Sunday, April 20, 2014

Party Favors

Some of our favorite party favors are those we prepared ourselves.  We made strawberry preserves, and we have also done flowers in small pots and market tote crafts before.  If we don't make it, it'd be nice that it be carefully made by another such industrious soul.  Here are some of the ideas we have seen and liked.

Rainbow Waldorf fairy wooden bead personalized tree-slice necklace for girls boys kids
Necklaces either with window stars or with wooden slices.  The lady from etsy making the wooden slice version has kits that we could make for a lot less.

Basic window stars in general would make a lovely gift.  Some kind of handmade notebooks would be great.  We could do some watercolor work and then bind them.  A string with string games is another idea.
Sarahs Silks String Games
We could make some paper lanterns which we did a couple of falls back--they're nice little touches of handmade.

Birthday Gifts for Summer Birthday Girls

For E, the birthday gift is already decided (and was quite a while back).  At four, we think it's important to have a special doll--one that favors the child and one who can become a vessel for all the projected questions, thoughts, fears, excitement etc.  The face is ready for any expression and free to be interpreted anyway she'd need.  Here she is!
She'll be sitting with her crown that's just like E's birthday crown (which we ordered a couple of years ago when we had Z's doll's made) in the birthday girl's chair, rainbow silks adorning it, ready to greet her on that special morning.  Now Z's "Winifred" will have a friend, a sister, if you will.  I wonder which name E will give her.

Another idea we did have for E was a set of red (or another color?) tools that are real--that have some weight to them.  She seems to really enjoy how things work and would probably like to work on real hammering and what not.

For Z, it's a bit harder.  There are these weighted baby dolls that seem really nice, but I don't know if she'd appreciate them or not?  They are remarked on as being very realistic and calming--2 or 2.5 lbs and more like holding an actual baby.
Heavy Baby, Weighted Waldorf Doll, Millet
There are dress up supplies from Sarah's Silks that I've been eyeing too.  These veils are so pretty, and I've considered the blue-rainbow fairy skirt.  She also has nice cotton cloths.
Silk Veil, Sarah's Silks
Some games/puzzles/crafts are also on the amazon wishlist we have for the girls.  If we don't get one particularly strong gift, we'll do a few smaller ones.  Or maybe less?  (After all, we're working on that.)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter

We took some steps forward and some steps backward when it came to Easter this year.  We have striven to really dial back gifts so that we can minimize any overwhelm we could be creating there...also so that we don't keep throwing material goods at our relationships.  (We have this habit.)
 The girls' baskets almost included Hapkido uniforms as the large gift, but then we got the joint gift of the curvy board.  A few things in here are to share like the Ostheimer figures.  They received a stencil each, gel pens, a book (The Apple Pip Princess and The Paper Bag Princess), a new journal (100% recycled materials: The Decomposition Book), a lavender eye pillow for after yoga or bedtime and a couple of candy items.  These gifts go with what we do together--make stuff, read, yoga, snuggle.
 While Z got one more wooden figure, E got a vintage egg with doggies.
 I know you're realizing that the curvy/rocker board is for more than just the girls.  You might also see other items that aren't part of Easter like the kids' wheel barrow and the kitchen tools--we realized it was going to be overkill.  (We had a good intention at first since they too reflected things we do together: happy chores, gardening/outside play.)  Maybe we ended up reasonable?
To be considered when we look at holidays are all the other sources of gifts.  They have three other occasions with family that involve gifts (spanning from a little to a lot).  And truly: we are grateful for the thought and time our loved ones give our girls.  You'll never meet more cared for children.  Then, they also took part in school celebrations this week.  What's a simplifying mama to do?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Parasympathetic Nervous System

The nervous system is more than one thing, but the one people usually mean is the autonomic nervous system.  It regulates things we don't have to think about: heartbeat, breath, blinking.  There are two sides though: the sympathetic (sun, active, cortisol, fight/flight/freeze) and parasympathetic (moon, passive, healing, digestion).  They can't operate at the same time, and chronic stress usually means we fall into way too much sympathetic side.

We need to build parasympathetic tone to be in harmonious relationships (as parents, spouses, friends, professionals), to lose weight or heal our bodies etc.  It's something that you can actually accumulate rather than creating in the moment.  People build it through exercise, meditation, aromatherapy/essential oils, qigong, yoga, journaling, good talks with friends/family, EFT, emWave machines etc.

Kim John Payne/Simplicity Parenting, Todd Sarner/Transformative Parenting, Laura Markham/Aha Parenting, Lissa Rankin/Mind over Medicine and countless others advocate for access to this potential, this tone.  In Simplicity Parenting (or Soul of Discipline), we see it come out in the Compassionate Response Meditation as a preparation for dealing with disoriented kids and their soul fevers.  In Transformative Parenting, it's talked about in breathing exercises a bit when we look at Regulation.  We parents (or just people, goodness) need these centering practices.

