Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mid-School Year Clean -up

O.k. So this is the time where I check my lesson plan and see what is next. Do I need to make modifications? Spend more time on something we didn't complete? Review? 
It is a good half-way point and a natural "goal-setting" time for me. I reflect on the past year and put out my intentions for 2010.
I also give my homeschool room/office a good de-cluttering and cleaning!  We did so many handmade gifts it looked like a craft store had exploded in here! LOL  And my desk was covered in "stuff". This is my time to shred, label, (yes, I have one of those cute p-touch label makers..I know.. Type-A me!) file and organize and then when it is all clean- I lay my new calender on my clean surface all ready to go.
Feels good.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Waldorf Connection- new yahoo group

For those of you who are following my Teleseminar Series at http://www.thewaldorfconnection.com/,
I have created a yahoo group community for us all to gather to discuss the workshops, curriculums, whatever relating to Waldorf Education/homeschooling!  I will be posting updates as it get closer to the next classes (start end of January!)  Feel free to join and start posting asap!  I appreciate ALL your feedback and suggestions.

Here is the link   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/awaldorfconnection/

I would love for any of you to re-post, retweet and pass this info along! The more, the merrier.

Thanks and Blessings,


Friday, December 25, 2009

Handwork Gift

Here is a wonderful gift from my twin girls, 7. They heard me saying over the last month how much I needed a pin cushion! I was always going to make one, but never got around to it.  So thoughtful.

The Christmas Rose

A sign from heaven within garden grows
One bloom as if 'twere fastened all of light
Blossoming in the depth of winter's night
The crown of all the flowers- The Christmas Rose.
  - Ann Ellerton

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread Boys & Girls

We baked gingerbread people today. They came out so cute!  I found a recipe from my other grandma which I never used before. They came out delightful!

The girls had fun decorating and I did too...Happy Holidays!

yummy in tummies...
GingerBread Boy Cookie Recipe
1/2 cup shortening (i use butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Grandmas unsulphured molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt    1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves     1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream the butter, sugar, and molasses. Add egg yolk, mix well.  Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Stir in flour mixture, mix well.  Chill. Roll out portion of dough 1/4" thick on lightly floured board. Keep rest of dough chilled. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bale 350 for 8-10 min.
Makes about 2 dozed 5" boys.  If you wish, place decorations on before baking.**

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Solstice

We began our day by making paper suns- one side black for the darkness, one side yellow for the sun. Tonight we put the dark side out and in the morning we will change it to the sun!

Then we baked spiral cookies..yum.. Here is the recipe, with step-by-step instructions. Tonight we have a few families coming over to do our winter spiral in the backyard, followed by a potluck and fun!

It is such a magical time when we walk the spiral. I have come to really enjoy this as a holiday favorite. It feels so real and earthy and so far removed from the jangly Christmas that seems to be going on around me.

Here is a verse I read before we started our walk into the light. I apologize that I handwrote it from some source I do not know. If anyone knows, please comment, so I can give credit. Thanks!

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 with 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 over the Earth
Deep mid-winter drawing near
May light arise in our garden here

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Visions of sugar plums...

A friend gave me a taste of these exotic Christmas treats. I didn't know there was such a thing.
Here is a link to the recipe. To me, they taste like spicy dots with a raisin center.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Handmade Journal

We made this sweet handmade journal for my niece who said she wants to be a writer when she grows up (she is 7!)
They painted a lovely Waldorf wet-on-wet and glued it to heavy cardboard (the back of a sketch pad is a good weight) then we punched holes in the cardboard and matched with paper and tied a pretty ribbon!
It seemed like it may not close easily, so I added a decorative brad to wrap some yarn to use as a latch and added her intial charm! Easy and so pretty.I wouldn't mind one myself.  :)

Give a Dog a Bone

We made homemade dog biscuits today for Holiday gifts! I have never done this but it was so easy! And a pretty yummy sounding recipe with peanut butter and molasses. Here is the link for the recipe. Quick to come together and easy dough for young hands to practice rolling out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2nd annual Apri "tart" festival

This is a recipe handed down from my grandma who passed a few years ago. We spend an entire afternoon laughing and baking and thinking of her. It is a sour dough crust with baked apricot center- yum!
If you plan to make it, start early or cook the apricots ahead of time (they take 2 hours)

Apricot filling:
2 boxes 11oz. of apricots
1/2 cup sugar
  Cook apricots in large saucepan over med. heat just covered in water. You will need to keep adding water as these will cook for 2 hrs. After about an hour, and the apricots are soft, add the sugar and turn heat down to med/low. When totally soft, remove from heat and cool.

