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Curriculum for
the Preschool Years

February 2006

February project list:

  • Valentine's Day:
    lollipops (N and L)
    knit heart sachet (B)
    hooded bath towels for 3 girls
  • mermaid costume
  • eurythmy tunics
  • cross-stitched bedtime verse

March project list:

  • birthday present for Jenn:
    ribbon-embroidered coat hangers, set of 3
  • choose paint colors for new house
  • Natalie's birthday party Mar. 12th
    (beach theme)
  • felt rug for playroom

April project list:

  • Easter:
    The Easter Craft Book
    living Easter basket
    (gift for Grammy & Papa)
    set of 3 Easter pails
    handkerchief bunnies
    knit Easter animals
    (Magic Cabin set) for my girls & "a knitted hare" for Joe & Tom
    dye Easter eggs
    Easter egg hunt
  • silk marionettes
  • second playstand
  • curtains for playstands



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Having tried unsucessfully to get Blogger.com to work for me, I suddenly realized that I can easily create journalling pages linked to my site without extra help. This is a very informal page with my personal notes as to how homeschooling is going for my family. Please feel free to email me with comments. Learn more about my preschool curriculum by visiting the links on my homepage.

Other Waldorf-inspired homeschool blogs you may want to check out include:

February 2006

February 28 - you may see from the list below that I have 20 handwork projects planned for February (now almost over) and March. but, believe it or not, I have another one to add to the list. my mother-in-law's birthday is April 4th. I would like -- if it's possible -- to make her the zoo toy bag from Nursery Knits. She is moving into a condo and was telling me that she wants each child to visit her each weekend in rotation (when we'd see each other all as a family, I have no idea, but it's a nice thought) and this cute and roomy bag is perfect for a weekend at Grandma's! Then there would be a special bag for the kids to pack their stuff in and it would be even more of a treat. it's also striped so I can use up bits of other colors. I got grey and dark grey yesterday, having finally gone to Michael's and found that they also have a burgeoning collection of natural fiber yarns. In fact, they have a whole end-of-the-aisle display with 100% wool yarn for felting. knitting and then felting is all the rage now, so I guess the stores have clued in and now offer wool yarn. it has to be wool or you can't felt it. they're not exotic luxury yarns like A.C. Moore, just your basic wool yarn in a range of colors. cheaper though. I love that they have huge skeins of black and cream (which I'll need for the penguin -- it's supposed to use up my black yarn from Aunty but I'll need a yarn to match what I have if I run out -- I'll use the expensive stuff for the orange though so the feet and bill will be silky, some texture variety is nice). they also have teeny-tiny 100% cotton yarn, really shiny and pretty. would be good for doll clothes. I think the wool yarn would be good for stuffed animals; I don't want to use the expensive silk/wool/cashmere or hand-dyed alpaca yarns for a project which will require that much yarn and pretty much lives to get beat up. I'd like to make the donkey from Toymaking with Children (the grey and dark grey will be perfect for this). In fact, I was thinking in the Europe unit to make all the animals from "The Musicians of Bremen" so we can act it out. I was really eyeing all the yarns yesterday with stuffed animals in mind. the pink egyptian cotton from A.C. Moore would make cute little pigs! By the way, Day One of my new flylady endeavor yesterday was a flub so I'm trying it again today. I went out shopping and completely forgot about my kitchen sink. that's okay. today is another day, right Scarlett?

February 27 - ta da! here's the inspirational part of this blog you've been waiting for. I have decided to join flylady. I am SO excited about moving to this new house and SO committed to making it work. you would never believe the way I live. every house I've ever moved into has shortly become a disaster zone. I always imagine this tidy calm cozy place -- I always wanted a tiny house that was spotlessly clean. that was my romantic vision. but I never had chores growing up, never learned to clean a thing, never learned how to keep a houseplant alive, never learned to cook or to do laundry, any kind of common sense or follow through... I lived strictly in the academic realm. I really never learned any of the things that would -- in fact -- be necessary in the real world. one of the reasons I am so supportive of Waldorf! anyway, I move into a new house, think "this time I will be organized and keep it clean, it's not that hard, everything just needs to have a home." everything in its place. so for years I thought my messy house was just a storage-
space issue. then, with the fourth move last year, it occurred to me that maybe the problem was that I didn't know how to clean a house. voila! problem identified but still not solved.
I am moving to the new house April 1st. that gives me 33 days. the flylady's system is 31 days long. so here I am, on Day One. the whole thing is about getting your house organized so that it runs properly and you just follow the system. you get daily reminder emails to help you with maintenance cleaning (this is my problem -- I never can eat without washing the dish for my meal first and then I'm so disgusted that the dishes are only clean for about 30 seconds that I get frustrated, I don't want to wash it again... I JUST washed it, for Pete's sake)! I was reading in Creativity in Education: The Waldorf Approach by Rene M. Querido that in a kindergarten classroom everything is perfectly tidy and clean. there is not one speck of paper lying around. and I thought, oh, I am so far away from that!!! my kids aren't learning from me what I want them to learn, they'll be lazy procrastinating slobs like me... that's the danger of the imitative stage. there are so many ways you can mess it up! one of the other moms in Natalie's dance class was telling me how much flylady helped her -- and she wasn't in that oh-my-god-disaster-zone place, just felt she needed a little help, but it's designed to help people who are in way over their heads with a house which is a complete wreck. and I thought, I should do that. and I should do it before we move. that way I can understand how to unpack and set up the house so that it works. you can buy books and products and so on but the whole thing is online for free. that's her whole thing. she never intended to have a store and sell products -- I read her business development article on PayPal -- and when they suggested a store at first she couldn't think of anything to put in it. now there are lots of products. and people swear by her! you can even get weekly planner pages which are flylady-compatible from thehomeschoolmom.com. we all know about day one, clean your sink. I think I can do that. it's day two (and all the ones that come after it) that I'm worried about. I'll keep you posted!

* * * * *
so the settlement on our old house is delayed which means buying the new house is delayed by a few days, what with the appointments being scheduled back to back (not my idea) and I am therefore getting a hotel room for the night before my puppetry workshop, which starts at 8:30 am. so I get cable television for the night and a king-size bed (with no cats in it) to sleep in. every cloud has a silver lining, eh?

* * * * *
okay, back to homeschool news. today was dance class. Natalie was completely worn out by it so still sleeping (3:34 pm) so after she gets up it will just be playtime until dinner. no new activities. since I'll be gone all day Friday at my workshop we'll do our "handwork" day tomorrow making presents for my brother. so I'll be out tonight getting craft supplies. that's the knitted mice stuffed with wool and catnip from Leah (she's at the age where stuffing toys is about her only gift-making ability, but it's amazing how much she loves it and she is always so excited to give the gift she helped make) and we weren't able to get ahold of a marbelizing kit in time so I'll buy an assortment of decorative papers and Natalie and I can just decorate a set of pencils with that paper. an engineer can't have too many pencils! I'd have her make a pencil can too but that just seems mean. creeping over into the "this is kindof garbage but I have to keep it because the kids made it" realm. I don't ever want someone to feel that way about a gift they get from my kids, no matter how young they are! so we'll just do the pencils. decorative papers are all the rage now, with scrapbooking being so popular, so it shouldn't be hard to find a set I like. and then we'll have the leftover paper from the pack for other projects. I have a blue heathery colored wool for one mouse and I'll probably look for grey for the other (they have two cats so it only seems fair). and the two books I requested from the library are in, for the "Cook with Me" topic so that's almost wrapped up. Sun Bread and Miss Poppy and the Honey Cake. as Natalie would say, "mmm, delicious!" that week of school should be fun! we've had a lot of success with the singing here. even though we haven't officially started the topic, "Sing with Me", I got a new book which has been a big hit: Gnome Songs. the cutest little book! just your standard nursery rhyme songs, little miss muffet, frere jacque, happy birthday to you, but with adorable little gnome illustrations. Natalie and Leah love it. they especially love that I sing the book and it's short so I don't mind. then Natalie can go sit by herself and know which song to sing on each page by the illustrations (the one of the gnomes waking up the turtle in the morning for his cup of coffee is priceless) and she can sing along. right now, she's torn between trying to learn the words to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and continuing to sing the old stand-by favorite, Happy Birthday to You (especially since her birthday is coming up). this book is super-cute! and I recommend it -- sturdy board book, too -- if you have little ones. yes, go ahead and sing right out loud -- don't be shy!

February 26 - bought three new books last night. we've had problems with Natalie being whiny and bossy and kind-of a tattletale so I got her three new "philosophy" books that I hope will gently help her. The first is You and Me by Martine Kindermans; the second is Pezzettino by Leo Lionni (I absolutely love Leo Lionni and would buy any of his books without hesitation -- this one recently came back into print and is hailed as one of his lost treasures) and the third is Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth. I love all his books and I had bought Zen Shorts as a gift for one of my nephews. I think it's high time we had a copy here too! The story about, "I put the woman down long ago, why are you still carrying her?" has really stayed with me and I think about it everytime I'm trying to get over something and let go. hopefully these books will really strike a chord with Natalie. I feel like she's being this way because she's insecure and unhappy so I look forward to getting her (and me) into a new space and starting some new patterns.