(Image from www.delta.edu)

I built a little pinterest board (called Parasympathetique) a while ago with children in mind as much or more than us.  I know they too struggle to calm down those stress hormones with so much of their world just overwhelming them.  Simplicity and strong parent security are a huge answer to this, but there are other things we bring in to support them here.  Some of the things on this board we use/have (as activities or part of our healing basket), and other things are ideas we found but haven't tried/accessed.  Any recommendations for other things we can put on that board?

Right now, we're working with a small, doable change for our girls in our bedtime rhythm since they tend to get up a lot.  For a while, just staying with them longer for reading and snuggling helped--working on the attachment side, more bridging etc.  Now we're trying something else.  We have some relaxing, meditative stories and music in little boomboxes in their rooms to play after we leave them, and we want to check in with it in a few more days' time.  The first night was still "bad" for E but good for Z, and the second night was good for both of them.

Appreciated Films

We avoid TV/movies almost always.  It's certain that if you count up screen time at school and the visits to family's homes, you'd see quite a large number of hours.  This sort of thing can sneak up on us in particular so our basic rule is none.

But sometimes we have family movie night somewhere in the span of a weekend.  We've been going through recommendations of other families and things we saw this summer during the dollar visits they offer to families.  Yet those are very technologically sophisticated--overly stimulating in most cases.  So I was thinking about classics a bit or even newer films that have an artistic edge that makes them particularly winsome.

Here are some of our favorites.

The Labyrinth

Z has even written and illustrated a story about this one, setting herself and E in it.  They love the soundtrack!  I think they might be a bit obsessed with David Bowie.  (Well, who isn't?)

The Neverending Story

This one is a bit up and down with excitement and emotions--we don't watch it often.  It's lots of precious imagination though--and the power of our own intentions.  That's something I'd love for the girls to hold in the deeper recesses of their memories.

Pippi Longstocking

Don't you remember wishing we could live like Pippi or even be her friend?  Eric finds the overdub delays a little annoying, but the girls and I aren't phased by it.  Again: it's what can be sparked in the imagination.  A tree that houses lemonade.  Money that isn't a worry at all.  Disturbing a fancy tea party but enough patience from adults to not ruin life.

Ponyo

This is captivating to our girls, but I find myself very engulfed in the beauty and scope of this Japanimation.  It's simply awesome.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Student-ing

I realize "student-ing" isn't a verb, but that's what I'm excited about these days.

Here and there, I end up referencing Kim John Payne's work through Simplicity Parenting (and the Soul of Discipline).  I've been pondering doing their distance training program to become a coach/group leader and decided to take the plunge this Spring.  We had one session as an orientation, and it was so lovely.  I'm really thrilled to work through not only the facilitating aspects of this work but selfishly a deeper expression (main reason) of these principles in our own home.  We start "regular" sessions/work The first Saturday in March which carry us to the beginning of May (with an Easter break in there).  The assignments are all things that are appealing--it's so nice to WANT to do "work."

The lesser but no doubt majorly important course I'm working through is Todd Sarner's Transformative Parenting Online Course.  He offered some freebie webinars which were fantastic.  (I mentioned him a blog or two back in conjunction with Gordon Neufeld's book.)  I say "lesser" in that it's not any sort of certification program, and assignments are more like listening to the webinars and journaling if we choose to (alongside trying things out).  The heart of this work is attachment: where it is, how strong, how nourishing etc.  It's also thrilling.  The nice thing is that the modules will up for many months after the course is finished so that if I find time lacking, there are no deadlines there.

I probably won't be reading too many "other" books this Spring. :)


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ayurveda

The best introduction, as far as I can see to Ayurveda is Eat-Taste-Heal.  It was recommended by a certified and well-trained Ayurvedic practitioner (Atlanta), and I can attest that it's accessible to a Western mind/understanding.  The other introduction I've been working through is Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing: A Practical Guide.  While I'm not complaining about that one, I can see how Eat-Taste-Heal makes it simpler for a novice to feel out the Ayurvedic system and start to understand parts.  There are also lots of recipes in Part II.

When I'm ready to look at more in-depth explorations and more variety in recipes, I'm going after Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution.  Also, Ayurveda: A Life of Balance and Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners.  We'll see if my interest truly keeps me digging.  I bought those books with some Christmas money so I'm excited to learn more.  I want to be careful to be genuine though and not just pursue this knowledge carelessly.

There's so much I usually want to learn, but once you purchase books sometimes there's a sense of obligation or guilt.  My general motivation is in line with wanting all areas of health to flow and be joined.  Meditation has brought some of that to bear, and working with a naturopath is extremely healthy in facing up to the roll lifestyle has.

The practitioner I met isn't that far away so I might consult with her at some point.  She's a jewel of a resource to be so close since her training is a direct line back to Maharishi.  I know there are many sources of learning, but I particularly appreciate him and his heart for the West and willingness to share.