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Tea and a Visitor

One of my kids’ favorite rituals is afternoon tea.  We used to have a high tea on Thursdays, but as the kids have grown and their needs have changed, we’ve shifted to having a casual afternoon tea any day of the week they want to sit down and have it. George inevitably wants to have tea every day, whether or not his siblings want to.  He loves getting out the china and his favorite mint tea and feeling very grown up. With our tea, we had the last of the Seckel pears from our tree, and the first of the

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Magic Potion Kit

  We’re hunkered down at home today thanks to the weather.  All derby practices and scrimmages have been called-off on account of the wind storms and flooding in Portland.   All my big garden projects for the afternoon are similarly on hold.  But we have found plenty to keep us busy in the hosue today. Hal has a birthday party for a close friend from his ReWild Nature Immersion program, and I asked him what his friend might want for his birthday.  He replied, “Carmine’s really into Minecraft, and I think a magic potion kit would be a cool gift.

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A Morning Indoors

Hal is at ReWild’s Nature Immersion program on Fridays.  It’s the highlight of his week.  He gets to run around outside all day, learn primitive skills, and engage in loads of imaginative play with his friends.  He comes home tired, filthy, and very, very happy. It’s not just a benefit for him:  In a house with lots of kids, sending just one kid off for the day has lots of perks.  It not only provides him with adventure apart from his siblings, but it also reduces the conflict, mess, noise, etc in the house by a significant portion.  And considering

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Beeswax Polish Kits

Introducing our new line of Beeswax Wood Polish and polish kits!  Made with local beeswax from natural beekeepers and sweet orange oil, our polish protects and conditions wood, and is safe for children. Natural wooden toys, bowls, and furniture need to be buffed with polish a few times a year to keep their shine and prevent over-drying and cracking.  In Waldorf education, children take responsibility of their possessions through The Practical Arts:  this is where children are given child-like versions of adult responsibilities in order to master skills, increase independence and confidence, and prepare for adult life.  Kids learn to care

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Autumn Gifts

I’ve been busy the last few days making things for loved ones.  I have lots more to share, but am behind on uploading and editing photos.  So, for now, a few pictures of the gifts We’ve been making this week. Above:  A little indoor fairy garden as an early birthday present for Bea, who maintains the fairy garden outside in the yard, and is always sad to see it go dormant over the winter.  Now she’ll have her own little garden to tend to right in the windowsill. I have an abundance of beets, and my dad really loves beet

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Collector’s Item

Years ago, my kids crafted their own version of a universal child’s game:  collecting items from nature/the garden, assigning those items special qualities (fairy berries!  war paint!), and selling them in a “store”.  One child (usually the youngest) is “The Collector” and he gathers items to sell to the shop owner, who in turn, markets them to her remaining siblings and friends.  It’s kind-of the ultimate unschool nature table make-believe game. I managed to get a tremendous amount of yardwork done while the kids played, and enjoyed helping George, The Collector, find goodies to bring his siblings. Thimbleberry, grape, and

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Tuesday Evening

The garden always starts to look a little more wild and unkempt than normal this time of year.  Some plants are past their prime and looking scraggly.  Some have spilled over their boundaries to scramble over paths and up tomato cages.  Some (like the mile-high lettuce in the center-background) are allowed to bolt so I can save the seeds or are permitted to self-sow about the garden. After dinner, George helped me pick some tomatoes and plums and summer squash for a delivery in the morning.  He got a thrill out of being hoisted up to help reach the first

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Neighborhood Nature Walk

When the kids have abundant energy, and the weather is unusally dry, it’s time to bundle up and walk to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  The kids brought a basket to collect items for the nature table on their way. We’ve been reading books about Thanksgiving, but also about late-autumn as we prepare to shift into the winter holiday.  The kids were anxious to add items to the nature table while it is still decorated for autumn.  (At the end of the month,  the table shifts over to Advent and Winter decor.) George had more fun jumping in the leaves than collecting

