When Life Gives You Crap … Make Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I’ve been having a tough time lately. I will spare you the sad, poor-me, pity party, and just say that sometimes life kinda sucks. But, I try to always find the silver lining, and if I can’t find that well, then I start looking for chocolate!  Or if it super sucks, I start looking for chocolate chip cookie dough.

And I don’t know about you but I don’t want to make an entire batch of cookies and be a slave to the kitchen for hours on end.  I want to be in and out.  I also don’t want 3-4 dozen cookies just hanging around my house for the next week or so tempting me to eat them.

The Boy LOVES – I mean, like obsessively LOVES chocolate chip cookies,and has since he was old enough to eat them.  I just hate store bought baked goods.  They taste gross & heaven knows what’s in them.  So I try to make most of the goodies myself … or with The Boy!  He did about 75% of the work on these.

MamaLovesHalfBatchCCWCookiesI scoured the internet looking for ideas, looked at my own full batch recipe and tried to do the math, but ultimately just gave up and kind of improvised.  I love my cookies buttery, soft, fluffy, with lots of chocolate chips and lots of walnuts.  So if you do too, here you go!

PS – I am an advocate of eating raw cookie dough no matter what the warnings say.  Obviously those people just don’t want to have fun in life.  I chowed down at least 2 cookies worth of cookie dough while making these & I’m alive to tell you about it!

Mama Loves Half-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields about a dozen or so (depending on how much cookie dough you eat while making them!)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened
1 egg
6 tablespoons brown sugar
6 table spoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Method:
TIP: Use your hand mixer for better results – I tried doing it the old fashioned way by hand & quickly plugged my hand mixer in to make quicker work of things.  

Preheat Oven to 375*

Cream the butter and sugars at a low-medium speed.  Add the egg, mix some more.  Add the flour gradually, mixing together.  Add the salt & the baking powder.  Mix it at a low-medium speed until the dry ingredients are totally mixed in with the wet ingredients.  Turn the mixer off & hand stir in the chocolate chips & walnuts.

Use a small kitchen spoon (or a super cute cookie dough scooper) to drop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (makes for easy clean up!)

cookie dough 1

Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven right as the edges of the cookies are turning golden brown.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool for another few minutes.

YUM Inside of the cookieEAT ME, YOU’LL FEEL BETTER 🙂

Camp Mama Love

Here’s our list of activities that we did I had lined up for the past 10 days:

Disclaimer: These are not my kids. Photo Credit: http://lgsrc.com

These are not my kids. Photo Credit: http://lgsrc.com

Swim Play Date ~ Check!  How I made it fun for the grown-ups, too?  Wine & cheese for the mommies!  When the kids got sick of the pool, they ran around in the little sprinkler I put on the lawn & painted the cement and rocks with water.  I also had chalk,  a water table, and our swing.

Library Day ~ No check … We had it on our schedule, and The Boy was gung-ho when we put it on the schedule, but vetoed it twice on the day-of, despite my telling him we were going to search for Dragon Books.  Maybe he was having flashbacks to the previous two times we had visited (he was 2-ish) and was yelled at by a very stern Librarian who apparently didn’t realize that you can’t “shush” a 2 year old Aspie!  Oh well – I will get us there, but the truth is that we pretty much have a library here at our house … If only people would keep it organized! Hmmm … that gives me an idea 😉

Beach Day ~ Check & Check!  This is always so much fun … I love the beach, he loves the beach.  This time we went with friends, but I love going just the two of us also.  Pro-Tip: Get a wagon & load all of your gear into the wagon for easy hauling down to the beach.  If you live in the LA area, I highly recommend the Annenberg Beach House! The boardwalk makes it easy to drag that wagon to the shore.  We spent all day there (on two separate playdates) chasing the waves & the seagulls, looking for dolphins & building sand castles ~ This one sure does wear him (and ME!) out!!

My favorite activity!

My favorite activity!

 

Hike ~ Check & Phew … We actually just got back from a 1-hour hike in our local mountain range.  It’s an easy enough hike for The Boy, but has a few steep hills scattered throughout to get our blood pumping.  When you get to the top of the rocky peaks, there’s a great view of the city below.  This morning was an all-out battle to get him to actually come along, though.  He had a melt-down because he wanted to play with his toys, (he’s once again obsessed with Toy Story,) but once we got there, he apologized and said he was glad I forced him to hike!  I’m such a mean mom making him have adventures & go outside – sheesh!

