Waldorf Curriculum HOME

Curriculum for
the Preschool Years

March 2006

March project list:

  • birthday present for Natalie:
    March 10
    doll pillow & quilt
  • birthday present for Jenn:
    March 17
    ribbon-embroidered coat hangers
  • Happy New House gift for Becca:
    April 1
    baby gnome
  • birthday present for Betty:
    April 4
    zoo toy bag
  • choose paint colors for new house
  • make felt rug for new playroom

April project list:

  • Easter:
    April 16
    The Easter Craft Book
    living Easter basket
    (gift for Grammy & Papa)
    set of 3 Easter pails
    felt bunnies & hutch set
    knit Easter animals:
    Magic Cabin set for my girls &
    "a knitted hare" each for Joe & Tom
    dye Easter eggs
    Easter egg hunt
  • set up playroom
  • silk marionettes
  • second playstand
  • curtains for playstands



Homeschool Blog

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:

March 2006

March 31 - oh, sooo cute! Ellen just posted a knitted Easter egg pattern to the handmadeexchange group. I love it! great use of leftover odds and ends of yarn, too -- something that I now think about every time I see a pattern! I think that's called reticular activation. maybe when the zoo toy bag is done, I'll work up some of those to add to our Easter egg hunt. I had wanted to add some stone eggs from A Toy Garden but they ended up being just so expensive. not individually, but I mean to buy enough for the entire crowd of kids to each end up with one. and they are still kind of little (the children, not the eggs) and might just hit somebody with an egg. or drop it and break it. so these knitted eggs would be a cute way to add some variety without spending a lot of extra money. the next newsletter topic is Easter so I guess I'll start drafting all these crafty ideas together and get working on it. I'm bummed because I have all my notes ready to write the Texture unit, and I really wanted to put it out in March but I don't think there's any way I can write the whole thing in one day. I think it'll have to be done mostly tomorrow, with Steve babysitting the kids. yesterday I went to settlement on the old house (what fun walking around with a big check in my pocket, even if only for a short time) :-) and then spent a lot of time in Home Depot getting all the paint chips for the Arts and Crafts color palette, interior and exterior. so yesterday was devoted to the house question. I'd rather be devoting my time to writing! it's hard because all these ideas are spinning around in my head but I can't really leave the kids all on their own all day while I sit down here and squint at the computer. on the other hand, I think tea party will be cancelled because Papa just got out of the hospital yesterday so that does give me some extra time. and sometimes it comes out really quickly, all in a rush, because I've been thinking about it for so long. but I don't know... one day?

* * * * *
well, I can't find most of the books for this unit... I guess I set them aside in a pile and lost the pile. or packed it. grrr. so I've moved on to another project for today. we got a bunch of old children's books from my MIL (some were my husband's from his childhood) so I got a great new stash for my kids to enjoy! the rest of the books are going to his brother but these were the ones I chose for us to keep. check it out:

Picture Books, Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes:

Early Readers:

Chapter Books:

Science, History & Other Non-fiction Books:

Riddles & Cartoon Books:

That's a LOT of books! I'm totally excited. There's nothing I love more than new books. And some of these I remember from my childhood, it made me so happy to look through them. Of course, they're going back into boxes right away. But soon I will have a nice library and all these books can stop being squished and crammed into boxes and out on shelves where they can breathe. And that will really be a beautiful sight.

March 30 - here's something interesting I found. I'm looking around at paint colors and decorating styles and Behr paints has put together this awesome website with paint palettes and tips for recreating different periods. for example, apparently the 70's are back in style. who knew? they also have emotional palettes (traditional color therapy), what's hot now 2006, and lots of other ideas, like how to create a color palette from a photograph you love. but the best part is the authentic historical palettes. here are the links to

I picked Arts and Crafts. what fun! the last time I decorated a house I had no budget and no idea what I was doing. hopefully this will be more of a success! I'm also currently planning my birthday party which will be an Easter Egg Hunt theme, April 16th, and I can't wait. Inspired by Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth, I am giving people gifts to celebrate my birthday. I have loads of fun stuff picked out for goodie bags for everybody and we're going to have tons of great food. looks like our settlement date will be April 14 so this will be a fun way for everyone to see the new house. and we'll essentially just be camping there so it will be rustic, to say the least. but with food and family, any event can be fun! and who doesn't love Easter? so anyway, for the house I'm picking the honeybee as my theme. I did a cross-stitch piece called Lake Julia's Bees (from Just Cross-Stitch magazine, April 2005) with a great color palette which I'm using for my inspiration -- taupe, pale gold, iridescent white, linen, black-brown (see a picture, although mine doesn't have the words at the top and the bottom, she added that on her own). I'm thinking tiny hexagonal tile in the bathrooms, the warm smell of beeswax candles, sheer white or linen curtains... the Arts and Crafts period not only has the colors I like but also the emphasis on clean lines and well-made handmade items, not just mass produced. and lots of natural fabrics and wood. I always thought I was crazy for liking the clean lines of modern furniture (like DWR) but also liking rustic handmade things -- but not country! I hate kitchens which are blue and white with a country goose theme! -- and I thought these two things don't go together. so I had sort of resigned myself to an "eclectic" fate and walking the line between interesting and tacky -- now I have a new option. the Arts and Crafts style! now we can throw ourselves into the Frank Lloyd Wright thing. actually I was going to put Froebel's gifts in the Europe unit anyway. I'm just happy to have some clear guidelines to help me achieve the look I want. and I'm also happy because the children's playroom is glass on all four sides so I can escape the lazure question and the worries about how to properly paint it. hurrah! it's right off the kitchen so I can keep an eye on them, surrounded by the garden in the backyard, so pretty. and I actually get not only a playroom for the kids (and a gazebo in the back yard for tea parties) but a living room AND a formal dining room AND a library. and each child gets their own bedroom. and there's a closet for each of us in the master bedroom (I've always had to put my clothes in one of the children's closets, makes getting dressed difficult) and our own bathroom in our bedroom suite too. and the kids have a bathroom of their own. and there's a guest bathroom downstairs. not thrilled about three bathrooms to keep clean, but very happy about the idea of everyone having their own space. and there's no dark dreary basement, the washer and dryer are in one of those large closets on the main level. no attic either. so we won't be tempted to pile up boxes of stuff in storage that we never use. the whole house is out in the open, usable space. Steve is so happy to have a dining room. he's always wanted to do family dinners and now that we will be closer to his work, it's actually a possibility! oh and we're within walking distance (a few blocks) of a 100 acre park. so maybe things will be alright after all!!! :-)

March 28 - I'm not going to tell you I've picked a house because that might jinx it. But for people who are checking in to see what's going on, I have made my list of books & supplies to buy for researching the first grade curriculum. Want to see it? Here goes!

Waldorf Without Walls
Form Drawing for the Homeschooling Parent $16.00
Waldorf Geometry for Homeschoolers Grade 6 $17.00
Waldorf Math Grades 4-8 $4.00
Handwork for Homeschoolers K-4 $17.00

Bob & Nancy's Bookshop
Creative Form Drawing Workbook 1 - Kutzli $30.00
The Write Approach, book 1 $13.95
The Write Approach, book 2 $13.95
A First Book of Knitting for Children & Knitting for Children, A Second Book $53.90

Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship
About Dynamic Drawing 2.50

A Child's Dream Come True
LMNOP Alphabet Wall Cards $29.95
Puck the Gnome $14.00
The Wind Boy $12.00
The House Above the Trees $12.00
Liputto $16.00

Bob & Nancy's Bookshop
The Wise Enchanter $15.00
Eurythmy for the Elementary Grades $10.00
Leaving Room for the Angels $14.00
Come Unto These Yellow Sands $27.95
Allegro: Music for the Eurythmy Curriculum $12.00
The Healing Art of Eurythmy $30.00

AWSNA Bookshop
An English Manual by Dorothy Harrer $12.00
Teaching Language Arts in the Rudolf Steiner School $15.00
Difficult Children: There is No Such Thing $16.50
Educational Tasks and Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum $33.95
Curriculum Chart (large) $14.50

Bob & Nancy's Bookshop
Educating the Will $16.00
Painting in Waldorf Education $17.00
Learning About the World Through Modeling $22.00
The Temperaments and the Arts $14.00

Michaelmas Press
The Waldorf Student Reading List $8.95

Alphabet Spelling Game $14.95

Anybody see something on here that they have? I'm happy to swap for something in my library you'd like to read and/or purchase it from you (barter or cash). Please email me!

March 24 - been out of it a bit. all this house shopping is taking its toll, physically and emotionally. Steve and I are getting a babysitter all day tomorrow to go house hunting and go out to lunch (thereby making it a date). I'm looking forward to that. looking at houses while keeping the kids from touching things is a juggling act. and who knows, we might end up with the perfect house after all! I've decided on one more organizational strategy for my business. in addition to making notes on my homeschool expenses for each month (I can't believe how quickly Easter is coming up) I want to make a plan for what any donations I get each month will go towards. that way if money comes in I've already planned on how to best use it. and it doesn't get frittered away on small things. so far, I have my website hosting bill, domain registrations, and new product development as business expenses. if I announce my intentions at the beginning of each month, that way if it's something someone feels strongly about supporting they will have the opportunity. I know that people want to help me and they are so kind, and I know that if I just ask they are helpful and supportive. some people can't afford anything and that's fine. I've been there! I saw two checkers at a grocery store laughing at someone who had to put back their item, it was like $1.25, and they were saying, how can you not have $1.25? and I'm thinking, there have been lots of times when I haven't had a dollar in my pocket. I will never forget when I was in college and forgot to budget for laundry detergent, having never had to buy it before, I didn't even think about it, and I went to the store and was counting out my pennies, all the money I had in the world, literally. and I was like 6 cents short. and the woman behind me in line was so mean to me. and I'm thinking, can't you just lend me 6 cents? instead of complaining that I'm taking so long? I had to put it back. it was the most humbling experience. anyway, money isn't that tight right now, thank God. but I do have a business wish list and right now, for April, I'm going to try to save up to make my business a non-profit. I put that on my birthday wish list too. speaking of birthdays, I've got to get back to my knitting. that zoo toy bag isn't going to knit itself! I can't wait to see the look on my mother-in-law's face when I give it to her! my other two March projects are put on hold until we find a house. can't really choose paint colors or make a rug until I see the school room (or know if we have one). then in April all my projects will be Easter-
oriented. and setting up the new play space! I am going to need to find a cheap supply of silk for making puppets. I just can't spend $20 on a play silk and then chop it up. maybe there are some silk sheets or something on eBay. then I can cut it up so part is a play silk and part is fabric for projects. I've been doing that a lot with my old linen and silk dresses. I seem to have a lot of clothes that are ready to move on to a new life. don't fit or fraying at the edges or faded or stained. I'm happy to make toys with them. then I can look at something and see all the fond memories. I made Rebecca's baby gnome out of two old shirts of mine. it makes me smile everytime I see it.

