29 September 2011

Shouts of Joy

It is Yom Teruah (also known as Rosh Hashanah) today. (Please feel free to skip this post if you wish to avoid my faith/festival musings!)

An extra candle lighting, for us, last night. And other traditions like starting the day with apples dipped in honey (for a sweet new year), braiding round challah (representing the crown of heaven, or the circle of the year if you follow less traditional interpretations) and casting bread into water (representing throwing away our past wrongdoing for a fresh start - which I am never one to pass up the chance for marking)!
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Most importantly, hearing the Shofar being blown as a wake-up call to our souls - that and following the ongoing biblical instruction to make a loud joyful noise to the Lord. :) (That, I think, we can do!) The traditional focus of the Days of Awe following Yom Teruah is putting right our affairs and rededicating to holiness in the following year. Without minimising those themes I want the children to mostly take away the message that we are loved and covered by God's grace. So I tend to emphasise rather more the sweetness of God's gifts and our surety in Christ than a prolonged inward focus on our deeds and actions.
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Shana Tovah, friends, and a year filled with sweetness to you all whatever new year dates you keep. Although I don't really personally consider Yom Teruah a new year as such (any more), as always I like to keep plenty of new years in my festival calendar! Greedy, I guess. ;)

28 September 2011

Everyday Ramblings

Today has been one of those days when most of my plans go out of the window. When we are really all so contentedly dancing to our own rhythm it doesn't matter that there doesn't seem to be a coherant pattern.

See, this is where I *really* don't look like Waldorf - these days just don't worry me at all. Hey kids, we're going to gather for circle now! No thanks mum, we're going to play shops and dress up as flamenco dancers. OK kids, as you were. (Rowan always obliges by coming and singing with me, anyhow!)

Today also really didn't look like homeschool. Nobody deliberately set out to do a craft or a learning activity. No books were out at any point except for Glitter Kitty (sigh!), Where is That Cat, my NKJ Bible, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and a Star Wars graphic novel. Certainly no text books or lesson plans or worksheets in sight.

Morgan did some watercolour and salt painting in her journal. I did watercolours and oil pastels in mine. Jenna made a camp in the back garden. I hung laundry on the line, and sat in the shade of my willow tree a while, and made apple sauce (turning half of it into Stollen). All three girls played in the sand pit. Jenna fell off the top of the swing frame and hurt her head.

I spent about an hour just mucking about on Pinterest. I nursed Rowan twice. Morgan and Rowan fell out over a cracker and had to be physically separated before Morgan broke Rowan's ribs (girls can be vicious). I looked up how to braid round challah on youtube and the girls all came and watched several sets of instructions and then the entertainment of watching mama try to get it right.

Martin and I drank about a zillion cups of tea. Emma and Connor got clay out and my children joined in. Rowan and Connor decided that the shells were money and set up a shop with the till again. Jenna and Morgan watched Finding Nemo. Emma started crocheting a shrug. I made chutney. Connor wore Morgan's discarded dress for quite some time even though it tripped him up a bit.

To me, sometimes, this looks like doing nothing. Right now, with the afternoon shadows on the wall and the laundry dry and away and the wonderful smell of baking fresh from the oven, it feels just heavenly. :)

26 September 2011

Autumn Colour

Lots of Autumny crafting to share, and generally me loving Autumn and Autumny things. :) I hear it's meant to be another year for early snow, so I'm getting in LOTS of this lovely season in a short space of time just in case!
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Acorn cup floating candles. We stood the caps in modelling clay to keep them upright. Pouring was a bit tricky, not one for tinies especially with such small acorn caps! We want to find some bigger ones for next time.
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Leafy garland, easy sewing in lovely colours. So effective for such little work.
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Autumn coloured giant window star, made by Jenna and I one afternoon.
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Bread, sitting in the sun, in the rainbow light from a crystal hung in my kitchen window.DSC02652
More of Jenna's handwork, a broach she made for a friend. So sweet! Isn't her stitching neat now?
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Night time walks, wrapped up warm, "look, snails!"
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Damson and apple jelly. Mmmm...
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A bit on the giant side, because neither of us are very experienced needle felters, but yet more Jenna handwork - the orange acorn. I couldn't find any brown wool, and she got tired of it after a while, so it will probably be one to come back to if we want it smaller and more tightly felted!
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Wax dipped leaves, made with Aoife after school one day.
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More leaves, a stitched journal, sent for the mama love swap.
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Acorn collecting on the park.
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We have had such an odd couple of weeks. I'm still feeling really well, and not so panicky-rushed, but gosh I do sometimes wonder if I will ever get to that lull, some kind of steady place where I can catch my breath! I'm burying myself in crafting, keeping up with the children where possible, and taking as much time for journalling and locking myself in the bathroom as I dare. In some ways, that side of things is only going to get worse - for the best of reasons - as Martin finally has a job. :)

