Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year and Epiphany!

I must say that I am quite ready for the New Year! Really it is just another day for us in the Kleemann household, but we all have lots to look forward to as well as lots to be thankful for in the last year. 

Not only did I graduate with my BA and MAT, but that mean't no more college- and I could finally stay home full time. Really it was and is still a dream come true. My son had his first birthday and my daughter turned three. We moved into our new home and began once again our mini-homesteading adventure with our animals. This year was also the first year of homeschooling and co-op for us, and so far it has been a blast. Plus all of that is just icing on the cake. Most importantly, Craig and I are still as happy and steadfast as before. My love for him continues to grow each year. He really is my best friend. 

But as for 2012, who knows what it will bring? A new baby brother or sister for sure, but as for the rest, we will just have to wait and see! 

I don't really 'do' new year resolutions. There is not much I'd like to change about myself that I am not already working on with my God's help. I feel we continue to better our lives and lifestyle by eating healthier and living as green as we can. I suppose there are some new things I'd like to try or get better at in the world or crafting and teaching. But otherwise, I feel we're on a good path and hopefully we will continue to move forward on it. 

Today we are celebrating New Years and Epiphany at our house. We'll celebrate again this week at co-op. The kids and I are home alone tonight, as we are most nights, while Craig works. So I decided to have some fun and stay busy, since I really miss him on holiday nights. 

Over the past few days I have been needle felting the three Magi for the kids (my inspiration can be found here at one of my new favorite blogs Passengers on a Little Spaceship). This was my first time ever needle felting and I did it without a pattern, so forgive their primitive quality!!! Dionne's are much better than mine so please check them out!! I also made a felt star and treasure box. But I am pretty proud of them though!

Traditionally Epiphany celebrates, among other things, the arrival of the Magi to Jesus. We know they did not actually make it to the stable, since it took years for them to get there, but they certainly did get to him. Which in my opinion amazes me that they in faith continued on for so long. I really love the quote, "Wise men still seek him." 

In our book, All Year Round, the authors provide some neat ideas on how to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. We will be doing a puppet play with the set I made  tonight using the script in their book. Afterwards we will eat some special Epiphany cake and make floating beeswax candles. All in all, I predict we will have a blast!

So with that, I will leave you to your own festivities this evening! Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Regaining our Rhythm

Who knew that the days following Christmas would be just as busy as the ones before? I never remembered them being that way before,  but that it is how they felt this year. Next year for sure we will be taking it easy and staying very close to home, especially since I will have a new baby as well as my two toddlers! 

From all the family visits with great Grandparents the days before Christmas and afterwards going to see family in my hometown, my little ones were frazzled! The past three days have been spent getting them back into our normal daily rhythm as well as reorganizing my home. (I let quite a lot go plus my animals don't feed themselves!)

While some of our relatives are very understanding of our children and adapt to their schedule (since they know that if they do then kids will be a lot more fun to be around), others do not. Which is fine truly, but it also means that we cannot spend as much time with them due to meal and nap times. And while many of them totally understand, yes my dear cousins, Aunt Meeta, and Rosa- you all rock, others don't. 

I don't mind having to bow out of events early either. I know full well that this is a time in life and soon it will pass. My children will get older and then we will be able to be around more and travel with greater ease. I know what my children need and when they need it. It is my job and spiritual commission, one that I take very seriously. 

Sadly though some relatives take this as a snub or judgement against how they parented in their day. I am questioned as to why my children need to nap and pressured to have them "skip just this once". When I explain how if I do that, I have to take care of two very unhappy toddlers the rest of the day alone while 22 weeks pregnant (since my husband works nights)...  then I am told "there must be something wrong" with my kids...

As you can see I am just a bit frazzled too! But fortunately I have a steadfast peace and assurance that doing what is best for my children is better than doing what is most popular. If face time is truly the motivation for wanting my children to skip their naps and eat their meals three hours late, then by all means- come visit us anytime! I am sure it is easier for them to get out and about than it is for a pregnant woman with a 1 and 4 year old :)

As you can see from above, I have been mulling over my parenting choices that past few days as well. It was this time last year that I began my Waldorf and peaceful parenting journey, and I have to say it has been the happiest year yet for me as a wife and mother. Not only have a I grown tremendously in these roles but I feel I have also grown spiritually- which also lends itself greatly to imbuing happiness. 