February 24 - I was able to order Good Night, Fairies today. my Amazon refund came through. so I'll definitely have that one in hand for moving day. we go to settlement on the old house Monday! I guess I've been sick or something all week, we haven't done any school at all. I had the wordless picture books out which went along with the topic but we didn't do any of the activities. I have lesson plans for March 1st, though, so I'll probably just wait until then to start school again instead of driving myself crazy trying to play catch-up. we might do the story hat. I really liked that idea. I have to finish Rebecca's sweater so I can start knitting the cat toys for Jay's birthday. that sweater is really easy to make, I guess it's so easy it's boring because I don't pick it up that often. of all the things I've knitted, I think the knit cat was the most fun. today we are taking the library books back and doing tea party. maybe the story hat. that's it. I wish this blog were more inspirational, like today I saved the world :-) but I guess everybody gets sick so what can you do. since Natalie is getting Good Night, Fairies as her Happy New House present, now I have to find gifts for the other two. Leah, definitely, is getting her own sewing block. they fight over the one constantly. I'll get her the cheese and mouse one from HearthSong so now they'll each have one. and then they can fight over who gets to play with the new one! aargh. they love to string their Ryan's Room beads on their sewing block strings instead of the strings that are included with the bead set. go figure. I don't know about Rebecca. she's 13 months. what toy brings joy to the heart of a 13 month old child? actually, I've always wanted to make a cuddle doll, the kind that looks like a starfish. The Gnome Craft Book has a really cute pattern -- the only reason why I kept the book, in fact -- I wasn't really thrilled with it when I ordered it -- for a baby gnome on page 45. It's important for me to know what books and craft supplies shouldn't get packed right away. that's why I've been working so hard on my lesson plans for March. as soon as I have my small do-not-pack pile I can get the rest of it in boxes. It's SOOOOOO hard for me to pack away my books, I keep coming up with excuses. I might need that! for something... what if someone asks a question... or I put it in a newsletter topic... or I want to do a project... I cannot wait to move and then be done with all this packing and moving! this last year has been tough. I just want a home!!! so, here's the short list of what I'm keeping out:

  • The Nature Corner
  • The Gnome Craft Book
  • The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book
  • Snow Drop and Ulba Bulba
  • books for "Sing with Me" and "Cook with Me"
  • A Child's Seasonal Treasury
  • Hanky-Panky
  • Treasury of Children's Poetry ed. by Alison Sage
  • Martha Stewart Living magazine, February 2005
  • Everyday Food magazine, March 2006
  • Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2006 (Sand Dollar Cookies for N party)
  • Nursery Knits
  • New Knits on the Block
  • Baby Knits for Beginners
  • craft supplies for ONLY the following:
    • cross-stitched bedtime verse
    • hooded bath towels
    • boatneck sweater for Rebecca
    • The Spring Fairy
    • snowdrop flower child
    • planting millet seeds in new garden
    • marbelized pencil set
    • knitted cat toys
    • felted mouse
    • baby gnome
    • crocheted doll pillow
    • wrapping paper, watercolor paints
    • stationery for gift tags & thank you notes
    • birthday candle making supplies
    • mermaid costume
    • ribbon-embroidered coat hangers for Jenn
    • felt rug for playroom
    • country market felted bag
    • rolled beeswax candle kit (thank you gift for dance teacher)
    • playful penguin

everything else can go in a box!! I guess there's no "only" about that list, actually, it's kind of a lot. but, still, a short list nonetheless. I'm almost done writing "Cook with Me", I have to get three of the books out from the library and add their recipe ingredients to the materials lists. then all my writing will be done! I sound happy now but, trust me, I'll be having withdrawal way before my return at Easter. I have no doubt that the first thing I will do after I unpack is write the Texture unit. I can't help it, I'm completely addicted to lesson planning. I can walk away from the piles of dirty dishes in my kitchen, sit down at my computer, and I'm whisked away to an ideal world where you have time, money, order and routine, and children who never get sick. :-) Hearthsong sent me a coupon for an order over some amount, I forget, and I threw it away. but I guess if I'm buying the sewing block I should also get the Tea Party Set since now we'll have both a back yard and a front porch. and a deck. and hopefully there will be many tea parties on the lawn under the huge oak tree. it's a service for four so that's perfect: Natalie, Leah, Rebecca and Mama!

February 23 - still not feeling good, bleagh.

February 22 - well, yesterday I finally completed our little root-child! I'll have a picture up soon on my learning to crochet page. today is storytime; the topic is Pets. I wish they would read some good books for once... but I know that's too much to expect. I can't wait to move and gracefully withdraw my child from the program. Circle Dogs by Kevin Henkes would be perfect for that age group (and it's one of our favorite books about dachshunds). but I bet they've never heard of it. you should have seen their booklist for the Farms topic. aargh. the library didn't have some of the wordless picture books I wanted for this week's topic, Read with Me, but we did find some of the Carl series by Alexandra Day. I think Natalie will really enjoy those. also, today I am giving her the new accessories for her flower fairies, the mushroom table and stool set. hopefully that will inspire some wonderful new imaginative play. I can't wait for her birthday, to give her the play silks and the doll. Steve and I had a huge fight last night over the play silks. he said he was willing to pay for her birthday presents and how much would they cost. so I showed him the two things I had picked out and he says, what's so special about silk. are you just being a snob or does it have to be silk and, if so, why. it was just terrible. I'm trying to tell him that little children need beauty in their lives and he's telling me that having expensive things will make her look down on other people because their toys aren't good enough. finally I explained to him that there is a different quality to her play when she's using silk instead of the cotton and he said, oh, why didn't you just say so. makes me want to pull my hair out. but that's a break on the homeschool budget, usually I absorb the costs of everything. and she'll be so excited! I picked the 11 inch square set from Fairy Cove instead of the 36 inch square silks you usually find because Natalie really loves to unfold and lay out her cloths and then fold them back up and put them in her basket. the 3 foot silks she can't fold by herself so she doesn't enjoy them as much. these will be perfect! and they come in their own gold velvet storage pouch which I know she will love. I can't remember what we're supposed to cook today, I'll have to go look. anyway, I need to go walk the dog and get this day on.

* * * * *
I have discovered that I am in a bad mood (you may have known this already?) and so we are not going to go to story time or be cooking together, something I can only handle when I am very calm. Steve always says that when I am upset it seeps into every one else in the household. apparently it also affects my blog. so I'm going to leave the computer and go play with my kids and take it easy. hope tomorrow is a better day!

* * * * *
I know I'm not supposed to be here but the kids are all asleep so I'm lesson planning for the beginning of March and I just realized that I need a gift for my little brother who will be turning 27 and keeps insisting he doesn't need a thing. Which he probably doesn't. his only hobby is boating and I certainly can't afford to get him boating gear! we'll probably end up getting a Home Depot gift card. but, anyway, the kids need to feel like they've made him something so I was thinking of knitting two little mice and having N stuff them with catnip. he has two cats, they're not really for him but what can I do with someone who keeps saying, get me whatever you want. I'll get him what I want to!!! (grin) here's the pattern and I'm putting it here so I don't lose it. I have to finish Rebecca's sweater first -- maybe I should go upstairs and work on that right now, it's very soothing -- and then I can do the little catnip mice. aww, how cute! then we can make some for our own cats to lose. ha ha.

February 21 - almost the end of school for this month. I've had some budget problems lately and have decided to basically take March off from school because we will be packing -- can't really do any handwork projects when all our supplies are packed away -- I'll concentrate that month on parent education. so, that's my Waldorf in the Home workshops, the class for Natalie and Betty, Natalie's birthday presents (which Steve will help pay part of but I still am the one who has to remember to place the order), and my looong Waldorf book wishlist. then in April, when we're in the new house, I'll concentrate the money on setting up the school room and the outside play area for the girls. Usually I'm never sure what balance to do with my homeschool money, how much of it should be for me and how much of it should be for them. I need Waldorf resources and training; they need music, activities, play things and craft supplies. so we'll try this alternating month approach. maybe it will really work out and we'll continue it! it's better for me to say, ok, March is about me, and then I don't feel guilty placing large book orders. and I would love to take a month and just shop for them. especially April, cause it's Easter. I've always put together these huge orders at Magic Cabin, Bella Luna, Nova Natural and thought, I can just buy this on Friday when I get my homeschool money -- and then it's already spent. usually because I got more Waldorf books off the waldorfcurriculum-supplies list. I will now know that either I can or CANNOT buy more books in any given month. Structure really works for me!!! Hypothetically, as a long term plan that would be:

    January - for parent
    February - for child
    March - for parent
    April - for child
    May - for parent
    June - for child
    July - for parent
    August - for child
    September - for parent - this works, beginning of the new school year
    October - for child
    November - for parent
    December - for child - this works too, Christmas!

that actually looks like a pretty good plan. at $60 per week, that's basically $1,500 per year for parent training, workshops & books, $1,500 per year for kids, setting up the play space inside and outside with great toys, school activities and other fun stuff. Steve also took a big load off my mind when he said that he would pay for the food co-op at Clagett Farm and just deduct from my grocery money each week as a payment plan. I feel a lot better now. I just had too many expenses for March!