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Little Mitts, Little Hands

Strep throat and a chest cold swept through the family this week, so we have done little else besides snuggle and attempt to get well.  New “Triple Crown” thornless blackberries are waiting to be planted in the garden, the grapes and raspberries need to be pruned back for the winter.  However, nearly every item on this week’s “to-do” list this week has been abandoned in favor of long waits – for throat cultures at the urgent care, and antibiotics at the pharmacy. I cannot sit still without some handwork to keep me occupied.  All of the waiting for medical appointments

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Yarn Along: Annis

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along this week. Knitting: I’m finishing up the Annis Shawl in Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering weight yarn.  The yarn was purchased several years ago on clearance, but I had never found the  right pattern for it until I recently came across “Annis” on Ravelry. Reading: Just finished re-reading How To Make A Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield.  Every time I thumb through it, I glean something new to apply to our landscape. On a whim I snagged On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-Rae Lee from the library “Best Picks” shelf.  It is a Dystopian post-apocalyptic novel, and while I

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First Day of Autumn

It has been three months since I last posted an update.  Three months ago tomorrow, I broke my leg quite badly at derby practice, and have spent the summer recovering from two subsequent reconstructive surgeries. They tell me it takes a full year to be back (as close) to normal (as the ankle can get).  In the last two weeks, I’ve finally been able to get out in the garden for a few hours each day.  While I have some complications, and still have a brace and need to use one crutch, being back in the garden has done wonders

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Outdoors

(Edit:  I realize WordPress is having issues right now – all my photos are loading sideways, and while they look fine on my Dashboard, they appear flipped on their side in the final post.  Working on it!) The past few mornings have felt like September with their crispness, and we’ve started out the day in sweaters.  And yet the afternoons are the best that summer in Oregon has to offer with blue skies and warm breezes.  So, of course we’ve been taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and spending every possible moment outdoors.   Every evening we’ve taken long walks, and

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Gratitude

  Joining Taryn of WoolyMossRoots for her Gratitude Sunday: -Very glad to have a little free time to return to blogging, and catch up on some of my favorite blogs. -And grateful to return to some much-beloved routines and habits (like baking bread nearly every day, knitting, reading aloud to the kids in the afternoon, making pickles).   -Grateful for the intense and much-needed rain this week, followed by a bolt of growth all over the gardens. -Feeling very blessed to have such kind and thoughtful neighbors, who lavish such unconditional love on my kids. -Bittersweet to see my youngest,

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Rejoining the Yarn Along

A little early morning, bleary-eyed knitting with my early-riser. He was up long before his siblings, so we snuggled in bed as he sifted through a jar of buttons (one of his favorite past-times), and I chugged coffee and finished a few inches on this little project: Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along this morning, and Nicole for her KCCO.  I am in-between books at the moment, but have been a tad-bit obsessed with watching Wrapunzel’s tutorials while I knit. Looking forward to visiting the other knitters in the Yarn Along after the kids are in bed tonight.  

Making Butter

I made a bit batch of beef stew for dinner this weekend – enough to last for two meals.  We rarely eat beef or pork (other than a small amount of ham or bacon to flavor veggie dishes), so it was a real treat for all of us.  All day long, the kitchen was full of the aroma of leeks, smoked paprika, merlot, allspice, and cinnamon. Ruth suggested we make butter and loaf of bread to go with dinner.   I happened to have 2 cups of organic heavy cream in the fridge.  Okay, let’s make butter! To make butter take

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Out in the Chill

Some images from the garden this week: My little garden helper.  Love spending time out in the garden early in the morning,  just me and George (and the poultry, of course). We found some gorgeous mushrooms (Turkey Tail?) growing on old plum logs bordering the rhubarb patch.  Aren’t they beautiful? And this feathery mycelium on the underside of a board that had been laying on the ground since the children abandoned their fort with the onset of chilly wet weather.  Every time I see gorgeous fungus in the yard, I resolve to learn more about this fascinating Kingdom that brings

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Late December in the garden

Our Christmas was the first spent at home in Oregon, instead of visiting Grandma and Grandpa B.  We had a peaceful and happy holiday. Since, in the past, the children and I have been in Florida for 4 to 6 weeks in the winter, we have missed out on enjoying the garden in this season.  But not this year!  Every morning, we have bundled up and spent two or three hours outside. Our temperatures have been mild (high 30’s to mid 40’s) and we have taken full advantage.   The poultry love it that we are out improving the garden, too. 

