Monday, December 9, 2013

The Second Week of Advent :: Plant Kingdom

The second week of Advent is the light of plants-
Plants that reach up to the sun and breezes that dance. 

This holiday season is just chugging along. The days are long gone in my life when it seemed like Christmas took FOREVER to get here. Now it is a blink and then BAM... it's New Years already! Maybe after my children leave home, it will slow back down- but probably not! I don't mind really. I just am trying to be more intentional about slowing down and being engaged with the kids versus doing lots of 'things' and becoming harried. My children really amplify my joy during this season. My days with them are brighter and being able to see the world with new eyes as they do is oh so precious. 

This week in order to celebrate the plant kingdom, we're decking the halls with our greenery and planting plants!(You can read more about how Waldorf schools and families celebrate the Advent season here and here). We planted paperwhites and amaryllis yesterday, and we also hung up our fresh wreath, mistletoe, and pine roping. It actually smells like Christmas. We've already have a multitude of plants books to read this week since we spent the Autumn studying trees. Mainly I am going to focus on evergreens and tell them the story of how and why we started celebrating with Christmas trees. 

Lastly, yesterday also happened to be Deirdre's 6th birthday. Since last December she has requested a Fox party. So fox party it was. It rained, so we had to have the party indoors but boy was it fun. I will post more on that later. Our dear friends the Luptons gifted Deirdre their game Wildcraft. I have wanted to get this game for a long time but the cost held me back. We're all so excited to play it this week and it will fit in perfectly with our plant kingdom theme, so thank you!!

I hope this find you all well. Thank you for all the well wishes. I am feeling much better physically and emotionally. Your love and support warms my heart!

Love & Light,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The First Week of Advent :: Geode Ornaments

We're really enjoying our first week of Advent here. I think the kids are going to become rock enthusiasts, which would be fine by me! When I was a tad older than Deirdre, I LOVED rocks. My adopted uncle was a geologist and he gave me safety google and a rock hammer for my birthday. I then set about breaking open any and every rock I could find, as well as toting my collection everywhere. Let's just say I am loving this week too!

Today to keep with our Advent theme (the first week is the mineral kingdom) we broke open a geode- and learned about them too. It was fun to ask the kids what they thought might be inside and to have them guess how geodes were made.

After we broke it open we also read about them in our library book. We got three big pieces and a bunch of small ones from our geode. We used two smaller pieces to make geode ornaments for our tree. I tried to keep in simple so we used our Jolly markers to color two wood disks and then glued the geode on. Then I drilled a hole for ribbon on the top of each disk and viola- onto the tree each one went.

In preparation for next week, the plant kingdom, we added some more greenery to the house from our woods. I even finished decorating and Deirdre helped me set out Oma's Noel collection. It really feels like Christmas now.

Love & Light,

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Transitions and Advent

Our advent set-up with the advent spiral Pam and I made!

"The first light of Advent is the light of stone–.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants–
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts–
All await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind–
The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand."

I was so sad to take down the geese I made!

But happy to make our pinecone garland with the leftover fair trade ribbon yarn I got from craft night!

We're full on into December over here. Out with our Pilgrims and turkeys and in with our December theme of Advent. I swear November flew by. Things have been a bit heavy here lately and I have been struggling to find stillness.  I am hoping to be more intentional about that during our Advent season. If you all could be sending thoughts and prayers my way to help me do this, I'd greatly appreciate it! 

I shared with a few few folks, who asked me how I could do "advent" as our theme all December long, that Advent in the Waldorf tradition is celebrated a bit differently. Each week has a theme and focuses on a different earthly kingdom. The neat about that is that it makes Advent accessible to people of all faiths and depending on the faith that you practice, or don't, you can tailor it to what is more or less important to your family.  

This week for stones we're going to be learning about stones, fossils, gems, and crystals. I plan on wet felting some stones and soaps for gifts with the kids and we have a nice advent song and stories that emphasize our faith and stones from the Winter Wystones book here:

Hush-a-bye, hush-a-bye, holy night,

angels have brought the Child of Light:

All mankind shall gently bear Him;

all the beasts shall nestle near Him,

all the flowers shall adore Him,

all the stones shall kneel before Him,

all the world shall worship Him,

cherubim and seraphim.

