Friday, January 31, 2014

February Wellness Challenge :: Show the Love


Last month we shared our dreams. Big and mundane, I think most of us got as much from stating our  dreams as we did from hearing others',  offering support and giving hearty pats on the back.

But, it is a new month and time for a new challenge.

This month in honor of an upcoming holiday, let's share and spread love, charity and joy.

Each day, post your acts of love to our growing Facebook group.

Make them huge, tiny, anonymous, ridiculous and true. 

The Mama Scout Wellness Challenge group is an indescribable Facebook experience. You will get daily postings from women from around the world. Connecting, challenging and sharing in the beauty of life.


You can join here

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

{how to} dip net



What you need :

~ nets (we have a selection that we have picked up at garage sales, pet stores and chain stores).
~ tubs (maybe some dishpans from the dollar store or other wide tubs)
~ camera
~ field guide (search online for printouts of the invertebrates in your area)
~ journal

Dip netting is such a great way to see what is living in the bodies of water around you. I am always surprised at what shows up in the net. From leaches to huge blue crabs there is so much more to the world that what we easily see. It is a little like magic, if you ask me.

We have dip netted in retention ponds, lakes, swamps and the ocean. It is one of our favorite things to do and something I hope to do much more of this year.

Here are some tips and guidelines, but I think you will see it is easy and intriguing once you get started. 

(Obviously, be safe - whatever that means to the particular body of water you are exploring). 

Start by fill in a tub or two with the water from the source you will be dip netting from.

Use your nets to gently scoop from the bottom of the water.

Take your net to one of the tubs and empty your scoop. Look around, be careful and see what it in there. We have separated out the animals into a separate tub to observe them while dip netting.

The best place to find creatures is at the edges, near vegetation and grasses and I would assume near rocks although we have very few of those in Florida.

Always treat the creature with gentle hands and return them to their home shortly after logging and observing them. It is essential that kids are taught to treat these specimens with respect. Do not remove them from their natural habitat.

A list or chart of the diversity you find turns this into a handy little science project, but really the exposure to these underground worlds is illuminating and inspiring to the dip netter.

Have you dip netted?

What is the most interesting thing you have brought up?

Friday, January 10, 2014

{make} wax paper mono prints


Inspired by this post about plastic bag mono printing, my daughter and I spend a sick day working with wax paper, watered down acrylics, paper and a brayer.

Mono printing is a print making process that makes one unique print at a time. There is no stamp or printing plate that allows you to make multiples. One is all you get.

They are simple and fun.

Basically, we painting designs and abstracted shapes with watered down acrylic paint (sometimes scratching into them or altering the texture in some way.

Then you flip over the wax paper onto your art paper (water color, newsprint, cardboard, anything...) and rub it with your hand or a brayer. I love using a brayer because it gives a consistent pressure along the whole piece.

Carefully peel back the wax paper and see what you have.

Add more layers to it. We just folded our wax paper over onto itself as we added more details.

This activity is great because it is economical and so open ended.

Parents should be at the table playing next to their kids. We have the best time and discover the most when we make art side by side.  If you have a hard time just playing with color - what about making journal pages with spaces that you can write on later? or think about making cards, book marks or gift tag with the resulting fields of color? If nothing else you can have pretty paper for your grocery list.





Wednesday, January 8, 2014

what are your lanterns?



"...and i am out with lanterns, looking for myself." 
- e. dickinson


the book about me lab is registering now. you can read more about it here.

i hope you will join us as we light our lanterns and head out on the trail. together.

i talk to a lot of women.

online, in groups, in the grocery store, at the park...and i hear the same thing, over and over.

what about me? what about what i have to say? where is my voice, my self, my passion in all this. and why i am doing this? why are my days filled with a job that is killing me, people who don't get me, and commitments i hardly even remember agreeing too? (i actually hear the exact same thing from men too).

how do i get off this herky-jerky carousel? because it does not seem to stop. and the tinny, toy piano music is driving me mad.

there are many solutions. jogging, meditating, juicing, therapy...

in the bam lab, we find our way back through careful looking, photographing, sharing our stories and writing. it is a creative, unique, highly personal and completely transformational experience.

the friendships and spin-off groups that have been born from this space have changed my mind about the power of a long distance friendship, heck, even the power of a FB group. i mean, really, i am still shaking my head in amazement.

if you have a little space this spring to do some digging in and sharing, we would welcome you with hugs and cool drinks.

think about it.

