the art of roughhousing

" i don't think it is too much to say that play can save your life. it certainly has salvaged mine. life without play is a grinding, mechanical existence organized around doing the things necessary for survival. play is the stick that stirs the drink. it is the basis of all art, games, books, sports, movies, fashion, fun, and wonder - in short, the basis of what we think as civilization. play is the essence of life. it is what makes life lively." - stuart brown in play

roughhousing: wrestling, pillow fights, jumping off beds, sliding down stairs, you know it when you see it. but what is roughhousing all about, and what does it mean for us & our kids? i may be spoiling the surprise but, i got steve a book for father's day called 'the art of roughhousing: good old-fashioned horseplay and why every kid needs it' by: DeBenedet & Cohen. i took a little flip through last night and got drawn in. the authors bolding claim that play - especially active physical play, like roughhousing - makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable and likable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful. roughhousing exercises both the body & the brain, from the amygdalae, which processes emotions, and the cerebellum, which handles complex motor skills, to the prefrontal cortex, which makes high level judgements. roughhousing is not only beneficial for the body and brain but also the loftiest levels of the human spirit: honor, integrity, morality, kindness, and cooperation. roughhousing has a host of benefits for adults too! getting off the couch & roughhousing has been linked to preventing Alzheimer's & promoting overall emotional and physical health by reducing stress & providing a healthy outlet. active physical play is the best way for parents and children to build a strong, close, lasting bond... especially dads as roughhousing may start as a primarily physical activity but stretches into less familiar territory like feelings, closeness & intimacy. being silly without being self-conscience is good for just about anybody and a great cure for the grumpies. it awakens the imagination and implores wild creativity. it pushes us out of our inhibitions & inflexibilities, releases tension, spontaneity, improvisation, and joy. it's just down right fun.

sadly, the motto of safety first has evolved into safety only (which i think is just a misunderstanding of safety). many parents let the fear of skinned knees & bruised feelings overtake the real dangers of stifled creativity & listless apathy. cuts & bruises are just a part of a healthy childhood. you limit hurts as much as possible but when they happen take them on an opportunity to teach or learn. some parents worry roughhousing gives kids ADHD. not so! it is now being used as a treatment for attention deficit. the fear that roughhousing makes kids wild, aggressive, and impulsive - and always escalates to chaos and anarchy is not so. boundaries & limits are imperative! t.v. & video games are partly to blame to. kids spend much more time in front of a screen then they do outside. and when kids aren't staring at a screen, they are being overscheduled, overprotected, and underadventured. after working as a teacher in the school system, the no touch rule brings more problems than benefits in my experience. there are even schools that have as so far as to not have playgrounds. and that is the sad state of roughhousing... or is it a challenge? what could be more exciting than setting the record straight and giving the art of play a shot of adrenaline?

so if you're up for it, check out this incredible resource and find out what vaquero, pilobolus, alaric the barbarian, sasuke & fataleufu matress rafting all have in common... a whole lotta fun!
(*the art of roughhousing by: anthony t. debenedet & lawrence j. cohen)


peanut butter playdoh

when you play with playdoh as much as we do, it can get expensive. i have been able to find playdoh at dollarama and other places for around a dollar but when i saw this recipe i just couldn't resist! i called it cookie-doh just so davith wasn't confused on why he was allowed to eat this playdoh & not the other kind.

peanut butter "cookie-doh"

2 cups peanut butter
6 tbsp honey
nonfat dry milk or milk plus flour
cocoa or carob for chocolate flavour (optional)
edible treats for decoration

combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix, adding enough dry milk or milk plus flour to reach the consistency of bread dough. add cocoa or carob, if desired. shape, decorate & eat!

