Showing posts with label waldorf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label waldorf. Show all posts

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,

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

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,

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bud the Blackberry Gnome





With Virginia's berry picking season upon our doorstep, I received some much needed crafting inspiration. I am happy to introduce to you all, Bud, our blackberry gnome. His job, according to my 4 year old daughter Deirdre, is to guard the berries from 'pesky animals' whom 'take more than their share of the blackberries'. He also keeps the 'unfriendly insects' at bay- as well as 'helps the berries ripen up just right'. 


I made him using 50/50 wool felt. I find that using blends is easier to embroider, after using 100% wool felt for awhile. His blackberry hat was made using french knots. His cloak and outfit were made using Wee Folk's pattern and a running blanket stitch. 






The blueberry bush and cherry tree behind him were made by myself last summer. If you're interested in how I did it, I wrote an article for Rhythm of the Home magazine detailing the process. Bud now resides on our Spring/Summer nature table. I plan on also making him some other berry friends to keep him company! If you'd like to read about our blackberry picking trip last year you can find it here


Summer is still officially a month away, however we are having days up into the nineties already. With a tiny baby, I am finding it hard to enjoy the outdoors as much since she can't wear bug spray or sunscreen yet. But I am making do. I set up our back yard porch (which is just a large paved area surrounded by our plum tree and fairy gardens) so that my older kids can play out there alone. 


Now when I say alone, they're really not alone. They just think they are! I am actually right next to them, since our living room sliding glass and screen door opens up right out onto the porch.  I can and hear them as if they were in the next room, yet they're outside. I have a mud kitchen, wading pool, chalk, art supplies, trucks, a table and chairs, our fairy garden, and some riding toys all out there for them. And once Brynna is asleep, I then set her in a cradle near the door inside, so I can hear her, and then join Deirdre and Jonas outdoors. Let's just say this set up has been a hit on both ends. Now they don't have to wait for me to stop nursing to go outside. 


Plus I think that this little bit of perceived independence helps build their confidence and let's them play a bit more freely. Jonas and Deirdre have been working out their sibling squabbles more on their own out there too, which is nice. 






I will post some photos of our porch soon, behind the star is a glimpse. I lost my camera for a few days but I've found it again, yippee! Oh and yes, we've been making Waldorf window stars over here. Deirdre and I are addicted! 


I also am starting up my craft for the 'Bits of Goodness' Wizardry World themed swap I joined. Thank you Kelly over at Happy Whimsical Hearts for introducing me to this group. I am making 5 wooden Hungarian Horn-tail dragons and 5 golden eggs, as inspired by the Harry Potter series. I hope they turn out well. 


Until next time, 
Nicole 


Daily Verse or Quote:

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


– Matthew 18:2-3 (NIV)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Farm Girl Sewing and Garden Updates



This week went by in flash. These three kids keep me on my toes for sure, but I don't mind. I am loving this new busy full life of ours. 

I did however get to steal away a few hours in my sewing room during nap time. I was determined to sew something for Deirdre since as I was sorting out seasonal clothes and I saw that she grew out of two of the dresses I've made for her- which really saddens me. 

But thankfully Mommy can sew more and I had some very cute fabric on hand to sew something for my farm girl. I especially love this fabric because we own a Dominique hen, who is black with white polka dots. The result was the above dress. I used Oliver and S's free pop-over sundress pattern. You can find the link to the pattern here.

I think I can now say that I am past being a beginner sewer. However this dress was easy. It took me two hours from cutting to finish. I highly recommend it as a beginner project. It is even easier than a pillowcase dress. I even sewed in some ribbon to the dress yoke for some added flare. 


Above you can also see our new family rhythm watercolor chart. The kids helped me paint it. So far it is working wonderfully for us. I was inspired by Becca's chart here on her blog, Chocolate Eyes. 

I hope you all had a great week too. Below is an update on our fairy garden. It is coming along nicely. Now all we have to do is keep the deer out! 

Cheers, 
Nicole 

PS: Does anyone know of any good summer craft swaps going on? I'd love to join one. 






Friday, May 11, 2012

The Beginning of Our Fairy and Gnome Garden

The Fairy Side



My Herb Garden



The Gnome Side

This week has been happily filled with lots of outdoors time. I finally felt peppy enough to get to work on my herb and summer gardens. That also meant Deirdre and Jonas got to work on their part of the gardens too- for the gnomes and fairies of course!


The gnome and fairy part of the garden are works in progress right now, but so far we're off to a great start. Deirdre and Jonas helped paint and seal the wood gnome cabin and fairy house. Deirdre chose the flowers and plants too. 

I wanted their gardens to be incorporated into my gardens as well. First, I did it this way so that we could do our gardening alongside one another. Second, I wanted their play gardens to not only be fun but also productive. So Deirdre chose to grow cucumbers, strawberries, and white squash in her gnome and fairy garden (Jonas was only interested in the pretty orange marigolds and gazania)! 

We also set up a garden journal to track our gardens's development and any wee folk activity. I am going to have to help our local gnomes and fairies stage some interesting garden scenes for DD and Jonas to record (as you can tell I am having lots of fun with this project too!) I can't wait to show you how the garden evolves over the next few weeks. The kids have got big plans I tell you! They're drawing their inspiration from my fairy pinterest board. Once we're done, I will enter the contest going on over at the Magic Onions with Donni. Her blog and work is so inspiring. I just love her! 

