Monday, August 31, 2009

A School Year Begins

Three weeks ago, on August 10th, school started in our districts and our home. For most children, and indeed, for our oldest three, the start of a new school year is marked by the smell of new pencils, a backpack freshly packed, a noisy bus ride, and a long day of new teachers, old and new friends, and tons of papers to sign. It's an exciting time of renewal and adventure mixed with a little dread, knowing that the carefree days of summer have come to an end and now begins the jam-packed school days of marching band, soccer practice, football games, and homework. Exhausting, yes, but the rewards are worth the effort!
For our youngest two, the beginning of school had a different tone this year. It began with the sound of goats bleating and soft bunnies excitedly hopping around for their morning feeding; the gentle tunes of German children's songs, the soft glow of candlelight, the feel of blowing through a recorder and learning to make music, and the sweet smell of new beeswax crayons. Yes, after much prayer, studying, and thought, David and I came to the conclusion that a true Waldorf education is the right choice for Robin and Elsa. And so, a new journey has begun...

Why did we choose Waldorf, and what is that anyway? There are other sites that will explain in depth, but briefly, here is our take on it: Waldorf education is based on the teachings of the early 20th century German philosopher Rudolf Steiner. It is a developmental curriculum that aims to educate and unfold the whole soul of a child - not just the intellect. The arts play a strong role, and subjects are carefully chosen with the consideration of the age of the child and where they are developmentaly. David and I have been studying the philosophies and benifits of Waldorf education for nearly 10 years (off and on) and have been greatly impressed by not only the incredible beauty, but how very accurately it maps child development and current studies in neurology. We are so happy to be able to teach our youngest children with what we believe is the best possible method for our family. And although there are difficult days when we question our sanity in homeschooling (lol!) we never question our choice of curriculum. It is true, beautiful, and right.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

For a New Little One

It's always such a joy to make a gift for a new baby. Every baby deserves to be surrounded by things handmade with love and thoughtfulness. I made this little musical dolly for my new niece, Katherine. Welcome to the world, sweet baby!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Few Little Things

A few little things that make me smile...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Second Star to the Right...

...and off to a Mermaid Lagoon...

The scene is set, the mermaids are ready for a party. It's a magical hour and the lagoon has been decorated for an evening of enchantment...
The soft light of magical candles sparkles off pearly seashells.

The mermaids' collection adorns the secret grotto.

Of course, a chest of pirate's gold is tucked away in a hidden nook.

A new mermaid guards the pirate gold and wonders what the night will bring.

Two best friends have joined for an evening together, they have made new strings of seashells for their gathering and lit the magic candles.

Shyly, the new little mermaid peeks in on the friends, will they let her join them?

Of course! What fun to have a new friend!

The three mermaid friends talk into the late hours of this magical night. Many adventures will lie ahead for them, and it all began here.

Thank you, Fawndear, for letting me be a part of your blog party! My girls and I had so much fun setting the scene for our mermaid party. What a magical time we all had, remembering how much fun it is to be young and lost in an enchanted world.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Elsa's Real Birthday

Elsa turned six while she and I were in Pennsylvania last month. We celebrated with our friends and had a quiet, relaxing day...

First thing in the morning, Elsa opened her present from me - a beautiful, magical, hand-knitted mare made by my friend Suzanne at "Down in the Meadow". I love Suzanne's shop, everything she makes is made with love and care, and she is a kindred spirit! This pony was knitted while at the seaside with her family, and is made of organic, naturally dyed wool. You can read the charming story of the wool on her blog here. Elsa was so very happy with her little pony - it has become a fast friend.After a very hot and humid morning, a huge thunderstorm moved in for the afternoon. It was beautiful and cool, and the kids and I sat on the front porch and watched the rain fall on the Susquehanna River. Elsa got to try out her new birthday umbrella.

Later that evening Elsa and I had a new experience - watching fireflies! We don't have them here in Arizona, so this was a special treat. It was so amazing to see the little bugs flashing and flying in the twilight. Elsa caught a jarful and we watched them for a long time before we let them go.
Elsa's birthday cake was another first for her - ice cream cake! It was so yummy! Elsa said it was the best birthday ever.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Day At Knoebels

In July, Elsa and I went to Pennsylvania for a week to visit our dear friends, the Basilottos and Olsens. Our very first day there they took us to the most adorable amusment park! We had so much fun - Elsa was in heaven with her good friend Maria, running around the park and experiencing everything...

Spinning wildly in the teacups with fun-loving "Uncle Charcoal" (poor Michael had to put up with this nickname the whole week!)...

Drinking out of the lion's mouth...

Eating a huge Turkey Hill ice cream cone...

Dancing to a 1907 Wurlitzer carousel organ (it was really loud!)

Knoebels is renowned for having the best amusment park food in the U.S. and I have to say that we agree. Not only was the ice cream good, but the lunch was great and I got to experience a Pennsylvania favorite - White Birch Beer! It's a lot like root beer, but better. Actually, it tasted very similar to my favorite bottled root beer, Virgil's, but better! Now if only I could find it here in Arizona....

Far, Far, Away Fabric

I am loving this fabric! Designed by Heather Ross (always so enchanting!) I purchased this set of 1/2 yard pieces from FabricWorm on Etsy.

I had so much fun making birthday dresses for Elsa and her new baby doll. Elsa loves it! The light, soft double gauze is perfect for a summer dress.
Elsa's dress is made with Sandi Henderson's "Claire" pattern. What a fun and easy pattern! Of course I had to change it a little bit. I used "D" the peasant dress, but only did the elastic ruching on the waist. I did elastic casing for the neck and sleeves which I think gives it a more finished look (besides, I was of course sewing it on a ridiculous deadline! Had to make it the day before Elsa and I left for Pennsylvania.)

Anyway, now I'm thinking I should make a skirt for myself....Would a 39 year old mom of 5 look silly in a skirt with unicorns and frog princes?

The Second Star to the Right...

Fawndear is hosting a blog party in a couple of weeks and we are so excited to join in! August needs a little enchantment around here as there are no holidays or birthdays and school starts. If you would like to join in too, click on the picture above and it will take you to all the info.