CROOK

Michaelmas Celebration

Happy...um,
Merry...um,
Festive...
Michaelmas!

What is the appropriate phrase here?
At any rate we had a wonderful celebration.  Has it really been 1 week since I've posted on this little blog?  Whoa!  Well it has been a fairly busy week. My Dad was in town on business and spent the weekend with us, yay!  He loves spoiling playing with the girls.  Mon and Tues were jam packed with outdoor water play (it was over 100 degrees here) and preparations for Michaelmas.  I almost didn't even blog about it because I still don't have my camera back, but we really had such a sweet time that I wanted at least some documentation.  So thank you iPhone once again for helping out.

This week we continued our Autumn Harvest Circle but I changed the story to The Brave Little Knight by Suzanne Down.  The first two days I just told the story with the girls cuddled on my lap.  Then today we packed up our baskets and went out to the park to share the special story time with our friends.  I usually only create stories for my own little ones, so it was fun to have a larger audience.  Their little eyes watching your every move and staring in amazement as you bring a story to life is what it's all about people!  I tell ya...children this age (2-6) need that connection and love that kind of interaction.  Better still if the story can be told multiple times so they can then bring it forth themselves.  No pictures of the storyscape though...sorry!

I do have lots of pictures of our Dragon Bread we made though.  The girls woke up and were chomping at the bit to make their bread.  We just used our regular bread recipe (you can see it here) but we used all whole wheat pastry flour since it makes the bread lighter and easier to shape. Papa said it looked like a punk rock duck with a tail, but I think it's pretty dragonesque...what do you think?


F and E did all the almond "spikes".  F wanted a blue eye, but the closest we got to that was a green soybean eye.


Into the oven he goes...can you see the fiery pomegranate seed teeth?  The speckles are little chis seed scales.


Here he is at the park...there's a sweet little beeswax candle we lit to create his fiery breath.


All that was left after about 5 minutes.  Poor dragon, he didn't stand a chance with all the brave young knights around.

I wanted to bring a craft for the kids to do that would tie into our little story.  So we made our own "swords of light" using willow tree branches and wool yarn. 



Michael, make me a sword of shining light
that I may be the strongest knight,
that I may be so brave and true.
O Michael, just like you.


This was one of those wonderful crafts that the mamas end up doing for the kids instead of the kids doing it themselves.  You know those types of crafts too?  Oh good...it's not just me.  In the end the kids all loved playing with them.  I can tell these swords of light will become a tradition for us.

If you celebrate Michaelmas, what are some of your traditions?  Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog post about it if you'd like to share.  And really, I'm looking for more dragon bread photos here mamas!

Here's some Michalemas posts I found interesting and inspiring:

I'm a knight brave and true,
strongest deeds I can do.











Tree Swap

First of all...



Check out this gorgeous hand dyed wool felt I just got.  I picked it up at Company of Angels.  I would have liked one of each color, but that would cost a small fortune, so I ended up with these.






I have plans for each of these color schemes...but for now they made a lovely backdrop for our Tree Swap items!

We received our Bits Of Goodness swap package last week and I wanted to share what we got:



What you don't see in this picture are the little hands trying to grab for all these goodies before I could take the picture!


A lovely necklace made by Goldie.  We must have been channeling the same crafty thoughts.  She dyed her wood though and it looks lovely!


A giftbag with a felt tree on it made by Shannon.  I love this idea and will whip some up for the holidays...hopefully.

A sweet little crocheted tree by Robin.


A coin purse complete with little wooden coins made by Deb.  My children quickly scuttled off with this and played store for an hour.  Thanks Deb!


A wool felt tree finger puppet made by Brynn.  This will be a prop in my circle time next month. 




Thanks again to all my fellow swappers!
Happy crafting!


Harvest Moon

“The definition of a Harvest Moon is: the full moon closest to the fall equinox.  The Harvest Moon was thus named because it rises within a half-hour of when the sun sets.  In early days, when farmers had no tractors, it was essential that they work by the light of the moon to bring in the harvest.  This moon is the fullest moon of the year.  When you gaze at it, it looks very large and gives a lot of light throughout the entire night.  No other lunar spectacle is as awesome as the Harvest Moon.” — Harvest Moon Lore (AKA lots of people know this...not sure who said it!)




