Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Things that little ones can do that can't hurt

We feel that one of the lies of our time is that children must be entertained and have lots of toys. It is a lie we once believed, but through various events in our lives (living in small homes, for one), we came to realize that children acquire a taste for what is set before them, especially if we eliminate inferior competition.

Our children enjoy playing with toys, but we've discovered a secret: they can learn to enjoy what we offer them to do. We have discovered they also enjoy detail cleaning the washing machine. Or stacking firewood. Or tearing out old carpeting. So we have for many years been transitioning to more real-life activities for our little ones, and it has really wonderful!

So, on a daily basis, we are looking, looking, looking for real useful things they can do...from our littlest one on up.

One major benefit is that this keeps the little ones with us more, instead of off in their room playing, and so we have much less incidences of children writing on sofa, writing on walls, covering their bodies with zinc oxide, etc. because they are usually with all of the rest of us, doing real things.

Here are a few things that our little ones can do with help.
  1. Empty dishwasher and put away silverware, tupperware, lower shelf stuff (we have organized our kitchen with most serving/eating dishes on lower shelves for that reason).
  2. Organize tupperware.
  3. Put away canned goods on lower shelves
  4. Put away or inventory or neaten toilet paper.
  5. Wipe down woodwork, walls, rails, kitchen appliances, dressers, bathroom or kitchen cabinets.
  6. Furniture diving! They use a stick or ruler or long utensil to retrieve things that are under the couch, chair, dresser, table, fridge.
  7. Wipe lower windows when given a paper towel moistened with window cleaner. (Since we realized babies could be taught not to put non-food items in their mouth, including teething toys, this has become a possibility-- with supervision of course.)
  8. Sweeping a porch or kitchen/dining floor. It was great fun when we made a masking tape large square on our tile floor, and allowed him to push debris into it -- fun for a 18 month old! (Yes, we teach him what a broom is for and don't allow playing/fighting with it. Just as Ben Franklin was darning his socks at age 4, and in times past, young children carried and used pocket knives, it is possible to teach children what tools are for, and it really helps prevent misuse of them.) Joshie enjoys this so much, after he swept up a dirt pile on our porch, he reached into a planter, grabbed a handful of dirt, threw it on the porch, and kept sweeping!
  9. Mopping a floor. It doesn't hurt a thing! If its not perfect, its still better!
  10. Vacuuming a floor. We found a small, weakling bagless vacuum cleaner. Its not a Klein-proof type, but for a little one working near a sibling, its perfect. And it doesn't hurt a thing!
We are always looking for more things, but that gives an idea.

Sure, it's definitely easier to give them a box of toys and let them be occupied. And we do have a few toys. But the interaction with siblings and the real skills and character gained through real activities is so much better than toys. Most toys are cotton candy. The best of toys simply imitate real activities.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Precious moments

Here is Joshie laying on Daddy's chest during our evening Bible time. We read about Noah, and Joshie usually listens attentively, especially if we quietly narrate into his ear as we listen. Of course, he doesn't grasp all of what we can, but he is making progress. It is amazing what little children can retain and we just wish we would have realized this sooner! One of our older kids has resolved that if they have a child someday, they will read to him or her the Bible daily, from their first day!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A very open house!

On July 18, we finally had our much anticipated open house with our whole church, as we have wanted to do since we moved here! We decided to have it on the Sunday nearest our 25th anniversary. The theme of the open house was thanksgiving, because we are so thankful to the LORD for 25 awesome years of lawfully wedded bliss. It was an awesome time! Including us, there were about 80 people in our house!

We had decided to serve haystacks for lunch. If you don't know about haystacks, you need to wise up. Basically, its taco salad, set up like a buffet and you make it yourself. Yummy!

As the RSVPs began to stack up, we started trying to figure out how much food to get, and we did really well: we had enough left over to eat off of for about a week, plus enough onions to do anything else we wanted (we heard some were used for an ice cream topping!).

