Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Friday, September 29, 2006
Kai and Dylan had fun playing with the dough for a while, I read the Michaelmas Story from All Year Round, and then Erica and I shaped the dragons. :) We put the dragons in to bake and the kids played while Erica and I had tea. Well, Erica had tea--Dylan tripped over my tea, which I had so thoughtfully placed on the floor. :( The recipe said that the dragons should bake for 15-20 min, but maybe that was for smaller dragons. Our dragons, 1/2 the dough each, took about 30 min. I had to put them on the lower shelf of the oven so that they wouldn't burn on their ridged backs.
After playing for a while, we lit the cadles on the table and had lunch--vegetable soup and some Oat Bread that I had already made since the dragons weren't done yet. The boys really enjoyed spreading butter on their bread with the spreaders from Michael Olaf!
When we were finished eating, Dylan washed up his dishes and then the boys played for a while and Erica and I cleaned up the rest of the kitchen. We also talked about getting a weekly Waldorf Play Group going--I would love to do a little preschool day with imaginative play, lunch and hand work for the mamas, just like the Preschool at Sierra Waldorf School that my sister Maggie and her son Julian attend. Dylan enjoyed showing Kai the sweeper from Michael Olaf too. :) Then we cleaned up, I put Kai's dragon in a bag for later, and they went home. I'm already looking forward to the next play date!
The kids just woke up from their naps, and my parents are on their way to visit. We're going to go have story time while we wait for them, and then have "tea time."
In celebration of the old festival of Michaelmas (Sept. 29), it's fun to
make Dragon Bread, bread made in the shape of a dragon and decorated with
green sliced almond scales, raisin eyes, poppy seeds and sunflower seed
teeth. The ancient legend of St. George and the Dragon tells that St.
George, a noble knight, slew a dragon and saved a princess.
a.. 1 cup warm water
b.. 3 Tblspns. honey or sugar
c.. 1 Tblspn. yeast
d.. 4+ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat flour)
e.. 5 tsp. baking powder
f.. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
g.. 1 tsp. salt
h.. 1-1/2 sticks of butter, warmed
i.. Slivered and sliced almonds
j.. Sunflower seeds
l.. Green, yellow and/or red food coloring
1.. Combine water, honey (or sugar), and yeast.
2.. Combine 4+ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.. Cut in the butter.
4.. Add yeast and water and stir till stiff.
5.. Knead 5 minutes.
6.. Place dough on a cookie sheet, and shape into a dragon lying flat
7.. Decorate dragon with sunflower seeds or slivered almonds for teeth and
spikes, a raisin for an eye, and dyed yellow, green or red sliced almonds
8.. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes...probably longer! Check with a skewer or knife for doneness.
9.. Serve him for dinner!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Today was completely different. We had a really nice morning with a fun circle time that Dylan did NOT want to end. yeah, we're still telling the billy goats gruff story, but Dylan wants it to be like the 6 billy goats gruff. I am wondering when to change the story at this point, that time is not in sight at any rate. Then we did coloring with our beeswax stick crayons for 30 minutes! Then we hung our pictures on the wall by the toy shelves. Dylan helped me clean the downstairs bathroom--he loves spraying the (natural) cleaning solution, and get this--scrubbing the toilet! LOL. Then we had snack, Molly went down for her nap, Dylan and I had play time, and then we went to meet Jennifer and Bryce (almost 3y) at Michael Olaf!
It turns out that Michael Olaf is primarily a catalogue store, but they have open warehouse evenings for parents the 2nd Friday of every month. I was a little disappointed, but the lady in the office was really nice, and she said that if we didn't let the kids run around, we could go back with invoice forms and pick what we wanted while writing down the SKU and price! It was soooo cool! There were people back there filling orders with us. Dylan was a little angel. He listened, stayed close to me, and was so excited to show me all the cool items! He picked out a little enamel ware cup and a spreader (like a small butter knife) set of two. I also *broke* down and got a child's carpet sweeper, broom, , mope and apron and a beautiful cotton "Under the Nile" rug that was on sale from $32 to $15.
