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. 

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

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.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nursery Days at Little Acorn Learning

I haven't posted in a long time. The last few months have been very busy and have come with extra work, some personal challenges and I've needed to focus on home and myself. It's my favorite season of the year and I haven't had a good chance to slow down and really appreciate the beginning of autumn the way I would like. It's a time of change and refocusing for me. It seems September always is - right around Michaelmas time. In Waldorf Education, this time of year is a time for us to face our dragons and a time of new growth... I've noticed it to always hold true for me. I've worked hard to focus on rebuilding my work with children and have begun advertising to fill up my little in-home nursery school.  My next goal is to carve out time to continue my love of writing and promoting my e-books.

I am running a Waldorf Friends class and we have been having a great time together enjoying the rabbit, chickens, outdoor play and crafts.















This particular week we began talking about weather and learned about the sun.  We sang songs, made sun art, talked about the color yellow and circles and read stories about the sun.


The children worked to warm up their beeswax and we made little suns together to take home.

 

My hope is to continue to grow my little school and eventually employee staff (and maybe one day move it out of the lower level of my home), while also building upon my writing and curriculum e-books. It's a lot to do but I'm passionate about both areas of working with children so I hope eventually I can create what I envision with a team of others helping me.  For now, it's a modest start toward a bigger dream.

For those of you who live near Brookfield, Connecticut, I am in the process of interviewing to fill our little classes and eventually part-time and full-time nursery school positions.  More info here:

http://littleacornlearning.com/childcare-and-nursery-school-in-brookfield-ct/