Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sticks belong in the Hall of Fame

My son is never without a stick in his hand. Or five or six. Some days it’s a cane. Usually it’s a sword or gun. Yesterday he made sticks into arrows by decorating the tips with beech leaves. Sticks make … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

5 Responses to Sticks belong in the Hall of Fame

  1. First of all, that’s an adorable photograph. Absolutely adorable!

    Second, I especially resonate with the wisdom of: “Teach nature’s realities but don’t vilify them.”

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Thanks for your comments, and glad you liked the nature sentence. It’s ironic, so many messages tell kids to get outside, but when they do go out, adults seem bent on stopping all the exploration and terrifying them. Nature/ life are full of dangers that kids can cope with.

  2. Safety within reason. Make sure kids understand the risks and are capable of controlling their “weapon” sufficiently so as to not inadvertently harm themselves or another.

    I liked your comment that “nature is neutral.” Like touching the proverbial hot stove, kids should be allowed to discover nature–its joy and beauty along with its inherent risks and lack of discretion–i.e.- mother nature doesn’t let one person jump off the cliff into the pounding waves against the rocks and die, but let another one jump off into the same conditions and come out unharmed.

    I saw a piece on the news last week extolling the joy that kids find playing with cardboard boxes. Boxes were one of my all time favorite toys when I was a kid, especially large boxes that one could crawl into and turn into a fort, a house, a tunnel, a secret hiding place, or anythign else that one could think of. Give me a box and a cool looking stick and I’d be good for the whole day. 🙂

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Cardboard boxes rock! And love your analogy of the cliff – yes, absolutely neutral. It’s up to us to make judgments.

      “Give me a box and a cool looking stick” – I wish every child could regularly be given an enormous cardboard box.

  3. Pingback: Most Popular Posts – Sticks, No Homework and more | Starlighting Mama

Chicken Soup

I’m thankful for our chickens.  We’ve had a small backyard coop for three years now. Fresh eggs with golden yolks for breakfast, the joy of opening up the nesting box and cradling a warm newly laid egg. But after three … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules, Celebrating Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Chicken Soup

  1. Natalie says:

    This could not have come at a better time. We have 5 hens and two roosters. Both of the rooster attacked my 6 yr old yesterday. She was taking eggs out of their coop. She was terrified. When we found out that we had two males, we said if they ever become aggressive Giant or Angel will become dinner. So their nicknames are Dinner.
    Back to my point, my children are so sad. This is our first time raising chickens. We don’t have any experience in killing/butchering them. My partner’s mother will do it for us the day after Thanksgiving. We will learn from her, as she grew up on a farm in Portugal.

    We started with 12 in May and now have 7. They have experienced loosing their chicks, but not killing them. It is important for us as well for them to know where our food comes from. They already said they don’t want to be here when it happens. The one that was attacked does not want Giant killed. I am afraid of how they will feel after. I don’t want to traumatize her. If you have any thoughts to share, I would really appreciate it. Thanks. Natalie

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Hello Natalie,
      Glad the post was timely for you. Sorry to hear about the rooster attack, and it’s understandable that your daughter has a mix of feelings about it – terror, but probably also guilt that she’s responsible for the rooster getting killed. Sounds as if you will be in good hands with your family expert from Portugal. If the person in charge is calm and matter-of-fact, that can help kids take it in stride. Be open to all your daughter’s emotions, and be ready for the fact that she may think it’s all her fault. You might try watching some nature videos which depict predator and prey – how it’s not the antelope’s fault or the cheetah’s fault, it’s just the mix of life. Good luck – and let us know how it goes!

  2. “If I couldn’t kill a chicken myself, I figured I shouldn’t go on eating them.”

    Heather, I admire your mindset. Whether a person is a carnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, it’s important to know where meat comes from. Many children understand that meat comes from a package in the grocery store, but they haven’t any experience to connect the dots back to the original source, a living animal.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      It is hard to connect the dots for kids and adults as well. I agree with you that we all need to learn about food’s sources, no matter what our eating habits. I find killing a chicken makes me more grateful for the life energy the bird gives me.

Mean Mom Manifestos

I wrote recently about chores, and today guest author Denise Schipani, author of Mean Moms Rule is joining me to share her thoughts on the subject.  She also touches on another important aspect of this blog, which is how to … Continue reading

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2 Responses to Mean Mom Manifestos

  1. What a pleasure to meet you, Denise. I enjoyed reading your guest post, particularly that you factor in a child’s abilities and proclivities, rather than having hard and fast rules.

    Growing up my parents treated my sister and I differently, and our consequences for poor behavior were different as well. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I asked my mom about that. She said, “Why on earth would I treat the two of you the same? You’re different people, you have different likes and dislikes, and you respond differently.”

    • Thanks, Laurie! That was my grandmother’s parenting advice: “Your kids will let you know how they need to be parented.” That said, though I tailor my approach to fit my two very, very different sons, the rules are the same for them both. Mama’s in charge around here!


Time-creating tip: the “Morning Light”

I started writing a novel last year.  Of course, with two young kids and a day job writing nonfiction, I had no time.  If I was going to get up extra early to write, that precious ‘starlighting’ time in the … Continue reading

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4 Responses to Time-creating tip: the “Morning Light”

  1. Brilliant – simply brilliant!

  2. What a good idea. You’re very resourceful, Heather. Luckily for my writing, I don’t have distractions like little children who need my attention. Plus, I can’t put a coherent thought together before 9 am, so I’d never try writing then anyway. 🙂 I can certainly write at 10 PM, however.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Finding the right time of day is crucial. Glad you’ve found that night hours work for you!

Creative Deadlines

I woke up with a dent in my forehead.  It comes from dressing up as the Headless Horseman for Halloween last night.  Turns out it’s tricky to make your head disappear, ride a cardboard horse, and balance a 10-lb. pumpkin … Continue reading

Posted in Starlighting Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Creative Deadlines

  1. Deidra Gorgos says: