Friday, 30 October 2009


Hallowe’en ~ October 31st

Hallowe’en is the eve of All Hallows, All Saints. October 31st in the old Celtic calendar was new years eve & the commemoration of the dead, when spirits were believed to walk abroad & the dead return to the earth. These traditions became so deeply rooted in local custom that the church was forced to compromise by establishing in 837 the Feast of all Saints on november 1st & the commemoration of All Souls on November 2nd.
In our family we find it is fun to celebrate Hallowe’en - but we personally focus on the harvest aspect of hallowe'en & stay far away from ghosts & witches & eerie things-that-go-bump in the night. Also as Christians, we know that superstition & fear give way to the joy of the resurrection & the reality of eternal life.

My thoughts on celebrating Halloween as a Christian are perfectly put into words by Joanna Bogle in her book A Book of Feasts and Seasons

A family commemoration of Hallowe’en can be a way of re-emphasising the Christian belief in life after death. Things should be kept on the level of family fun, avoiding witchy symbols & so-forth,with games & tasty food & a sense of drawing together in warmth on an autumnal evening.
Children should be taught to say a quick prayer if they are ever frightened of anything ‘ghosty’ at night or in a strange place & they should be reminded that they place their faith in God’s loving care & protection.

Romans 5:1

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins & Apple Cider
Decorate our home with tiny pumpkins
Pumpkin Carving...& roasted seeds make a lovely mid-morning snack.
Make caramel & chocolate apples
` Simply melt caramels &/or chocolate in a double boiler. Swirl in the washed apples. Cool on waxed paper.
Trick or Treating...return home to ginger cookies & milk

The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

Other Halloween Ideas:
Display our carved pumpkins on our doorstep (maybe use as a planter for some autumn flowers??)

Party Notes, A Garden Party, A woodland Picnic, A Woodland themed party.
Play apple bobbing & chinese whispers.

Halloween Party Food:
Meringue Mushrooms, Berried Candy Bark,Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread, Caramel Apple Cider, Warmed Pear Juice. Frozen Jack O’ Lanterns

Pumpkin Muffins
8 oz pumpkin flesh 2 eggs
½ tsp ginger ½ tsp cloves
125ml milk 100ml golden syrup
2 tbsp margarine 6 oz white flour
1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to gas mark 6. Steam the pumpkin flesh until tender then purée in a food processor. Allow to cool.
2. Mix together the eggs, milk, syrup and margarine, and mix with the pumpkin.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and spices and add these dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Stir to mix, but don't overmix.
Pour into muffin pans and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. 

Frozen Jack-O-Lanterns
Serves 12
12 Navel Oranges
12 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 Gallon Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (Godiva makes a really dark chocolate ice cream which works well.)

Cut off tops of oranges and gently hollow out pulp (a serrated grapefruit knife works really well), leaving a thick shell. Hollow out pulp from the tops too. Cut Jack-O-Lantern faces into each orange. Pack chocolate ice cream into shells. Avoid letting the ice cream come out of the holes. Cut a hole into top of orange top. Set tops back on over the ice cream, and set cinnamon stick stem through the hole.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1 cup white sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1 egg
• 3/4 cup margarine, softened • 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 cup molasses • 2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Traditional Oatmeal Parkin
8 oz (225 g) medium oatmeal
4 oz self raising flour
a pinch of salt
7 oz (200 g) dark syrup or golden syrup
1 oz (25 g) black treacle, plus 1 teaspoon
4 oz (110 g) margarine
4 oz soft brown sugar
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
1 large egg beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Real oatmeal parkin is unbeatable, but do make sure you leave it at least a week before eating – that way it will become much more moist and sticky than when it was first cooked. Originally it was kept in proper wooden parkin boxes, but nowadays a tin will do instead.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).
You will also need an 8 inch (20 cm) square cake tin, lightly greased.
First weigh a saucepan on the scales, and weigh the syrup and treacle into it. Then add the margarine and the sugar to the saucepan and place it over a gentle heat until the margarine has melted down – don't go away and leave it unattended, because for this you don't want it to boil.
Meanwhile, measure the oatmeal, flour and ginger into a mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt, then gradually stir in the warmed syrup mixture till the mixture is all thoroughly blended. Next add the beaten egg, and lastly the milk. Now pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1¾-2 hours. Then cool the parkin in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out. Don't worry too much if the parkin sinks slightly in the middle – it sometimes happens in Yorkshire too!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