That's one sweet lil pumpkin head!


Our Autumn circle time ends in a story called Harvest Moon Magic.  We are on week 3 of this story, so to say the girls were ready excited for the Harvest Moon would be an understatement. Today was the last day of our story and F was ready to take on the role of puppeteer and prop lady.  E sat on my lap and I told the story while F acted it out.  It was very sweet.



I took this picture a while ago when I was trying out the story...it changed a bit.


This afternoon tension was high as we noticed the surrounding grey clouds closing in...this would block our view of the moon!!!  So you know what we did?  We went to the park...climbed to the top of the play structure and tried to blow the clouds away.  I kind of laughed inside as we did this.  What city kids.  Climbing a play structure instead of a mountain to blow the clouds away...oh well.  We're pretty sure it worked because by 5pm the sky was clear.  The girls camped out in the backyard until it got dark...we even had dinner out there on the quilt.  Of course there were like 5,000 photo opportunities...but no camera.  Poo!



iPhone pic of the moon above our garage...between two trees!

We finally saw it come up over the surrounding houses.  By then it was not the crazy golden hue...but it was an awesome sight an impressed the girls just the same.  I let them stay up until Papa got home and then we all walked down to the beach to get a better view...

We came home and eventually got them settled (a good hour past their normal bedtime!).  I am glad the night was special for them.  I think it's important to keep Earth's natural magic alive and exciting for children.

When I popped my head in a minute ago to give them one last kiss, I noticed that the Autumn faeries had already visited and left gifts of the Harvest...






I took some pictures, but since the iPhone doesn't really work in the dark...you can't see much. 

How many faeries do you think it took to lift these pumpkins?


Happy Autumn Equinox 2010!

Oh...I hope you all got out there and did something Autumn-y today!

We started off with a nice brisk walk this morning.  We had to call it short because baby C was getting a bit fussy and poor little E's tummy was growling.

It was actually kind of chilly outside, so we came home and made a nice big bowl of oatmeal with chopped apples and cinnamon.  Yum!

Welcome Autumn!



F and E worked hard on their nature table today.  Saying good-bye to all their sunny-sun summer items and putting them to sleep in our nature table basket.  F is such a sweet sensitive soul she actually started to tear up when we were putting the stuff away.   I told her she could leave out whatever she'd like to from the Summer table, but she decided in the end that the table looked best with only the new Autumn items.



Today was painting day, so for our wet-on-wet painting we used both red and yellow to create gorgeous orange harvest moons and leaves.  So sorry for the iPhone pictures, they are definitely not capturing the beautiful orange hue.  *sigh* My camera should be back soon....






Inspired by the colors of the season, I have started this beautiful hat with some yarn my Mom spun and so lovingly sent me.  Thanks Mom!  It's gorgeous to work with!  No friends, it will not be another Gnome Hat...don't cry.  It's just a simple beanie.



Later this afternoon we got busy in the kitchen whipping up some yummy apple and pumpkin themed snacks...saving these for another post. 

What did you do to celebrate the changing of the seasons?

Autumn Circle - Harvest

So this is our first year "homeschooling".  My eldest daughter is only 5, and we are following a traditional Waldorf Education model, so this means there's very little "schooling" involved.  More of a daily rhythm and coming together for certain parts of the day.


Buy this little guy here from my friend Donni.  He's even cuter in person.


I plan to share our moments here on the blog and I thought the best post to start with would be our Circle Time.  I had originally wanted to snap a photo of each verse/song etc... but realized that was just not going to happen.  I didn't want to break the magic of circle time with my camera.  That would be in direct violation of everything I am trying to create for my children during this special time.  Maybe one day we'll have a visitor and they can snap photos, but until then I will riddle this post with the Etsy items I am pining for.  Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year...

Isn't this sweet?  You can buy it here.

I've broken down our Cirlce Times into 3 week sessions (gets wonky with holidays and such but that's the basic time frame).  This gives E enough time to learn the verses, songs and movements and gives F enough time to learn it and bring it back out from within.  Meaning by the 3rd week she's ready to lead a few of the verses, help with the story set up, or even tell parts of the story herself.

This is our favorite part of the day. 

