What Do Kids in Africa Play With?

Today I asked my friend, who lived for 2 years in the African bush, "what do 5 years old in Nambia play with?"

Mr A and I were watching Storage Wars the other night (yes, I know its fake...) and they came across an antique piano toy thing that was really cool.  It's a far cry from the iPads of today, but it had hand-painted dancing dolls and whatever.  I began thinking about what makes a real classic toy - something a child of the modern era could enjoy just as much as a child of the 1800s.

Legos are great and action figures, robots and cars never seem to go out of style.  But, still, all these things rely on plastic and batteries, etc.  Wooden blocks came to mind.  Balls, too.  But what else?

So, I asked this friend about Zambian children and she tells me, "I don't know.  Rocks, leaves, sticks, mango pits, whatever."

Thinking about this for a second, reflecting on my children's baskets bursting with toys, I ask her, "are they bored?"

She looks me straight in the eye and tells me, "No way!  You have never seen happier, more active children in your life.  All they do is play."

I don't want to over-entertain my kids.  I want to engage their imagination and curiosity using playthings, but I don't want to kill their innate ability to find joy in whatever the Earth provides them.  In fact, I would prefer it if that were the primary source for entertainment.


Dog-Eared Pullover - Family Sweater #1

Here are some action shots of Koa's new sweater.  I worked it up in my favorite size: Room-To-Grow.  Although it's large enough for his older brother, I want this to be something that is truly his.  As the second child myself, I know the intrinsic value of something that isn't a hand-me-down.  Big brute Kaika probably couldn't pull off a puppy face shirt anyway;)


Knitting and Harry Potter

We survived!  

Hopefully, that is as gruesome as it gets for a long time.

While under siege of illness, I did two things (aside from combing Pinterest and sleeping)
  1. Knit
  2. Read Harry Potter
I finished Koa's sweater (if you recall my resolution to knit everyone a sweater this year) and love it.  In fact, I'm a little afraid he's going to ruin it ;)
I haven't read the Harry Potter series and only saw a few snippets of the movies on TV.  Well, I'm hooked.  Ikaika and I are on chapter 3 of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Though the franchise didn't grab my immediate attention and the movies are a bit too dark for my young children, I hope...I pray that my boys will take a liking to HP.  Why?  

Because of all the amazing things that could be knitted as a result!  Superheros and Transformers, although there are some options, don't offer the plethora of a handmade yarn gift ideas like Potter.  If only my children could take a wild shining to wizardry so I can spend my nights whipping up "house scarves" and "Weasley sweaters"  

THIS SITE is great with free Potter patterns
and THIS BOOK is available at our local library
I'm particularly fond of THIS HAT, though I've never seen the movie so the fact that Hermoine wears it is of little consequence to anyone in this house.  Not to mention there is a big debate at the end about the authenticity in the shape of the crown!  holy smokes people...its a hat.


The Flu

Here's a new Hawaiian word: palu.
puke.  barf.  vomit.  bleh.  palu.

I've been told that when its my own children, it won't bother me.  Vicious lies.  Ikaika woke up the other night having gotten sick (and totally freaked out since he's never done that before) and I almost threw up right on top of him.
Last night we all stayed home, illin'.  Sicker than sick.  The smell of the house this morning was truly indescribable.  Taking care of a sick child is virtuous and rewarding, in its own strange way.  Even being sick with children around is fine as long as the TV isn't broken.  BUT...taking care of a sick child while sick yourself is nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment.

I am hoping that we have seen the worst of it.


Cold and Flu Prevention DIY

Cold and flu season is upon us!  Lots of nasty bugs going around the island lately.  Today I spent some time updating our medicine cabinet with DIY medicine.  Here is what we do in lieu of flu shots...

