Tender Sapling

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Wishing for a Real Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin fever has been running high in our home this Fall. Nearly two months ago our 9- and 5-year-old boys started the constant questions that reveal their love of Autumn fun and especially Halloween: What should I be for Halloween? Do you think I could dye my hair yellow for my Tintin costume? Do you want to be a pumpkin, a monkey, or a giraffe? What treats are we going to give out for Halloween? When can we buy pumpkins? When can I carve my pumpkin?

Honestly, the constant inquiries from the older two can eventually wear out even the most Halloween-loving mama, (which I don’t qualify for. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love dressing up, carving pumpkins, and autumn treats. It’s just the gory, scary stuff that I could do without. Maybe it’s the stomach cramps I can still feel from the haunted house from h*ll that I vividly remember to this day. Or perhaps midnight waking by a freaked-out toddler who has had yet another nightmare about the scary witch who gave him candy at the neighbor’s house. I know – a Day of the not-so-Dead just doesn’t have the same ring to it. So, I try to put aside my slight discomfort with the macabre side of it and just roll with the fun.)

Back to pumpkin fever. Autumn fun is a blast with a little one in the house. Living life with a two-year-old never ceases to amaze me. His perspective and enthusiasm for life is infectious. So, naturally, he’s running a high pumpkin fever this year.

At a recent family Oktoberfest party, he confiscated every remaining baby pumpkin on the kids craft table and painted them all. He loves throwing them around the backyard. (Better that then the acorn squashes in our pantry, which he also likes to pretend are balls.) And he’s playing a month-long game of I-Spy, special pumpkin edition. He points out every pumpkin he finds – the plastic decorative ones on the shelf at the optometrist’s office, the foam ones at the craft store, the pie pumpkins and carving ones at the grocery store, the beaded ones in the wreath on our front door. Every pumpkin.

All his pumpkin sightings got me thinking. If Eskimos have over 100 words for snow, how many words for “pumpkin” might they have if they had pumpkin fever the way we Americans do, considering all the different types of pumpkins one finds in the typical American home or business? Perhaps dozens?

At the outset of the month, I gave careful thought to our pumpkin plans. The older two kids made sure I didn’t let it slide. They regularly asked where we would buy our pumpkins this year and when they could start carving. See, last year we spent an untold fortune on the enormous orange treasures we found piled up at the local Apple Festival that thousands of people flock to on a nearby scenic mountaintop.

Our kids enjoy a mountaintop “Pumpkin Patch.”

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Parent Like a Gardener

Who doesn’t love Autumn? With leaves morphing through the full spectrum of warm colors, a refreshing crispness in the air, harvest foods to enjoy – what’s not to love?

Grass. Yes, grass. This morning grass had taken the charm out of Fall for me (and that’s saying a lot, given that Fall was formerly my favorite season, tied with Spring and Summer, with Winter not far behind).

As yard-owning Americans (who try to green it with native plantings, a vegetable garden, etc.) and parents of three sons who trample it endlessly, ripping it to shreds with their bikes and constant romping, my husband and I have re-entered the realm of Trying to Grow Grass.

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Presenting Liam Talks: Global Warming

Our 9-year-old son Liam is jazzed about stopping global warming since learning more about it at the Green Festival in DC. You can read more about our Green Fest experience here (Scott’s post) and here (Emily’s post). Hope your kids enjoy hearing a fellow kid’s perspective and catch some of Liam’s excitement to make a difference! (btw, see if you can keep a straight face around the 2:20 mark. 🙂


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Green Fest: Fun for Kids

We were nervous about our weekend plan to spend two days trapped inside an enormous box of a building (DC Convention Center) at Green Fest DC 2012. Not because we suffer from claustrophobia, but because we would have three kids in tow. Boys. All boys. Inside for hours on end. Not outside. Inside. With strangers, polite folk.

Like any wizened, torture-avoiding mama, I planned to take the kids solo to other DC sites, so Scott could attend the work-sponsored event. Scott insisted I take the first spin around the exhibit hall before taking over with the kids. They shadowed me, but I relished the time to take in the vast array of exhibitors without counting kids every minute. Before I had covered even a fifth of the gigantic hall, the boys were in love. They patiently took turns grinding wheat berries at a Waldorf booth before finding the green-wheels exhibitors. Zooming around on three-wheeled trikes and balance bikes, our three boys were in heaven.

    

The hours flew, while we visited hundreds of exhibitors, educated ourselves on green initiatives, listened to speakers share green successes, discovered old and new green products, and explored the kids’ section.

Highlights for kiddos (and mama) included: Continue reading


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Make Everyday a Peace Day

Did you join in or initiate a International Day of Peace celebration with your family, school, or community last week? Did you know that September 21 is the International Day of Peace? If it was missed in the hustle of life, no worries. You can celebrate and encourage peace everyday.

We started marking “Peace Day” in our family a few years ago, when we cut up an old sheet and the kids painted Peace Flags to hang in our yard. One still adorns our play structure. This year, we found ourselves exploring the Jamestown Settlement and reflecting on how the Powhatan Indian, English, and African cultures of early 17th century Virginia lived in times of peace, as well as during conflict.

While it was a stretch to say we marked Peace Day in a significant way this year, we made up for it a few days later at home when we had some friends over for some learning fun focused on one of the prerequisites for peace (inner peace, family peace, world peace – any kind of peace!) – we had a celebration of a child’s pure heart. We like to imagine a child’s heart as a mirror. If free of dust and dirt, it can reflect the light of the sun. When pure and free from unpleasant thoughts and behavior, a child’s heart is a heart at peace. Happy. Contented. Kind. Loving. What a beautiful condition and source of joy to the child and all those around her.

To help us explore the idea of and encourage having a pure heart, we shared songs and stories. Then we painted heart-shaped boxes that each child could take home and fill with anything to help them remember and cultivate their pure heart – whether a small mirror, a flower, a prayer, or poem. But the hit of the day was probably the heart-shaped watermelon slices that the kids nibbled on.

Heart-shaped Watermelon Slices

To make these fun treats, just Continue reading


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The blog is born!

What a fabulous day for Tender Sapling’s blog to be born! Beautiful spring weather on a summer day, Scott enjoying a break from Tender Sapling design work to swing our two youngest sons in the hammock, the oldest son’s nose happily planted in a book, a toad we found in our garden keeping me company on the patio, gumbo bubbling on the stove, plans for an evening hike, and a lovely new blog design template just 5 days off the press thanks to the folks at WordPress. What do you think?

If you are new to the Tender Sapling blog, visit About for a brief introduction, including our hopes for this blog. Simply put, we want to share:

* ideas and musings related to helping the next generation have fun growing noble by cultivating their virtues, world citizenship, and environmental stewardship;

* glimpses of the inspiration behind our products; and

* opportunities to support and learn from you on the path to parenting our precious children.

Thanks for visiting!

Introducing our littlest tender sapling to a visiting toad.