Friday, March 7, 2014

A Swap Just For Mama

Not very often do I get a chance to have a surprise from a complete stranger arrive in my mailbox full of amazing goodies just for me. So when I heard about the blog swap that Sweet Potato Claire was hosting I thought it would be so much fun to send a gift to a very deserving Mama somewhere here in Canada and to have a little something come back to me as well.

I couldn't have been more blessed by the package that I received today. As I opened it a wonderful aroma of lemon grass wafted out and inside the little polka dot pouch were three silver tins of healing salves and lotions. A lemongrass body butter, green tea healing hand salve and a lip balm. Each one made with organic oils and essential oils. Oh my how I needed the healing hand salve for my winter hands!

Fingerless Gloves

That wasn't all though. There was one more little package and inside were a wooly and warm pair of fingerless gloves. You know I have knitted similar gloves for my daughter, cousins and even my mom but I have never made any for myself so they are going to be well loved and used :)

Thank you so much Kim!! I am going to use every last drop of cream you gave me. You have truly blessed me with your thoughtful gift.

Being that no one knows who they are going to get their goodies from I think it is safe to share on here what I made for the lucky Mama that I got.


I have been a busy little girl sewing her a flirty apron...

and one of my favorite burlap market bags with a little coin pouch. I sure hope she likes it :)

Heard of any handmade swaps lately? I would love to know about them.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Second & Third Lights of Advent

Second light of advent

 Oh how the days of this year's advent are flying!

My mom has been in the hospital after having had an operation and now that she has returned home only just a few days ago it feels like I can finally play a bit of catch up on my blog and share how our advent table is growing :)

Forcing Paperwhites

In the second week of Rudolph Steiner's four kingdoms during advent it says:

The second light of Advent is the light of plants,
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance

So we filled our table with plants. I had purchased some paperwhite bulbs at a local garden supply store to force and found the white bowl at the dollar store. We then filled it with stones to act as anchors to hold our bulbs in place as they start to grow and to keep them just a smidge above the water in the bottom of the bowl so they won't rot. It's amazing how quickly they sprang to life and their shoots are already quite a few inches high!


 I just adore Amaryllis flowers in the dark months of winter with their tall green stems and bright blooms the size of your hand so I splurged a little and bought one special bulb to plant for our table as well :)

I had seen somewhere on the web that they had planted their bulb in a tall vase to help support their long stems as they grow so I found a glass pasta jar and thought it would work. Perhaps not quite as pretty but more in my price range *grin*. We laid a couple of inches of stones in the bottom of the jar and then placed the bulb on top making sure that it had a little room around it so it wasn't quite pressed up against the glass, filled jar with water till the roots were submerged (about an inch below the base of the bulb) and then added a few ornamental red cranberries for more color. It won't bloom in time for Christmas but it sure will be pretty when it does :)

Third light of Advent

Tonight is the third week of advent and in the third week of Rudolph Steiner's four kingdoms it says:

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts,
Light of hope that shines in the greatest and the least

Barn Animals

And all of our barnyard animals have finally made their way to the crèche :) 

Up until now we had only had our little manger that the children have been filling with little bits of hay each morning and an empty crèche so they were very excited to finally pull out all of the animals that belong with our nativity set plus a few more that they rounded up around the house *grin*. Next Sunday we will bring Mary and Joseph out as well and then Baby Jesus on the eve followed by the three wise men as they visit with their gifts :)

I have a few little crafts I want to make this week with the children to feed our feathered friends. Each year we pick a tree in the front yard that we can see from our family room window and fill it with all sorts of goodies for the birds and squirrels :) So this year I like this apple treat feeder and if we get enough snow we'll make some snow sculpture feeders again and these are always fun to make to :)

How about you, what are you doing this week?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

It was still dark and I'm pretty sure I was in a deep sleep when the first footsteps came padding into my bedroom this morning to alert me that Saint Nicholas had come in the night and had filled their shoes with goodies. I think after that I may have even been covered in a few wet kisses and squeals of delight before I tried to sneak in a few more minutes of sleep instead of getting out of bed *grin*. That didn't last long as more footsteps followed and there was a special treat from mama to be prepared as well :)

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas had been most generous and had stuffed their shoes to the brim with oranges and nuts, a couple of golden coins, a chocolate St. Nick figure...