Of course, we were all glad to have the sewer problem behind us, as that was severely threatening the comfort of our guests! However, on cooking day, our cooktop stopped working. A gracious neighbor allowed us to borrow their kitchen, and the girls hauled umpteen pounds of beef, beans, and rice up and down the street. Phew!

We also had to move our furniture around and set up tables and chairs, many of which we borrowed from church. We were just about ready, when our friends the Morells showed up!

The Morells were on a summer road trip, and we had already scheduled our open house before they let us know they were coming. But we decided to kind of surprise them, and didn't mention that we were having some other people over, too.

After being welcomed with some strange comments from their hosts and then looking at the strange arrangement of our furniture, they surmised something was up.

We didn't get too far into our visit before they learned of our timely stove problem. Without much ado, they whipped out their electrical gear and were on the job!

In no time, we were back to cooking with coils! Thanks guys!

The Klein girls were thankful for friends to help blow up balloons and decorate!

We wanted it to be a general thanksgiving theme and plastered the walls with thanksgiving scriptures that the kids made. However, on the morning of the open house, we found a surprise conspicuously plastered on a wall....

That was Abi's handiwork and it made me cry. Wow, does that say 25?

After a great time at church with the Morells, a Klein team rushed home in the bus to set up for the meal. Also, to make sure we got a parking place before our guests arrived.

We were pretty excited and tried to make sure everything was ready in time, and we were just about ready with the first folks trickled in.

The haystacks went over pretty big; they were soooo yummy. We set up two food lines in our kitchen. This house is just so huge, so nearly everyone was sitting at a table. It's also so huge that the air conditioner has to work pretty hard on hot days! We were thankful that we had some good thunderstorms that very morning, so it didn't get nearly as hot as we anticipated. We had fans all over the place to try to keep the air moving.

We were so happy that so many folks came. It was really great.

Sarah surprised us with tons of beautiful pink and white handmade paper carnations for table decorations; they looked absolutely real!

The cake was made by our sweet friend Mary, and it weighed a ton and was so beautiful and proved to be very yummy!

After everyone was fairly stuffed, we gathered in and near the den had a thankgiving sharing time. It was great to hear the ways the Lord has worked in other's lives. He is so good to us!

Dave opened the time up with some very sweet sentiments...sniff sniff.

We are so thankful for the brothers and sisters we have met here in Missouri!

After that, we lingered and visited, and some people had to go...hopefully it wasn't because Dave threatened them, I mean offered them, more ONIONS....

Click on the photo above if you want to see how many we had left in that white serving bowl after 80 people had their lunch!

Leftover haystacks for dinner with our houseguests....no complaints from anyone!

We saw the Morells off the next morning, as they continued their trip south.

The next morning was also our TWENTY FIFTH ANNIVERSARY!

"What do you want to do?" Dave excitedly asked me. It was easy to answer...
You see, for a couple of weeks, our dryer had been out of commission. After a failed repair attempt, we broke down and bought another one. But, mysteriously, it wound up having the exact same problem! Know why? Because the electrical connection was messed up! Both dryers worked fine! So, until we could get that fixed, we were back to the laundromat.
"I want to go to the laundromat!!"

Dave sweetly agreed, and the children happily loaded 6 hampers, 4 laundry baskets, the detergent, and about a dozen pink and green balloons into the appropriately attired station wagon. We got a bunch of quarters in the change machine, hit the McDonald's drive through across the street from the Clean Connection, and ate lunch in the car while watching a cool thunderstorm.

It was wonderful!

Happy Birthday Grandpa Bill!

We send belated birthday greetings to Grandpa Bill with this fun video featuring picking and grinning! Joshie's narration is in subtitles!

Some dear friends gave us these used marble tiles from a demolition project and we are beginning the slow process of cleaning the stuff off the backs of them so we can use them! Even though its 102 degrees out, they are begging to go "work on tile".