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Halloween Swaps Galore!

Ah!  I had so many blog posts running in my head for the last 2 weeks and absolutely NO time to sit down and type them out.  If some little gnome could just follow me around, take gorgeous pictures, and then write what's going on in my head...I'd be set!  Right?


Fionnuala embroidered this pumpkin using part of the kit we received from a swap

I did manage to get some Halloween crafting in, and I'd love to share it here.  I was the hostess for our annual Bits of Goodness Halloween Swap.  The ladies made some fun stuff!  As hostess I got my own cute items in exchange for the duty of swapping, packaging and re-shipping everything back out.  Hostessing is actually a bit of work and always costs more than you receive for return shipping, so the hostess gifts are greatly appreciated!

Dyed silk and transparency by Lindy from Sweet Harvest Homestead

Knit kitten by Megan - couldn't get a great photo, but this lil guy was a favorite of my kids!

Gnome clothespin and Autumn crown made by Jayna

Halloween Story Stones made by Autumn

Dia de los Muertos crocheted bracelet made by April

Beeswax pumpkin with felted mouse and Halloween note made by Jennifer

Halloween banner made by Maureen


I also joined my first swap over at Fairies and Gnomes Handwork.  This is a newer swap group on Facebook.  The swaps seem to be well run and they seem less uptight than some of the other Facebook Waldorf inspired swap groups.  I made these little "Mommy and Me" ghost candles.  They are made with local beeswax (from Southern CA) with cotton wicking.



Below are the items I got in return.  I will be swapping with this group again soon, with their Mealtime Swap.


 Gnome set made by Karen of Bridgit's Bell

Witch doll made by Kelly of Celie Elliot Dolls

Ghost peg doll and witch candle by Sonia

Pumpkin felted wall hanging by Heather

Felt board and craft kit put together by Lauren

Swaps are so fun during the holidays.  I am working on celestial dyed silks for the Bits of Goodness Celestial Swap.  Come join us and maybe you'll get one of my silks!



Magical Forests Swap - BOG

I made these Maple leaf boxes out of beeswax for my swap friends...they smell heavenly!

After taking a year off and stepping down as moderator, I have recently started swapping with my old Bits of Goodness group again!  I forgot how much fun it is to share and craft with other people from all over the country (and Canada too!).  I got my package back a few weeks ago for our Magical Forests Swap and I wanted to share the goodness here...

Sweet knit ladybug made by Megan.

Deer mask made by Alicia from Dandee Rose.

Forest Gnome made by Karen of Bridgit's Bell.

Mushroom forest girl and her friend made by Jayna.

Felt gnome doll made by Beth of Road To Joy.

Come join the fun and craft with us!


Autumn Circle - Apples and Leaves

Our center.

Our banner.

Oonagh as the apple tree.
Erris running story time.


Autumn Circle - Apples and Leaves

 

**As we light our candle:

Fire fairies fire fairies, come to our circle
Let the fire fairies come, bringing golden light from the sun!

**Opening Verse:

The Earth is firm beneath my feet, (touch hands to ground)
The sun shines bright above. (Make sun above head)
Here I stand so straight and tall, (standing up very straight)
All things to know and Love. (Hug self)

Morning Has Come:

Morning has come (open arms over head)
Night is away (bend down to ground)
We rise with the sun (rise up, extending arms)
And welcome the day (welcoming arms, open outwards)

(we use ASL for the words in italics)
Good morning dear Earth
Good morning dear Sun
Good morning dear stones
And the flowers everyone

Good morning dear beasts
And the birds in the trees
Good morning to you
Good morning to me

Be Ye Lamps:

(This is sung as a round.  We practice all together first, then the older two start off the round.  This song was written to express a quote from Buddha.  It's quite beautiful and I cannot find a link to share the music...we will post a video later this week)

Be ye lamps unto yourselves
Be your own confidence
Hold to the truth within yourselves
As to the only lamp...

The Apples are Golden:

(I wish I knew where this originated.  It is a classic in Waldorf Early Childhood circles, and a favorite amongst my little ones.  The children act this out with one child as the apple tree, one child as the old woman, and everyone dances a jig as they "laugh"!)

The apples are golden and ready to drop
Um-hum ready to drop!
There came an old woman to pick them all up
Um-hum pick them all up!
 A big apple fell and it gave her a knock...
It made the old woman go hippity hop, it mad ethe old woman go hippity hop!

I laugh ha ha and I laugh hee hee
I laugh all day for it pleases me!
I laugh ha ha and I laugh hee hee
I laugh all day for it pleases me!