We also departed a bit from tradition this year. Saint Nicholas came early! This year he was bringing them their new nativity and I thought it would work better with what we had planned to have him come on the first day of Advent, versus the 6th. Forgive me German friends!  The kids were nonetheless excited and didn't notice him coming sooner :) 

The horse was messy this year!

I think that about covers what we're up to for now. We've got lots of crafts planned and fun outings that I am excited to share with you. 

PS: I am linking up with my lovely friend Nicole at Frontier Dreams this week as well as Linda at Natural Suburbia

Love and Light,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

::Right Now:: & A Christmas Quilt

Mr. November himself!
I just love this one

Our November garland
November circle time
Our Indian corn experiment

Right Now I Am..

...Revelling in the quilt I just finished. I am happy to say that I am done with Jonas' Christmas quilt. Deirdre got a quilt at age 4, so Jonas was due for one. However I lost the fabric in the move I originally wanted to use so I decided to embroider his squares. It took a week and a half start to finish. The squares were all hand embroidered by myself and I just freehanded the designs with a pencil from some online images and by Jonas' request (Thus the Christmas bat!). It was my first time using the quilt as you go method and I am pleased. 
...Recuperating once again from a series of colds and busyness. I just can't seem to stay well. Boo. 
...Admiring the autumn leaves. Right now we're at the peak here in Yorktown. I think we've got one more week before most trees are bare. 
...Finishing up our month long turkey and pilgrim theme. We've had a fun time growing Indian corn, making pilgrims hats, and even gourd turkeys. I have to say, I really am loving homeschooling. Deirdre even got to meet some local wild turkeys at our Living Museum during a program they had. 
...Gearing up for December. We're going to take a break of sorts from homeschooling that month. We'll still be reading and our theme is advent but most of our crafting and trips will be geared towards the holidays.  
...Feeling so blessed to have such amazing local freinds. There was a time when both my best friends moved away that I was very angry about once again being alone and then new friendships were made and old ones deepened. I love my ladies (That means you Anya, Abby, Emily, Lila, & Sherry)
...Soaking up this time with my kiddos. I love that both D and J are old enough to list and be thankful for things. I love keeping our thankful tree. I am going to save it's leaves for years to come. It's a good lead into Christmas- as well as it compliments Martinmas. 

November, I love you! 

Our thankful tree- next to it is a collection box for Mission India
(which we've been participating in it for Martinmas)
Thankful leaf
Our November table
Some of our Martinmas lanterns
Our gourd turkey
One of my favorite blocks from the quilt

Until Next Time, 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hollow Thunder :: Author Spotlight with Nicole R. Ordway

Today is a rare treat for me on the blog. I get to connect you all with a good book from an old college friend, Nicole R. Ordway. It's like I get to play matchmaker, and who doesn't love that?

I am alway so happy to celebrate the successes of old friends. I know I have mentioned my alma mater, CNU, a few times here. Nicole and I were lucky enough to take Latin with Dr. Pollio (who by the way is an amazing professor. He even can make you excited about and enjoy Latin!) as well as a few Classics and History courses together. We were 2 of the 3 Nicoles in that class. The other being my friend Nicole Link (who happens to now to encapsulate placentas in Richmond- and did Brynna's for me!) Thanks to good old social media we've been able to keep in touch, so I was thrilled to see she has self published her first novel, Hollow Thunder.

But I digress... I had a chance to chat with Nicole a bit about her book and writing. Here it is!

So Nicole, tell us briefly about yourself and your new book!