* * * * *
okay, warning! I've discovered that there's a ton of silk on eBay. searching for the perfect piece might become addictive! silk fabric is actually a category in fact. go to Crafts -> Fabric -> Silk. you can also find it under Collectibles and Clothing, Shoes & Accessories. and Antiques! but you might not want your kids playing around with something that delicate and/or valuable. beautiful stuff, though! we get lots of gorgeous Cambodian silk scarves (similar to these) from my aunt who lives in Cambodia. I wouldn't cut those up, of course. they are wonderful for the Nature table, lots of subtle color variations which really reflect the mood of each season.

March 21 - the zone of the week is the Master Bedroom (I skipped all the emails from last week telling me to clean my bathroom) -- and this time I think I'm ready. so yesterday was mission number 1. set your timer for 15 minutes and take out everything which doesn't belong in your bedroom. so I did that today and, in 15 minutes, removed a pile of board games for a houseguest (in December), two boxes of extra bedding, two single bedframes which were being stored there against the wall, a collection of clocks which were not plugged in, an assortment of Christmas presents which got dumped there because that's where we opened the grown-ups presents, a necklace, my basket of clean underwear (this was my crutch against choosing my clothing or taking any time for myself, I had clean undies every day and just wore any old thing, never went into the room where my dresser and clothes closet were, always just grabbed something out of the basket and got dressed out of the clean laundry bins in the living room -- I know this is kindof personal but I'm saying it in case someone reading goes, oh that's me. if I can get my clutter act together, take heart. anyone can do it! just use the daily email system until you learn how to maintance clean on auto-pilot) and a lot of cat hair. I had time to lightly Swiffer the floor. and mediate two arguments between Natalie and Leah. then when my timer went off, I straightened all the pictures on the walls, put the things on the desk in the desk -- all the drawers were empty, go figure -- and opened all the curtains. it's a whole new room. and I felt great putting Natalie down for her nap in such a nice space. there's no reason why she should have to live with my clutter, mental or physical. this flylady thing is the best thing that ever happened to me (besides kids, college, and meeting my husband) (oh, and starting my own business) (but it's way up there in the top 5). makes me a better person, a better wife, and a better mom. less stress means more time for my family and more time for me. so it is related to homeschool & parenting. you just don't know how much your house being mess affects every aspect of your life until you start to do something about it and witness the amazing results. I am here to testify. if you're reading this thinking she is way off the topic of homeschool, I'm not. just try it! and remember, birth to 7 is the stage of imitation. don't you want to be someone worth imitating? tomorrow I will move on to mission #2 which was sent out today. but running one day behind gives me the time to think through the task she assigns, and get over it, and just decide to do it. instead of whining about it. flylady actually has a NO Whining sign as a pdf which you can download and print. I won't do it but some people with older kids say it's very effective. the school plan today is to continue my cooking idea, using up things in the cupboard, so we'll be making Southern Spiced Pecans from the Taste of Home Annual Cookbook 2004. it's also here if you want it. very simple. oh, and their recipe search is excellent. I lost my corn bread recipe -- a wonderful recipe, the best! -- and I was so upset. it has the perfect texture, the perfect taste... at least to my way of thinking. and I was so bummed when I couldn't find the recipe card after one of the moves. the only thing I could remember was that it had yogurt in it (plain -- I made it the first time with vanilla by mistake, yuck!) and I googled it every six months or so with no luck. but here it is. ta da! I typed it in with my fingers crossed since I happened to be on the site finding the link for you guys... and it came up! I can't tell you how happy I am. little things like that really make a difference, you know? I know so many people who are searching for lost recipes... or something that their mother or grandmother made. I think food is what really makes you feel like you're at home. do you know that your sense of taste is supposed to be the last one you lose when you die? taste is such an important thing in life. anyway, now now I really am having a wonderful day. a clean bedroom which is a clutter-free haven and a missing recipe found.

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more flylady stuff. I worked on step 2-4 of my control journal. that's writing down your before bed routine, morning routine, afternoon routine and I did a work routine too. I'm trying really hard to limit the amount of time I spend working so that it doesn't expand to take all available time... it fits in its slot. every morning I've been making a quick to do list before I get the kids up, what we're having for the four meals of the day, my handwork project, my errands or correspondence to keep up with, my reading list (for a free minute, if I have one) and the plan for homeschool for that day. I've been also making a note as to what I want to do for work and keeping it simple, just one thing. this has been helping. of course, when I get something in my mind, like making a complete booklist of all the books mentioned in the preschool curriculum I just get so absorbed and I work on it for hours. so maybe the reason I've been able to control the monster is that I haven't actually been writing anything lately. I'm taking a break from the newsletters for the packing & moving time. when I need to write, it really does consume all my time! but, anyway, what I was going to say is that I'm happy with my four routines and then I went to see what my job was for Day Nine and suddenly I was overwhelmed. It was to add a 5 minute room rescue to my routines and I went back and looked at them and I was like, you know what? this is all the new habit I can manage to work on for right now!!! I'll just stay at where I am for a bit and be happy there. don't get bogged down in perfectionism! (I already did the sheets on the computer instead of handwriting them which is a perfectionist no-no). I have enough to work on, for sure. I'm doing kelly's zone mission each day and four new routines (before bed has 5 steps, morning has 9 steps, work has 6 steps, and afternoon has 4). that's plenty. I can move on to the next part of the system when I'm ready. the other sections of the control journal, which I'm not going to do for a while, are the basic weekly plan, the zones and a cleaning plan for each, grocery lists, your address book, and emergency information. but, hey, one thing at a time! I'm working on learning my Daily Routines. and I should be proud of where I am. mission #2 for tomorrow, the master bedroom, is to spend 15 minutes dusting floor to ceiling including walls and all flat surfaces. should be fun! the kids love to dust, they will really enjoy helping with this one. lots of people write to say that they use flylady with their children -- it's especially helpful for kids with ADHD, clear expectations, very consistent, lots of repitition, tasks are broken down into small pieces so as not to be overwhelming, information stored in a central location -- and kids of all ages from 5 year olds to teenagers love that they have clean laundry, a clean room, and a clutter-free life! lots of these kids even have their own control journals with all their routines written down and stored in one place where they can check them daily. plus, as all teachers know, kids work well with timers... and the flylady really takes the timer thing to a whole new level.

March 20 - the first day of Spring! you could really tell, this morning too. it seemed like every farm had a tractor out on it, turning over the soil. it smells like manure everywhere. today is also my dad's birthday and his birthday dinner/party is here tonight. I'm okay with doing a stash and dash, knowing that once I have more time and experience with the new system of keeping my house clean, I'll never have to go through this for another guest again! we were going to make party hats but it looks like that won't happen because N isn't napping -- and she really needs to after dance class -- and I told her she couldn't help get ready for the party until she got some sleep. so, Dad, if you're reading this, don't expect party hats. because I think we won't have time :-) there was some talk on the handmadeexchange group about whether you could knit party hats; this is because Natalie asked me for a yellow one and I said we don't have any yellow paper and she said, we have yellow yarn. can you make me a party hat out of yarn? I think that would be a great use for leftover colors of yarn! some day I'll sit down and work up a knitted party hat pattern and put it on the website. I'm also thinking about using little colors of yarn in a knitted & felted butterfly finger puppet. wouldn't that be cute? I've always wanted to try knitting then felting, but I don't want it to be a long complicated project which I'm completely invested in... then if it doesn't felt properly I'll be crushed. but a butterfly should be simple and fun. I don't understand, though, how you're supposed to wash your colors first so they don't bleed when you felt them in the washing machine... but how do you wash a hank of yarn? in a pillow cover, I guess. still, seems like it would felt, wouldn't it? just from the agitation? or, at the very least, become hopelessly tangled. dunno. I'll have to ask someone how that's done. but I've done enough knitting that I have the odds and ends of colors problem and all the books I've looked at on Amazon which are supposed to give ideas & patterns for little bits of leftover yarns have so-so reviews, saying they are not very creative. sounds like a job for Super-Rhoda! (ha ha) I don't have to make the birthday dinner, my MIL contributed a large pot of beef stew and my mom is bringing the cake & candles and rolls. I just need to provide clean dishes and seating. (that does not sound like a job for Super-Rhoda... but I guess I don't always get to pick my jobs, huh. c'est la vie.) isn't there a maid around here somewhere? HEY! where did the maid go?

March 19 - control journal babystep 2. writing down the before bedtime routine. now if I can only find a piece of paper... she says over and over not to get bogged down in perfectionism so I'm sure I can use any old piece of paper. but I'd like to find one that at least doesn't have dust, dirt, or cat hair on it. how does so much of my stuff end up on the laundry room floor?

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I've been struggling with this question of how to do school when you're packing and moving and I think I've finally found a solution. remember how I did "Cook with Me" as the newsletter topic for Natalie's birthday because she loves to cook so much and it just seemed like a nice present? she was watching me lie on the sofa today (hey, it's clean now, may as well enjoy it!) and she was pulling on my arm, begging me to get up and do something with her. I had only been down for a few minutes, so don't think I was being mean to her, she had been playing happily all morning and then she just suddenly got so bored. and I realized, we'll pack the kitchen last, I have lots of odds and ends of foods to use up, we can cook every day as our "can we do something?" I can just set out something on the counter and when she asks, I'll already have a project in mind. yesterday (my kitchen has gotten clean to such an extent that I felt ready to do something more than just an entree -- yippee!) I had her grate the nutmeg for the flylady's FLYing fruit cobbler (this is one of the advantages to giving her a mini grater and a container of whole nutmeg for Christmas, now there is a special job reserved just for her in the kitchen) and she was so happy to be helping and DOING something again. we really enjoyed that cobbler, too. here's the recipe:

"Here is my recipe for FLYing Fruit Cobbler. Tonight I am using a bag of frozen blackberries and blue berries; about 8 cups and I sweetened them with about 1/2 cup of sugar. This recipe is on our website; you will have scroll down past many of our favorite recipes. I put it here for you so you won't have to go looking for it.

FLYing Fruit Cobbler

I really don't have a recipe. I throw it together. LOL I hope this makes sense. Edit as you see fit.

It is a proportional recipe. I use 1 cup as my guide for this. * 1 part self-rising flour * 1/2 part Sugar * Stir together * Add one egg * Grate some fresh nutmeg in the bowl (1/2 teaspoon) * and add enough syrup from the peaches or other fruit to make the batter like pancake batter. Or if you don't have syrup you can use milk.

