Tinkering around at Tinkergarten

img_8833Our adventure today was a Tinkergarten class, held at Cradle Creek Preserve in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Tinkergarten is an outdoor learning experience held at local parks, where kids 18 months – 8 years learn through play and exploring the outdoors. They have it set up in 43 states so far, so check out the website to find a class near you. They offer a free trial class, so we signed up to give it a try and ventured out on a cloudy drizzly Wednesday morning to go get our nature on.

We arrived nice and early and then discovered there were no bathrooms. As soon as I learn there are no bathrooms somewhere, I always suddenly, urgently have to pee. I wasn’t up for squatting in the woods (at least not this time) so we took a quick detour to the gas station and headed back. Our class leader Sara said she was looking into moving it to a different park with better amenities and parking. There were only maybe 4 spots in the lot, but you can park on the side of the street.

We got started with a little song and then read a story that just happened to be my favorite book from kindergarten, Stone Soup. After the story, the kids got to participate in making their own version of stone soup using dirt, sticks, leaves and whatever else they could scavenge. My favorite part was when they added the “seasonings” from a bag of lavender that smelled heavenly.

The age range for our class was about 2 – 5, so it was hectic but fun. There were wanderers and the occasional tantrum breakdown, but overall all the kids seemed to enjoy it. Keelan wasn’t sure at first, but after a few minutes he got really into making his “soup” with water and dirt and even went back for extra seasonings.

I’m waiting to hear if the class is going to be moved to a park with bathrooms before we sign up. I really did like getting to visit the nature preserve location because there weren’t any other distractions around, but I can’t be peeing in the bushes. I mean, I just met these people and it’s not exactly a kegger in the woods. 😆

Check out their website Tinkergarten.com to see if there is a class near you, and if not, you can also sign up to be a class leader in your area. I’m actually looking into that myself since I’d like to get paid to play outside with the kiddo!

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Unfinished business and the secret stash

I’m wondering if all crafters have a stash of “unfinished business.” I feel this has to be a common thing. And maybe I’m just looking for some camaraderie in my crafty procrastination, or something to make me feel better about the expensive pile of crap I’ve hoarded over the years, but I know I can’t be the only one with the secret craft stash built on intentions of doing amazing things but only collecting an amazing amount of dust.

craft room
A glance at one small section of my craft room.

I’ve got a pile of green ribbon and fabric ready for the Enchantress, some really nice blue, red and gold leather just waiting to become an awesome Wonder Woman warrior, a box of orange latex that was going to become LeeLoo suspenders, and don’t get me started on the patterns that have never even been opened!

I’m currently being forced to confront my craft supply hoarder tendencies while we organize and clean out the attic and garage. The huge cleaning spree has me facing the reality where our lofty crafting ambitions collide with real life and actual time to make things, and the result is a drawer of random things you refuse to throw out because you know as soon as you do, you are going to need it. Because I really need 1,376 googly eyes, right? (I use them to make one small part on Slave Leia costumes, which I haven’t made in over a year)

So please, tell me what you are hoarding and have yet to make. Even better, tell me how long you’ve been saving it. Because I’m pretty sure I’ve had those damn googly eyes for the last 10 years.

Learning to stop and play

playAs a busy mom, I’m always trying to do a million things. Laundry, wash the dog, feed the kid, shower, maybe even attempt to exercise.

My son is also trying to do a million things. Create more laundry, harass the dog, feed his teddy bear, get dirty and also, get me to play with him.

Sometimes I get so focused on “getting things done” that I just want to keep going like how I would in pre-baby days. Do all the things! And do them all now! But in pre-baby days, there wasn’t a small child creating messes while I’m cleaning messes and constantly going “mommy, mommy, mommyyyyy” while I zoom around the house.

And then there’s this nagging memory I have from when I was little, where my mom would pretend to play with me while she doing housework. Like I’d be playing Monopoly and badly want someone to play with so she’d tell me to set the board up for two, and then play for her. So basically, my mom was my imaginary friend. I also remember thinking this arrangement sucked. There are some obvious drawbacks to being an only child.

(*As a side note, so as not to suffer future wrath from my mother, I have to say she really did make time for me. This was a just a memory that sticks from a particularly busy day.)

So on a daily basis, no matter how busy I am, or how much I need to get done, I make time to stop and play throughout the day. Whether it’s crashing cars off a ramp, building train tracks, or just sitting with him in his favorite chair while he watches a show, I make sure to stop and give him my full, undivided attention.

Because every time I realize he’s been begging me to play with him for too long, that Monopoly memory kicks in and I realize the laundry can wait. Who wants to do laundry when you can lie on the floor and color anyway?

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Being a parent made me a big liar

JulMol_memeI feel like I’m an honest person. Or, at least, I was until I had a child. Now we can’t play with the skateboard “because it’s resting,” the playground was closed today for some strange reason and we are Seriously all out of cookies.

This is just the tip of my iceberg of my lies from today.

I’m starting to wonder, what will I do when he begins to question me? Will I break? Will I become an evil mastermind of toddler manipulation? I’m optimistically leaning toward evil mastermind.

I’m only looking out for his best interests. He was getting crazy with the skateboard, it was freezing cold out today and the kid does NOT need any more sweets. It’s a bit of a crutch to get creative with the truth instead of face a full-on meltdown toddler tantrum of massive proportions, but sometimes it’s all you can do to get through the day.

I know I’ll have to face the truth some day. But today, I got away with it… bwahahahahaha (that’s my diabolical evil laugh)

So, fellow Moms (and dads) what little lies have you told your children today? Come on, fess up.

 

Hi, I’m Candy Keane and I’m a…

img_7376A couple weeks ago I was at a ComicCon type convention judging a cosplay contest and at the beginning they handed the microphone to the judges to introduce themselves. As soon as I put the mic to my mouth and said “Hi, I’m Candy Keane and…” I just froze. I looked out at all those people and had not one idea what to say about who I was or what I was doing there, besides “I’m a mom.” I was suddenly having a full-blown identity crisis in front of hundreds of people.

My mind started racing as the MC took over for me and started rattling off my years of involvement in the cosplay community and experience in costuming. My face started to burn. I used to have such a solid answer. I own a small business. I run my own boutique. I’ve achieved success in my field and am a well-known cosplayer and costume designer. I was there as a cosplay guest! I could have easily led with that but my mind just blanked. I wanted to say I blogged but couldn’t seem to get it out.

After that experience, I realized I need to embrace my new identity as mom and blogger and be able to shout it loud and proud. It’s not the mom part I wasn’t confident about. There’s no denying that part! It was being a blogger.

Blogging is the kind of thing where anyone can set up a free page and write a few lines and call themselves a blogger. So how do you distinguish when you are a “real” blogger? Is it when you are getting paid for writing? Because so far I’ve only been paid in free products. I don’t like ads on my page so I’ve turned down offers of advertising. I haven’t been published on any big blogs. I don’t write about anything newsworthy. Half the time I’m writing about pooping. (see previous post)

So what makes me a blogger? I guess the answer is Me. I’m the one who makes that distinction. And people are not going to believe it unless I truly believe in myself.

So let’s try this again: “Hi, I’m Candy Keane and write a blog called GeekMamas.com.”

I think that’s a good start.

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