Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Naturally Crafting! pt. 1

Education is massively important to us...Even if our 'school time' turns out like this...

When thinking of kids education models that I have seen, I never enjoyed craft supplies, craft ideas, the thought of nasty messes and cheesy projects.

Since Naomi has become of learning age a few years ago, I have found some things I love about teaching little kids, working with them and most recently, naturally crafting!

A big part of my belief system is that all things should be done as local and as natural as possible.  Cutting corners and going the 'easy' route does not appeal to me and even demotivates my creative spirit.

Two years ago, we began playing school with Naomi.  Mostly we read books and made drawings, sang songs, played music, ran around, etc.  Last year we began to study Waldorf schooling methods and I fell in love with the book Seven Times the Sun  (Book Information Can Be Found HERE).  We fell in love with finger-plays and also began to study Montessori methods of teaching as well as reading A Child in the Family by Maria Montessori (An essential read for any parent).

In our schooling last year we collected natural plants and flowers and pressed them, making Thanksgiving cards for our friends and family (I still have a few to send out...woops!).  We worked with 100% wool yarn and knitted with huge antique knitting needles while singing.  etc....  We played piano and sang as loud as we possibly could, improvising songs and learning Elizabeth Mitchell songs and folk songs from around the world, in more languages than one....Naomi often played her pink ukulele and the violin.

This year I am thankful to be inspired to delve deeper into a natural way of crafting and education.  Over the summer, while being involved in a kids program, I got so tired of seeing throw-away and junk materials being used.  People do these things because it's 'easy' to order and kids know what to do with them.  I am SO guilty of doing this myself in many kids programs I've been in charge of over the years.  I left that event determined that there is not only a cheaper way, but a more beautiful, more natural, exciting way to get the kids involved in a closed-system of crafting.  Crafts you'll want in your home.  Ones you won't want to throw away.  Beautiful crafts with meaning.

They create the craft supplies, then they create WITH the craft supplies.  We use inexpensive sustainable materials.  We re-use, recycle, up-cycle and honor a very real system of creativity within us.  This is a nourishing and deeply gratifying approach to crafting, and for once, I am excited about arts and crafts!

Here are some great links I've found recently: -  Lots of great craft projects, mostly natural materials, wholesome season-based homeschool curriculums, etc... - Many homeschooling resources, beautiful website, printables, crafts, natural minded... -  Great website!  EVEN YOUR GLUE CAN BE MADE AT HOME!

You bet I will be spreading these resources as much as I can to people who I know who help to plan children's activities.  Please do this as well.  Don't let your kids hate art like I always did because of the cheap, nasty art supplies that are normally used.  My deeper senses have always told me to stay away from them.  Now I can't stop thinking of crafting!  Give me some wool, beeswax, hemp, wood, even natural watercolors!

Cue the brambles

Fade out the heat.
Summer is fading fast.  

Cue the brambles.  
The raspberries are thriving.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I felt a Sadness

Today I felt a sadness and a loneliness about me.  I knew I needed a meaningful connection with an old friend.  Pondering friendly voices I could call reminded me that I needed not conversation, but a peaceful companion.

While mulling my needs and tending the children I considered a task which might bring me therapy.  No, not numbing soul responded.  I need a friend who honors my feelings, who exists beyond words, who accepts and loves, who will sit and wait, who will understand.

Hand in hand we sat in prayer, holding sunshine between us, relaxed and listening to the soundscape of early fall... the whispery leaves, the exhaled cricket, murmurs of life all around dancing secretly together...

We created and soothed our aching from the deep wells of sorrow.  We honored that place within us which takes time to feel and be felt.  Something not ideal for healthy conversation between humans in the West.  I held my natural sadness and felt gratitude not for this 'defect' but for this truth of earthly life.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's Official

We had the dirtiest kids in the county today.  I'm sure of it!  Maybe in the state.  This is how I found them....

Mike got home just in time to hold them still while I hosed them down.  :)  

The Harvest Home is Borne. An Ode to Canning

Thankful for the blooming earth!

For the rainbow in the skies...

 Each unique flower bearing color and form

For food that grows and grows and grows...

And harvests all throughout the home...

Work like this tires the bones, but soothes our ever-loving souls!

Batches come and batches go, each day we put up a little more.

When winter comes cloaked with snow, breathing some rest, hibernation in tow,

we feast on the fruits of the blazing heat and the rains of the days which warmed our feet.

Can Away!  'Tis the Season for Such Things!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Our Final Ride

An official (the tour is over) post.

Eight days ago, we rode our last full touring day.  After some time to reflect and get used to living indoors a bit, I'd like to offer a small farewell post.  I have plenty of ideas and thoughts I'd like to start sharing, but first, to say thank you is imperative.  Everyone who read, commented on, prayed for and encouraged us was just as much a part of the tour as anyone else along the way.

Fall-time is coming fast.  The baby is growing in my belly and getting its little body ready for unveiling.  We have less than 9 weeks of in-utero to traverse.  Though our family is currently experiencing interim...seeing one reality to completion and arranging the next...we are having a terrific time helping with harvest and home in the lovely Berks County.  Puffy headed chickens are eating grapes off the vine and the garden here is bursting with fruit and life.

Some topics I am excited to share soon are the reflections I had on lifestyle while we were journeying.  Thoughts in regards to parenting, community, spirituality, rhythms of daily life, reflection, general meditation, creative space, journaling, Embodying the Petrol-Free Jubilee, physical abilities, security, etc.  I'm excited to get into sharing about these things.

Before we sign off of official tour blog duty, here are two photos.

The beginning of the Petrol Free Jubilee Bicycle Tour...

And a picture of my journal, in the line of duty, where I pre-write blog posts (except this one).