So these little conflicts, holiday related or not, don't really phase me or cause me to stumble. They annoy and confuse me, but in the end my husband and I know that we are right where we should be (by God's merciful grace). 

So here is to year two of my Waldorf journey! Thank you Sarah L for giving me that Nova Natural catalog- who knew what transformation it would bring! 

And since we are on the subject of 'new' things- here are some photos of our updated playroom! We reorganized and donated some toys this past week to make room for the new. As staying with the Waldorf tradition, we strive for natural open ended toys in warm open spaces. If you would like to learn more about Waldorf play and toys, these are two great articles written by a sage in her own right Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys (What are Waldorf Toys & Bringing New Consciousness to Choosing Children's Toys).  I must say I find it to be a lovely place. My kids don't want to leave it! 

Daily Verse or Quote: 
Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.  
~Charles R. Swindoll, The Strong Family

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas with a bit of our day (and a Yarn Along!)

Opening her Ostheimer reindeer set

Loving her beeswax in her stocking 

Santa brought a playstand with a silk scape

Santa also had Mommy mend and knit her dolly a sweater!  It was a very simple pattern, and it was done in a day! I will post a tutorial later this week. In the meantime join some fellow knitters over on Ginny's blog, Small Things, for a yarn along! 

Jonas' favorite present... the crayons, haha! He liked his truck too but man did he love the crayons. 

Deirdre's sky scarf knitting supplies. Inspiration from Wee Folk here. Her Christmas wish to me was to learn how to knit. How could I not try? Two rows a day all year long, we can so do that. 

Now for my favorite Christmas song! I hope you and yours had a blessed day, however you celebrate! We sure did- despite my husband having to work all day since Thursday. 

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day in the morning?

Our Savior Christ and His lady,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
Our Savior Christ and His lady,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas day in the morning?

O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the angels in Heav’n shall sing,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
And all the angels in Heav’n shall sing,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the souls on Earth shall sing,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
And all the souls on Earth shall sing,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Then let us all rejoice amain,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
Then let us rejoice amain,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Much Merriment

Gnome Sleeping Bag and my original creation- a bed side spool table
A pair of Wee Folk Art inspired gnomes and another original creation- a padded mushroom spool table

Ready to see Santa

Momma's cookie helper and taster

Momma's cookie theft (look how guilt yet innocent he looks!) 

Opening their annual tree ornament

The tree is done, phew! 

Crafting a snowflake garland

Gingerbread house with Daddy

Greenery from our yard for pillar hangings- we made 6... we have lots of pillars. 

and they were free, all materials from our yard. Beat that Traders Joe's for $7 a pop! 

I am going to take a break until after Christmas. I would encourage you all - and at times even myself-to enjoy this time with your children. Include them in everything. It doesn't have to look perfect or pretty. The memories and experiences are far more valuable than a nice photo. I also am pretty sure that no children were included in what Martha Stewart makes either! What fun is that? Children learn through being included in all aspects of our lives. Let them enrich yours as well. They will remember it always

I might pop in to post a few photos of any last minute elfing, but until then- Merry Christmas!  

Here is a poem I read the kids today. They loved it! 

'Christmas Bells' poem by Henry Wadsworth

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.  
~William Blake

Two winter gnomes, the red has mistletoe on his back and the blue has the nativity star.  Inspired by Wee Folk Art!
A new creation. A stuffed felt mushroom wood table for the gnomes. 

Drooly from teething! 

Fresh cranberry and dried orange garland. 

We are certainly busy over here. Quite a few last minute gifts that need to be completed for the kids. My Christmas cards are finally all addressed and stamped. They'll go out on Monday. 

However amid this self imposed hustle, I found time with Jonas today to string some garland. He sure loved helping and he is quite precise for an almost 2 year old. Poor fellow though, he is getting his 2 year molars in right now. No fun for Christmas. 

