Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Michaelmas is Here

It is God's eye that sees me.
It is God's mouth that calls me.
It is God's feet that lead me.
It is God's arm protecting me.
It is God's thoughts enlightening me.
It is God's courage strengthening me.
It is God's heart that loves me.
Conqueror of the dragon, Michael
Lead us to the Bringer of Peace.

(adapted from 'At Michaelmas' - Stories for the Festivals of the Year by Irene Johanson )

Photo's from our Michaelmas tea party :

Blackberry Jam Tarts & Blackberry & Nettle Tea

Monday, 28 September 2009

Celebrating Michaelmas

Michaelmas ~ 29th September

The feast of Saint Michael, one of the seven archangels of Scripture, originated in the sixth century. Michael, whose name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?", is revered as the leader of the angelic army who will conquer Satan and his armies of demons, and is considered the defender of the Church.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 12:7-9

Michaelmas Prayer:

Holy God,
Your care for us is more than we can imagine, and your love touches us in so many ways. As once you sent your archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael to protect your chosen ones, let them be our companions, to watch over us. As we begin the season of autumn may we celebrate your presence in the beauty of nature, and be messengers of your love to all whom we meet.
Bless this meal we now share, and bless all we do in Jesus' name ~ Amen.

Michaelmas Tea Party:

The feast was known, in English, as "Michaelmas", and this name lives on in a wildflower, a white aster with many small star-like flowers, that blooms in late September, known as the Michaelmas daisy. They make an ideal posy for the Michaelmas table.

Blackberry tea or cordial

Blackberry Jam Tarts

• 14 oz plain flour
• 7 oz butter , chilled and diced
• 1 & 3/4 oz caster sugar
• 2 egg yolks
• 340g jar jam , use 1 flavour or a mix if you have them

1. Whizz the flour and butter to breadcrumbs in a food processor. Add the caster sugar and mix. Add the yolks and pulse until it comes together (you might need to add a splash of water). Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
2. Heat the oven to gas 5. Roll out the pastry and stamp out circles big enough to fit 2 x 12-hole jam tart tins. Bake for 15 minutes then add small spoonfuls of jam to each and bake for 5 minutes.

Legend has it that when the archangel Michael threw Lucifer out of heaven (on what would become Michaelmas), the devil landed in, of all places, a blackberry patch, where he promptly spat on the berries, rendering them inedible! So by long held tradition on Michaelmas you should eat your fill of blackberries before they're no good!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Songs for the Day

The Singing Day is a super book for inspiring a person to want to sing their way through the day with their children : )
We have already made verses an important part of our day - now it is the turn of songs!

Say's Candy Verney in a Singing Day:

Rhythm is important in young children's lives. Not so much the mechanical beat of the metronome, but the movement of the breath, contraction & expansion like the sea's tide flowing in & out. Children have no use for , & no conception of linear time, but they thrive when their day has a breathing rhythm, a flow between the IN of peace, rest, reflection; & the OUT of activity, action & interest in the world.

When such rhythm becomes a part of the child's everyday experience, it promotes health & contentment & strengthens growing life forces. The world is chaotic without rhythm. Singing can be used as signposts & cornerstones to mark these flowing rhythms: not only of the day, but also the longer rhythms of the week, & to celebrate the annual rhythms of the seasons & the cycle of the year.

Here are the songs I have chosen to make a part of our day. 'You are my Sunshine' is a song I have always sung to my girls when they get up - I started when Elianna was a tiny baby. Moon River, well, just because it's Moon River ; ) & the others come from the book. The book comes with it's own CD to help you learn the tunes, but you could always make your own.

Upon waking:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Tidying Up

Now’s the time to tidy up.
Let’s be busy pixies,
Busy Pixies hard at work
Tidying everything away.

To calm down!

I wiggle my fingers
I wiggle my toes
I wiggle my shoulders
I wiggle my nose
Now all the wiggles are gone from me
And Im as still as I can be.


