Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Musings on the Creator in Me

If I believe (and I DO) that we're all created to be creative, it behooves me to find ways to enable my children to recognize their gifts of creativity as well. Trouble is, DS12 doesn't see himself as particularly creative -- unless we're talkin' Lego. Even though he often looks speculatively at random pieces of refuse and exclaims, "Hey, Mom -- this could be used to make art," he views ME as the artist, not himself. That troubles me. So, I'm determined to find opportunities for him (and my whole family) to express themselves creatively.

Yesterday, I think we latched onto something. . . . In recent months, he discovered that there was a cookbook to accompany Brian Jacques' Redwall series.

He was determined to get that book, and finally succeeded this past week. Then he began begging me to let him make supper using recipes from the book. Well, hey -- it doesn't take much for me to hand over the oven mitts and let someone else make dinner! So, yesterday afternoon he set to work making "Turnip, 'Tater, and Beet Root Pie":

(The white corner is the section with goat cheese especially for his sister, who is allergic to cow cheese ;)

And then we made Redwall's "Honey-Baked Apples" stuffed with dried cranberries (we added cinnamon to the recipe):

Did I mention that said son has a strong aversion to vegetables and fruit????????? He devoured BOTH dishes exclaiming how good they were! He and his siblings had double portions of the vegetables! Go figure!

While things were cooking and DS12 was walking the dog, I decided we needed to take things a step farther and really get all Redwallish. I wanted him to know I was onboard with him and his little creative outburst, so I set the table to reflect the atmosphere of the abbey he'd grown to love. I found a brown table cloth (actually -- it was a curtain that DH picked up thinking it would make a good table cloth, clever fellow that he is!) which had a texture that reminded me of wood. It was covered in stains, but DS13 read my mind when, after commenting himself that the fabric looked like wood (!!!!!)  he said, "The stains just look like knots in the wood." Oh, how that made me smile!

Then I "shopped the house" and found an assortment of decorative pieces that I thought were fitting for a festive table set by hares and moles and badgers: a swatch of fabric with vegetables and flowers, wood and metal candlestick holders with earthy coloured candles, a wooden box filled with straw, a geranium slip left over from summer, and a branch of pussy willows picked last spring):

While we didn't have enough for the whole family, I thought these dishes that a friend had given me also suited the theme:

Oh -- a tuna soufflĂ© to accompany the meal, and we had a grand, themed dinner!

I think DS12 really enjoyed making and eating his creations, so perhaps we've found a creative culinary gift! And everyone had fun imagining that we were real Red-Wallians ;)

But I'd like to find more ways to encourage creativity in those, like DS12, who are not necessarily "artistically" bent so that they can truly learn to see the Creator in themselves . . .

I posted last year about our Art Fair, which in my mind was a great success. However, I've since learned that the idea of a second annual event, for some (including DS12), has been met with groans instead of cheers. Apparently we need to tweak things a bit. I'm wondering if we need to broaden the horizons and make it a Creativity Fair instead of an Art Fair -- so children could explore any aspect of creativity that appeals to them -- architecture, cooking, sewing, building, interior design, writing, jewellery making -- anything creative. Do you think that might make a difference?

I'm keen to hear your ideas! How can we encourage creativity in those who really don't recognize that they, too, are created to be creative?


  1. I enjoyed your post, and the dinner your son cooked looked great. Sometimes we have to try many things creatively before we find one that suits us.

    Our homeschool co-op holds a project night once a year where all the kids can bring a project that they have worked on through the year. It includes art, photography, lego creations, research papers, written stories, crochet, any thing that the children have created. We've enjoyed participating each year. You get to see a wide range of creativity on those nights!

  2. Oh how fun, found your post from CED. My son is almost 10 and just started reading the Redwall series, I'll have to keep the cookbook in mind! I think Lego is fantastically creative, it's amazing the things my son comes up with. Also consider a Lego Mindstorm. If your son has an engineering brain like mine does, you will be amazed at what he does. My son just built a working conveyor belt on his own last week with it - he was so proud of himself, and considers himself very creative.

  3. Gayle -- I've never been involved in a homeschool co-op, but I think I would like to! Your comment reminded me that we used to do something similar when our homeschooling group did "Recital Teas" at a seniors' home: each child, in addition to participating in a performance of some sort, brought a project that they could discuss with the seniors -- who, of course, were always very keen admirers :)

  4. Kat -- I'm so glad you stopped by from CED :) Thanks for mentioning the Lego Mindstorm. My DS has mentioned it, but I haven't really looked into it. I'll have to do so:)

  5. That seals the deal! I have to get a Red Wall book! It's so great that your kids are into it. Enough to inspire cooking! I was an art specialist at a Montessori School back in the day and Red Wall was huge with the kids. As far as I got with it is I painted a shelf with the characters and setting and we displayed the Red Wall books on it. It was sold at a charity auction and was the highest bid thing! I was so proud. Now to hear there is cooking involved with this book too! I have to get a copy and read it to Stella!

  6. I was thinking about the art fair and how to get kids motivated to create art. I was thinking about how cool it might be to donate some really beautiful pieces to hang in a children's hospital. There is this sight donorschoose and I was hoping that maybe we could get some frames donated. Maybe having a public way to share the art would be motivating? Or maybe not. . . maybe an art challenge would do the trick. . . for example have a group of homeschoolers over for an architecture fair and give them all the same amount of marshmellows toothpicks. . . whatever. . . and see which group of parents and kids can build the most stable structure, the tallest structure, the widest structure (you could have a bunch of different awards or just one.) Just some thoughts.

  7. Erica - I'm sure you and Stella will thoroughly enjoy Redwall -- and the cookbook, too:) (Which has a narrative to it, too.) I guess she's still waiting to make her appearance, is she? I'll be thinking of you these next few days:) Such exciting (and nerve-wracking!) times!

    I love your idea of the marshmallow/toothpick creations -- AND the idea of donations to a children's hospital. You've got me cooking in my brain . . . such good ideas.

    Can't wait to see pix of Stella! (I'm so tempted to add "Bella" -- I'm sure she'll be beautiful!:)


Sincere responses . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...