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Meadowlarks on the Prairie

  We are continuing to work our way through the life of Laura Ingalls, and today we reached the following passage in Little House on the Prairie: “The rising sun was shortening all the shadows.  Hundreds of meadow larks were rising from the prairie, singing higher and higher in the air.  Their songs came down from the great, clear sky like a rain of music.  And all over the land, where the grasses waved and murmured under the wind, thousands of little dickie-birds clung with their tiny claws to the blossoming weeds and sang their thousands of little songs.”   (This photo in

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A little drawing

In keeping with the ever-present fairy theme around here, Little Hen wanted to share her picture of “The Fairies Go to the Ball”.  My favorite part is how the fairy in the middle has to climb a ladder to reach her shelf of goodies, “just like Mama has to climb a ladder into the attic to reach the craft supplies.”

Doll Making – Freestyle, Part II

WordPress is being a little wonky, and wouldn’t let me put everything in one post – so now we conclude our impromptu doll making. Where were we?  Oh, yes - next we cut the doll out of the fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance, and using a spoon handle and tweezers, we turned the dolls right sideout, stuffed them, and hand stitched the side closed.  After that, we laid the dolls down on top of the dress fabric, and free-handed a dress out of the main fabric, and an apron out of the contrast fabric (for little girls fascinated with Little House on the Prairie, aprons are as much

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Doll Making – Freestyle, Part I

Last Christmas, my mother gave me a box of 100% wool fabric scraps that were leftover from a Christmas tree skirt she had made.  This past week, we used a few of those scraps to make some very simple, rustic wool dollies.  (The girls wanted to make each other handmade dolls, like Mary had made Laura a doll in Little House in the Big Woods.) The girls picked out which fabrics they wanted (and I picked out some  for my own doll!), and we free-handed a doll shape on a double-layer of the skin-tone wools. We took the sewing machine down

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Traditional Toys IV – Handmade Dolls

Below are a few of our handmade dolls, including three we made a few days ago (I’ll post on that adventure in a day or two).  We didn’t make all of these, but they are all lovingly handmade, and somehow I think that children can tell when a toy is handmade – they can feel that love sewn or knitted into every stitch.   Their great aunt made the Raggedy Anns just like my mom made mine.  Very special, and very played-with.   The handmade doll has something special – she has quirks and imperfections that make her a unique little personality.     

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Traditional Toys III – Wooden Circus Blocks

These wooden circus blocks are my all-time best thrift store find.  We bought them when Little Hen was two and Firecracker was a newborn.  At the time, we were on a super tight budget, since Hubby was in grad school.  The set was $12, and I really wanted it for the girls, but we couldn’t rationalize the price.  I waited for weeks, hoping no one would snatch it up, and what do you know, it went on sale for $6!!  The blocks are all hand carved from various woods, and includes a bear and a cub, two camels, two alpaca, a donkey, an

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Traditional Toys II – Tea Set

  The girls love to play with their “fairy-sized” china tea set.  It’s a mish mash of pieces we’ve collected from thrift stores.  I don’t think we’ve spent more than $3 in total.   There are duplicates of some pieces, and we’re missing a few cups and sugar bowl lids, but the girls still enjoy serving tea to their little guests.   Some days they even make paper food (cut from magazines, or drawn on construction paper) to serve on the dishes, and fill the tea pots with water.  The girls love the feel of real china, and the proportions seem to

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Traditional Toys I – Paper Dolls

We place a lot of value in traditional, open-ended toys that foster imaginative play (Let’s just say I’m not a fan of most things Disney, plastic, made-in-China, battery-operated, etc).  I thought I’d take a few posts to highlight some of those toys that kindle my children’s creativity. (Sorry for the photo quality, the lighting wasn’t so hot, and I was trying to snap pictures while feeding the baby!) After spending their entire Monday morning and most of the sunny, gorgeous afternoon at the park, the girls spent two hours quietly playing on the living room floor with paper dolls that their aunt

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Autumn Nature Table Progression

The girls have been adding items to their nature table almost every day.  We’ve been collecting buckeyes from the neighbor’s tree and pine cones from ours, acorns from the park, pumpkins from the farmer’s market.  Little Hen and I have also been needle felting in the afternoons.  Some updated pictures of the ever-evolving autumn table in the fading sunlight of late afternoon:

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Wishing you a snuggly afternoon, full of stories and children’s sweet voices.

