Friday, September 28, 2012

Giveaway Winner!!!!

Congratulations to Happy Whimsical Hearts for winning a FREE copy of Valarie Budayr's new book The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!


Happy Whimsical Hearts said...
We actually just started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together this week! We read all snuggled together on my 4 year old son's bed - sweet times :-)

Dragon Bread Contest for Michaelmas!

Oh we have something FUN to help you all celebrate Michaelmas (tomorrow)!!!
~Dragon Bread Photo by Sara Wilson as Published in our Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book.

In an effort to encourage you to bake with your children, we are holding a Most Ferocious Dragon Bread Contest over on the Little Acorn Learning Facebook Group

Win a FREE Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival Guide from Little Acorn Learning.

Michaelmas is tomorrow!!!!! To celebrate we are hosting the Most Ferocious Dragon Bread Contest on the Little Acorn Learning Facebook Page. Our contributing nutritionist Tanya Carwyn inspired the idea from a running joke we have together on the "ugliest" dragon (bread). :)

Would you like to play and bake along?

To enter:

*Bake Dragon Bread w
ith your children and send no more than 2 photos of your masterpiece to info@littleacornlearning.com

Here's an easy recipe:
http://loveinthesuburbs.com/wordpress/dragon-bread-for-michaelmas

We will post all of our entries on the Facebook Group and at 8 p.m. EST tomorrow night we will ask our followers to click the ones they 'LIKE' best! Likes will be tallied up and our winners will receive a FREE Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book from Little Acorn Learning!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Native American Field Trip

 
Today my girls had the day off of school and I wanted to find something fun for us to do.  I have been wanting to take a ride up to the Institute for American Indian Studies for a very long time and finally had the chance to check it out today.  
While the museum is small, the girls had so much fun.  There are many exhibits and also an outdoor area set up as a village.  We were excited to see many different corn husk dolls around just as we make each autumn at home together.  

 Native Americans lived in such a mindful and spiritual way.  A way that I wish our society would embrace.  My heart hurts when I think of the pain and suffering their people went through and I do my best to explain these things to my girls as truthfully and tenderly as possible.
The handwork and art were so beautiful - you could look at one piece for so long and find something new in it over and over again.  And there is such meaning behind so much of what we saw.  I do not have a photo to share but there was an infant cradle board and on it were carvings of the tribe's family tree - with symbols to represent the males and females that were born in that generation.  
I love watching my daughters learn new things and be excited through the entire process.  They were voluntarily reading and absorbing new information and interestingly enough Brianna, who is just six years old, remembered facts from our last Woodlands Indian Field Trip with a local homeschool group and shared them with us as we were walking around this new place.  I really was so surprised how much she remembered - more than I did.  It was wonderful.  
 It was a great day with just me and my girls.  We missed having Dee with us.  I think I will take her up there when she comes home in October for a visit.  I think she would really like it.  
 There are many programs and events we can attend.  I found this beautiful Harvest Festival prayer in one of the pamphlets there and I just love it. 
The children's room had a questionnaire and a map for the children to learn more about the American terrain.    The girls spent a very long time finding all of the correct answers (to win a free maple syrup pop) - this is a perfect example of what I meant by my created term "Waldorf Afterschooling".  I hope these experiences that we fill our free time up with will stay with the girls as they grow older and help to bring some holistic learning into their public school educational experience.  
Isn't this owl beautiful?  I would love to create something like it at home.  Maybe inspiration for one of my e-books?
 At the end of our visit, the girls got a souvenir each.  Maia got a sling-shot!  She is going to use it on a simple target - not animals, of course.  
 On our ride home, we pulled over to a local farmers market.  He had horse and cows outside and the girls really loved looking at them.  The horse wanted to come to us when he saw us.  I think he was hungry. 

 We brought home a special winter squash to enjoy one night with dinner.  The colors are so beautiful I think that we may keep it on our nature table for awhile first for decoration.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory GIVEAWAY!

I am so excited to announce my dear friend Valarie Budayr's new book The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!  