We also gave Deirdre an early present today, a new pet Dutch rabbit. She named him 'Hoppy'. He is only six weeks old and adorable. He is inside with us in a cage for a few weeks until he is older. He was just weaned. Hopefully he will fill the hole in her little heart that Snow White- the hen which a predator got- left. 

My broody mother hen, Precious, still seems to be a good mother hen and is setting on the nest. Please pray that this lasts. I would really hate to see the entire clutch go bad. 

Tomorrow is Deirdre's official birthday, even though we celebrate it earlier in the month. She is spending the day with her Omi and Grandfather. They are going to a special kids concert. I should have some time then to finish up her  and Jonas' quilt (plus some other goodies). Then on Monday I am taking her ice skating. Really it is Craig who will be skating with her.  I think this pregnant lady needs to stay away from the ice. 

I hope you all are having a relaxed and productive weekend too! Feel free to share the gifts you're working on! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Predators, broody mamas, and duck eggs... Oh My!

Petunia my lone Embden goose
My chickens (from L to R) Faline Dominique, Simba Brahma Roo, Nala Dominique, and Precious Americauna.

Well I usually do not post more than once a day, but after all the excitement with my animals this week, I needed to write a quick update!

This year Craig and I took another stab at raising pet chickens. We got 4 day-old chicks in the mail this past April. One chick died, and the others thrived. Then steadily over the next two months we expanded to include 5 chickens (one Brahma rooster, two Dominiques, a leghorn, and an Americauna),  a pair of Muscovy ducks, a pair of Embden geese, and three rabbits. 

We lost one goose and most recently my leghorn to predators- despite our best attempts to protect them. We replaced our goose Henry with a Chinese goose. However, Henry II since then has been respectfully culled, as we intended from the get go. (I will write another post on that later but basically we as a family would like to be closer to the process of how we obtain meat in order to be more conscious consumers).

But with planned and unplanned loss, unexpected life springs! Just this past week both my Muscovy duck hen and Americauna hen have gone broody!! While my duck, Strawberry, did not set sadly- my Americauna hen, Precious, has and seems to be a great Momma. 

Duck eggs

Our duck eggs, all 5, are in an incubator and we will candle them in another four days to see if they are developing. As for the 15 eggs Precious laid, she is happily taking care of them on her own. I hope she keeps it up too because we only have on incubator and the duck eggs have to be at a higher temperature. 

Needless to say it has been an exciting and exhausting week. I find it so so funny that Precious went broody first. Not only is she my youngest and smallest hen, but until now she had never laid an egg. Since it got cold, all my hens stopped laying so I just assumed she'd start in the spring- since she is much younger then my Dominiques. Well, I guess she was saving up. 

Now that I think back on her behavior this week and today it does make sense that she was broody. Not only did she have an egg waiting for me in her cage, but once I let her out she immediately went to the brush pile she loves and skipped her food! 

Imagine my surprise when I go out to get her tonight and find this there (when it was empty this morning)!! So here is hoping we get some chick and duckling in the next 20-35 days or so. I am excited and learning so much by all of this. Raising poultry sure is fun. 

Precious' eggs

{this moment}

{this moment} 
A Friday ritual birthed by Soulemama.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Elfing Crayons

Tonight will be a quick blog. Craig and I are giving each other an early Christmas gift tonight. We are going out to dinner, kid free, in Colonial WilliamsburgWe both prefer the gift of time together, with good food, so this is perfect. 

Today however I did a bit of elfing (aka making our own handmade gifts) for the kids. I re-batched some broken crayons for Jonas, into circle crayons. At his age, he still needs large bulky crayons- so these are perfect! I also cringe when any of our beeswax crayons bite the dust, since the cost so much more. This is a nice way to re-use the broken pieces you have lying around (plus they still are just as vibrant re-batched). 

It is a very simple process too. 

-Just take your broken crayon bits and sort them into color groups (greens and yellows, red and oranges, & blues and purples). 

-Then put then in a oven safe silicone muffin pan. I bake mine at 350 for 7 minutes. 
-Once they come out I mix the melted wax together and let then set for 20 minutes outside. 
-Then pop them out and enjoy. If you use a silicone mold, and I highly suggest you do, then they will come out no problem!

Enjoy and have a great night! We will!