Friday, March 29, 2013

{ this moment }

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 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. 
Birthed by Soule Mama.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mannchen the Gymnast

Mannchen finished a second session of gymnastics this week.  He has asked to not take it again, but I still think he enjoyed the class as a whole. 
Stretching as a group.

More stretching.

Forward rolls.

Crawling through the tunnel.


Forward rolls on his own.

Forward across the beam.

Backwards on the beam.

Big beam!

Forward roll on the big beam!

Mannchen's favorite - the bars!

Pulling his toes to the bar.

On the rings.
Parallel bars.

Mannchen with Coach Ivy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

{ this moment }

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 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. 

Birthed by Soule Mama. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Incorporating more Waldorf

It's been a little over a year since the first time I heard about Waldorf education and started to read more about it.  At first I just found it interesting, but the more I read, the more I fall in love with the philosophies of it - the simplicity, the wholesomeness, the creativity, the rich stories/tales, and so much more.

It hasn't been an overnight transformation into a simpler life for us.  It has been something that has built gradually for the last year and half.  The plastic toys are mostly gone.  The way we eat has gradually become much more wholesome and homemade.  More and more homemade (with love) items are appearing in our home and in our closets.  Our decision to skip preschool and the current plan to homeschool our children in the early years started as a small seed and continues to expand and grow.   Our garden is constantly expanding and becoming more "organic".

Sure, we could have made some of these changes more swiftly, but I think slow changes can end up being more lasting.  Nothing has felt overwhelming, because we have taken it one step at a time - conquering one aspect we want to change, then moving on and working on another.  Life is a work in progress and so is our journey towards a simple life as a family.

The kids and I are extremely excited about one of our latest transitions - they now have their own cabinet!  I very carefully wrapped, boxed up, and labeled all our china and crystal (that is very rarely used) and it is now stored in the attic.  If we ever need any of it, all of the boxes are well labeled and I can find exactly what I need at that time.  Then the kids and I went to the thrift store to collect a few extra special pieces for their cabinet.  We found a few baskets for silverware and napkins, a small vase for flowers, and a small pitcher (it's really for creamer) they can use for milk and water refills during meals.  We have a few other things we'd like to find, but eventually we'll find just the right pieces to complete their collection.  We put all their silverware, cups, mugs, several plates/bowls, and a few less breakable kitchen items in the cabinet.  Now at mealtime they can set their own places (and I can give them what they need to set ours also, if they want).  They love asking which things need to go on the table for each meal.  They are excited to put away their own dishes also.  It's nothing fancy and it only cost us about $2.50, but they are beyond thrilled to take ownership in another aspect of mealtime. 

Involving our children in the daily tasks of life is a key component to bringing Waldorf education/philosophies into your home.  Children are encouraged to observe and take part in the work of the home.  I have been blown away by how helpful two young children really are.  I love watching them grow and become even more engaged in the work of the home.  The very first years felt so long as certain points, but now if feels like I blinked and they are over - we're on to the exciting years of helping, learning, and playing.  I feel like I have so much to be thankful for at this point!

Here are a few other pictures of what we have been up to:

The Sun Egg and a wet felted "sun egg".

The goodies we received from the Easter craft exchange.
Goodies again.
How precious is this necklace?! 

Some of our homemade fabric and wool eggs.  I still intend to make more needle felted eggs for our collection.  I also made one wet felted egg and found the process more enjoyable than I expected.  I may make a few more of those also.  They were so easy and are great for tucking treasures or treats into for our egg hunt!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Our family has decided to include St. Patrick's Day in our yearly festivals.  Hubby has Irish heritage (we think)...and quite frankly, we adults are all for including a holiday that involves drinking beer.

Last year I started a tradition with the kids of a scavenger hunt (left by a leprechaun) with a rainbow and surprise treat at the end.  This year, Hubby helped me make the clues for each child and we made it a little longer.  The original plan was to have chocolate gold coins at the end, but I couldn't find any at the store.  We also realized we were going to be short on time before church since the kids haven't made the time change and are sleeping in until about 8:00 most mornings (until today - hello 6:30 wake-ups again, dangit) - our usual pancake breakfast (they were going to be shamrock shaped pancakes) probably would take too long since we move so slow on weekend mornings.  So, instead we went against everything we think our kids should have for breakfast and left a box of Lucky Charms at the end of the rainbow.  Needless to say, that went over very well with them once they realized it was no ordinary cereal - it has BRIGHT MARSHMALLOWS in it!!!  Both kids ate three bowls....and yesterday morning they finished off the box with four bowls each!  I'm glad they enjoyed the special treat, but I was also glad to get them back to a sugar free and no color added breakfast today.

For dinner, we made Guiness Glazed Corned Beef, Colcannon, and Irish Soda bread.  (Sorry to say it, but Ireland isn't on my list of places to visit for the cuisine.  Scenery and "festivities"?  Yes.  Food?  No.)  Hubby and I enjoyed Irish beers and the kids had ginger ale as an extra special treat.  Thanks to Pandora, we listened to traditional Irish folk music.  We looked at a map to see where Ireland is (for the kids) and read the two St. Patrick's Day books we own (A Fine St. Patrick's Day by Susan Wojciechowski and St. Patrick's Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting).

