Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This is one of my favorite holiday pictures... Tim's parents have a beautiful magnolia tree in their front yard. It is perfect for climbing, and Willow took the opportunity.

Holiday Elves

I've been waiting to post some of these pictures until after gifts were distributed. We had some very busy little elves around here for the days leading up to holiday fun. The kids made felted soap balls for aunts, grandmas, and great-grandmas:
They painted picture frames with watercolors, and we put a picture of the four of them in the frames when they dried.
And we made a huge batch of chewy chocolate ginger cranberry oatmeal cookies. Yum!! Clover made gift bags for everyone and tied them with green yarn.
Now we are just trying to settle back into our old routine, and find places for all of the lovely new things that the kids were given. We are so thankful for all that we received!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gingerbread Houses

The day after Christmas was spent in Augusta visiting at Gma & Gpa's house. We all had a very nice time. The kids made gingerbread houses with Gma, Gpa, Aunt Katie, and Uncle Neil. This was the perfect rainy day project. The kids were so happy to each have their own little house to decorate!

Clover's eight-year-old attention span allowed time for adding details like a tiny hot tub and a little person. She has requested that gingerbread house construction be a holiday tradition!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Beeswax Candles

We let Clover stay up late on Christmas Eve to help with making beeswax candles. Her job was to scrape out the pulp. Ofcourse, she had to drink some of the juice first... These turned out beautifully. They were inspired by the ones in the Winter issue of Living Crafts. The ones that we made in walnut shells didn't float (they sank), but they were still very beautiful. The ones in the orange shells were definitely my favorite:
We made a beautiful centerpiece for a simple holiday meal with my dad and sisters. We lit the candles, Clover said a short blessing, and we ate chicken and (heart-shaped!) dumplings. We had a really nice time. I love family celebrations!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice

We had such a beautiful, fun, joyous Winter Solstice day!! The kids opened their stockings and gifts first thing in the morning. They were all so excited to get the wooden bows and arrows that they have been wishing for! These were beautifully made and they have already been played with so much... After breakfast and lots more play time (and some nap time for Nova), we made wish bread. We roll sweet dough into small balls and make a wish on each one. The kids wished for a nice garden in the Spring time with lots of watermelons, for snow to come to our town, for peace in the World. Lots of silly wishes, too, ofcourse! When all of the dough balls are layered into the loaf pan, Tim poured brown sugar glaze over the whole thing and we let it rise for another 45 minutes. Then, into the oven & when it comes out we have a sweet pull-apart loaf to share at our Solstice potluck. Our potluck was really sweet this year. We had a smaller group of guests than usual - all members of our Waldorf playgroup. Tim made a beautiful evergreen spiral for the kids to walk. The pictures cannot do it justice. He tucked big white tufts of pampas grass and red berries into the evergreens. After a lantern walk around the yard, Clover and Autumne read this verse from The Festival of Stones, one of our favorite Fall & Winter books. Clover read the first verse, Autumne read the second, and they read the third together: Bless this candle/ Burning bright,/ Bless its shining/ In the night. Bless the boughs/ Upon the ground,/ Bless the path/ That spirals round. Bless our tread,/ So strong and stout,/ Bless our winding/ In and out. Then, all of the kids (and some of the adults, myself included) walked the spiral while Tim played another song on the dulcimer. On the way back out, they left their lantern somewhere along the spiral (mostly right in the middle!), so that when the walk was done the spiral was beautifully lit with flickering little lights.

After the spiral walk, lots of the kids were interested in the hammer dulcimer. Tim let them try playing it one by one. Some of the smaller ones retrieved their lanterns and walked around some more. Slowly, everyone said goodbyes and headed for home. After one more look at our beautiful Advent wreath, Clover was able to rest. It was after midnight when she finally went to sleep.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sugar Cookies

Few holiday traditions exist in my extended family, so I always look forward to the yearly rhythym of making sugar cookies with my grandmother and grandfather. Mimi has been making these sugar cookies with her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids for over fifty years. When Clover was only three months old, I took her to make sugar cookies for the first time. Nestled in the sling, she held a cookie cutter in her little fist and I had one of those proud new mama moments. She was taking part in tradition!!

So, this morning we headed over to Mimi and Grandad's house for some cookie baking fun! Before rolling the dough & cutting out shapes, each person has to tie on the apron that my great grandmother wore to do all of her cooking.

Even the older participants (me & my sisters & my mom) tie on the apron before beginning. When my brother is in town, he is expected to wear the apron & (to his credit) he is always a good sport! We missed him this morning & sent lots of cookie energy up to Boston. haha!!

Grandad put the cookies in a low spot, so that little people could sample the deliciousness!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Working and Playing

I've been reading Freya Jaffke's book Work and Play in Early Childhood. I love her book Toymaking with Children, and even though I haven't even gotten half way through this new one I'm already feeling inspired. I'm simultaneously reading Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer. I resisted reading that one for a long time because I didn't care for the title, but it is really interesting and easy to read and full of good ideas! I find that for the most part, "work" can almost always be turned into play for small children. I just have to keep that playful energy in my own heart and let it radiate outwards...
Indigo & Willow pick seeds for the birds... ... sawing off the end of the Solstice tree...

Lots of work and play.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Woods Walk Party

We went to a birthday party today for some sweet little twins who were turning 2. Clover wanted to make yarn dolls for them, so we all worked together on that this morning. There was much debate over who should get which one since they were two different colors. It was finally decided & they were carefully wrapped and put into my basket.
The party was fun and simple. We sang happy birthday to the girls and they blew out their candles. The cake was so delicious! Afterwards, we went for a little adventure in the woods. There were orange peel boats to sail... and trees to climb...

and hills to proudly conquer...
We had such an awesome day! There are many things about living in the South that don't appeal to me, but I will take sixty degree weather in December any day of the week!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Solstice Tree

I love the stillness of the woods in the Wintertime.
We got our tree yesterday. The kids were so excited! We bundled up in coats and hats and gloves, and walked into the woods behind our house. Rain threatened, but we only got a few drops. After a long walk and much debate over which tree would be best, Tim found a small cedar. All of the kids agreed that it was the most lovely one. They all wanted to help with dragging the tree home, so Tim cut some of the small bottom branches off & gave each a branch to carry.Tim challenged me and Nova to pull the tree over the bridge. It was heavy!!!!!!! But we did it!We have been decorating ever since!