Monday, September 28, 2015

the wonder society :: a makers + thinkers collective for kids and parents


After watching and falling in love with Caine's Arcade and making lots of cardboard games,  I decided to start a local chapter of the Imagination Foundation

We have already started and I thought I would share what we do in our meetings in this space. Hopefully, it will inspire or encourage other parent groups to start similar clubs. 

As we homeschool, I am not affiliated with a school. My group is filled with homeschool and school kids. We meet bimonthly at a local artist's (and kindred spirit's) gallery. In the future, we might meet at parks or even the library. 

Meetings are held late Sunday afternoons from 3-5, with a potluck afterwards. 

For each meeting, we have a show and tell table, a quick fire design or improv challenge, and then spend the majority of the time working on the lesson or theme of the day. 
Our first quick challenge broke the group into teams. Each team was given 30 index cards and a roll of tape. They were charged with building a structure as high as possible. It was fascinating to see the different building styles and techniques. We shared and talked about each group's structure.


Then we moved on to a take apart and rebuild party. I had filled up my van with old electronics donated by friends and neighbors. Participants also brought expired can openers, vacuum cleaners and baby monitors. Each family brought screwdrivers and whatever other tools they thought would be helpful. We avoided monitors and parent involvement kept an eye on any potential dangers. In fact, some of the parents had as much fun taking apart and the kids did.
We spent all our remaining time taking apart. Kids were allowed to take home whatever pieces they wanted to rebuild at home. Some kids might hot glue components into creatures or if they are knowledgeable, use the pieces to build little robots or other apparatuses. 



And then we snacked, played piano, wrestled and ran and chatted. 

It was a great time of exploring and hanging out with friends. My goal is that each meeting is easy to plan and open ended, allowing for the kids to learn new design and building skills as they explore. This meeting certainly met my expectations. 

Upcoming meetings will have us working with cardboard, Ozobots, creating better world inventions and doing community art. Follow along on the blog and let me know if you have your own makers group!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

{giveaway} Decluttering for the Dead


My good friend and rebel Merrick Weaver is offering what might be the coolest class ever this fall. It is called Decluttering for the Dead and combines her loves of minimalism, Day of the Dead and Latin American Culture. It starts this week and I can not wait! 

You can read more about awesome Merrick and her offering below and even win a spot! Read to the end to find out how!




Tell us what you have been doing this summer.

This summer was spectacularly low key. We swam. Did some gardening. I got a massive wart from digging in the dirt and cured it with over-the-counter wart stuff. That seemed like a huge win.

We played. Slept. Most days, we didn’t go very far from our backyard. We spent some time up in the mountains. My kids are five and two. They moved into the same room together, so the expected shenanigans ensued. 

They’re happy to be nesting together and in cahoots. My parents hang out in Colorado during the summer, so it's grandparent time, and my sister had her first baby last week. She lives in Denver, too, with her man. So there was a baby shower and anticipating and making room for a new person. We got to see my brother, his lady and their daughter a couple of times which is super fun because they live in Dallas. They are expecting a baby in January. And there will be five cousins, ages five and under. 

We’re in that tiny person phase, so things are slow and steady. It seems like someone is always eating. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, repeat. There were also popsicles. And lemonade. I introduced the kids to Slurpees and that may have been my biggest parenting mistake to date.

Tell me about your experience with online classes and how did you decide to start offering your own online classes.

I went to the Mamascout School of Online Labs. Your classes blew the lid off my world a few years ago. It took me two years to fully get my groove, but the time spent priming the pump paid off big time during the last Dream Lab. My first Dream Lab made me realize my house was too big a shit show to actual dream about anything, so I got to tidying in April 2014. That turned into the Great Weaver Purge of 2014-15 (which is about 10% from being finished). I got so jacked up about decluttering and tried every method. I also don’t like doing things alone so I started secret Facebook “book club” so my friends could provide moral support. We don’t actually read books. I’m terrible at book clubs. Way too much pressure. At the end of last spring’s Dream Lab, I was ready to write an eCourse about minimalism and tidying and you told me I should do it because people were wanting it. And when Mamascout says “Jump!”, you say, “How high?”  My friend Axé named the first class Sprang Cleanin’ and we were off. 

Right now my friend Heather and I are doing a free fall decluttering series we’re calling Challenge by Choice. If anyone wants to sign up, they can sign up. The whole thing is really bizarre, because my background is in women’s, reproductive, and perinatal health. And now I’m giving talks on minimalism. 

Your next online class is called Decluttering for the Dead. What is this class all about? Who is this class for?


Decluttering for the Dead is for anyone who really enjoys talking about death and also wants to acquire a few basic Latin American craft skills. So, basically, everyone.

Day of the Dead/El Día de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday. Fall is my favorite time of year. You’ve got Autumn Equinox, Halloween, Day of the Dead, my birthday, Thanksgiving, and then go right into the winter holidays. It’s a like a two-month party. I want to kick off the season right. I’ve had some new awarenesses during the Great Weaver Purge of 2014-15. 1) You can’t take it with you when you’re gone. (Seems to me that decluttering is a preparation for death. And if that doesn’t make you want to sign up for this class, then I’m out of marketing ideas.) 2) The whole purpose of letting go of the physical things that don’t serve us is to make room for what’s important. Carving out a small space to remember, talk about, and honor the people I love who have died is important to me. I want my children to be more comfortable talking about death. I want to be more comfortable talking about death. It reminds us how to live.