My New Blackboard! (part 2)

Not long ago, I became the owner of a Blackboard
Oh, how happy i was!!!!!
But soon, dissatisfaction crept in & I began to covert bigger blackboards.
Well, here is my *new* blackboard : )
35" X 60"

Perfect : )

My poor husband says this board will have to stay perfect. We cannot possibly have a bigger blackboard in our dining room, which is where my wonderful board resides.
My poor, long suffering husband ; )

Along with my blackboard, the dining room is host to my beloved welsh dresser, which is home to my collection of blackboard chalk, all lovingly arranged in rainbow fashion.
I buy regular soft artist's pastels for my board & they are working very well, so far.

To be inspired by wonderful blackboard art, have a look at Flickr: Steiner in Suffolk & Creative blackboards.

Happy Chalking!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

A Must-read!

Today, I have a wonderful resource to recommend to you.
20 Days To Being A More Mindful Mother
This is a wonderful, wonderful resource that encourages you to dig deep in your quiet time. Carrie, who has written this resource has shared it freely at her blog The Parenting Passageway

This resource will encourage you to think about 'Mindful Parenting'- Something I think we all strive for, but Carrie also provides concrete, practical advice; which is something I have really benefited from.
This 20 day program is also something I would recommend to those new to Wladorf education. Waldorf is a whole way of life & Carrie speaks so eloquently about this.
Head on over; I am sure you will be as thankful as I am for this wonderful resource, which should surely be a book!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Poorly Baby

Today, my eldest daughter awoke with a very sore throat & fever.
After making her some hot honey & lemon to drink (juice of a whole lemon, 1 tblsp honey, made up to 1/2 pint with hot water) I quickly showered & helped my youngest daughter to dress.
We all headed downstairs where I made up a 'bed' on the sofa & hit play on the i-pod so she could listen to The Wind In The Willows.
Breakfast was eggy bread, which they both munched happily on, then they enjoyed several cups of Strawberry Tea - a huge thank you to my friend Andrea for mentioning this - I bought it yesterday, having not seen this type of fruit tea before. The girls loved it! And it really enabled me to keep Elianna's fluid levels up.

We went on to read When Vera Was Sick - a favorite with my girls on days like today.

After some puzzles, we had lunch & now the girls are having their daily Quiet Time ~ Elianna is tucked up in bed with the curtains drawn * Rosie is in our 'Quiet Room' playing with her animals.

I think, when children are ill special soothing traditions are needed ~ ones that comfort, amuse & distract. Below are my ideas to help perhaps give you a few ideas for your own "poorly little people days'

Things to do

Play with Mama’s jewelry box
Look through family scrapbook albums
Make models with playdough
Have a stack of paper & the child’s own art box close at hand & create pictures
Puzzle books
Have a posy of flowers next to the child
Read: When Vera Was Sick by Vera Rosenberry

Things to Eat & Drink

Porridge: 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of oats, sweetened with honey
Banana’s in milk
Buttery toast with honey

Chicken Soup
Saute onion in butter
saute chopped carrots & potatoes.
mix in 1 tblsp plain flour
gradually add chicken or vegetable stock & milk
bring to the boil, reduce & simmer for 15 mins
Add sweetcorn & cooked chicken
Simmer for 5 minutes more
Blend if desired, or serve chunky
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Honey & lemon drink for sore throats & boosting the immunity: juice of one lemon, hot water, honey to taste.
Lemon Barley Water to boost Vit.C intake.

