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!