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Christmas Preparations

We’re finally getting the sewing cleared away and readying the dining nook for Christmas dinner. (That big bag of oats will shortly become granola for Christmas gifts. ) And putting out some last-minute decorations… and making our traditional holiday persimmon bundt cake while the boys play with dinosaurs at my feet… and putting out the last few pieces of the children’s new Nativity on my grandma’s marble-top washstand. (As much as I’d love to have a Nativity set like this one or this one, I am really enjoying this budget-friendly set – the children can play with it as much

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Holiday Sewing

Today is dedicated to finishing up Christmas sewing projects.  A three year accumulation of thrifted holiday fabric was sitting in a box upstairs, and the time had finally come to do something with it all, or donate it back.  So, sewing marathon it is! Some of the fabric is fairly ugly 1980s through mid-90s prints of teddy bears and snowmen, but works just fine for gift bags and such.  More than half the fabric is quite old – 1950s and 1960s cotton prints of holly, ribbons, candles, and I’m pretty excited about sewing with those. We’ve already completed many, many

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The Tomten and the Fox

Needle felting is one of those crafts we feel drawn toward more in the winter months.  Both of the girls really enjoy making Christmas ornaments and decorations.  Harold is learning to use the needle tool safely, and often prefers playing with the tufts of roving and his older sisters’ finished projects. Astrid Lindgren’s Tomten books are among my favorite winter stories from childhood.  Harold requests we read them (along with Jan Brett’s Hedgie’s Surprise) at least once every day since I added them to the book basket. So, in honor of the the children’s fascination with the little red-hatted caretakers

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L’Arche Christmas Tree

  Each year, we visit the same tree lot to pick up a little table-top Christmas tree which will sit in the window seat.  It is a tradition we really enjoy, and we’re thankful to be able to support L’Arche in our small way. L’Arche, is a wonderful organization that serves adults with disabilities in many communities.  From the Portland chapter’s website: At L’Arche Portland people with and without developmental disabilities work together to create home and build community. Those with developmental disabilities form the heart of our shared life and invite others into mutual relationships. We welcome each person’s

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Stockmar afternoon

Late afternoon -that time in the hour before dinner, the hour before Daddy gets home – is so often a strain on family harmony.  We’re all hungry, low on energy, short on tempers.  I struggle to find ways to keep the children occupied, finish dinner, and keep squabbling to a minimum. (I remember Grace relating a similar frustration at that time of day, and feeling relieved that I wasn’t the only mom on the verge of pulling her hair out and yelling at the the top of her lungs come 4:30 or 5.) When the children aren’t out playing with

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This Moment

Joining Amanda for This Moment.

Play Kitchen

  George’s favorite place to play of late. Who knew an old beat-up play kitchen set out by a dumpster would, after a little TLC, find years and years of new life, providing so many hours of delightful imaginative play for four very imaginative children? Cookin’ up sea shells and clothespins…mighty tasty.  

Nature Play and a Lunch Recipe

The past two mornings, the kids and I have worked on harvesting the end-of-summer lavender, which we will use for winter craft projects.  (More on that next time). The lavender plants are all in the front yard, which is unfenced, and we are along a bus line.  Keeping a busy toddler safe and occupied while we work on front yard projects is a must. George was kept very happy by his big sisters, who were dead-heading dahlias for me, and bringing him the spent blossoms to play with.   He had such a grand time shredding the flowers, flinging petals in

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