Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

What a horrible and senseless tragedy. The world needs more leaders like Prime Minister Bhutto, who love their country more than they love the power that comes with leading it. What an amazing, courageous, passionate, and brillant lady. What a loss this is to us all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

and I am starting to get really excited! I ordered everything (literally) online this year because, let's face it - with a 5 year old, a 17 month old and being 28 weeks pregnant, the mall is not my friend. I did have to go into Toys R Us (which I can't stand) to pick something up for a relative and the woman at the check out tried three times to sell me batteries. Her last ditch effort was "You know how disappointed your children will be on Christmas morning if you don't have batteries for one of their new toys." So I gave up on my "No, but thank you." answer - which obviously wasn't working anyway and informed her "My children don't have any toys that take batteries." She looked at me as if I'd said "The government is confiscating your chickens," and was wearing a shiny tin-foil hat.

At any rate - all my wonderful Christmas presents have arrived. I found some really great things for the girls at Blueberry Forest toys:, got some amazing Bunt Spechte animals from a co-op we did through the Rudolph Steiner College Bookstore. I also got some Kinderkram and Holztiger figures from Padilly Oh - and a BEAUTIFUL doll for Love Bug (her first doll) from Berre at Moonchild Handworks Most of the gifts for my family members I got on Etsy. What a wonderfully dangerous place!!! =) =)

I've just started wrapping. I don't put presents under the tree until after the girls go to bed on Christmas Eve and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. We'll tell the Christmas Story before the girls go to bed that night. I really love how all the festivals and celebrations that have led up to Christmas Day have really lingered in the house. You know, I didn't even take the girls to see Santa this year - not that I am opposed to that, (he only fills the stockings at our house) but Bean hasn't even asked. My husband mentioned it the other day, asking if she wanted to go see him and Bean said "Uh . . . not really." Maybe I'm misled, but I truly feel as though we have really shifted the focus of the Season this year - not that my little Bean isn't excited about presents, but they just don't come up in conversation that often. So, if you're wondering if it's worth the trouble to celebrate all the festivals preceding Christmas, I will just say that it has truly been a month of joy at our house and I hope there is joy at your home too!


I found this yummy recipe on this great blog: and thought you all might could use some gingerbread inspiration. I think we may turn some of our cookies into ornaments and hang them. We'll have too see how many Bean feels she can spare. She is already planning to save some of the dough to make cookies to leave for Santa. Just click on the picture and you'll be able to see the recipe full size!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh my goodness, y'all!

FABULOUS homeschool video to share! I wish this family had a blog - what a great read it would be!

A funny observation from a fellow homeschooler

The husband of a long-time friend of mine (long time, as in we doubled for my junior prom) made the funniest observation recently that, not only am I going to use it at my earliest convenience, but I had to share it with you! In response to his mother-in-law's constant concerns about socialization, he said "Name one other place in society where people 'socialize' the way they do in school. You know where that is? Jail." At the risk of offending any non-homeschoolers out there, this comment made me laugh out loud.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Advent Spiral

On Friday, the 14th, we had our Advent Spiral with our homeschool group. This is not a picture from our spiral, but I wanted to add a photo for those who have never seen one before.

It was really beautiful. The children carried their candles, placed inside real apples used for candle holders, into the spiral. They entered the spiral of evergreen branches one at a time and each lit their candle from a pillar candle that set on a tree stump in the middle of the spiral. Then, each child placed their candle on a gold star that they had made, until the spiral glowed magically. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful festival that Waldorf schools celebrate. Our children walked in silence, the only sound coming from a pentatonic glockenspiel that another mother played softly. Truly a beautiful afternoon!

Deep mid-winter drawing near,
Darkness in our garden, here -
One small flame yet bravely burns
To show a path which ever turns.

Earth, please bear us as we go,
Seeking light to send aglow:
Branches green and moss and fern,
Mark our path to trace each turn.

We walk with candle toward the light
While Earth awaits with hope so bright:
In the light which finds new birth
Love may spread o'er all the Earth.

Deep mid-winter drawing near -
May light arise in our garden here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Santa Lucia

I had such an interesting discussion with some wonderful ladies on one of my long-visited (5 years) online boards regarding Santa Lucia Day, that I thought I would share some of my thoughts here.

One asked the details of Santa Lucia Day, as she had never heard of it.

Santa Lucia was the daughter of a nobleman in Rome. During her time, Christians were being persecuted, so many went into hiding. She carried food to the Christians hiding in the catacombs beneath Rome. She wore the wreath of candles on her head to light her way through the dark tunnels and her hands were too full from carrying the food to hold a light. I told Bean that the the point is that Santa Lucia was just a girl (some stories put her at about 14) and she couldn't change the government and she could't get all the Christians out of Rome, but she did something. She did the best she could with what she had and she did it with a loving heart and that's what God calls us to do.