When we got home, Dylan helped me make lunch, wearing his new apron, by spreading Hummus on pita bread with his new spreader while I heated his cous cous and beans. He wanted soy milk, not juice(!) in his little blue enamel ware cup--think those blue and white camping mugs practically everyone has? And make it about a third the size. :) Molly had her Super poridge with banana and water in her cup. When we finished, Dylan washed his cup, plate and spreader, and then we went upstairs for nap. We sang baby beluga a few times and then they took about 45 min to get to sleep. I hate naps like that. Oh well, it couldn't be a perfect day! ;)
When Dylan woke up I had all of the ingredients out to make lentil-rice-tomato soup and Brown Bread (self edited Vegan version.) He put his apron on and went to work helping me pour..and lick the bowls clean. When the bread was in, we sat down for tea and scones--"tea time" is our new afternoon snack and we *all* love it! Jupe likes it on the weekends too. :D Then Dylan made a bee line for his carpet sweeper and ran around calling it a vacuum until Jupe came home from work. I left for school and that was our day.
I might not have mentioned before, I'm a born again Vegan. Okay, I went Vegetarian about 2 months ago and vegan 2 weeks ago. But I LOVE it. I've been told by several doctors and health professionals that I'm allergic to dairy, and that it can cause circles under eyes and moodiness--I have both. Well, since I've been off dairy, I've been a new person. More energy, WAY better moods, and a generally better attitude about life! I have been so happy...it's probably really annoying. Oh well. So I'm not positive that it's the no dairy thing *yet,* it could be just a strange bipolar episode or something. I'm giving it a month. If I'm stil feeling good in a few more weeks of no dairy, I'm going all Vegan. And the cooking is sooooo much fun! I haven't made the same thing twice yet. I happened to have a bunch of Vegetarian cook books around, although I'm not sure where they came from! But I've tweaked a ton of regular and veggie recipes to make them Vegan with great results. Turns out, in all of the cases I've tried, you really don't need milk, eggs OR butter!
Okay, this is getting long, but I wanted to leave the post with the recipes for the soup and bread we had tonight cause they were gooood.
2T Olive Oil
1 Med Onion (chopped)
1 C uncooked Lentils
1/2 C uncooked Rice (any)
4 C Water
1 can tomato paste or 1 C tomato puree
1 can diced tomatoes
salt to taste
pinch of dried basil
more water to desired thickness
Chop onion, saute in oil until golden. And lentils and rice, stir. Add water. Simmer covered until lentils and rice are done (30-40 min.) add tomato items, sald and basil. add water to thin if desired. Serve it up hot. :)
Vegan Brown Bread (adapted from Sunset Cookbook of Breads) makes one loaf
Tightly wrapped in the fridge, this bread stays fresh for several days.
3T Vegetable or Olive Oil
3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 C Soy Milk
2 C whole wheat of graham flour, unsifted
1 C all purpose flour (or more whole wheat flour)
1/2 C wheat germ
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C each of raising and chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Greast a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, beat (we mixed by hand with a wisk) oil and sugar together. Put lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and add soy milk up to the 2 Cup mark. Mix molasses and buttermilk into the sugar mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour(s) wheat germ, soda and salt until thoroughly blended. Add to buttermilk mixture and mix until completely combined. Stir in raisins and nuts. Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes, check for doneness w/ knife or skewer. Let cool in pan 10 min, turn onto a rack and cool completely.
Monday, September 25, 2006
I got my copy of All Year Round today, and I spent the evening drinking tea and eating Vegan Tapioca (I made the recipe up myself! recipe below) on the couch with the festivals, dreaming about how I'll bring the magic into our home and family life year round. My only small issue will be that I am not Christian. So I'm going to integrate some of the ideas w/ the Pagan Festivals.. more specifically with the natural changes of the seasons and stars.
Just before coming upstairs to blog and go to bed, in a moment of inspiration, I stacked another shelf on the nature table to baby proof it in leiu of Molly's mobile-pulling up phase. (She choked on a beautiful-red-and-orange-fall-maple-leaf this morning.) Then I re-decorated the nature table with Autumn colored silks and got rid of the dried up ferns. I put Molly and Dylan's babies into "bed" in one of the baskets, covered with mini-silks for blankets, and put the silk basket with the clips and the Redwood Rounds and felted balls--made by myself and various special people in our life--front and center to invite play. Now, if those darned drop shipped play stands will get here...! I'll try and take some pics tomorrow.
