Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Truthful Tuesday: Are You Waldorf Enough?


It  has take almost a lifetime but I have finally learned to protect my space, my energy and not tolerate being abused, taken for granted or mistreated by people in my life. When someone finally gets to this place of self-love, they begin to have to make some very difficult decisions and it's damn hard.

The wonderful thing is that when you approach this difficult crossroads in life and keep moving along your new path, often others who are on the same journey show up along your way. This is no coincidence. These people may have also had to make difficult decisions about a relationship with a parent, a spouse, a coworker or a friend that also kept them on the hamster wheel of emotional chaos which brought sadness or pain into their life and it was time to move on. 

Yesterday I was called horrible names by one of these people that I have chosen not to allow in my life the same way anymore. I've tried very hard to keep things neutral with this person because I have to continue to work with them... but the verbal and emotional abuse just never ends... and they seem to do whatever they can to hurt me or find things that I hold dear to attack to try to cause me pain. The thing is that THEY are the one who is in pain, not me. And it makes them feel better about themselves to attack the things that I hold most dear like being a mother, my work with Little Acorn Learning and the type of person they know I am.

After the first group of horrible names, one last comment was "If all your Waldorf people really knew you.."

Hmmm.  Well.. I think you do know me and I think I keep it very real... but just in case...for today's Truthful Tuesday, my sweet "Waldorf people" ... I'm making sure it is VERY clear to you who I am:

I am a mother of four daughters and I have placed them at the center of my world from the moment they entered it and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

I have cared for other people's children for most of my adult life and treat each and every one of them with kindness, love and patience as I would my own.

I am a woman who is good, kind and gentle and loves children and animals and strives to make a difference in this world with the work that I do.

I am strong and fierce and I won't take your bullshit if you bring it. So be sure you are ready if you do. Don't underestimate my kindness for weakness.

I am an amazing partner and friend and cherish my relationships when I am cared for and treated with love, honesty, kept promises and respect in return.

I am a writer, an artist, a free spirit and a very spiritual person.

I am imperfect. 

And in response to the Waldorf reference:

Yes, my children have watched tv, played video games and done many non-"Waldorf" things. I've always admitted that...they use computers and listen to music. When it becomes out of balance, we adjust things and always strive to do better. All things in moderation with teenagers. Here are two of my girls helping each other with homework and laughing and joking together last night:
But, my children also have explored every inch of my backyards, attended my nature clubs, learned to knit, crochet, paint, create, gone on adventures, hikes, cuddled with me, made up silly songs, cooked with me, cried with me and most importantly, my dear haters... My children know they are safe to be themselves with me, share with me and talk to me because I ALWAYS give them my time, my energy and truly listen without judgment, guilt or yelling. While I am very imperfect, I am also very invested... and I've given this parenting thing my absolute all. 

Here are some photos of that:





You see.. I am enough. I feel really good about the parent I've been and continue to be. I wish for you the same along with good intentions in all you do. And, following a philosophy or ideal does not mean we are not human or flawless. That's not what it is about... and that's why you are so lost right now and lashing out at others. It is not a competition or a checkoff list. Living an authentic and good life is a process, something you keep striving toward and keep doing. 

Intention is what matters. And, I have really good ones. Please check yours.

It's very uncomfortable to know that there are a handful of people that follow me and Little Acorn Learning, not because it is enriching their life or they support the work that I'm doing but because they are angry or jealous or trying to find information about my family's life... It has almost caused me to stop blogging and to stop writing because it is just so creepy but I refuse to let anybody take away my joy and my passion and something that brings other people happiness as well. 

Oh and I'd love to see their laundry rooms!  At least I'm brave enough to be "real".

So, for all of you that sometimes feel like you're not good enough or "Waldorf enough" or authentic or true or whatever enough it may be.. this Truthful Tuesday is for you.  

You are enough. I see you. 
Keep striving and I will too.

See you over on my Instagram Story today where you can go on a short virtual hike along with me.  

xoxo

Friday, October 12, 2018

Leaf Printing

There are so many beautiful crafts and activities you can do with Autumn leaves, or any leaves for that matter!  Even if you do not live in an area where the leaves change colors this time of year, you can do this fun activity with (or without!) your children.

First, go out on a leaf hunt (I think this is the most fun part of this activity). Take your time and gather leaves that really speak to you and your children.