A big can of sliced peaches (29ounces) in heavy syrup. I drain and use some of the syrup for the batter. You can use milk too. I use one big can for each cup of flour. For the cobbler yesterday I used two cans. I have also used frozen fruit with sugar put on it to make a little syrup.

Melt a stick of butter or a 1/2 of stick (about a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup) in a 2 quart casserole dish and pour in the batter then dump the peaches or other fruit in it. The butter needs to be hot when you pour this in so the cobbler won't stick.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-34 minutes. or until golden brown on top.

I use a cast iron dutch oven for my cobbler when I make a big one. The scoop in my flour jar is one cup. So I use about 2 cups of Flour to 1 cup of sugar. For every cup of flour I use one egg. This served about 10 people. Serve with ice cream. Yum Yum! ~And have some friends over."

some of the other recipes there looked good, too. I'm trying the Florentine Chicken tonight. like I say, got some things to use up. so, back to the homeschool while packing & moving question, we are keeping the nature table until the very end, daily nature walks, of course storytelling and they have their play things. but we just have not had many activities planned, definitely not what Natalie is used to. packing and cleaning the house is fun but you need some change of pace every once in a while too. the board games and art and handwork supplies are packed up. so the cooking every day should be just the solution! today we will be making M&M Cookies. I hope this makes her happier; I have really felt badly for her. even Steve commented yesterday that the kids were looking bored -- this is not something which is usual for them -- it's weird for all of us. so he roughhoused with them for a long time. then, of course, they were too tired to sleep! tomorrow is my dad's 55th birthday and he and my mom are coming over after dinner for cake. we'll be making party hats to wear, so that can be tomorrow's activity. I haven't packed the wrapping paper, so we can make the hats out of that, and maybe some tassels or pompoms or something. the yarn is still out, too (of course, you don't think I'm going to stop knitting, do you? they could be bulldozing my house down and I'd just be sitting there, knitting).

March 18 - at our study group a few days ago, people were saying that the play silks from A Toy Garden were the best priced. and really good quality! one of the women even said that she wrapped all her children's Christmas presents in silks and they looked just lovely under the tree. I agree that these silks are very fairly priced... cheap enough that you could use them to wrap a gift, especially if you're trying to subtly expose another family to the wonderful world of Waldorf toys :-)

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Flylady Day Eight. time to start the control journal. I'm going to do it after all because I printed out some steps she gave to control paper clutter and I thought, by printing this I am contributing to the paper clutter! where am I going to put it so I don't lose it? and I thought, I'll put it in my control journal. that way, I have all my flylady tips in one place. I don't know why I object so much to the word "control journal"; I'm sure it's meant to imply that you have control over your house, not that your journal has control over you. routines are supposed to support and encourage you, not take over your life. because perfectionism is the giant drooling hairy monster of the flylady world (and mine), I know that if I write a really detailed specific routine I'll spend all my time tearing my hair out because I'm not doing it properly! I was in tears last night trying to lay out my clothes for today. she stipulates that you should only keep clothing which you love and which makes you feel good. I have clothing like that but it's not for winter time. and I'm saying to my husband, this isn't supposed to cost anything but here she's telling me to go out and get some new clothes! anyway, control journal how-to is here: Building Your Own Control Journal. just like everything she breaks it down into babysteps. for the control journal there are 19. babystep 1 is to find a three ring binder and some paper. that's it! hey, I can do that. :-)

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my to-do list. making lists of things I want to buy with my homeschool money has helped keep me organized -- and to see where I'm going overboard in one direction or another -- so I thought I'd do the same with the list of things I need to do for my business right now. I'll put them in chronological order; then I can just go through and tick them off.
  • convert website to new look -- March
  • write Texture unit (preschool) -- March
  • move to new house & unpack -- April
  • write final preschool newsletter topic -- Easter -- April
  • publish complete booklist for preschool curriculum -- April
  • write Rhythms unit (preschool) -- May
  • write scope & sequence for preschool program and post on site -- May
  • order materials for first grade & custom unit design work for second grade -- June
  • write first unit for Kindergarten program -- Europe -- July
  • complete first grade curriculum package & introduction to first grade -- August
  • complete second grade units -- September
  • write Africa (kindergarten) -- September

March 17 - Do you know what I want right now? A floating bed. check it out; wouldn't that make a great living room sofa! not that we're likely to have a house any time soon. I'm starting to miss school. and I can't wait for the weather to warm up so we can have some more outside time. we were talking at the meeting last night about helping kids work off their energies and frustrations with practical jobs, insteading of letting the tension build until people are throwing their blocks! some of the suggestions were washing dishes, sanding wooden tree blocks (especially a large tree stump, something I can't wait to get when we have a new playroom), sweeping the floor, baking bread (this is a really good one, not only does it get the kid involved the whole body but it's very relaxing and the end product is something you can give to someone else as a gift so it really turns the energy into something positive). soon we can go outside and dig in the garden. Natalie was restless today and I tried to have her sort laundry but that's not enough whole-body movement, it's too in the head, so it completely backfired and made her worse. I'll have to make up a cheat sheet of whole body purposeful movement activities and hang it inside one of the kitchen cabinet doors. whenever my kids start to get loopy, I can run and pick something off the list! like a control journal for parenting. you don't panic or forget what to do because it's all written down. :-) last night's meeting went well but today I posted some more questions and thoughts on the differences between attachment parenting and Waldorf and I guess I might have crossed the line because the list has gotten very tense. I didn't mean to offend anybody, I'm just trying to sort out and learn something new. but I think when you ask questions about why people parent the way they do, it's not an abstract intellectual discussion, because it is so close to home, and people are very invested in what they do. we've all done a lot of reading and learning about different theories and we all spend a lot of time thinking about our kids and what works for them, so there is some potential for hurt there. I'm sad, because the woman I was asking most of the questions of is the first person I've ever met face to face who was familiar with my website and my curriculum. and she said she had printed some of the preschool stuff and loved it. and I was so excited! I hope I didn't burn a bridge there... I would have loved to talk more and get to know her better.

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I just tried setting a timer for 2 minutes. I felt so stupid, turning it just 2 minutes around the dial. what can you get done in 2 minutes? I was half expecting to just stand there paralyzed and watch the thing tick away. but I went into the living room and looked around and thought, well, I can clean off the couch. I cleaned it off before, but some things had started to pile up again. guess what? I had enough time to clean it off, put almost everything away that had been dropped there, fluff the pillows, straighten the coffee table, and put my shoes away. (yes, I don't wear my shoes, I'm not perfect!). I felt great. the only problem is that the new habit for Day Seven is to pick out your clothes for the next day. my clothes are in the baby's bedroom. I just realized this. there's no closet in our room so I have always put my things in with her. no wonder in the morning I just put on the clothes from the day before (with the exception of underwear and socks which, so that I can always get to them, just stay in the basket of clean laundry in the middle of the living room floor)! I don't want to go in and disturb her. so that's gotta change! even if I don't do the new habit for today, I've definitely had a breakthrough. just taking the time to analyze your systems day by day helps you see a lot of things clearly. and I am finding some things that work. like having only one trash can -- anything more than that I can't keep on top of -- and having just two laundry baskets -- the link is to the ones I have which I highly recommend to anybody -- they come in two colors which is perfect. blue for darks, white for (you guessed it) lights, and the whole family, even the kids, knows to sort their laundry when they put it in the bin. I use baskets which are the exact capacity of my washing machine, not too big, which I can easily carry on my hip so I don't fall down the stairs, and which fit under the opening to the dryer so everything goes right into the basket and nothing falls on the floor. I know exactly the state of my laundry at any given time just by looking at those two baskets. the only down side is that I bought more than two initially, not believing it could be so simple, so bins of clean laundry do pile up... I have the kids sort their own laundry and put it away but my things and the household items (cleaning cloths, dish towels) just sit there. gee, maybe that's because they don't have a home. or that their home is hard to get to. so there are some kinks to work out of the system yet. but at least I have good laundry baskets! (available at Target)

March 16 - Thursday is errand day in the flylady system. it's also errand day in my system (it's funny how many of the things I had already established blend perfectly with her set-up, Tuesday is Steve's day to come home early so I can have "me" time and it's Do Something Just For Yourself day in her plan; Thursday is the day my mom is available to babysit for me so I already do all the doctor appts. etc. on that day). today's errands were N dr. appt at 10:45 am (done), mail birthday present to Jenn (done), return dishes to the little cabin (from the birthday party), return library books, and go to the PG Waldorf Study Group meeting tonight at 7:30 pm. I can do my other two little errands on the way to the study group. so it all works out! I'm looking forward to the study group. the topic began as creative discipline and how parents can deal with their anger and has merged into, I think, a little bit about attachment parenting. it'll be interesting. we've also been asked to bring any handmade toys we have made. I will take the felt balls we made at Christmas (from Feltcraft), my gnome baby (from The Gnome Craft Book), and my knit cat (from The Children's Year) and the books with their directions and patterns (plus what was perhaps the biggest hit of all the toys I've made, the felt hearts I made for Valentine's Day cut from all different colors of felt -- I used the template from All Year Round but I hardly need to pack that; any small cookie cutter will do); also the book I plan to share, The Boy Who Could Make Things, and Beyond the Rainbow Bridge. last time we did the twelve senses, this time we are doing creative discipline. they are both chapters in Beyond the Rainbow Bridge! maybe Caroline should just get a copy of the book :-) she started the group because she was new to Waldorf and wanted to learn more about it. so there's a variety of Waldorf expertise in the crowd. still, it's fun to get out of the house. and it's good for me to meet new people! I do think it would be nice to reign the topics in a bit. creative discipline plus anger plus attachment parenting plus making homemade toys is a lot for one session! I have a lot of homemade toys made by other people which I swapped for. it would be nice to take those and give them a bit of advertising. my beautiful new fence pieces from Natural Earth Family Farm, the flower fairies Alicia made me, the mushroom table and stool set from Tonya, the flying beanbag with streamers from Harmony, my beautiful Waldorf doll by Christina of Bamboletta Dolls, the crochet hammock from Sharon, Kelly's cute princess crowns and more... that's a lot, now that I look at it. It makes me feel good to have so many handmade things! perhaps I can share them another time, if we have a study group topic on Waldorf vendors or Waldorf play. I can't wait to see my new set from Anne Moze, the wooden characters from The Gigantic Turnip. and I think it's important to support small family businesses! (as well as to give your kids beautiful things)

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I used to think that spring green was the ugliest color in my Crayola box of 64. it was so bright, almost neon. but that really is the color of new leaves, isn't it? although it is supposed to snow tonight some of the trees have the sweetest little new leaves you ever saw. almost gives you a tight feeling in your chest. everything is so young and new, so vulnerable. Spring is such a time of hope... make you both happy and sad. I wonder if the birds will be building their nests soon? they certainly seem to be carving out territory. all the birds here are singing up a storm. you can hardly hear yourself think. and the birds are all in the low bushes too where I don't remember them hanging out before. Toby used to chase squirrels, now he's up to his eyeballs in birds to chase. dork. that's a dachshund for you. I think they were bred to be hunting dogs. and with that down low nose, anything on the ground really catches his attention. Natalie had her doctor visit today. she came in at 3 years, 9 months on her skill test. this was because she didn't know her last name, something I never thought to teach her. so the doctor said she was behind other children her age. I told him she was just fine. he wasn't being mean, it's his job. but when I explained that we deliberately weren't teaching her some things, like writing the alphabet, we had a long discussion about it. he asked me if Europe was better than America and I said when it came to education it was. I wouldn't put my kids in the school systems here if they paid me. but I know she'll be failing these assessments left and right when she gets older because I looked ahead on the paper. things like can you write your name, reading common sight words, and so on. but there were some things I thought she would have known like which of two lines is longer. or how to hop on one foot. oh well. she's a happy healthy growing child. and I think the doctor did stress her out a bit asking her the same questions over and over when it was obvious she didn't know how to answer them. she got very quiet. and then there were the shots. this is the first year she'll be old enough to remember. the next visit is in 6 months. so it will probably be a struggle. she's never resisted going to the doctor before. but I think he really got her. she is limping and swears she can hardly walk, her legs hurt so much.