* * * * *
so, here's the new plan:
February 24th: DONE
  • Waldorf books from Fiona
  • sign Natalie up for pottery class with Betty ($85.00)

March 3rd:

  • parenting workshops on DVD and CD from Waldorf in the Home
  • set of mini silks from Fairy Cove for N Birthday -- S
  • Nautilus Puzzle and Sweet Cherry Lyre from A Toy Garden for N birthday

March 10th:

  • Amazon order:
    Sing Through the Day book & CD
    The Paper Princess
    The Sanctuary Garden
    Fairy Houses

March 17th:

  • wool sweaters (from the thrift store) for felting
  • crochet bag pattern from Marlo Cairns

March 24th:

  • Bob & Nancy's order
    The Wise Enchanter
    Come Unto These Yellow Sands
    Giving Love, Bringing Joy book & CD set
    Wynstones Kindergarten series -
    Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Gateways

March 31st:

Now, of course, I'll be listing all the things I'd love to buy for my kids if I had an entire month's of homeschool money just for toys and fun stuff. so many lists... I'd like to do a page on the new website about the Nature table, include some of the pictures from A Child's Dream Come True, also the adorable mushroom doll set from KinderDolls. I might be gettting one of those sets myself :-) Christina sent me a lovely nature table card with strawberry little people on it, looks like an Elsa Beskow picture but I'm not sure. Nature tables are the best! I love ours. so does Natalie. and it's something you can do with the youngest child and continue up until they are teenagers. I read somewhere this woman finally thought her daughter was too old for it and stopped doing it and her daughter, who was like 16, complained that she missed it. it's just warming to feel a connection with the natural rhythms of the earth, I think. I can't wait to join our food co-op. we can get fresh seasonal produce. and Natalie can actually see where it comes from, watch it grow, and help harvest. all without me having to actually have a vegetable garden. I can't think of anything better! (you may not know this but I am completely incapable of keeping any kind of plant alive). I'm hoping to change my relationship with the earth this summer with our new sanctuary garden, to become more nurturing.

February 20 - okay, guys. don't get all excited or anything but I think I might be pregnant. I have been thinking I was late, but I wasn't sure, and I just sat down and looked through my January blog to see if anything came to mind and I'm pretty sure that I know the last time I had my period. and it was January 14th. so that makes me late. I don't have any one here with me right now, I'm all by myself. Steve took the kids out for the day (he got the day off for President's Day) and so I could spend some time working on my last unit for Robin, and I have no car keys and no access to a car anyway. I don't know what to do. If I am, should we not buy this house? it's really not that big, only two bedrooms for the kids to share. we did say we would have room to put an addition on in the future but would we be able to afford it right now? can we still get out of the house? the basement has high levels of radon, I don't know if that means anything. I am completely flipping out. and I'll feel so stupid if I'm not and I went and posted it here but oh, well. It's a journal, right? I have been really really tired lately, asking to go to bed at 8 pm when usually I'm up until midnight. I've been hungry and thirsty, much more than usual. and, not to mention, really really happy and calm. this is lunacy. I shouldn't even be speculating without a pregnancy test. I guess I'll be going out to the grocery store tonight! my husband doesn't read this blog so I'm ok there. but I would have to seriously cut back on my work. I have a tendency to miscarry so I would need to take some time off and just relax. (oh and move, not that relaxing... but what can you do?) ok. ok. ok. I'm going to go make dinner. there's nothing I can do right now, sitting here at the computer, but get myself all worked up some more. I first thought this might be happening a few days ago when I had a dream that I became this incredible jewelry designer (I HATE jewelry). and I woke up and told my husband and I said, "Sometimes dreams about new beginnings are your body's way of telling you something." I haven't been that in tune with my dreams before but a lot of things are changing with me since I started Waldorf. and ever since that dream, I've been wondering... who knows? maybe I'll come back in a few hours and write "false alarm".

* * * * *
and here I am. according to the nice folks at ept I have nothing to worry about. no baby. so we can all get a good night's sleep. handwork will make me feel better also. I'm sure I'll be knitting up a storm tomorrow! I just gathered a list of wet felting links for someone in my group and, in the process, found this woman's crochet/then felt patterns for handbags. I LOVE the Country Market Felted Bag! Maybe it can be the next project on my "learn to crochet" page. the little crochet root-child pattern is still giving me fits :-( Ellen says to try Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Crocheting. I've seen some of the the stuff she can do -- and it's wonderful! -- so her recommendation carries a lot of weight with me. perhaps that's my next step, to see if the library has it. the other handwork project I can work on is Natalie's cross-stitch bedtime verse. tomorrow for school is farmer's market and making vegetable soup day. I can't remember what else we're doing, I'll have to look at the card in the morning anyway, it's 10 pm and time for bed. good-night.

February 19 - guess what came in the mail yesterday? well, a lot of things came in the mail and I bet you won't be able to guess any of them. first, the new Taste of Home Cookbook came and -- believe it or not -- has a recipe for Sand Dollar Cookies, just the thing I was looking for for Natalie's birthday party, right there staring up at me from page 193! I was so happy and surprised. how lucky is that? second, I got a HUGE box of donated books from one of the members of my Group including some I wanted and some I didn't know I wanted until I saw them and now am so excited and happy to have. I can't wait to get started writing curriculum! third, I got something for Natalie, the little mushroom table and stools set, perfect for our flower fairies, arrived from Tonya. they even have sparkly fairy dust on them, they are so cute!! AND the homeschool money was enough to pay to sign me up for the workshop with Suzanne Down, mail the boxes, pay my library fine, and buy some Waldorf books from a posting on the waldorfcurriculum-supplies list. AND I forgot to say that the doll for Natalie's birthday arrived from Christine. AND there were some more books that I wanted off the waldorfcurriculum-supplies list but I didn't have the money to send her right away and she said she would go ahead and mail them to me and I could pay her when I can. isn't the world a wonderful place!!!!

February 17 - Spring is here! the snowdrops are up. no other bulbs here yet but my mom said she saw a patch of crocus. Natalie was so excited when we found the snowdrops, she couldn't wait to get back in the house and take King Winter off the Nature table and she packed him away gently saying, bye bye King Winter, it's Spring time now. and we got our daffodil fairy back out because that's the only spring thing we have. I never tried Nature table dolls before, we always just had silks with postcards or prints and items we found outside. the dolls definitely take it to a new level but boy do they take a lot of time to make! today is Handwork day and we are making the root children so that will be fun. N really loves her Nature table, she is constantly finding things she wants to put on it when we are outside. I think it really speaks to children.

* * * * *
We read The Story of the Root Children and I told Natalie I was going to make her some root children to put on our Nature table but she says, no I want a snowdrop. there's a snowdrop flower child on the cover of the book. and there is a pattern for it under Spring; well, I'm doing "Early Spring" so I'm not ready! I can't go that fast. but I read the intro to early spring and they said to make the flower children dolls and replace each root child one by one over night so the child can see the flowers "blooming". so that's what I think I'll do. I'll make the root children today and some flower children in secret and they can appear next week. I can see the snowdrops now outside the laundry room window. they're so pretty. so cheery. I'm tired of Winter. I'm also a little weighed down with handwork projects right now so I think for the next few months I'll focus on cards for the Nature table instead of trying to charge through making all these dolls. I think all Waldorf dolls should be made with reverence and love, so I won't do Mother Earth or anyone else until I think I'm ready. it's nice, though, because once you've made them, you'll always have them. so that's something to look forward to. also, when the children are older, they can make their own things to add to the Nature table. for cards, I like the card holder I got from A Child's Dream Come True. Waldorf Treasures sells Nature table cards from The Story of the Root Children -- she also has cards with illustrations from Elsa Beskow books. Imagin'edition has wonderful seasonal pictures photographed from pictures made of magic wool. but I personally get the most use out of my book of flower fairy postcards.

February 16 - what a terrific breakfast! we made Banana-Pineapple Smoothies and had flax seed waffles with fig jam. the snow is almost melted, there are just a few patches, so I'm going to take N for a nature walk this afternoon and show her the melting snow and there's a patch of bulbs coming up at the neighbor's house which I think are daffodils. one will be ready to pop out soon, maybe tomorrow morning. so tomorrow when she gets up I will have taken King Winter down, put our Daffodil Fairy up and put some white wool around, as snow, and I can crochet some little root children to set under the snow and be bulbs. it's actually perfect timing because that was the planned activity for tomorrow anyway with "The Daffodil" from Let's Dance and Sing. I love perfect timing! makes my little curriculum-writing heart go pitter-pat. making the smoothies and our nature walk will be the only thing we do for school today, though, because my mom is coming to babysit and I'm taking Rebecca to the doctor. tomorrow I get my homeschool money, I can pay for Natalie and Betty's art class, send a money order to Donna for some books I just bought through the waldorfcurriculum-supplies list, mail packages to Tonya, Emily, and Alicia, and pay my library fine (they say we lost the tape from the Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin kit so now we have to pay for it but, as a bonus, we get the remaining materials from the kit which means we get a copy of the book. so that's ok with me.) tonight's another meeting of Jack Petrash's class so I'll try to make it. I'm going to call the Washington Waldorf School today and get some new directions. MapQuest and I didn't see eye to eye on this subject the last time.

* * * * *
Jack just wrote to ask me to bring payment for the puppetry workshop when I come tonight; I can't believe I'm going to be doing a workshop with Suzanne Down! I'll need to start a page on my website with all my Waldorf training since currently my blurb says that I have none. Being completely self-taught, I think it's important for people to know that up front, I don't want to be accused of deceiving anybody; but it's also good to have a place to put my continuing education. I hope to have as much Waldorf training as I can (afford).