Autumn Circle - Harvest
Sept.6th-24th

Opening Song:
seated
(our opening song stays with us all year)
by:Renee and Jeremy

Centering Verse:
standing
(our centering verse changes with the seasons)
The Earth is firm beneath my feet
(bend down to touch the ground)
The Sun shines bright above
(hands reach up to the sky)
And here I stand so straight and strong
(step each foot into the ground)
All things to know and love.
(cross arms at chest)

Song:
standing
(Join hands and walk in a cirlce)
Autumn is here and the world goes round
Autumn is here and the world goes round
Autumn is here and the world goes round
The world goes round and round and round.
(Hands are leaves fluttering to the ground)
Autumn is here and the leaves fall down
Autumn is here and the leaves fall down
Autumn is here and the leaves fall down
The leaves fall down upon the ground.
(repeat first verse)

Song:
seated
I Had a Rooster
**This is a traditional folk song, not sure who first wrote the lyrics, you can google it and find lyrics.  We use Rooster, piggy, sheep, cow and horse.  I use wooden figures for each animal and a wooden tree for the Green Berry Tree.**

Fingerplay:
seated
Little light up in the sky
(holding up two fingers to the sky)
Twinkling to and fro
(flicker fongertips)
Sending me your little light
(flicker fingertips down to the top of the head)
In the day and in the night
(day-hands open with fingers wide/night- hands under head like sleeping)
Until I rise once more.
(Stand on word-rise)

Song:
standing
*to the tune of This Old Man*
Stars see me, stars see me
(hands up like stars, one after the other)
standing here under a tree
(arms out at sides)
with my shiny hair atop my head
(hands on head)
to your silver stream I'm led.
(sweep arms up into the sky)
Sun see me, Sun see me
(arms in front of you in a circle and then overhead)
twirl around so fine and free
(Twirl to the right, arms in circle)
with my hands held high I greet the day
(Twirl to the left arms reaching straight up)
your golden light on me will play.
(arms across chest)
Verse:
seated
A farmer rose at the break of day
He got on his horse and he galloped away, he galloped away, he galloped away.
Oh come all my men, oh come said he
our carrots and turnips for all to see.
In the warm brown earth they've grown so big
We must get out our shovels and dig, dig, dig.
So fetch your spades and come along,
to dig up the roots that have grown so strong.
We lay them out in the sun to dry,
Then pile them up in the cart so high!

Fingerplay:
seated
Yellow the bracken, golden the sheaves
(cross each hand on head)
Rosy the apples, crimson the leaves
(cross each arm across chest)
Mist on the hillside, clouds grey and white
(cross each hand on knee)
Autumn good morning,
(arms open a circle)
Summer good night.
(arms close a circle)

Story:
**Story is done in a traditional playgroup/Kindergarten fashion with props and is not read to the children, but told.**
Harvest Moon Magic
by:Suzanne Down

After story we blow out our candle, tidy up the story and launch into snack prep.  After our activity (depending on the day) we come together for a closing song.

Closing verse:

I can turn myself and turn myself
 and stop me when I will
I can reach high on my tippy toes
and hold myself quite still.
Our morning is done
but not our day
for what is life
when there's no play.




Absolutely stunning felted wall hanging by darialvovsky.
So that's our circle time folks...fun huh?  I wanted to share the resources I use to plan our circles.
It takes a bit of planning, and then some tweaking and fine tuning.  I changed this circle time after the first day because it wasn't working for my 5 year old.  I needed to center it a bit more.  It was almost too much movement for her.  I am currently working on our special Michaelmas Circle which I will share with you another night.  Off to shop on Etsy...oh please someone stop me!


Ahem...my gnome addiction...might have to get these from Painting Pixie.



Storing up for Winter

Ok, so we're not really "storing up for Winter" here.  I mean we do live in Southern CA.  Our Winter is more like most people's Spring. 

**Side note: Is that correct, grammatically speaking?  Is it people's or peoples'?

However, since we picked up this month's haul from Azure Standard...I thought I'd share.  I used to love Sheri's bulk buying posts.  Green and Crunchy where are you?!?!?!?  Does anyone else miss her blog?  Green and Crunchy was the first blog I ever read and the one that got me to start my own.  I do understand why she quit blogging, I mean she's a homeschooling mama to like 100 adorable happy healthy raw/vegan kids and 1 on the way.  Mayhaps she's a bit busy?  At any rate...if you're out the Sheri, this one's for you.