* davith doesn't just like playing with 'cookie-doh', he loves helping me make it too! add a little food colouring for some variation if you like.

busy box #1: the baker's box

getting dinner ready at the end of the day can be a tall order when combinedwith keeping an eye on three energetic toddlers. at times they are happy to just sit at the kitchen table with a few toys or snack to keep them occupied while i work. at other times, they bring a whole new meaning to "ankle biter". and so i got this terrific idea from one of my favourite books called "the toddler's busy book" by trish kuffner (a fabulous resource for keeping those toddler's occupied & happy - there are also more incredible books in this series that i highly recommend). it's called the baker's box 9just one of the amazing busy boxes trish suggests). i put together a collection of unbreakable kitchen tools in a little box that i keep stashed in a drawer in our
kitchen. i actually bought a little cooking set from ikea and then filled in the rest of the box with random things like empty kinder surprise capsules (as pretend eggs) and other random pieces to inspire their imaginations. davith loves to bring this little box to "help"me cook or bake. i occasionally give him a little container of granola or raisins to stir into his little creations. playdoh also works. davith has recently claimed the top of our garbage & recycling can as his imaginary stove. here are some pictures of the fun they get up to.


rest your head

before having kids, both steve and i really wanted to be intentional about our parenting. now that we have three soon to be four kids, i find the hardest time to be intentional during the day is during our bedtime routine. i had always dreamt of singing sweet songs, declare God's promises, having a cuddle while reading stories & bringing the word of God alive for our kids. it often has the potential to be a chaotic, rush to the end of the day where all of us are exhausted & just want to pack it in for the night. i recently decided to take the bull by the horns and be a little more intentional during this time. and so while looking for songs to sing other than skinimeriky-dinky-doo, i stumbled across this beautiful lullaby.

Sleep & Dreams - Charlie Hall

Close your eyes, it's time to sleepThe day is done and it's the time to breathe and dream

I pray that bands of angels fill your room
And the songs of God would come consume you

Rest your head on hallelujahs
Rest your head on all God is
Rest your head the day is done
And now it's time to sleep

Put your mind on things above
Let your heart be filled with faith and hope and love

i feel like i need to sing this to myself every night, never mind the kids! what a fantastic way to end the day... full of peace, perspective & expectation!
this one is a keeper for sure!

chickpea power

i have never been a fan of chickpeas... until recently. i haven't introduced either of the twins to meat yet and so when looking for extra ways to get protein into their diets i have been on the hunt for new ways to present them bean, lentils & of course, chickpeas. chickpeas are an excellent dose of both fibre & protein.
here is one of our family's favourite finds... i think i'm addicted!

Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas

2 (15 ounce) cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

juice from 1/2 a lemon (~ 1 1/2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan

After you have rinsed and drained your chickpeas, spread them out on a paper towel to dry. Allow to dry about 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parmesan until everything is well mixed. Add the chickpeas and gently stir to coat. You will probably have a few loose skins, just pick them off and discard.

Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet. Make sure they aren’t too crowded; you don’t want any to overlap. Roast in the preheated oven until the chickpeas and dry and crisp, about 50-60 minutes. A few times during the roasting, open the oven and mix the ‘peas up a bit. The key is to roast them long enough so they get crispy, but not so long that they burn. Watch them closely once you hit the 50 minute mark so you can find your magic minute and have a nice, crispy, but not burnt result!

You can also try mixing it up by changing the dressing to something a little more sweet than savoury like Maple Syrup & Spice Chickpeas ( use 1/8 cup pure maple syrup, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger instead and only cook for 20-30 minutes).

thank-you LORD!

after a long period of testing, we got our final results yesterday from both the cardiologist, geneticist, & obstetrician... we have a happy, healthy, beautiful little girl! praise God!
our God is a good God! after testing positive twice for downs syndrome, our little baby girl was totally & miraculously healed! they gave her a 95% chance of not being born healthy or alive. some people may say we narrowly escaped in that last 5%. but throughout the process, after a few encounters with the supernatural, we know she was divinely healed.
thank-you Lord for the life & health of our beautiful baby girl who will serve you all of the days of her long life! hallelujah!

(this is a very short account of one long miraculous story... i'm in the process of writing it all down but if you would like to hear more just let me know)