Rub a dub dub
Two babes in the tub
Who do you think got wet?
The daddy the mummy
The teddy bear’s tummy
Hoppity out you get!


I’ll sing you a little song
And it wont take very long
Goodnight, my darling, goodnight

The stars in the sky
Look down where you lie
They shine so bright for you.

Snuggle up, little darling, snuggle up
The angels will ghuard you
Will guard you, will guard you.
All through the night

In the field, in the town
The silver moon is looking down
At you safe fast asleep tonight

Any time : )
Moon River
Moon river, wider than a mile
Im crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever youre goin, Im goin your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
Theres such a lot of world to see
Were after the same rainbows end, waitin round the bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

We sing a hymn each morning as part of our circle time & have a seasonal song, fingerplay & verse. My voice is not the best by any stretch of the imagination, but my girls are so very forgiving.

Have fun singing!

Our Week

In between everyone catching colds, here is some of our week:

Riding lessons

Our letter this week was the letter 'T'

Painted watercolour leaves for our nature circle

Walked in the woods

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Happy Equinox!

Though much is changing, I stand strong
And in the darkness shine.
For sleep, the plants & creatures long
But I have work divine.
For sun-seeds golden I'll be sowing,
Warmly from my heart's depth's glowing,
Into winter's icy flowing.

Michael Hedley Burton

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Autumn Equinox

The Autumn Equinox by Ric Kemp

Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox.
We are planning a fun autumn picnic, with the idea of talking about the Nut & Root Children. This is a lovely idea taken from Marsha's group. (See below)
Our cookies are made (thank you Mel!) Tomorrow we will be dipping half of each cookie in chocolate, to represent the equal hours of darkness & light of the equinox.
We will be taking them along on our picnic, along with home-made bread & butter, chunks of cheese & a thermos of hot chocolate : )

I am hoping this Equinox book will have arrived for us to read - if not, we will have it for next year ; )

The Autumn equinox and the spring equinox are the two days in the year when the hours of daylight and darkness are exactly equal.
In September as the Sun is moving southwards we refer to it as the autumnal equinox
The Sun is at its lowest path in the sky on the Winter Solstice. After that day the Sun follows a higher and higher path through the sky each day until it is in the sky for exactly 12 hours. On the Spring Equinox the Sun rises exactly in the east travels through the sky for 12 hours and sets exactly in the west. On the Equinox this is the motion of the Sun through the sky for everyone on earth. Every place on earth experiences a 12 hours day twice a year on the Spring and Autumn Equinox.
Harvest festivals are traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23). In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Father, we thank you
For all that you have made.
You chose to create us in Your own image.
You made us stewards of Your creation,
For all that You are,
For all that You have done,
For all that You have given.
We offer our humble thanks & praise. Amen

The Nut and Root Children!

Go nutting! Yup, not go nuts, but gather your favorite children, several sturdy baskets (one packed with nut breads spread with cream cheese, tiny tomatoes and mini carrot sticks, and honey sweetened steeped peppermint tea, and head for the woods.............be sure to take along the essentials for survival (matches, first aid kit, compass or GPS unit, a metal whistle, water for drinking, and a pocket knife)....in your backpack....it is also nice to tuck in a small towel for drying feet or hands, your favorite reading aloud book for a rest time, and sunscreen).

(There is such a strong need to help children connect to nature in our current culture.........in nature, we can help the children feel the living quality of the minerals and stones, as they rest on the earth, silently, the living beings who do not wander (roots fixed to the earth) and the living beings with fur or feather or scales (animals and birds) who do move about and follow the rule of Mother Earth...and really see all the complicated forms in nature, elements of the water, earth, fire and air, breathe deep in the mountains or valleys or deserts, air that is so rich with promise of new vistas and ideas.....if we can experience this feeling of being in an unplanted woods, an untended garden, a wild area, this is very very good for the health and development of the child and the of course, the adult, too. Even within most large cities, a drive of 30 minutes or less can take us into an area such as this, do find them, cultivate a knowledge of these special places, and devote your energy to bringing your children and little friends there.....)

