Monday, November 11, 2013

Native American Field Trip and Martinmas Lanterns

Today was a good, full day.  The girls are usually off from school on Election Day but our town has recently changed that and the schools were open this year.  When I heard a local homeschool group was going to do the Native American Program at New Pond Farm this day, I decided it would be fine for the girls to play a little hookie.  We've done this field trip before and it is so wonderful.  It's also educational so I have no problem with them doing things like this once in awhile to supplement their learning.  

Once again, we learned about the Woodland Indians that used to occupy the woods of where we live.  It is amazing to learn how they survived the very cold winters and conditions that this area can bring.  We realized that they had no choice but to utilize animal skins and furs to keep warm and eat.

Their homes may not seem to be sturdy from these photos but they were not moved by Hurricane Sandy last year - not one bit of damage.  

The children really enjoyed going inside the Wigwam.  It was interesting to them how close the people slept next to each other and how they kept an indoor fire to keep warm in the center.  

We learned how the Woodland Indians cooked their food, warmed their maple syrup and invented cornbread.  This was the part of the trip the girls were looking forward to the most.  They love eating the cornbread next to the fire.  It was good!

 Today is also Martinmas or The Feast of St. Martin.  St. Martinwas said to be a man of peace and generosity.  He did not want to fight but obeyed the law and served in the military as he was required to.  He took the earnings he made as a solider and gave it to needy families.  One story tells of how he cut his own cloak in half to warm a homeless beggar on the street who was Christ in disguise.  Martin of Tours is the patron saint of soldiers so it is a fitting day to share with Veterans.  
One of my former daycare children came to visit with us tonight.  Her family is moving to Maine and her parents used the evening to get some packing done.  Boy do I miss working with children like this.  We made special lanterns to celebrate Martinmas, ate dinner together and the kids played together so nicely.  She is like family from so many years growing up in my home and I will be so sad to see her family leave as they've become good friends too.  Bittersweet feelings tonight have left me feeling a bit emotional.  A lot of thoughts on my mind.
So my girls are in bed, I've lit our little lanterns, made some tea and I'm allowing myself to sulk a little while before I go to sleep.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Breathing In Autumn

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

The harvest of our garden is winding down.  I did not plant an Autumn crop as I had wanted to but that is not stopping us from fully experiencing the sweet essence of this time of year.  I was able to get three of these little corn husk kits on the Waldorf Tag Sale group for a good price.  In times past, we have made our own corn husk dolls with husks from corn we used for meals.  The process is the same and fun either which way although I think it is much more worthwhile for the children to see the process from start to finish and how all parts of a crop can be used in its entirety without waste.

There are just so many ways to enjoy this time of year.  My mind fills up daily with so many of them.  Apple picking, pumpkin picking, hayrides, leaf collecting... Oh yes, caramel apples...  
Pumpkin painting (yes - it is a pirate pumpkin that Maia created!)...
And Autumn fires... this past weekend, we were lucky enough to enjoy one with some of our dearest friends. We had a big pot of chili, cornbread, bundled up, enjoyed a few drinks and made s'mores with the children.  Each weekend should be filled with laughter and friends that that.  I'm grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nature Swap Across the Nation

A group of mamas on my Waldorf Tag Sale group on Facebook have come together to do a Nature Swap across the country.  Everyone collected nature items from their locations and mailed them to me here in Connecticut.
The items are breathtakingly amazing.  Things I have never seen before put together and mailed out with such love and intention.

 From all over the United States and even one swapper in Canada.

 It's like a collective energy of love for the natural world coming together on one little table in my home.

The amount of time it is taking to organize each package is well worth it.  I try to close my eyes and imagine all of the participants opening their packages at the same time as they see all of the beautiful treasures inside that they can use to teach their children and decorate their nature tables with.

If you would like to be a part of our next Nature Swap, make sure you are a member of the Little Acorn Learning Facebook Page as well as the Waldorf Tag Sale Facebook Page for details.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Autumn Leaf Photo Contest

Each month I host a photo contest over on the Little Acorn Learning Facebook Page with a special theme that correlates to the season we are enjoying.  For October, I chose 'Autumn Leaves' this year and I am so pleased that I did.  The submissions have been nothing less than breathtaking and we've had great participation from our online community.  

Today is the last day that we will accept submissions.  The winners of the contest will receive a free e-book of their choice from Little Acorn Learning.  In order to vote for your favorites, all you have to do is click the ones you "like" the best.  Votes will be tallied after today and we will announce the winners on the page.  

Pop on over and take a look at the beautiful colors of autumn our members have shared!  


Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Art of Apple Picking

Ten Rosy Apples High in a Tree
Safely Hiding Where No One Can See
When the Wind Goes Rocking To and Fro
Ten Rosy Apples to the Ground Must Go.


Each year we go to the same local orchard to pick our own apples and each year the girls love it more than before.  These are the things that I love so much about autumn.  I love how the air is cool and comfortable and the beautiful colors that appear.  I love the freshness of apples, squash, pumpkins and corn.  I just couldn't imagine living someplace without a true autumn.  I wish it was like this year round.

We're not too sure what Mother Nature had in mind when she made this apple :)  I leave that to your imagination.  My girls decided to call it a Heiny Apple.  Ha! 

Up in the Apple Tree
High Off the Ground
I See An Apple
So Big and Round
I Climb Up the Tree
And Hold on Tight
I Pick that Apple
And Take a Bite!

Now what can we do with all of these apples?  

Apple Pie
Apple Crisp
Carmel Apples
Apple Cake
Apple Slices

Any other ideas?