  • 12 pack organic coconut water

  • 2 bags Nutiva organic hemp seeds

  • coconut sugar (Azure has the best price by far!)

  • Organic olive oil - 1 gallon

  • Bragg's Liquid Aminos - 1 pint

  • 5 lbs organic quinoa

  • 5 lbs organic buckwheat

  • 2.5 lbs organic lentils

  • 5 lbs organic pumpkin seeds

  • 3 lbs organic chia seeds

  • 1 lb nutritional yeast

  • 5 lbs organic adzuki beans

  • 2 lbs organic cashews
Oh yes...we will consume it all.

Sometimes not all of your order arrives.  This is sad.  We did not recieve our 5 lbs of organic dates, our 20 lbs of organic peaches and our 4 lb jar of organic coconut oil.  I do need the dates and the coconut oil, so I will have to visit my favorite health food store for smaller amounts of these items.  The peaches I bought on a whim since I like to get all of my produce from our CSA boxes.  I figured I'd just wash, slice them and pop them in the freezer for future smoothies.  Since they did not come, I just might have to go to the Farmer's market this week and pick some up.  Peach season is coming to a close soon....

Anyone else out there part of a buying co-op?

I'm off to store away all of our goodies...what a good little squirrel I am.  Tee-hee.

Broken and Un-broken

Broken:
My Camera...again.
Unbroken:
F's delicate little wrist...yay!

Well, hello little blog!  I've had so many things to share with you over the past week or so...but alas my camera is broken again and I've yet to deal with fixing it.  Should I upgrade to a new lens?  Or should I spend a little less money and just fix the one I've got?

I've been a little lack-luster with posting since my crappy iPhone pics won't really convey what I want.  But since it looks like it might be a while fixing my camera...I'll share anyways.

Here's the iPhone round up (and what we've been up to this past week):



Baby C has discovered how to grab things...but her favorite things to grab are her own toes.
So cute!

F has been a finger knitting fool lately.  I find little finger knitted bits all around the house.  Know any good use for these?  Think we'll put them all together and make a blanket or something...


This is my Autumn apron.  I don my apron when we are having "school".  Pretty huh?


A perfect pitcher for little E's hands.  She was getting frustrated trying to use mama's big pitcher.  I found this at IKEA by the way...


Cucumbers, mint, lime juice and a bit of agave.  Yum!  The kids ate this whole bowl while I was putting C down for nap.  No joke.

Part of our story for this month's circle time.  Harvest Moon Magic.  I'll post more on that later with better pictures because this one is just dreadful. 


Mama Bunny's sweet little babes will be leaving the nest soon.  One of my dear friends is taking them though...so we'll be able to have bunny family reunions.  Look how they've grown in only 7 weeks!  Almost the same size as mama!  Thank goodness our little ones don't grow that fast.


Papa surprised me and bought me two of these!  They were at a consignment store I drive by often and I'd been eyeing them for weeks. I *LOVE* them so much. 
Thank you Papa!

So there you are.  A bit of catching up.  Not sure anyone noticed, but I didn't post a LOVE-N-LINKS on Sunday.  It was fun having a scheduled post...but I'm over it.  I'll still share little loves and links throughout my posts...I like randomness anyways, don't you?

I'm also thinking about sharing a bit more of our homeschooling days.  We get lots and lots of questions about what we do, so this will be a good way to share and a good way for me to document it.  I've been hand-writing all our activities and circle times, so getting it typed will make it easier for me to file and store anyhow.

Til later...

Days at the Rancho...

























Thank you to Rob, from Zoartphoto for coming to The Rancho and taking pictures of the classes for Maple Village School last year. These pictures were taken back in June, but we just got them and I had to share.  Rob is a Daddy to one of the little girls in Playgroup and agreed to take class photos for a fundraiser!

The Pre-K and K children at MVS get to have class at The Rancho one day a week.

Imagine that.
One whole day a week in a beautiful outdoor setting...just lovely.

We've visited The Rancho many times this summer and plan to make it a regular part of our homeschooling days too.




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