6 cups flour   1 cup sugar
1 cup butter   1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon juice (fresh)
1/2 tsp salt
8oz. sour cream    4 eggs slightly beaten
Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl mix wet.
Slowly combine in mixer or by hand until dough forms. Keep dough chilled
until ready to use.
Roll on floured surface about 2 inches wider than pan. Cut excess off to make
strips. Scoop a thin layer of apricot mixture, add strips and bake about 15-20 min
at 350. Should be lightly browned. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blanket Basket

On cold winter evenings, I like to snuggle on a blanket under the tree with DH and the girls and read a holiday story. I found great use for my Bolga Basket. Fold and stack cozy, blankets inside. Ready anytime to wrap you in warmth!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Homespun gifts

My girls have been happily working away at their handmade gifts. Now that they are 7, they can really make a variety of things. Here is a sample of a few items with links to the tutorials. Most took just an hour, very simple! Enjoy...

wet felt soap

cat nip mice family
hand sewn kitty's (our own design)

Friday, December 4, 2009

So much to do, so little time...

As we plunge into this first week of Advent, my head is spinning with ideas, thoughts and "shoulds". While washing the dishes, I started thinking about what I really enjoyed about the holidays. And what I don't. Sometimes I wonder why we spend so much time and energy doing things we think we are "supposed" to do..and barely have a moment to experience what we long for.
So, as I sip my hot cocoa beneath my newly decorated tree. I am really meditating on how I want to enjoy this season. Perhaps, three types of cookies instead of 10 will do. Possibly, we can skip Santa at the mall.. let's just sing carols around our tree.

The Tree

My husband puts the lights on our tree each year. I decorate. But, now we have 2 other little elves to help! It is magical to listen to our favorite carols while unwrapping precious ornaments from years past. "Ooh,remember this one?" "We made these last year.."

Before children, I had to have a diffeent theme and color on my fancy decorated trees. But, when I had my girls, I wanted something more. (probably from exhaustion the first few years!) We placed only the sentimental ornaments. The ones we got in Old Salem. Our First Christmas together and the yearly ornaments my mom has been getting me since I was very young.

Now we have many more homespun treasures to adorn the tree. And adding more memories each season. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Wreath

We spent a lovely warm day collecting greens, herbs and berries for our yearly Advent Wreath. Tonight, we will light our first candle and add some shells, rocks or crystals for Mineral.
I have a lovely verse for each week and we also read the "Tiptoes Lightly Festivals" book which mirrors the weekly advent thoughts.
This seems to be the official start to a myriad of holiday celebrations over the next few weeks.. Peace

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Molasses Cookies

Wonderful recipe you could use throughout the holidays! Very easy and fun for the kids..
Molasses Cookies
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 brown sugar 1/2 regular)
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves, ginger, salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine butter, sugar, egg and molasses in a large bowl.
Combine flour, baking soda, & spices in medium bowl.
Mix together until well combines. **Put in fridge for at least
an hour until hardened.
Scoop into 1' balls and press down slightly on cookie sheet.
Bake 6-8 minutes at 375.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Handmade gifts? check this out!

I absolutely LOVE this blog. Every year in November, they have a new "theme" for each day with gifts to make!! It is awesome..I always say I need to start in August-LOL! They also include a daily recipe.. I am going to try the Pie in a Jar (Nov. 1)

They have given me some great ideas and I have even made a few projects in the past..

Check it out.. Handmade Holidays by sewmamasew

First Breakfast!

Last weekend, my twins, 7 announced that our breakfast was ready, while DH & I were still in bed!
To my sheer delight, they made us hot tea and cheesy scrambled eggs and flat bread toast, all very edible and even tasty! I guess all those mornings helping has paid off.. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanksgiving Mums

Every year at this time, as the garden winds down, I have a few late bloomers to keep me
smiling! These Thanksgiving mums dependably bloom every year in November.
This is a double-flowering coneflower! I trimmed it back and got a surprise re-bloom
This orange beauty is some kind of salvia. The hummers love it!
I have had this plant 2 years and no blooms, as it just started last week and last year we had an early frost. It is called a Senna Plant- amazing!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Lantern Walk

We read stories about Saint Martin and sang Lantern songs all day long..

The Lantern Walk is such a magical part of journey to the holidays.. the girls look so forward
to this each year and this one was especially so, since they are coming of age to really understand Saint Martin's story.

We used our watercolor painting for lanterns and they finger knitted the handles. Pattern from Earthways.