This isn’t a class just for families, although I’ll include age-appropriate activities for all living humans. There will be project ideas for people of every age, with actual pictures of my mediocre sugar skulls and shoe box altars. It isn’t about being pretty; it’s about being real. I’ll get into the history of the holiday and it’s sacred meaning. I also like the idea of marking Day of the Dead as an entry point to create the space in our homes that we need to enjoy the rest of the holidays with our living friends and family.

Will I learn to make sugar skulls in this class?

Yes. Like a boss.

What's rocking your world right now? Books, music, film, ideas? Tell us about something cool that we don't already know about!

Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger  is the best thing that ever happened to our family. We built a Little Free Library this summer (so glad I remembered, it was the most major project we endeavored and now we don’t look like lazy, Slurpee-drinking, napping weirdos who don’t do anything), and it’s been really amazing to watch our neighborhood get excited about it. If you've been wanting a Little Free Library in your 'hood, I really recommend doing it. If there's one already there, support it! Sir Fartsalot showed up there one day, and we never looked back.



Want to win a spot? Just head over to the FB page, Mama Scout Laboratory for Creative Living and leave a message on the pinned thread about your ancestors. Who do you want to honor and why. We will pick a winner by the end of the weekend. 





Thursday, September 10, 2015

september wellness challenge :: learn something new everyday


I am a little late coming off the mindful media challenge from this summer. How was that for you? While I still scanned social media, I found that I was on my phone and computer much less. I loved it and I am finding it hard to get back into the swing of things. 

But, it is time for another challenge. This is a rerun of a popular challenge from last fall.  

Here is the deal. Meet up on the FB group page and post daily (or whenever the fancy strikes you) about what you have learned that day. It might be an emotional truth, an odd fact or a relationship epiphany. Whatever it is - go for it. These are great fun to think up, share, and read. 

We might spill into October a bit to make up for lost time, but October will have its own challenge and it is a good one. 

This is a free project and filled with some super cool people. Fell free to invite your people too! 

last call for Journal Jam Fall edition ----> get on it!


Journal Jam Fall edition is ready to roll. If you want in, this is it. The welcome letter goes out Saturday and we are in full gear Monday morning.

This lab is 10 weeks of awesome prompts, poetry, film, journaling and art prompts and cool mama camaraderie.

If you want to create with your kids and be engaged yourself - this lab is for you. If you like kid based art programs that are prescriptive and "too cute" this is not for you.

(Sorry if that sounds harsh - I am sitting here drinking my 3rd cup of tea, writing all afternoon, watching cows from my window and feel like I just need to say it truthfully.)

I would rather spend time with my kids listening to Phillip Glass, reading weird poetry, looking for treasures in alleys and painting pictures of my ancestors than work from a printable or strict theme.

This class is kid appropriate but cool enough for a parent to do on their own.

You can sign up here.

Oh, and I love you. And you are doing a terrific job. I can not wait to hang out with you. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

the biggest move of all



The last several months have been so full, so far flung and so full of impossibly optimistic dreams. After a summer of new summer camps (sailing/fishing/apple), a quick band rehearsal jaunt to Atlanta, and an epically soul stirring trip to Alaska, we entered a sort of self defined hell. 

We are in the midst of moving from a huge house to a much smaller one. We are swimming in crap as we figure out how to fit a family of 5 (all with a wide variety of interests) into a typical suburban house. A family where we are all together most of the time!


We have added a wall, ripped out some cabinets and ceiling and gotten rid of truck loads of stuff. Towards the end I was using a wet vac to vacuum up a sea of plastic detritus from the old play space. I vacuumed up and threw away pencils, lego pieces, marbles, polly pocket clothes, and even change. I could not pick up and sort one more freaking thing. 

And now we are settled, sort of, and trying to find places for our pickled shark, and thousands of books, and galleries full of artwork, and vintage linens, and, and, and.... you get the idea. 
More and more is going out. Thrown away or given away. There is no attempt to sell anything or pack it away until later. It is out. 

And it is liberating and energizing. 



What I have realized is:

Acceptance of the discomfort and mess is key. It really does little good to complain or even constantly mention the state of chaos we are in. We know. It works better to accept and put your nose back to grindstone. Every once in a while we look up and realize, "Hey! progress is being made." This is temporary and is nothing compared to what many in the world deal with. We are struggling because of our abundance and affluence. You can not really complain about that with out sounding like a complete shit. 

We do not have to do everything ourselves. We do not like to ask for too much help, but sometimes it not only helps with the task at hand, but also give a big energy boost. For example, hiring out some painting at our old house was hard. We never hire out what we can do ourselves. But it was so worth it! It took a professional a few days what would have taken us a week. 

It is good to question and redefine everything. I have been met with questions and concerns (Why would you move to that side of town? Will you be able to live in a smaller space? How can you leave your cool old house?) I often wonder about the assumptions and questions that we have each internalized. The type of voices that do not allow us to take risks or strive to live a life closer to our true selves. 

We are doing this so my husband can stay home. So we can hang out with our kids and friends. So we can spend our time creating and traveling. The pay off is huge and the work is worth it. There is a risk for sure - if we can not sell our house, for instance. But if we keep flexing our adventurous muscles and trying new things, I think we will be able to fall on our feet no matter what happens. 

And no matter how some things get turned upside down, there are many constants that keep us grounded. Movie nights and family dinners, caring for our pets, hanging twinkle lights inside, making art, reading good books aloud, spending time with our friends, being outside and just keeping the conversation flowing all make us know that we are always home, no matter where we are. 


(a big reason this house works - a huge acre back yard!)

(and cows to watch through the kitchen window)





Journal Jam starts in a few days!
I hope you will join us! You can read more about it and sign up here

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