Another disagreed when I said that there are many Biblically based holidays to celebrate. She truly felt that celebrations like Santa Lucia and Martinmas were not Biblically based.I know that if either of us were Catholic, this would be a different discussion. Many of my Catholic friends follow the Liturgical calendar and would be a bit put-off by this notion. However, neither myself nor this lovely woman are Catholic, so what follows in my Baptist girl's answer. =) =)

Both Martinmas and Santa Lucia are celebrations of people doing the work of God, and they can be celebrated with a real and symbolic act by the children. Martinmas, they have a lantern walk, because, as the story we tell, the angel who was really the vagabond in disguise, told Martin that the light of God shone brightly in him. The make and carry lanterns to symbolize how the light of God should shine brightly in them also, and the lantern walk is carrying that light out into the world. I like Santa Lucia because she was a young girl and, as I told Bean this morning. She did what she could to help God's and His people, and she did it with a grateful and loving heart - which is what God calls us all to do. Advent is essentially, a countdown to the birth of Christ. Advent Spiral is the reflection before Christmas. I agree that "man made holidays" are different than the ones you describe, that's why I said they were Biblically based, not dictated by the scripture. However, they reinforce Biblical teaching, they sure focus more on God than the Easter Bunny and Santa, yet by celebrating those days and making them real to her - ie: lantern walk, lighting the Advent candles etc., they become very real to Bean and they certainly help shift the focus of the Season on who and what we are celebrating and less on what she's going to the Sabbath. Technically the only Biblically ordained "celebration" is stated in Old Testament law, which says "Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy." Nowhere in the Bible does it say to celebrate Christmas or Easter -though, technically, New Testament believers celebrate Easter every Sunday. In the New Testament, believers began meeting the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection of Christ (Easter) so, technically, every Sunday is an Easter celebration. However, I don't believe that holidays or celebrations have less meaning because they aren't Biblically directed as such. I don't believe that the celebrating of Christmas (Christmas as in celebrating the birth of Christ, not the media driven frenzy) is any less of a holy occasion that the celebrations found in the Jewish faith. If that were so, then why celebrate Christmas at all? We celebrate because of what the day (or the occasion) MEANS to us, how it effects our lives. We celebrate out of reverence and gratitude and love and faith, and those are very powerful reasons. Just as the Jews celebrate Yom Kippur and Hanukah. We celebrate because the event means something very real and deep and powerful and I think that is all that matters.

I so appreciate these kinds of discussions because inward reflecting on your beliefs and how they manifest themselves in your life is such a beautiful thing. Also, I so appreciate the kinds of friends you can have these discussions with; not offensive, not judgemental, but thought provoking and sincere. =) =)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Santa Lucia Day

Bean delivered cinnamon buns to Daddy and Love Bug in bed! I think she was up by 6am, ready to get dressed and make the cinnamon buns. Anyone else ready for a nap yet?

Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On the eve of Santa Lucia

Bean is so excited she can hardly stand it. I believe she has tried on her wreath of candles 15 times today. =) =)

We had a nice discussion about Santa Lucia today and I reminded Bean what the story was: about how a girl called Lucy, or Lucia, carried food to the Christians hiding in the catacombs beneath Rome. I explained that she wore the wreath of candles on her head to light her way through the dark tunnels and her hands were too full from carrying the food to hold a light. Bean listened intently and then said "If she'd just put a strap on that tray of food, she could hang it around her neck and she'd have her hands free to carry a light." Hmmm . . . uh . . . that's true. Good idea and that was very smart thinking. =) =) What an entertaining little Bean we have.

Anyway, here's a picture of the Santa Lucia dolls we made. I thought Bean did a lovely job considering she did it all completely by herself. My assistance was not needed, thank you very much. ;) ;) She was very proud of herself, as she should be.

Hope you all have a beautiful Santa Lucia morning!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Oh, the weather outside is

WONDERFUL! If you're 5 years old and we don't have to go anywhere! =) =)

At any rate - we interrupt this regularly scheduled blog . . .

for a SNOW DAY!!

Woo hoo!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Second Night

Tonight is the second night of Chanukah. We celebrate Chanukah in that we light the menorah and I say the Chanukah prayer in Hebrew. We do not give gifts, we recognize the holiday as a miraculous event in the Old Testament. Eventually, Bean will understand it to be a very important holiday for those of the Jewish faith, but for now, we celebrate the holiday, the story behind it and all it symbolizes, without digging too much into the Theology of Christianity vs Judaism. We celebrated the holiday in much the same way when I was growing up. I think it's a beautiful celebration, one that I want her to fully understand and appreciate as she gets older, both as a celebration we recognize and as an important celebration in a different, yet beautiful, religious belief.

The Prayer for the lighting of the candles.

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us

l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)

Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't speak Hebrew, so I can't include the prayer written in Hebrew characters.

Saint Nicholas Eve

Thought I would share the Saint Nicholas that sits on our nature table in our front foyer. SO super easy to make! Everything was cut out of felt and glued to . . . a toilet paper tube. Is that sacreligious? =) =)

Well, I thought he turned out pretty cute. We made a Santa Lucia one also - actually, I made one and so did Bean. I'll post those pictures later.

