Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Crafting Waldorf Daily Color and Grain Gnomes (Plus a Tutorial)













We've been quite busy here this week! It seems like we've been bogged down with chores and the like, with a few good play dates thrown in there! Last week the kids and I traveled a bit, to Charlottesville (to pick peaches) and Dumfries (to visit my best friend). So I am a bit, how do I sat it?- oh yes- EXHAUSTED.

In a about a week and a half, we will all go on vacation to Hatteras North Carolina too. I am very excited, but as many of you know vacation with little ones is also work. Work to pack and ready the house as well as work when we get there. But I consider it good fun work. 

When I get tired and boxy, I find it very therapeutic to work on a craft project. This project has been bouncing around in my head for some time now. I have been meaning to incorporate more Waldorf rhythm in out lives the more we learn about Steiner's daily grains and colors. With the new school year only a month or so away for us, I thought it might be a good idea to get together some more materials that we'll be using- like these gnomes!

I plan on using these little guys on the children's breakfast and snack table. Each morning I will have the pull out and set in the center the gnome of the day. I plan on using the grains in their breakfasts and snacks- or if it's bread baking day then we'll use a recipe that includes the grain of that day. I wrote a tutorial for them as well below so you can make your own! 

I find Steiner's ideas on grains and diet as well as bio-dynamic farming fascinating! I could go into more of that here but Carrie at Parenting Passageway has done a better job at not only explaining Steiner's grains but also how she uses them as well as her thoughts surrounding gluten and diet. 

I would also like to temper this with a bit of advice for those new to Waldorf. Don't feel as if you have to begin to do the grains/colors/rhythm/ect all at once. I have know about grains and colors for awhile now and it's something I have been building up to gradually.  At first I stared incorporating more of the grains into my recipes and diet. I did not grow up in a family of healthy eaters. I must confess that I had no idea what barley and millet were until 3 years ago- among many other things! I was raised on fast food. So have heart! This has been a fun journey for me. I am learning to love cooking and baking more and more thanks to Waldorf. It warms my heart to know that my children will have lots of memories of cooking with me in our kitchen.


Now here is the tutorial!


These little guys were very easy to make. No stitching. My daughter helped me paint them. I painted and wood burned the lettering. I used fabric and hot glue for the hats. We collected the acorn caps ourselves.  

So here are the steps on how to make these little guys!

Materials Needed:
I included links to the supplies I use and where you can get them. I have also found wooden peg dolls and pots at AC Moore and Michaels. A few weeks ago I even saw some thicker wool felt there. However when possible I love to support smaller businesses on ETSY. I also have had a hard time finding a natural non toxic fabric glue- but now I found one!
  • 7 small wooden peg dolls 
  • 7 small wooden pots 
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and white wool felt 
  • Fabric glue 
  • 7 medium sized acorn caps 
    • We got our own but if you happen to not live near an oak tree you can get caps on ETSY here
  • A wooden burning tool
  • Beeswax polish or Shellac (optional)
  • Watercolor paints
    • I highly recommend either stockmar or lyra paints, which are a lot more affordable. All other watercolors I have tried when crafting pale in comparison. 


Directions: 

1. Collect 7 small wood peg dolls and 7 wood pots. 
  • You can get these at your local craft store or on ETSY. Make sure to get the little pegs dolls, not the regular or large size. 


2. Break out your watercolor paints and paint 6 gnomes and 6 pots each one the color of the rainbow (ROYGBV). 

3. 1 gnome should be left blank (for white!). 

4. (optional)  Seal your gnomes and pots with with beeswax polish or  finish them with shellac.
  • I used shellac since I like them to shine a bit. Shellac is non-toxic and natural. 

5. Using the base of one of your pots as template, cut 7 felt circle using all you colors. 



6. Set out all your 7 gnomes, pots, felt circle, and acorn caps. 
  • The gnomes and pots should be dry an finished at this point.



7. Glue your acorn cap to the center of the felt circle. Then dap some glue onto the top of your gnome's head and place the felt circle and cap on top of his head. 
  • It should be like a glue sandwich: Acorn cap-glue-felt circle-glue-gnome's head.
8. Repeat this step with all 7 gnomes. 