(we start the 20th of this month. i do not anticipate running this lab again until fall). 

{life lab} the chore wheel




I hate chore charts and reward systems. I do not believe that I should pay the kids to help out in their own house and luckily they are very willing to help when I ask - but it takes too much nagging energy to keep up with 3 kids, a stupidly huge old house, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 5 mice, 4 chickens, a crab and fish etc... you get the idea. 

We have tried several things and nothing works or feels right for very long. The best approach we have come up with is the chore wheel. On it, I have listed the very minimum of daily maintenance chores that need to be done. Each kid has a clothes pin that rotates around the wheel each day. The idea is that we work on these chores first thing in the morning before we go anywhere or start working on other projects. 

Things get tricky around here because we have a very full (+fun) schedule. If we can keep these basics going as habit we are never with out clothes or come home to a completely trashed kitchen. Of course, some days it does not all happen because we are rushed out the door and might not come home until evening. That is ok. It is a guideline. 

My kids get do pocket money just for being a part of the family. I also offer them ways to earn extra money here and there with extra jobs (cleaning out the silverware drawer etc.) And sometimes they just have to help clean all day. 

The chore wheel changes every now and then but it has served as a great visual and hands-on tool for helping us all keep a home care rhythm. 

I would love to hear about how your family shares the work load. Leave a message in the comments...

(a picture of our command station in progress. we have a calendar, our family values, the chore wheel, a season wheel, a family portrait and a bit of mail art from a friend. sometimes my to-do list is on post it notes on the wall too. i like that because it feels good to take them down and toss them when i am done). in the same room we have a chalk board wall and a big cork board.)

Monday, January 6, 2014

{Monday Mission} an hour for you


I have not posted Monday Missions in a while; I think I will remedy that this year.

To start off, how about something for you?

RIGHT NOW, look at your calendar and schedule one hour to do something that you love but do not do nearly enough.

Go for a walk alone.

Head out to the library/book shop and b r o w s e ........

Call a friend you have missed.

Take a Yoga class.

Read in the tub while everyone else does the grocery shopping.

Sneak away into the attack and look in old boxes.

Read your old journals.

Stroll the plant shop and buy $5 worth of something green and pretty.

Look at fabric and pattern books.

Go to the shooting range (I have not done this as I am not into guns, but I think it might be really fun).

What else?

Make it happen! NO ONE else will do this for you. Schedule and then share your activity.




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

{january wellness challenge} I dream...



The January Mama Scout Wellness Challenge is....

A daily check in with our dreams.

I finished up the Dream Lab a few months ago and the next one has been planned here.

The big takeaway from the last dream lab? By simply voicing our dreams and crazy notions - we often put the ball in motion.

Daring to utter the words...I dream of.... can kick start the magic like nothing else. And to do so in a group of positive co-dreamers magnifies the power, the connection and the possibilities.

Let's get small. The tiniest dreams deserve a bit of attention....what are yours? I would like to drink my coffee when it is still warm and maybe have the floors cleared of animal hair.

And, let's get audacious. Big, unruly dreams that are scary to say out loud. Shout them to this group of strangers and friends from around the world.

Give them voice.

Set them free.

Cast them like seeds into the minds of other dreamers.

If nothing else, you can state your one sticky dream every.single.day.of.the.month. We don't care and will join the chorus and sing your words with you.

Remember, this whole project takes place on Facebook. The group is here and it is all free.

(and i have to say, this group has grown into a very safe, uplifting place. we only offer each other encouragement, kind words and any relevant resources. if you could use a dose of that sort of connection - join us.)



You are invited to dream with us!

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