Oonagh in the woods


...before this one gets too big.  Some photos from a day last Fall.

Calico, the Christmas Cat

Meet Calico, the newest member of our (growing) family.  

Calico joined our family a few weeks ago as a gift for Erris.  She had been asking for a kitten since we lost our barn cats when we moved back to CA.  It just so happened that a friend of ours was trying to find homes for some there you have it!  A very special birthday gift.

I was downloading the pictures and realized every single one we had of Calico involved a Christmas scene of some sort.  So I figured I'd better throw them up here on the blog before it's too late.  This Holiday season has been so busy for our family...I hope to be back in this space soon!

Hope 2015 brings you a year full of family time, love and JOY!

Art: The Line

"EARTH without ART is just EH" - anonymous

We have traditionally followed a "Waldorf Education" model with our homeschooling.  The past two years we have branched out in a few areas.  I have seen that not everything in that educational model fits with both of my school aged daughters.  I am not capable of bringing everything to them in an awakened and true manner (such as Eurythmy!).  Up until this year our art lessons have been mainly beeswax crayon drawings, block crayon drawings and loads of beautiful water color paintings.

While visiting LACMA this summer, my inquisitive 4 year old sat down and looked at a painting.  She turned to me with a concerned look on her face and asked, "Mama...what makes art, ART?".  It took longer than I expected to come up with a response.  It's kind of a loaded question, right?  I mean, what would you say?  I think at the time I said something like, "Well, many different people have many different interpretations of art.  What may be beautiful to some, may not be to others.".  She looked at me again, and then skipped off to the next gallery.  Later that night I wondered about my response.  Did I truly answer her question?

I had no formal art training and always felt lost whenever I had to draw something.  It seriously gave me anxiety.  I gained much confidence after taking my first year of Waldorf Teacher Training, but I still did not understand the principles of creating a piece of art.  I decided this year I wanted to do a bit more with our art lessons.  I looked into art lessons online, but they were mostly about studying a specific artist, then having the children re-create their work.  While I do believe that's an important aspect of studying art, at this age I wanted to keep the artwork their own.  I happened to be browsing a thrift store bookshelf the next week and came across a 50 cent gem!  So this year we are mainly using concepts and ideas found in that book as well as a few internet references.

October we focused on the line.  Each week we did a short lesson and the children created some lovely pieces of art, completely their own.

Week 1: Line Dropping

Week 2: Foot Path

Week 3: Spiral Lines

Week 4: Negative Space Lines

November we delve into shapes.  It aligns perfectly with my 4th graders science block "Finding Geometry in Nature".

Halloween Circle - Boo!

We celebrate Halloween in our home.  It's always been one of my Mother's favorite holidays and watching her enjoy the day with my girls over the years has been priceless.

I realize it's the day after Halloween, but I wanted to get this posted in case someone wants to use it next year.  All songs, verses and rhymes are taken from WeeSing for Halloween with minor adjustments.  I grew up with this on tape and played it constantly.  I love sharing the songs I know by heart with my little ones...

Watercolor pumpkin with tissue paper cut outs

Our ghosts circling...

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 (stays all season):

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)

Halloween is Here:

(Each girl picks a story stone and then gets to act out their part of the song)

Fly, fly, fly little witch
Halloween is here.

Flap, flap, flap little bat
Halloween is here.

Moan, moan,moan little mummy
Halloween is here.

Crawl, crawl, crawl little spider
Halloween is here

Float, float, float little ghost
Halloween is here

Stomp, stomp, stomp little monster
Halloween is here.

Have You Seen the Ghost of John

(This is sung in a round.  We all sing together, then the older two start off the round)

Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones with the skin all gone…
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?

5 Little Ghosts

(For this one we all have a little paper ghost.  I sing the song and tap each girl on the head in turn, and they sit down.  For the last line, all sitting ghosts must close their eyes and the last ghost creeps up and “Boo!”s them.  So fun!)

Five little ghosts went out to explore,
One found a house to haunt, leaving just…

Four little ghosts on a late night spree,
One found a cemetery, leaving just…

Three little ghosts stopping by the zoo,
One found a chain to rattle, leaving just…

Two little ghosts still looking for some fun,
One found a kid to scare, leaving just…

One little ghost with nothing left to do,
'Til he snuck up behind you and shouted out Boo!

Witches Brew:

(This is a hand clapping game…I vary the sequence for the girls depending on their coordination, but everyone gets a turn!)

Witches’ brew hot
Witches’ brew cold
Witches’ brew in the pot,
nine days old.

Monsters like it hot
Ghosts like it cold,
Skeletons like it in the pot
nine days old.

Spin Spider:

(One girl is the spider and takes the cotton yarn and “spins” by wrapping the yarn all around us and the room)

Spin spider spin, spin your spider web.
Spin spider spin, spin your spider web.
On Halloween night, you’re such  spooky sight,
Spin spider spin, spin your spider web

(Repeat until spider has “finished”)

Closing verse:

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

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.


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