We're having a slow day here today. Irish dance was cancelled for this evening because we had our first snow of the season - only a couple of inches, but Bean loves it.

We've declared a pajama day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Baby's Hug

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out ofwould-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed andunwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. 'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy.I see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What do we do?' Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.' Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old man was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.'

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was probably drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except forErik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum,who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed.

As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to side-step him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck.

The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, 'You take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift.'

I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.' I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment?' when He shared His for all eternity.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.

We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel about others. The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you at all; it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who you are.

Someone posted this on one of my online boards - a sneaky trick to play on a pregnant woman at Christmas time - but it was well worth the emotional meltdown. =)=) I thought it was much too beautiful a message not to share.

I've been tagged!

LOL! I've never been tagged. Here are the rules at Christy's site

Eight things people don't know about me:

1. I'm a complete bibliophile. Books are my friend. =) =)

2. I hate to cook but I like to bake.

3. When I grow up, I want to be organized.

4. My current favourite tv show (read as hopless addiction) is Grey's Anatomy.

5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Christmas Season

6. I have lived in over 100 different houses and had attended 12 different schools by the time I graduated from college.

7. I hate living so far away from my family.

8. I am currently munching on chocolate chips, right out of the bag. Don't judge. ;) ;)

I should add as my number 9 that I don't have 8 blogging friends to tag. LOL! I'm mostly a lurker, but here are a few:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The First Night of Advent

We light one candle, shining bright

Upon this Holy Advent night.

Fill our hearts with loving might,

Lead us to Christmas Day's brilliant light. dhsulahdsjakldhsjakdhsjkdhasjkdhsjkahdsjkahdsjkalhdsjkalhdsjkahdsjkahdsjkaldhsjkaldhsj


Prayer for the First Week of Advent:

All mighty God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming and call us to His side in the kingdom of Heaven, where He lives and reigns with you, the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Prayer of Blessing for an Advent Wreath

Lord, our God. We praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ; Emmanuel, the hope of the people, the wisdom that teaches and guides us, the Savior of every nation. Let your blessing come upon us and this Advent Wreath. As we light the candles of this wreath, may its light be a sign of Christ's promise to bring us salvation. We ask these things through Christ, our Lord. Amen

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Paper Chains

Today we made paper chain decorations. The girls and I coloured white construction paper and I cut them out into strips. Bean helped me staple them together. They turned out beautifully- definitely something I will date and keep to use every Christmas. Bean had a blast and was so super proud to see her work decorating the house. I'll post decoration photos later -- just wanted to share the process.

We're also preparing for Advent, which begins tomorrow night. We'll light the fist candle at sunset, then have a special dinner: ham, stuffing, rolls and Bean's homemade sugar cookies for dessert. I always feel like Advent is the "official" start of the Christmas season and I LOVE it!

Friday, November 30, 2007


I was so concerned, at first, about changing our family and adding another baby. Bean was my only child and I was afraid of upsetting the beautiful and delicate relationship that existed between the two of us. Now, of course, I can't imagine our family without our little Love Bug and I treasure moments like these, when I realize that the gift of a sibling was the most amazing gift I could give my Bean.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

'Twas the night before solstice . . .

'Twas the night before Solstice and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even our pet mouse.

Knitted wool stockings were hung with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were tucked in organic cotton sheets,
the air filter blocking pollution from the streets.

While mama stayed up to make handmade gifts,
I co-slept with the kids and watched auras shift.

When out in the herb garden arose such a clatter
I sprung out of our futon to see what was the matter!

Away to the solar panels I flew like a flash.
They took me hours to install, I hoped they hadn't crashed.

The crystals we'd laid out to absorb the moonlight
Sparkled like fairydust and blocked my sight.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh without any reindeer.

At that moment I knew that the little old man
had received my last letter so bold and so grand:
Could you stop using reindeer? Last year I wrote him,
and enclosed with the note a PETA pin.

As he neared the house in his all-wooden sleigh
I noticed it was powered by wheatgrass and hay.

Ostheimer! Kinderkram! Stockmar! Fair Trade!
Don't bother landing if the toys aren't handmade!

"Hey Ariana," I called to her with chagrin,
"With that body mass do you think he's vegetarian?"

She paused only a moment from her crafting and said,
"One moment dear! I'm shaping this Waldorf doll's head!"

On our roof I strained to hear the ole boy,
but I'd recently insulated it with soy.

So I drew in my hand and was turning around,
when in through the front door came St. Nick with a bound.

The Advent wreath had caught in his hair
As I said, "Why in the world did you enter from THERE?"

"The soot in your chimney contains poisons galore.
You should consider the environment more."

But he was dressed in fur from his head to his foot
So I said, "Look whose talking about my soot!"

A bundle of felt he had flung on his back.
"I hope you like handiwork,"he said with a laugh.