March 15 - not much on the homeschool front, sorry. we are packing so books and toys are gradually going away. N still asks me every day if we can please do school... I don't know what to tell her! although it turns out we will be doing the Lady Spring story today that Suzanne taught me because we found Ladybug! the first day I made those figures I put them in a basket. early the next morning the children snuck out of their rooms to play with them and Ladybug was lost. she reappeared today, standing in the middle of the living room floor looking nonchalant. just appeared out of nowhere! actually, we had been searching through the basket of hats and mittens and scarves by the front door, looking for a puzzle piece which had been lost, and maybe she had been in with those things and reappeared when they were dumped on the floor. but it really was magical. I was taping a box and looked over and there she was. so now we can do the story. I was SO upset when she was lost, I called my husband crying. Suzanne had actually complimented me on my ladybug and held her up for all to see (and it was my first attempt at needle felting) and I was so proud... and then the very day after I made the figures, one was lost. and I hadn't even had a chance to do the story yet. I was just crushed. I felt like, I'm spending all this time and money to learn how to be a better teacher and I'm thwarted before my first attempt. but she's back now! so that will be a school-type thing we can do this afternoon. if I get my kitchen clean enough we may even be able to cook a simple recipe or two. I don't want to get too ambitious and fall behind on the dishes again. but we can make bran muffins or oatmeal spice cookies, I think. one is a box mix and the other is a dough which is already made up and sitting in the freezer. and it will be good to use up the odds and ends of things before we move. I liked the house we looked at yesterday -- very roomy -- an old 1920s farmhouse with a big sunny attic and a large cellar, a front screened porch and a back glassed-in one (a winter porch). lots of trees and flowering shrubs. but it needs a lot of work so we are going to bid low, taking into account that we'd be fixing it up. so Steve says not to get too excited, they will most likely reject our offer. the ceilings are horrible, some kind of white tile with lines in between, I guess ceiling tile is pretty standard but I thought it looked terrible. so I was campaigning to replace them all with punched tin. cheap, fits the time period, and gives the room some interest. that house had all crystal doorknobs too, lots of the old details were still there. anyway, we'll see how it goes.

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Steve is really stressed out about money right now so I'll wait to tell him my new grocery figures. actually, I'll just take the weekly money and only get groceries with it, put homeschool off. we aren't doing school right now -- and in packing I see that about 86% of the boxes are homeschool or books, toys and things for the kids -- plus I won't know until I know where we are living how much of a playroom or yard we will have. my wishlists were based on the old house we were going to buy which doesn't exist right now. so I'll toddle along without asking for more money for a while. because of this, I am going to call my mom and ask her for my old hobby horse for Natalie's happy new house gift (the girl has been asking me every day for a horse) and then Leah can get the Good Night, Fairies book (it's short enough to read to a two year old and Steve has been telling me she needs a bedtime story of her own, N has her Tiptoes every night) and then Rebecca can have her baby gnome doll which I already made. I had a beautiful hobby horse when I was little, the kind with a stuffed head on a stick with a rein around its neck. it was black with a white blaze down the muzzle. is it muzzle for a horse? I've never had one. I was reaching to remember the word blaze. my mom was a nut about horses when I was a kid but I never spent much time around them. just read a lot of horse books. and, of course, she had a horse calendar hanging in the kitchen every year of my life. I put horseback riding lessons in the curriculum for 6 year olds (Donna Simmons wrote that she was prescribed horse back riding lessons to help her with balance when she struggled with form drawing). hopefully we can afford it by then. lots of things on the wishlist I can make, like the Tiptoes Lightly fairy, so the kids can still have new toys and things. but I won't be able to do all of the activities for the preschool units I've planned until I have more money for supplies. that's alright. we'll be taking some time to set up the new house -- we may even go back and do the Color unit again (it's a Spring unit) since it is all about setting up the indoor and outdoor play space. and, since Color is an older unit, I have everything I need for it already on hand. how convenient! and cheap. :-) and, as I recall, it includes a gardening component so maybe we can plant a dye garden this year and work on our sanctuary garden (from the Sound unit) next year. the curriculum includes planting a garden each year -- a dye garden in the first year, the sanctuary garden in the second year, and (hopefully) an eating garden with veggies, fruits, and grains from around the world in the third year!

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in addition to all the daily scheduling reminders, the flylady sends out musings and testimonials, basically whatever she feels will help people. today a woman wrote to tell her story and she ended with, not FLYing but trying. and the flylady responded, "if you're trying, you're FLYing." I thought that was wonderful! FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself. if you're taking the time to try to get better, you are loving yourself! she sends out some amazing stories. how the office in a bag helped a woman recover from a devastating tornado, that was yesterday. she sends them all the time (some people -- maybe lots, I don't know -- leave the Yahoo group because they complain that it is too many emails, but I love it. of course I check my email often, so the messages don't pile up). there constantly testimonials where people write how much it has helped their marriage and home life. and one woman today wrote about how she was unpacking her house after a move and taking her time, just using the work zones each week to do one part of the house at a time. and the boxes in her living room didn't stress her out because she knew she would get to them, the emails would tell her when. so she was putting it in someone else's hands and she could relax. she didn't get down on herself for not unpacking fast enough! I think the whole system is great. people write all the time that it has changed their lives. it clears away the clutter, mentally and physically, and gives them more time for their families and themselves. I didn't hot spot, technically, with a timer, but I did decide one of the living room sofas was bugging me and cleaned it so we can all sit down. so I guess that counts! mended a doll that was sitting there, too, in my "mending pile" (actually just tossed on top of the sofa to do later...) all in all, a good day! it's 4:51 so I have to go make dinner for the kids. we did our Lady Spring story, which N loved although she asked me to do snow drop and ulba bulba afterwards, the first story I had told with those figures. back when I was missing the ladybug -- but I had a crochet snowflake from Lillian Vernon, the bulb, the snow drop flower child, and the spring fairy -- Ulba Bulba was the story I chose to tell to go along with them. that's a nice story; has a song to go with it. I didn't do it again today, though, because I thought it would be confusing to do the same figures but a different story back to back like that. then Natalie got her flower fairies book and wanted me to read the Snow Drop and Daffodil poems, which I did. and then she left it on the sofa (the other sofa) and Rebecca tore a big piece out of the Crocus fairies picture so now the mending pile has a new addition. oh well. that's life. off to do dinner!

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more notes. who knew I had so much to say? ha ha. my husband is coming home late from work and all the kids are down successfully so I'm eating cookies (Mexican Wedding Cookies, to be exact) and puttering around on the computer. there was a big fire in Solomons MD today. burned down some landmarks. while searching I found this great site with a link to the Drum Point Lighthouse, at the museum where we had Natalie's birthday party. thought some of you might enjoy seeing it. it was a very well done review; nice pictures, too. what else have I seen today that I liked? flylady, of course. I was looking at the baby steps to building a control journal, and number 12 had this saying that I particularly liked. she is very anti-perfectionism. in fact, she wrote to the group the other day, "This morning I have opened up a couple of emails and in them the word perfect was used to describe an item or activity. I am so sick of what this word does to my FLY Babies and to their babies!!!

"Perfectionism is like a monster with hundreds of tentacles and it reaches into every part of our lives and holds on till we can find it and rip it out. The only problem is that if there is the least little bit left; it will fester till it tries to take over your life again. I find little vestiges of my perfectionism almost every single day. It is a never ending process to eliminate this from my thinking; much like decluttering. I have to nip them in the bud before they take over. See in my perfectionism I want to rip out every single bit of it; but I can't because I don't know where it is hiding. The trick is to be aware of its signs.

"The perfectionism monster makes us obsess and do too much as well as procrastinate and do nothing. We are dealing with issues that we have been procrastinating about; our paper clutter. Most of the time we have we put off doing something because it is just too hard to get all of our ducks in a row to get started."

so, this part was about making your control journal (something I'm probably not going to do, at least not for a while, because I'll just lose it. you should see me and paper. that's why I have a website...) anyway, to eliminate the p-word, she writes "Practice makes progress." isn't that marvelous? with your permission, I'll say it again (Jimmy Stewart from Harvey). Practice makes progress. I love that! in other news, Rebecca began signing today. she has only one word which she has only said three times in the past three months, "up". but today I was giving her dinner and I said, can you say "more"? and she pointed down. so she saw me do the sign, knew it was a word, but forgot which one. so I showed her more. and she really caught on! she did it after every bite of food. sometimes she would forget and grunt and lean forward (the old way) or she would vigorously nod her head yes (the latest thing) but when I said, "more" she would clap her hands together. I know it's not exactly the sign for more but she was using it and it counts. also, we are trying to build Leah up to a bed time story. she gets up and runs around the room when you try to read to her, so she always kept getting in trouble so it was backfiring. and I cut out the bedtime story. but Steve has been saying she is old enough for one, and Natalie had a much better attention span at that age, so I thought I'd start her a bedtime poem. and then move to a story after a bit. tonight's poem was "Lines Written in March" by William Wordsworth, from The Key of the Kingdom: A Book of Stories and Poems for Children, collected by Elisabeth Gmeyner and Joyce Russell. she loved it! the moon is very full tonight and is hanging low and golden above the water. it's absolutely gorgeous. wherever we move, I know I'll miss being by the water. here, it's the Chesapeake Bay. I love being by the water. also, being by a train track. I always smile when I hear a train whistle. when I lived in New Mexico, on the Navajo Reservation (at the edge, right on old route 66), my trailer was about 100 yards from the train line. this is the train line of "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" fame. believe me when I say it was used all the time! when I was in New Mexico was the first time I saw a one hundred car freight train all at one time. the desert is amazing. so, I guess I can be happy anywhere! actually, having grown up on the water, and walking on the beach every day as a child, I really do love the water best.

