Festivals / Holidays               Thoughts On Parenting               Fun Things To Make               The Great Outdoors               Creative Learning

Monday, June 27, 2011


Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants therof. (Lev 25:10)

If these walls could speak...

In the clock tower just below the Centennial Bell

Independence Day

A large part of my job at Independence National Historical Park is to interpret the American War for Independence in a way that encourages an intellectual and emotional connection with a diverse people. As we come closer to the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, I thought I would share just a bit of where I work.

An interpretation of the room where Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence at the Graff House.

The Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

"...with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

3 of the 59 signers:

John Hart: a man who could not be home when his wife died as his home in NJ was occupied by the British.

Stephen Hopkins: Had a disease that made his hand shake and said, "My hand may waiver, my heart stands firm."

Benjamin Franklin had to choose principle over family as his son remained loyal to the king and had to move to England.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Great Backyard Campout

This weekend, we are joining the National Wildlife Federation for the 2011 Great American Backyard Campout. The boys have asked to camp in our backyard for days now, so the event has perfect timing!

All you need is a tent, or even just a king size sheet thrown over a line...


and some fun-loving adults (the boys love their Uncle Paul!)

Here are some great books to help you get in the happy-camper mood:

(A trio of books about nature by Aileen Fisher with lovely illustrations.)
"You Don't Look Like Your Mother," Said the Robin to the Fawn Recounts in verse a robin's introduction to a number of animal infants who don't look like their mothers, including her own.
Animal Houses Compares in rhyme the square houses of people to the more rounded dwellings of a variety of animals.
Animal Disguises Discusses in rhyme the camouflage effected by a moth against a tree, a rabbit in a meadow, bobwhites among leaves, and other animals.

Toasting Marshmallows 30 simple poems by Kristine O'Connell George that capture the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of a family's camping trip.
S is for S'mores A Camping Alphabet takes us on an A-Z trail exploring this outdoor pastime by H.F. James.
Camping and Walking A Usborne Guide to everything you need to know about camping, including activities and recipes.

To learn more and join in on the fun visit:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Nature Table

We cherish these warm days of summer in our home. The morning song bird greeting the sun, little sun-kissed freckles on little noses, watching the boys run through the sprinkler squealing with delight, watching the fireflies rise in the field ... these bring me summer time joy.

With the summer solstice, we transformed our nature table to reflect our summer vacation plans to spend unhurried leisurely days at the beach:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

6 Times Around the Sun

(In the Waldorf community, young children hear a unique birthday story every year often involving the rainbow bridge. It grounds them and provides a special sense of security, belonging, and abiding love.)

Today my sweet son Aidan turned six. His energy spent, he drifts to sleep knowing he is deeply loved after hearing his birthday story:

Aidan's Birthday Story

Once upon a time there was a little child named Aidan who was still with the angels in heaven and he was very happy there. He looked at the beautiful colors and danced to the lovely music, and that was where he belonged. One day the clouds parted in heaven and Aidan saw the beautiful green earth below with all the people happily playing and working. He saw all the colors of the rainbow on the earth. He saw butterflies visiting flowers and birds flying in the air. He saw fish swimming in the sea and all the different plants that covered the earth. He saw children climbing trees running and jumping in the meadows and walking through sand and leaves. It was all so beautiful and seemed to becon him to come and he longed to go there and see what it was like.

So he said to his angel, "Please, may I go down to earth now?" But his angel looked at him and said, "No, God says it is too soon. You must wait a little while yet." So the child went and was content to wait his time. Then one day again he saw a glimpse of the earth through the clouds again. He saw people doing their work. He saw train conductors and firefighters and teachers and farmers. He saw mothers and fathers loving their children. Then he saw a beautiful woman and strong man with love and longing in their heart for a child and a grandma and grandpa patiently waiting for him.

He went to the angels and told them of all he had seen. He told them of the woman and the man and the grandparents. He told the angels of the love he was feeling for the Earth family and of his deep desire to be with them. The angels smiled with joy... "This is your family! Now is the perfect time for you to join them" they told him. "We will take you down the Rainbow Bridge to Earth so that you may live with them and be their son."

Late that night, a beautiful rainbow bridge stretched from heaven to earth and on it came the child as a tiny baby. He came right into his mother's loving arms. As the mother and father looked at their precious son, they smiled and whispered, "We will call him Aidan Paul."

In Aidan's first year, he spent much time with his mama, liked to laugh at his funny father, he learned to call his Grandma Yaya, and brought much joy to his Grandpa. That year, he met many people who were glad he arrived.

In Aidan's second year, he had traveled far and wide with his mama, father and Yaya, saw ancient stones and majestic castles, and learned to sing beautiful songs that made everyone smile.

In Aidan's third year, he loved to play with trains and traveled to a land of breath-taking beauty and warmth.

In Aidan's fourth year, Aidan was joined by a new baby brother and proved to be the best of big brothers. He loved to run, chase bubbles and dance.

In Aidan's fifth year, His family all traveled to a Magical Kingdom. He made friends and enjoyed learning about the earth and especially loved to pick strawberries and shuck corn!