Valarie has agreed to offer one Little Acorn Learning blog follower a FREE book.  Just post in our comments section below telling us your favorite place to snuggle and read with your children in your home or school before Friday, September 28th at 8 p.m. EST and we will select a winner randomly utilizing a random number generator.  

If you just can't wait and want to go ahead and get started - now is the time!  They are having an offer this week on the pdf version of Charlie. Normally $14.95 this week until September 30th it's $9.95. Just use the code word OFFER.  Here's the link: http://ultimateguidetocharlie.com/purchase-options/  At this link people have the option to buy either the pdf or iTunes version.


Come along on a journey into one of the most beloved children's books of all times. The Golden Tickets have been found!!!! For one day the lucky ticket finders will be able to visit the infamous Mr. Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

The Ultimate Guide To Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is just that - A Guide. A step by step roadmap to a magical world the whole family can enjoy:

  • Over 20 Crafts and Activities that not only entertain, but educate. Ever wonder where chocolate comes from? Or how gum is made? Conduct experiential activities in the areas of crafting, cooking, and game-playing as well as exploring many facets of candy production.
  • A story filled with beautiful graphic illustrations including tantalizing Treasure Maps and vibrant tutorials.
  • A chance to “meet” original Willy Wonka author himself, Roald Dahl.
  • The option to take Charlie's journey over the course of several days or take shorter journeys if you wish.
  • The creation of a new ritual of reading time with your family and the opportunity to experience the reading of this imaginative tale as a group activity, not a solitary event.
Re-awaken the passion and idea of “jumping” inside the pages of this book with the knowledge that each chapter is a gateway into a magical world.

Threadfollower Giveaway Winner!!!

Congratulations to DaffodilAngel for winning a FREE hand-stitching pattern of her choice in our Threadfollower Giveaway!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Off the Needles and Onto the Hook

The coming of autumn brings football season into my home (and a missing husband) and so, knitting and crocheting become my way to keep busy and prepare for the cold months ahead.  Autumn in New England is so beautiful and it is truly my favorite time of year.   My first project of the season was a very simple autumn cowl made with some yarn my best friend and I picked up at our local yarn store.
 Knitting is a perfect way to spend the time when the children are playing outside or napping and because I only watch a small amount of TV, its a great way for me to relax after I put the girls to bed.
 This pattern in particular was really very simple.  Just a ribbed pattern on circular needles.   
But it worked up very quick and it is a nice way to keep warm as it gets cooler.  Today our temps in Connecticut are only reaching the low 60's.  


With one easy project finished and the new-found yarn I scored at the farm we had Brianna's birthday party at this past weekend, I quickly jumped onto Ravelry to see what I could create with this purple wool yarn.
The yarn wasn't labeled of course so for the first time I checked the wpi (wraps per inch) to be sure that it was indeed worsted weight and find a pattern that worked.  I actually prefer crocheting to knitting but I do not often come across as many patterns that I like until I found this on one of my Ravelry searches:
Patricia Hobson's beautiful crochet pattern for this Ladies Vest with Ribbed Edging is just perfect:
Isn't it beautiful?  So now, I have begun working on that and hopefully my nice purple yarn will soon turn into something warm and cozy for myself.
Stay tuned.  

What are you working on?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Equinox Birthday Celebration

Today as we welcomed the first day of Autumn, my family and I celebrated Brianna's 6th birthday with her friends from school at a local farm.  