His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples were treats!
His cheeks reminded me of when I dye silk with beets.

He must be of the choleric type I mused.
It's a good thing with lavender the stockings I infused.

With his fur boots he slipped on the bamboo wood floor.
I offered him Arnica and then closed the front door.

After all that I'd paid to the energy company this year,
I didn't want one bit of that cold air in here.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
I asked him, "Have you seen your naturopath lately?"

He was so chubby and plump I worried for his health,
but I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to task,
needle-felting dragons and weaving a mask.

He knitted a pure cotton sweater and two pairs of mittens,
then picked up a knife and carved two wooden kittens.

He finger-knitted an entire nativity scene,
with the most amazing skill I'd ever seen!

When he sprang from his seat on the floor and arose I yelled,
"Arianna -watch - there he goes!"

With the unfinished doll she was struggling to sew,
Ariana went to watch him out the window.

And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight!
"Ariana, my dear, the stiches are too tight!"

- Written by Kristie Burns

Friday, November 23, 2007

Preparing for Saint Nicholas Day

Here are a couple of good Saint Nicholas links for you:

Also, it's customary for Saint Nicholas to leave chocolate initials in each child's shoe - here's where we're getting ours from this year:

Christmas Conversations Heard at Our House

While decorating:

"Don't let Love Bug eat baby Jesus."

"Give her back the angel."

"Look, the wise men fit in the covered wagon. Give me back the wise man! She put the wise man in her mouth!"

"Bean, don't call him Jees, for short. It's baby Jesus."

Ah, Joy to the World!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Glimmer Lantern, Glimmer

Last night we finally had our lantern walk with our homeschooling group. It was scheduled for last Friday, but postponed due to rain. I must say, it was blissfully worth the wait. Seven families, fifteen children - it was a really beautiful evening. We sand lantern songs while we walked, then converged back at a group member's home for a bonfire and s'mores. It was cold! The van's outdoor thermometer read "37 degrees" on our way home, but no one seemed to notice. The children played in the backyard, the adults talked around the bonfire. A desire for get-togethers just like this one was truly the reason I started this homeschool group. I decided it was too cold and LoveBug was too little to attend, so she stayed home with Daddy. It was just me and the Bean. We both had a total BLAST!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

A special thank you to Bean and Love Bug's Granddaddy - and all the veterans who have served this country. Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we live in a wonderful country and we are blessed to have men and women who stand up and defend it.

Thank you to all the veterans at home, abroad and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.


One bitterly cold winter evening, the young Martin rode through the gates of Amiens on his fine, proud horse. He was dressed in the regalia of his military unit: gleaming armor, a bright helmet and a beautiful white cloak, lined with lambs wool. It was nearly freezing outside, but his thick cloak kept him warm. He was hardly aware of the cold. But then, as he approached the gates of the town, he saw a poor man, a beggar, dressed with clothes so ragged that he was practically bare. The man was shaking and blue with cold, but no one reached out to help him. People would pass through the gates, looking straight ahead, so their eyes would not meet with those of the poor, desperate man. Martin, seeing this, was overcome with compassion. He rode straight to poor man and took off his white cloak. And with one stroke of his sword he tore the lovely mantle in two. He wrapped half of the cloak around the freezing man and the other half around his own shoulders.The people nearby watched in amazement. To see a fine military officer do such a lowly thing was a ridiculous site to many, but others were touched by the goodness that Martin showed. That night, Martin was visited by an angel - the angel looked so familiar, and he was wearing the half of the cloak Martin had given to the poor beggar. The angel thanked Martina forhis kindness told Martin that the lightof God shone brightly in him. On Martinmas, The Feast of St Martin, we carry lanterns on a lantern walk to symbolize the light of God that shone brightly in St Martin and the light of God that should shine brightly in us as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I took the pledge

Buy your children safe toys.

Buy toys and clothing and gifts made by a work-at-home-mama, with love and not something made in a factory by the company that was the lowest bidder.

Buy something beautiful not something mass-produced.

Buy something worthy of the amazing, wonderful, priceless gift that is your child.

Buy handmade.

For a list of online handmade shops, visit

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

Ok - I just thought a few of these were too funny not to share!

From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1

- Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

- Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

- Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

- Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

- Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

- We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

- We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

- Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

- If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

- Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

- Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

- If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

- Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

- Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy Halloween from the Bean

We're still here!!! We've been crazy busy, starting a new home school group, organizing a buying co-op . . . finding out that the new baby is a girl. =) =) =) =)

Ah - the power of three!

Currently, we're preparing for a Martinmas lantern walk on Friday. We're making Bean's lantern from a 24oz Ball canning jar. She's gluing on tissue paper to decorate it and, the beauty of using a canning jar is that we can wrap the wire handle around the outer ring of the lid and secure it that way. Bean picked out some snazzy coloured beads to thread onto her wire handle. She's a snazzy girl.