We also managed to lose a tree in a thunderstorm this week. But fear not, my husband took to the tree like a giddy school boy with a chainsaw. As a result we not have lots of firewood and the kids got some new log chairs for their mini-wood playground! Also my wonderful husband made from shipping palates some garden boxes, a compost heap, and planters for us. Oh how I love him!






So I hope this post finds you well. We are all well, especially Miss Brynna. I cannot believe that she will be a month old in two days. Ah the passage of time- what a blessing and a curse. 



Until next time!
Cheers, Nicole 






Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yarn Along: Easter Egg Swap

Today, a day late I know, I am joining up with Ginny again at Small Things so show off my rainbow knitted Easter eggs, as well as the Dionne at Magic Onions and Linda at Natural Suburbia. It took me a little under a week to get these up. It helps that I have knit eggs before and had the yarn on hand. I am just so happy with them and I hope the other swap Mommies will like them too. Our swap is hosted by Julie at This Cosy Life. To go with the rainbow theme, I also am including matching canvas bags to hold each egg and a pot of paint. The paint is from one of my favorite companies, Clementine Art. They're based in the US and all their art supplies are plant based and eco-friendly.


I was going to do story wood eggs but they were not turning out as well as I  hoped, whereas these cuties are perfect! I used this pattern  from Purl Bee. My kids really don't want me to send these off but I promised them that they would be getting goodies in return. 


Speaking of other swaps, I did a St. Patty's Day swap with my friend Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts. We got our package from her yesterday- talk about quick shipping, go Australia! I wanted to share her lovely work with you all. We feel so blessed, thank you Kelly! 


I also just joined up with Carrie at Crafty Moms Share for her knitted farm swap. I am making 12 oat field blocks and i cannot wait. I am so happy I joined in, this will be so much fun and the pattern and timeline is very doable for me. 


So what are you all working on? 


Until next time, 
Nicole 

Made by Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts

Made By Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts 

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Lenten Journey: The Joys of Keeping a Lenten Garden


We follow Lent to follow Him
A time of sacrifice and prayer
We give up something we desire
That His example we might share.
-Excerpt from a Lenten poem by Elena dal Friuli




My family has been on our Waldorf journey now for three years this coming Spring. Since then, we've added a new member to the family and started homeschooling our eldest. At times it saddens me that I did not have a guiding philosophy in mind for my eldest’s early years, but thankfully now we do (and she doesn't seem to know the difference). This means that our family traditions are not really traditions yet at this point. They’re new and evolving as we incorporate various festivals into our yearly rhythm. One new tradition, going on its second year in our home, is having a Spring Lenten garden.

Last March after I went outside to cut some of my wild daffodils to bring inside, I sat down and read a bit of All Year Round by Lifeways. This book has become an indispensable resource as a Waldorf Homeschooling teacher and I highly recommend it. At any rate, its section on Spring had a bit on Lenten Gardens. I had never heard of this before and I was intrigued! What a special way to teach children about Lent- a topic that most young ones can rarely grasp.

My husband and I are both Christians and both celebrated Lent growing up. Usually, at least for me, we gave up a luxury for the 40 days of Lent. While this practice should have held some significance for me- it did not. It wasn't until this past year while doing the Lenten Garden with my daughter and son, did I really reflect on what the Lent’s true significance was for me personally as a Christian.

The beauty of the Lenten garden is that it can be used in anyone’s home, regardless of what they believe. Just to reflect on the coming of Spring and the many blessings we have daily that seem to slip by without us knowing would be a welcome tradition in many homes. The possibilities are endless. I treasured being able to stop and pause with my children and it’s a practice that I feel I could never do too much.

So below are the practical ways in which we used our garden and how we made it. It can be tinkered with endlessly to suit your family’s beliefs and climate. I wholeheartedly encourage you to take the time to pause and reflect the unfolding of Spring with your families. In the hard dark days that come from time to time while raising young ones, those still moments serve as a beacons of light for me to guide me out from within.

Supplies:
A tray or platter
Moss
Sandy Dirt
Spray bottle
Two large rocks and a handful of medium ones
A small bowl or container lid filled with water (to be a little pond)
Plastic wrap
Dish towel
Purple playsilk or cloth
Fresh flowers in a vase
A sheep figure
Various spring animal figures to decorate your garden scene



All the supplies I used for our garden last year I found around my house. I found an old wicker serving tray that I seemed to never use and I went to work. After laying down a terry cloth towel and plastic wrap to protect the bottom of the tray, I layered on the dirt, moss, rocks, water tray, and stones. Once they were all set in place, I added some Spring figures that we had on hand from our Woodland Fantasies farm set and a wooden mushroom I painted. Then I hung a purple mini playsilk behind the tray and added the freshly cut flowers from my yard.

Each day the children and I gathered near the garden after breakfast and moved the lamb to slowly towards the two stones on the far side representing the tomb. On Shrove Tuesday, the the first day that we did the garden, each of the children chose a toy to give up for Lent and set it near the garden. We recited our Lent verse daily when we moved the lamb and read the story of Easter by Patricia Pingry. On Good Friday we hung cross and black silk in the garden and then on Easter morning I rolled away the two little stones and had an angel there.  This tradition sealed its permanence in our family that morning after my daughter emphatically shouted, “He really is risen”! The look on their faces when they saw the angel was priceless.

All in all, The garden was a great tool in talking about all the themes of Easter, Lent, and Spring. It continues to amaze me that in the process of teaching my children, I have learned- and even re-learned- so much about life and my faith. I hope in the years to come that this ‘new’ tradition for us becomes a fond childhood memory for my children and yours.