March 14 - I beat the flylady this morning. before my daily email at 9 am asking me if I know what's for dinner, I planned lunch (chicken pot pie), snack (rice pudding) and dinner (we're going to look at a new house at 5:30 and then go to dinner as a family) for today. yay, me! I didn't do the hot spot exercise yesterday though, I have to admit. that's my plan for today. packing and cleaning. Natalie keeps asking me if we're doing to do school, she asked to bake bread today and when I said no we were packing she said, then how about some brownies? I feel badly for her -- we usually do so many activities and now it has just stopped. but we take a break from school periodically, so it should be OK. she should get used to it. I am going to take down our advent calendar where we store our daily cards, that should help. a little "out of sight, out of mind" never hurt any one. the forsythias popped into bloom over night. some fruit trees are blooming too, I don't know which ones. the birds are singing up a storm! and the snowdrops are ending, so the first round of early spring is over and we are into the good stuff. hurrah!

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I just found this crazy file on my computer. I don't know when it was created; I found it when I was looking for something else. it's called wishlist.doc and this is all it says:
    Berry Picking
    Work at a Stable
    Rock Climbing
    Learn German
    Ice Skating
    Ice Fishing
    Mountain Climbing
    Baseball Game
    Play Pool
    Wind Surfing
    Ping Pong
    Beach Volleyball

that is like a person I don't even remember. I'm guess Steve asked me one day to write down everything I wanted to do -- he's always bugged me to have more interests and hobbies and not to get sucked into the mom mind-meld. so I guess this would be some time between Natalie and Leah, so about 3 1/2 years ago. seems like an eternity. I can't believe how many of these are sports! I don't do any kind of sports at all and if you asked me, I'd say I've never been interested in sports. but it looks like I am wrong! this was way before Waldorf, by the way, so it's interesting to see how some of these have in fact cropped back up with school, like painting and pottery. but still, I'm doing them with Natalie, not taking grown-up classes for myself.

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my brain is flowing again today. sometimes it's just one of those days. the Rhythms unit is closely tied in with the Texture unit and I'm writing them at the same time; if you'd like to see the new Listmania! list for the Rhythms unit be my guest. so many of the activities can be one or the other and I can't decide. like weaving. that is Texture but it's also Rhythms. so I'll put it at the end of Texture, having built up to it with washing, carding, and spinning wool and then continue it into Rhythms. same with grinding grain (I hope to get a grain mill soon). is that Texture or is it Rhythms? it can be either. once these two are done, the preschool curriculum will be complete and I can start on the Around the World series for the Kindergarten year. I'm looking forward to that. stories and playthings and recipes from around the world. it'll be fun. I think I'm going to have to change the newsletters from being their own individual topics to being more about homeschooling schedules and routines (ie. my own lesson plans as I start to have to juggle more kids, also book reviews and other things). I don't have enough ideas left to do both the units and the newsletter, I'm starting to find that I'm running dry. there are between 10 and 12 newsletter topics for each season, so people will have plenty of material when designing their own curriculum for their kids. plus, in addition to the running out of ideas problem, the flip-side is that I have too many ideas! if I write a unit and I love it and can't wait to do it and then I write a newsletter topic about something different, I get distracted. I do the newsletter topic and never get to the unit activities. that's compounded by me always also writing a new unit and trying out the ideas for that. so even though what I write is great, it's not actually what I'm doing with my kids and I'd like to get back to that more. I mean, I write the lesson plans but then I don't do them because I'm on to the next idea. that didn't bother me for a while because I figured I'd go back and do the units "properly" with the next kid, but I think Natalie's learning is a little fractured and she's not benefitting like she could be with the unit studies approach. it's weird to think the preschool well may have run dry. that's okay, I look forward to doing these spring units (probably into the summer since the move puts us behind) and then starting again with Families and having Natalie and Leah run together for a while. then N can go off into Kindergarten if I want her to, if being with Leah isn't working out, or if I want her to do her own studies she can do some of the units from the second year again (like Water in the World, which we barely covered... ). but I can't keep doing all new ideas for the newsletter because we're missing our big units. which bugs me. by the way, we're going house hunting tonight. starting over... I'll let you know how it goes!

March 13 - flylady Day SIX -- I'm so excited!!! she talks about women like me, her target audience, as being a combination of procrastinators and perfectionists. that's why it's so hard for us to do something. we put it off and put it off until it's impossible to have the time and energy to do it properly, so we skip it. ding! now that I see it that way, I'm like, duh. so you break the cycle on both ends. you stop putting things off and do a little at a time. and you let go of your standards of perfectionism and just make a dent. she has you set your timer for 2 minutes. then, you're done. whatever you don't get done, you can do later. (your house can't get any worse, right? so just relax... you're making progress!) and she warns against busting past the two minutes and tackling a bigger job. you'll just get tired, overwhelmed, and give up. today we are learning about "hot spots".

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if you're not one to click on links, here's how it works. those are the places where you dump everything. for me, nearly every surface of my house is a hot spot (I'm not exaggerating): the dining room table, both sofas, all the chairs, the floor. we literally have to move a pile in order to do anything here. partly that's because this is a summer beach cabin and we have too much stuff for it. but a lot of it is me! so you set a timer for 2 minutes (baby steps) and tackle your hot spot. I guess if you have several, you just pick one and start there. Steve and I actually had a huge three day long fight just this weekend about our dining room table. it's impossible for me to keep even one square foot clean for him to eat his breakfast on. whenever I put the baby down, I scan the room and put everything I don't want her getting into up on the table. bad habit, I know. but when you know you aren't going to live somewhere for much longer it's hard to take the time to give everything its own home. anyway, we have also been fighting that I don't get enough grocery money or homeschool money. last time I went to the store, I stole $175.00 from him (put the groceries I didn't have enough money for on his debit card) and finally admitted it. I am so tired of worrying about money. and worrying about food. he also wants me to take better care of myself but when I started buying clothes for myself last summer it cost so much he had to put a stop to it and then winter came and all I had were summer clothes! I have worn the same pair of jeans and three sweatshirts all autumn and winter. this is not an exaggeration. I literally have one pair of pants that fit me. I had all my kids so close together my weight was like a yo-yo. I gained 75 pounds with Natalie, 65 pounds with Leah, and 55 pounds with Rebecca. in between each child I went back down to 113. so that's several hundred pounds gained and lost in four years. I never bothered to get too much clothing for any one size because it was constantly changing. now it seems like I need everything! and I'm always asking him for money. so we are at a re-evaluation stage. since everyone compliments me on my organization (and I love making tables, charts, and spreadsheets) -- and this way I can go back and see what I was thinking -- I'll spend the kids' naptime today doing some journalling and brainstorming. it's amazing how much you can get out of journalling. I have lots of people who request a consultation and just in the process of composing an email to me describing the problem, start to have some clarity about it. I think it's more effective than a phone conversation. anyway, when I was driving the kids back from dance class this morning, I realized that I prepare 140 meals a week. (no wonder I can't keep up with my dishes!) five people x 4 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner) x 7 days a week. that's 140. I have to admit that I do a lot of convenience food. I have found that I have so many sources of stress. and when we can finally identify one it's a huge relief. I discovered that I hate cooking. (this was a big shock to me, I always assumed I'd be a domestic diva!) so when I went to convenience food it was amazing. a kid is hungry, I look in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, I pull something out and bingo. within 5 minutes they are fed. now I can relax. I completely obsess about food, whether I'm eating enough, whether they're eating enough, I'm always counting food groups (I never got into the calories thing, I just worry about serving enough food groups at each meal), and knowing that they have a balanced meal is wonderful for me. that's one thing about a TV dinner. you usually get all your food groups in. if I am forced to cook from scratch, I just don't. I don't mean to refuse to, it's not conscious, but I just won't eat. I will give the kids bread and milk. and when I finally saw that it had been a while (quite a while, in some cases) since they had meat, fruit or vegetables, I was shocked. I just didn't notice; I was doing each meal by the seat of my pants. anyway, I sound like a terrible mother here! but maybe some of you out there know what I'm talking about? I know that preparing food for your family is a labor of love -- and sometimes it does work for me. but most of the time it doesn't. if I spend an hour making a casserole and no one likes it, I'm crushed. and then I'm so cranky for the rest of the evening. but if I buy something no one likes, so what? I don't take it personally. I just make a note not to buy it again and I move on with my life. the flylady thing has been so good for me because I can just put the cleaning routine in someone else's hands. I don't have to constantly carry lists of chores in my head and wonder, how often should I be scrubbing the tub? what if I forgot a part of my house and it never gets cleaned at all? I just worried about it constantly. I made schedules, lists, reminders. but the stress never went away -- even if the house was being cleaned -- because I always thought, what if I'm forgetting something? worrying that I've forgotten something takes up a large part of my day (wow, I sound really stressed out! see what I mean? even if convenience food is more expensive and possibly not as good for my family -- although I do buy organic and frozen produce is supposed to be fresher than fresh in many cases -- putting the meal prep in someone else's hands is so much better for me. then I can spend time with my children and be a happy mom, not a cranky mom because I am worried that I'm not feeding them right). the flylady system is so organized, I love it. just being around someone who's that organized makes me feel good. every Friday at 3 pm she will remind me to check my kids' car seats and clean out my car. so now I can turn off all the reminders in my head in regard to cleaning and just read my email. it's in someone else's hands. I love that. I wonder if other people feel that way about the preschool curriculum? they know I have a plan, I won't forget to remind them to go lie on their backs and watch the clouds change shapes with their kids, so they can just relax and follow the system. it's so nice to let go of things. I think moms stress themselves out way too much these days. anyway, I'm going to go eat my Amy's Cheese Enchiladas and then come back to the budget questions.