The party began with the instructor talking to the children about the various animals on the farm and explaining all of the ins and outs of the farm itself. The little girls are at such a cute age and they are so genuinely interested in our earth and the animals.  I believe it is just so important that they are taught where their food comes from and how nature works.  That is why I try my hardest to expose our daughters and other children that come into our life with hand-on experiences like this to inspire a love for nature and a true connection to the world they live in.  
Something as simple as understanding what is involved in getting the milk they put into their cereal each morning is so valuable to them as they grow up.  The instructor talked about how the cows that produce dairy on their farm are all girls because they must have a calf first before their body will make milk.  These little things many children these days do not even know.  And as an adult, I couldn't help but think of what a huge sacrifice we are asking from these animals.  It really stuck with me throughout the day.
 The children were able to brush the cow.
And I was able to watch them in their natural state, seeing that they show compassion and playfulness with one another.  I am not a vegetarian... I want to be but it is so hard for me.  My oldest daughter is and I admire her for sticking with it since she was 13.  After seeing the animals, I always go home and cannot eat meat for a few days.  I think if we all had to see what was involved with us getting meat on a frequent basis, many of us would reconsider what we were eating each day.  But in our world, we just go to the supermarket and purchase a steak without even considering where it came from.
Next we were able to visit the sheep and talk about wool and its uses.  I am a knitter and crocheter so I think I may have been even more excited about this party than Brianna was.  The sheep are so beautiful.  I would just love to have a few of my own :)
 When we went back to the classroom, each child was given a piece of wool of their own.
 They used hand carders to comb the wool and prepare it for spinning.
Then they just used a simple hook with a partner and twisted and spun until a simple strand of yarn was made to create a simple bracelet to take home.
Brianna loved her party and had so much fun with her little friends.  I think the children enjoyed a new experience.  
And when I was paying the bill in the office I noticed that they were selling skeins of wool yarn from the sheep at the farm!  I couldn't resist and ended up with 600+ yards of this beautiful purple yarn.  What should I make?
Happy Autumn to all of you!  I hope to share more of what we do to celebrate this special season this week on the blog here.

xoxo

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple Mother Winner!!!

Congratulations to Tree from The Enchanted Tree for winning the beautiful Apple Mother created for our Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book.  The winner was selected using a random number generator.  Thank you all for participating! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Best Days


The summer days are coming to an end and our little playgarden has been savoring the last sweet moments of it the best we can before autumn arrives.  There has been so many amazing nature experiences we've shared together in our garden, in the backwoods and our playspace.


Our garden is finally producing some yummy vegetables for us to enjoy such as celery, tomatoes, squash, green beans, cucumbers, carrots, melon, watermelon and our very first pumpkin!
The children and I hope to enjoy this magical pumpkin in time for Halloween.  Yesterday in the garden we noticed that the top of it was turning a beautiful shade of orange and that only added to the excitement.  I dream of one day growing all of our own food but the truth is that each year we make very slow progress.  With such a busy life, I find it difficult to spend as much time as I would like tending to the garden and I'm learning as I go.  In either case, these small strides are exciting and we are already talking about what we would like to grow for next year and what we should do differently and keep the same to yield good results (and plenty of food)!


The daycare children are very busy and I am so lucky to have such sweet girls to spend my days with.  There is nothing better than being able to work from my own home doing something that I believe to be so very important in the world we live in today and I strive to keep their days simple, free and full of warmth and love.

I miss my own girls tremendously while they are at school but they are all doing so well and love their teachers.  Brianna, in particular, has experienced tremendous growth this summer - she learned how to dive off of the diving board, has become less nervous around new people and lost a few teeth as well.  She is doing so well in her Kindergarten class this year and I'm so happy that the anxiety she was going through last year has subsided.
When the girls get home from school they cannot wait to play with the daycare children.  They are such wonderful helpers and are so sweet and nurturing to the little ones.  It is a really wonderful experience for both the young children and the older children to share each other in this way and it creates almost a "sibling" environment for the daycare children to embrace when they are in my care.
 In between caring for the children, I have been trying to fill my days with good books, knitting and working on my writing for Little Acorn Learning.  My co-writer and I just completed another e-book to help parents and teachers bring the beautiful autumn festivals and Michaelmas into their homes and schools this month.  I have already begun planning my own special ways to celebrate with both the daycare children and my own family.
 Most of all I'm working on trying to simplify my home and my life the best way I can with all that I have going on.  I've scaled back on various volunteer roles and have done a major declutter and purge of our home.  Now that my own children are older, I feel like I have a bit more time to focus on some of the things that had to take a backseat for the last few years.  I'm also committing to get into better shape and continue to work on being more mindful of my diet.  

And so, our little life is full of all these sweet moments and each day I find myself remembering something my grandmother told me before she died when I was still a young mother "Remember kid, these are the best days of your life.  It may not seem like it now but one day you will look back on these moments you are living and yearn to have them back.  Enjoy them while you can.".

And so I do.