Tuesday is German - which Bean and I both love and we are learning SO much!! Thursday we'll be candle dipping and Friday will be our lantern walk with our new home school group. It has been cold cold cold at night and I'm glad I ordered long johns early this year! Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pumpkin Harvest!

Pumpkin picking time! We have had a wonderful time this summer watching the pumpkins grow. Bean and I prepared the beds in May and planted several things, including pumpkins. Their vines wove through the rabbit guard to spread out into the yard and through the gaps in the wooden fence. One climbed the wooden picnic table and another climbed a tree!

When the first green teeny-watermelon-looking pumpkins made their appearance, there was quite a bit of celebrating on the part of the Bean (and me too.) It was so neat to go out to water the garden and find another one popped up, overnight, it seemed.

Last night, after dinner, we brought in all five of our organic pumpkins! Bean could not stand to leave them on the front porch, so they are residing happily around the plant stand, beneath our peace plant. In a week or so, we'll harvest the seeds, make Jack O'lanterns and begin planning next year's garden.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What a wonderful day for a nature walk!

I think the high was just under 60 degrees, slightly cloudy, a bit breezy -it was perfect! Today was the first get-together for our new Waldorf Families group. We had a total of five families, 12 kids - all of whom got along beautifully! Couldn't ask for anything better.

Bean found tons of treasures during our mile-long walk, including poison ivy, which she touched. Thankfully, another Mama was on hand with an antibacterial wipe containing alcohol and we rubbed both her hads very well. I am happy to report, so far so good!

Note to self -and anyone else -the "furry" brown vines that creep up along side trees are dead poison ivy and they can be quite nasty, even if they aren't still alive. Who can blame Bean for wanting to touch a furry brown vine? They're like the puppies of fall foliage! Except they have rabies, sadly. Well, now we know!

The weather here has turned cooler - as in hats and jackets and layers for the Bean and the Little Love Bug. Yay fall!!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

She had her first German class yesterday and we LOVED it. After her one hour lesson, we came home to do the colouring sheet and she is already recognizing "violett, blau and rot" written out as ' purple, blue and red.' The other colours, she can translate from memory. I am so impressed. Just shows how fast little people can learn when they LOVE it! =) =)

Today she wanted to do more German colouring worksheets, of which we had none. So, we worked up some autumn leaves and I wrote the colours out on those and she was content with that.

Today is watercolour day, though it was postponed until after nap due to a case of crankiness. Bean and Love Bug are both sleeping now and hopefully everyone will wake up happy!

Monday, October 1, 2007

This is the way we bake the bread so early Monday morning. ok, so technically, this was Saturday morning. =) =) We pushed bread baking up a couple of days to prepare for dinner on Michaelmas. Also, "This is the way we go check for new paint samples to lazure your bedroom. . ." just didn't have the same ring to it.

From now on, however, Monday is our baking day. We'll be using recipes from the Tassajara Bread Book and the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book.

When the weather gets a bit cooler, we'll break out The Waldorf School Book of Soups on other days during the week. Yum!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


God had made Heaven and the Earth and all the Angels and all the extra important Angels, called Archangels. One Archangel was called Gabriel. He was the one that God sent to tell Mary that she was to become the mother of Jesus. Another Archangel was called Michael. Michael was "the Angel of the Lord", who was sent to Moses and Jacob and Abraham and to other people throughout the history of the world. Another Archangel was Lucifer, who was so beautiful that the other Angels called him the Son of the Morning.

One day Lucifer said to himself: "Why should God be the most important person in Heaven? Why, shouldn't I be? I am just as Important as God, and I shan't do what He tells me ever again. I shall fight Him and have Heaven for mine!"
So, Lucifer went around Heaven, and he collected a lot of other Angels who also didn't want to be less Important than God, until he had a Great Army. Then they marched up to the Throne of God and said Proudly: "We are just as Important as You. Why should You be the King of Heaven any more than one of us? We are Strong and Proud and Beautiful, and we will fight You for the Kingdom of Heaven." God looked at them; then He said: "Lucifer, I created all things and I created you to be an angel." Lucifer said "I'd rather not be in Heaven at all than have You for my King, and so would all of us!" And behind him all the Rebel Angels shouted with a great shout: "We will follow Lucifer! Long live Lucifer! Let him reign over us in Heaven! WE DO NOT WANT GOD!" "Very well," said God, "if you don't want Me, you needn't have Me. But, if you want to fight for Heaven, you can if you think it will be any good." Then, God called Michael the Archangel, and made him gather together a Mighty Army of Angels who were on God's side.