Lemon Barley Water

4oz pearl barley
4 pints water
4 lemons
4 oz sugar

Peel the lemons, making sure not to get pith on the rind.
Add the sugar & water to a pan & gently dissolve the sugar.
Add the pearl barley & lemon rinds, cover and simmer for half an hour.
Halve the lemons & squeeze juice into a large jug.
Strain the barley water into the lemon jug. Leave to steep and cool.

The Land of Counterpane
by Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was sick and lay a-bed, 
I had two pillows at my head, 
And all my toys beside me lay, 
To keep me happy all the day. 

And sometimes for an hour or so 
I watched my leaden soldiers go, 
With different uniforms and drills, 
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills; 

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets 
All up and down among the sheets; 
Or brought my trees and houses out, 
And planted cities all about. 

I was the giant great and still 
That sits upon the pillow-hill, 
And sees before him, dale and plain, 
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Coincidentally, I read two smashing articles a few days ago about Parenting the sick child. They were written by Donna Simmons creator of the Christopherus Curriculum.

She says:

"How do we regard illness in our families? Do we respond with an arsenal of medicines and potions, moving quickly to get rid of whatever it is that is making our child ill, or do we view illness as a time to take stock, to slow down and to trust the healing process?

I’m not saying don’t do anything when your child’s ill. What I am suggesting is that we each take a moment to scrutinize our attitude toward ill health and to ascertain whether we regard it as basically a negative thing or a positive thing. Is illness a failure of wellness, or is an opportunity for wellness to be enhanced, strengthened?

Once upon a time, children were expected to have a range of illnesses in the course of growing up and time was allowed for the healing process. One spoke of bed rest, of convalescence, of slowly regaining health. Of course, in days past, many children died during their early years - but let’s recognize that the majority of those deaths were in families stricken by poverty, overcrowding, poor nutrition and hygiene. And, of course, there were those children with conditions easily addressed nowadays, whether by conventional or alternative medicine, who were considered ‘incurable’ in earlier times.

My point is: that illness was regarded as a basic part of childhood and that there was a recognition that once health was regained, the child was stronger and healthier than he had been before he was ill. It is this point that I wish to focus on because I feel that it has been largely lost in our society."

Read the rest of the article here

In a second article, Donna makes practical suggestions for caring for a sick child:

"Rest, rest, rest - rest and sleep are the most important parts of the healing process. Too many parents say things like “I can’t get him to stay in bed” - well, you need to figure out how you can! Being up and about, even if it’s “only in the house” is no substitute for bed rest, especially if the child has or has had a fever. After the fever goes, the child should still be kept quiet for a day or two. Quiet, peace and bed rest are essential for the body to heal.

Have a box or a bag of interesting playthings put away for sick days. Fill it with Playdoh, buttons, wooden beads to string, an etch-a-sketch, pipe cleaners, beeswax, travel activity books, picture books... things that don’t get played with at other times.

Help being in bed be pleasant - perhaps make up a bed on the couch so the child doesn’t feel lonely. If your household is very busy it might be wiser to leave the child in her bedroom. Maybe one of the younger children can act as messenger, fetching drinks of water and books and requests for attention. Put some lavender essential oil on the pillow, keep lights dim and spend time reading aloud to the ill child.

Make sure the ill child drinks a lot, although some have a real aversion to this. See if there’s a preference for cold or hot drinks. Some children who refuse water or tea will drink lemonade or some sort of broth. Flush out the child’s system by ensuring he drinks enough.

No baths or showers for a sick child, especially if there’s an ear infection, sore throat or chest complaint. Get over this American obsession (those of you who are American!) with daily bathing - getting wet when you’re ill is not a good idea!

No TV, computer or videos for ill children. This may seem harsh because it may be “the only way” you can keep her still, but you’ll have to figure out something else. The nervous energy produced by children watching electronic media is not conducive to healing.

Here are a few homeopathic remedies for you to try. I suggest you use a 30c potency. Give one, wait 15 minutes and if there’s no change, either for better or worse, give another up to 4 doses in one hour. If nothing happens after that wait another hour and try something else. It’s an especially good sign if the child falls asleep after the remedy.

