Monday, 29 October 2012

Fall Harvest Party

This past weekend we had a Fall Harvest Party.  In our wonderful stories (see resources below) Super Sam and his friends had a fall harvest party so we decided to have one too.  All month long the children followed along with Super Sam's adventures and also created their own invitations, snacks, decorations and games. On Saturday morning cousin E and one of our daycare girls came to celebrate in the fun.  Unfortunately not everyone was able to attend, but we still had a great time.

Welcome to the party

Fall Nature Table

Yummy treats

Bowling Squash

Pumpkin bean bag toss

Decorating coffee filters as jack-o-lanterns

Circle Time

Fall decorations
Dressing Up

Fall sensory bins

We are using Waldorf Essentials kindergarten curriculum that comes with their Thinking Feeling Willing program.  I can't say enough about how amazing Melissa is.  The children lessons are adorable and all the kids love Super Sam.  The mom lessons have taught me so much about Waldorf I feel much more prepared to homeschool now.  Of course the support from Melissa is invaluable and always so helpful. I do encourage anyone new to Waldorf or needing some help to check out this program.

I am really excited about the rest of the fall and into the winter.  We will continue to use the Waldorf Essentials and also have included some wonderful themes from Seasons of Joy Winter.

Check out the giveaway at Seasons of Joy this week and join their link-up!!

I'll be linking up throughout the week:

Waldorf Wednesday at Seasons of Joy
Happy Family Times
Natural Suburbia
It's Play Time

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Fall Fun

Well I lost the camera somewhere on our way home from our Thanksgiving weekend (or it is still in a bag somewhere waiting to be discovered).  So I have finally downloaded all the photos I've been taking off my camera.

Over the past two weeks it has been all about fall around here.  Leaves, pumpkins, harvesting gardens, and more leaves!
Leaves, toadstools, pinting with leaves
After Thanksgiving (here in Canada) the boys played in leaves a lot.  We have been using our sandbox trucks to push them around, raking, filling tarps to take to the compost pile, jumping, rolling, throwing, using snow shovels... We also made little toadstools to look like Super Sam's house from our stories.  I had found some paper-mache mushrooms on clearance at the end of the summer.  We used red and white tissue paper to decorate them for the nature table. The next day the boys used leaves to make prints.  They experimented with a few different painting techniques and even painted with some pine needles.

We have visited many farms over the last month.  Early in the month we went to Robinson's Farm (one of the daycare boy's grandparents own the farm).  Over the summer and early fall we also went to Frootogo for apple picking.  Recently we have been to Parkside Farms and Simpler Thyme organic farm. Of course we also harvested our whole garden plot and cleaned it up for the winter.  We ended up with a tone of green tomatoes.
Ducks at Simpler Thyme Farms, Chickens at Parkside Farms, playing with toy phones, Another visit to Parkside Farms
It was such a delight for me to visit Simpler Thyme farms as the lady who runs it is so kind and lovely to talk to.  We also met up with another family from our area who is doing Waldorf Homeschooling.  TJ played soccer with their boys for over an hour in the cold wind and can't wait to do it again!

We have made are more contact paper and leaf collages to hang in the window. On a particularly busy day for the daycare we made collages of fall coloured material and yarn.  Lots of baking has been going on.  I used up all the green tomatoes to make 2 apple-tomato pies, 1 bunt cake, 2 loaves, 4 dozen muffins, and froze the ones that ripened.  I'm now working on the apples next.

One day we went to Parkside Farms with our cousins E and baby J.  The children all picked out some larger pumpkins to decorate.  When we got home we made fun faces on the pumpkins with playdough. It was neat to be able to take it off and start again.  Then we pulled out some paint, glue and glitter for the kids to go wild!  TJ and MJ are so proud of their creations.  Cousin E made a great start on her large pumpkin, and even baby J liked playing with his.

