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July 2012 - Shivaya Naturals

July 2012

As a writer, journaling was an art form that was important and influential to me at a very early age. My mom gave me my first diary, pink with a lock, about the same time that I first took pen to paper, and I have been hooked ever since.

To some, journaling is a way to capture the most important moments, good and bad, in life. For others it is a catalog of their thoughts, dreams, inspiration, and ideas. It can contain poetry, lists, pictures, sketches, stories, ideas, and recipes. It can be a testimony to a great trip, a life-changing event, an illness, and a record of many firsts.

The art of journaling is something that even a very young child will enjoy, and that can bring about an early love of storytelling and writing for pleasure. My oldest son has kept a journal for the past year, and while most days there may only be one or two sentences on the page, it still feels like an accomplishment for him that he is recording things that he feels are important.

Jacob’s journaling began when we enrolled him in a farm camp a few summers back that had the children keep a record of the day’s activities. That week was so full of fun: milking the cows, collecting eggs, catching crawfish in the creek, harvesting veggies, and cooking (start to finish) a farm to table meal. Now he has a record of all that he did, what it felt like, and what he most loved and cherished about one of his favorite weeks of 2010.

As we look to summer activities, journaling is a way for us to record the joys of the season, as well as to chronicle what is going around us: from the changes in our wild plants, to the way our veggies grow, to the times of year that the rivers around us are at their peak. It is a chronicle of the activities that we so cherish, from picnics on the green while listening to Thursday night music, to camping trips with friends.

Creating a Summer Journal for Children

There are many ways that a young child can create a summer journal. A field guide can be created, a lined composition book can be used, or a blank sketch book.

Our children love to decorate the outside of their books;  fun paper, pictures, stamps, paints, watercolors, or just hand-drawn characters often grace their covers. We encourage them to think about what the journal will be used for before they create its cover, and the more journals they come up with, the better.

One of the biggest questions that parents can have when helping their kids to keep a journal is, “how can I help them write every day?” Journal prompts are a wonderful tool for helping kids get their writing juices flowing, and the possibilities for prompts are almost endless.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

I wish…

If I were…

Two of my favorite things are…

I hope that…

I will never forget the time when…

Today I want to…

I am challenged by…

I love it when…

My favorite part of the day was…

I laugh when…

What I saw when I…

I explored…

Today’s adventure was…

My mom and dad took me to…

I saw a…

The rules of journaling are simple: there are none. Allow your kids to freely use their journals almost any way they wish. Encourage them to keep them secret, to not care about spelling, penmanship or grammar, and to draw, doodle and sketch wherever they see fit.

Journals are windows to the soul, and creating a special space or hidden place for a child’s journal can add a memorable element to the exercise. Under the bed, in a special drawer, hidden under a pile of clothes or at the bottom of a chest are just a few ideas.

Journaling opens the door to writing, storytelling, poetry, day dreaming and letter-writing. No matter where their writing takes them, a child’s journal will always be a cherished way to look back on some of their best memories of childhood.

Every so often I enjoy pulling from the archives of Rhythm of the Home . The above was one of my favorite pieces from the 2011 series, as journaling is still such an integral part of our days. I hope that you kiddos get as much joy as possible when they take pen to paper. 

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His Summer Wardrobe

July 23, 2012

This Summer has been a first for me, as I have made most of Landon’s clothes. It was something that I had always wanted to do for Jacob and Elwood, but life (and my sewing skills) had gotten in the way. Although the first year of Landon’s life saw almost nothing handmade, as we spent every moment just soaking each other in and getting to know this growing family of ours, I was hoping for some time to get a few things together as we made our way into Summer. The extreme heat and the fires have made it a little harder to be out of doors as much as usual this season, but it is also the perfect excuse to sit by the sewing machine during those long toddler naps.

Although it has been hot, I still made a few Summer pants for those sweet little chubby legs. I traced a pair of Landon’s pants to use as the pattern, and then cut off 4 inches in the leg for the shorts that are pictured below. A simple hem and elastic waste band makes for such easy construction and wear, and the thin cotton keeps him cool and protected all at the same time.

I have fallen in love with knitting with cotton, and after making the vest at the beginning of the season, I figured it was high time to make a cardigan as well. It seems like everywhere we go this summer the AC is blaring, and although the temps keep topping 100, there is a definite need for layers. I chose to use the Pickles Plain Cardigan pattern (Rav notes can be found here), and it was a fun and quick knit. I am going to fully admit that the arm hole directions tripped me up like you can not believe. I sat for days just staring at the directions wondering what I was missing. I emailed friends, I Skyped my editors, and nothing was clicking together. It turned out to be the easiest bit of arm hole construction I could have imagined, and neat new (new for me anyway) way to put together a sweater. If you ever decide to knit one up and you get stuck, just shoot me a quick email.

Having some white yarn left over from the cardigan, I figured that the kiddo needed another vest as well, and of course, some shorts. This was my first time ever making shorts, and I have been on an obsessive kick ever since. You gotta love something that comes together in the time that the kids are eating breakfast, and that looks so fun to construct and wear.  As I mentioned, I simply cut off 4 inches from the pant pattern that I made above, and followed the same guidelines for making pants. The only change was to make the front flat and to push all the elastic gathering into the back half of the waste band to create a flat front feel.

I have a feeling that I might be making shorts diligently until the end of summer, as this little one spends his days running and playing hard. A bit of soccer with the older brothers, and some fun throwing the ball at each of our heads is a great reminder of how much we all adore this little one, and enjoy seeing him grow up. It is always hard to tell how long a child will enjoy handmade clothes, etc., but I feel blessed that each of my children still seem to love the idea. Landon so proudly wore each of his shorts this weekend, and seemed in 7th heaven with all the attention that gained him. Now the older brothers say it is their turn to sit down to the sewing machine, and make themselves some long board shorts. This should be fun!

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