Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birthday Preparations...!

With under a month to go until the kids' party, I've got a lot to prepare. I'm not one for a huge birthday extravaganza, but I do want to keep it special for the girls. It's the little things that mean the most to them. The pretty tablecloth, the decorations, their birthday rings...

The start of the birthday banner

I'm starting to delve into the world of handmade, reusable decor. Currently I'm knitting up a "Happy Birthday" banner for them.  I'm loosely basing it off of this pattern...

I still need to knit Moo's doll her matching crown. Last year, she didn't have a doll. N's Lucy (who has come back to us! more on that later) doll has her own birthday crown, matching N's.

Anyways, I know this is all over the place... but I have so much to do!!

Our advent bowl, on the first light of Advent this past Sunday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

One person's trash is another person's treasure!

‎"But I believe in dying to self. I believe in living for others. I believe in community, not individualism. I believe that I have a connection to this earth and to the materials provided for us here. I believe that I have the ability and the strength to create. I believe in the exhilaration of working with my hands. I believe in the beauty of small imperfections. I believe we are all responsible. I believe in shaping, molding, kneading, threading, whisking, scraping, hanging, grinding, mending and crafting. And I believe that out of all that can come art, bread, clothes, food, tools and toys. I believe in the home as a unit of production, not a unit of consumption." -Elisa, from

Photo courtesy of

I often find that the above quote reigns true for me. I love love love thrift store shopping. Today was black Friday, and our local thrift store had everything 50% off. What does that mean? It means that I got a ton of awesome stuff for $21!! Here's what we got:

-A metal jack in the box with a COW in it (cow in the box?) for Moo's birthday
-Five pairs of wool socks- one for hubby Jaime, the rest for me.
-A pair of thick felted wool mittens for me, for snowman building ;)
-A thick wool hat for me
-A Patagonia jacket for me.. for $0.95!!!
-An Eddie Bauer wool sweater for Jaime
-A crochet potholder
-A tall Mason jar
-A stool for Maddie for the bathroom
-Some wooden toys (train, peg people, blocks)
-Two "junk toys". Dirt devil vacuums. The kids wanted some of their own! One actually works as a vacuum too.
-Some Christmas presents for Jaime- ssh! Can't say right now, haha.

One thing that we totally didn't anticipate getting was a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe car. You know, the big red and yellow ones. I looked away for a second and Lellie was drawing on it with a marker she found- a worker saw her, made us buy it (only $2) and kicked us out. AND one of the wheels is broken. Maybe it'll live in grandma's backyard...

This morning, I woke up to Lellie telling me about how the cats got into my knitting basket. MMhmm... in a latched cabinet. She tore out my most recent project... time to start over. She also discovered some of he knitted farmyard, though it' not put together yet, so just knitted scraps in her eyes. I told her that Santa wanted me to knit her something for Christmas because his knitting elf has been very busy and needs help. That really excited her. Still... time to hide the knitting basket!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's that time of year again!  With a variety of festivals, the girls' birthdays, and Christmas drawing near, I've been ridiculously busy with projects.

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The girls are getting a farm set for Christmas... carved animals from jupiterschild, Engelberger figures, and some scenery.  I've been knitting up a farm/field playmat for the animals, and oh man is it tedious work.  I'm a novice knitter, so I suppose it's giving me a good amount of practice!

Lellie's (yeah, we've recently started calling N Lellie) uncle bought her a Specialized Bicycle from our local bike shop for her birthday.  She has some motor planning issues and her Skuut bike was way too much of a challenge for her (we're passing it down to little Maddie).  She really wants to learn to bike, but still doesn't quite grasp the concept of pedaling.  I'm hoping to make her a new little pouch for the front of her bike for her nature finds- the cats destroyed the old one.

Also on my crafting list... a papoose carrier for Lellie's baby doll, Lucy.  Lucy had worn out rather quickly, and the kind woman who made her, Jan Beane, replaced her.  We're currently awaiting Lucy's return :) I'm also hoping to make some doll clothes, wool balls.. a few things.