Chamomilla: for teething, toothache, sore throats. Characterized by impatience, anger and fussiness - babies want to be carried, demand a toy, then throw it across the room. Often one check is red, the other pale.
Pulsatilla: sore throats, ear ache, tummy ache, especially with yellow discharges. Child is all soft and sweet and elicits sympathy in those around her. Thirstless. Likes to be wrapped up warmly in a cold room but suffers from being too warm.
Aconite: whatever the physical complaint may be, the main thing about this remedy is extreme fear late at night and paleness. Often the complaint follows time spent outside in the wind.
Belladonna: this remedy is similar to Aconite in terms of intensity and rapid onset - and sometimes fear as well - but it is characterized by redness. Often the pupils are dilated. For those of you who are breastfeeding, it’s very good for mastitis, especially is the breast is streaked with red. Pulsatilla is also often indicated for mastitis as is the following remedy:
Bryonia: think of a grumpy bear and you get a picture of the person who needs Bryonia. This is a great flu remedy, indicated when the person is grumpy, irritable, wants to be left alone and holds the sore or painful part. They have a great thirst for cold water, but at long intervals.
Gelsemium: is another flu remedy, but has a slower onset than Bryonia and is not so cranky. Aching!"

Read the rest of the article here

Here's to good health!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Alphabet Blackboard Drawings

This post is going to be my resource for my alphabet blackboard drawings.
I hope it is useful to someone else, too!

"W" ~ Waves

"T" ~ Tree

"S" ~ Swan

"M" ~ Mountain

"F" ~ Fish

"C" ~ Cat

"H" ~ Hut

"J" ~ Jug

"B" ~ Bear/Butterfly

"G" ~ Golden Goose

"K" ~ King Thrushbeard

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Playtime Part Two

Today I thought I would share the toys in our home. This is in no way meant to be a list of recommendations -simply sharing what is in our home.


this gets a lot of use. various gnomes & animals & fairies live /visit here : )

Shells, nuts, pebbles

these are used as money, food, all sorts of things. Often used with playsilks to form various scenes

The dollies pram, seen here with 'everyone's' baby : )

The Rainbow stacker

This still gets a lot of play & is often used to build things with.


these are used often with the playsilks. A blue may be layed out as the sea, a green for the land, then the homes are placed on just so.

Wooden / knitted / felt / glass / plastic (!) animals

The Rabbit Family

Assorted home made dogs, felt balls & beanbags


Much used in conjunction with playsilks & animals.

Basket containing Playsilks & Dolly Slings

Wooden Pull-Along Trolley

complete with tiger, who is enjoying his ride : )

Ride - on Ladybird

Much loved & well used. This toy is usually now used by a child holding a plate as a 'steering wheel' instead of holding the handle bar : )

Washing Line

Sensory Table

Here it is filled with sunflower seeds. The contents change periodically. The Wooden hedgehogs like to play in here : )

Finally, or much loved dolls:
Lark & Baby Angela joining in our before bed candletime, with a rather tired out Miss Rose

If you wish to be inspired to take a different path with your children's toys (as I was recently) Toymaking with Children is a classic book to read on the topic.
The book contains several essays on the value & importance of play and the nature of appropriate play from a Waldorf perspective. Outdoor play, playing with dolls & 'tidy up time' is discussed.
The author gives full instructions for *lots* of toys -dolls, knitted toys, wooden toys, playstands etc etc.
This is a wonderfully inspiring little book!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sick Day

Yesterday was a sick day for me.
I will do my best to get the continuation of the playtime post out today : )

Monday, 5 October 2009


I have put a lot of thought into how my children play over the years of being a mother. I wanted toys that are 'open ended', that is, without a 'set' way to be played with. Toys that encouraged my children's imaginations, natural materials that warmed in their hands, & allowed their imaginative play to take wings. Toys that create a bond with the natural world & have as many ways to be played with as my children can come up with.