9. Once they are all dry, paint and/or wood burn the days of the week onto your gnome's body. I just used the abbreviations. 


10. Then paint or wood burn the coordinating grains on to the gnome's pot. For the white pot, I left it natural and added glitter to it and then sealed it with shellac. 
  • Feel free to paint it white if you have white paint. I only have stockmar at home right now so I didn't have white on hand, ha! 


Sunday-White- Wheat
Monday- Purple- Rice
Tuesday-Red-Barley
Wednesday- Yellow-Millet
Thursday- Orange- Rye
Friday- Green- Oat
Saturday- Blue- Corn

11. Then enjoy them! As you can see they're easy and your child of almost any age can help. Those are the crafts I love the best. 

Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page! 

~~~

If you would like to find more recipe using these grains I highly recommend the The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book.
  Also check out Carrie's article above

Also if you make these little guys, please come back and share your creations with me! I would love to share them on my blog or if you already do grains and daily colors, I'd love to know how you incorporate them into your home and rhythm!

Until next time!
Love and Light,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Family Time :: Back Creek Park








Osprey and her chick!
Since our move back in December from Newport News to Yorktown, we've slowly been discovering our new surroundings. I had lived in Newport News since August 2005, when I first began college at Christopher Newport University- now my alma mater. When we got married and had Deirdre, we stayed in Newport News as well. We've moved 5 times since then but they all we within that city, until now. Granted Yorktown is not far from Newport News. All of the cities in Hampton Roads are pretty close to one another, but it does change our rhythm a bit. I have been struggling to dive in to my new city and love it for what it is versus coveting other places for what it is not.

So since it has warmed up, we've been going out and driving around and getting lost and finding our way home. I call it having an adventure. I usually pack a picnic dinner and trow a quilt in the trunk and off we go.

In upper Yorktown, there are lots of little rural areas that seem to go on forever until you hit water. One of those places is called Dandy, and in Dandy there is a lovely little park called "Back Creek Park". It's small and it doesn't have a playground. But what it does have are boats and docks which are teeming with marsh life.

Before I discovered my love of history and language, I really wanted to be a marine biologist and worked quite hard to that end. I volunteered and interned at the Virginia Aquarium for 4 years as well. While there was another plan for my life, what that has left me with is a good knowledge of sea life as well as a decent knowledge of our local marsh life. Being able to share that with my children is indescribable. It just makes my heart burst in love and thankfulness.

At times I really miss being close to the ocean. A part of my soul is tied up in the sea. But being so close now to this water and the York river has been a nice affirmation that this is where we ought to be right now. And I am at peace with that.

Also, Please try and do a test comment on this post for me. A few friends have said my comments aren't working. I think I fixed the problem. But I need someone else to check!!

Until next time,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Guest Post at The Magic Onions :: Cultivating a Waldorf Home

Discovering Waldorf :: Cultivating a Waldorf Home - www.theMagicOnions.com



Hello Dear Friends! 

Yesterday I had the great honor of sharing an article with Donni's readers on her blog The Magic Onions. It's titled "Cultivating a Waldorf Home" and is essentially about the steps I took after discovering Waldorf  four years ago to make our home reflect the change in our lives and hearts. It was a tough change and mean't parting with a lot of possessions as well as ruffling a few feathers in our families, but obviously it was worth it. 

Please visit her blog here to see. Oh and visit her blog period. It's lovely and enchanting yet real and practical. Her blog was one of the first ones I found after I discovered Waldorf and knew nothing. I read her entire 'Discovering Waldorf' series. So for me it is VERY surreal to now be contributing to it! In a way it is my way of giving back and seeking to help others along their journey- as Donni did for me.


I love how life comes full circle in that way. 

Oh and also if you are starting out our your Waldorf journey, feel free to email me. I'd love to talk with you if you're feeling lost. If you're never crafted before, like me (I had no idea what needle felting was or that it even existed), Donni has lots of lovely how to guides for needle felting as well as a Magic Craft box service that delivers all the crafting materials and how to- right to your doorstep seasonally. I wish her craft box was around when I first began!

Blessings
Nicole

{this moment}

. . . . . . . . . . 