February 15 - the pinata was a HUGE hit (no pun intended). I think all the kids, even the ones who were shy at first, took a turn hitting it and it lasted until the end when one of the librarians took her turn and then it broke. it was funny, though, one of the moms took her kid and backed her up against a wall saying "that's a sharp stick, we don't touch sharp sticks." I guess it takes all sorts; I do believe everyone had a turn by the end but it makes me a little bit upset that there was at least one person who didn't think it was appropriate. personally, I don't think it's appropriate to stuff a bunch of little kids full of sugar... oh well. I would rather have brought that than candy. anyway, the librarians and a lot of the parents thanked me over and over for making it. I had a mom come up to me afterward and say, are you a teacher? and I'm like, oh does it show? she talked to me for a while about homeschooling her first grader and how tough it is. that's such a hard year and it's amazing how many people choose to start their homeschooling experience with that grade. what a challenge! anyway, the next big thing in my life is Natalie's 4th birthday party. I'm pretty set on party favors but I want one activity or game and, of course, a special dessert. Natalie already has requested a carrot cake for her birthday dinner but I want something to go with the theme for her party day, the 12th. Child magazine publishes a birthday party theme each month; August 2003 was a Sand Castle Party which I think I will take some ideas from. Family Fun, another excellent source for party ideas, also has a Ice Cream Castle Cake which looks awesome. and any recipe I can make in advance works for me. I always love non-traditional birthday desserts. Becca's was a platter of mini cream puffs with one candle in the center cream puff. Steve had a beach party for his 30th birthday and I took a plate of 30 marshmallows down to the bonfire with candles in them. I wasn't able to light them all before they began to fall over and singe one another but it was a great presentation nonetheless. and then everyone had marshmallows ready for roasting (and s'mores stuff too).

* * * * *
for homeschool money this week, I'm signing N up for an art class which she can do with her grandmother. and I have some miscellaneous things to buy, and have to pay shipping for a few books that I need to mail... but I don't really know what else. I don't actually have the money for anything else... what am I thinking? that will be all $60.00. I have a wishlist for Amazon (The Sanctuary Garden, The Paper Princess, Stranger in the Woods, and Good Night Fairies) which comes to $50. also, I have a rather long list for Bob & Nancy's, including mostly books for work, not really homeschool, and I'm never sure where the line blurs. but there are some 1st grade things I want to buy since I have to start writing that curriculum after we move. at some point, I need to buy the next two books in the Tiptoes Lightly series; The Wise Enchanter; Spiritual Syllabus for math, reading, and social studies grades 1/2; La Pleroma, Eric Fairman's books for 4th and 5th grades; and a set of eurythmy books including Leaving Room for Angels, Eurythmy for the Elementary Grades, Come Unto These Yellow Sands, and Allegro: Music for the Eurythmy Curriculum. Bob & Nancy's also is offering a gift copy of Lights Along the Path with every order of $50 or more so I would qualify for that. I think I will have to break it up into two orders... I don't know. I should probably wait until April since we'll be moving in March and that's not really the time to be buying new things. But it doesn't hurt to have some notes for when the time comes. sometimes I wonder, I'm trying to teach my kids to be non-materialistic but I am constantly buying things. so how does that work? I justify it by saying I need it to homeschool but it still means that Natalie sees boxes coming every week with new things in them. in her mind, being an adult is about spending money. I'm just tired after the party, I guess, I'm getting dejected. I feel like there will never be an end to the books I want to buy. and I shouldn't be putting myself out so much without customers... maybe I should wait until someone requests a first or second grade curriculum. I can't fund the development of the entire curriculum myself, that's for sure. I need to focus on just buying what I really need for Natalie and I. that's what the homeschool money is for, after all. and if people want me to write curriculum faster, they'll have to help out. I know Donna is under a lot of pressure to write a second grade curriculum since her first grade is proving very popular and she's shooing people off with a stick. I can sympathize. it takes a long time and a LOT of money. you can't rush through it. anyway, lunch time... shake it off... turn that frown upside down! (what a stupid phrase). I came down to write about how great the pinata party was and now I'm all in a muddle. aargh. I am having to postpone our Texture unit since we just don't have a schoolroom yet or a house with a garden. I planned that unit for the house we are moving into but we're not there yet. and I refuse to compromise our introduction to eurythmy by trying to do it in 3 square feet of space in the middle of a crowded and miserable living room/dining room/playroom space (this is a small beach cabin). I want to do it right. so I'll wait on the eurythmy tunics and shoes until April. I don't have any more money this week anyway. next week I am buying some of the conferences and workshops on CD and DVD from Waldorf in the Home and ordering the play silks for Natalie's birthday. since Kate moved her party up from the 20th to the 12th I have less time to prepare her gifts. I wonder if I'll even be able to afford the nautilus puzzle. okay, okay, enough about money. complaining never got anybody anywhere. I noticed this happened in January too, I was so happy to be homeschooling and really positive in the first part of the month and then I spent the second part of the month complaining about how my wish list was too long and I didn't have enough money and I was so behind and not getting anything on my list done... we need to snap out of it if this is my pattern. yuck.

* * * * *
today I gave Natalie the flower fairies that Alicia made her. they're beautiful! just the thing I would have made if I'd done it myself. they are perfect. next she'll be getting a fairy house for them. today we used the tree blocks (I think the Spiel & Holz ones are nicer than the Cherry Tree Blocks so that's what we used, but any kind of block with bark looks wonderful with wee folk). Natalie was so amazed, she was really gentle with them. and she asked for some small silks to put them to bed with, so I'm glad I decided on the set of mini silks from Fairy Cove for her birthday present. I was looking around and thinking, we're really close to Waldorf now. then I realized that I've been spending $3000+ each year. so, yeah, duh. doing that for two years I'd better be close to Waldorf :-) I can't wait to set up our new school room and have it all in one place, with the walls painted like they should be and the fireplace, the first time we've had one, with seasonal decorations on the mantel. it'll be wonderful. the schoolroom opens onto the front porch, too, so we can get fresh air whenever we need to without going through the rest of the house and breaking the mood, we can go for Nature walks or take our dolls out to play in the yard. it'll just be wonderful!

* * * * *
I am holding a Waldorf "Conference at Home" with my group March 10-12 (why I chose to hold this on the weekend of Natalie's birthday is not clear to me but that's OK, it will keep me off the computer constantly putting forth my point of view and it will give time for others to talk -- a good thing!). These are the materials I have chosen
  • Working With the Temperaments - $12.50
  • Helping Our Children Get Into Their Bodies - $12.50
  • Watercolor Painting - $27.00
  • Loving Authority: Building Up, Not Tearing Down - $16.50
  • How to Get Your Child to Do What You Want Without Talking Yourself to Death
    $12.50 (but if it works, priceless!)
  • The Art of Therapeutic Storytelling - $12.50
  • The Artistry of Discipline - $12.50
  • Parenting and Teaching From the Heart - $16.50
  • Times of Genius: Raising Children Who Remember Spirit - $12.50

Total: $135.00

So this is my stay-at-home version of the Waldorf in the Home conference in Sacramento which I'll be missing. I'm very inspired to spend this time working on my parenting skills and I think this is good timing for it; if we decide to start some new habits and routines, moving into a new house will be the perfect opportunity. And it's Spring! Really a time of positive change and new beginnings.

February 14 - Happy Valentine's Day! our Valentine's Day fairy arrived last night, just in time. she's lovely. the perfect centerpiece for our table. and when I was reading Natalie her nap story I made an amazing discovery. The book, The Boy Who Could Make Things, is actually a Valentine's Day story! I thought it was a craft book. but it's this amazing story, certain to be out of print now, about a boy who makes a paper doll family and a dollhouse for them and the dolls come alive and no matter what he does, he can't make them behave. they don't follow the rules, they are always destroying things around the house and he is spanking them and spanking them and finally he gets so tired of punishing them and he just sits and tells them how much he loves them and he draws red hearts on all of them. and then he goes to bed, sad, but he wakes up in the middle of the night wondering about them and he goes to check on them and... well, you'll have to read the book to find out what happens next! it was simply perfect for nap today and I am thinking this one is a MUST BUY because I have a feeling Natalie will want to hear it over and over. it's very reassuring to hear that even though the dolls got in trouble all the time, they were still loved. it really is a sweet book. but, as I say, because of the spanking, I'm sure it's out of print. we are making presents for everyone in our class today and filling the pinata. the painted tissue paper didn't really work out so we ended up with some red and purple, both used as packing material in boxes that were sent to us, so they were free, for the final layer. we also have to make our special Valentine's Day dessert for our party tonight. Steve is bringing flowers. I can't wait. Natalie was so excited this morning, she busted out of her room shouting Happy Valentine's Day, Mommy! this really is a holiday for children. all they want in the world is to know that they are loved and to share love. what child doesn't enjoy making & giving presents to people? it really is a wonderful holiday. we delivered the valentines we made this morning to the two grandmas, so I hope they enjoy them. I also included the knit heart sachet I made for Betty (my mother in law). I'm off now to stuff 40 small felt hearts with wool and blanket-stitch them shut with contrasting embroidery floss. yikes. I may be in over my head here (again? what a surprise). even if I do one every 12 minutes, we are looking at 8 hours of work. when I cut them out last night I almost thought I should just keep them single cut outs, it would still be a shower of color and the children will still like them... I may yet do that. especially because I saw how much Natalie loved them yesterday and was sorting them into piles by color (a little tricky since some of the blues are nearly the same -- so it's educational too, perish the thought). and she nearly started crying this morning when she asked about them and I told her we weren't keeping them, we were going to give them away. perhaps I'll put 40 in the pinata and give her the other 40 in a basket tonight at the party as a present. oh, Mom is such a pushover... I always thought I'd be more stern. but, you know, when you see something that touches a chord in your child, you realize that they really love something, you want to give it to them even if you don't understand it. I guess that's the meaning of love.