All in all, it was very simple, but I think it was a good start to solidifying this as a yearly festival in our family! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring is Upon Us!

The seeds for our summer garden came in the mail this week!  The overwhelming majority of them will be directly sowed into the garden when the time comes - pumpkins, carrots, beans, peas, melons, and flowers.  But this year I also ordered two packages of paste tomatoes and bell peppers to attempt starting all our plants from seed.
So many seeds!  SO much excitement on my part!
My darling helpers.

We bought a special seed starting mix this year and after scrolling the internet/pinterest, decided to use egg cartons as our containers.

The kids enjoyed spooning the soil into the cartons.

Immense concentration.

I never would have guessed it, but this one was more careful and spilled less than her brother!

Mid-sentence - he was explaining exactly how to do it to his sister.

Once we finished planting the seeds, we came inside to create our "incubator" of sorts.  I read online that one way to keep the seeds slightly warmer is to put Christmas lights in a plastic container and cover them with cat litter.  I've had a bucket of cat litter in the attic for three years and of course we have Christmas lights!  Perfect, no additional cost for us!

The more they tried to cover the lights with the litter, the more they became uncovered.  Eventually, we had to pour it all out and start over.  We were never able to completely cover the lights, but we came close and I refuse to buy more cat litter. 

Ta-da!  Our set-up.  It's so high tech.  The windows in our office/crafting room get excellent morning sun.  We brought in a small folding table from the shed and we're all set.  I'm praying the sun and warming bed will be enough.  We've never had any success with seeds in the past, but we've never put much attention and/or time into it.  I really hope this year we can have success!
This was perfect timing with the kids because this week we just started learning several verses/songs about spring and gardening.  It was fun to not only sing about planting the seeds, patting the dirt, and waiting for the plants to emerge, but to do it!
Completely unrelated, but FYI - Tech is supposed to let us know if Hubby has been accepted after April 5th.  So much for knowing in February, the first of March, early March, or even March at all.  My guess is we'll know by June.

{ this moment }

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 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. 
This week's {this moment} is actually a series of photos that Jackson took first thing yesterday morning when I was attempting to get Summerlin out of her overnight diaper.  It was a particularly "feisty" day for Summerlin and this little series captured her "spunk" so well.  As a mama, I want to remember these moments also, because there's something about my baby girl's two year old attitude that I cherish.  I hope she gives the boys just as much hell in her teenage years as she gives us.






The last one sums it all up.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Easter Swap

I joined an Easter egg crafting swap this year!  A friend did it last year and it looked like so much fun!  Julie at This Cozy Life organizes it each year.  Everyone makes ten wool eggs and one other small gift.  There are 11 people in your group.  Once you've completed your ten crafts, you mail one to each of the other ten in your group.  Easy enough, right?!

As soon as I sent the email asking to join, I wondered what the heck I got myself into.  I am not an experienced crafter.  I think I hold my own when it comes to creating things for my own kids, but some of the other women doing this swap do it for real (they have Etsy shops and websites).  However, you never learn anything if you don't put yourself out there, try, and see what happens.  I'm a little intimidated thinking about the quality of what I made vs. some of the gifts we may get in return, but we will see.

Being relatively new to Waldorf and wool crafting, I thought making needle felted eggs would be easiest for me.  I'm not very familiar with wet felting and I'm not much of a knitter (yet).  They were fun to make, but I completely under estimated how much time it would take me, mostly due to my inexperience - hence why I haven't blogged as much lately.  Regardless, our eggs are finished and finally ready to go in the mail four days late.  One of the women in our group lives in Germany, so her package went out on time (and this is why only nine eggs are pictured).  Hopefully it will arrive by Easter!   

For our other small gift, I made homemade beeswax crayons.  They aren't the best for coloring, but are excellent for making bark and other rubbings.  Hopefully the other families will enjoy them also!

Basket full of wool eggs!
I love spring/Easter colors.

Some day I will learn how to take better pictures or get the camera needed to take better pictures - I think it's more of an operator problem than equipment.  I could not get my camera to focus on this little cutie.  I was so proud of my needle felted duck.  I might have to make two more for Mannchen and Töchterchen.

Another favorite - vines, leaves, and flowers.  This one took HOURS.  Yes, I am that slow.

Closer view of a few others. 

So, again, why did I choose needle felting if it took so long?  Because once, a month or two ago, I made these wool felt coasters.  Clearly if I could do these, I could handle making wool eggs with teeny tiny pretty details on.  Oops.  I learned there's a big difference! 
Truth be told, the eggs took much longer than I ever imagined, but I had a lot of fun making them and learned something new!  I would love to make a few more for my own kids, but time will tell.  I have a large pile of quilting to tend to and another pile of scraps for making fabric eggs.  Guess this mama better get back to the sewing machine!

In other news, look what came in the mail yesterday!!!!  Spring is upon us!  I will write a gardening post soon!