Elizabeth Stutz is the founder of Play for Life . In an article published in 1995, she writes:

Saturation entertainment has taken over the playtime and the homelife of children, so that, not only do they suffer the consequences of being overwhelmed and brutalized by their entertainment, but they are exposed to concepts totally unsuitable for and inimical to their stage of development, and in addition they are robbed of the carefree hours in which they should be enjoying the nourishing and creative forces of play... Children's leisure time has been made the subject of intense commercial competition. The richest and most powerful industries and interest groups — such as the ever expanding communications industry, the electronic entertainments and music industries, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the toy and consumer goods and food empires — these have together in a loose conglomerate taken over as their domain, the market of childhood and youth; they decide what children will play, read, eat, wear, admire, hate, how they behave to each other, to their parents and authority and who their role models are to be; this contrivance is then sold as the youth culture.
(Article: Play for Life 1995)

Up until the age of around seven (& older children, to a lesser degree) children learn about life by modeling the adults around them. That gives us mothers such an important role. Such a great responsibility, but such a great joy too. Our children can 'play' alongside us as we work. As we prepare dinner, they can help us to chop vegetables. As we sweep the floors, they can sweep too, with their own little brooms. It makes me aware of how I am to be a joyful mother of children. Psalm 113:9 not a grumpy one!

Waldorf is open to the trap of materialism just as any other lifestyle. It has to be this toy, that toy.

In the article by Marsha Johnson 'The Issue of Toys, Children, and Materialism' She states:

Children should be surrounded by a few multi-purpose, open-ended items that encourage imaginative play, social interaction, and healthy bodily movement. Young children need to be interactive with the physical world in a direct sense, stomach or back to the earth, although a blanket, skin, or floor may lie between.

Open ended items are simple, often made of natural materials such as wool, wood, metal, or cloth. Undefined or lightly defined toys allow children to use them in a multitude of ways. A new playmate brings new ideas for logs, scarves, blocks, and playhouses. Endless games with ropes, sticks, and simple tools will result during afternoons with friends.

This is so far removed from the images she uses at the beginning of the article:

Shopping bags and baskets full, parents and family friends arriving with parcels, long store lines, and big dollar prices………birthdays, holidays, other occasions both secular and religious, family rooms, play rooms, bedrooms, living rooms, filled with play items, bright colors, plastics, woods, cloth, books, and more…………is there room for the child? Where is the child? In late fall, these questions start to present themselves to even the most unconscious person as we strive to find the ‘perfect’ addition to an entire house filled with personal items…….as well as strive to come up with a wish list for ourselves. This year, I notice the most advertised item is a S’more cooker! If only we could just package the happy feelings that we experience when gathered around a cozy campfire, in the woods, while toasting food on a stick! This is what the manufacturer knows will sell his silly little invention: he is selling memories.


I recently took Marsha's words to heart & took action in my own home.
i have included part of the article below for you to read. It is inspiring stuff! To read the article in full visit Waldorf Home Educators.

Families who are seeking a different way of providing toy items and play spaces for their children must be willing to undergo some conflicted feelings and pressures. In addition, parents must be able to agree to adopting a new approach and support one another: it is not uncommon to find one parent wishing to be dedicated to a less materialistic lifestyle while the other one is sneaking the Gameboy into the stocking.


If you are not a parent yet, good, you can skip the rest of the this paragraph and go on to the section for specific recommendations for children by ages. If you have children already, then you must make some tough decisions. Here is one method that works well and it gentle in its approach. If you follow this advice, you will find that in about 1 year, your home will be free of all commercial/materialistic toy burdens, you will feel lighter and more in tune with nature and the seasons, and your family time will be enhanced and enjoyable with the need to spend hours organizing and cleaning up after your children and yourself.