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okey dokey. 140 meals x $2.00 per person per meal is $280.00 a week. it's actually not that much because of all the non-food items I have to buy. diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, trash bags, and so on. every time I make a budget I forget those things. so $1.50 per person per meal is more accurate (that's $210 per week and then $70 for non-food items each week, $40 of which is diapers and wipes). okay, so we are saying $1.50 per person per meal. that's $7.50 per meal. is it only me or does that seem a little low? let's see, breakfast. Steve has two bowls of cereal, milk, coffee. I have a smoothie first (8 am), then three bowls of cereal and milk (about 10 am, when the kids go down for their morning naps). and the kids have a bowl of cereal each and juice. even though we all have different things, it's basically a box of cereal a day. so say $4.99. and then about $2.50 worth of drinks. so yeah, that's $7.50. if I were really going crazy at the store (like on Friday), I would get six smoothies, three 1/2 gallons of juice, four boxes of cold cereal and a package of hot cereal. and a carton of eggs. $7.50 times 7 days is $52.50 worth of breakfast food. it's also $52.50 worth of lunch food. Steve packs two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the kids have leftovers from dinner or soup or sandwiches and I have a TV dinner. and we all have milk. Leah has soymilk, the rest of us drink cow milk. for snack I usually have another TV dinner or more cereal. I love breakfast foods! the kids get a piece of fruit, like a banana or a pear, each and usually some crackers or bread. and water. I'm trying to get them to drink more water, not to see it as a punishment. $52.50 for snacks seems kindof high. but I do need to have more snack food in the house if I ever expect to gain any weight. the big meal is dinner. there's no way I could do seven dinners for $52.50 a week. it's at least $10.00 a day for dinner. and that's without a vegetable, milk, or a dessert. oh, I am so confused. $280.00 a week seems ludicrous! how can any family of five eat that much? but yet I'm looking here at my grocery receipt from the one time I really filled the house up with food and I'm seeing that I didn't buy any diapers for Leah, or napkins, or any other of a hundred little things that seem so innocuous on the grocery list but which really add up. and Steve wants me to ask for enough money that 1) it's not being raised again in a few months, like the price of stamps and, 2) that I can set aside a little extra to save up for big things like joining a CSA program. okay, let's pick some numbers:
  • breakfast: $7.50 per day
  • lunch: $4.50 per day
  • snack: $4.50 per day
  • dinner: $15.00 per day
  • non-food items: $6.00 per day
  • extra money for savings: $3.50 per day
okay, what's the total on that? I hate to think. (can I use a calculator without looking?) that's $41.00 a day. $287.00 a week (I could probably squeak by with $300, ha ha). about $8.25 per person per day. is that too much? right now Steve gives me $260.00 per week for both food and homeschool. so we are looking at a big increase! that seems a little harsh, especially since the man is about to buy me a house. and our mortgage will be doubling, too (the amount we are paying for our current house is ridiculously low, we hate that we have to move but the neighborhood went way downhill and it's not safe to live there any more). maybe I should stop school, get the grocery amount set properly and then go from there. right now I feel under a lot of pressure to have the perfect Waldorf home environment, not to mention buying all the Waldorf books I can find in order to have a good foundation for writing first grade (probably the most difficult year). I don't know... it's hard to know what is a priority. I love my work, it gives me new challenges, self-esteem, something to organize (and be successful!), friends... but it is all just for fun and I could stop if I absolutely had to. would leave a terrible void in my life, though. and every time Steve suggests that, I fight it tooth and nail. but if I can't feed my family or clean my house, shouldn't I be cutting back on things and just working on the essentials? no, I don't think so. without something in my life that I do enjoy, I won't have the energy to work on the hard parts, the things that get me down. I try to keep a positive attitude. it's so funny to read some of my past entries. something happens that really gets me down and I'm so upset, and then the next time I'm smiling and trying hard to see the silver lining and be positive... it's so up and down, makes you dizzy. but what happens is that I take things really hard. and then I try so hard to see the bright side and to convince myself that it's all for the best. so I really am constantly on the roller coaster. Steve says I shouldn't let things get to me the way they do. I guess I'm a pretty sensitive person. I had to turn off the emails from Yahoo which told me when someone left my Yahoo Group because I took it so hard. I would be really upset, maybe the Group wasn't good enough, wasn't helping people. and then one day I thought, I've left groups. and it wasn't anything personal. I just didn't need it right then. so I have tried to let go of that one. I think writing curriculum is really personal. you are putting yourself out there. and you have to stand behind it, it's "I have looked at everything and this is the absolute best of the best when it comes to teaching ideas for this subject." you have to follow your own inner voice and then when someone questions your decisions, you can't take it personally. some curriculum programs and writing styles work for some people. others don't. that's why there is so much curriculum out there. we have been teaching our children for eons. but there's no one way to do it that everyone agrees on. therefore, you find hundreds of text books teaching the same subject, each person thinking theirs is the best way of doing it. anyway, back to the subject at hand. we have a grocery budget of $287.00 per week. for homeschool I definitely need more than $60.00 per week. especially now since shipping on anything you buy is practically $10.00! and, again, he wants me to have extra to save up. let's look at my lists for later this month. I'm thinking $160.00 every two weeks is more than fair. if I save up every other week to make my big purchases, I won't be frittering it away. that's $80.00 a week. but no savings... so let's say $380.00. $285.00 for groceries (of which $25.00 is savings) and $95.00 for homeschool (of which $15.00 is savings). that's $120.00 a week more than Steve is giving me now. is it really fair to ask him for so much? especially since some of the homeschool money is technically for my business -- it's true that it's for homeschool but we're talking about supplies Natalie won't need until much later, like 3rd grade. is it really fair for him to have to fund my business? no. but, if my business can start making some money (which will only happen if I have the resources to write paying curriculum -- which means books and a babysitter) I will be able to be self-sustaining and then I won't have to ask for homeschool money anymore! so we can look at it as an investment in my future financial independence.

* * * * *
I just realized something. it's so funny to me. I started by saying 140 meals x $2.00 per person per meal is $280.00. then I did a whole bunch of math. and then still basically came back to that number! $287.00. I guess I could have skipped the long part in the middle :-)

* * * * *
me again. guess why? I'm procrastinating working on my hot spots. plus my kids are taking a really long nap today. I'm thinking what I need is a really good timer. I used to have one when I was teaching that was a lot like this one. you rotated the outer rim to set it, totally easy. and it was a magnet so stuck to my file cabinet. and you could use it as a stop watch too, perfect for timing how long it took something to happen (oh, yeah, I guess you know what a stop watch is, huh?). anyway, I loved the thing and then the battery died and I couldn't find a replacement. and now I can't find the timer. I wonder if my husband will buy me a timer if I tell him that it will help me with the flylady thing. there's been a huge improvement in our kitchen already! I am not fibbing when I say that our Christmas cookie tins and champagne flutes from New Year's Eve are still on the counter to be washed. I HATE dishes. but I have made great strides in the past week. now, maybe, if I can tackle my hot spots, we'll have a dining room table again! here are some reviews of my favorite old timer (an old cheapskate boyfriend got it for me from CyberRebate.com, now defunct) on epinions.com. mine is nicer looking than these, but if I can't find it, I guess a new one will do. no doubt it will turn up after the move and then I can set one by each hot spot in the house! (of course, the whole reason I'm trying to do this flylady thing is to set up my new house properly from the git-go so we don't have these problems...)

March 12 - flylady day five -- yeah! it hasn't been that hard for me, I don't need to eradicate negative voices from my head telling me I'm a bum for not keeping my house cleaner. what I do need is the reminders to maintenance-clean, a little bit all throughout the day. the daily emails have worked wonders. today I have to unmold the ice cream sand castle and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar. I put this off all day yesterday -- I'm afraid it won't come out of the mold properly! I don't have much luck with Jello... and this is much more important!!! oh, well, keeping my finger crossed... I'm heading upstairs now.

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the cake came out fine. I made Steve do it, tee hee. that way if it didn't work out it just becomes a funny family story and not a personal source of stress for me. but it's lovely. vanilla for the top layer (with vanilla bean specks in it), then coffee, then rocky road. so all shades of brown and tan. and for the rocky road, we can pretend the chocolate chips and marshmallows are little shells and rocks stuck in the sand. then the cinnamon sugar sprinkled all over it makes it look truly sandy. Edy's was buy one, get one free, so that's what I used. we also have chocolate seashells and chocolate pebbles (Milk Duds and some other candies) and "drift wood" (chocolate covered-toffee pieces). see what I mean about all the sugar? a bowl of Swedish fish. the sand castle has four turrets on top, one for each birthday candle. it should be really cool. I hope I get some pictures! Steve let me get some new makeup for the party, too. very posh. I just have to finish the decorations (a fisherman's net for the tablecloth -- you can buy these at A.C. Moore, and starfish, sand dollars and shells sprinkled around -- also to give to the children as party favors) and we're done. of course, I have to remember to drive the cake and punch ingredients over on our way to the museum at 1:30. flylady sends you an email every morning at 9 am that says, do you know what you're having for dinner? i picked fish sticks, kind of a little grown-up joke. goes with the beach theme, eh? but I won't tell Natalie they're made with real fish. I don't remember how old I was when I figured that one out. sometimes the little things in life come as a real shock. did you know in Britain the term for "ground" as in ground wire (in electronics) is "earth". ground -- earth, get it? ha ha... that one still gets me.

March 11 - the presents for today were wonderful. at breakfast I gave Natalie her hair clips from her Aunt Kate; she chose to wear the purple ones for her portrait session. the portraits turned out really well; I was happy. then at lunch she got her set of mini silks in the gold pouch, a book from my grandparents, the crochet hammock for her smaller dolls (since now I think they won't be sleeping with her any more, so that was especially appropriate) and the best one of all, the new Waldorf doll from Christina. we named her Isabella. this evening is the bonfire at South Beach. what a wonderful birthday she's having! tomorrow is her party and the rest of her gifts.

