Monday, December 21, 2015

Celebrate the Winter Solstice and Win a Free E-Book By Sharing Your Ideas!

The Winter Solstice is here and I love looking back on some of the beautiful ways we have celebrated this special equinox as well as many of the beautiful ideas included in our winter e-books at Little Acorn Learning.

Over the upcoming months, the sun will climb higher, our days will become longer and filled with more warmth.  The solstice is a wonderful time to try to slow down and be more mindful of what is going on both in the world around you as well as deep inside of you.  This is something I really need to focus on in my own life as well.

There are beautiful poems, stories and books you can share with the children during this magical festival.  Some of my favorite books to share are:

       

Here are some of my old favorites to help you celebrate this special time.  There are many more beautiful ideas, recipes, songs, books, meditations and more in our winter books on our website as well as on our blog.

Make a Winter Nature Table (as explained in our Winter Festivals E-Book)
Photo by Sara Wilson
Winter Garland (as in the December 5 Day Guide and on our blog):


Solstice Spinners (detailed instructions in our Winter Festivals E-Book):




Make a Yule Log (in our December Enrichment Guide):



Roast Chestnuts


Bake Sun Bread (December 5 Day Guide):



Make Solstice Crowns (Winter Festivals E-Book):

Photo by Sara Wilson
Make a Solstice Wish (King Winter E-Book):


Make Cinnamon Cocoa (December Enrichment Guide):

Photo by Kristine Brown
Snow Candles


What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate this beautiful festival?

Post your idea in comments and we will pick a random winner tomorrow evening the 22nd to win a free winter e-book of their choice from Little Acorn Learning!

Be sure to check back here as we will announce the winner on our blog!

Solstice Blessings xoxo






Thursday, December 3, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Stoli

This past week we had to say goodbye to Stoli... our puppy who followed me around every moment of the day and sat by my side through all of it, good and bad, for the last 14 years.
The house is emptier now. His spot next to my bed and where I sit in the living room is empty. I still brace myself before coming home because it's so hard not to have him greet me with excitement like he always did. I wish someone would have warned me about that.. it was the hardest the first time. I know it seems silly to be this upset over an animal but him and I had a special connection and it's hard to let him go.

It's amazing to me how much love we have for the animals we share our lives with. They give such unconditional love and comfort. I wish humans could be the same way.
At the end, he was suffering in many ways - one of the most difficult ways was night time dementia.  Not only was I getting woken up caring for him every 15-20 minutes but he was confused and upset and doing things that were strange and unlike him.  It was upsetting to me and I think also to him. I feel he was afraid.  

The funny thing is that the first night he was gone, I should have been able to get a good night sleep for the first night in months... but I couldn't sleep a wink without him by my side.
Time heals and I know it will get easier but I miss my boy and I'm so sad to not be able to share more of this life with him.
We said our goodbyes and there will be a void that no other animal can fill - it's his alone. I fed him his favorite forbidden food, pistachio nuts, and we had a gentle vet come to the house to put him to sleep. 
Before he left, I clipped some of his fur to keep when I miss him and just want to touch him again. I know it seems silly or maybe over-the-top and I'm sure a lot of people think I'm crazy... but it helps me. 
 
I keep trying to visualize him here like he used to be so I don't forget... but even with only a few days without him, it slips from you a bit. It's hard to keep the picture in your head just right. I'm grateful for photos to help with that.  (don't worry he's only sleeping in the next photo)...
So, time goes forward and life keeps moving. I keep thinking where has he gone? I try to hold onto faith that there is something more for all of us after this life. It goes by all too soon. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The First Light of Advent...Remaining Hopeful

 The first light of Advent,
It is the light of Stones,
Stones that live in crystals,
Seashells and our bones.
 In Waldorf Education the first light of Advent represents stones. A pretty way to recognize this at home is to decorate your advent wreath with small gems, pebbles, shells, crystals or even a photo or sample of your child’s birthstone. For wonderful ways to celebrate the beautiful time of Advent and the festival of St. Nicholas Day, be sure to check out our e-book.

Today we attended a beautiful tradition at our church and made homemade advent wreaths with other parishioners. It is an event that I wanted to attend in previous years but our schedules never allowed. I am go glad we made the decision as a family to stay at this church. Recently I considered going back to the religion of my childhood, but after beginning the transition it became very clear that what we were searching for was already right where we were. Church for us should  be a second home, a place to connect to God, a place to feel connected to our community but MOST of all, a place that welcomes us and others with open arms no matter where we are on our paths. Just as we believe Jesus does.
Our days have been full of preparing for the holiday season. It's been a time of family and warmth and I'm grateful that the holidays can pull us together like this. I was also grateful that my oldest daughter was home from college and could be a part of all of our family time.