{this moment}
A Friday ritual birthed by Soulemama. A single photo - few 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.
. . . . . . . . . .
Discovering the saltwater creeks near our new home! Look who we found!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Little Waldorf Crafts Through the Year



I am in the thick of this upcoming year's home schooling planning. Last year we used Oak Meadow, but we won't be doing it again. I have learned so much from that process and about myself as a mother and teacher. While I think Oak Meadow is great for some, it was not the right fit for us. 

Primarily because as I was going through it I realized, I had already been doing what they were planning for us. None of it was new or innovative for me. I did not gain anything from it. Maybe that's because I am a trained teacher or that I have worked in pre-schools. However it wasn't worth the price, if I could just as easily do it myself. (As a side note, I do recommend Wee Folk Art's free curriculum guides for older preschoolers if you're new to doing school on your own at home. I also have used Little Acorn in the past- you do have to pay- and have liked it. Just don't try to do ALL of it. She packs a lot in there and you can get overwhelmed.)

My other issues was that it wasn't really Waldorf. Honestly I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to just re-read 'You Are Your Child's First Teacher' and saved my money! Now I can see myself when Deirdre is in the upper grades, and not a true Kindergartner, getting some help in the form of curriculum. But it won't be Oak Meadow. (Again this is not an attack on OM, I think they are a lovely company and school and great for some- just not us).

This year, armed with helpful guides, I will not be using a formal curriculum rather I will be making and using my own Waldorf one. I am very excited about it. It is very simple honestly because truly it will be just Jonas and Deirdre. Both of them would be in a Waldorf kindergarten class together (which has ages 3 1/2 to older 5s in them). Daily life is really all the learning they need at this age. We will be having fun, learning stories, rhymes, songs, and doing crafts. We'll be baking more and doing lessons less. For Deirdre as she shows interest we'll be working on reading and some math (Deirdre learned to read this year) but I won't be pushing either since in a true Waldorf school she would not be formally learning either for another year. 

It is more work in a way to make my own, but better in many many ways. Cost is one, confidence is another, as well as being able to really tailor it to what I think works well for us and trying to incorporate more rhythm into our days. We, myself included, could be more well rounded in our lives. In that way I end up wasting less time by re-tailoring it our needs like I was doing with OM. 

So I wanted to share with you some of what we ended up doing last year from January to May (when we gave up on Oak Meadow). These are mainly just kid crafts that I snapped a photo of in the middle of making them. They're not great photos but I was on the run! They also aren't overly Waldorf. We watercolor paint, model beeswax, finger knit weekly and do one big project once a month. The rest of the days we do little bitty fun crafts. Ones that I mostly find from pinterest. Here are a few:









January: Winter, Animals in the Winter (Epiphany)
February: Winter, Clouds (Candlemas/ St. Valentines)
March: Spring, Mushrooms (St. Patrick/ Lent)
April: Spring, Frogs (Lent/Easter)
May: Spring, Butterflies and Flowers (May Day)


What sorts of crafts do you do through the year? If you home school, what do you use and how do you plan it? I'd love to know!

Until next time-
Blessings,
Nicole


Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment}

. . . . . . . . . . 
{this moment}
A Friday ritual birthed by Soulemama. A single photo - few 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.
*My surfboard celebrated it's twentieth birthday with me by going out for a ride*
PS: Don't forget to enter my $75 Nova Natural giveaway. I am extending the entry deadline until Sunday at midnight! A few working Mamas emailed me and asked about an extension since they don't get to use the computer much during the week. I am happy to do so! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family Time :: The Norfolk Botanical Gardens





My husband works interesting hours and days since he is in the restaurant business. It is how it has always been since we've been married, so I am used to it now. It also is one of the bigger reasons why we home school. A normal shift for him goes from about 2 pm from anywhere to 11 pm or 2 am (depending on the season). His days off usually are Mondays and Tuesdays but this summer we've been blessed enough to also get him most of Wednesdays too. If the kids we're in school or even pre-school, they not get to see him very much since he works night shifts and isn't off evenings. But I digress! 