* * * * *
actually, I've decided for sure to buy The Boy Who Could Make Things and take it to the next meeting of my study group. the subject is discipline. this book will surely strike a chord with all the mamas there and it would be a wonderful introduction to the discussion. I wonder if I can convince Caroline to let me open the session?

February 13 - dance class this morning was cancelled because the instructor was sick. so we went to the library and returned our books and checked out new ones

Can you tell what section of the library I was standing in when I chose these? Hooray, a Pinata! by Elisa Kleven was checked out so we went with The Perfect Pinata instead, same story line. a girl has a pinata which is so beautiful she doesn't want it to be broken. I'm afraid this may happen tomorrow with Natalie at the Valentine's Day party. of course, I prefer Elisa Kleven's illustrations. I may have to start buying some of her books, especially The Paper Princess. I was also looking for Stranger in the Woods but they didn't have it. when we were driving the woods were so snowy and mysterious, so beautiful. I immediately thought of that book and its wonderful pictures. another one for the wish list!
yesterday for school Natalie and I put King Winter back on the Nature table and we added some small birds made of beeswax and set out millet for them to eat. We walked outside and fed millet to the real birds (and they got to play in the snow with their Papa). We also put the layer of plain paper on the pinata; today we'll be painting tissue paper red as the final finishing touch. Natalie also made her valentines for family and friends today; I just put N down for her nap so now I'll get Leah up so she can have a turn making valentines. I think it's better to stagger them this way. easier for me and then they are not fighting over supplies. tomorrow at dinner we'll have a little party and exchange them -- Steve is bringing home flowers and the kids and I are making a special dessert. also for tomorrow we have to make valentines for everyone in storytime. I have a head count of 40 (the librarian said to make at least 35 so I think 40 is a good number). I got 5 pieces of cardstock so I'll divide each into 8 pieces and we have stickers and glitter and so on from our kit. also, I am going to make 40 small felt hearts stuffed with wool, in all different colors -- I think I'll have to start on those this evening. we can't afford candy and I don't really like the idea of taking candy to something like that anyway. I'm sure there will be more than enough candy and cupcakes and so on there. the nice thing about felt hearts is that they are appropriate for all ages, safe even for the babies to chew on, since it's a mixed-age Family Storytime. I had to cut out doing the knitted heart and the hooded bath towel projects. I'm out of time! that's ok, the simpler the better for things like this. I can always make the hooded towels at another time and just keep them plain white. they'll probably wash better that way anyway. so tonight, instead of rushing around trying to do a hundred things, I'll just work on felt hearts. because we are making valentines for everyone we don't have enough cardstock to also do the Valentine decorations from All Year Round which is OK since we will have our Valentine Fairy from Robin. I always always plan too much, have to drop nearly all the projects at the last minute, settle on doing just one or two things, and then think to myself, "This is better anyway." I do it every time!!! Simplest is best.

I have so many to-do lists and I keep losing them, so I'll just put the plan here:

  • L make valentines
  • paint tissue paper red, add to pinata
  • RNM begin felt hearts, make special Valentine's Day necklaces for N/L
  • at bedtime, RNM set out necklaces, Valentine's Day cookies and fairy on breakfast table
Valentine's Day
  • deliver valentines to Grandma and Gram
  • make valentines for classmates (40), finish felt hearts, stuff pinata
  • make Valentine Wigglers for dessert
  • party in the evening, exchange valentines, have special dessert, Steve is bringing flowers
February 15
  • storytime at library 10 AM, take pinata

Steve just told me that we go to settlement on the old house February 27th. I owned that house, so I have to go. Steve is buying the new house so I can skip the one March 1st.
I can't believe it's really happening!!!!!

* * * * *
I decided to make four each of ten different colors for the felt hearts. I don't want to be completely out of one color, and it will look more attractive tumbling out of the pinata. I also wanted there to be colors for girls and boys -- I chose Blush, Pink, Melon, Maize, Rose, Sky, Ice, Aqua, and Lilac from the Pretty Pastels assortment and Rust from the Earth Tones assortment, all pure wool felt from Magic Cabin. I had originally bought Pretty Pastels two years ago, for the Families unit (flower fairies and felt wee folk) -- I've certainly gotten a lot of use out of it! I am trying not to purchase too many new things before the move, since it's just one more thing to pack and store... but I think once we are settled I'll need to purchase some new felt. This project has pretty much decimated my collection! I still have plenty of the Earth Tones left but, for some reason, I seem to get the most use out of the pastels. Maybe I'll just spring for the Felt Fanatics pack, all the felt you could possibly need for several years of homeschool projects for $119.00.

February 12 - Happy Snow Day! the snow finally came... it just rained and rained all day yesterday and last night (washed away all the salt they had put down as a preliminary precaution, I'm sure) so I'm thinking, yeah right. they often call for snow here and it doesn't come. in fact Natalie got up three times during the night and came to tell me that it wasn't snowing yet. when she finally went to sleep and stopped getting up it snowed, so she thinks it happened just for her as a reward for being good :-) this saves me too from a Nature table predicament. I had my daffodil fairy out and our pot of daffodils which then died shortly thereafter. and I'm thinking, now what do I do? but now I can put King Winter out again (they always go back and forth in the early Spring) and then later this week when I make our root-children I can place them under the white silk, peeping out. they are there under the snow resting waiting for their time. so actually it fits perfectly with what we're doing in school next week which is bulbs and it's a great segue. hooray! I think I'll also make a small bird or two out of modelling beeswax and put some millet in front of them, we're going to put some out today for the birds too. I wish I knew how to get the pictures off my camera and into my computer; I can post pictures to the website as soon as I figure that out. I really love doing a Nature table and I think it would be nice to have several pages on the site with pictures of different seasons, open it up to the Group too so everyone can share. then someone who is new to Waldorf has some photos to go by. it can be so hard when you're starting out and you are reading all these things but you don't have any examples in front of you to see how it's put into practice. when we have our new schoolroom painted and set up I'd love to post pictures of that, too.

February 11 - they're calling for some snow today, 6 to 8 inches. which is too bad because the vinca had just started to bloom. now it will be covered up with snow. we dashed to the craft store this morning to make sure we had plenty of supplies to wait out the storm. I decided not to do the baskets on the door, since the fairies Alicia made are really just for N, Leah is too little, they would have a hard time when they found out they couldn't share them. Leah would be so disappointed. so instead I will give the fairies to Natalie on Wednesday and show her how to play with them gently. Safeway had some heart-shaped cookies that were really pretty so I got one for each girl. I can wrap their new bath towels in tissue paper and set them at their places on the table with a cookie on top. that would be really nice to wake up to :-) and less work for me. not doing the lollipops is a real time saver too. I'm not sure about the knit heart, I got the yarn for it and it's a cute little design. maybe I will still make it anyway. we went to A.C. Moore and got yarn for the root children (color 300 -- for the crochet pattern from The Nature Corner), the heart sachet (color 501), and the mermaid costume (color 502). also red cardstock for the valentine decorations. because we may lose power I had to get mostly all convenience food at the store, so that throws off our list of things we were going to cook this week. but I still have ingredients for enough from-scratch things that we can do something every day. when the children wake up from their naps, we will do the rest of the valentines for family members and begin our pinata. Grammy gave me a large bag of newspaper yesterday so we are all prepared in case the paper I had planned doesn't work out.

* * * * *
Since we're about to move to Upper Marlboro, one of the women in the PG County study group asked if we were participating in the CSA program at Clagett Farm. I hadn't known anything about it but I'm so excited. we wanted so badly to do one near us when we lived in Bryans Road but they were always sold out before we could sign up, year after year. she said this one enrolls in March so I'll make sure to set aside some money for it. in my mind, it's a completely necessary homeschool expense. they also have a very interesting blog; I've signed up for email notification of when the shares will be sold. it says here that you can also work in exchange for food, a minimum 4 hour commitment. that may work for us if we end up missing the sign-up period! I'm very excited about being in Upper Marlboro, it looks like the perfect blend of being near rural and urban. who knew I would ever join suburban America? but we'll be only 15 minutes from downtown DC, helpful for homeschooling since right now we are so far from any kind of cultural event (or any Waldorf school). now we can conceivably drive to the Washington Waldorf School, the Baltimore Waldorf School, and Acorn Hill. workshops tend to be word of mouth at these places, so my new study group will help me to stay in the loop. I don't want to miss anything! the puppetry workshop Jack told me about starts at 8:30 am so I'll have to leave at 6 am to get there (for one thing, it's over an hour away but, in addition, I have to account for commuter traffic which will account for the additional time). maybe, if we go to settlement on the house March 1st, I can camp out there March 2nd. will we actually own it then? I can't wait!!! the workshop is early on the morning of March 3rd. staying at the house will put me 40 minutes closer to the school. that would make a real difference. I just checked with MapQuest and from Upper Marlboro to Acorn Hill is 32 minutes, so I could conceivably put Natalie in their summer program. that would be wonderful! it's $375 for two weeks, so it's pricey. but it would be an unforgettable experience for her. another thing to save up for??? I'm sure I'd have to enroll her soon, since places fill up fast.

