Friday, November 27

Advent Inspiration

My mom and the twins reading last weekend.

The coming of the Christmas season has really sparked and spurred the Waldorf approach. Being all about festivals, working with children this way is gratifying, for myself as well. We are going to be home this Christmas, for the first time. And this opens endless possibilities in how we present this festival to our children, as well as to ourselves, as adults.
I am really working towards the home-made version. The stories are emerging, the work with preparing the Nature Table for this coming Sunday, the work with the celebrating Advent as a whole, and how to give gifts that are both ethically and esthetically beautiful to each other. I am using the Winter inspiration book from the KIndergarden package I have from Live Education.
Right now, I am so grateful that we have the resources and possibilities for me to stay home with the children, that we are safe and happy in a warm home, and that this wonderful season is upon us.

Today I plan on finishing the Advent Wreath, which is a common tradition in Norway. With four candles. The Nature Table is getting more and more barren, the little animals have all gone underground. Sunday, the star will appear, and the Nature Garden. One creates a moss garden and everyday one adds something to the garden according the week at hand. The first being mineral (rocks, crystals) the second plant, the third animal, and the last is for the human aspect. Thus the nativity scene will be complete.

Yesterday we did large scale cookie baking. Gingerbread cookies and my grandma traditional chess-squares. Pics to come, just got a wonderful camera in the mail from my dear dad, who is lending it to us til we get our own. Excited.

Tuesday, November 24

Crafty Weekend

First off, I cannot believe I now have two 2-year olds!!! We had an amazing day, singing and playing. I finished the crowns on time, and we made apples of wool for the Christmas tree as well. A great day! "Bestemor"- Grandma and Uncle Johannes were down for the weekend and there was much rejoicing. I became second best after approximately 4 seconds. Makes me so sad that we live so far apart. Anders took the opportunity with extra help in the house to work on insurance papers and we arranged a birthday party involving organic wholesome carrot cake WITH cream cheese frosting, whole wheat pizza, and 10 little ones running around ( and almost twice as many adults- that's a lot of espresso to make!) Short and sweet festivities. We concluded with going out in the dark at 5pm, and sending off (simultaneously) 6 chinese lanterns. No pictures from that yet, but hope to get some from a friend. It was magical and amazing.
All in all, the weekend flew by, I have recovered from my sleep deprivation thanks to "Bestemor" getting up at the crack of dawn and we are back on track for Advent preparations.

The orange one with the Autumn applications was initially for Lea, but when they received them, Lea ONLY wanted "Good Night Moon" and Noa couldn't care less. So I had to do a complete mental turn around. I guess one makes the map according to the terrain, not opposite.
Especially happy with the elastic back, no sewing machine required!

Thursday, November 19

Birthday Preparations

This is actually a WIP Wednesday post, today. A Work In Progress. Which I have been really wanting to get started with, but have been preoccupied. Now, the twins birthday this weekend, and two crowns must be made.
I am using the wonderful crown tutorial from the wonderful blog Frontier Dreams. She has a super simple idea to make these wonderful felt crowns. Am working on the applications now, which is lovely work. I have never been much of a crafter, and it is SO relaxing to do this sort of handcraft. Almost meditative. The woolen felt my mom sent down, and am using regular cotton embroidery thread.

Noa's colors and inspirational book. He loves cows, moons and stars.

Lea is alive and active, I had to go for a happy color, and her inspiration is squirrels, nuts and leaves. I know that November is over us, the sky is grey, and I can see about 4 leaves on the oak tree, but Lea's heart has been in this season for so long. She'll be happy I hope.

More to come. Back to work. Picture quality could be better. These semi automatic are difficult I find. We have decided to wait to next summer till we replace our CanonD40, possibly with the D50. But this one is great for kids, the Olympus Tough. Shock Proof 2m and WaterProof 10m!!!

Thursday, November 12

Happy Martinsmas

As if the beautiful days do not pass quickly enough, 2 kids have been down for the count and I am a little sick as well, a mild cold, or as Anders says "the kids are getting pig ears..."

Well, despite that, we made lanterns and have baked, and have told the story of St. Martin over and over again. Been speaking about being kind and generous to each-other, doing a lot of coloring, as I have yet to receive wet-on-wet paints in the mail from my mom.

"I walk with my lantern, my lantern, myself and I.
Up yonder bright little stars shine, down here we're stars to the sky.
The new moon shines, the cat meows.
We walk with our little lanterns.
Our lanterns so shiiny bright.
We wonder through the darkness, with twinkling light
Like stars that swing, our lanterns we bring."

Autumn is on the brink. Lea's last efforts to feed the squirrel result in mounds of oak nuts.

