Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful For Family

Today all 37 members of my Bielefeldt family gathered at our home to celebrate Thanksgiving. We couldn't have asked for a more lovely day. The weather was warm and gentle, the food was amazing, and having all the siblings and little cousins together was just priceless.

Uncle Eric brought a bubble machine and all the little girls laughed and chased in wonderment trying to catch the floating bubbles. We finally got them to stay still (relatively!) by lying in a flower shape and singing "fairies!" up to the camera!

I am so grateful for my big family and our closeness and love. I am the oldest of eight, the youngest leaves for his mission to South Africa on December 8th. We are cherishing these moments together as we will not all be together again for two years.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crafting, Cooking, Crazy!!

The holiday season is upon us and we are in the full spirit of it here. Earlier this month I signed up for three swaps, you can see the tags on the right sidebar. Two were due this week, we are also hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for my family (37+ people!) and Lucy is making Homemade Pies this afternoon to raise money for her marching band fees. So, it is very festive here!!These are all the cute things we made for the Handmade Stocking Stuffer Swap. We had 14 children on our list, 8 boys and 6 girls. David made the boy things, and I made the mermaid dollies for the girls. I was so glad that David stepped in to help! He is so creative and handy when he wants to be :)

A close up of the mermaids. I had so much fun making these for the swap that I decided to make some for my little nieces for Christmas.

I made these handmade chocolate truffles for the goody in the Enchanted Forest Ornament Swap. They were so easy and soooo yummy! If you want to try them, here's the recipe...
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup good quality chocolate (I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips)
Heat the cream over medium heat to just before boiling, remove from heat, add the chocolate and stir to melt.
If you would like to add flavorings, do so now. I added about a tablespoon of peanut butter to one batch, to the other I added about a tablespoon of reduced cherry syrup (another recipe maybe!) and a teaspoon of rum. Stir in the flavorings thoroughly.
Put in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until stiff enough to mold. (about 1-2 hours or overnight is fine.)
Form into little balls - I scooped with a melon baller and then rolled to form. Roll in cinnamon sugar or cocoa powder.
That's it! Easy!
Here they are all packaged up, with the ornament and a kitchen towel. The towel is made of natural linen with a border of Japanese woodland friends fabric I got on etsy.

With all the craziness, I let Jesse stay home from school today (it was only a half day anyway!) and he rewarded me by making these amazing blueberry scones! Thank you sweet boy! I think he's turning into a fine cook!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grade One, F & R

Letters F & R
Waldorf Alphabet Book
A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling Grade One
Oak Meadow Kindergarten

The Curious Fish by Elsa Beskow
The Roly Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter
Rapunzel by Grimm
The Dream Fairy (poem) by Thomas Hood

Add new fish to our pond
Bake Roly Poly Puddings (recipe in Oak Meadow Kindergarten p. 209)

The newly released in English book by Elsa Beskow was perfect for F! We actually scheduled our lessons for F around the release of the book and I am so glad we did. It is such a sweet tale, and Elsa loved all the different kinds of fish in it.

We told several different tales for the letter R, but the image we finally settled on as most meaningful was the river. It lent itself so nicely to the shape, and really flowed in and out of all our stories this week.

One of our resources this week was the poem "The Dream Fairies" by Thomas Hood. It is in the public domain, so here it is:
A little fairy comes at night,
Her eyes are blue, her hair is brown,
with silver spots upon her wings,
And from the moon she flutters down.
She has a little silver wand,
And when a good child goes to bed
She waves her wand from right to left
And makes a circle round her head,
And then it dreams of pleasant things,
Of fountains filled with fairy fish,
And trees that bear delicious fruit,
And bow their branches at a wish;
Of arbours filled with dainty scents
From lovely flowers that never fade,
Bright ‘flies that flitter in the sun,
And glow-worms shining in the shade;
And talking birds with gifted tongues
For singing songs and telling tales,
And pretty dwarfs to show the way
Through the fairy hills and fairy dales.

So many beautiful images! "Fountains filled with fairy fish" was our repeated sentence for F. And Elsa was so inspired by "...pretty dwarfs to show the way/ Through the fairy hills and fairy dales." that she had to paint her version of her dwarf guide through fairyland...
...a lovely opportunity for a painting exersize in Red!

I wanted to share the picture Robin drew for Elsa. He put in as many "R"s as he could from the story Rapunzel. Elsa had a great time finding them all!

Grade One, G & K

Letters G & K
Waldorf Alphabet Book
A Journey Through Waldorf First Grade

The Golden Goose - Grimm
King Thrushbeard - Grimm

Autumn Nature Walk

Elsa in the golden early autumn light in Payson, AZ. We took a little trip to visit my sister in Gallup, NM the first weekend of October and stopped at my parents' cabin. The woods were so beautiful and golden!

For some reason, Elsa had a difficult time with G. She loved the story, but did not think she could draw the picture. She started and then was so frustrated that we had to put it on hold. It took her about three weeks of letting it settle before she was ready to revisit it and make her MLB entry. That's ok. It is why homeschooling is so wonderful! It was no problem to move on with other things and come back to it when she was ready. I did not make a big issue of it, so she did not feel stupid.

The story of King Thrushbeard is adorable! Elsa loved the Princess' silly descriptions of the Princes, and was glad when she learned her lesson to be less proud and selfish. She had great fun acting this one out with me, and really enjoyed the drawing of the King and Princess dancing at thier wedding!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Mad Hatter Was Here...

Here we see Lewis Carroll as he imagines some of the characters in his new story....

Alice meets the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and two darling doormice.

The Cheshire Cat wasn't all there...

I had to take a few pictures the next morning when the light was nice. It was such a fun party! Friends, family, and neighbors joined us, and many of them had gotten into the spirit and dressed to match the theme.
We ate pumpkin soup, homemade bread and homemade crackers; a variety of cheeses including brie, gouda, white farm cheddar, and my own goat cheese with raspberries and black grapes; cupcakes of course and cookies printed with instructions for Alice; Gramie's traditional homemade donuts; Jill's favorite winter squash dip; October Ale (a mix of spiced apple cider and ginger ale) and our own made from scratch rootbeer.
The setting was so magical with paper lanterns, thrifted tea pots on all the tables (filled with dry ice and warm water for effect!) and all set out under our big pine trees.

Here are some details of the Alice dress I made for Lucy. I finally found a purpose for the antique apron I found 15 years ago!

Every year we put up our "Family Graveyard" for Halloween. I had to laugh when I was able to snap this picture of one of our black cats walking through.

I have to say a little about the Mad Hatter costume. It was AMAZING!!! Jill found the purple velvet Ralph Lauren suit at Savers (thrift store) for $15, added a crazy purple and gold silk tie which she tied into a very fancy knot, my old silk shirt, some awesome shoes also from the thrift store, and of course, the HAT, made by Lucy. She also wore a little silver thimble and had a giant needle threaded with silk ribbon in her coat pocket. She was a most elegant Mad Hatter!
Thank you to everyone who came and helped make our party so fun! It was a truly enchanting evening!