Spend the day collecting nuts and cones. At this time of year, you can find chestnuts, walnuts, acorns, hazelnuts, hickory, and many other types, depending on where you live. Small pine or fir cones or other cones are also looked for in your search..........show the children any poisonous plants and teach them to avoid these dangerous beauties!

Keep an attitude of respect for the plants and animals, do not allow your children to tear off branches or kick away moss..........but do help them to see into the miniature world of ferns, mosses, stream beds, under roots, and behind logs.....hike around for several hours, then stop and enjoy your snack, then ask the children to rest a while and you can read aloud from your book (Wind Boy is always a favorite or the Brambly Hedge family)....what a wonderful way to spend a fall
day, outside, in the cool of the wildnerness.


Spread out your finds on a work-tarp on your table. Examine and sort all the items, identify them if you can, look at their attributes and add to them from your store of nature items.........begin to assemble some small figures, acorn heads, sunflower seed features, pine cone scales, cone bodies, small twig arms r legs, moss hair, some small dyed wool for hair, tiny noses, wings of maple 'helicopters', perhaps, and glue together. Use a clear or yellow thick wood glue if possible, and assemble a whole family. Let dry overnight........

Next Day:

Add some touchs to the little Nut and Root Children: this can be plant dyed wool felt capes or cloaks, scarf round neck, use old
felted sweaters to cut and glue on vests, slippers, berets, and more.........the personalities may begin to emerge and some children may wish to go further and glue together furniture, beds, tables, small dishes of half nutshells, and more.....a chestnut shell makes a lovely baby's bed!

Place these nature people and animals on your nature table, to enjoy and play with! What fun!

Marsha Johnson
Shining Star School
Portland, Oregon

PS, Adults like to do this, too! Invite another family along and have a grand time........roast ears of corn or sweet potatoes and
make it a regular Fall Event. I also think this event works so well for days when the working parent (often Daddy) can come, too, and can help to put together some little figures, add a root house of bark and moss, gather stones for a water garden part, and take part in the fun, too.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Young Children and Worship

I recently shared with you our new 'Quiet place'.

Today I would like to share with you how I plan to use it more fully.
I have been reading an inspiring book: Young Children and Worship
A key point of my family's journey into Waldorf home education has been the idea that children are very much children & not 'miniature adults' - This book, for me, resonates with that thought & develops the idea that children are very spiritual beings. The stories are not presented in a fashion of the parent (or teacher) teaching the key points of the Bible stories - "how many loaves & fish did the little boy give to Jesus?" etc etc but in a way that develops wonder & reflection & encourages a true relationship with our heavenly Father.
The first three 'lessons' are showing the children how to enter the 'worship place' in a respectful, calm & appropriate way, how to listen & talk with God. Then the lessons present different Bible stories & encourage reflection & worship.
The book has pages to photocopy in the back, to make figures & scenes for the storytelling. I am going to keep it much simpler than that & use odd Ostheimer animals that we already have (sheep & a wolf) & very simple, faceless wood conical figures for the people. This will keep preparation to a minimum & encourage the girls imaginations to really connect with each story.
We will begin this week with the first lesson - & our quiet place will be our place of worship. I hope that, by the time we have finished working through this book together, our quiet place will be a place were my girls feel drawn to - when they need to pull away from busyness, when they need to go & be peaceful. God is inside us - He is with us always. But often we need to follow the example of Jesus, get alone with God to hear that Still Small Voice.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Wet on Wet Watercolour & Happy Accidents

For our wet on wet work this week I introduced Yellow & Red.
We started with red in the centre & I talked about how red is a bossy colour who likes to dominate & have FUN!
Then along comes Yellow! Yellow likes to play, be friendly & dance around.

Here is a link I found very helpful for the process of writing your own colour stories & talking about colour with children.