First, have a private discussion with spouse and come to agreement. This is critical and this program will not work unless this has been completed. Then examine your home and its contents. Go into your child’s room and count how many items are in that space. Include clothing, shoes, and coats. Count aloud and be amazed. How can one being be surrounded by so many physical things? Notice how many images or hanging items are on the walls, how many things hang in windows, etc. Do the same activity with your play room or family room where toys are kept. Look into the movie cupboard and notice how many boxes or cases. Count how many TVs are in your home. How many music CDs? Where are these items kept? Peek into the attic, the basement, the garage, the kitchen cupboards, the laundry room, the sheet storage, the towel closet, obtain a good impression of how many items there in your home.

Take a break and have a cup of tea. In a day or two, send the children over to play at a friend’s home. Strengthen yourself with prayer and go into your play spaces and remove about one third of the toys not on the list below. Put into large black storage bags and drive over to someone else’s home or garage. (No temptation to retrieve and after 3 months, you can given them to charity). Include books, posters, stuff, even expensive stuff. This first foray is the hardest and you can select items that you know your child rarely plays with. Try to include mostly plastic junky items that will never be missed. Include stuffed animals that are sitting, lonely, and plastic dolls that lie heaped in the corner. Sentimental items like grandma’s doll clothes should be kept, there is love in the stitches that cannot be replaced.

If you are really strong and on a roll, you can do this for other areas of the home and include the clothing drawers: children do NOT need walk-in closets, this accumulation of 24 pairs of shoes is both confusing and ridiculous and I am old enough to remember when children under 3 wore white baby shoes (1 pair) which we polished. Do your kitchen (who need 4 tablespoon measurers?) and your own closet. Donate your items to charities and store if you must.

If children notice something is gone, if under six, distract them with a play idea, or tell a little story about a bunny who had so many things she couldn’t sleep in her cozy bunny hole. Leave it at that if possible. Children six and older may need to know that the family is making some changes that are healthy for everyone and that is probably enough. If you try this on older children, you will need their cooperation.

In about three months, do this again. In the meantime, begin adding to the store of items listed below. Slowly replace various toys with substitutes that meet the three criteria of being open-ended, socially healthy, and encourage body movement. If you continue this pathway for a year, that will give your four opportunities to reduce, diminish, refocus, alter, redefine, and re-direct your child’s play environment, sleep environment, and living environment.

In your organization, create specific areas of particular play items: outdoors for certain pursuits, an art space with paints, crayons, brushes, pastels, paper, and more, a reading/book area to share, and a game playing space. These spaces can share your dining room or family room. Bedrooms are for sleeping and keeping clothing in, maybe 1 special stuffed animal friend, or 1 doll cradle. When a child is sent to clean their room, it means change the sheets, sweep the floor, wash the window, and take care of shoes and clothing. How many times do we confuse cleaning with picking up?


1) Remove all TVs from home if possible with young children and middle aged children and teenagers. You will not regret this decision.
2) If not possible, keep one and put in closet that locks or some space inaccessible to family members without a lot of work.
3) Obviously same with all video equipment….dvd players
4) Remove all computer games from computer and put cds in a box and hide them in a closet. Computers are for ‘working’, writing, communicating. If you play games, do it only after kids are in bed.
5) Ask or persuade friends and family to switch from giving more toys and clothes to a) buying items you request, b) gift certificates to particular catalogs (Magic Cabin, Chinaberry Books), or c) put the money they would have spent into certificates of deposit for future educational expense (tuition is a big issue for the future) or d) be willing to substitute time together for physical items. Come over for dinner and stay for a games night, go out for a walk in a bird reserve, take a trip to the beach, cook a family recipe together……beg, plead, and insist. They will adopt your methods, slowly.
6) If child receives an unexpected objectionable item, be gracious and enjoy it for a while, then ‘disappear’ it magically. Time is a great healer.
7) Frequently visit other families who are like minded to encourage yourself and find support. You will find that all the children in the neighborhood will want to hang out at your house! Bring them in and teach their parents.
8) Take the money you save and enjoy a fantastic family camping trip or vacation. You will literally save thousands and thousands of dollars over the 18 years of your child’s life.
9) Examine wardrobes and put together fourteen outfits for your children, enough for 2 weeks without laundry, for each season, and donate the rest. Buy good quality wool, cotton, and natural fiber clothes that will last through several children, practice the fine art of hand me downs, and gather a group of other families to have a twice a year ‘share’ time where you all bring extra clothes and parcel them out. You will be shocked at how this is so very freeing although you will spend a bit more time doing laundry on your new schedule.