Oh! I also ordered some Beeswax Tapers from Natural Earth Farm--they have such good prices on beautiful hand dipped double tapers! I can't wait for the aroma to fill our house. Just thinking about it reminds me of hand dipping in 6th grade. mmmm. It is not easy to make nice smooth candles, let me tell you! mine were very lumpy, but I can't wait to try it again! :D Now I want to order some dipping wax. I need to slowwww dowwwn.
Back to the point of this post. I've been savoring every moment of bliss these days. This weekend was almost perfectly blissful. Today, my *moment* was during tea time, between Dylan whining for soy milk and crying because I didn't make a sandwich out of his grahm crackers and peanut butter at tea time. I mean, give me a break! I didn't put them together cause I thought he'd have a fit, and it'd be easier to put the together than take them apart. shows what the heck I know.
What is bliss though? How do we *get* it? I've felt blissful while sitting quietly; while breaking my back planting trees; playing with my children; talking with my husband; driving in my car; walking in a beautiful place! I never know when it will come, but I'm trying to find one small moment of bliss in each day. I'd like to come up with a definition of my own, because I like no nonsense order like that.
*yes, yes--sunshine, rainbows, everywhere!!* ;p
Anyway, may you have at least one moment of bliss today.
Recipe for Vegan Tapioca by Katie:
This tapioca tastes like the Fall Harvest version of Tapioca. :) Enjoy!
3T Tapioca pearls
2C Soy Milk
1T ground flax seeds
Mix tapioca, soy milk and flax seeds in a medium sauce pan, let sit all soak for a few minutes. Turn the burner on Med. heat and stir constantly until it comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir. Let sit for 20-25 minutes (it thickens as it cools.)
Pixievixen: i went to waldorf in northern cali for 7th & 8th grade. interesting experience. i really like a lot of the philosophies, but there are things i am less fond of. i dig the "less is more" aspect to the playroom and such, and a lot of the daily routines... the delaying reading thing bothers me, as i was a really early reader because i ASKED to learn, and anjolie is well on her way to that as well... and i also saw the sort of long-term effects of that... kids learning simple grammer, like basic sentence diagramming in 8th grade (when i'd previously learned it in 4th & 5th?)... made the transition to regular high school pretty bumpy (our waldorf only went to 8th grade).
again, i really dig a lot of it, but i'd likely implement other things to adapt it more to her personal needs. unfortunately i don't see myself being able to continue being a stay-at-home momma... so she'll have to actually attend a school soon... and i doubt i can afford waldorf on my own, we'll see. i have been planning to undertake a big overhaul of the playroom when we move though... i figure the transition will be easier in an all new room. plus, i want to simplify & make the change known before birthday & christmas come along & the plastic crap floods in.
Me: I do think that you should follow your child's cues (it must be that AP mind set ;) and if they are ready to read, I say by all means!
For me, learning to read came mostly from reciting books that my mom and dad read to me. I don't remember it ever being hard or anyone ever actually TEACHing me, beyond the alphabet and sounds in Kindergarten (public school.) I started Waldorf School in 4th grade, and could already read well, so I mostly read at home, and wrote for main lesson books, etc. I think the poetry and song recitation in the Waldorf Curriculum also fostered my excellent memory, instinct for wording and grammar, and helped with reading too. I guess I was lucky, and I'm not sure how Dylan will be, but I guess we'll see.
The way I see it, Waldorf should be like anything else: take what you love, scrap the rest. I also think that Waldorf Schools vary drastically in their implementation of the philosophy. Our school was very relaxed, but I've heard of ridged schools that sounded a little scary.
Right now, I'm only planning to preschool and maybe kindergarten Dylan at home. Then, we'll continue to do the "magic" and fantasy of Waldorf at home, but he'll probably go to a Waldorf School, and I'll need to research and feel out the schools to steer clear of the "scary" ones. ;) I'm hoping that we'll be moving up to Oregon by then, and I am thinking of starting Waldorf Teacher Education. Then I can get free tuition for the kids, and be there all day if they need me. I know that's not for a lot of ppl, but lately, I can see myself doing it after I graduate with my BS! I never would have guessed that I'd say that back when I graduated from Waldorf School. LOL.
