them down, trade them out. Meanwhile, I swallow a wad of my own judgment and wish them peace.
Filing Col and Rose’s relationship under sibling karma is not a lazy way of checking out of my parenting duties. It does not mean that I don’t lead by example, or step in when the finger-claws come out. Rather, this allows them to engineer (and continually re-engineer) the terms of their relationship. Rose will come to kindness and generosity without me waving the Book of Morality in her face. Col will stand up for himself without the bodyguard of his Mama rushing in to protect him.
In fact, there may be nothing to protect. As an anonymous person said, I don’t have to attend every argument to which I’m invited. If Col even got the invite to attend a power struggle at the base of Skateboard Hill, it appeared he tossed it in favor of sailing down the asphalt. Maybe choosing not to be offended offers the reward of rewiring neural circuits, overlaying tired pathways that insist It’s All About Me. Maybe there was no choice, no victim, just a boy retrieving his skateboard.
These kids, and yours too, bring their whole complicated deep selves to every interaction. I get uncomfortable, dogmatic and righteous while their arguments crest and then wash out on grudge-free shores. Often, the best pep-talk I can give is to myself, to stand by quietly and trust them to work out their own tangled, mysterious and beautiful karma.
ps: Happiest of Valentines Day to you all. Thank you for coming back to this place again and again.
pps: And of course, only children have their own karma, too.
The 80’s called and they want their outfit back.
It’s currently 40F outside and the ground is a goulash of thick, shoe-sucking mud. While the rest of us schlub around in shapeless boots and an over-abundance of fleece, Rose will never succumb to the scourge of dressing for comfort.
She asks if our cat can have “just a tiny little smidgen of raw elk.” She tells me in the shower how I “look like a chicken without feathers – right around your belly!” She tells us that when she eats gluten it gives her a stuffy nose, and when Col eats gluten it makes him be mean and leave her out. When she’s upset and I fail to meet her with empathy, mistakenly trying to talk her out of her feelings, she wails, “that makes me even sadder!”
Rose seems well-suited to some sort of communal living where all possessions are held in common. If you bring a cookie, a tube of yogurt, or even a cough drop into our house, Rose will sit approximately one centimeter away from you, offering a hundred reasons why you should share. Meanwhile, she distributes gum, stuffed animals and stickers to her friends like they’re needy children bereft of the simple joys of childhood.
Last week she smuggled a wandering dog without tags onto our porch and wailed when I told her we couldn’t let him in, feed him or adopt him. “I’ll buy him a dog bed with my own money,” she cried. “I’ll walk him every morning!” I never acquiesced but I held the sobbing mass of her, my heart tenderized by the fierce love contained in 46 pounds.
Living with Rose is like having a fearless tour guide leading me through Six-Year-Old Girlhood. We stop at all the dazzling sights like: I would die for cats and two headbands are better than one. I’m usually two steps behind, filled with awe and wondering how it’s all going to work out, when Rose grabs me by the hand, yanking me into the present moment where she’s right here throwing her arms around me.
ps: If you’re celebrating Valentines Day, dazzle your lovies with this grain-free, sugar-free, raw, chocolate cake.
Rose and I are in an outdoor public restroom, trying to take care of business without pondering too deeply the dark, wet stain on the concrete floor. Rose is singing cheerily in an invented language she calls Spanish, though it sounds more like something chickens might speak in private. She gets quiet, her eyes wandering through the graffiti sharpied across the cinderblock walls like we’re at the hallowed museum of outhouse art.
“Who drew that picture?” Rose asks about a sketch of a woman smoking, her eyes at half mast. ”Do you think a teenager drew it? Who is that lady? Does she like smoking? Is she falling asleep? Do you think she’s happy?” Before I can answer, the yarn of her questions fully unravels, wrapping around our feet, tethering us here.
Rose has what I think of as a “Need to Know” personality. Information is a like a wide, swirling storm; if you don’t stand outside with your mouth open in receiving mode, you’re sure to miss something crucial. Rose wakes up every morning and slides an empty tray under the door of my consciousness, expecting it returned brimming with answers.
“What’s her name?” Rose asks in a voice reserved for deaf grandmas, about the woman I just greeted but whose name I can’t remember. Embarrassment blooms like a tulip in the suddenly quiet room. “Why can’t you remember her name? Do you like her? Does she have any kids? Do her kids look like me?” Sometimes it feels like Rose is simply dangling the extrovert’s fishing line: I am acknowledged, therefore I am.