10) Begin a rhythm in your household that includes all members in a reasonable cycle of chores that includes and shares out cooking, cleaning, washing, and gardening. Spend your time together with purpose as opposed to trying to get a few chores ‘done’ while everyone else sits in front of a screen. Laundry day can be a good social time to visit over sock matching, laundry line hanging, and there is nothing that can beat (Sorry commercial artificial laundry scent manufacturers) the smell of wind-dried sheets on summer days. Avoid using machines for your household work, study up on how to make your own healthy cleaners, and treasure old towels for wonderfully soft rags. Step away from silly products that promise to somehow make your life easier that actually are simply substitutes for old fashioned, tried and true methods.
11) Get together with a couple other families and form a study group to enjoy dinner together once a month and talk about parenting, read new books, enjoy community, and share ideas. Insist that gift giving occasions be primarily social events, outdoor adventures, nature immersed, and intentionally diminish or reduce the time of ‘gifting’ in your life. Try an ‘exchange’ habit, instead, or take a class and learn how to make something useful, for example, learn to carve wooden spoons and give these as gifts. Simple and very helpful and useful. Do not overdo it and give dozens! Avoid the consumption addiction in all respects.


INFANTS UNDER 1 YEAR: (Secret! Children under 1 year old do not need ANY toys! None at all. They need humans and something to suck and chew on, like their fingers and toes. But if you must….)

Wooden chew toy/rattle (1)
Soft ball (size of an adult fist)
2-3 silks to play peek a boo
1 soft cottony type stuffed thing to chew on, can be animal or shape
A special snuggly blanket for bed time
A nature table to observe

The above items plus……..
A set of wooden blocks (can be made by hand, or tree limbs that are smooth and splinter free, cut into rounds and sanded)
1 soft doll, no features, stuffed with wool, with doll cradle and blanket
Several soft balls
Baskets of smooth sticks, shells, nuts in the shell, stones
Stacking toys (there are wooden ones that are nice)
Small truck or car
Basket of silks, six or eight, in large squares for playing and dress up
3 stick crayons in red, yellow, blue and some sturdy paper for coloring
6 small board books, classics
1 nice picture on the wall
1 nice hanging hand made mobile

Same as above
Plus dress up capes and crowns
Stick horse is nice, jump rope
Play areas for pretend kitchen, pretend laundry area
Digging tools for the garden, seeds
Board games (2-3 at one time)
Crayons in eight colors
Water color paints in 3 colors (red, yellow, blue)
Beeswax for modeling, sewing kit with big needle
Playstands for creating homes, forts, pirate ships
Simply music instruments are nice: rattles, bells
Outdoor riding toys are enjoyed
Wagons, swings, ropes, small logs outside
1 doll with legs and arms, clothes for the doll
Small animals for playing, wooden shapes are nice
Often a small playhouse with furniture, all wood
Or a barn with horses, stalls, fences, etc. of wood
No more than 2 dozen books on shelf for a few months
Candle next to bed for lighting and night time song and story

Cards, dice
Board games for the age: checkers, chess, cribbage
Collectables (big age for starting collections)
Kits for building, tool sets that are real tools
Wood carving with supervision
Sewing kits
Knitting kits, wool, crochet sets and patterns
More paints, include pastels, chalk
Blackboard is nice for wall with chalk
Sport equipment as your family enjoys
Treasure box for rock collection
Often a more complex doll
Roller Skates, or blades
Bird watching kits, books
Excursions: Take them places!
Books on a shelf, family books, carefully selected for content
Binoculars, telescope, microscope
Magnifying glasses
Items that your child really desires and will take care of………

This is a only a partial list and I am sure more can be added as you think of your family and their needs. As time passes, the children will become more independent and the parental guidance loosens quite a bit. If we can help our children perceive that we can escape from the commercial/material treadmill that keeps so many sad captive people enslaved to both earning the money to purchase items and time sacrificed to maintain them, we are doing a good deed for the world and the future.