* * * * *
Upcoming homeschool expenses

March 3rd:

  • puppetry workshop at Washington Waldorf School ($50)
  • nautilus puzzle for N birthday

setting up the outdoor play space at the new house, paint for the new house

signing up for the CSA at Clagett Farm

signing up for the summer program at Acorn Hill?

materials for the Texture unit

next 2 book in the Tiptoes Lightly series: The Festival of Stones and Big-Stamp Two-Toes the Barefoot Giant, Tiptoes Lightly fairy & Pine Cone and Pepper Pot gnomes (make or buy from A Toy Garden), make a Jeremy Mouse (pattern in Feltcraft)

other books on my wishlist: The Wise Enchanter ($14.00)

February 10 - last night was my first meeting (the 3rd meeting of the group overall) of the Prince George's County Waldorf Study Group. it was interesting, the first time I've actually met any Waldorf mamas! there was a huge variety in the group, from people just starting out, learning about the philosophy, to people who've been involved with Waldorf for years, and homeschoolers. it was great. I was looking at New Knits on the Block to see what other projects were in there that I might want to make (the unicorn dress-up is a favorite!) and I saw that the very first one is a firefighter's hat... perfect for my two little nephews for Christmas... so I guess it's time to start the Christmas brainstorming! and it's not even March yet! :-) I have to remember to get a money order for $28.00 for some Waldorf books I'm buying... also this week I have to get our supplies for Valentine's Day projects... and the yarn for the mermaid costume. I think I'll also spring for a set of mini play silks for Natalie's birthday. I can't really buy them later in the month, especially if I place a large order for Waldorf workshops on CD and DVD from Waldorf in the Home, so I may as well order them now. Fairy Cove has a delightful set of a dozen mini play silks (11 inches square) for a good price. I think Natalie will want to use them for blankies for her dolls, and placemats for her tea parties, and so on. who knows what she will come up with. Mimi from my group last night said that she wrapped all the children's Christmas presents in silks and it was just lovely. I think that's a wonderful idea. I also need to buy supplies to crochet a few root children for our Nature table; they sell root children doll kits but why bother, when you can get the directions and patterns from The Nature Corner?

* * * * *
The homemade valentine kit we got has cards and envelopes included to make 16, so that's
  • 1 - Grammy - from N
  • 2 - Papa - from L
  • 3 - my mom - from N
  • 4 - my mom - from L
  • 5 - Steve's mom - from N
  • 6 - Steve's mom - from L
  • 7 - Steve - from N
  • 8 - Steve - from L
  • 9 - Rebecca - from N
  • 10 - Rebecca - from L
  • 11 - Leah - from N
  • 12 - Natalie - from L
  • 13 - Joe - from N
  • 14 - Tommy - from N
  • 15 - mama - from N
  • 16 - mama - from L

February 9 - I didn't like Quilts from The Quiltmaker's Gift ($17.79)so I sent it back to Amazon today; I can use the credit to purchase Good Night, Fairies ($11.53). there will be enough left even after they subtract the cost of the shipping (they pay for your return label, but deduct the shipping costs from your merchandise credit). the picture of the little child's bedroom is simply inspirational, and I'm going to use it as my guide to decorating the children's bedroom at the new house. actually, I was showing the picture to Steve when I had a great idea -- one of the wonderful things in the room is that the ceiling is dark blue with stars painted on it. I would love for our kids to have a skylight in their room... and there are two skylights in the master bedroom in the new house, none in the two child-sized bedrooms. of the two child-sized bedrooms one is larger and one is smaller. the smaller is set up as a craft room and when we went to the house, Steve said to me that he wished we could keep it as a craft room so I could have one -- trying to run this business off of a table in the laundry room doesn't give me anywhere near enough space... so, anyway, I suggested to him that we take the master bedroom first, fix it up the way we want it to be, and then move all 3 kids into there. we could then have a two room adult suite, a bedroom and a craft room. I don't know if he'll go for it. I always move furniture and people around in our houses, we try every possible combination. I get bored easily. anyway, the painting of this bedroom in the Good Night, Fairies book is straight out of Waldorf. the walls are a beautiful peachy-pink lazure effect, there is a large mural of fairies at play completely covering one wall, and mermaids painted on the doors of the wardrobe. there is a fairy painted on the bedstead, and a nook high up in the wall with an angel statue in it. the border around the top of the room is the silouette of fairies playing under the flowers. the light fixture is a beautiful star, like this. the whole effect is just lovely. I will use it as my "inspiration room", like that television show. I forget what it's called. we'll see if I can recreate it on a small budget :-) having a concrete picture helps a lot.

* * * * *
I had a doctor's appt. in the morning today; my mom was here. so we didn't do bread from scratch or making butter, the usual routine for Thursdays -- when I got home Natalie and I made cookies (Black-Bottom Coconut Bars, to be exact) and we did the elephant rhyme from the newsletter (topic: "Somebody Loves You"). she absolutely loved it! I think we'll be showing it off to Grammy and Papa tomorrow. tonight Steve is coming home early so that I can go to the Waldorf study group for Prince George's County. the topic is the senses: overload of the senses, protecting the senses, children as giant sense organs (without filters), Sensory-Integration (disorder), and Steiner's view of the 12 Senses. I plan to take Beyond the Rainbow Bridge and The Kingdom of Childhood. The Kingdom of Childhood is a new acquisition and I'm finding it extremely helpful. Nobody explains Steiner like Steiner! by the way, I need to make some notes here already for my March budget. I'm going to a puppety workshop at the Washington Waldorf School on March 3rd which is $50.00, so that's HS money for that week. the following week is Natalie's birthday, so if I want to buy playsilks for her I'll have to order them at the end of this month... which means that I won't be able to buy anything for the Texture unit until the 10th of March. I'm not sure if I shouldn't bump publication of that one into April, since March we will be packing and moving... it seems like a fool-hardy thing to try to write in the middle of all that. especially with my books being packed up. maybe I could take March 7 - April 7 off. then I can pack, unpack, and be back in time for Easter. then after Easter do the Texture unit. I don't want to take a vacation but the problem is that I need to have my entire library out in order to write (a unit or a newsletter, it doesn't matter, or a website article) because I never know where my thoughts will take me. and it isn't practical to leave all the homeschool stuff for the end to pack up since that's the majority of what I own! even without doing any writing, though, I'd still need to plan what the money will be spent on, because we can do school without me writing about it. so, if the last week in February is Natalie's birthday presents, the first week in March is the puppetry workshop, then the rest of March can still be buying things for the next unit, just at a slower pace, if it won't be published until after Easter. oh, and Easter. that's an expense. and I need to start working on the felt rug for the new playroom so I have to start thrifting for wool sweaters soon.

February 8 - finished my daffodil flower fairy! See my knitting page for a picture.

February 7 - today we'll be making a quick bread, Mini Cherry-Pecan Streusel Loaves, watercolor painting (this always seems to get dropped the morning of dance classs), and visiting the farmer's market to watch the lady spinning outside the yarn store. I want to complete the flower fairy today, if I can. I also need to make a list of the people we will be making valentines for and make sure I have enough card stock and other supplies. also, I think we have to begin our pinata in advance of next week in order to give it enough time to dry. I need to look this up. I have a set of the small doorknob baskets that Hearthsong sells and I was thinking of making Valentine's Day baskets for the kids to find in the morning; I am thinking maybe heart-shaped lollipops and some little toy. then they can find their new bath towels set out at their places at breakfast. Marthat Stewart has a recipe for Valentine Heart Pops; there are lots of suggestions in each February issue of MS Living and I have a lot of them: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. of course, I don't want to make myself crazy; for example, All Year Round has directions for making masses of small cookies and hanging them from a large branch with little ribbons, making a Valentine's Day tree. that one is a little over my head. but I do want it to be special... ah, the struggle of finding a balance between making the holidays special and keeping yourself sane. gotta love it! the naptime story for today is Going for a Walk by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. she's one of those authors whose books I am happy to buy sight unseen, as everything she does is excellent. I saw this one at the book sale and grabbed it. unfortunately, a lot of her stuff is out of print. the collection of children's poetry she edited, Sing a Song of Popcorn, is simply stupendous. I don't think that will ever go out of print. I am thinking of making it a book for the Texture unit, since each category is illustrated by a different (all Caldecott medal winning) illustrator, in vastly different styles. The whole thing comes together beautifully, though, and the selection of poetry is top-notch. it's in the library but I think I'll put it in my wishlist as well.

* * * * *
Emily just shared some terrific verses for Candlemas with the Group; I'll put them here so I can easily find them again:
    Bless this candle
    Bless this candle in my hand
    Bless the flame as here I stand
    Bless the faces round this light
    Bless all people on this night!

    Honey Bee
    Honey bee, honey bee
    You make honey oh so sweet
    Fragrant beeswax in my hand,
    Full of goodness from the land.

    Wish for the fields
    Night is dark, and cold and long
    Winter's hold is still so strong,
    But beneath the earthen crust
    Underneath the frozen dust
    Life is growing, moving, thriving
    Roots are drinking, resting, striving,
    Buds are swelling on the trees
    In the hives, still sleep the bees
    But moving humming strumming sing
    Soon we will welcome spring!

    The Little Brown Bulb
    A little brown bulb
    lay asleep in the ground,
    In his little brown nightie
    he made not a sound.

    King Winter he roared
    and he raged overhead,
    But the little brown bulb
    never stirred in his bed.

    But when spring came
    tip-toeing over the leigh, (or sea)
    With fingers to lips
    as soft as can be,

    The little brown bulb
    just lifted his head,
    Slipped off his nightie
    and jumped out of bed.