I also recently had some great wisdom shared with me regarding wet on wet by a lady called Mel.
Here is what she had to say:

The purpose of the wet-on-wet method is not to create a finished product but to experience the process. To delve into the color. To learn it's nuances. What happens when I put it on heavy here? How about if I put a small bit here and keep spreading it out. How far can I take this on drop of color? Where is the light coming from in my picture? Is there warmth? Is there movement? What is it like to put the smallest bit of paint on our brush and pull it across the page? How about if we put a lot? How can we take away excess paint?

Rather than telling them NOT to paint or draw a picture, help guide them through a deeper experience. These are as much soul exercises as much as they are intellectual and physical.

Keep at it - it will happen. Watch for the shift of understanding and connection in yourself and your children.

I found this helped us today hugely! No-one (much to my great surprise!) tried to paint 'something' they just explored with the colours.

My first grader put down her brush mid-way & stated that she had had enough-she didnt like her work & wanted to start again. Hmm..
I suggested that once I was done with my own painting, I would get out new paper for her. She sat for a while & then picked up her brush again. she finished her work & was happy with it. We talked about 'happy accidents' :)

When we had finished clearing up, I noticed my painting had been splashed with water -effectively lifting some of the colour. "It is pretty, mummy" said Elianna. "A happy accident!"

Elianna's work:

Rose's Work:

My own Work:

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

S is for....

The Six Swans, our Fairy Tale for this week.
We are using Melisa's First Grade Curriculum, which i have adapted to my own understanding of the 'Three Day Rhythm'

Day One - we are form drawing & I tell the story
Day Two - Elianna re-tells the story, then we have the artistic interpretation of our lesson
Day Three - Retell the story & the academics of the lesson.

I am not sure how wise a decision this is - it will take a l-o-n-g time to get through the alphabet! We will see :)

Here are our drawings from today:

Our blackboard:

Elianna's block crayon drawing:

My own drawing:

We 'cheated' in that I had pre-cut some swan shapes to add to the picture after we had done our block crayon work. This was our first try at block crayon drawing & when I did the picture the first time, to create a white swan with negative space was really quite tricky & I decided it would be too frustrating an activity for my wee girl :)

I have also created my own '1st grade notebook' today - a place to keep all my drawings, notes & idea's. Hopefuly this will make teaching 1st grade the second time 'around a breeze ;)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Jesus, my resting place.

Saturday is baking day.
I usually bake a pudding for Sunday & a sweet treat (cakes, biscuits, some such thing) for the weekend.
The last few weeks we have not had a big family dinner on Sunday, but I have served a simple buffet instead.
I do not believe in a list of do's & dont's for Sunday: Jesus is my rest, but I do enjoy a peaceful, family day.

Hebrews 4

1Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

5And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

7Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

8For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

So today, the girls helped me to prepare apple crumble, boiled eggs & a simple salad (all bagged up in the fridge, ready to go) for tomorrow. I will add ham, smoked salmon, cheeses, pate, little pies, potato salad & this will be left for people to pick at as the fancy takes them tomorrow. A chicken will also be slow roasted & ready for dinner time, to be eaten with crusty bread.

Simple food, simple pleasures. Lots of time to take a walk & enjoy God's beautiful creation, snuggle up & read my Bible, knit & nap :)

This afternoon the scones we prepared this morning will be baked & served with good old clotted cream & raspberry jam. Yum!

Friday, 11 September 2009

A Quiet Place...

I had an idea to create a quiet place in our home. a place for quiet reading, a place to go & be with God when the rest of the house is too noisy; too distracting. A place I can go for my early morning Bible study & a place for me to go at quiet time, when the girls hunker down in their room (somewhere where i cannot be distracted by chores, or emails!)

Today, I created that place. It was very simple & the whole family is pleased with the result.
In our tiny spare room, I hung a canopy from the ceiling

on the floor is a small rug, a basket of seasonal books & a selection of Tasha Tudor books.