When you get back indoors, find firm cardboard or another surface you can use to make your press/stamp. I doubled this cardboard up with heavy duty tape to make ours. Then on the SMOOTH side place regular white glue (not the side where the veins pop out... the smooth side is most often the underside of the leaf or the side that does not have as much vibrant coloring).
Carefully flip your leaves over and press to adhere them to your base. Make sure you smooth them out and allow them time to dry.
Next, find ink, paint or other mediums such as ink pads to experiment with and color your leaves. We used ink with a paintbrush to make different autumn colors.
Lastly, press your leaves onto paper or the item you wish to decorate. This would be a very nice activity for a child to decorate a gift bag or note cards for a friend or family member. Or, you can hang them in your home or classroom or decorate an autumn nature table.
We would love to see what you come up with. Please share here in our comments or on our Little Acorn Learning Facebook Group or Page.
Oh, and I didn't get a chance to post it on the blog but the November Caregiver's Calendar is ready for you and it's only $2!!!  Check it out. For more seasonal activities for you and your children and to help create a healthy rhythm to your day, take a look at our Preschool/Kindergarten Program as well as our Afterschooling Books.

Wishing you a beautiful season and time to slow down and enjoy it.
xoxo

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Feast of Saint Francis

The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi is today, October 4th.  

Photo by Cindy Wallach with Permission

Legends of St. Francis describe him as a gentle and generous man who loved and protected animals. He was said to be able to connect religion with nature and find the Divine in all living things. What a beautiful concept to teach our children (and ourselves): "To find the Divine in all living things". 

Learning about Saints is a part of the second grade curriculum in Waldorf Education. Telling the stories of Saints and Heroes is a way to introduce the idea of a regular, imperfect human being transforming into something great. Many Christian faiths also celebrate the Saints, however; you do not have to come from a particular religious background to appreciate the sentiment and importance of helping children foster a love for animals and the natural world. 

Some ideas for you to celebrate this special time with the children this week:

- Volunteer at your local animal shelter
- Bake special treats for the animals you love
- Make pinecone bird feeders
- Create a wildlife journal and sketch and record all the animals you see 
- Go for a walk with a special pet
- Offer to help care for animals in your neighborhood
- Collect food and supplies for pets in need
- Attend an Animal Blessing held by a local place of worship
- Go birdwatching
- Put out a birdbath
- Start a pet sitting business
- Donate to an animal rescue foundation
- Consider becoming an animal foster family

What are ways that you help teach your children to respect and appreciate animal life?  One of our followers indicated that they do so by being a vegetarian family.  We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Autumn Fairy Song


A little Autumn fairy,

Sitting in a tree,

Painting all the leaves,

And throwing them at me

*

Sunny leaves of yellow,

Ruby leaves of red,

Come fluttering down,

All around my head

*

Soon the branches will be bare,

The leaves will all be shed,

And the squirrels and the hedgehogs,

Will all go to bed!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Guardian Angel Day

Today is Guardian Angel Day. If you come from a Christian background, you may find this day to be a special way to connect with your angel. As caregivers, teachers and parents who practice this type of belief system, we can pray to our Guardian Angel for guidance, assistance, patience, courage and the strength to lead our children the right way.  

While those deeper concepts are too heavy to bring to the consciousness of very young children, sharing a new verse while lighting a candle at mealtime or at bedtime that welcomes our children's angel is a beautiful way to stay connected to the spirit world.

Here is a sweet verse and craft that may inspire you today.

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom his love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide

Guardian Angel Doll
Supplies:

Clothespins with Rounded Top
Yarn for Hair
Fabric or Felt for Clothing
Thread
Hot Glue Gun
Needle and Thread or Sewing Machine

Lay out clothespin on felt or fabric.  Cut the material the shape and length you wish for the doll’s dress.  Hand or machine stitch the two pieces together at the short ends with the right sides together – leave your threads long for gathering later.  Turn it right side out.  Hand gather around the long edge, turning the edge down as you go.  Put the dress on your clothespin and pull threads around the neck of the clothespin.  Gather tight and tie off.  Make wings out of fabric or felt.  You can cut a square and hand gather it in the middle.  Hot glue it to the back of the angel.  Add hair by wrapping yarn around your two fingers 8-10 times, slide off and tie in the middle and then hot glue on top of head.

Be sure to check out all of the Little Acorn Learning guides and publications for more activities like this.

Creating a Homestead on Wooded Land

We have 12 beautiful acres on our new property and we went exploring this week to get to know our land better. When we found this house, the beautiful pond was the first thing that we fell in love with. 