Park Play Date ~ Check! Have to say, we’re super lucky to live 10-minutes walking distance from one of the coolest parks in town!  (My wagon comes in handy here too!) They recently re-vamped the entire playground to be a shane’s

photo courtesy of Mitch Englander

photo courtesy of Mitch Englander

inspiration park that kids with all abilities can access, and they added a splash pad. The trouble is getting him to leave here – haha … he would live at the park if he could, he told me as much!

Movie Day ~ Check!  When it gets too hot outside & I need to take a break, we high-tail it to the movies.  We’ve been to the movies twice!  Saw How To Train Your Dragon Pt. 2 and Earth To Echo.  I thought they were both good, but thought that How to Train Your Dragon 2 was out-of-this world-amazing!!  The story was great, the animation was so great – 100 times better than #1.  And I left the theatre wanting my own dragon, (I actually ended up getting a pack of dragons that had 2 Toothless dragons in there and The Boy let me have one! Ha!)  Earth to Echo was a cute story – kind of trying to be the E.T. of this generation, and it fell short of that.  Better for kids that are a little older – like 7-12 maybe.

All in all, I’d say I’m doing pretty well with this summer thing … The Boy even told me that our camp is way more fun than the other one he was at — score!!

The Karate Kid

I think we’ve finally found the key to The Boy, and slowly we’re unlocking a serious breakthrough.  The breakthrough comes with a hearty “Hi-YA!” and a karate kick in the face of Autism.

Aye-Yah!

Aye-Yah!

A little over a month ago, I called the local karate studio & spoke with the instructor of the class.  I explained that The Boy had been diagnosed with Aspergers but we were in the middle of getting him re-assessed & aren’t certain it’s AS.  We think he’s definitely somewhere on the spectrum, and thought that karate might be right up his alley.  We tried gymnastics & soccer, too much waiting around, not enough discipline.

“We have a couple of guys here with Autism who are black belts now.  Bring him in – we’ll run him through a trial and see if it’s a fit.”  The Instructor said.  I was careful not to get my hopes up.  This program didn’t accept everyone.

That Saturday, we brought him to the studio.  He was full of energy & a little unorganized, but he seemed to enjoy the physicality of karate, and he caught on to the routine pretty quickly.  I loved the structure & discipline that this class offered, and it was only 30 minutes – perfect for my little guy with the short-attention span.

The Instructor was a tough guy.  Just as The Boy began to act out & I hissed his name, The Instructor walked over to me and said “No, let me handle him.  You just sit here and watch.  He needs to know that I’m the boss here & if you’re doing the discipline in my studio, he won’t ever respect me.”  Word.  I was totally on board, but also on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how much of a spectacle this would turn into.  To my delight, The Boy didn’t buck too much, just tested the waters a little, but I loved that The Instructor didn’t let him (or any of the other kids) get away with a single shenanigan!

The Instructor told us to bring The Boy back again to the next class.  And again, and again, and again.  The Boy was in try-outs for almost 3 weeks!  He had to “earn” his “jacket.”  That totally motivated him.  He loved the challenge, he got the hang of things, (addressing his instructors as “Ma’am & Sir,” keeping his hands to himself, staying quiet & following directions – for the most part.) And although he struggled with controlling his body, he really made an effort.  After 9 sessions, he had finally earned his jacket!  He was a proud little boy, and I was a proud mama.

Yeah, I cried a little.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the distinct look of pure pride on The Boy’s face.  He had accomplished this all on his own & he knew it! He glanced over at me & smiled, we exchanged the “thumbs up” sign.

I know it might sound silly, but I think he may have found his place.  This might be his sport.  I can’t see soccer as his sport, or baseball … He needs something that is more of a solo “team” sport.  In this class, he’s part of a team, but his success is solely based on his own merits.  And quite frankly, I’m a little relieved about this for several reasons – I mean, of course, I’m happy for him, but selfishly, I’m happy for me, too.  The thought of early Saturday soccer games out in the hot sun & weekday practices out in the hot sun don’t appeal to me.  I would do it, sure, and I even had envisioned him having the “All-American” childhood, replete with a position on the soccer & little league teams when he was growing inside of me.  But  maybe I’m not going to be a soccer mom.  Maybe I’m going to be a Karate Mom … or a Tennis Mom … or a Golf Mom.  I’m cool with that.