Whiskey Friskey:

( a sweet fingerplay about a little squirrel, they take turns doing this to each other)

Whiskey frisky, hippity hop! (make circles on child's palm)
Up the squirrel goes, to the tree top. (scamper fingers up child's arm til you get to the top of her head)
Whirly twirly round and round, (rub circles on the top of her head)
Down he scampers to the ground (scamper fingers down child's back)

Furly curly, what a tail! (take child's arm)
Tall as a feather, broad as a sail. (hold it straight up, then curved inward)
Where's hes supper, inside this shell? (cup hands and peek into the opening)
Snappity, crackity...out it fell (knock "shell on top of child's head, then tickle down their neck and arms)

**Closing verse:

Stars, moon and sun…
Now our circle is done.
We’re ready to start our day
full of learning, love and play.





Fresh Jujube Cobbler - Vegan, Gluten-Free



Fresh jujubes!  I used to get these at our old Farmer's Market, but they were dried.  I would make a tea by boiling 2 dried jujubes with 1 knob of ginger.  It's considered a digestive tonic and has an interesting earthy, but sweet taste.  I learned this from the farmer himself who sold them to me...never even thought to look it up or delve into their other powers.  I had never eaten a fresh jujube, so we ordered 2 pounds of fresh jujube fruit with our last Farmbox.  I already knew about the digestive qualities and the super high Vitamin C content, but a quick Google search led to many interesting articles about their history in China.  They've been linked to everything from fighting skin cancer, to darkening grey hair, to inducing sleep.  Who knew all these years I was getting all these other benefits (actually, I can only attest to the fact that jujube tea is indeed a very good digestive aid...everything else is just "interesting!").

Only 2 out of my 4 girls liked the taste of the fresh fruit.  They all love the dried fruit though.  I was about to just pop them in the dehydrator when I wondered if there were any good recipes for dishes made with fresh jujubes.  Google comes through again and gets me this!  The girls and I decided to try the Jujube Crisp recipe.  Of course we couldn't help tweaking it a bit to make it more nutritious and nourishing.  We added ginger since it's a complementary herb to the jujube and aids in digestion.  We also swapped the brown sugar with coconut sugar and the butter for coconut oil.  I am not a fan of white flour, and by replacing it with almond flour we kept this dessert gluten-free friendly.

Let us know if you try it...or if you have any other fun fresh jujube recipes!






Fresh jujube Cobbler (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

4 cups fresh jujube fruit (sliced into quarters, with pits removed)
juice of 1 lemon (without seeds of course) 
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil (at room temp/liquid state)
1/4 cup coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 375.
In a small casserole dish, toss the prepared jujubes with the juice of 1 lemon.  In a separate bowl combine the oats, almond flour, salt, ginger cinnamon and coconut oil.  Mix together with a fork until it's nice and crumbly.  Top the jujubes with the oat mixture, pressing down lightly to make sure it's evenly spread out.  Then sprinkle the coconut sugar all over the top.  Pop it in the over for 30-40 minutes depending on how crispy you like your cobbler.  


CSA - FarmBox LA

Time to update my CSA search.  

 One of the many little ones I feed all day long...


FarmBox LA was up next on my list to try. I chose their "Complete Farm Box - Standard (No Meat)" which consists of the following:

-1/4 lb to 1/2 lb local, California artisan cheese 
-1 quart fresh-squeezed, unpasteurized orange juice
-1/2 dozen vegetarian fed, true free-range eggs (Lily's Eggs)
-1 half-loaf or baguette of freshly baked bread (Rockenwagner)
-a rotation of local nuts, fresh hummus, jam, honey and other artisanal goods
-the week's seasonal rotation of fruits & veggies (various local farms)

Even though they came highly recommended, I was very hesitant to try them as I am ultimately looking for a farm direct CSA.  FarmBox LA consists of two lovely women (and their small crew) who shop the Farmer's Markets and hand pick the weekly produce. This means you are paying a convenience fee for their expertise in knowing what's at optimal freshness and using their connections to get a good price by buying in bulk.  Since I had a $10 off coupon I decided to give them a try.  Pros and cons listed below.



Week of 9/21/14 $99 (I used a coupon, so it was $89) Complete FarmBox - Standard (No Meat) contents:
Fresh Orange Juice
Lily's Eggs
Rockenwagner Whole Wheat Loaf
Ambroisa Melon
Arugula
Cauliflower
Fuji Apples
Garnett Sweet Potatoes
Green Curly Kale
Heirloom Mixed Color Carrots
Jerusalem Artichokes
Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes
Pomegranate
Red Beets
Red Flame Grapes
Shallots
Thyme


Week of 9/28/14  $99 (got a "2nd delivery" coupon, so it was $89) Complete FarmBox - Standard (No Meat) contents:

Frog Organics Bakery Croissant



Fresh Orange Juice

Lily's Eggs

Rockenwagner 7 Grain Loaf

Asian Pears

Asparagus

Autumn Royal Black Grapes

Blue Kale

Broccoli

Fuji Apples

Heirloom Tomatoes

Little Gem Lettuces

Orange Kabocha Squash

Pomegranate

Carrots

Garlic Bulb

Sage

Rosemary

Pros:
  • Every single produce item was super fresh.
  • I got to try a few local food artisans that I normally would never have tried.  When I am at the Farmer's Market I tend to just get fruits and veggies and skip the other food vendors.  
  • Customer service has been superb.  On my second delivery I was missing 1/2 doz eggs and 1 lb of Fuji apples (I had added on to my order).  They had the missing items delivered first thing the next morning and gave us a full doz eggs and 2 lbs Fuji apples!
  • If you live in the city and don't have access to a compost pile, they offer to pick up your scraps and compost them for you.
  • Ordering is simple and it's easy to customize each delivery with a lot of "add on" items 
  • I didn't have to navigate a busy farmer's Market with all my kids in tow!
Cons:
  • Not all items are organic.
  • There's a steep upfront charge for their reusable eco-basket (they do offer to just use a reusable grocery bag though). 

So obviously the pros deeply outweigh the cons.  I will definitely use FarmBox LA again in the future and would recommend it to anyone who asked.  For now I need to keep searching for a better deal on our local, organic veggies.  This box only lasted us for about 2 days, and at $99 a box...that's just not in our food budget.

Have you used FarmBox LA?  What are your thoughts?


Fionnuala Fridays - Bruschetta Caprese

 Welcome To Fionnuala Fridays
(I am so sorry about the last two weeks.  I was so busy I coudn't find time.)       

I am starting to love caprese salad.  My sisters call it my Caprese Crazy!
I got the idea for this Bruschetta caprese at a restaurant called ,Pitfire Pizza
If you live in LA you may have been there before. :)
I will post the recipe underneath.
Bruschetta Caprese
And here it is!!!
Serves 3 little girls
Ingredients
Sourdough bread sliced 1 inch thick
(I love sourdough bread)
Olive oil 
Salt and Pepper
4 oz of mozzarella cheese
5 small tomatoes
Fresh basil 
Balsamic Vinegar

Drizzle the bread with olive oil and salt.  Bake for 15 min at 375.
Meanwhile chop mozzerella into 1 inch cubes and dice tomatoes.
Put them into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil ,salt and pepper.
Mix throughly. Take the bread out of the oven and drizzle with vinegar.
Spoon the mix onto the bread and top with basil.
Finally drizzle with vinegar and salt.





Poor Oonagh didn't have any. So I took a piece of bread  and left over mix and made a little bit for her.
Thank you for reading see you next week!!!

Yarn along - Finishing

It feels so good to finish a piece you've been working on for a while.  That's what I focused on this week.  Finishing bits and pieces that were calling out for attention.  I started this dress back when Fionnuala was 6 (now 9).  She's grown about 2 feet since then, so it has become a tunic of sorts.


It's a lovely dress for Caoimhe (4 years old), but Fionnuala doesn't want to hand it down just yet.  The pattern is "Rainbow Dress" by Georgie Hallam and was really a simple, fun pattern.  I cannot for the life of me rememeber the yarn I used/bought.  Good thing I had enough of it!  Do any of you actually keep a yarn log or journal?

I finally pulled out the old Knitted Farmyard and begun to sew it down to the burlap.  I started this at a crafting group 5 years ago.  We all made squares and then swapped them.  The idea was to put together a knitted farmyard/playmat for the kids.  It's been bundled up in my craft closet and has moved four times with us.  I am determined to get it done before the end of October.  It brings back fond memories of some of my old "Waldorf Craft Group" friends.  I love how mismatched it is.  Should make for some interesting story times.

I am just about to finish up this knitted horse doll.  My mother spins and hand dyes yarn (lucky me!).  This gorgeous colorway screamed out to become a toy.  I haven't decided if I will keep it for the new baby, or gift it to my Mom.  At any rate it still needs to be sewn up and stuffed which is actually the hardest part.  I am not allowing myself to cast on another project until this one is finished.  I'll post pictures when the horse when it's done and hopefully it will be playing on the finished Farmyard!  I do not have a pattern to link to...it's just an old Waldorf playgroup pattern that is kind of handed down orally.  Speaking of finishing up, the book I am reading and focusing on right now is a $.50 gem I found at the thrift store, Art for the Very Young, by Elizabeth Kelly.  I've bought lots of expensive art books and art lesson plans, but this one is so simple and so straightforward.  We are all enjoying the projects.  Art happens almost everyday in this house, but I wanted to really get into stating at the basics.  September was all about the line and how it's used in art.  Just finishing up the plans for Oct/Nov now.... Shapes/Texture.


Happy knitting my friends! Linking Up with Ginny!
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