I have added some of my Bible study aids to the children's bookcase

Here is my own personal Bible study basket

Here is a reading bag I have put together for my 'school' study

My journal, You Are Your Child's First Teacher & Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children

My cosy chair


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Faith Resources

Here are some of the resources we are using:

Quiet Time:
Before the house awakes, & curl up in a comfy chair with blanket & sheepskin & read from my Bible.

We begin our day with Prayer & verses. We have several times to 'stop' in our day & pray some more & say verses/sing songs.

Breakfast Devotions:
Reading from our Childrens Bible
Followed by the girls drawing in their prayer journals.

Quiet Time:
At the childrens quiet time, I plan to do some reading of books that encourage me in my journey with the Lord.
I am thinking of starting here

I read the children a story from The Children's Bible in 365 Stories as part of our candle light time.
We light our candle; say our verse; read from the bible, then pray from our little children's prayer book before saying thank you to God & bringing any requests we may have before Him.
When we are done the girls blow out the candle & i put on this lovely CD

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Saturday is Baking Day

We made a blackberry & apple crumble, using up all the blackberries we had collected.

You can experiment with different fruits. Here is the basic crumble mix:

8oz plain flour
3 oz golden caster sugar
4 oz butter

rub with clean fingers, till the mix resembles crumbs :)
Sprinkle over stewed fruit & bake on gm 5 for 20-25 mins till golden.

Then we prepared scones.
We havent as yet baked them. Scones are always best fresh from the oven, so they will be going into the oven this afternoon, after our walk in the woods, ready to be served with clotted cream & raspberry jam :)

The girls are all dressed in their new autumn clothes - last night I changed over their wardrobes to autumn/winter.
They have 14 outfits each, all ready on hangers, complete with matching tights etc. This method of organising may sound over the top, but I have found it a real time saver.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Preparing for The Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon - Photographer Unknown

Thank you to Jane: Yes, Harvest moon is *next* month this year! My Susan Branch Calendar has it as being September, but it is in fact October! Thank you For pointing this out :)

Here is how we enjoy The Harvest Moon in our home:

We talk about the science:

All full moons rise around the time of sunset. However, although in general the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, as it moves in orbit around Earth, the Harvest Moon and Hunter's Moon are special, because around the time of these full moons, the time difference between moonrise on successive evenings is shorter than usual. In other words, the moon rises approximately 30 minutes later, from one night to the next, for several evenings around the full Hunter's or Harvest Moons. Thus there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise around the time following these full moons. In times past this feature of these autumn moons was said to help farmers working to bring in their crops (or, in the case of the Hunter's Moon, hunters tracking their prey). They could continue being productive by moonlight even after the sun had set. Hence the name Harvest (or Hunter's) Moon.
The Harvest Moon is said to come before or after the autumnal equinox. It is simply the full moon closest to that equinox. About once every four years it occurs in October, depending on the cycles of the moon.
Often, the Harvest Moon seems to be bigger or brighter or more colorful than other moons. These effects have to do with the seasonal tilt of the earth. The warm color of the moon shortly after it rises is an optical illusion, based on the fact that the moon low in the sky, you are looking at it through a greater amount of atmospheric particles than than when the moon is overhead. The atmosphere scatters the bluish component of moonlight (which is really reflected white light from the sun), but allows the reddish component of the light to travel a straighter path to your eyes. Hence all moons (and stars and planets) look reddish when they are low in the sky.
As for the large size of a full moon when seen low in the sky, it is true that the human eye perceives a low-hanging moon to be larger than one that's high in the sky.
Harvest festivals are traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23). In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.

We think about our God who created the heavens & the earth:

Genesis 1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the third day.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

We read: Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher

Mold in your hands beeswax harvest moons whilst listening to the story.