25 September 2011

Weekend Festival-going

Yay for the city of Derby, putting on a whole festival in honour of Connor's second birthday. ;) Friday Fire Garden walking (and trying not to get annoyed with the OTT health and safety people warning us where the fire was lol).
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Sleepy spellbound Roo, who eventually fell asleep on Kev's shoulders.
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Birthday table.
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In town: Giant lobster, Troll's Kitchen, crafts and performers and people dressed as giant green insects. Rowan was very brave - from a distance - but her hands turned white gripping so tightly to my tshirt. She kept asking where the lobster had gone, though, she adored it!
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The dragon was operated by lots of different wheels and levers and all the children helped. Rowan kept saying, "I want to say hello to the BE-A-OOOtiful dragon!" When we got close, it roared, and suddenly she was pulling away from me saying, "Want to move away from the beautiful dragon, want to move AWAY from the beautiful dragon!!"
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We met up with my mum and Nareman (who had bought us jam tarts), and later my dad and middle brother (who bought us drinks).
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In the evening there were giant fish.
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And fireworks! We had been telling the children there *might not* be fireworks. When they started up, Rowan declared proudly, "I TELLED you there would be fireworks." :)
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Plenty of magic for four little people and their grown-ups! :)

23 September 2011

Michaelmas

We're doing Michaelmas a little early this year, so that it's out of the way before we begin to prepare for the High Holy Days beginning next week. Added bonus, it means I get to share things in advance of the actual day for those of you who might want to borrow some ideas. ;) Here's last year's Michaelmas Post.

(Jenna has told me today that she thinks the dragon she is fighting right now is when she gets cross with her sisters and does unkind things to make them sad.)
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This year, the day before Michaelmas, there will be a lantern parade in a nearby village, so the girls are each making a lantern (by the same papier mache method as last year) to hang a torch inside for the parade. I'm hoping to find my leaf skeletons from last year to put in the last layer of paper. :)
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We ran out of glue, so I made my own. Flour and sugar (3:1), water to make a paste, and a large dash each of salt and vinegar in the hopes of keeping it from moulding, cooked in a pan.

Dragon bread is being made for Connor's birthday tomorrow. So I'll be back to add a picture of that. :) And anything else I've forgotten!

Edited with: Yes, this was the best picture I got of all three girls with their lanterns! Never mind, eh? We hung tiny torches inside them, and they glowed beautifully. And the dragon bread didn't end up happening at all this year, but I suppose we can't have it all. Instead, my lovely brother gave us money to have Chinese for Connor's birthday tea! Well, I can't really complain about that, can I?
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Also edited to add: if you do Waldorf watercolour paintings (or would like to) you may like this Michaelmas watercolour I found recently. :) http://bobbinsandbrambles.blogspot.com/2010/09/michaelmas-watercolordragon-painting.html

22 September 2011

Warmth on a Grey Day

On a chilly lovely grey breezy day, it feels like the perfect time for blustery walks and kites and crafting and baking.
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No-bake fudge flapjack cookies.
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350g sugar, 115g butter, 120ml milk, 3tbsp cocoa (combined in saucepan and boiled for one minute)
100g nut butter, 1tsp vanilla, 270g oats (stirred in, then dollops of mixture onto greaseproof paper to set)

And some knitting: a babywearing coat panel for Minnow and I to snuggle in, come winter. I'm largely making it up as I go along, but it shouldn't be too complicated.
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Today my day started with doing my first ever morning school run (I'm helping out Aoife and Roisin's mummy and daddy this week), followed by picking up peanut butter and milk from the local shops (with Jenna in welly boots and PJs, and Rowan with bare feet). This afternoon I'll be doing our third afternoon school run; though this is the only day I'll be dropping them off and picking them up again. It feels so strange! Other parents with children the same age as mine do the school run All The Time, and I'm a complete novice. Gosh, what a lot of time it takes out of the day when I really think about it, and what a lot of restrictions it puts on what else we can do. But Aoife and Roisin's company is well worth the strange induction to the world of keeping normal school hours. :)
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Cuddled up on the sofa, three sisters in harmony (at the moment I would have to add "for once" for the sake of honesty)... And I'm about to have a cuppa and get on with my knitting before the school run. :)
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20 September 2011

More Bump Pictures

Minnow and Me. Feeling good. :)
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(Excuse the colour issues in the pictures: they were overexposed, taken right by the window, and I am no use with photo editing software.)

