Friday, January 26, 2007

Grab Bag Friday: Making Messes with Chinaberry

First of all, have you seen this catalog?!!!!

A friend of mine gave me a copy of hers a few months back. I don't know that I've ever picked up a catalogue where I have wanted nearly everything inside. Started by a mom in Oregon, each item is handpicked and tested on kids & families: books, family games, neat gadgets like a little kit to make homemade vanilla! How's this for a lovely (if slightly mushy) mission statement:
Chinaberry offers items to support families in raising their children with love, honesty and joy to be reverent, loving caretakers of each other and the earth.
Ok, absolutely mushy, but they really do make sure everything in the catalogue promotes a sense of wonder and beauty and joy. So if you haven't seen it, definitely check it out. Their website is terrific & easy to navigate, but I still signed up for the paper copy. There's just something about turning real pages that I love.

But anyway. I did not start this post to gush about Chinaberry. I started it to give you a link to Janet's lovely piece about the value of making messes. It's very much inline with the Rachel Carson theme of encouraging children's "sense of wonder." We're so busy and so pressed for time and energy, that many times we discourage kids from doing things that will inconvenience us, when really we're all missing out. My mother used to put newspaper down on the ground and take the lid off the popcorn popper and let us all fly around the kitchen trying to catch the popcorn in the air. Now tell me she didn't spend weeks (probably months) finding popcorn in all the little nooks and crannies of the kitchen! But it is one of my most fun, carefree memories of childhood and it taught me that letting loose a little is ok. And my mom apparently thought it was worth the mess...with 6 kids, she probably needed to let loose just as much as we did!

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