decorating and playing with pumpkins
 In our stories (we are using the kindergarten lessons from Thinking Feeling Willing at Waldorf Essentials), Super Sam takes a little boat to deliver invitations to his Harvest Party.  We made little boats out of apple sauce containers and origami paper.  Once they tipped over TJ realize we could just use leaves from outside as the sail.  As a daycare we are hosting our own harvest party next weekend.  The children are excitedly planing and baking to get ready.
material collage, boats for Sam, clearing leaves with snow shovels
The weather has been on and off, but we are outside every day.  TJ has been working to move the log pile around and our rope swing is getting a lot of use.  We have had some on and off days too.  Now that everyone is getting used to each other we are learning to respect people's space and to use our manners.  Communication for preschoolers and kindergarteners is difficult but we are working on talking to each other (politely).  Behaviour around here is slipping and mommy is getting very weary, but I'm making steps to turn things around.  I'm hopeful to have a shift in the mood around here next week.

I'll be linking up to some great sites during the week.  I encourage you to check them out for more wonderfully inspiring ideas!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Week 5: The acorn family

I realized that I hadn’t written about our week.  Here are some highlights.

New veggie we found at the garden plot
 Woody, Pip, and Hazel
On Monday we visited the garden plot and found a new veggie to explore.  We also spent a nice day around the house.  In our stories we were introduced to the Acorn family and friends. 
Pumpkin rocks to give at Thanksgiving
On Tuesday we went to the early years center to meet some friends.  We hadn’t been in quite a while and had a nice time.  In the afternoon we had to go downtown to get our police checks done.  Not a very exciting afternoon but the kids all did well.  Later in the evening my friend came to visit and the boys decorated some rocks they had painted orange for their pumpkin rocks.

On Wednesday the kids helped me to wash all our pie pumpkins.  After I cut them up to bake I thought the children would enjoy scooping out the insides but they all thought it was too slimy.  Because I was busy with all the pumpkins it was a bit chaotic.  But we did end up with 14cups of puree and everyone learned to play by themselves a little more.  During quiet time I we also opened a new box of window crayons which was fun.
Yummy pumpkin pancakes

All our friends out on a walk
 On Thursday we started our day with some delicious pumpkin pancakes.  We had plans to meet a new friend, but our plans changed.  Since the weather was so beautiful we decided to take a picnic lunch down the hill to Kern Cliff Park.  We saw several people painting and hope to do the same some time.  It was great for the boys to climb and run about. Thursday afternoon my sister came for a great visit.
The boys climbing rocks

Sam and Mr. Squirrel out on our walk

Beauty of fall!
On Friday we had a full house and loads of fun.  It was painting day and the children worked on invitations for the fall harvest party they are hosting at the end of the month.  We painted their hand to make a tree print and then they used their fingertips to make little leaves.  It turned out very well.  Our new songs for circle time are also being learned quickly.

Finger painting fall trees
MJ making leaves
This week I did a lot of baking and packing for the weekend.  We first went to Meaford on Saturday to visit one set of grandparents.  It rained on and off all day but didn’t let that stop us from looking at all the scarecrows around town and visiting a local market for apples.  The boys loved playing at their house. 

The next day after a late start we visited my husbands' aunt and then headed off just past Orillia to visit another set of grandparents.  At the cottage our boys went fishing, played outside all afternoon, made a big fire and enjoyed visiting cousins and relatives.  Although they didn’t eat much of the dinner they were sure to be ready for a yummy dessert (we brought pumpkin cake with Nutella icing).  It was nice to not have to run off and head home again, as we decided to stay the night.
Thanksgiving Place Mats
Monday we got going late from the cottage and then got stuck in traffic for several hours.  We went straight to my parents for another lovely dinner.  The kids made fun place mats using clear contact paper and leaves.  They were rather restless by the end of the weekend.  The food was delicious and it was wonderful to see my family.

I realized that although we did a lot of fall activities this week I forgot to focus on Thanksgiving with the boys.  We do talk about being thankful daily, but I know I could have made more effort with that.  We did talk more about it on the weekend though.

Upon reflection of the week, I’m noticing that TJ and I are becoming increasingly frustrated with each other.  I’m reminding myself not to get into an argument with a 4 year old.  I’ve got to work on actually liking the kids next week and catching them being nice. UPDATE: just read the most amazing articles on 4 year olds over at The Parenting Passageway that really helped put things into perspective.

