Friday, September 20, 2013

Preparing Our Hearts for Michaelmas


 Oh Saint Michael, God's great knight...
Strong and pure and shining bright.
I'll be a knight of Michael, too...
And polish my crown to a golden hue.
I'll polish by sword so fine and bright,
And I will use it for the right.
Drive evil away, I will try
And protect those who are weaker than I.





We're beginning our transition here to our week of Michaelmas. I find it easier to spend a week on a festival rather than trying to pack it all into one day with littler ones. 

The week long anticipation build up to the actual festival day is very special to watch in the children. 
Michaelmas is a favorite festival of mine. Saint Michael holds special place in my heart. Around this time last year I was going through a very dark and rough spot. It felt as if evil were very near and present in my life. I spent much time in prayer thinking of Saint Michael and the victory that God had through him. 

Taking this week to think over all that God has done and how God can use us to fight evil, as he did through Michael, is very empowering not only for me but also the children. Yes the festival is fun. Yes play acting dragons, angels, and knights is a good time. But the message behind all of this means so much more. It seeps into their being through this fun, beauty, and repetition. Knowing God's love, his power, and that evil has already be defeated touches all of our hearts. 

It all leads well into our next big festival Martinmas and giving them a heart for others as Saint Martin had for the beggar. Michaelmas bids us to stand firm in God's victory over evil and Martinmas bids us to extend that victory in spirit to those who cannot do so for themselves. 

So needless to say, we're excited for the 29th and the coming months of other festivals!

How do you all celebrate Michaelmas? Or do you focus rather on the Harvest Moon? I'm interested to hear all your stories!

Linking up with Crafty Moms Share and Natural Suburbia and Nicole at Frontier Dreams this week! 

Until next time,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

In the Woods









"The mountains are calling and I must go." 
- John Muir

Craig and I were very blessed this week to be gifted 3 days away solo in the mountains on the Shenandoah River near Luray, Virginia. 

Obviously we had a great time. We hiked. We fished. We read. We swam. We talked. We slept- a lot! 

When we first got to the cabin I threw open all the windows to breathe in the fresh mountain air- much to his chagrin. It really does smell different I exclaimed! 
And it does. 

My soul feels refreshed. I wanted to go get the kids and bring them back to the cabin and just never leave, but alas that's not in the cards just yet. 

On the trip I finally finished reading "Last Child in the Wood" by Richard Louv. It was an appropriate place to finish the book surrounded by nature. I cried a few times while reading it and- no it wasn't sappy fiction.  

I cried because the realization poured over me that many children don't get to experience nature the way I do and did as a child and as an adult. And well that just breaks my heart. My tears were tears of mourning. I mourn for them something they might never know that they're missing. The peace. The beauty. The glory of our natural world. 

...

Well let's suffice to say that the book is game changer for me. I'll be back in this place later to share more about what I learned form the book. In the meantime, go get a copy and read it yourself! Seriously! 

PS: Tomorrow is the last day of the Ostheimer giveaway!

Blessings, 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Apple Crafting









We are now 3 weeks into our new school year. We're still focusing on apples, squirrels/chipmunks, and Autumn over here. And boy is it fun!!

Each week I try to make 1 big craft and then smaller ones each day. Our smaller ones might including painting, modeling beeswax, baking bread, or  paper crafts. A big one is more involved, costs a bit more, and last longer. 

Our first week we made an apple print burlap banner. We cut open our apples, talked about the star, cut the burlap, made our prints, and then sewing and glued the banner. 

The second week we made wooden play apples. We learning that apples only really come in 3 colors or a combination of them. We learned about Johnny Appleseed. And then we painted our own apples and made them felt leaves with real stems. 

This week we'll be making apples pot to hold treasures- or treats. I will be back later on to show them to you. 

Thankfully it is also starting to look like Fall here. Some leaves are falling and beginning to change. It is less humid and a tad cooler. Our science unit this season is on trees. I personally am sick of not knowing what kind of tree I am looking at for the most part when I am out on a walk. So I thought Autumn is a good time to learn the tree in our neighborhood and we could do it together. We bought a Fandex Family Field Guides: Trees to help us. It is a GREAT tool for kids. I like field guides but it is hard for them to use at this age. The fandex is easy and they love it. Deirdre is always taking it out to play in case she finds fallen leaves to identify which tree they came from! 

Ah be still my little heart!

PS: Linking up with Linda at http://www.naturalsuburbia.com/  and Nicole at Frontier Dreams this week! 

Until next time, 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Creating Our Waldorf & Reggio Inspired Atelier









From time to time, I pick up a book that really really resonates with me. Playful Learning by Mariah Bruel is one of those books. I read it cover to cover in a day. I was so inspired by it that I decided to re-do our dining room so that the kids would have a better learning and creating space apart from their playroom. 

I used to have all of their art supplies out in the playroom but we kept having accidents with them. The dining room is more central and therefore it is easy for them to be more self directed yet closer to me, when they want to create and do while I am about my mommy work- ie chasing Brynna.

The dining room is now I bit more cluttered but I like it. It's more colorful and fun. It was like Christmas day at our house when I unveiled the atelier. Both kids, 3 and 5, sat for house coloring, painting, stamping, cutting, gluing...

Everything has its own place too so when crafting is done, they themselves put it up and clean up. It really is true that if you buy them nice things and show them respect, they will reflect it back to you and treat their toys and art supplies with respect too. 

There are still more little tweaks that I'd like to make to the room. I'd love to replace the plastic shelves with nicer ones. I'd like to add more field guides and binoculars to our nature area. But it will come to us when it is supposed to. Bit by bit. 

Until then, I am happy with our atelier. The kids are ecstatic. And we are learning so much together and having lots of fun too. 

Linking up with Nicole at Frontier Dreams this week as well as Crafty Moms Share and Natural Suburbia! 

Until next time, 
xoxo