Magazine Tree Tutorial

Today’s craft was quick and straightforward, but Little Hen really enjoyed it.   The inspiration came from a colle project in the book below. (Don’t you love old craft books from the thrift store?) Materials: various pages from the October issues of Sunset and Mother Earth News, construction paper, scissors, glue stick. The goal of the project was to get the girls to look at textures and images in a new way – to use an ad for hardwood flooring, or a picture of a canyon wall as the tree trunk, for example.  Firecracker thought that images of pumpkins would be

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Fruit of the Spirit

First – Ninny Noodle Noo is having a giveaway for 3 Ostheimer chickens. Check it out here!! About a year ago, I read on a gentle Christian mothering blog (can’t remember whose), about a wonderful parenting tool.  She and her daughter learned the verse: Galatians 5:22-23 (English Standard Version)   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. When her daughter had a difficult time with her behavior, her mama would ask her which fruit she might be needing “a bite of”, and they would pray and ask

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Inspired Ornithology (and a little history lesson)

I was doing dishes in the kitchen, when Little Hen grabbed this book of the library shelf, thumbed through the pages, and began to draw one that spoke to her.  What a great Pileated Woodpecker! I used the opportunity to talk about who John James Audubon was (he’s one of my favorite people from history – Tum Tum’s middle name is in his honor).  Little Hen asked more questions about woodpeckers, and that began a wonderful exploration on the internet and in my bird books about woodpeckers – their anatomy, habits, habitats, and the rediscovery of the once-believed-extinct Ivory-Billed.  It

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Little Hen’s Cafe – Tutorial

This morning Little Hen was up early, all excited about her idea – she was asking if she could create “a cafe with a menu and everything” for homeschool today.  We don’t eat out much, and I’m not sure of the source of her inspiration, but what a great idea! She had very specific ideas about what she wanted – the cafe must 1)serve autumn food 2) have a tri-fold menu in fall colors and 3)offer appetizers, drinks, entrees and desserts and 4) she would be the waitress, I would be the customer, and Firecracker would be the chef. Here’s how

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Nature Table – Autumn

We have slowly been making and collecting items for our fall nature table.  I know that many more things will be added as the season progresses, but for now here’s what the girls and I have assembled. also, check out a giveaway of homespun yarny goodness here

Orchard Country

This past weekend we took our annual day trip to Hood River, OR with my sister.  Reading Grace and Denise and Abby and Blue Yonder had me eagerly anticipating this trip.  The day met and surpassed all my expectations.    Above – Little Hen, Auntie, Firecracker, Me holding Tum Tum We were blessed with warm, sunny weather, pears to pick, apples to eat, alpacas to pet and fiber to purchase.   Now to the pear butter, apple butter, apple sauce, apple pies, spinning, and knitting that are waiting to be created!

A Little Beading

My sister-in-law just had her birthday, so I thought i’d whip up some earrings for her.  I spent 15 minutes making two pairs of earrings, and then the girls spent about half an hour quietly playing at the table with the beads – stringing them for a while, then acting out little scenes with various beads as characters in their stories.  I love homeschooling and the freedom it provides the girls to craft and free play without the pressure to produce a finished product. 

Busy Days, Simple Dinners

For homeschool, we are exploring the letter “B” this week and butterfly crafts, blowing bubbles, beekeeping books, and butter making abound.   Little Hen suggested that we bake Banana Bread this morning.  I thought a simple dinner of the bread served next to Black Beans with carrots and Brown rice would round out the B theme nicely.  I love the nutty, rich smell of black beans cooking on the stove.  Simple Banana Bread by Larksong 2 large bananas, mashed 3/4 C sugar 2 large eggs 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1 C unbleached flour 1/2 C whole wheat flour 1/2

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Leaf Box Craft

The last few days Little Hen has been collecting fall leaves and saving them in her pockets.  Needless to say, this doesn’t preserve them too well, and they have been ending up in the laundry instead of the nature table.  So, today we made her a little box in which she can collect her leaves. Materials – paper bag, old candy box, glue stick, scissors      

Simple Sequin Craft

Hmm…It’s a grey, dreary day, and I need a cheer up.  The girls are asking for a “sparkly craft”.  Solution?  A 39 cent bag of sequins from my favorite thrift store down the street, some glue, colored pencils and scrap paper. Sequin Flower Garden

Inspiring Unschoolers

I am so inspired by unschoolers, like Amanda, but find that I still need a little bit more structure to feel that my kids are learning what they’re “supposed to learn”.  About two-thirds of our day is spent in free play, crafts, and books of their choosing, and I weave lessons into their interests.  However, I just can’t let go of those set lesson plans for some writing and math. I continue to draw inspiration from mamas like Grace, Sara, Denise, Shelley.  Thank you, ladies.

Getting it together

  This crafty/knitting/baking/homeschooling mama blog under construction   Please check back ina  bit!  thanks!

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