It’s been really spectacular to see the change in him … And it’s not just me & The Husband who see a change, his teachers commented to me that The Boy has been making big strides lately.  It’s a tough class & it’s three times a week, but it’s something that The Boy looks forward to – he enjoys the challenge & the routine, knows what’s expected of him & when he pushed back (which the instructor said he’d do,) he got his belt taken away for 2 classes!  He earned it back & learned the lesson: can’t clown around in karate.  There’s a time & a place for messing about, but in karate class, you act professionally, take it seriously & do your best.

Warning: MOMMY BRAG Ahead!

Yesterday, after being in this class for less than 6 weeks, he did this entire series called “Appreciation Form” which is a 12-step series of different hand movements FLAWLESSLY without any assistance from an instructor!  He even showed up a camouflage belt (highest belt in the class!)  The Instructor praised him “never seen a white belt do that series all on his own without any help!  Well done!”

We’ll see how it goes, but I think we’ve finally found his sport 🙂

 

 

Easter Egg-citement … and a Life Lesson on the side

Oh that title is sooooo cheesy, but it’s late & you get what you get at this point. And by the by – this post has not been “proofed.” I still have to make a basket, hide eggs tonight, and gnaw out chunks of a carrot that The Boy left for the bunny.

On Thursday, The Boy & I made Chickadee Cupcakes!

chickadee_cupcakes_platter

 

I was inspired by this post.  Mine are nowhere near as perfect & pretty as hers, but then again, I’m just a “fairly good mother,” so what do you expect?

Let me see if I can impress you with this little tidbit of info:  I did all of this WHILE working from home, juggling calls, making deals & doing laundry, AFTER running errands in the morning.  Impressed?  *huffs on knuckles & brushes off the shoulder dust*  Yeah, I’m a badass mama sometimes.

We took the easy route – got a box yellow cake instead of making from scratch, BUT I did make whipped cream frosting (my own concoction using heavy cream & powdered sugar & vanilla – don’t measure, just add to taste,) and then added yellow gel.  I bought pre-made eyes & used some orange icing that was leftover from Halloween.  It was Wilton’s – the kind in the air canister & it had a mind of it’s own, very difficult to deal with! I piped on some frosting to the sides for their wings.  Note: You need to refrigerate these because of the cream frosting.  Just let them stand at room temp for 15 minutes or so before you scarf one down.

The Boy had fun making some of the chickadees into “silly chickadees” with one eye or three, and since I didn’t want 2 dozen chickadees, so we used the rest of the batter to make a mama chick.  We used chocolate chips for her eyes & The Boy, my little choc-o-holic, ate enough chips to make 5 more chicks!

mama_chickadee_cakeWe took some of the cupcakes to the neighbor kids & then went to karate.

On Friday, we tackled the eggs!  And let’s be honest here, it was a less than perfect undertaking.

Take one rambunctious 4 year old, add 6 flimsy PAAS cups filled with colored water & of course your chances for a disaster are like 97% … Add to that the fact that I had dressed him in a new outfit that was partially white & the chances increased to 99.9999%.

No worries, I’m a chilled out mama regardless of my self-diagnosed mild OCD.  I had prepared for this event: laid out paper towels & put an apron on him.  But two seconds after this picture was taken …. the green egg disaster commenced.

Green will be all over the kitchen in 5-4-3-2 ...

Green will be all over the kitchen in 5-4-3-2 ..

The Boy accidentally tipped over the flimsy PAAS cup (we were using the whisk to hold the egg since that’s an easier way for kids to maneuver the eggs.)

The Boy immediately freaked out & hopped off his stool to retreat in the far end of the kitchen.  Before I even went to clean it, I consoled him.  My little sensitive guy was obviously pretty upset that he had spilled the green all over the counter, cabinets & himself.

“Guess what?”  I told him … “Accidents happen & I’m not mad.  I know I told you to be careful, but it’s no big deal – do I look mad?  No.  I’m not mad at all & it’s ok!  Let’s take off your apron & get you a new one.”  But he was still pretty shaken by the whole thing & ran off to his playroom.  This was a great teaching moment (yes, those are actual real things for the fairly good mothers of the world.) I went to get him & we had a nice little talk about how important it is to forgive ourselves when we’re not perfect.

He came back to do a couple more eggs, but I could see that he was a little timid & still pretty mad at himself, and it broke my heart into about a thousand pieces when I asked him why he was still upset & he said “I’m mad at myself for making an accident & I don’t want to color eggs anymore because I’m afraid I’ll do it again.”