I am lucky to have a very understanding family and friends, and I'm hoping that putting up a "wish list" will help them give gifts when they feel that they are apropriate. Otherwise, we'll probably donate maintstream toys. :) I know this sounds extreme, but for now, I really want to keep it to simple nature toys. I think that's what's best for our family.
Pixievixen: i grew up spending a lot of time with my grandparents... and my grandmother had taught (special needs children specifically) for years. at the age of two i was taking the books and saying "III read it!". between that & other signs of readiness, my grandmother pulled out some of her teaching supplies & taught me to read. there was never any pressure, i was itching to learn it.
i don't believe kids should be pressured to read early if they aren't ready, but i knew second graders who could barely read... that seems a bit much. anjolie & i have been working on letters lately. we tested the waters for about 6 months before it really clicked, but there was never any pressure. she is constantly asking what things say now & wanting to learn. i think that listening to your own child's cues is always the key, no matter what school your child is in. as parents, its our job to meet all the needs that schooling cannot.
i wish i knew someone close to me with the same beliefs about education who would be willing to take on anjolie while i had to work. it would be mutually beneficial i think, allowing anjolie the benefit of a more personal ly tailored daily rhythm & helping another stay at home momma to be able to afford her lifestyle comfortably. maybe i can find that when i move... we'll see.
my family is really pretty good about sticking to things that fit our needs, so hopefully that will continue. i already make waldorf dolls and little flower faeries.. i am hoping to supplement my income by selling some of those, giving me more time at home with miss anjolie.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
- Big ticket item: A Stone Hand Grinder **I'm eying a few "wheat grinders" on ebay too. :)**
- From our friendly local Montessori Store, Michael Olaf (pdf)
*Snack preperation set or any of its pieces
*Set of small wooden bowls
- Beeswax Taper Candles
- Candle holders (2 nice holders for tapers on the dining room table, 2 silver or stone plates for 3" diameter pillars.)
- Large Play Silks for decorating Dylan's room and play area
- regular size silks, silks and more silks!! ;)
- Crystals and cool stonesPestle & Mortar
- Knitting yarn, #4
- nice pastel solid color flannels for hand-sewing projects
- Wool batting
- Book: The Vegetarian Child
- Katie's Waldorf Book Wishlist
- a children's Folk songs CD.
- Dylan and Molly's children's book wishlist
Good children's books are always a cherished gift! We prefer non-TV/character oriented books.
We had a full and purposeful couple of days. We made Dylan's wooden playthings, lovingly scavenged from the Redwoods, cut, ground and sanded by Mama and Daddy, and termed "Redwood Rounds" by Daddy. :)
We also kept with our routine from last week so that Daddy could get the hang of it, and everything has been going harmoniously. ;) Jupe and I are working on remembering the new "habits," like always going peepee and washing hands before eating, telling Dylan that it's time to wash his dishes before he leaves the table (and makes a beeline for the playthings or the door!) but we're getting there, and I just love the way things are going.
Our new playthings:
- Colorful play silks in 3 sizes
- Shells, pinecones and stones
- Redwood staffs and arches that we found in the Sequoia Park, cut and sanded smooth with Daddy's help this weekend.
- "Redwood Rounds," (term coined by Jupe) that are slices from Redwood branches of different widths.
- 8 wood play clips to use with the silks and/or stands
- a "knot" doll for Molly and a "rag" doll for Dylan, made by mama.
**Photos to come**
So far, Dylan loves the new playthings, he has shown so much imagination in the last week or so with these things! He hasn't asked for ONE of the missing toys except for the Thomas Train. Acutally, he hasn't asked for that in a few days...I'm curious to see if he will miss them or continue to find new things to do with his new toys that teach.
I wake up at about 5:30 or 6, hopefully before the kids are awake. I take a shower and then Dylan wakes up. We get coffee and Dylan's banana and head upstairs for coffee and family time in bed. Then I get dressed, and get the kids dressed. **You would be amazed at how much more time I have and how smoothly the morning goes if I'm showered and dressed with the kids dressed before we go down to have breakfast!**
We go downstairs and I make Jupe's lunch for him to take to work. Jupe showers and gets dressed, the kids play in the living room. Then I make breakfast and we all sit down and eat together, unless it's one of the days Jupe has to leave early.
Jupe leaves for work, Dylan and I wash the breakfast dishes and Dylan plays at the sink for a while.
