Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winter Fair

Today we ventured up the island to attend the Winter Fair at Sunrise Waldorf School. I had been looking forward to visiting the Waldorf school again and this fair was the perfect occasion. I can't tell you how much we enjoyed it. The weather was gorgeous and the school was so welcoming. The drive (as it often is with our children) was not fun but I knew as we drove down the road and saw the cars lined up, that this was going to be a hit for the whole family.

The school was beautifully decorated for the season. You are welcomed by King Winter and beautiful displays of greenery and candles. The sun shown through the window stars and the halls were filled with the smell of cedar, pine and beeswax. Each room was a different craft or activity. There was candle dipping, wreath making, clay sculptures, Christmas sing alongs, silk scarf painting, an enchanted cave, a little cafe, and more. A wanted to make the little kinder crafts so we started with a pinecone ornament and a bath salt sachet. Then we all made our way to the silk painting. We were worried that it might not dry in time but it did and it was so beautiful. I see more silk painting in our future.

There was a long line up for the candle dipping but once we got inside it was magical. The room was dark and everyone was whispering. The wax stations were set up around a beautiful table decorated with candles, lights, nesting dolls, a christmas village, nativity stall, and winter forest. It was lovely and we went home with a gorgeous and fragrant (who can resist beeswax candles) taper for our table.

Our last craft was wreath making. Again, the smell of the room filled with cedar and pine and spruce just made the process more magical. Christmas carols from the other room filled the air. While the wreath we came home with isn't quiet what I would normally make (what can I say, I like cohesion in my design) A was the designer and J and I executed her vision for that reason I love it the most. I can't wait to hang it on our door and hear the tinkling of those little bells this winter.

A magical day indeed. How I wish we could send our children to that school. The parents and teachers were so warm and welcoming. The school itself was bright and gentle. The playground was fantastic and the school is surrounded by beautiful woods. Who wouldn't want to learn in such a place. At least it isn't so far we can't attend these community celebrations. I can't wait for the next one.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Paper Lanterns

As we explore more aspects of the Waldorf philosophies we find ourselves embracing some new holidays and festivals. Martinmas, while based in Christianity, seemed to be a lovely way to celebrate the coming darkness of winter. We read the story of kind St. Martin, a knight in the army of Amiens. One night he came upon an old beggar, half-naked, shivering in the cold. St. Martin took the cloak from his back and, with his sword, cut it in two. He wrapped the old man in half his cloak, giving him not only warm but hope as well.

In preparation for the holiday, I did some reading about the traditional lantern walk. I talked about it with A and she seemed very excited about making the lanterns and walking through the night with friends. We used some paper we did leaf rubbings on to make these lanterns. We learned a song or two (Glimmer, Lantern Glimmer was new this year), and prepared a special warm treat to share with our friends on that cold night.

It was indeed very cold that night. We had to bundle up and unfortunately the wind prevented us from having an actual candle in our lanterns. The LED candles worked though and probably saved our lanterns in the end. The cold of that night helped to remind us of how cold the old beggar must have been and what a gift Martin gave in warming him with his cloak. We walked through our community gardens, sharing our light and singing our songs. When we stopped to share some hot apple cider (from the apples we juiced back in September) and ginger snap cookies, we talked about what special lights we have inside us to share with others.

The best description of the lantern walk's meaning that I found was from the Cincinnati Waldorf School's Facebook page. "So as we walk together with our lanterns, we may ask ourselves, “What ‘light’ - in other words, unique talents and gifts - lives within me that I can share with my family and my community?” There are countless ways, every day, in which parents and teachers act on behalf of their children. Loving guidance and patient understanding shine on the children like a lantern leading them on their journey through childhood. Let our Lantern Walk inspire and rekindle the light that lives within, and a reminder to take that light - those gifts that each of us harbors, and share them in the innumerable ways that are meaningful to ourselves and those around us"

We really enjoyed celebrating Martinmas this and I foresee this being an annual celebration for our family.  Thank you to our friends who joined us on our walk. Your company made the celebration all the more enjoyable.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween


What a happy Halloween it was. Though it was mostly a last minute event, we had fun celebrating it. We carved the pumpkins the night before. Little F was perfectly happy to sit beside us and shred the newspaper I put down and squish pumpkin guts between his fingers. It was almost dangerous to be working with a knife so close to such cuteness. My A requested that we make a kitty pumpkin (like her Zooey she said) and a ghoster (for those who don't speak 3 year old that is a ghost). I don't have the carving talent I wish I had but she was very pleased with the final pumpkins so we will count it as a win.

When I asked A what she wanted to be for Halloween she flip flopped between fairy, princess, fairy princess, fairy puppy princes, and fairy puppy princess pony. In the end I lay out a fairy costume with a little princess crown and magic wand. She seemed very happy with it. She proudly showed off her costume to the camera before heading out. However when asked about it by neighbours she corrected them that she was not a fairy but rather a princess. Halloween is about pretending to be who you would like to be so I let her say whatever she wanted without correction.

This year was the first year A actually went to the door. Last year we just walked around the neighbourhood looking at decorations. At first she was nervous and chose to only go to the houses that already had other children at the door but she warmed up to the process really quickly. She was so darling. Instead of saying "trick or treat" she through her arms in the air and shouted "happy Halloween!". It gave our neighbours a good chuckle. She chatted with several of them too. She made sure to point out her pink boots and magic wand.

Now, we avoid refined sugar. We try to only eat raw honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. And even those we try to use sparingly. We let A have white sugar from time to time (like a lollipop at Enchanted Halloween) and it is always followed by a spectacular meltdown. Above and beyond anything she normal does and it often involves hurting us or herself. So you can imagine the idea of a big basket of candy was less than thrilling for us parents. We touched on the idea of the Halloween Fairy last year but since she didn't go trick or treating it wasn't an issue. This year we talked about it again but after listening to the Sparkle Story about the Switch Witch it was decided that we would leave our candy for the Switch Witch so she could make fairy dust for the Halloween Fairy and all the other fairies. She did ask a couple times to keep her candy but when I reminded her that the Switch Witch leaves gifts she was easily convinced. This year she got a dark chocolate pumpkin (low sugar and we split it into thirds), a Brambly Hedge mini book and a wooden dragon. She was very excited. I was very relieved it was such a successful holiday and I look forward to future Halloween's if they will be so fun and easy.