Tomorrow I will share my own children's toy collection, so please look out for 'Playtime Part Two' : )

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Hello Harvest Moon

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained
Psalm 8

We had a change from our usual bedtime routine today to enjoy the harvest moon. We had already enjoyed our traditional Harvest Moon Cake; & at bedtime we had supper, along with this lovely story: Hello Harvest Moon. We went upstairs, said our prayers, Rosie nursed & we waited as the sun began to set.

The, there it was! Our big friend, Harvest Moon! The girls pulled on warm clothes over their pajamas & we went outside to observe & sketch.

Rosie sketched in her nature journal, Elianna sketched in her new moon journal. Each evening, she will be making a quick sketch of the moon in her little book, just before she goes to bed. This is not something covered in Waldorf first grade (It is a later grade, but which one escapes me right now) but she loves to observe the moon - an old friend returning that she has missed over the light bedtimes of the summer months.
The first sketch was actually last months full moon, but we had to stay up especially late for that one : ) From now onwards, the moon is up at a realistic time for sleepy six year olds : )

Elianna's Sketch:

Rosie's Sketch:

I love how she captured exactly what she could see. When the moon first came up, it was partly hidden for her, because of her height.

Happy Harvest Moon to you all : )

Saturday, 3 October 2009

October's Circle Time

Our memory verse:

Hebrews 11:6:
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


Little robin readbreast sitting on a tree
He fell in love with little Jenny Wren
Dear little Jenny, I want to marry you.
Poor little Jenny she blushed quite red.

from A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme


I am a pumpkin, big & round. (hands above head in O )
Once upon a time I grew on the ground. (arms under chin)
Now I have a mouth, two eyes & a nose )point)
What are they for, do you suppose? (point out)
When I have a candle inside shining bright (‘twinkle’ fingers)
I’ll be a Jack-O-lantern on Hallowe’en night. (hand up)

From Autumn


Hurry little children, come along with me: (run around)
Come into the garden & shake the apple tree (mime)
I will shake the big ones, you can shake the small.
When we’ve filled our basket, (gather apples)
Home we’ll take them all, (stagger home)
Home we’ll take them all.

From The Singing Year

Math Facts:

We are learning to skip count - so far we have covered 2's & 3's. This month we are adding in 4's, hence why we dont say the whole poem.
(bean bag toss. Whisper numbers, shout the skip count numbers)

Arithmetic Verse:

There was a family strange indeed;
Each member had a peculiar speed
They could walk for half a day
Counting footsteps all the way.
Here they come,
Number One

I am proper, neat & prim
My walk is straight, my clothes are trim
That every one’s the same for me.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 (up to 24)

But my two steps are not the same.
For I must lean upon my cane
Although I’m bent & weak & old
I can still count with numbers bold
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (up to 24)

Im a lad, light & gay
And I’d much rather play
I can run with my ball
While the numbers I call
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (up to 24)

My step is strong
I’ll not go wrong
With all my might
Ill guard what is right
I’ll always know
How far to go
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

(from A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme

Action Song -

Tête, épaules, genoux, pieds
(Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)

Tête, épaules, genoux, pieds

Genoux, pieds (x2)

Les yeux, les oreilles, la bouche et le nez

Tête, épaules, genoux, pieds

Genoux, pieds

Recorder Practice will be 'Hot Cross Buns'

After circle time, our rhythm is such that my elder daughter makes a snack for both girls & my youngest daughter & I share a story. The story for the month of October will be "The little grey pony" From Autumn

Happy October!