Sweet potato and selleri soup, pureed and eaten outside with sunflower seed sprinkles.

Hope you all had a peaceful day, and have lit many candles, as the days get darker.

Friday, November 6

1.November Flashback

Fire in the garden. Dinner
Lea and our pumpkin, and the pumpkin muffins.
Our coconut bird feeder, we hung out last weekend.

Swimming in the morning.

Thursday, November 5

Early Morning Baking

6am baking with daddy. Lea doing all the work, Jasmin is dealing out coconut flakes. Mmmmm... They are making Danish Tebirkes, "birkes" is poppy seeds. Not much else to do when it doesn't really get light till 8am. And still 6 weeks till the sun comes back... But the days are beautiful, clear and crisp, -3 degrees in the mornings.

Baking has become a common activity now, with the two little ones actually going into the cupboard, finding the bowls and getting ready at the counter. "NOW, lets bake!" The new kitchen has the ingenious island-counter where we can work on one side, the kids on the other. Real team work, no matter the business. Making lasagna, cutting vegetables, baking, stirring, arranging on platters, they are with me all the way, and I still have control over the situation.

Wednesday, November 4

Daily Rhythms

We have been really trying to stay at home these past few weeks. TO get to know the house, to show the children THIS is where we live, and to MOVE in. It really worked. The days spent here and in the surrounding woods are all one needs.
The day flies by in a constant repetitive safe rhythm, revolving around, breathing in, breathing out, meals and rest times, walks and outside time. It is so satisfying to experience the magic of everyday life, of how simple it can be with children. The simpler, the better.

The days for us start early. Due to the time change a few weeks ago, they all are awake and hungry at 5.30am, and I do my best to keep them sleepy until 6am. Despite the dark (until8am) it is quite cosy. The downside is I get NO time to get myself ready for the day. We eat our porridge by candle light. Our meal verse, the same one we use for all the meals:

Jorden har oss brødet givet,
solen har oss sjenket livet.
Kjære sol, kjære jord,
takken i vårt hjerte bor. (in Danish, from a wonderful Danish Waldorf Kindergarden Teacher.)

Thanking the earth and the sun for the bread.
Will try to find the English equivalent.

Clean up and playing around until I have had my coffee.

During the week, Anders leaves at latest 7am, and we start trying to do some circle games, this periods songs and verses and the story I am telling at the time.
Laundry, washing and brushing hair and such come in-between.
Snack time at around 8.30, since we ate so early.
Then we go outside. Which logistically takes 20 minutes in dressing, and surprise diaper changes and Noa's emptying out the wooden blocks, again.

Walks down the small tractor roads here, using the rope swing some bigger kids made, inspecting sheep pooh, jumping in the creek, picking sticks and leaves for the nature table and nuts, not to forget oak nuts, everywhere. Here I try to collect things for any craft idea I have coming up...

lunch 1, is at 11.30. This is a good sort of snack, warm, and then off Noa and Lea go to sleep, for about an hour and a half.
The days I have Jasmin here with me, we do crafts, painting, washing floors and activities I deem near impossible with two one-year olds running around.
We also rest, read a book, and the only way for me to get a rest too, is too rub her back and relax together.

We have fruit and muesli at 2pm, lunch 2. Repeat songs, do housework they all can help with, and go out again till it is time for making dinner and bathing.
An early start gives a well loved definite 7 o'clock bedtime, without any fuss. Wonderful.

"Bless my pillow,
bless my bed,
bless me too from toes to head.
Bless the earth, the sun, the air.
Bless the children everywhere."

This blessing is just enough ritual and beauty for me, without becoming religious.
Courtesy of Little Acorn Learning.

Then it is time to clean up....

Tuesday, November 3

recovered photos

A miracle! We have received the entire content of both hard drives on our laptops, that were in the fire. It is amazing. I hadn't really shed a tear, thinking all the pictures were gone, and nothing to do about it. Now that I am sitting here, browsing through the thousands of photos, I cannot believe they were almost lost to eternity! Quick shots of Lea using the apple peeler, and the Nature Table I intended to post, before. And Jasmins handy work.

Monday, November 2

How time flies!

Wow, we have now been here a month! Amazing how you can just step into a new life, sort of, in new surroundings, and it is as if it always has been. We are working hard, and bordering on chronic sleep deprivation, but happy.

Autumn is slowly slipping into winter. Suddenly it is getting dark at 5pm, the importance of light become crucial. We have been rolling beeswax candles, made lanterns of glass and pearls for yesterdays lantern fest, and been singing

Autumn goodbye, Autumn goodbye,
You may no longer stay, winter is on it's way,
Autumn goobye
More to come. Picture of our fire pan in the garden above. Used almost everyday!