We made paper snowflakes (nowadays they have cool templates online to make it easier!)
 We decorated our tree and I made the girls take the obligatory 'decorating the tree together' photo (don't they look so natural?)
We put up our Christmas Village. My mother-in-law gave me each and every piece to this amazing village. It takes a full afternoon to get just right but it's really worth it and the girls love it so much. They look forward to finding each familiar piece and helping me to decide how our North Pole Village should look.
They each decorated their rooms with leftover Christmas lights and their own special little tree.
And we helped one another decorate the outside of the house. Their dad did most of the work to be fair. It really looks beautiful and took all weekend to get done. 
As we have been taught, the first week of Advent is for HOPE. 

So, as we blow out our first advent candle this evening, I make a wish that all of us remain hopeful.  Hopeful for ourselves.  Hopeful for our loved ones.  And most of all, hopeful for our world.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Advent Countdown Giveaway - Day FIVE - Buy the Advent E-Book and Get the Winter Festivals E-Book 1/2 OFF!

Today is Small Business Saturday and Advent is TOMORROW!  What a perfect time to offer you a special Advent Countdown gift from our small family business to your family today!
My girls and I have put out the homemade Advent Spiral Board that we made years ago and we are very excited!  The tutorial to make this project at your home is in our Advent and St. Nicholas E-Book as well as so many other fun and creative ways to celebrate these special festivals with your children.
The Winter Festivals is FULL of so many beautiful ideas for all of the winter celebrations heading our way in the upcoming weeks!  For today only, when you purchase the Advent and St. Nicholas E-Book you get the Winter Festivals E-Book 1/2 OFF (a $24.99 value for only $12.50!)

So you get two amazing festival e-books for only $37.49

To take advantage of this offer CLICK HERE

We hope you have a wonderful start to your Advent season and enjoy this special gift from our family to yours!  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Advent Countdown Giveaway - DAY FOUR - Caregiver's Calendar for FREE - One Day Only!

Today is Black Friday.  It's something that I do not usually participate in as I prefer to support the idea that the holidays do not have to be based around mindless shopping and consumerism.

Because I'm sensitive about this day, I wanted to offer something mindful for you rather than play into the buy-spend-purchase mentality that is surrounding us right now.

So, today's Advent Countdown Giveaway will be a copy of our Caregiver's Calendar for FREE!  



It is the 2015 Caregiver's Calendar BUT it is filled with an entire year of ideas, suggestions and special ways to be a more mindful parent or teacher with your children and can be used no matter what the day or year.  It is a value of $9.99.  Enjoy this special gift by clicking HERE!

THIS is what I prefer to find most important during the holidays... precious time and memories made with those we love.

If you enjoy this calendar, keep your eyes open for our 2016 Caregiver's Calendar which will be released soon.

xoxo

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Advent Countdown Giveaway *DAY THREE* - $10 OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER!

Happy Thanksgiving from Little Acorn Learning!

We will make this offer QUICK as there is a lot to do in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner over here still!

Today's Advent Countdown Giveaway is $10.00 OFF your TOTAL order at Little Acorn Learning!

You can put it toward any item(s) you want upon checkout!  What a great opportunity to try out some of our seasonal e-books in your home or school.  Just use Coupon Code - TENOFFTURKEY upon checkout!

Use the discount for any items but this time of year we especially recommend the following e-books:

December Kindergarten Program
December Enrichment Program
Advent and St. Nicholas E-Book
Winter Festivals E-Book
Winter Childcare Menu
Winter Afterschool Menu
King Winter E-Book
Three Kings and The Epiphany E-Book

Enjoy this day with your family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving to You All!
xoxo

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Advent Countdown Giveaway *DAY TWO* - 50% OFF TWO December E-Books!~

What an amazing response to our Advent Giveaway Countdown!  Are you ready for more discounts to help you celebrate the beautiful days of December with your children?

As posted yesterday, each day leading up to the first day of Advent (which is this Sunday, November 19th), we will be posting a new coupon or deal here for a product at Little Acorn Learning!

Yesterday we gave 25% off our Advent and St. Nicholas E-Book.

Today's Gift for Day Two of our Countdown is:



Buy our Advent and St. Nicholas E-Book and our December 5 Day Program *together* and get BOTH e-books for 50% OFF! This is a value of $44.98 at only $21!
To take advantage of this deal, please purchase HERE  

We hope you enjoy this amazing deal that will guide you and your children through the entire month of December.  Our 5 day program has amazing content for all ages, especially early childhood.

This deal will end tomorrow so please act quick.

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Advent Day One Countdown GIVEAWAY from Little Acorn Learning!

The first Sunday of Advent is this weekend, November 29th.  