It's made for an interesting social life for us but we make it work. Our other couple friends have more 9-5 jobs. But the one happy benefit is that we get lots of time together. He also is able to be a part of the kid's home schooling. We try to devote one day each week to going out somewhere with the kids. Then once a month we try to go somewhere extra special, like cherry picking. 


This past week we all packed up and headed to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. My Grandmother's house- and my mother's and father's childhood homes- are super close to the gardens. I went there a few times as a child but was wholly unimpressed. But a few years back we went again with Craig's family and man had it changed! It is seriously is a Waldorf homeschoolers dream land. They have a dirt factory, sand mountain, water play area, edible garden, Tee-pee village, desert village, farm play area, butterfly house, and enchanted forest. I am sure there is more and that those names aren't the correct ones, but you get my drift!! 

Our monthly theme is berry picking and we were able to pick and eat a few blackberries while we were there in their edible garden as well as plant some seeds, among many other things! 

What did you all get to do this week? How do you work in family time together? I'd love to know!

Love and light,
Nicole

PS: Don't forget to enter my $75 Nova Natural giveaway. I am extending the entry deadline until Sunday at midnight! A few working Mamas emailed me and asked about an extension since they don't get to use the computer much during the week. I am happy to do so! 





Eating lunch next to the worms in the compost bin!! 



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crafting our Home

Our window nook

Hello Dear Friends!

First off welcome again to all the new followers here from my current Nova Natural Giveaway  on facebook, pinterest, and google +. I find it immensely amusing just how connected I am now. I tend to be pretty regular on FB and pinterest (which is where I do the bulk of our home school planning). However Google + is growing on me. 

I do however take frequent black out computer breaks for media fasting and meditative purposes. Trust me, it's good for the soul :)

I thought I'd share a little bit more of our new home with you all. We moved to Willows Oaks back in mid-December from our house on Blount Point. We're renters and have been for the past 6 years. I have a hard time making a new place a home, especially since I feel like I just have to pack it up and leave every few years. But more and more as I have been in this new place, I have tried to make it ours. To breathe life into it. I find if I don't do this, then I begin to dislike my surroundings a bit. And that just won't do if your surroundings are where you work, teach, and spend most of your time. 



Rainbow heart mobile I made for our window nook

There has also been a neat series that my church has been doing on work, not just career work, but all work (including that of a homemaker). And more specifically that our work, regardless of what it is, should be an act of worship done in love for your creator (or if you don't believe in a higher power I think doing it out of love for your family and yourself is also very appropriate). 

So over the past few months and weeks I have been thinking more about this work of homemaking. Most of the little touches I add to our home are crafted (another act of worship and a reflection of creation that my Creator has endowed in me IMO). And so as I walked around today and snapped photos of our home, my work, my worship- well it was a very sweet reflective time. 

Rahima Baldwin Dancy talks about how the work of a homemaker and caretaker (female or male) is devalued in today's society. I feel that this sentiment is pretty prevalent as well. Real work = money, and well last time I checked I didn't receive a paycheck last month for staying at home. I also don't think many take into consideration mothers and fathers who do work and then come home to work a second shift taking care of the children, cooking, cleaning after a long day away. Not to mention those who do this alone without helpmates... you're angels in disguise.

I applaud all of you who do this work, at home or away. If you haven't heard in awhile that the work you do for your children and your home is vitally important, well it truly is. The work of keeping a home and raising little ones who will thrive in their environment and unfold there is immensely important and beautiful. 



I hope this post finds you all well! Do you have bits of your home to share? I'd love to see them. Do you feel your work around the home is an act or worship? 


Until next time,
Love and Light-
Nicole

I love this one too much to take it down- it's in our dining room! 

Our last remaining preserves from last year (apple butter, peach, and blueberry!! 

A favorite quote

Another little nook in our living room with a sweet photo and quilt for the kids

My all time favorite photos from my summer in Morocco and Europe! 

A watercolor that Jonas did that I love

Our weekly planner

In our kitchen

Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page!