Linking up this week:
Hip Homeschool Moms
Happy Family Times
Seasons of Joy Waldorf Wednesdays
It's Play Time

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Gift Giving (never too early to start planning)

As many of you already know we are trying to move towards a simpler more natural lifestyle (Okay I am and everyone else is along for the ride).  That being said our gift giving and wish lists are changing too... a little.
Mini stockings for our advent calendar
I do hope this post doesn't offend or bother anyone (I hate conflict), I am not trying to push our wish list on family members (although Christmas is coming!!), but  wanted to share some fun ideas with everyone.

To start with, I want to recommend  It has been a great way to keep track of items we want throughout the year.  There is also a little app button you can put on your internet bar so when you see something you like from any page you can ad it to your wish list.  I currently have three lists

My boys



Used craft time to make a Father's Day Gift
I know there are so many blogs, lists and Pintrest ideas out there.   Below is a list of inexpensive homemade ideas for kids. Some have links.  You don't need to be super crafty, a simple glue-gun could do most of these.  Also check out the crafts, activities and project on my side bar for more.

Play dough kit - homemade play dough and some accessorize
Fort kit - bed sheet, ropes, big laundry clips
Baskets of natural items - rocks, pinecones, sticks, shells
Dress-up clothes - no need for a full costume just some accessories or head band with ears will work
Play silks- you can go fancy or just put a hem on flowy pieces of material
Nature bag - a simple draw string bag is perfect to collect nature items with
Puppets - again you can buy some or make simple sock puppets (fun to make with the kids), you could give a child a kit of supplies to make their own.
Tree blocks - get a thick branch and cut into various lengths.  Most of ours are about 1-2 inches tall
Wooden blocks - we took the end pieces from our last reno and cut into different lengths, they have been outside all summer and fall.
Felt board - simply cover a piece of cardboard in felt, then cut your own fun shapes out.  We printed a paper doll set and cut it out of felt for dress up, you could also make different face parts...
Mail - unfold a paper envelope and trace onto felt, cut it out and glue up the sides.  We used cut up old cards and some stiff felt to make the mail inside.  You can glue on velcro dots and make different names and stamps too.
Roads - simply cut lengths of denim from old jeans.  You can sew up the sides or just leave them.  I painted a line down the middle and made a parking lot piece.
Bean Bags - think simple like an old pair of socks stuffed with an elastic on the end, or make a rectangle from material and glue up the sides. I made a set out of an old winder coat, you could knit some nice ones too.
Sensory Bins - how about a shallow box with bean, pasta, rice, accessories for a gift.  Water beads are also popular this year. You could even make up themed ones to swap with friends.
Re-gift - each year my boys pass a long a few books to their cousin as their gift to her.  We choose ones in good condition.  You could also pass along other toys to a friend, relative or donate them too.
Thrift Store - kids don't notice if a toy is new or not.  Last year we bought several different used sets of tracks and put them together in a fabric bag.  We also got a really nice metal digger for the sand box in good condition.  Besides then you don't have to spend all morning trying to get the toys out of the boxes.  Be creative with how you present them.
Sock monsters (MeAgainCreations still has a few left)
This year we will most likely be giving homemade gifts too. Here are some ideas for adults. 

Notecards - This one is also for adults!!! Use blank note cards or card stock and decorate.  Simple stamps an some trim are very effective.  I used old holiday cards too.  Last year I made a large set for different family member including different holidays and occasions.
Baking - need I say more?!
Frozen dinners - double what ever you are making and save some as a gift.
Time - I can tell you how much I'd love time to go out or have some time.  Consider babysitting even just once for someone.
Kids crafts - if you are at home crafting with your kids, use it as a time to make gifts for others, there are plenty of cute ideas out there.
Wrapping paper - use your children's artwork as wrapping paper! I also made a set of reusable gift bags to cut back on paper waste.

I'll try to update this with more ideas as we go along.  Please do share your ideas in the comment box.