Photography by Cari Dettling
I'm sure I am not the only one who hasn't yet prepared.. if not, have no fear!! Our Advent and St. Nicholas E-Book truly simplifies the planning process. It is a reflective and spiritual time of year and I enjoy bringing that into my home and little school.  This e-book guides caregivers through that process and also within themselves.

I wanted to celebrate this magical time of year in a special way so I've decided to offer an Advent Countdown Giveaway on our blog!  

We are going to countdown to the BIG 'countdown' of Advent!  Starting today through this Sunday (which is the first day of Advent) we will be offering a small Advent gift to all of our followers.  The gifts will be in the form of discounts or special offers on our products at Little Acorn Learning.


Day One, Advent Countdown


This offer will only last one day so get it while you can.  To claim your gift, please visit our website page HERE (this offer will not remain after Day One 11/24/15 and will go back to the original price of $19.99 after it has expired). 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Easy Martinmas Lanterns

 Martinmas Lanterns

My lantern! My lantern! 
Sun and moon and stars 
Put out all your lights 
Put out all your lights 
That my lantern can truly shine bright. 

In Germany, the custom of children carrying their lanterns into the dark and singing Martinmas songs are deep rooted.  In some areas, children go door to door in a procession with their lanterns, singing sweet little songs in return for candy. 

These easy Martinmas Lanterns taken from our Martinmas and Thanksgiving Festival E-Book can also substitute as a bedtime nightlight.  Using the battery operated lights and vellum paper make them a safe alternative to real candles.  For more fun ideas, recipes, songs, crafts, meditations and much more to help you celebrate the beautiful November festivals - be sure to grab a copy of this amazing e-book that we just released last November.

Supplies:

  •          mason jars
  •          vellum paper (transparent)
  •          paper cutter
  •          mason wire holders (can purchase at craft store)
  •          mason lids with design (can purchase at craft store) *optional
  •          design paper punch – or hole puncher
  •           battery operated tealights

Many of the supplies can be substituted with other items in your home.  For our lanterns, we purchased three mason jars and mason jar accessories from our local craft store.  We also used one of our favorite star punchers that we had in our crafting room.  A simple hole puncher can also be used or small x-shaped slits could be made in the vellum paper to help the light shine through. 


Begin by cutting your vellum paper to an appropriate width that will allow for it to open up within the mason jar when rolled and put inside.  Then use your hole punching tool to create punched out designs on your vellum paper. This is how the light will show through your lantern.

  

Let your children be the ones to punch out the holes.  They will love working to make their lantern unique and beautiful. 

When you are done, simply roll the vellum paper in a tube and slide it inside your mason jar.  The paper should be cut short enough that when it is placed inside the jar, it opens up wider to fill the circumference of the lantern.




Add your mason jar wire handle accessory and replace the top of your mason jar with your designed lid.  Place your battery operated candle inside to check how the light looks through your lantern.




Sing special songs and take your lanterns outside on a night time walk around your neighborhood or yard.  When you return, use these lanterns as a magical nightlight to bring the peace and selflessness of St. Martin into your home. 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

How Childcare Changes the World...






I've been really enjoying my time running my little Waldorf Friends Class. I have been trying to organize the childcare space and make it welcoming and inviting for the children. I love being able to offer them a gentle place to play and grow, free from electronics, tv and video games. 

I have some very firmly held beliefs on early childhood education. One of them is that I feel it is important for us to break through many of the stereotypes we place on children.  One in particular is that only little girls should play with dolls or act out loving and nurturing behaviors in their play. I think it is important to allow little boys to play with dolls and doing so helps raise gentle and loving fathers for our future world.   


I also love childcare that can include children of mixed ages whenever possible. Because of state regulations and our educational system starting Kindergarten so young, this is not always feasible but in home daycares, with small ratios, it is. When the ages of the children are varied in a program that is home-like, it mimics the natural setting of living with siblings at home.  Little ones are able to learn from the other children and it provides older children with the opportunity to help guide others and build their self-confidence. 



Sometimes I think it is hard to remember how very important our work is raising these little people.  It is especially hard to remember during the tough times.  Being a parent, teacher or caregiver literally changes the world one child at a time.  It is a sacred job that should be cherished, valued and deeply respected as the future of our world depends upon it.  We desperately need more childcare and parenting programs that promote this type of loving care from an early age, as those years are so pivotal in the development of a healthy and whole human being. Just imagine the possibilities if every child - even those who live in undesirable home situations - received this type of gentle love and care in their childcare program all day long.  What difference would it make in who that child is able to become later in life?

As many of you know, I have written many books and non-academic curriculum to help others teach and raise their children in this way. Please be sure to visit my website and check out some of the free sample weeks for you to use at home or school.