Then there was a Great Battle in Heaven--Michael and his Angels fighting with Lucifer; and, Lucifer fought, and his Angels fought; but, they did NOT win. And Michael drove Lucifer right out of Heaven, and he fell down, and down, and down to hell; and, all his bad angels were driven down after him, and as the last one disappeared from sight forever and the Gate of Heaven clanged shut, a great shout of rejoicing went up from Michael's Army.
But, what happened to Lucifer and his Rebel Angels? Well, he was so furious and enraged at having lost his Battle with God that he has never gotten over it. You see, he is never allowed inside Heaven anymore forever and ever and ever; and, now that he can't go into Heaven anymore, he is angry about it. So, in Revenge, he does everything horrible to God that he can. His worst feeling is Jealousy; whom do you suppose he is jealous of? Us! Why? Because when Jesus was crucified, He opened the Kingdom of Heaven for us to go in! So Lucifer, whose other name is Satan, or the Devil, is furious because we Ordinary People are allowed into Heaven, and he, an Archangel, is not. So, he and his angels (or demons) try always and always to stop us going into Heaven by giving us bad Ideas, and making us do things that we know are wrong, so as to hurt God. So, whenever you want to do or say something horrid, think of the Great Battle in Heaven and remember that it is Lucifer trying to keep you on his side. If you don't do or say it, you have won and have stayed on God's side.

St. Michael's Special Day is September 29th; it is the Feast of St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, and of All Angels, because of all the Angels who helped him win the Battle with Lucifer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Woo hoo! This is the first sign of fall in our yard! Bean was so excited. We've been keeping quite busy with park days and Irish dancing class. We also have a new Waldorf families group starting up, which I'm very excited about and Bean will start German next week!

We're preparing for our Michaelmas Celebration on Saturday. We'll make Norwegian pancakes for breakfast, to go along with our "Hungry Dragon" story and we'll have a big dinner that will include stuffing with apples and dragon bread. Dragon bread is just a regular yeasted bread (I'm using a recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book) formed into the shape of a dragon.

I've also been doing quite a bit of reading. Currently, I'm working on Melisa Nielsen's "A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling-Kindergarten. " I also seem to find myself pouring through Donna Simmons' "Kindergarten With Your Three to Six Year Old," The Wynstone's Series' Autumn book and Annette Frontz's Seasons of Joy Autumn Curriculum quite regularly.

I love fall!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Waldorf Radio!

Yes, you read that right. Melisa Nielsen, of A Little Garden Flower, has begun live web-radio shows every Saturday. She has some awesome topics planned. I think, for most Waldorf homeschoolers, a huge chunk of their community is virtual and I think this is such a great way to bring that community together. We can become the WWW- The World Wide Waldorf! LOL! Ok, that's my term. Please don't blame Melisa for my corny Waldorf jokes - I told you in my very first post that I am a Steiner geek, so don't look so surprised. ;) ;)

Anyway-check them out!

Also, Melisa has really great resources on her site. I have the Kindy and First Grade books and they're wonderful!

Journey North

Today was our very first Clover Buds meeting and Bean had a blast! They learned all about the Monarch butterfly and she coloured a monarch butterfly and our Clover Buds group will be sending them to students in Mexico. In the spring, those students will send them back to us. How cool is that??!! My little Bean was a Monarch butterfly fanatic by the time we left. When she came home and told her Daddy all about the Monarch migrating to Mexico. She told him they started out as caterpillars but them formed a chrysalis and put on their butterfly clothes and when he came out he was a butterfly. She told him how butterflies have long tongues, like straws and they curl them up when they fly. Then we went on line and registered with Journey North to report the scores of Monarch butterflies who have been dining at our butterfly bush over the last few days. We probably counted 10 of them at one time yesterday and, of course, there was nothing to do but run to the window and check as soon as we got home from Clover Buds. Sure enough - three beautiful orange and black visitors! Have I mentioned recently how much I love homeschooling -and not just because she gets to learn all this neat stuff, but because I get to experience it with her!
I think maybe tomorrow we'll do a main lesson book / nature journal of sorts. Bean can draw a picture of a monarch butterfly and then I'll write down all the wonderful things she remembers about them.
Oh - and for anyone who is interested, here is the link to Journey North:
Happy butterfly tracking!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love

you have to find the courage to live it.

This has been a week of soul searching, so to speak. Though we had a nice week of homeschooling, so much of it felt disengenuine. (Is that one of my made up, "trust-me-I-was-an-English-major" words? If so, forgive me and chalk it up to my path-forging creativity, please. =) =) ) I really had to stop and reevaluate what kind of homeschooler I was and what is important to me - and most importantly, what I wanted for my little Bean.

I found out about Waldorf two years before Bean was born and fell in love with it in a heartbeat. I just knew that this beautiful, gentle, magical educational philosophy was the environment I wanted for my children. Then, of course, you have children and it's time to "start school." Droves of my friends and relatives children are off to KINDERGARTEN. This is when you start to question - well, I was forced to question an educational philosophy that advocates no formal learning before age 7. That's two years away. Two years of relatives and friends discussing what their children are doing in conventional school, making my husband convinced that Bean is falling behind. I begin to either look remiss as a homeschooling parent or lazy. Or totally nuts. Why isn't she reading? doing math? Such and such is learning this. Shouldn't Bean be learning that by now?