“It’s wonderful that she’s so curious,” my mom says in that magnanimous, slightly removed way of grandparents who aren’t awoken at 6am with questions unspooling into the darkness of morning.
And it is wonderful. Right? To be so curious that questions trip over themselves just to launch off your tongue, even if we’re in the women’s locker room, and she’s asking in her stage voice, “Did you know some girls wear undies that are ACTUALLY JUST STRINGS?”
There are the sticky questions that require dissection with moral tweezers: Is it bad that they have a mean sticker about Obama on their car? There are the anxious questions: Are you going to talk to anyone at the store? And, the unanswerable questions, the questions that turn your brain inside out and leave you with blinking cartoon-character X’s across the eyeballs. Rose asks, “Does Beehead (our cat) know we’re having dinner right now?” “What did we do the day after yesterday?” “When is Piano Man coming on the radio?” My mind revs and sputters.
It’s also true that the question mark doesn’t fall far from the tree. My own conversational style has been called “probing.” I deeply trust the power of a well-placed question. Last week, a friend asked me such thoughtful questions about a current writing project that my own unexpected answers became a beacon lighting the way towards my next step. Perhaps someday Rose will be a life coach, therapist, investigative reporter, detective, or writer, her astute questions unravelling whole worlds of insights for the benefit of others.
Putting inquisitiveness to work: This letter is to Dan’s Aunt Roberta, asking questions about Dan’s dad, the grandpa they’ll never meet.
“What do you think?” I lob back to Rose in the suspect bathroom.
“I think the lady’s happy. I can tell by her eyelashes.”
Rose returns to her Spanish chicken-song, adding a kicky little dance step. I fold her small hand into my big one and we walk out into the bright sun.
ps: this is a great blog post on the art of asking good questions.
In the last nine years of living with children, coming home after being away from them (even if only a few hours) is a little like walking onto the stage of my own network show. Fans rush the stage, elbowing each other to be first in line to greet me. Col just wants to wrap his arms around me, holding me close for a minute, as if plugging in his rechargeable batteries. Rosie hopes to retrieve every minute we spent apart by re-creating them through headlines from the newspaper staffed by six years olds: We saw a skunk and ate a hot dog! Daddy said we could have coconut water with dinner! Col let me fly his helicopter!
I know it will never be exactly like this again. It doesn’t seem that long ago that coming home meant unhusking a milk-fat boob as I crossed the threshold, while Dan thrust a larval-like baby in my arms, my heart pounding with a something like love and panic. One year later, returning home meant finding the kids streaking naked through the house like the ad for a toddler nudist colony, while child flotsam bred and multiplied in corners.
It seems you could measure something about children’s development by how you’re greeted upon coming home. Someday, my returning will barely register a blip. But now it feels like a call to lay down the arms of my mind (the anxieties, doubts, jealousies, anger) and just let myself be loved.
On the homestead:
:: Recent roadkill elk, butchered entirely by women and children:
I call this: bodacious badass butchering babes.
I call this: child labor. Just kidding. These kids are thrilled to be wielding knives. Notice that Rose hung her necklace on the chair for the dirty work.
After Dan’s dry elk hunting season (though there have been a few deer), depositing this elk in our freezer felt akin to stashing some gold bars under the mattress.
:: In Rose’s homeschool co-op, they’ve been studying non-violent communication and team building. I know. It’s like Free to Be You and Me all over again, millennial style. If reading, writing and arithmetic are educational building blocks, then, articulating peacefully, listening wholeheartedly and responding with empathy are human building blocks. Rose came home from co-op at Fawn’s house with two crayoned pictures of herself: one happy (with leotards, no doubt), one anxious. My heart flipped a few times, because 1) Anxiety is a large and scary beast for a 6 year to wrestle, and 2) You go girl for naming it (correctly) without self-judgment.
Team-building by playing “mirror movements” while the other kids guessed who was leading, who was following.
:: Dan taught Col’s homeschool co-op recently on the topic of handicrafts, helping them make buckskin wallets. He is such a good teacher and should really teach more often. Hint hint. Dan? You reading this?
I have grown so fond of these kids in Col’s co-op, who’ve been learning together for 2 1/2 years. (I find myself composing toasts to give at their weddings). Recently they were all plotting how to save money to buy a plane together. I mentioned that at the rate they were earning, it might take them until they were 50 to purchase it. Silence followed. “Do you guys think you’ll still be hanging out when you’re fifty?” I asked. “Um, yeah,” they responded like I had asked them if kids like to play.