  •  ĽOlena tonic by Kai Malino Wellness Center in Kohala:  we take a teaspoon daily when sickness is in the air.  (Uncle Kai can be found at the farmers markets around here, too.)
  • Shaklee vitamins: the doses double during high flu season.  We take a smorgasbord of vitamins, but the most important are a great multi and some vitamin C.
  • Ginger Honey Tea: this is a great remedy for a sore throat, dry cough, or to boost immunity.  Someday I will make an herbal infused cough syrup (because it really is that easy), but for now, this goes into my tea cup at night.  Unfortunately, I can't find the link to the tute but its pretty simple - grate up some ginger root, add honey, then mix.  Store in the fridge.  1 tsp per cup or to taste.
  • Chest Rub: 4 ingredients - beeswax, olive oil, tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil.  

Next on my list?  A balm that will soothe bug bites.  My kids are magnets for biting insects!  


Cutting Costs with At-Home Haircuts

"Show me your smile, honey"
"No, your smile, silly!"
"Seriously!  Give me a great, big smile!"

One of our best frugal purchases (that I can't even take credit for because Mr A bought it and I complained at the time) has been hair clippers.  Granted, I'm probably not a style icon, nor do I usually fuss over how my kids look, but I understand the importance of basic grooming.  As the years roll on, I've refined my barely-existent skills (notice the slight fade Koa is rocking here) and if I screw up, it always grows back.  This tool has easily saved me ten times what it cost.


Dragon Hat

Ikaika requested a "dragon hat" and I tried to deliver.  It still needs ears, but otherwise, he loves it!  The horns look like "little corn" and the teeth are "eating my head" - what more can a young boy desire?

Even more exciting, I found THE PERFECT PATTERN for Koa's sweater!


Korean Dance Party

The boys and I have been watching a lot of Korean music videos lately.  Here are two of our favorites!

Ok, so the last one is a cheat because its in Japanese, but you get the point.  Super fun.

I've been trying to get into Korean dramas, too since we can watch them for free on Hulu.  I started one yesterday that seemed interesting...but then I realized that I can't knit and read subtitles at the same time :(
K-drama will have to wait until I finish these hats!


New Years Resolutions

Its the most wonderful time of the year...

New Years Resolution Time!

I love making lists - love it with a strange, unexplainable passion.  I did alright with last year's resolutions, there is always room for life to change.  That's why I always set so many goals, if I finish even half of them that's still quite a few!

Here's what I came up with for 2013"

I'm almost done with the first draft.  My immediate goal is to have something I can send to my grandmother before the end of January, when she treks down south and has lots of free time to read and edit.  Ideally, I would like to see it revised and edited, with a few query letter sent out by the end of the year.

I want to send one snail mail letter a month to friends that I don't communicate regularly with but think about all the time.  Trust me, there are at least a dozen of them and they all like getting mailbox love.

RCIA CLASS (seriously this time!)
Whenever I hear about about confirmation, they are already two or three classes into the cycle.  I need to find out exactly what time of the year they start and make sure I get on it right away this year.  I am going to stop by the parish office this week.  BTW kids don't start religious ed until 1st grade, this I know for sure.

I need to interview with a principal in order to get my name on the list for taking this class.  I'm not sure when they offer the class, but I'm going to try to at least get my name on the list by the end of February.

This is a must.  I actually have 10 skeins of nice pima cotton just waiting to be made into a basic cardigan.  I even have the pattern pinned on Pinterest.  Time to get knitting.

I haven't knit a garment for my children since the oldest was in the womb.  During the holidays, people would constantly ask me if I knit my children's sweaters, which I had to say no.  Time to say yes.  Time to whip those babies out!

The fine print of this resolution is that I am not going to start any new projects (buying more yarn, pinning more DIYs on Pinterest, coming up with more ideas) until I finish all the ones I have laying around here waiting for some attention (Koa's scrapbook, backing and binding my wool blanket, aforementioned sweaters, etc).  I am for no lack of things to do in my spare time.

I have a Hawaiian language book that we are supposed to be studying for my son's preschool.  I am signed up for the online courses, too.  I resolve to make those a priority and finish HWN 101 before the end of the year!

self explanatory.  Must stop the incessant snacking.  Must go to sleep earlier.

What about you?  Any hot resolutions for Twenty Thirteen?