Brown Paper Packages

and a little brown paper package for each of them.

Mother Westwind

As the aroma of cinnamon and fresh bread filled the air we sat at the dining room table with hot cocoa to unwrap the little packages :) Last year the children received christmas themed books but this year I found some lovely classics for the older children....


and a copy of a Magic School Bus book for M. He was thrilled to have a copy that he could call his very own :)

Marzipan & Cinnamon Kringel

After that things got mighty quiet as book pages were turned and mouths were filled with warm bites of the marzipan, almond and cinnamon kringel that I had made for the occasion :)

Saint Nicholas Gifts

The children must have all been very good this year because there was no visit from the Krampus thank goodness and Opa had a good time retelling tales of when he was a child in Austria and Sankt Nikolaus would visit his house.

Saint Nicholas Cookies

We had made some special cookies using our favorite speculaas recipe and shaped them as Saint Nicholas but unfortunately my red gel icing didn't make them red but instead a deep shade of pink :( Oh well they still tasted delicious...

Saint Nicholas Cookies

And were cute packed inside our little tins that were going to be dropped off as secret gifts to unsuspecting friends and family. You should hear the children giggle as they try to sneak up quietly to a house to ring the doorbell and then run away as fast as the can *grin*. I don't think they got caught once this year :)

Marzipan & Cinnamon Kringel

 Do you celebrate St. Nicholas? I would love if you would leave a comment or a link to your blog letting me know what your family did today :)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting Ready for Saint Nicholas

For Saint Nicholas

There was much anticipation as the children pulled out their wooden shoes for the arrival of Saint Nicholas tonight and filled them with carrots and hay for his horse :)

We have spent the last couple of days reading some of our favorite books like the Legend of Saint Nicholas and The Baker's Dozen and of course we had to pull out our Veggie Tale movie of Saint Nicholas as well. It just wouldn't be complete without the veggies *grin*.

Holly Wreath

I've been sneakily collecting a few special books for their gifts in the morning and this year to make their gifts special I made these little wreaths with holly leaves. I just cut out a cardboard wreath shape and then used my hot glue gun to glue them all around the cardboard circle. Really easy and I think I'm going to make a bunch more for the rest of my christmas gifts :)

Brown Paper Packages

 I just love how they turned out and now I'm off to fill their shoes with nuts and other goodies before they wake up because I know they will be up before the first light of morning. There will be no sleeping late for mama tomorrow :)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Waldorf Craft Fair

New Candles

 A few days ago I got an email with a reminder about the Waldorf craft fair that was happening today and a little teaser that there would be activities and singing for the children while we were there :)


 When we arrived we found that they had all of the classrooms set up as different little stations. There was one room full of all the wonderful bits and bobs to buy with playsilks, crowns, wands, felt playmats, candles, wooden toys and so much more. Then there was the craft room where the children took turns at the tables sanding and polishing wooden tree rounds for candle stick holders and then rolling sheets of beeswax to make candles for their holders. In other rooms there was singing, puppet shows, snacks and an enchanted cookie house where we went into a dimly lit space with twinkle lights while we were sprinkled with faerie dust and sang to while we picked out our favorite gingerbread cookie to eat :) So much fun!!

Felt Advent Decorations

 There just happened to be oodles of activities going on in the city today while we were there so we had a chance to go to the farmer's market, another craft fair where I got a funky burl candle holder and if we had stayed long enough we would have even been able to see a parade but I wanted to get home before it got to late and even so I ended up driving in the dark *grin*.

So after a late dinner and quick moment to put my feet up I realized that we had to get our advent countdown calendar out. I had nearly forgot that today was the 1st!

