Being a Bucket Filler.

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My youngest, Levi, came home from school one day last week talking about how he wasn’t going to be a bucket tipper, he was going to be a bucket filler. I had not a clue what he was talking about at the time… maybe you are reading this and know exactly what he meant. He went on to explain to me that his teacher, Ms. Laura, had told them that everyone has a bucket. When we use kind words and make people happy we fill their buckets. When we make a person sad their bucket tips over and the happy spills out. He was adamant… he was going to be a bucket filler from now on! I thought I had never heard of a sweeter concept, mostly because it really seemed to have made an impact on him.

It turns out, as you may have known, that this all came from a book that Ms. Laura had read to the class called Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids. In the book it talks of bucket filling and bucket dipping (not tipping, but I love the way Levi explained it) just as Levi had described it to me. The simple metaphor of filling someone’s bucket with kindness and love is brilliant and so easily understood by young children. Levi and I have talked a lot about it for the past few days. When he does something to intentionally sadden or anger his brother I will stop and ask him if he is filling Luke’s bucket or tipping it. He immediately knows which and most of the time has been correcting his behavior. When I have gotten frustrated with him and been less than patient or have yelled at him I acknowledge that I have tipped his bucket and let him know how sorry I am.

A few days ago he was sitting at the table coloring. He was getting frustrated with himself.
“Mommy!” I heard him cry. “Will you hug me?”
“Of course I will.” I said, and gave him a big hug. He hugged back with all his might. and looked up at me with the sweetest smile on his face.
“You just filled my bucket!” His words warmed my heart.
“You just filled mine, buddy.” And we hugged again.

I’ve never read the book, but I love what it has taught my son, and our whole family about how our words and actions affect others. As I have written before, I struggle with yelling, and this way of visualizing what it does to my children is really helpful for me in the heat of the moment. Not to say that I don’t struggle anymore, but I’m a work in progress. We all are. We can be bucket fillers starting now!

Feeling Stressed Much?

Okay, I’m gonna lay it out here.  This has been a hard few months for me.  Nothing specific, just the normal holiday business.  Add to that trying to fit all of the Christmas shopping/programs/parties/preparation/fun in while still getting adjusted to our first year of homeschooling and getting any amount of work done.  It has not been easy for me, I admit.  Most of the things that I would normally do during the day I now must do at night, because homeschooling our daughter takes up so much of my time during the day time hours.  Inevitably that means that the things that I would normally do at night either get done very, very late at night or not at all, especially at this time of the year… so I’m feeling a bit stressed.  Overwhelmed you might say.  Things that I enjoy doing for myself (exercising, reading, hanging out with my husband for goodness sake, having lunch with my best friend) rarely happen. 

homeschooling at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

In no way do I regret the choice to bring Abby home and educate her here.  I love that part!  It is rewarding and we see a difference in her.  She is happier, less stressed, and blossoming.  I am so proud of her.  

But being responsible for our daughter’s education is a big sacrifice of time.  I knew it would be, but I guess I couldn’t know how it would play out and how it would affect me until we were in the middle of it.  It seems to me that homeschool naysayers are always worried about the child becoming isolated, but what about the parent who is giving up their time, giving up their freedom to have lunch and an adult conversation with their best friend… without a child sitting in, hanging on every word?  It’s a bit like having a newborn again, in a way.  She is with me all of the time.  I love her to the death, and this is exactly what I want.  I want time with her, I want to invest in her life before she graduates and moves on, grows up.  So having her with me is lovely and wonderful and I truly do love every minute of it!  

I guess for me it’s a matter of figuring out the balance.  How to I maintain my self and stay healthy mentally?  How to I manage time so that I can have time and a conversation with my husband that doesn’t revolve around bedtime routines.  How do I fit in time for exercise, working on my next sewing pattern, spending time with my sister, my mom, my best friend, for this blog?  I honestly don’t know.  I sit in awe of others and wonder how they do it.  

sewing at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

Maybe you have some advice for me?  

In the meantime, I enjoyed this segment that my friend Alli did on the Today Show last week. I’m trying to take their advice and realize that if everything on my holiday to-do list doesn’t get done it’s ok!  Maybe this will resonate with you too.

 

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Turn Your Child’s Artwork Into Something Wearable!

Turn Your Child's Artwork Into Something They Can Wear! | http://www.thesoutherninstitute.com

 Kids love to create, don’t they?  Drawing is the thing around our home right now.  We have artwork for days and I don’t quite know what to do with all of it!  Do you have that problem at your house?

Lately my boys have been going through our printer paper like it’s water!  If only I could get them to put the caps back on their markers.  Luke is the king of the ninjas, pay no attention to the pirate patch… that’s covering a corneal abrasion.  The poor guy has had a tough month.  He draws tiny ninjas every day, cuts them out, and creates little ninja battles with his paper creations.  I love that he’s using his imagination!  However, I keep finding scraps of paper All. Over. The. House.  I confess it drives me crazy!  I needed to find a way to immortalize his awesome creativity, and I thought making wearable art out of it might be a fun idea.  He thought so too!

I had Luke draw one of his famous ninjas on a piece of freezer paper for me, which he was more than happy to do.  I cut it out with my trusty exacto knife to create a freezer paper stencil and proceeded to create the shirt that you see him wearing in the photo.  HE LOVES IT!  

What do you think?  Would your kids like something like this?  Would they be into wearing their own artwork?

If you’re not familiar with how to create and use freezer paper stencils, I have a step by step tutorial here that will walk you through it.  Follow steps 1-5 for the stencil and step 6 to attach it if you’re putting it on a patch like I did.  It’s perfectly acceptable to put it straight on a t-shirt!  It’s so simple and fun… you’re going to love it!

#makeyousomethin

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #makeyousomethin when you post a photo or blog about something that you’ve made!  Let’s share our creativity!