The parade of future questions was a bit overwhelming. So I took time to examine what I thought to be important for my child, as far as her education is concerned. The conclusions I came up with were as follows:

1. She LOVES to learn.

2. She is allowed to learn at her own pace, free from the pressures of what "everyone else" is doing.

3. She is a creative, happy, KID, who loves to run and laugh and get dirty and tell stories and play.

I could go on, but that's really enough. This week, I remembered what made me fall in love with Waldorf in the first place. Childhood is a beautiful, magical, amazing time of wonder that flies by in a flash. It should be cherished. Childhood is where we get our inner strength from, our character, our outlook on life, our ability to hope and dream and become, and it is gone in a blink, no matter what we do to try and slow that down. So, what I realized is - what is the rush??!! Higher math at 5 years old, drilling writing, numbers, even geography and science. What are we rushing them towards? Adulthood will come, bringing with it bills and jobs and insurance payments and co-workers who drive you nuts and credit card debt and all that stress that comes with it. Why are we rushing children through childhood? So they can sit in traffic that much sooner. So we can educate the magic and wonder of childhood right out of them? You know what, adulthood is lurking just around the corner and it will be here far too quickly. In my opinion, an amazing childhood is one of the best gifts I can give my children and I just think higher math and reading can wait a bit longer while she plays with dolls and tells stories and gets dirty and climbs trees. That was my week.

A mother and friend from one of my online groups has this quote in her signature and when I saw it this week, it really seemed to encapsulate my week of introspection, so I thought I would fly it as my banner, my mantra and my battle cry.

If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

In the Beginning

What a productive homeschool day! =)=) Bean is so excited, every morning, to see what we will be doing. Today, among other things, we read the Creation Story and made beeswax animals. Bean made a turtle and he turned out super cute! We even conned Daddy into making a fish! Beeswax is great for little people just beginning to write because it strengthens their fingers.

We began a new book, "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World," and I am anxiously awaiting notice that several other apple - themed books I have requested from the library are ready for pick up. Bean is ready to make apple pie and apple cake and apple sauce. She is steadily eating her way through the apples we picked at the orchard, so we better get busy cooking something before they are all gone!

Friday, September 7, 2007

5 days all in a row - like chocolate chips!

Our first week of homeschool comes to a close! I have to say that I have really had a good time with my little Bean. Today we finished up the 5 senses, began to make our 5 senses book -- she drew a copy of my ear in it and I must say I'm impressed! We practiced her alphabet and numbers, read a story, did some chocolate chip math - YUM! for everyone involved. Then she coloured a bit. Just to reinforce the visual connection between writing and reading from left to right, she coloured some shapes I drew out, from left to right, in order. She discusses this with me as she colours, because we don't call her "Princess Constant Chatter" for nothing.

She began by colouring the edges of the shapes and as she filled them in, she noted the different shapes she was creating inside the original shapes and the colours she was using. "This is kind of a yellow green. That one is a yellow green too, but it is more green than yellow. This one looks like pickles in a jar." Then she composed a song, as she coloured, about pickles in a jar high up on a shelf. Finally, for the last shape, she said "I'm going to colour this one my favourite colour, periwinkle --which she found right away. As she coloured in the oval, she said "Huh. I made a trapezoid. A trapezoid in my periwinkle oval."

Funny little Bean. You see why I love homeschool?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Apple Pickin' Bean!

TONS of fun today!! We went apple picking with another homeschooling family. Bean picked a full half bushel BY HERSELF. If you ask her, she'll tell you its because she's in kindergarten now. I think we each ate at least three apples a piece in the orchard - they were that good. We're planning to make applesauce and the apple cake recipe from the book we're reading. Bean would like to can some and store them in the attic so we'll have apples all winter. I guess all our"Little House" reading has made quite an impression.

A little note for those gasping at the picture -- (Hi Mom. Hi Doodle) -- she's not nearly as high up as she looks. =) =)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Yesterday my little Bean formed all of her letters with these very cool wooden pieces from the program "Handwriting Without Tears." Can't speak about the actual program, since all we have done is play with the letters. She's having a blast. She's written the alphabet out each morning and I can already see improvement after only 3 days! September is a review month for us and letters and numbers are things she already knows a bit about. We won't start any new stuff until October.

We also read a beautiful story called "The Apple Cake" today and Bean and I both loved it. Apples is something we're focusing on in September. I'm currently making several felt trees, followed by a woodsman and a fairy, so I can begin telling her "The Story of the Honest Woodsman" ASAP - I love this story also, but I just learned about it two days ago, so my props department is behind. =) =)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

School Year's Resolutions

Kelly over at Pass the Torch: homeschooling bloggers to write out our school year's resolutions, so here goes:

1. To do my very best to make sure that, no matter what, my little Bean will stay as excited about homeschool as she is right now.

2. To remember learning is not a marathon or a sprint, its the most awesome road trip of all time. The ultimate "It's not about the destination, its about the journey."