I need to figure out an Advent wreath, and something for Santa Lucia's day.  I've got a lot on my plate!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy creating!

Oh, and we've already put up our Christmas Tree ;)
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Keeping Childhood Special, Maintaining Innocence, and other musings...

As a mother of two girls, I have been swarmed with comments on "why don't you paint their nails?" or, "why aren't their ears pierced?".

Today's society attempts to rush children through childhood, and even attempt to make them look like mini-adults.  Short skirts, brightly colored fingernails, ear piercings, and even makeup are becoming the "norm" on today's children.  It is unbelieveably sad, and often boggles my mind when I see itty bitty babes with holes in their ears, or little girls with acrylic nails and lipstick on. 

And then I remember that I was, for a short period, one of those parents.  I had N when I was 17 years old.  I knew nothing of natural unconditional parenting, or letting my daughter make her own choices about her body.  She had her ears pierced at 7 months old.  She had them repierced at 10 months old when one was snagged by the neck of her shirt, lost, and the hole closed!  She had trendy, adult-like outfits that restricted her play and movement quite a bit.  As she grew older, earrings were lost, clothes became noticeably uncomfortable, and I "woke up".  Her ears weren't pierced again, and she began wearing comfy clothing.  She was a happier child! 

I have recently started painting N's nails, but only for very special occasions and only nude colors.  Still, I see little girls on the playground with gaudy fake nails, who aren't able to climb and jump or frolic around because they're overly cautious about the adornments on their hands.  I have even heard parents refer to their children as "more beautiful" with their makeup on, hair done, etc.  It is such a shame.  How can we raise healthy children who think well of themselves and have any ounce of self esteem if we treat them this way?!

Boys aren't exempt from this adult-like treatment either.  Our society (myself included) has a habit of referring to a boy as a "little man".  I have recently pondered this and realized how "off" it seems.  Boys are also rushed into romance- parents joke at girl playmates as their "girlfriends".  What more of a way to make a little boy uncomfortable around his peers?!  Little boys are rushed to play with guns and play sports, and are often pushed away from using their imaginations in open-ended play.  How many mainstream families do you know that let their little boys play with baby dolls?  I'll also never understand the trend to dress boys in camoflauge.  I have a ton of respect for our men overseas- but why dress your child as just that- a man?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Are Stockmar crayons REALLY all that great?

If you're new to Waldorf, you've probably heard about the wonderful art supplies.  Some choose to take the plunge, and some choose to make a beeline back to Crayola after looking at the price tag.  For a long while, I was reluctant.  N is our resident artist, and she has gone through thousands of Crayola crayons in the past 3 or so years.  I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on Stockmar only to have them all broken and gone within a month!

Our current crayon setup!  Twig pencils are from when we went apple picking in September

Last Christmas, I took the plunge and bought N a set of 8 Stockmar block crayons.  We still have about half of them, and they are still in their block shape and not very worn out, despite being colored with for about a year!  The 4 that were lost were due to us not helping her show reverence for her things- we've changed that now. 

This year, the girls' gift from the Halloween Fairy was a box of 16 Stockmar stick crayons.  They are holding up extremely well!  They are very sturdy and not easily broken, unlike their Crayola counterparts.  The quality of the mark left by these crayons is simply awesome.  It is thick and richly colored.  Beeswax is a perfect medium for crayons, and I don't think we'll ever go back to Crayola.

We have had the opportunity to try Stockmar's watercolor paint as well, for wet on wet painting.  I find that it works very (better than the store brand tubes) well when using the wet-on-wet technique, but for dry watercolor painting, it works as well as cheap watercolor tubes.  The pigment is a lot nicer than the cheapie stuff, though. 

It is also important to use the proper paper and brushes.  Cheapie paper will pill and tear when using the wet-on-wet technique, and cheap brushes will shed all over your painting!

Happy creating!