Then we have Circle time:
our autumn 3 billy goats gruff circle
We put a colorful silk on the floor with a candle in the center and various natural items like pinecones, stones, leaves, etc. Lately Dylan really loves to hear "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," so we have 3 pinecones of 3 different heights, a blue colored mini silk as the stream underneath a curved piece of bark that serves as the bridge, and a knobby stick that is the Troll. We light the candle (Dylan likes to blow out the match) and we sing morning verse:
Good Morning, dear earth; Good Morning, Dear sun!
Good Morning dear stones and flowers every one!
Good Morning dear busy bees and birds in the tress!
Good Morning to you and Good Morning to me!
Then I tell the story--I do plan on changing the story periodically, but I think it's good for Dylan (at this age) to get to know one story for a while so that he can think about it and learn it and not be confused by lots of other story images--then Dylan blows out the candle and we put the circle things away on the Nature table, which will change now and then but currently holds ferns, shells, stones, pinecones, fall leaves and four little elves that I made from felt and wool.
Our first Paintings
After story, we do some sort of hand work or art activity. This week we did painting, coloring, playdough (since we don't have modeling beeswax yet) and cooking corn muffins (two days.)
Then we have free play or outside time while Molly taks her morning nap.
Then it's house work time--just one "chore" a day, we try to make it fun.
We sit and read a book before we wash hands and have snack. I think reading a story makes the transition from play to sitting and eating a lot easier. After snack, we wash our dishes and clean up the food, and get ready for our morning outing. (at this point, it's about 10 or 10:30.)
Our outings are usually play group, mommy and me preschool, grocery shopping, trips to the farmer's market, play dates and/or trips to the park.
We come home from our outing around noon. We wash hands and make lunch together, then sit down and eat. Afterwards we clean up and wash our dishes and then go upstairs to read a book and have nap time.
After nap, Dylan is usually a little clingy and grumpy, so we do another circle story time and then we wash hands and have tea with a snack.
After snack we have free play and then either go outside to play, or jogging (and then to the park,) or out to town again, depending.
We try to be home by 4:30 or 5 to make dinner, Dylan helps and then we have a story or play while it cooks. I also usually fold laundry at this time.
We have dinner between 5:30 and 6.
Please see this link to WaldorfHomeschoolers.com for an eloquent overview of Waldorf Phylosophies:excerpt:
"...Waldorf Method of Education strives to awaken and ennoble capabilities, rather than to merely impose intellectual content on the child. Learning becomes much more than the acquisition of quantities of information... learning becomes an engaging voyage of discovery of the world, and of oneself.
Steiner maintained that the materialism underlying modern life was disastrous. He urged his followers to awaken to the spiritual origin of nature and destiny of the human being...A Waldorf Education is meant to be the beginning of a life long love of learning."
So. We've started a Waldorf Preschool routine at our house. We've been at it for a week, and it's very busy, fun and exhausting. Each day this week has been so full of meaningful things! I love the routine. We have circle time with a candle each morning, and after the morning verse, Dylan insists on his new favorite story, "The three Billy Goats Gruff" in which I use 3 pinecones as goats, a knotty stick as a troll, and a curved piece of bark as a bridge over a blue-silk stream. He loves the candle, and loves the lighting of it almost as much as when he gets to blow it out! He hasn't mastered sitting still around the candle, so I have to stop the story fairly often to keep him from flailing into the candle in "fear" when the troll comes out from under the bridge and roars! :)
Dylan helps me with everything from folding laundry to sweeping and vacuuming, and the best new habit I'm starting? Getting him to wash his own dishes every time he's finished eating. Even snack! And the great part about it is that he really likes it. He says he's done, so I tell him it's time to wash his dishes. He dumps his plate in the trash (he actually got mad at Jupe for eating his leftovers today because it "goes in the trash!" heh. and then we pull a chair over to the sink and he washes. He usually wants to play for about 15 minutes at the sink too, so I try to leave time for that before we have to go anywhere.
Okay, we're working on making DYlan wooden log-pieces and staffs to play with, so we need to go outside. I'll put up some pictures of our adventures soon.
I'll leave you with a link to the most helpful Waldorf Resource Site I've found, Waldorfhomeschoolers.com. I'm still wading through the wonderful articles and I find something inspiring there every day!