March 10 - so much has happened! today is clear and warm and beautiful, the perfect Spring day. the first daffodils opened so I took Natalie out to see them this morning. what a wonderful birthday present! there were three in bloom. wouldn't it have been wonderful if there had been four? today we are making the first step of her ice cream castle cake. the mold I got from Toys 'R' Us holds 1 1/2 gallons of ice cream! I can't believe it. this thing is going to be huge. I am a little shaken, I wasn't expecting there to be so much sugar (I'm not even going to bother making the cookies, now, it would be way too much...) but with all that ice cream and the candy decorations, it'll just be a nightmare. the part about going to the museum should be nice, though. Natalie is really looking forward to it. in other news, we lost our house. the people we were buying our new house from took another offer behind our back and have proceeded to settlement. we didn't even know. it was very underhanded of them. I cried and cried last night when I found out. A few days ago we made millet squares (Wednesday, I guess it was) and Natalie surprised me by doing a math problem in her head. she said to me, suddenly, three! and I said yes. and she said I had one and two and then you gave me another one, three. she counted it (it was so funny) on the tendons of her wrist. not her fingers. she turned her palm towards her and touched the two tendons which stick out of your wrist and said, "one and two" and then touched the base of her palm and said "and then one more". it was kindof amazing. the last thing I wanted to share but haven't been able to get to the computer is that I had a terrible nightmare earlier this week. I dreamed that I left my children with a hobo who had come by the house so that I could go get wool and when I came back he had hung them all. they were dead. it was terrible. and I woke up all in a panic that it meant something. when my father came to the house (he had come with me when I walked back because my mother suspected something would be wrong) he found the man and confronted him and it wasn't a man, it was a woman who had been dressed up like a man. she was just changing clothes and my dad was talking to her and I was calling 911. but I woke up thinking, am I concentrating so hard on doing school properly, and obsessing over things like handwork and wool, that my children are being left with a stranger? who is really a woman (that would be me). and it's going to kill them inside. it really shook me. you know? am I working so hard on giving them the perfect childhood that I'm stressed out and distant and they are, in fact, getting a horrible childhood after all. and the next day I was sitting on the couch knitting and Natalie climbed up next to me and bumped my needles and I made a mistake and I yelled at her, go away, I'm trying to knit. and I just felt this icy hand grab my heart. I'm learning to knit for her, or so I thought. but maybe it's all about me. Nancy Foster, who spoke at the parent education night at Acorn Hill that I went to, said that parenting and discipline is about rhythms, that's the first magic word. but she said -- and this surprised me -- the second magic word of discipline is self-discipline (on the part of the parent). I think this flylady thing will be good for me (I'm on to day four). and I think that it's time for me to really sit down and think some things through. am I doing the best I can for my kids? is school perhaps getting in the way? is my work getting in the way? why can't I just relax and be with them, read to them, cook dinner together, without having it be legitimate by being written down in a "lesson plan"? and then I'm worried about my plan book and if I'm getting enough done. not to mention the fact that everything I do has to be handmade. handmade birthday party invitations, handmade cake & decorations, every gift has to be handmade... no wonder I'm always so busy I'm pushing the kids out of the way. and that's not how it's supposed to be!!!! I have a lot to think about. and Natalie's birthday, and now we have to start hunting for a house all over again... trying to journal and record all the things my kids do because I'm so stressed out I'm afraid I'll have no memories of their childhood... Rebecca's not walking or talking because no one ever spends any time with her... it's all so overwhelming!

* * * * *
the fat buzzy bumblebees are out today. so sweet to see them again.

* * * * *
the pastry recipe from Mr. Badger's Birthday Pie is a real pain in the neck. no doubt it's very tender and flaky when done properly but I kept chilling it and chilling it and still found it too hard to handle. it was so sticky that it stuck to the wax paper I rolled it out on. which meant that I couldn't lay it down in the base of the pie pan. 90% of the pastry was still stuck to the paper! even after chilling. and I couldn't put another layer on the top either. so, basically, it's a pie dish full of sauce with some small random bits of crust floating in it. so I think we'll be having puff pastry with blackberry and apple sauce and cream. what a hassle. it wouldn't bother me so much when a recipe goes wrong except that I get so tense with the children. I need the house to be silent, I don't want anyone talking to me or touching me, I am so upset that the recipe didn't work out that I basically can't function. I don't deal with disappointment well. it's too bad that Natalie has to have a cranky mama for her birthday. I'm just going to try to calm down. it's no big deal. she doesn't know what a pie is. she won't care if we have puff pastry instead. it may even become a new birthday tradition! at 3 pm we are going to tea party with my grandparents, then when Steve comes home we'll do the birthday dinner and presents. I didn't end up making her anything. one, because I ran out of time and two, because she's getting so much stuff already. we got a lot of wonderful gifts donated this year. I hope she enjoys them!

* * * * *
oh, what a day. Natalie has discovered the joys of the tantrum. today she tried throwing one in public as an experiment. so that pretty much ruined the tea party! I took her straight out of there (I told Grammy that this was something new so we were trying to nip it in the bud; she understood). now I'm trying to figure out if it is because N is too excited about her birthday and her upcoming party. should we not do presents tonight? doing presents in the evening is a little mean, now that I come to think of it. nothing like getting a bunch of new toys and then being put to bed. I guess we'll do presents at lunch tomorrow. tomorrow morning is her haircut and four year old portrait. in the evening there's a community bonfire down at the beach which I want to go to. Natalie absolutely loves bonfires, and they are so much fun. not to mention going along with the theme of the party! Sunday is the party and it is in the early afternoon. so we can have a good long nap in the morning while I go to the little cabin to set up the decorations. and then the party. and then a small dinner and an early bedtime. then, I don't know what I'll have to focus on. if we aren't packing and moving... maybe I'll write the Texture unit. it is kind of bugging me to delay it. it's putting me off my rhythm, not to do one on my consistent every-other-month schedule. we'll see. let's just try to make it through tonight! I guess when Steve comes home he'll have more news on the house situation. what a bummer. I told Grammy and she said maybe it was a good thing, that it would clear the way for something better. unless that is their house, I can't imagine that it would be any better. they live on a huge tract of wooded land. they used to have an azalea nursery so it's really beautiful there. Papa also used to have peach trees and bees. I'm not sure what else. you go down a long winding drive to get there, it's way back from the road. and surrounded all around by protected land. anyway, I guess there's nothing I can do but sit and wait to see what happens next.

* * * * *
I'm ordering some ornaments for our birthday ring. I want to get one which represents each child's birthday (from when we started Waldorf). Leah turned one November 2004 and we had an autumn leaf theme, so the tree, then Natalie turned three March 2005 and had a ladybug theme for her party, then Leah turned two November 2005 and didn't have a party with a birthday ring because she shared the party with her cousin Joe and it was a firetruck theme, which Nova Natural doesn't have, but I have some of the white vases which can fill in any gaps. then Rebecca turned one in January 2006 so she will have the angel and then Natalie turned four today with a beach theme so her ornament for this year will be the seahorse. When they come, I'll put a little piece of paper in the box so that we can keep track of who got which ornament each year. my mom always kept a list of the Christmas ornaments I got as presents each year and who they were from. it was fun to look back on it when I was older. speaking of looking back, I feel ridiculous for writing that Natalie threw a tantrum out of nowhere. when I read my earlier blog entries from today it's obvious that I was wound tighter than a spring and I'm sure she was picking up all that tension from me. she knew today was supposed to be a happy day but she didn't know why I was so upset (and it didn't help that I kept telling her how happy I was, I'm sure) so the discord that must have formed inside her! I hate to think. poor little thing. tomorrow we'll do her presents and she can have all afternoon to play with them. I hope tomorrow is a better day. Steve says that the real estate agent for the people whose house we were supposed to be buying won't return any of our calls trying to make another offer. I guess it's over.

March 7 - Natalie's naptime peoms were from Flower Fairies of the Garden -- the first one, "Where" (a really sweet poem; you can read it by clicking on the link and looking inside the book at the excerpt), and The Periwinkle Fairy. we have periwinkles blooming outside so we can look at them on our nature walk today. for work, I have to do my tasks from yesterday which didn't get done. but, the good new, I'm on to flylady day two! hurrah! by the way, I feel awful today. I can't stop sneezing and blowing my nose, it's unbelievable. I went to get a hearing test done and the doctor told me to take Claritin for a week first to make sure I was nice and clear before he did the test. well, I'm not putting that stuff in my body so I got a homeopathic allergy medicine instead. and, you know, with homeopathy, if you didn't have it, you get it. because it stimulates your body's immune system to react to the input. so now I have given myself a little case of what it's like to have hayfever. and I will never turn up my nose when I hear people complain about seasonal allergies again. it's brutal! I just can't believe it. my reading today is chapter three from Creativity in Education: The Waldorf Approach by Rene Querido. at 6:30 pm I have to meet Steve at the new house to do the kid swap and then I'm off to Silver Spring (meeting in Upper Marlboro puts me 40 minutes closer and helps keep me from being late, so we're meeting outside the house even though we don't own it yet) to the parent education meeting at Acorn Hill tonight. the topic is creative discipline. Nancy Foster is speaking. I think the place will be packed; she's about to retire and everyone wants to absorb as much as they can from her before she leaves. it's free but with a suggested donation of $8 which I don't have, so I will just have to donate some other time. I can't wait to see this school!

March 6 - not so many entries for this month. can you tell I've been busy? here's my index card for today:

School: dance class 10 am (done)
Little Brown Bulb play -- I'm so excited to show Natalie the play I learned from Suzanne. today is perfect for it too because she was just asking me if Spring was here and now I can show her yes! the book she chose for her naptime was The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies. it starts with Spring, in fact, the first poem is called "Spring Magic" so it's the one we read today (you can read this one if you visit the link above and click Search Inside! -- Excerpt). I have a daffodil right about to bloom near us so I'd like to take our Lady Spring doll out on our Nature walk and have her sit next to the flower bud and talk to it for a while. then in the morning we can go see if she's coaxed it into blooming!

Flylady: day one. yes, we're still on day one. I haven't cleaned my sink yet. (how could I? there were dishes in it.) :-) actually, my husband did some dishes for me yesterday while I was gone so I have a good chance of being able to clean my sink today.

Handwork: DONE
making Rebecca's Happy New House present, the Baby Gnome from The Gnome Craft Book, page 45. I got the pattern enlarged 150% on a photocopy machine (which is what the directions tell you to do) and now I'm ready to begin!

Work: post notes and photos from Suzanne Down workshop to the Group
write "Cook with Me" newsletter topic

Reading: How to Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner, chapter 2.

Natalie got carsick on the way home from dance class today so there's also laundry to do. but isn't there every day? so that's not really news. :-) we are going to settlement on the new house March 17th now -- the delay is so frustrating -- so I'm not sure if we will have the time to paint more than the schoolroom before we move in. that's the most important room anyway. when I choose the paint colors, I'll post them here. we are using a pink/orange/yellow color scheme (see the cover of You and Me for an example. in fact all the paintings in that book are beautiful watercolors using those same colors. it really is marvelous. very soft and loving.) I think the room will be just wonderful, assuming we have time to do it. the "inspiration room" for the children's bedrooms is the painting of the child's room in Good Night, Fairies. so I have purchased both books so that I can have them on hand when getting the new house ready. should I say again that I can't wait? you know that already :-) I took tons of pictures of the children's garden room at the Washington Waldorf School when I was there yesterday so I will have those to inspire me as well. you know what they say, anything worth having is worth waiting for. I can't wait to have a real Waldorf kindy classroom in my house!