19 September 2011

Foresting and so on

Over the weekend we spent a fabulous few hours at the Forest Festival at Elvaston Castle, and ACK I am really kicking myself for not taking the camera because it was such an amazing blissful day (except that I am so seriously tired out after more than an hour on my feet right now lol). Bump is aching today! But it has been aching a lot because baby keeps turning itself back to breech and then going head down again, and I feel like I'm being beaten up.

The children spent about an hour awed by a Green Man who was singing his own invented folk songs and telling stories and teaching about the plants and trees around us. We had a long chat to him later on in the day, and he was so enthusiastic to see the children getting dirty and playing in the leaves and eating handfuls of wild food. :) There was one hilarious moment when Emma and I were both talking to him, and Connor ran to Martin, and the poor guy was clearly getting an interesting impression of our living arrangements. Emma and I had the giggles for ages on the way home about Martin's hareem. ;)

A bushcraft expert helped us work out why we have never yet been successful with our fire steel (it isn't us, it's actually defective) and gifted us a suitable replacement part with which Jenna is happily making fires today. :) And next to him, a couple of women had a brick oven and a fire pit and were baking. Jenna did the washing up for them, and helped for nearly an hour with the baking. She made a delicious pizza, which we helped to eat. Everyone was just so friendly.

I met a blog reader (I love bumping into people) and a lady who has had to give up babywearing and took away a list of links to slings for back carries and for the Green Parent. A family stopped and watched me wrapping Rowan on my back and applauded when I was done. I'm not sure if they thought I was with one of the stalls!

Both of the big girls were given disks of wood to burn designs into, though Morgan burnt her thumb too, and made necklaces. Rowan spent a lot of time looking like a little woodland pixie, toddling around with a large collie dog belonging to one of the council forrestry guys. Oscar was such a friendly (and obedient) dog, and my tiny blonde tot took great pleasure in ordering him around, cuddling him, and throwing sticks for him.

Jenna has asked sweetly if she can please please please get a dog "for Rowan". Martin and I had agreed that if we were going to have another baby this year, we'd wait to get a dog, but now Martin keeps joking about getting a collie like Oscar "to round up all the kids". Border collies have always been my absolute favourite dogs. I just don't think I could commit to giving it enough exercise until a while after baby is here. Plus, the cat would probably see that as the last straw, and move out!

Anyhow, what else? There were yurts, and tipis, and great shelters attached to vans like ours (I kept thinking, ooh, interesting camping potential!) and lots of fascination traditional tools and skill demonstrations. Emma and I considered building a human-powered lathe, as it seems a shame not to harness the children's vast amount of running-up-and-down-shrieking-for-no-obvious-reason energy! Morgan wore herself out jumping up and down on it to help the guy who was making himself an axe handle.

I drooled over some beautiful wood carving (mostly the benches) with semi-precious stones inset into the natural cracks in the reclaimed pieces. Emma steered me away from the huge display of wickerwork, being as how I have difficulty resisting a good basket, and didn't have any money with me at all. I took business cards. Well, you never know lol.

:) :) :)

17 September 2011

Mama's Handbag

Well I guess it is an old truism that you can find out a lot about a woman by the contents of her handbag! What do you think my bag says about me? ;)
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Inventory:
- knitting pattern, shopping list
- two library leaflets for events, toddler rhyme book, two foraging books
- leather booties, two pairs of children's sunglasses
- knitting project (Morgan's winter hat)
- first aid kit: essential oils, home made arnica balm, homeopathic remedy, lipbalm
- a discarded child's bracelet
- a scarf
- art journal, gratitude journal, neocolours
- (children's journals are often in here too but they all used them this morning)
- oat crackers
- children's sunhats, Roo's warm hat
- keys, fire steel, scissors, safety pins
- pack-down shopping bag and a couple of produce bags
- phone, brolly, wallet
- hairbrush, bobble, rosewater spray
- full outfits for two youngest and clean socks for eldest
- arm/leg warmers x2 pairs, gloves x3 pairs
- Morgan's stripy cardi (the others both wore theirs this morning)

What goes with you on your travels? Do you pack light or go prepared? Are you carrying clothes for more than one season right now? :)

16 September 2011

Knitting

Awesome overjoyed happy-dance crafty mama brag on my knitting success follows: ;)
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Looook! I finished Jenna's dress, and it has LACE (and jogless stripes, and kitchener stitch, and I did actual maths to adapt/invent the pattern)! It just needs blocking, especially to stop the hem rolling.
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She loves it.
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(And I finished Morgan's hat, too. She hates it. She says it itches. It does NOT itch. But anyhow, the hat fits both of the others so it won't go to waste, and I shall dutifully set about knitting her a hat without a chin strap. *sigh*)
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