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* * * * *
okay, here are my thoughts for Valentine's Day. when the kids wake up they will have the doorknob baskets hanging on their door. Natalie and Leah (who share a room) will have the little fairies Alicia made for us and the heart lollipops in theirs. For Rebecca I will make a little knit heart sachet, stuffed with wool instead of herbs so that she can chew on it safely. the Valentine's Day fairy Robin made for us will be on the breakfast table, also the children's new bath towels. for dinner, we will have a party and exchange our valentines. I was going to do a heart-shaped pinata but I think that will wait until another year when they are older. we can always do a pinata for another celebration. instead, I think we'll make the Valentine decorations from All Year Round (page 37). then for dinner we will have just regular food, because I don't want to create too much work for myself, but we can make a special dessert. I'm thinking the Valentine Wigglers from Cooking Art (page 152). Leah has tights with hearts on them, pants with hearts on them, shoes with hearts on them; Rebecca has a skirt with hearts on it and shoes with hearts on them; but Natalie has nothing. so the other thing I was thinking of was maybe a necklace for Natalie with red felt hearts on it. All Year Round has three heart templates, so I think we could do that, with the largest in the middle, and so on, on up. they recommend stuffing them with wool and stringing on embroidery floss to make a chain -- sounds like a necklace possibility to me! then she'll be really excited because she gets to dress up. anything else? I really liked the crayon hearts project from Martha Stewart Living but I don't have the supplies for it, we never unpacked the iron. but that would be an easy one to do in later years. let Natalie attack the beeswax crayons with her grater. we'll have enough decorations, I think... it should be really pretty. I had been thinking of putting our valentines inside the pinata and then we could break it and they would come showering down but I know I would be tempted to fill the pinata with candy too and that's just not necessary. plus, I've never done a pinata and I am feeling a little stressed out about it. so, you know what? we'll cancel it. that's the beauty of homeschooling -- ultimate flexibility.

* * * * *
more notes. this time about knitting projects. I don't want to fill up my learning to knit page with thoughts about the future, since it is supposed to just record each project that I have done. so I'm putting it here (aren't you lucky!)
    1- finish flower fairy
    2 - boatneck sweater for Becca
    3 - heart sachet for Becca (deadline: February 14)
    4 - mermaid costume for Natalie (deadline: March 20)
    5 - knit penguin (a good way to use the black yarn I got from Aunty, it's 100% wool so I don't want to just throw it out but I had a hard time thinking what I could do with black yarn...)
    6 - something for me?

February 6 - dance class today. we're also baking another bread recipe, still testing to find the best one. today I have to write the next newsletter topic, this first week of school passed so quickly! time to start thinking Valentine's Day (hooded bath towels, valentines for family & friends, and our Valentine's Day party pinata). the flower fairy I'm knitting is working up very quickly, then I'll do Rebecca's sweater and, by that time, my new knitting book will have arrived and it will be time to start on the mermaid costume.

February 5 - I had been looking for candle verses or stories to read when we lit our Candlemas candles for the first time -- N was so proud of them, it seemed like maybe we could do a little ceremony -- but the time has passed. I did, however, find a wonderful poem in A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme. It is called The Four Elements and each stanza deals with one. The final is Fire and I think it's just lovely:

    We, the bright red fiery flames
    Crackle and roar, that nothing tames.
    Sparks like shooting stars they fly
    Helpers we are of sun on high.
    With golden sword the cold we slay
    And bring you warmth to cheer your stay.
    We, the bright red fiery flames
    Crackle and roar, that nothing tames.

I was reading it over again, trying to decide if I should share it with the Group next Candlemas when I realized that it's really a much better fit for lighting a fire in a fireplace. We will have a fireplace in the schoolroom in our new house and Natalie had asked me if we could light a fire and roast marshmallows on our first night there. Which I think is an excellent suggestion! Part of our Happy New House celebration. So I think this verse will be a perfect fit for that occasion.

* * * * *
The timeframe for moving out of this house has been moved up, since someone is coming to stay in it April 10th (the house is owned by my grandparents and is available to anyone in the family who wants to use it). Thus we plan to go to settlement on the new one March 1st, then slowly move boxes out of this house as they are packed (by me) -- Steve drives right by the new house on his commute to work so he can stop in and drop things off on a daily basis w/o adding any additional wear and tear on the car -- rent a moving van and get the furniture and remaining essentials out the weekend of April 1/2. The following weekend, April 8/9, I can come back here and put things back the way my grandparents had it. Quite a lot had to be moved around while we were here, to keep things safe from the children. Because we are a little short on time, we can't paint the entirety of the new house as planned. which is actually OK with me because I was getting quite worked up about choosing paint colors. I can be very indecisive. But I told Steve that the most important room in the house to paint was the schoolroom (play room at this point) because I am not spending thousands of dollars per year to recreate a Waldorf kindergarten environment and get it perfect just to skip a simple step like the wall color. And he agreed that he would paint the one room. Someone sent me the most interesting link which shows the colors classrooms are painted at a Waldorf school, a different color for each grade level based on color theory and the changing needs of the child at each age; here it is Room Colors. so much was written about lazure painting on our group that I want to put together a page for the website with all the different links. I think I will put it under The Waldorf Family.

* * * * *
We tried the 90 Minute Bread recipe I found yesterday and it turned out to be horrible -- DON'T make it! So now I'm on the hunt for a new one. Here's one; they are all essentially the same, same proportion of ingredients. but the one we tried this morning didn't "bread" (if that's a verb) (which it isn't, of course), it just made a very thick flour/water paste. Here's another one, Jesse Evans Smith's 90 Minute Bread. This one calls for the bread to rise twice but presumably it still fits within the 90 minute time frame or it wouldn't be named thus. I certainly have enough of the ingredients, very basic: water, yeast, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, and flour for all of them. Maybe we will just make them all! :-) My reputation is somewhat on the line here and I don't want to pass a recipe on to my sister-in-law that is a dud. Did you know February was Bake For Family Fun Month? Here's the proof: Holidays, Special Occasions, Observances, and Days to Celebrate For The Month of February - 2006. You can go to this site to get the dirt on any month of the year, they have a drop down menu. If I ever run out of ideas for newsletter topics, this website will be a goldmine! Not that my brain is likely to stop spitting this stuff out any time soon. And, if it does, I can just do what Jeeves did and have kippered herrings for breakfast.

* * * * *
Note to self for later: A Toy Garden has an adorable Tiptoes Lightly fairy, plus Pine Cone and Pepper Pot (the two gnomes) from The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly. This book has been a real favorite with Natalie and her Papa reads her a chapter every night. I'm sure I can make my own Tiptoes Lightly fairy but I wanted to keep a link to these products to remind me. Perhaps when the stories are done... I didn't see Jeremy Mouse on the website but he would be easy to make too. N loves them so much I think we'll be getting the companion book, the autumn and winter stories, called The Festival of Stones; there is also now Big-Stamp Two-Toes the Barefoot Giant, the springtime stories. You can actually email Tiptoes, by the way, (c/o Reg Down) at tiptoes_lightly@yahoo.com.

February 4 - the guilty pleasure of knitting. oh, yes, learning to knit is a homeschool expense... of course, I didn't need two new knitting books right away nor did I need to buy yarn... but there you have it. I did. I fell in love with Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss and Nursery Knits by Zoe Mellor. I plan to make my first sweater, the boat-neck sweater from Baby Knits for Beginners for Rebecca who refuses to gain weight and is still wearing 6-12 month clothes (she actually lost over a pound from her last bout of sickness too). not only does it mean her hand-me-downs are ragged and torn, but she is certain to have an amazing growth spurt if I spend hours laboring over the perfect sweater to fit her tiny frame :-) Seriously, though, Debbie Bliss walks you through everything and puts the projects in order of difficulty, designing each one to focus on the specific new skill which is being learned but not to look like a boring beginning knitter's project. the sweaters are adorable! I went to A.C. Moore which, surprisingly, has a small but nice natural fibers selection in their yarn area and chose a beautiful chunky luxury yarn from Peru (70% merino wool, 20% alpaca, 10% silk). They also had drop-dead gorgeous shimmery Egyption cotton (King Tut) and hand dyed pure wool yarn (Maganelles). anyway, I got a beautiful blue color for Becca's sweater. for school today I made the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, a nice quick bread, with Leah. it was fun cooking with her one-on-one, usually upstaged by her older sister. then Natalie and I bummed around the bookstore and yarn stores enjoying ourselves. tomorrow we will make 90 Minute Bread, a recipe I am testing before I recommend it to my sister in law, who requested a kid friendly made-from-scratch bread recipe with a quick rise time, and I will start on our Flower Fairy for the Nature table, having had a very successful and enjoyable knitting lesson. all in all, a very good day. I do see, however, in putting a link to Nursery Knits here that it got a very bad review from someone who says the directions are way off, so I will have to be careful. many of the patterns are absolutely adorable, however, including a playful penguin, party flags, an angel dress, and kitten and puppy sweaters which are just precious. my next acquisition will be Alterknits by Leigh Radford which includes VERY unusual projects and exercises for encouraging imagination, confidence, and creativity in knitting. I don't just want to be a knitter, I want to be a great knitter!

February 3 - tonight I'm going out grocery shopping, so I need to make sure I set aside enough money for the craft supplies I'll have to buy between now and next Friday; that is, new towels (not technically a craft supply but the old ones will be) and a heart shaped balloon to build our pinata around. that's not too bad. all the rest of the pinata materials I have on hand. I have actually been saving all that butcher paper that comes in my packages as packing material for a big project like this. we'll see if you can substitute that for the newspaper. does it have to be newspaper? we don't get one. or do they just say that because it takes a lot and newspaper is cheap. we'll find out! :-) today was a good mix of playtime and school activities -- we actually went outside to play, all three of us, which is rare because Rebecca doesn't usually enjoy being outside. now that she can stand, she likes it better. and we made our candles for Candlemas. and (to my surprise) it was a lot of fun! I got the "els" part of angels done in my cross-stitch, those were the letters at the center of the design, so I've made progress there, too. I have to say, things are looking up. tomorrow morning is my knitting lesson. I'm looking forward to that. the only downer today was that Grammy called to cancel our weekly tea party. she said she was having trouble walking. so I'm worried about her. I hope we get to visit next week. today, if the kids don't sleep to late for their afternoon naps, we'll make Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (actually, peanut butter chip since that's what I have on hand); otherwise, we'll make it tomorrow. it's fine, actually better, if the bananas are a little overripe. tomorrow afternoon is our field trip. that'll be fun. and Steve is going to see the new house; it's getting inspected tomorrow. so all in all, a big day!