3. To stick to my Waldorf beliefs and WHY I know Waldorf is the best choice for our family, regardless of what *insert random child's name* is doing in kindergarten, or beyond, for that matter.

4. To keep in mind there was no workbook or curriculum or "drills" to teach my sweet little one year old LoveBug how to walk, and yet, within two short months, she has gone from wobbling to RUNNING.

5. To cherish these girls' childhoods and the gift that they are to us all - even on days I am considering sending them to a military academy. =) =)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Bean's First Day of Kindergarten

Shoes not required.

We began kindergarten with a candle lighting and a verse, then a circle and a story. Next, a bit of letters and a bit of writing and finished off the day by building a log cabin for Mary and Laura (we are three books into the Little House Series) closed with a circle and Bean went downstairs to the playroom with a Trader Joe's bag full of silks. I've heard some wooden blocks noises and some singing, as her kindergarten journey is off and running!!

Ahead for September:

- apple picking, apple crafts, making butter, celebrating Michaelmas (The first of our fall festivals. Its a Waldorf thing - I wouldn't miss them for anything!), forming numbers out of beeswax, Bible stories, a bit more letters and writing and some chocolate chip math. =D =D

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

We had such a wonderful morning at the park, celebrating with one of our fellow homeschoolers as she crossed the rainbow bridge. Crossing the rainbow bridge is a beautiful Waldorf ceremony signifying a child's moving from Kindergarten to the lower grades. Many Waldorf schools call it a Rose Ceremony, where the 8th graders buddy up with a rising first grader and present them a rose. Four years later, when those 8th graders graduate, the first graders (now 4th graders) present them with roses during the commencement ceremony. I love Waldorf and all of its beautiful ceremonies and festivals!!!

So, we met at this beautiful park not far from our houses and decorated one of the wooden bridges with silks of every colour. Molly wore a wreath of fresh flowers in her hair and carried a beautiful cosmo flower from her garden. Before she crossed, I told her what an exciting time it was to be entering first grade, how it becomes her responsibility to pass on what she learns to children who are younger than she is (she has 2 little sisters) and how I hope she always loves to learn. Then as we sang, she crossed the bridge from me and the younger children on one side, to her Mama waiting for her on the other side.

"Red, orange, golden, yellow and green,

The prettiest sight you've ever seen.

Blue and violet, shades to behold,

Heavenly wisdom before us unfold"

Bean thought it was great and can hardly wait until it's her turn.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mission Completed!!!

Woo hoo! Found my last verse- a candle lighting verse for autumn! (Yes, as in the "one to light a candle" thing from the Waldorf funny below. Hey those things are only funny if they're true - and I already said I was a Steiner geek. Now you know I wasn't kidding. =) )

Anyway - a HUGE thank you to Annette Frontz and her Seasons of Joy Autumn Curriculum for this perfect Autumn candle lighting verse.

The sun it shines so warm and bright
It strengthens all I do.
Now let me take this bit of light
So I shine brightly too!

I looked through all my Waldorf stuff and books and sites and could not find one I was happy with! If any of y'all are looking for really great Autumn material, you should definitely check out her site. It's only 15.00 and it includes a planning form, photographs and 73 pages of material!

Thanks, Annette!

September Kindergarten Circle

I've been working on ours for a couple of days and I finally finished it tonight. Kind of. I need one more verse and I am OAM (on a mission) but right now I am TST (too stinking tired) to deal with it anymore.

Our official first day of school is September 3rd. On the 4th we will begin our Little House unit study be reading Going West, one of the My First Little House Books. Bean has already read Little House on the Prairie and On the Banks of Plum Creek, but I thought that Going West would be a nice entry into the unit study. Then we are going to build a log cabin out of cardboard boxes. Specifically, washer and dryer boxes from Lowes. There's a very cool site that we bought the rivets from (to hold the boxes together.) It's

I'll post pictures of the whole event. I made Bean a Little House apron to wear and I need to finish her matching prairie bonnet. Little 1 year old Love Bug will be on hand to attempt to eat the rivets, knock over the card board boxes and provide the entertainment.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

For all the Waldorf Mamas out there - just a little funny

Q. - How many anthroposophists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A.- I don't know. Steiner never gave an indication.

Q. - How many Waldorf homeschool Co-op members does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. - Eight: One to propose the screwing in of the lightbulb, One to suggest we vote on voting on whether or not to screw in the lightbulb, One to post a poll online, One to phone the members not present at the meeting to ensure a consensus, One to post the poll results showing that we will, indeed, screw in the light bulb, One to read the verse, One to light the candle, and One to lead the closing song.

Q. - How many Waldorf students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. - None. That doesn't enter the curriculum until the higher grades.

Q.- How many Waldorf parents does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. - Two: One to consult with the teacher to decide that natural lighting would be more beneficial to the child and one to screw the darn thing in anyway.

Q.- How many Waldorf school graduates does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. - One.

Ok, it made me laugh. I'm a Steiner geek. So sue me.