Responsibility: Taking Care of a Flower

Spring has officially sprung and here in Houston that means that summer is lurking right around the corner. Knowing this we just had to take advantage of the lovely weather.


While the grown-ups in our home continue to make grand plans for our vegetable garden (Raised! Integrated Irrigation!), the kids decided they needed a plant of their own to look after. We headed to our local garden store to pick out some annuals to plant in pots for the kids to care for.











The kids were responsible for wielding our wagon and for choosing their own flowers from the designated area Daddy selected. We picked up a pot and some soil and we were good to go!

At home each child was given time with Daddy to plant his/her flower. They dug the hole with the trowel, placed the flower in the pot, filled it with dirt, and watered the newly planted flower. Daddy was on hand to help, but the kids did most of the work. DSC_0175

Every day this week the kids will be responsible for watering his/her flower. As time goes by they will need to keep an eye on their flowers as they grow, pull weeds or remove debris from the pots, and keep up with watering a few days per week. My daughter was responsible for a flower last year and it went well, so I am excited to extend that tradition to both children. I am excited that they can do it together and help hold each other accountable.


Responsibility: Getting In Touch with our Food Supply

Montessori encourages a connection with and respect for nature. While you won’t find me pitching a tent in the wilderness anytime soon, we did spend a good amount of our spring break connecting with nature by focusing on where our food comes from.

When my daughter was two she was sitting at the park having one of those Horizon milk boxes as a snack. My friend asked her, “Where does milk come from?” while pointing to the delightful little cow on the front. My daughter thought for a moment and exclaimed, “Target!”. Whomp, whomp. Obviously we don’t live on a farm! We live in a large urban area and it is all too easy to not follow the path of our food supply beyond the supermarket.

This last week was the kids’ spring break and we decided to take advantage of some opportunities to get out and learn some more about our food. We took one morning to head out of the city to a farm not too far away to pick strawberries. The kids did a great job of listening to the criteria of what makes a strawberry ready to pick: All red with no mold or holes. The kids took their buckets and headed out to the field. They are great pickers!

My son, "Don't pick the green ones they are just babies."

My son, “Don’t pick the green ones they are just babies.”

We then used the fruits of our labor, pun intended, to make strawberry shortcake for a party. The kids were responsible for washing the strawberries and taking care to clean all the dirt and sand off without squishing the berry.

Later in the week we headed to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. This yearly event is fun for all ages and has a lot to offer. We spent most of our time in the Agriculture section learning about everything from the stages of chickens from egg to hen/rooster to beekeeping to milking a cow to growing corn. We even got to witness the live birth of a piglet. Those mama pigs are amazing! She was nursing four piglets while in active labor with four more. We really learned a lot. Although my kids are fully city kids, it is nice for them to also know that things like FFA and 4H exist and they enjoyed watching the big kids show their cows to the judges during one of the livestock competitions.

I didn't take too many pictures of us at the livestock show, we were too busy learning!

I didn’t take too many pictures of us at the livestock show, we were too busy learning!

We also are now a part of a farm share. We bought a produce share and added organic eggs and grass-fed organic beef. It has been great for our family. We now have a great connection between our produce and the farm from where it was grown. The kids love to “shop” the share collection site. They take the bags and go to each bin to select our produce. This leads to many great questions, most being: “What’s that?” I am excited to continue to get new and interesting vegetables that they (and I!) haven’t tried before. They may not like beets too much, but at least they have tried them. We shall see tonight if Kholrabi is something more their speed. 🙂 We do garden, but in previous years the kids have not had too much of a role. Our plan is to change that this spring so I will keep you posted on our progress in that area!

I know my kids may not (yet) be experts on where food comes from, but I am happy that we took some time to get out of the grocery store and really make some quality connections. Where do go or what do you do to connect you  and your children to food? picking

Responsibility: Finally a Home for Backpacks

We have been busy around here with a minor kitchen renovation that was predominately paint, but provided us an opportunity to create a functional home for school stuff like backpacks, lunchboxes, and school communication. Although my kids have coat hooks in their rooms the thought of school papers being lost in that abyss and backpacks being used to house stuffed animals made me shudder. The majority of this school year my daughter’s backpack has lived on the door knob in the hall and school papers were unceremoniously dropped on the  kitchen island. There had to be a better way!  I dream of one day owning a home with a cool mud room or gorgeous entryway that I have seen on Pinterest, but we had to work with our home as it is. There is one small chunk of wall in the kitchen that was big enough to serve our needs. My Requirements: Low hooks to hold backpacks, a low shelf for lunchboxes, and a holder for school paperwork and communication folders. Check out the finished product!

Not too fancy, but very functional!

Not too fancy, but very functional!

I am lucky that I have a very handy husband who built the shelf and magazine-style holder, but I did search the internet for inspiration and there are tons of options out there if you aren’t as handy. I also added a wall calendar and a cork-board to hold all of the invitations and whatnot.

This little command center was a quick weekend project, but now my kids have a friendly place to put all their school stuff so that both they and I can access it!