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!