In Aidan's sixth year, Aidan learned about the world around him and traveled by train with his family across the country where he saw beauty at every turn. He became a wonderful artist sharing his view of the world on paper.

Now he begins his seventh year. What adventures await!?

Friday, June 10, 2011

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Take A Hike! - The Great Outdoors

There are few things I like more than a long hike in the woods. With my husband and children along, a simple day-hike turns into an adventure of discovery.

Children meet nature with enthusiasm, runing down the trail, climbing over fallen trees and peering at tiny insects. My boys are no exception - leaping, crawling and scampering their way through the forrest. Their strong desire to connect with nature often means pockets are filled with nature's treasures including, but definetly not limited to: acorns, feathers, leaves, and pebbles, to be reverently placed on our nature table later that evening.

These times of enthusiasm can also be teachable moments to explain stewardship and preservation of natural resources. On our most recent hike, the boys learned that Mr. Salamander loves his home in the forrest and needs to remain in his habitat, not brought to ours. At one point Aidan so wanted to bring home a large toadstool to put on our nature table - What a messy transport that would have been! But in the end, he was glad to leave it, knowing it would continue to live and that other hikers would have the chance to discover it themselves.

Here are some of fun activities for your next hike:

Find some honeysuckle and teach your little one to taste the sweet juice within.

Play "Simon Says" down the trail using animal motions (i.e. jump like a rabbit, scamper like a squirrel, flit like a bird, etc.)

Sit still and count how many different bird songs you can hear in a 3 minute time span.

Meet A Tree (Pick a tree & observe it... Do your arms fit around it? Is the bark rough or soft? where do the roots lead? Does it have leaves or needles? Is there evidence that an animal has been near the tree? etc.)

Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to play, explore and wonder in The Great Outdoors!

This post is gladly shared with:

Global Waldorf Expo

If you are interested in Waldorf homeschooling or simply looking for ways to engage your child in a daily rhythm, come join the Global Waldorf Expo, and online event with sessions sure to provide hours of inspiration whose benifits will last for years to come. You can register here

Thanks to
Donni at The Magic Onions for hosting a giveaway from Donna at The Waldorf Connection, I will be "attending" and look forward to all I will learn and apply to our family.

Here is a rundown of the sessions:

Friday, June 10
Kick-0ff Preview: “The Importance of Waldorf Education”
With Rainbow Rosenbloom: 4:00pm Eastern

Saturday, June 11

Session One: “ It’s All Relative; Helping Your Child Meet the ‘Real’ World”
With Eugene Schwartz: 9:30 am Eastern

Session Two: “Cooking & Snacks with Children”
With Anne Marie Fryer: 11am

Session Three: “Practical Ways to Teach Multiple grades”
With Barbara Dewey: 1pm

Session Four: “Getting Dad on Board”
With Melisa & Eric Nielsen: 2:30 pm

Session Five: “Spinning a Yarn: Intuitive Storytelling”
With David Sewell McCann: 4pm

Session Six: “Music Through the Grades”
With Anne Cleveland: 5:30 pm

Sunday, June 12

Session One: “Kindergarten Days”
With Sharifa Oppenheimer: 9:30am

Session Two: “Mothers and Sons: The Dance of Attachment & Separation”
With Janet Allison: 10:30am

Session Three: “Weaving Math into Main Lesson”
With Marin Lipowitz: 12:00am

Session Four: “Festivals through the Year”
With Jennifer Tan: 1pm eastern

Session Five: Scheduling Middle & High School Lessons
With Kristie Burns: 2:30pm

Session Six: The Sense of Life in the Young Child”
with Danielle Epifani 4:00pm

Session Seven: “Teaching music to your child: You can do it!”
With Jodie Mesler: 5:30pm

Session Eight: “The Soul of Discipline”
With Kim John Payne TBA

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Great Outdoors - A Children's Garden

Here is my little garden,
Some seeds I’m going to sow.
Here is my rake to rake the ground,
Here is my handy hoe.

Here is the big, round yellow sun;
The sun warms everything.
Here are the rain clouds in the sky;
The birds will start to sing.

Little plants will wake up soon,
And lift their sleepy heads;
Little plants will grow and grow
In their little, warm earth beds.

~ Author Unknown ~

Throughout my teen years, my parents had a very, very large garden. I watched my father till the ground, create an underground irrigation system and make precise raised beds. Then my mother would step in with seeds and seedlings of all kinds of tasty vegetables and lovely flowers. The garden provided us all an understanding of how plants grow and for the younger children a wonderful place to explore and play.

Now, as a mother myself, I want my children to experience the joy of knowing they grew their own food. However, our yard is small so we made a little children's garden.

While Shane (2) dug the holes, Aidan (5) planted the seedlings - Broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes.

After a few minutes, Shane was distracted by his newly found worm friends and Aidan moved on to planting seeds - carrots & zucchini (Both of which broke above the ground within 2 weeks.)

That evening we put up a plastic fence which proved no match for a certain furry neighbor who had a delicious supper of broccoli & eggplant - Oh well, we tried.

Here are a few good picture books about gardens and plants:

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