Saturday, November 28, 2015


The month before Christmas is almost frantic. No matter what promises I make to myself, I'm always busy. Since we decided many years ago to forgo the consumerist culture of Christmas, I've spent more and more time making handmade treasures for my loved ones.

A's Christmas sweater is blocking. I used the Sunday Sweater pattern but it looks like I didn't quite understand the eyelet pattern. It's ok, I'm happy with it regardless. I chose three little bird buttons since that Bob Marley song is a favorite in our house. While that blocks, I'm cast on a Milo vest for F out of some lovely homestead alpaca yarn.

Also for F, I've made a little flannel hen for play. I think I might knit one egg and then I was planning to use some Anna Maria Horner flannel scraps to make a trio of chicks. He loves our chickens so much but they are certainly not cuddly.

The time of year for mailing cards has come as well. While I sit writing address after address on plain white envelopes, my darling A sits next to me with stripes of colored paper making festive chains. It's our first holiday decoration and it's so jolly I want to sing "Deck the Halls". Yes, we are busy making all kinds of things over here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Winter Fair

It's that time of year again. Our local (and when I say "local" I mean an hour drive) Waldorf school was hosting their annual Winter Fair. I can't tell you how much I look forward to visiting that school. It's a beautiful school on a gorgeous piece of land. While we were waiting in line a bald eagle soared overhead. It was sunny but cold. Really, it was the perfect day to celebrate the upcoming winter season. We enjoyed ourselves so much last year, I knew this would be a new tradition for us.

There were many crafts and fun experiences for the kids. We made wool angels (A hung hers over her bed), salt dough ornaments, dipped candles and painted silks. I personally could have dipped candles all day long. They had beautiful harp music, soft candle-lit winter scenes and the delicious smell of beeswax. Everyone whispers and moves very slowly; it's the definition of serene. Miss A badly wanted to wind her own jump rope but the line was too long. We visited the cookie cavern and the enchanted garden. Again the enchanted garden was so magical. Silks hung over strings of light, rock lamps, gentle winter scenes. At the end the children were allowed to pick a little toy gnome to take home.

This year we took the time to watch a blacksmith work. It was fascinating. I rarely get to see one in action but there is no technology at work here. It was just good old-fashioned iron and fire. I was glad to see the blacksmith was so young. I like seeing young people learning old trades and working with their hands.

The sun was out and I had dressed the kids in wool (but not myself. Silly me.) so we let them have a good run around on the playground. I love their playground. It's so natural and simple. A tunnel made of live bamboo, a simple wood bridge over a sand pit, a tree house, logs for climbing; it was hard to tear the kids away. What a fun day it was!

Friday, November 13, 2015


Last year's lantern walk was such a hit, A has been talking about it ever since. She would frequently ask "Remember that lantern walk we did? Let's do that again.". I had all sorts of ideas for the lanterns we would make, after all I had been collecting links on Pinterest for a year. When it came down to it, I knew that F would want to make one too so wet felting or beeswax were out. I saw a lantern made from a mason jar and leaves. So I put out mason jars, fabric leaves, kite paper and washi tape and let them go nuts. Miss A had her best bud over to decorate with her. They did go a little crazy with the washi tape but they glowed so nicely and after all, isn't it about their own inner light.

As we did last year, we shared a warming meal of root vegetable soup (yam and leek saffron soup; it was amazing!) by candle light. We baked our favorite sugar-free ginger snap cookies and bundled up for our walk. We were worried about the weather as there was a wind warning for the area but it was calm and starry. Guided by the light of our lanterns we found our resting place in the community gardens. There were shared those cookies and reflected on the light we bring to the world. How I enjoy our new tradition.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

On Halloween

It all started with a train ride and ended with a switch witch surprise. A week of Halloween fun. The Saturday before we went to our local model train yard where they were hosting a Pumpkin Express event. We road the train, carved pumpkins, got our faces painted, bowled with pumpkins, did a scavenger hunt and made a drum to keep away ghosts. It was a big hit. I always love when we find events that are fun for both my children.

Miss A had been begging for a least a month to have her friends over for a Halloween party. Our house is so small and it's always so much work to put it all together, for a while I said no. However, once I realized Halloween was on a Saturday, I figured I might be able to make it work since Jon would be home. So I gave in. As soon as the Monday before the party rolled around I regretted my decision. Still, when all was said and done, I know my kids had fun. We had sugar-free snacks, a pinata (filled with candy-free goodies like notepads, stamps and rings), decorated mini pumpkins, made hand puppets and enjoyed each others company. Though we all enjoyed it, I don't think I will be doing it again for many many years.

Finally it was time for trick-or-treating. Once again we had fairy and this year we had a baby elephant. Both turned out to be perfectly warm for the cold Halloween night. One of our neighbours is A's best friend so we went door-to-door with them. I was surprised that little F wanted to go to the door but he was pretty insistent on not being left behind. After two hours of walking, we decided our buckets were full enough for the switch witch and headed home. Miss A really wanted to keep some things and luckily we got some playdough, temporary tattoos, pencils and goldfish crackers in our buckets that she could keep. Then off to bed they went and in came the switch witch. So far there has never been any complaining about the lack of candy. The goodies they find in it's place always seem to be enough to quell any disappointment they may feel. Thank goodness for the switch witch!