I choked back my tears.  Give me a break, friends, I’m PMDD’d & I love this kid.   I got right down next to him & told him “hey it’s totally ok if you do it again … I might even do it this time!  I’m not perfect, no one is.  If we make a mess, we’ll clean it up!  No big deal.  Right?   And listen to me … You know when a friend does something that makes you sad & they apologize to you & you say ‘I forgive you?’ well, it’s important to forgive yourself when you do something that makes you sad or frustrated.”  He got that.  And we finished the eggs.

Tie_DyeEasterEggs

We used the PAAS Tie-Dye Easter Egg Kit, which I have used in past years, and had so-so results, but apparently my fairly good brain forgot that we tried this before & I bought the kit again.  This time they had included this gloss to polish the eggs, which seemingly made some difference.  And I guess I perfected my technique … or maybe it was just luck 🙂

 

I think I like this one the best: Pink_TieDyeEgg

Or maybe it was the super bright pink egg that I did just for The Boy since it’s his favorite color & I knew it would make him happy.

And we read this book before bed – one of MY childhood faves: The Country Bunny & the Little Gold Shoes.

the country bunnyIt’s about a Country Bunny who becomes one of the 5 Easter Bunnies.  Was written in 1939 & still holds up seventy-five years later!

I hope you have a great Easter, and I hope you can remember the wonderment you felt as you woke up on Easter morning to discover a basket filled with goodies & eggs hidden around the house.

Childhood is a magical time where reality is kind of suspended … at least if you have fairly good parents who will do that for you.

I hope The Boy looks back on his childhood and forgets the accidents & the struggles, and only remembers the magic, the wonderment, the joy of his life.

P.S. Tell me that the addition of the text to my pictures was worth it! Thanks Picmonkey.

xo 🙂

 

 

The Fairly Good Garden ~ Update!

I’m having a blast watching my garden grow … Like Miss Mary Quite Contrary.

Garden 11 days after planting

Garden 11 days after planting

I’ve even already harvested my arugula & made my spring arugula & bacon pasta dish.  Only this time I made it with lemon pepper paparedelle pasta from Trader’s & MAN, was it the most PERFECT pasta to go with the flavors of this dish!!  Summer Pasta with Arugula & Bacon | The Fairly Good Mother

Artichoke! | The Fairly Good Mother And, I see a little bud on one of my artichoke plants!  That makes my mouth water.

We’ve already picked and eaten some of the strawberries & they were decadent!  The Boy is loving our garden.  Tristan & Loran Variety Strawberries | The Fairly Good Mother

Read Across America: A Few Children’s Book Recommendations …

In honor of NEA’s Read Across America Day, which is on Friday, March 1st,  I thought it would be fun to share a few of The Boy’s favorite books.

See, not all of my posts are psychopathic rants about bleeding and cough syrup!

Read!

Words!

Here at our house, we all love to read.  The Husband and I started reading to The Boy while he was still in my belly & never stopped.  We read him Dr. Seuess, “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” while he was incubating 🙂

We read before naps & bedtime, as well as any other time the mood strikes us.  The Boy will find a book that he loves, and read it until we all have every word memorized & the story is “worn out.”  Here’s a few of the current favorites …

Calvin Can’t Fly by Jennifer Berne, Keith Bendis (illustrator) is a charming tale of an awkward bird named Calvin. The Boy & I love this book, as it really highlights the fact that even though someone is different, they still have a contribution to make.  Calvin goes from weirdo to hero in this delightful tale with colorful illustrations.  It’s a fun read with a great message.

Swimmy by Leo Lionni gorgeous & imaginative illustrations are the backdrop for this tale about a fish who is swimming solo in the deep sea after losing his friends to the gulp of a big tuna fish.  As Swimmy explores the ocean world, he finds a school of fish like the one he lost & teaches them how to overcome their fears by working together.  The Boy knows all the words to this book & if I mess up a line or skip a word, he is quick to correct me.swimmyart

Mommy? By Maurice Sendak This one doesn’t really have any words besides “Mommy?”  It’s about a little boy looking for his mommy in a house full of monsters, mummies and ghouls.    Truly an amazing pop-up book by one of my favorite authors.  The illustrations and art in this book are incredible.  And if your little one (or you) loves spooky fun as much as The Boy does, this is sure to be a hit.  It’s fun to make up the story as you turn the page & get your child to describe what’s happening.