We originally had hoped to find something with land that could be used for a very small farm and found a few homes but the layouts just didn't work. We didn't even consider the town we ended up choosing until this house became available and we fell in love with the acreage and beautiful layout. 

The idea of a traditional farm will not work for us as the majority of the acres are forest so it will be our challenge to use it wisely and mindfully. We love the idea of having our own small nature preserve to help protect the wildlife in this area which is why it was so ironic to find old hunting set-ups deep in the woods. They will not be used here again.


We also came across what we believe to be an old wellhouse which seems to have been rebuilt in the 80's. I'm not sure how, if at all, we can put it to any use but it's very cool either way.

Hunting and gathering was the very first way of surviving for humans. While we do not need to do this for survival anymore, it is a wonderful feeling to reap the benefits of an area like this and it is always good to try to keep your food source as local as possible regardless of whether you are the type to garden or homestead. So much of our food is sourced far, far away from the people who eventually eat it; causing more pollution, a disconnection to the process and cycle of our food and big money jacking up the costs at our expense. 

I was happy to find that there are many safe ways to create and enjoy a little homestead on a wooded lot. Some ways you can make the best use of your land in the forest is:
Natural Streams, Springs, Ponds
While we would not use any of these as a water source for ourselves, they are a wonderful part of the ecosystem and an important source for the wildlife. Our pond has a life of its own and it is amazing to sit, listen and watch. Frogs, dragonflies, fish and so many other insects are busy doing their thing, undisturbed by us. Other ideas we may incorporate:

Koi:
(I believe we already have at least one of these pretty fish in our pond although I've only caught a glimpse once or twice)

Honeybees:
I tried beekeeping at my old home and unfortunately they gravitated to my pool as a water source no matter what I did. Now that we have a pond far away from our pool, we may give it a try again. This is such a gift to the environment and adds honey and beeswax to your homestead.

Ducks:

Ducks love ponds! They are relatively easy to keep from what I understand and would do just fine on a wooded lot with proper food and water. They can be enjoyed as pets or sourced for their meat and eggs. (No duck meat here!)

Chickens:

I've kept chickens before and love them. They are so easy and so very intelligent. Their eggs are delicious and my children just loved having them. Sadly, a fox killed our entire flock so it is extremely important to secure their coop very well. Living in such a rural environment now will pose even more threat to them so before we get new chicks we are working hard to move and secure our coop the right way including adding chicken wire under the ground and building a more secure roof.  I let my chickens free range at times during the day and this is when they got attacked. Moving forward, they will only be outside when I am outside.



Vegetables:

I have enough cleared space to make a nice vegetable garden again and I really look forward to doing so. Sunlight is important and I really recommend keeping your garden as close to the house as you can so it gets more attention. I would like to learn how to can and have the supplies but first we will need to actually grow some things and that will have to wait until spring. I prefer raised beds as they eliminate weeding and are so easy to maintain after set up. Square Foot Gardening is a great system for anyone new to the idea.

Fruit Trees:

I planted apple and cherry trees at my last home but was not able to have much success. I hope to start again here and make sure I do it the right way. This takes time and patience as it takes a few years to see the fruit of your labor but it is another wonderful option for land with less open space.

Berries:

Since my children were little, we have LOVED harvesting berries. I plant raspberries, blueberries and blackberries and we love wineberries. Some wild berries can be poisonous so do not allow children to pick unless you've planted.  Wineberries are safe as there are no other berries that look like they do.  I hope to plant some nice berry bushes in the spring as well.

Mushrooms:

This is an area that I don't recommend you experiment with unless you have someone with you who really knows what they are doing. Many mushrooms can be poisonous and while we love looking at all of the different types, we do not touch or eat them. I do see so many amazing people in my feed and groups who are true experts in foraging mushrooms but I'll leave that to them...

 Maple Syrup:

My children and I experimented with maple syruping and it was such an amazing experience. It is, however, extremely time consuming and if you are planning on producing a lot of syrup be sure you have a lot of time, trees and patience. Our new property has so many trees that I am really excited to do this again on a larger scale. The best time to identify maples is during the fall so we hope to scout our land and mark the trees to tap early next year.

Goats and Pigs:

I've heard goats and pigs are a wonderful addition to a wooded lot but they also require a lot of work so it is not something I'm yet ready to think about. 

~~

I'd love to hear any feedback from those of you who live in a similar environment and how you have made your wooded homestead work best for your family.