Bonus instruction on how to pull tendons out of an elk leg (which were dried, pounded, separated and used to sew up their buckskin wallets).
Seneca modeling finished wallet:
:: Rose has a jewelry shop which gets dragged out of boxes and then tidied away almost daily. I think it’s a way of subsidizing her propensity to give things away. If you show up penniless—wait!—she will present you with The Golden Ticket, carte blanche to pick up a few items for free.
All this costume jewelry was a gift from my Uncle Sol and Aunt Diane. I don’t think they’ll mind that it’s now well-distributed across Durango.
Rose is not shy about creating the rules and expecting customers to accommodate. Last week Col and Rose’s friend Kai was shopping at “Oodles of Jewelry” for his mom and three sisters. With each necklace he purchased, Rose foisted upon him three free extras. He began backing away towards the door, overloaded with his “purchases,” Rose running after him with slips of paper.
Kai: I don’t really want another receipt, Rose.
Rose: You get one anyway.
:: What’s the current national feeling towards jello? I’m sensing a resurgence, and not just because Col requested a mango jello cake with blueberries and whipped cream for his birthday (no baking necessary. Thank you kitchen gods).
We use this grass-fed gelatin (available locally at Vitamin Cottage), although Dan says he’s happy to boil down some deer hooves for us.
Tell me your mouth isn’t watering for whipped cream topped jello:
Recipe: mix 2 TSBP gelatin with 1 QT warmed mango juice, let set in fridge, add blueberries and whipped cream.
I think we’re all feeling the abundance these days, in jewelry, elk sausage, aspic desserts, and being greeted by a very small, earnest fan club upon returning home. What else could we need? (Okay, maybe a little snow).
ps: I’ve been informed by a few people that when they click on my blog in their “favorites” file, it reverts to a post from 2012. I believe this is happening because the grace period of wordpress rerouting readers to the new (as of Jan, 2013) site has expired. If you change my blog address in whatever system you’re using to http://6512andgrowing.com you should be all good.
Have you heard about the new kid-craze sweeping the nation?
Ok. Maybe it’s just sweeping through one small family in Tupperware Heights who’ve never been known to be on the cusp of anything. But, still.
Watch out Rainbow Loom, because Col and Rose have been making their own Word Searches. And I keep waiting for the kids to figure out that they’re actually practicing writing, spelling and categorizing, but so far everything is just registering as: fun. Perhaps the kids love it because word searches typically exist in tidy little, pre-assembled workbooks or in the Wednesday “Kid Page” of the newspaper. But to make your very own from start to finish is like being an engineer of important things.
Rose says: It is fun and homemade and I like writing all the letters in the boxes. It’s fun giving it to people. You guys might want to learn how to make them.
Col says: They’re fun and I like sharing them with my friends.
In the event that your kids want to
practice writing and spelling create their own Word Search, here are Col and Rose’s instructions:
1) First, create a list of words from a theme. Theme Examples: Aquatic Life, Nautical, Mountain Life, Rose’s Favorite Things. Ten to fifteen words is a good number for kids.
Leotards! Which I formerly thought of as simply, tolerable.
2) Make a grid on a piece of paper with a ruler. The spaces between our lines run from 1/2 inch – 1 inch wide.
3) Fill in your chosen words in pencil onto the blank grid. Try to overlap words as much as possible, i.e. the “o” in mountain lion can also be used for the “o” in crow. Place words forwards, backwards, up, down, diagonal, and the wildest: backwards diagonal.
4) When your whole list has been entered into the grid, fill in the blank spaces with random letters. Tip: for extra challenge add duplicate letters around actual words, i.e. around “crow,” add “crox” or “crot” to fake your player out.
We’ve been making numerous copies of each Word Search to send to grandparents and friends, which I think makes the kids feel a little famous. If your kids would like to do a Word Search exchange with Col and Rose, let me know. Really. It’ll be the new pen pal.
ps: Thank you for all the birthday wishes and acknowledgement for Col.
pps: Since my book recommendation post, I read The Daily Coyote, by Shreve Stockton, recommended by Valeta. This book is about a city girl who, on a whim, moves to rural Wyoming and falls in love with a Predator Control Agent (AKA: he shoots coyotes to protect ranchers’ livestock), who gives her a 10 day old orphaned coyote. That’s all I’m saying, except that I loved it very much.
ppps: Have a superb weekend.