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt, Cyd Moore, (illustrator) is a book we’ve been reading since The Boy was 2 years old.  About a child who asks his mother if she’d still love him if he were a stinky skunk, or a meat-eating dinosaur or a one-eyed monster, and of course, as every good mother agrees, she would love her child no matter what.  It’s gone in and out of rotation over the past year and a half, but it’s one that he loves me to read to him as he imagines himself as each character in the story. Lately we’ve been acting it out together 🙂

Any and all Dr. Seuss books ~ we pretty much have about 89% of the collection.  Every book is a timeless treasure, and The Husband & I love LOVE LOVE that we get to enjoy passing the Suess tales down to The Boy.

Other titles The Boy loves are: Good Night, Good Night Construction Site; Little Owls’ Night,  The Way Back Home, and King Jack & The Dragon … I’m just going to stop there for tonight 🙂

rea day

The goal should be to read at least a chapter per night, (for kids that means a few small books.)  We read at least three books to The Boy & if he’s been “such a good boy,”  we read one more, (totals about 20-30 minutes of story time.)  We’re just starting to get into Peter Rabbit – which I’m super thrilled about, since Beatrix Potter is one of my most favorite authors of all time.  This Easter-time is going to be marvelous …. RABBITS!

Everything In Its Right Place …

Ok, ok, ok … fine.  I will admit it: I have (a very mild version of) OCD.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  No, I’ve never been formally diagnosed, but if you met me, you’d concur … Or maybe I’m just a neat freak who loves being organized.

No, I don’t need all the freaking canned goods labels facing forward, but yes, I require ORDER in my world.  And, yes, I come a little unglued when things are messy, cluttered, or out of order.  And I also loathe germs.  Dirty, germy, cluttered messes make me crazy, make my skin crawl.  I can’t think.  I start to sweat, I start to hyper-venhilate.

I cannot tolerate clutter.  I can’t think with a cluttered desk – never could, not as a child nor an adolescent.  That’s probably why when I got a laptop in my early 30’s I felt like I discovered the secret to the Universe!  I have loved it ever since … Never want to go back to a desktop.

But before I had a laptop, when I would sit down at my desk to do anything, I’d have to spend a good 15-30 minutes cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering it just so that I could process my thoughts clearly.  No one ever understood this process: The Husband never understood, nor did my employers.  They’d see me, dust canister in one hand, anti-bacterial wipes in the other, pencils lined up in a neat row, pens (all sharpies of various grades) in a perfect stack, folders in a color coated gradient organized manner, and they’d raise eyebrows.  Don’t question the creative mind, people.  Just don’t.  Read my stories, you’ll see, my OCD makes no difference.  It might even make things better …

I wondered how that would go down when I had a child.  Would I be able to handle the chaos of childhood exploration?  Especially being a mom to a boy?  Boys are messy, boys are dirt wrapped in smiles and hugs and kisses and I-Love-You’s.

I’m thankful for the Aspergers, in a way, because The Boy does have a dash of OCD, He needs his hands nice and neat, clean and non-sticky.  The Boy won’t tolerate dirt or debris in his world.  He adores order.  I respect that so much.  I admire his early love of organization … and part of me worries that I’m encouraging Asperger behavior because I do not mind (at all) his orderly, neat, clean, tidy, perfect little ways.

For now, I’m not going to think about this too much, not going to worry that I’m somehow corrupting him, though I will tell you, I DO encourage him to get his fingers dirty with glue, his hands messy with play-do and dirt and cookie dough.  Slowly but surely, I’m building his tolerance for these types of sticky, yucky things.  But, yes, I do have a canister of hand wipes at the ready!

Well, tonight I waited until he went to sleep to embark upon PROJECT PLAYROOM.

I have a love affair with my P-Touch … It’s a cheap high, heehee.  And, truth be told, organizing stuff relaxes me.  Well, that and wine.

I have always loved organizing and cleaning.  When I was a little girl, I would (and i’m 100% not joking) I would mess up my perfectly clean room just to reorganize and clean it — all of my books were alphabetically arranged in order: A-Z, perfectly.  I was 8 when I began this organizational obsession of mine.  They did not have P-Touches back then, but they had those Dymo Label makers & I was ob-freaking-sessed with that thing by the time I was 4.  I labeled everything, even my mom’s vacuum!

Everyone thought it was adorable, little did they know, I was a closeted OCD’er.  No one knew what OCD was in the ’70’s & ’80’s.  All of my clothes, when I was young, were sized and colorized:  light to dark / long sleeved to short sleeved … I was 8.  Did I mention that?  I learned to lighten up when I went to college because I knew I needed to chill out, or my roommates were going to shun me and make fun of me. (Or in the case of my bff / college roomie, ask me to organize her closet & room.)