Writing has been my passion at least since middle school, and probably longer than
that. I say probably because my memory’s made of Swiss cheese: full of holes!
While studying for my BA in English, I always told myself that ideally I’d get
published but I’d better have another plan in place instead; I actually laughed
at the people who were there getting a degree with the single purpose of being
published novelists. I realize now that they were simply charging ahead on a
trail after their dream and lifelong goal, rather than not trusting enough in
their abilities to put the horns down. Careful Capricorn doesn’t get there
quickly, but we get there in the end. I finished and polished my novel and
submitted it to about fifty agents before I met Dave Lee with Hatton Cross
Steampunk (HCS) Publishing. He hadn’t finished more than the first two pages of
Hollow Thunder before he forwarded my manuscript to his editor-in-chief with
high praise. Boom – the rockets were lit and off we went.
He’s the one who first described Hollow Thunder as a “colonial paranormal.” It’s set in a time period based off 18th century Colonial America, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. To quote off the back cover: “When six rebels – William and Richard Cooper; Lady Claire and Sir Thomas Scott; and Matthew Hatter and Anne Tybbot – set out to assassinate the Royal Governor and take control over the colony, their carefully laid plan disintegrates rapidly into a struggle for survival. But who can you trust when everyone has their secrets to keep and their agendas to fulfill?”
There’re betrayals, blood-shed, strategies, brief flickers of love, brotherly loyalty, questions of identity, a psychic and a werewolf! I’d say there’s something for everyone, which wasn’t the intent necessarily but I love how it turned out.

What was your favorite part about writing your book? The most challenging?

My favorite part was when I’d read back over bits for editing (or to remind myself
what I’d written, since the whole thing took about eight years to compose all
together) and I’d get completely sucked back in. I’d find myself wanting to
know what would happen next – and I wrote it! It was those moments that really
kept encouraging me to not give up on it.
The most challenging part was overcoming procrastination inclinations. I kept saying to myself “I know I need to write some tonight, but I’ll work on it more tomorrow,” but a book never gets finished if you don’t write it! There’s a quote from Jim Butcher (author of the Dresden Files series) that has really helped me out in moments like that: “Put your Butt In the Chair and start writing. Period. No excuses. There is no substitute for BIC time. It's part of the price you pay.” So true.
Where did you draw inspiration for your book from?

The initial inspiration for my book came from Shield’s Tavern in Williamsburg, VA.
There is a wine/storage cellar in that restaurant where you can sit to eat, and
it’s lit only by electronic candles and lanterns and the wood-burning
fireplaces. It’s full of rough-hewn tables and wood-slat chairs with woven
grass and layers of leather for seats. When my folks and I sat down there to
have lunch while visiting Colonial Williamsburg, I had the notion of a group of
Revolutionaries meeting together in secret to plot a rebellion…readers will
recognize the opening scene and first chapter from Hollow Thunder here. The
whole book was born from that experience.
Do you have a favorite character?

Hahaha, that’s not a fair question! Do you have a favorite child? All of my characters
have quirks that I love about them and which endear them to me…even when you
just want to smack them in the face sometimes. No, I don’t have a favorite
character, but I encourage my readers to choose their own.
Is there a special place that inspires you when writing?

I generally am inspired the most when writing at home or parked somewhere in the woods,
anywhere away from people really, but in Hollow Thunder’s particular case the
setting of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, VA, is a big inspiration for
me. There are many little spots in that town which foster a quiet and
inspirational atmosphere for writing about the 18
th century.
Can we expect more books in the future?

Absolutely! I am currently working on several projects all at once: a sequel to Hollow
Thunder; a steampunk novel called Shiprat; a collection of short stories about
shape-shifters from various folklores called All Vox of Life (yep, that’s a
Latin pun); and I’m trying to get my completed children’s book published. It’s
meant to be a picture book, and it’s called Max’s Empty Dish.

Where is your book available for purchase?

As of right now, Hollow Thunder is available through CreateSpace as a paperback novel. In a few days of this writing, it will be available on and I’m also working on creating a Kindle version of it which should be out soon. In about mid-November it will also be available at Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million.

So my dear friends, there you have it! Please check out Nicole's book. You can purchase it directly here and from Amazon here. If you want to keep up to date with Nicole and her writing, you can also find her on Facebook here and her blog is here. Supporting independent authors is a good cause and it's incredibly tough to self publish. Not to mention, Hollow Thunder is great read, I just got my copy a few days ago and I can't put it down! 

Oh and last but not least, Nicole doesn't have any dirt on me and isn't forcing me to do this for her, ha! Hollow Thunder is genuinely a gripping novel and Nicole is a talented playwright and author. Praise is given where it's deserved, and this is well deserved here!

Macte virtute! Factum optime Nicole!

Until Next Time,