We used Jodie Meslers's Martinmas songs from her blog.
It was a brisk, windy night, and somehow I feel it is the decent into the winter season.
A warm cappuccino and some knitting will top off the night. *wink*

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Caramel Apples

Every year we make these wonderful delights.. I found a "healthy" recipe (as healthy as can be in this case!) At least it has all natural ingredients...
Watch that caramel, as it can burn little fingers and it is HOT!
Favorite Caramel Apples
1 cup finely chopped peanuts
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup (I substituted 1 cup white sugar mixed with 1/3 cup water & 1/8 tsp cream of tartar)
1 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
Dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
10 tart apples washed, dried and stuck with wooden craft sticks
Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan; add brown sugar, corn syrup (or sub)and salt.
Cook over med heat, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a full boil (10 min)
Stir in condensed milk. Continue cooking, occasionally stirring until candy therm says 245
or a small amount dropped into ice water forms a firm ball ( 20-25 min)
Remove from heat, add vanilla
Dip apples into caramel mixture. Dip 1 end into peanuts (use a cookie sheet or shallow bowl)
Place onto buttered wax paper and let set.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaching to the Temperaments- workshop

Tonight is the first in our series of Waldorf Homeschool workshops.

Join me as I host Kristie Burns for 60 minutes of tips, ideas and techniques on how to teach
to your child's temperament..

Starts at 8pm EST/5 PST. Register on the right side of my blog- pass this on!!!

48hr free-replay

Purchase download at http://thewaldorfconnection.com/

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cooking Hot Dogs Campfire-style

The weather was crisp and clear on a lovely fall day. We decided to go "camping" and cook out on our back yard fire pit. I don't know if it was just me, but those were the best hot dogs I've had in a while. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

FREE Waldorf Tele-Seminar Series

Welcome to the Waldorf Connection

I will be talking with top experts in Waldorf Homeschooling Education
And YOU can join in on the conversation- ** FREE! **

My goal is to connect homeschooling families with the resources they need to give them direction and wonderful ideas. These teachers are the best at what they do and have so much to offer!
Don’t miss a single call… Reserve your seat Today!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Painting outside

It was so lovely yesterday, I set up our art table outside and let the girls paint.

What fun! And easy clean-up. Sometimes it is nice to change things up a bit. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fairy Capes

I decided to sew Fairy Capes for my girls birthday party. They were surprisingly easy and look great! Maybe someone can use this as a pattern for Halloween costume.

Here is a basic tutorial. I used 1 yard flowy fabric. Hem sides and bottom. Measure how long from child's shoulders. I just eyed it up *wink*
Then sew large stitches across the top and pull one of the threads to "gather" around neck. I again measured this on my actual child to see how wide I needed it to be and adjusted by pulling- easy!

Then I added a layer of pink tulle and a grosgrain ribbon for ties. Pin ribbon over gather stitches, hiding tulle edge. (I sewed tulle up over edge of cape and went back after sewing and trimmed it off.)

Sew ribbon on both edges..top and bottom for extra strength.

Trim strings and voila! My girls can't wait to try them out!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tons of Fairies?!

I have heard of fairie rings where mushrooms grow, but this is ridiculous!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Jack and the Beanstalk

We are moving right along through the letter. Today was "J". The girls just loved this story! I thought they may be bored, as they have heard it a few time before, but no. I see them really hearing the sounds from this and other letters. As they speak, they say "That begins with J" I think it is working! *wink*

Here we painted a beanstalk shaped like a "j"

This other chalk drawing was from last week. It is "Mother Holle". H.
How is everyone else doing on their Fairy Tales and First Grade letters?
I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Indian Summer

Spent a few amazingly relaxing hours at the beach... wide open sand, very few people and calm waters. I actually gave myself the "day off" from anything productive *wink* It was hard! But oh so rewarding. Remember to take a few minutes for yourself mamas!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


We attended our first official Waldorf Festival with the homeschooling group in Asheville, NC.

Though it was raining, they set up inside a school used for waldorf-inspired preschool/kindy classes. There was a wonderful puppet-show, fairy wand making, corn-husk doll making and a cider press! We brought organic apples from the farmers market and a glass jar to fill.
The girls loved plopping in the apples and then pushing the wooden press round and round while watching the luscious juice pour out. It tasted amazing!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Apple Crisp

We picked some apples at the Long Branch Education Center, but they were a bit gnarly looking, though tasty! I was worried the family may not pick one up and eat due to its looks, so what does any baker do in a case like this? Make apple crisp!

Here is a very simple recipe.

4-6 cups chopped apples (skin off or on)
1 cup flour
1/2-1 cup brown sugar (dependng on apple tartness)
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
Put apples in a 8" square baking dish (buttered)
In a bowl mix flour, sugar, baking soda and egg. Sprinkle over apples evenly.
Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 30-40 min.