February 2 - last night going thrifting for wool sweaters got bumped for financial reasons so I chose to buy a basket for the play silks (I don't want them to catch on any rough edges on the basket so I got one that was lined with cotton), molds for our floating candles from All Year Round -- I was looking for small cookie cutters but actually ended up with fondant cut outs in a range of beautiful little flower shapes (in the cake decorating section at Walmart -- cheap, too, it was like $1.96 for a set of three, and they will be so sweet floating on the Nature table for Spring) and cross-stitch supplies for our bedtime verse. I got a 20 x 24 inch piece of 14 count antique white Aida (I calculated the width of the longest line of the verse and it will be about 18 inches wide so this is a pretty big project) and chose my color palette:

  • 451 - DK Shell Gray
  • 452 - MD Shell Gray
  • 814 - DK Garnet
  • 815 - MD Garnet
  • 924 - V DK Gray Green
  • 926 - MD Gray Green
  • 927 - LT Gray Green
  • 928 - V LT Gray Green
  • 930 - DK Antique Blue
  • 3726 - DK Antique Mauve
  • 3727 - LT Antique Mauve
  • 3731 - V DK Dusty Rose
  • 3733 - Dusty Rose
  • 3740 - DK Antique Violet
  • 3743 - V LT Antique Violet
  • 3768 - DK Gray Green
  • 3770 - V LT Tawny
  • 3772 - V DK Desert Sand
  • 3773 - MD Desert Sand
  • 3774 - V LT Desert Sand

I only got one skein of each color floss, since I was just choosing the palette, but I'm sure that I will need more of each color considering the size of the project. but floss is very inexpensive -- cross-stitch is about the cheapest craft you can do. it's all in the time. knitting costs a lot more, if you go with the highest quality hand-dyed yarn and so on. knitting books cost more too. cross-stitch is usually done as handwork in 4th grade -- just get a subscription to a cross-stich magazine (I like Just CrossStitch the best; Better Homes & Gardens publishes good patterns too, in their Christmas Cross-Stitch magazines). it's wonderful for a child to see a whole built up of little tiny parts. each X gets you somewhere. it all counts. by the way, if you're doing a cross-stich project, please be aware the color names vary. DMC has the following small print at the bottom of their color charts:

    * Please note that DMC refers to its colors by number only. Any color names given to our colors are done so by the individual designer of a publication or chart. The color names on this list have been assigned to DMC's Six Strand Embroidery Floss and Pearl Cotton colors by consensus. This list may aid you in choosing the correct DMC colors. However, the names assigned to these colors on your chart may differ from this listing so it would be best for you to make the final decision.

I may be in way over my head, here, since I've never actually designed a cross-stitch project from scratch. but we'll see how it goes! :-)

* * * * *
so, I went searching for free cross-stitch angel designs to see if I could find one to fit in the corner of my design -- I want to have it all laid out before I begin so I can determine the center and I found a simply wonderful site with free Christmas angels. she publishes one each year and has them from 1986 - 2005. all online. it was really easy to click through the list and find one with the size and orientation that I wanted. the one I picked was the 1998 Christmas angel (without the word peace at the bottom). when I'm done with the verse and the angel, I will measure out and stitch a frame all around, then randomly stitch little twinkling stars on the background until I get the effect that I want. probably with metallic thread. I can't wait to get started! this will give me something to work on in the evenings to take a break from knitting and felting and handsewing, I like to have a variety of things to do. and hopefully it will be just beautiful :-)

* * * * *
all of my homeschool purchases for this week have been made! I just placed my orders with Amazon.com and Bob & Nancy's. I can't wait to receive my new books. I like having this list at the bottom of the page, it really keeps me organized. some progress has been made on the cross-stich project today but I have to be honest and say that we didn't do anything for Candlemas. I was about to get out the candle-making supplies when I stopped and thought, I haven't previewed this project in advance. for maximum success, you have to do everything first on your own before you do it with a group of small kids. and melting and pouring hot wax is nothing to fool around with. so we'll do it some other time, when I can be more prepared. today was also supposed to be bread baking day, but we didn't do that because I forgot to buy a can of sweet potatoes last time I was at the store and, honestly, I've gotten tired of dashing out to the store every day. so today we just took it easy. tomorrow is handwork so maybe the candles will be the project of the day tomorrow, since the flower fairy is tabled until my knitting class on Saturday. that might work, make candles (I can try some first in the morning if I give N a morning nap) and then we can take some to show Grammy & Papa when we go for our visit. now that the baby is finally better we can go see people again. anyway, I won't worry about it. it's dinner time now so we'll put the kids to bed and let tomorrow unfold as it may. truthfully, I am not really "feeling" Candlemas, this is a new holiday for me, so maybe I just unconsciously wasn't ready to do it. I never want to pass on a false celebration to my children -- I have to wrap my mind around it and make it real for me so I can pass that feeling and magic on to them. otherwise, there's no point. not to mention that a meaningless celebration is THE WORST thing you can do for a child.

February 1 - today was storytime, theme was "Colors". we took in one of Natalie's watercolor paintings to show. it was somewhat self-serving, I wanted to see if any of the other moms came up to me and said, oh are you doing Waldorf? no one did. but I did find someone one time who recognized what I was doing when I told her that we baked bread from scratch once a week for school and she said, "Waldorf?" so sometimes you find people. It's hard, though, since you can't really wear a sign on your head that says, "if you're into having your children play with natural toys, learning handwork, and you have a good source for wool, let's talk!". it would be funny if you could :-) who know what you would discover. today we're coloring with beeswax crayons. tonight I am going to go to the thrift store and see what I can find for pure wool textiles -- the flower fairy kit I got from Weir dolls has wool blend felt and I don't want to be obnoxious or anything but I'd rather it was pure wool. so maybe we'll make some felt tomorrow! I also need a basket for storing our new play silks. I got N a new book from the library today which I read to her at naptime and she LOVED it. I'm wondering if it should be a Valentine's Day gift... or maybe moving into the new house. it would be fun if Steve and I went over in advance and set up their bedrooms, just not the rest of the house, and put gifts for each of them on their beds. is "Happy New House" a holiday? the book is Good Night, Fairies. I had seen it on Amazon but wasn't sure about it, some of the reviews were kindof vague. but I love it, especially because it introduces so many other fantasy creatures. there are beautiful mermaids, and a stunning unicorn (an animal which is new to her). when we started with Waldorf, I was so excited to share the entire world of fantasy lore with Natalie but you can't do it all at once! you have to slowly bring up one thing at a time, gnomes, dwarves, elves, fairies, mermaids, dragons, griffins, and so on... there are a lot once you really start to think about it. so this book is just wonderful, the illustrations are superb. the only quarrel some people might have with it is that it credits the fairies with everything including painting the insects (which the Root Children also do) and putting out the stars at night and so on. but overall I think it's delightful and Natalie was so entranced she didn't even look up when I left the room to say good-bye, she was absorbed completely in the illustrations.

* * * * *
I am so excited (you can't see it, but there's a little dance that goes along with this) -- I have an appointment with a friend of my mom's to teach me the purl stitch on Saturday, at 9:30 am. see my knitting journalling page for a list of my trials and tribulations in this area. I am very hopeful that this will be the thing which sets me on the path to knitting success!

January 31 - it's actually still January but I'm making notes for homeschool for the month of February. I have four Fridays in this month (the day when I get my homeschool money) and my plan is this (as always, writing it down so I don't forget. first I made stickies on the kitchen calendar but I'm afraid they will fall off, so here goes)

February 3rd: DONE

February 10th: DONE

  • yarn for mermaid costume; yarn for knitted heart sachet; yarn for crochet root-children from The Nature Corner
  • Waldorf books from Vanessa ($28.00)
  • craft supplies for Valentine's Day:
    hooded bath towels for 3 girls
    Valentine decorations from All Year Round
    felt hearts from All Year Round
    special Valentine's Day recipe -- Valentine Wigglers from Cooking Art

This doesn't include the money I need to spend on activities for the week's lessons, like buying paraffin or something. which reminds me, since I'm getting organized, I'll put down some ideas for Natalie's birthday party. the party favors can be tin pails (white ones, inexpensive from Ikea), with a box of beeswax crayons (8 block) and some beautiful seashells including a shell candle (easy for us to make). we can do crayon rubbings of cool things we find on the beach, sprinkle some sand on the invitations, maybe do a cake shaped like a sand dollar? N can wear her mermaid costume. Fun!

    birthday presents for N - for March 10th (birthday):
    Waldorf doll
    - donated by Christina
    crocheted doll hammock - donated by Sharon
    set of play silks - need to purchase
    surprise gift - flying bean bag with streamer - donated by Harmony
    surprise gift - donated by Kelly

    birthday presents for N - for March 12th (birthday party):
    Nautilus puzzle
    - need to purchase