* * * * *
The baby gnome is done. it took me from 2 - 4 pm, with lots of interruptions (Leah is potty training) so I would say that if you could sit down and focus it would only be about an hour. definitely a project you can complete in an afternoon nap time. I'll try to take a picture and post it. Next, I am going to clean my sink!!!!!

March 4 - well, we have a plan for Natalie's birthday party. I've been so busy with the packing and buying the new house that I've hardly had time to plan. usually I have a menu planned over a month in advance and send out cute themed invitations and so on. tonight I went to Steve and was like, okay, what are we doing for Natalie's party? and we planned it in ten minutes flat! we decided to have everyone (it's a small party) meet at the Calvert Marine Museum at 2 pm, we can walk through and look at the aquariums and the river otter exhibit and the boats (in keeping with the beach theme and thereby avoiding the necessity for party games and gift bags) and then go to the little family beach cabin (not the one we are staying in, the one on my dad's side of the family, again, better -- I don't have to clean my house!!!) for cake and cookies and punch afterwards. the party is 2:30 to 4:30 so no real meal is required. I have a recipe for Sand Dollar Cookies already and somewhere I have a link for a cake... ah, here it is. the Ice Cream Castle Cake from Family Fun. both make-in-advance foods. all we need is a punch recipe and we're good to go! simple. maybe a bit expensive with the museum admission but my mom works there so perhaps she can get us a family discount. we are her children, obviously, but I don't know if it still counts once you are a child all grown-up and have a family of your own. I always used to get in for free. my brother and I have both worked there in the past. he was a grounds maintenance guy and I was a receptionist, worked in the education department doing school programs, and was the public relations person, all at three different stages of my life. it's a nice place. they have a lighthouse you can climb in but I think the kids are still too young for that. it's a treacherous climb and the little ones get scared. I was the person giving the lighthouse tours for a while and I remember over and over telling people that children under 5 are not advised to go up and they would say, oh, she'll be fine. and the kid climbs up the ladder like a little monkey. but when it's time to go down the hatch, they're screaming. it's hard to climb down a ladder with a child clinging to you like a barnacle and howling... anyway, I've got to go to bed now. I'm getting up early to go to another workshop with Suzanne Down at the Washington Waldorf School. on the healing power of nursery rhymes. today I also placed my Waldorf in the Home order. this should be a very enlightening week in the world of better parenting. I'm looking forward to it!

March 1 - since March is parent-supplies month, I'm planning the Texture unit so I can make sure I buy everything I need. for those of you curious, here is the draft booklist for the Texture unit. I like to put a new unit out every other month -- coincidentally, in the months which happen to be already established as parent-supplies months. that makes sense, actually, I can buy the books for the unit in my month and the toys and materials for the activities in the kids' months. after this unit comes "Rhythms" which should come out in May -- and then, this summer, we're on to the the Around the World series, starting with Europe (including acting out Grimm's fairy tales and our first foreign language -- German). I'm really excited about that! I can't believe how big Natalie is getting. in the Rhythms unit she is going to learn finger knitting and how to tie her shoes. it will also be a pottery unit. this one has a lot about painting in it, since we'll be close to Washington DC and can start visiting art museums. I think it's going to be a lot of fun! also making clothing, spinning (I can finally try my drop spindle) and weaving, shells, and more...

February 28 - getting organized for March. I'm transferring my lists over from last month.

list of what not to pack:

list of homeschool expenses for March:

March 3rd: DONE

  • parenting workshops on DVD and CD from Waldorf in the Home
  • set of mini silks from Fairy Cove for N Birthday -- Steve
  • Nautilus Puzzle from Fine Wooden Toys for N birthday -- Betty

March 10th: DONE

  • basket for silks

March 17th: DONE

  • Amazon order: books for Texture unit ($74.04)

March 31st: DONE

  • A Toy Garden order -- all Easter
    five Molly Brett tin pails
    twig pencils (Natalie)
    wooden bunny puzzle (Leah)
    rolling bunny and duck (Rebecca)
  • Nova Natural order -- mostly Easter
    wheat grass kit
    natural egg dyes
    This is the Way We Wash-a-Day (Texture unit)
    birthday ring ornaments (angel, seahorse, tree)
    five rainbow streamers
    Japanese tissue paper

list of homeschool expenses for April:

April 7th:

  • Magic Cabin order -- Easter
    the rabbit hutch
    mohair critter kits collection
    Kids Weaving book (Texture unit)
    paper balls, set of 10
  • Kindermusik order -- Easter
    dozen shaker eggs

April 14th:

April 21st:
remaining items for Texture unit

April 28th:

for May:

  • Bob & Nancy's order
    Giving Love, Bringing Joy book
    Wynstones Kindergarten series -
    Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Gateways
    A Path of Discovery series for grades Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth

lists for Natalie's birthday:

    birthday presents for N - for March 10th (birthday):
    Waldorf doll
    - donated by Christina
    crocheted doll hammock - donated by Sharon
    set of play silks from Mama & Papa

    birthday presents for N - for March 12th (birthday party):
    Nautilus puzzle
    from Betty
    surprise gift - flying bean bag with streamer - donated by Harmony
    surprise gift - princess crown - donated by Kelly

    birthday party ideas: beach theme

so there you have it. organization! Clagett Farm also opened its doors today to those who want to buy shares. hopefully we'll be in the chosen 400. here (from their website) is the list of what to expect in a typical growing season (6 months, mid-May to mid-November):

MAY-JUNE: Salad greens, beets, turnips, radishes, broccoli, kohlrabi, collards, spinach, braising greens, and you-pick strawberries.

JULY-SEPT: Zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, basil, eggplants, okra, melons, sweet corn, cucumbers, potatoes, beans and garlic.

SEPT-NOV: Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, butternut squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, salad greens, carrots, turnips, collards, chard, spinach, beets and radishes.

I'm so excited! There was a CSA near our old house but shares filled up so quickly we were never able to purchase one. they grew all kinds of weird things, the first time I had ever heard of a rutabaga! anyway, hopefully we'll finally be in one now. they also have you-pick things throughout the season so that will be great for Natalie and Leah. I guess Rebecca will be old enough to pick a tomato this year, too. wow. time flies.

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I can't believe how quickly my website has moved up in the search engine rankings! Did you know Reg Down emailed me to say "thank you" for giving his books rave reviews on my site? My husband says that it's based on how relevant your content is to the topic (and Google looks through not just the web page content but also "reads" my pdf files as well), how many people link to it, and how frequently it is updated. well, that's gotta be it. I update my site every day. if not with new content, with a blog entry or new links. it's a little bit self-serving, actually; I find a new online store for Waldorf things or a good article that I don't want to lose so I put it on my site. but I'm glad it helps everybody, not just me -- it makes me happy to be a resource for so many people. I never posted a counter at the bottom of my website but I might do it when we switch over to the new look. just for fun. I'm excited to be bartering for some new things, too, this month. Natural Earth Family Farm has added a ton of new items to their website, and I will be getting the set of 2 fences with green silk, perfect for those little knit piggies I want to make, and one of the small pastel play silks. Natalie loves the smaller size. Tonya uses a really nice weight silk when she makes them, too. they also have new handmade birch crochet hooks which look pretty neat. lastly, I'd like to try some of her free gnome knitting patterns -- that is, when I have the time! I really can't wait to have a new schoolroom with more space to set up little tableaus like a farm scene or a woodland scene with gnomes. next I'd like to start finding some little wooden animals for the children to play with. no doubt I could make them myself but I'm really not all that interested in wood-carving, to tell you the truth. but boy do I like knitting! it's funny how some people take to one thing but find something else completely unappealing. my friend Jenn cannot stand to knit. she started a baby blanket for Natalie before she was born (this is the same Natalie who will be four in a few days), then thought she'd give it to Leah, then Rebecca... she can't stand to cross-stitch either. meanwhile, those are the two kinds of handwork I like best! I like to try new things, too, though. this month I will be trying ribbon embroidery. Anna Griffin has some wonderful Victorian-style silk ribbon embroidery projects out, they're available at Michael's. you buy the book with the directions and patterns (transfers). then you buy the silk ribbon sets separately. and I think she sells other accessories, too. I'm going to start with a small project, the coat hangers. so if I don't like it, it's over and I never have to do it again! :-) and I think that's a nice present. a little bit of luxury, a little "I was thinking of you" but still a completely practical and useful gift. perfect! here's a picture -- I think they're beautiful! and I can make as many, or as few, as I have time for and it's still a nice gift. the only thing that's annoying is that you have to look through every single book cover to cover to find the project you're looking for. she has a series (Catherine, Victoria, Josephine, Marguerite, and Antoinette) but I only want the one with the coat hanger project in it and there's no index or anything to say which one is which. I guess I'll have to go to the store and look through them all. what a hassle... otherwise I could try to get it cheaper on eBay.

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oh, by the way, here's another round of free knitting patterns I found. I'm trying to find a catnip mouse which looks more like a mouse since my brother will be very sarcastic and say, that doesn't look that hard, for anything less. you should have seen his reaction to the birthday card I made for him once which took an hour and a half. anyway, hunting... hunting... here's one that says cats love angora. sorry, kitties, you're getting plain old wool. here's a cute picture; I wonder if I can make up a pattern just based on the picture? there's one I like called Oliver's Green Mouse but it calls for working in the round on four double-pointed needles which I don't think I'm ready for yet. and, if you prefer crochet (which I don't), there's Peanut's White Mouse. all in all, very unsatisfactory collection -- the links are fine but nothing I can see that I want to make. I think my brother may just be getting pencils. he would probably like that better anyway. okay, okay, I've been on the computer too long. here's a link to making cat toys from rabbit pelts. ewww. maybe I'll just make a mousie of my own design. that's what a super-talented knitter wanna-be ought to do anyway. :-) nah, you know what? I don't feel like it. we can do the pencils -- which is fine -- and I'll just take a break from knitting. the sweater for Becca was really frustrating at the end. I ran out of yarn. and tried to undo some of the body to make it shorter and thereby give me more yarn for the sleeves and I just ended up making a huge mess. maybe I'll cross-stitch for a while. I haven't had a chance to finish Natalie's bedtime verse yet. that way she could have it for her new bedroom in the new house. that would be nice! besides, I'll be sewing her a doll pillow and quilt and then the ribbon embroidery thing too. guess it's time to take a break from the world of knitting & crochet. I'll come back to it in a bit.

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hee hee. looking back at that now I have to laugh. I ended up starting the zoo toy bag for Betty (a knitting project) after all, since the others on the top of my list are sewing projects which are gifts for the children so they have to be done in secret, therefore, in the evenings. I need a project I can sit and work on while supervising the quasi-independent play. thus the knitting. read my knitting journalling page for more info about this super-cute project.