We bake Pumpkin Moonshine Cake

Serves: 10-12

• 4 eggs • 2 cups sugar
• 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil • 1 can (one pound) pumpkin puree
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice • 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking soda • 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces

Preheat oven to GM 4

Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan. In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs with a large fork until well blended. Mix in the sugar. Add the oil in a steady stream, mixing all the while, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Mix in the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and salt. Add the baking soda and baking powder in pinches, breaking up any lumps with your fingers. Stir in thoroughly. Stir in the whole wheat and all-purpose flours just until blended. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour and scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert, remove the pan, and cool on the rack for about 15 minutes more.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Happy Birthday Baby!

Today my baby turns four years old! This is impossible for me to comprehend!
Above, you see her at a few hours old.
Below, you see my four year old princess :)

Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet Rose

Here is a repost of how we celebrate birthdays in our home


The essence of our celebration; you are an important member of our family, we love you & our lives would not be the same without you!

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalm 139:14

Birthday to-do’s & good things to eat.

Find balloons tied to your bed when you wake
Be greeted by kisses, the same number as your age
No chores today!
Birthday gifts & always a book
Find a balloon on your chair at breakfast time
A prayer of thanks for you
A special birthday muffin for breakfast, with a number candle
Your height measured & marked
Birthday party tea
Homemade birthday cake with candles...we sing happy birthday, you make a wish!
Number (of your age) sugar cookies
You get to wear our special pink maribou-trimmed party hat
A letter for you written in your journal
Read: Happy Birthday to You! by Dr Seuss

Classic Birthday Cake
(makes one tier)
4oz self raising flour 4 oz caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder 2 large eggs
4oz soft butter 2-3 drops pure vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven to GM 3
grease & line cake tin
sift flour & baking powder into a roomy mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients & whisk till thoroughly combined. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of tap-warm water. Whisk again.
Add the mixture to the tin, level off & bake on the centre shelf for about 30 minutes.
When cooked remove to a cooling rack.
The cake can be sliced in half, layered with jam & buttercream or stacked.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
(Fills & frosts a 8/9” cake.)
3 cups icing sugar 2 tsp vanilla
3 oz softened butter 3 oz chocolate, melted & cooled
3-4 tblsp milk

Mix sugar & butter in a medium bowl on a low speed. Stir in vanilla & chocolate.
Gradually beat in enough milk to make frosting spreadable.

Sugar Cookies
2 cups plain flour 6 oz softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to GM 3

Cream the butter & sugar. Add the egg & vanilla, beating well until mixed. Add flour on very low speed: do not over mix.
Gather dough into a ball & wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour. Allow dough to sit for 10 mins before rolling. Roll on a floured counter to 1/4” thick. Cut with cookie cutters & place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 mins.
Can be frozen.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A New Calendar

I i have been thinking a lot about this beautiful calendar. It comes from Toy Spectrum, but is completely out of my budget. Also, there were a couple of things that were not 'just right' for me. I wanted it to be perfect!
The original is based on Johanne Itten's 12 part colour circle 12 parts - perfect for the 12 months, but I wasnt happy with how the colours would be matched up to the months. I also wasnt happy with the choice of wooden figures that came with the calendar.
So I thought & though & decided to make my own felt version.

I think the colours correspond nicely to the months:
January: Mid blue
February: Pale blue
March: Green
April: Spring green
May: Lime green
June: Warm yellow
July: Yellow
August: Corn yellow
September: Orange
October: Red
November: Violet

I have used the rainbow as a guide & tried my best to match up the months to a seasonally appropriate colour.
Each month will have a felted object to represent it. So, as we are beginning today with September, we have a sweet little Fly Agaric.
The bowl in the centre is home to our markers - currently we are using some apple-wood buttons I had on hand. So, as today was the first week in September, a marker was placed in septembers part. We shall be doing this at the beginning of the week in future - either Sunday or monday - not sure which. I will have to see what natural place in our rhythm this takes. I am thinking possibly mondays, after breakfast. (we are late this week, as this was whipped up late last night, but it fits nicely with the first day of September)

I think this will be a lovely visual reminder for them of the passing weeks, months, seasons & years (for me too!)

Happy September!