However chill as I got, I still am an OCD girl at heart.  I love & appreciate organization and order.  I will never look upon that as a negative thing.  It helps to organize the mind, calm the mind, categorize thoughts in the mind.  At least it does mine … And sometimes it relieves my brain from thinking about other things too much.  It helps me focus on something tangible: I can’t fix the US Economy, but I CAN reorganize my junk drawer.  So, tonight, I turned my focus on The Boy’s Playroom.

So here’s the before:

I pulled a lot of stuff out of the closet ...

I pulled a lot of stuff out of the closet …

And here’s the after:

After - part of closet ... Yes, I know Mr. Potato Head is eyeless.  They were at the bottom of the barrel & I was too lazy to get them.

After – part of closet … Yes, I know Mr. Potato Head is eyeless. They were at the bottom of the barrel & I was too lazy to get them.

Everything in its right place.  I told The Husband before he retired to bed that I would label everything (at his – sort of joking – request,) so that he could refrain from just “throwing” toys haphazardly into the closet, thereby giving me a mini-stroke when I flung the closet open to see the chaos.  He is learning.  I am being patient.  My P-touch is helping.  My P-touch is a savior.  My P-touch might be my lover … joking.

She’s Crafty

Actually, I’m really not that crafty.  I mean, I try … and I try not to compare myself to my friends who are super crafty moms, but every once in a while I come up with something good.  And every once in a while, the planets align & The Boy is game to participate three minutes longer than it took to set it all up.

Today was one of those days.

The Boy generally doesn’t enjoy coloring, painting, cutting, gluing or doing anything that gets his hands sticky or messy, (it’s a sensory thing,) but we’ve been working on it.  And, bonus: I finally found a use for all the wine corks that I had set aside for some sort of future craft project! Instead of having The Boy get his hands messy or use a paint brush, why not dip the end of the cork into paint?  It will help with his grip as well as keep his hands a little less paint-laden.

cork painting

We made a stocking for Dada,first with paint & then glued on fuzzy pom pons.  The Boy enjoyed it so much that we ended up making ones for Grandma & Grandpa as well!  Sometimes I feel like I’m fairly good at this mothering thing 🙂

 

a blurry iPhoto pic of the finished stockings!

a blurry iPhoto pic of the finished stockings!

 

Simple Fun

Who knew a plastic strainer from the dollar bin at Target & a handful of pipe cleaners could be so much fun for a 3 year old boy … AND help him work on his fine motor skills without him even knowing it!?!

He spent 20 minutes making a rainbow, preparing cereal & herding “snakes” with this fun little activity.  I always love activities that are cheap & inspire imagination.

 

Nature Walk

Today is a gorgeous, classic autumn day, (which is rare for Los Angeles!)  It’s a chilly 61 degrees and we had showers off and on all day yesterday, so the sky is clear & bright blue, with big puffy clouds floating around.  I am so thankful that it finally cooled down – on Monday it was 97 degrees!

The Boy doesn’t have preschool on Fridays, so I try and plan fun things for us to do.  Yesterday, we talked about jumping in puddles, but they were all dried up by this morning, so I put together a little nature walk / scavenger hunt activity for the morning.  We bundled up and headed out to explore the neighborhood.  On our list of things to look for were snakes, (The Boy’s request,) lizards, (also his request,) rocks, leaves, berries, birds, squirrels & spiders, (much to my chagrin, but The Boy is a boy & boys love their creepy crawly things!)

Along the way, we talked about how the leaves had turned from green to gold, brown & red, and we picked up several leaves to take home.  We collected different berries that we found & talked about how you should never eat berries without first showing mommy because some berries can make you sick.  We talked about the kind of birds we saw, (a blackbird, a crow,) and admired the clouds in the sky.

It was a simple activity that didn’t cost a penny, but it was so memorable for both of us because, like me, The Boy loves nature, is curious about the world we live in, and loves learning new things.  He’s been admiring his “booty” that we collected all morning.

And memorable for me because I relish in being able to introduce him to the magic that surrounds us … things like finding the tiniest snail shell, where I can set his imagination free to wonder about the creature that used to live inside of there; Cloud bursting, (the term we’ve come up for when we watch the clouds shape shift;) the symbolic meaning of a daisy; or what lavender smells like when you touch it with your hands.

These are the moments that I dreamt about when I longed to become a mother, and these are the moments I cherish because I know they will be gone all too soon.  Someday The Boy will find a new “best friend” to explore the world with, but for now, it’s me & I am so thankful for that.