Friday, September 30, 2011

The day AFTER Michaelmas


It's a fairly ghetto dragon, but I handstitched him myself. Dear Eric cut out the pieces (felt).
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We're working on our sushi skills with bascially NO tools (sans the rice cooker).
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Celery Painting


We made these "flowers" with cut pieces of celery. We got the idea from Parentella. (Our stems are done with a regular paintbrush.) Zoë will give these as gifts to friends/families for their Autumn decorations.
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Cinnamon Salt Dough and Conkers


We have collected things from our yard and others' for a while so we have a good build-up of conkers. They're different sizes and shapes. So we made a basic salt dough and added cinnamon just as the Nurture Store suggested. I think I would add more than they did. I'm not sure how they got their color to be so vibrant unless they added lots more color than I did or perhaps merged it with liquids earlier on?

I'm hoping my girls will enjoy the textures and smells. I think Zoë will play with it all at least--Eleni is often skeptical about such things. She did try to eat each and every acorn in our backyard this morning so we'll see.
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Granny Evergreen

I read on Bending Birches about telling the story of the Granny Evergreen (a German story) so I wanted to try something like that in our house. Here is the set up scene-wise.

I'm guessing that you could have two scenes for the part when they're at home with their flowers and toys etc? I hope Zoë likes it--she loves when I tell her the story of the little red house with no windows and no doors with a star inside.

I hope she doesn't dwell too much on the Ostheimer figures as they are gifts to our whole family from Santa this year. The silk is from our set of play silks, and the berries were hanging on a tree in our yard. I took some green wool roving and needle felted it together just a bit around the woman to make her look like Granny Evergreen.

It's a good story right now for the girls since they do tend to fight over toys etc. It's also good because Zoë likes to be helpful.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Shallows

Last night I finished The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Thought-provoking stuff, truly.

The irony is that I read it on my kindle, ha! (However, I didn't use/see hypertexted material or have any real distractions that way.) He makes a strong case for the negative ways that certain information technology alters our thinking and congnitive (as well as empathetic) abilities. He also does a lot of historical work with advanced technology from the past like the printed book. If you want to know why we should have some boundaries as regards exposure to things like the net or TV, check out this book. Lots of solid reasons here!

I also started Sherry Turkle's Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. It delves into some of the same issues but focusses on social media more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apples in Autumn

Our poetry basket has an apple theme, and it focusses on the star in the middle of the apple.

Tonight at dinner, Zoë and I cut the apple, talked about the star and the seed babies etc. while and after I told her the story of the little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside. We also ate apple-peanut butter sandwiches which turned out to be her licking peanut butter.

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup, oh my!

Notice the word "garlic" comes first in that title. What we have here is a
new take on tomato soup--this isn't like most of the ones I've had. Spice-wise, we're looking at cayenne, paprika, coriander (lots!) and thyme.

This is some spicy, healthy, yummy stuff. I can already feel it guarding me against germs.

It has a few steps, but nothing was difficult. I made a double batch and put a lot of it in freezable containers so that I can enjoy this for a while.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Making Applesauce

From the title we should expect this post to be a how-to. It's not--merely an excited report that I'm getting some tools and know-how to do it. Check out this food grinder attachment that I ordered for our Kitchen-Aid Mixer.

Nice, huh?

I also have the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving to reference alongside a website (Pick Your Own) that explains some aspects of making applesauce and then another one for making other fruit blend applesauces.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Autumn approaches even faster now.



We had a delightful time at Jaemor Farm today, and as you can see we found a lot of goodies. I haven't decided what I'm doing with all of the apples yet, but applesauce has a certain flair in our house. Peaches will likely be frozen for wintery times, and the sweet potatoes are for some delicious roasting. Cider will be put into cored/scraped out apples with cinnamon sticks one of these sharing days. Corn will be grilled. Tomatoes will be roasted with garlic for a soup Tuesday.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

getting ready for autumn

some books we hope to focus on

parts of our "nature table" for now

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I shared a wonderful weekend with my G'pa Hall who knows so many different things and remembers who married whom, where, which wars enbroiled their lives etc for each of our lives. I've asked him in the past to write out the interesting stories about our ancestors' lives, and this weekend he mentioned doing that. He mentioned something about being the only one living who remembers, and I felt a tear hit my eye when I chimed in that we really didn't want to forget.

So here's a poem by one of my favorite writers, Billy Collins:

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Billy Collins

wooden tree blocks

little sets you see for sale at natural toy sellers and places like etsy...

From Monkeys on the Roof:

You can make/treat these following this tutorial from Mommy The Toymaker.
Mama Moontime has a kindergarten feature that hosts a lot of beautiful photos of natural toys, wow. Check out Waldorf Treasures for some innovative ideas too.
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tree parts, outdoor play

The Enchanted Tree gave me the strongest ideas and hosts these few photos:



Nature for Kids brings us this awesome photo (and lots of other ideas):
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playscapes, part 1?

I'm learning a lot via Waldorf parenting resources, blogs, books etc. A variety of nature advocates would also point us to natural materials and playing outside in authentic ways.

Enter the much-desired tree stumps.

I don't know if I'm all done in that I think I want some wider ones for bigger bottoms :), but they look open to me. Loads of potential. I hope the girls are interested in playing with/on them. I see so many possibilities for parts of fallen trees...

My next step is to learn to treat the "stumps." I'll post some other images and links in a few moments to give a broader concept of what I'm interested in with the stumps/logs.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Christmas Present Made...Almost!

Below you see the bean bags (actually silicon, dried herbs and essential oils fill them) that I made for Eleni for Christmas. They are a little ghetto, I have to admit; but they were made with love. I'd like to make her a draw-string bag with a rainbow fabric to keep them together. (That's step two.) Zoë wants something pink she told me. Her gift will likely be a cape for dress up.

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Those are my doTERRA therapeutic grade essential oils so you know that'll be lovely for little Eleni as she touches, tosses and loves on them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

oh, the food!

I've been at this recipe thing today. It helps to have something lovely to do when your child cries for a while--we took Eleni's paci completely away today/tonight. It took her awhile to get to sleep.

Maple Greens turned out to be more than just a curiosity since I love different ways to have greens. This kale is so good--the maple syrup and soy sauce has amazing effects I couldn't have forseen. Ahhh.

From the same collection of recipes, I tried a banana nut smoothie; and it was also stellar! Half of it will be there to make me happy tomorrow!

These two beauts come from a collection of recipes (Autumn Afterschool menu) from Little Acorn Learning. (They make a wide range of resources from childcare guides to enrichment books with crafts and activities each month that you can do with children. They also make menus.) There's one called "Onigiri" which is sushi-like balls. Eric and I are making those to try Friday evening. Rolled up in the sushi rice and nori, I'll be trying some (fake) crab, cucumber and maybe carrots. I ate up my avocado already. :) Eric will venture out with crab.

Tomorrow, we pursue the crockpot wonder(s) of pomegranate beef. The list of ingredients made me very happy, and I'll be interested to know Eric's response to the flavors. I got this one from Stephanie O'Dea's website--she has written a couple of books about crockpot exploration since she gave herself and her family only crockpot meals for an entire year.

Good Housekeeping this month has a series of meals and snacks for good health and slimming down. It has some good ideas for variety. For breakfast this morning I did a frozen waffle toasted with turkey (they call for ham) and swiss cheese on top. It was a great way to start my morning. I'm interested in working snack ideas from this page or two.

I also want to try quinoa and mango porridge from Bending Birches. I keep getting messed up mangos though...