Luckily I had saved the maple branch that we had cut and used last year so I retrieved it from its hiding place in the laundry room and brought out some ribbon to tie it up so it is now dangling beneath the mantle. Each day one of the children will be able to find a little felt ornament with the day's number needle felted onto it to be hung up on the branch as we count down the days until the 24th :)

New Candles

Thank goodness no one seemed to mind that Mama was a little behind on the decorations this year *grin*. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Come Join Me Over At Rhythm of the Home Today

Handcarved Stamp Article

I'm so excited! The new winter edition of Rhythm of the Home is out and I'm sharing how to carve your own rubber stamps over there today :)

So grab a cup of tea and enjoy all of the wonderful articles, recipes and crafts being shared and check out the giveaway over at the Rhythm of the Home blog that is going on today as well to kick off the new edition. See you there!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

First Week of Advent

Advent Week 1

 We light one candle shining bright
Upon this Holy Advent night
Fill our hearts with loving might
Lead us to Christmas Day's brilliant light!
 - M. T. Schunemann

I love this time of year as our excitement for the Christmas season grows with each candle that we light :) 

This morning the children and I pulled out the box deep in the back of my closet with our advent candle holder and beeswax candles and brought it to the coffee table. We cleared off the miscellaneous school books that were scattered all over it so that we would have lots of space to set it up in its special spot for the holiday season where it will be joined in the coming weeks by our nativity scene and St. Nicholas.

Advent Week 1

 Rudolph Steiner incorporates the four kingdoms into the four weeks of advent as well and for the first week he shares:

 The first light of Advent is the light of stones,
Light that lives in seashells, in crystals and in bones.

So the kids picked through their stash of favorite stones and shells and I brought out the special hour glass crystals that were gifted to us from a fellow waldorf family earlier this spring and for the bones we thought maybe our dried starfish might qualify since it's just the skeleton of it left *grin*.

Advent Week 1

Our tradition is that the youngest child gets to light the first candle and then the middle and so on so little M had the honor of holding the match all on his own to light his candle tonight and then we turned out all of the lights and sat under the glow of our star lanterns from Martinmas and watched the light of the candle grow as the wick burned down and the flame grew larger. This went on for a little while until Hubby and I were the last ones left enjoying one anothers quiet company :)

 Over the next couple of days we'll start to pull out all of our favorite Christmas books including  Celebrate with Joy by Sondra Burnett  which is full of inspiration on scriptures to read, craft ideas and ways to make Christmas even more special and our library wish list is overflowing with seasonal favorites. Each trip into town finds us with a few more that are waiting for us to be picked up and brought home. I think I might even grab a few paper whites to plant for next week's light of plants. I can't wait :)

What are your plans for advent and the coming weeks?


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Apple Hand Pies

Apple hand pie maker

 Whenever I have pastry made for baking I always have this urge to make little hand pies with it but I never follow through thinking it's going to be way to much work fiddling around with them. Not long ago though when I was grocery shopping I found this cute little mold for making apple shaped hand pies that would be just perfect for using with the apples we had left from picking and I knew my daughter would love it to :)

Apple Hand Pies

 With our chilled pastry and floured rolling pins in hand we started rolling and placing our dough in the press.

Making Hand Pies

 Why do these little things always look like they are going to make the job so simple but it's never quite so?! The instructions said to use the outside of the press like a cookie cutter to get apple shaped pastry pieces that you then laid inside with the filling and  pressed together to make your hand pie. 

Of course this totally didn't work when the pastry started to slide into the indentations on the inside of the press while needing the strength of He-Man to make the crimped edges show up. All this was definitely giving me flashbacks to a pierogi maker I tried using years ago that squeezed all of the filling into a doughy balloon that got stuck in the crack of the press making an awful mess *grin*.

Needless to say we tossed those instructions in the trash can! LOL.

Apple Hand Pies

In the end we just cut our pastry into rectangular shapes and layered them in the press with our sliced apple filling sandwiched in between and it worked out so much better :) L rolled and filled while I pressed them as hard as I could until we ran out of pastry.

Oh my goodness were they delicious!!! We sprinkled a bit of cinnamon sugar on top before baking them and when they came out of the oven and cooled enough so that we could hold them they were nice and firm and the perfect treat for a chilly fall afternoon.... not sure how soon I'm going to attempt making them again though *grin*.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Drawstring Bags, Stamps & Jute

Stamped Muslin Drawstring Bags

 Every year we participate in a wonderful Waldorf themed holiday stocking stuffer swap with families all around the world and this year was no exception! We made 10 sets of hand carved winter stamps full of acorns, snowflakes, gingerbread men and snowmen to send in little handmade muslin drawstring bags stamped with one of the stamps found inside each bag :)


They turned out even cuter than I had envisioned with their little jute drawstrings *grin*.

Waldorf Swap

 We finally got them all packaged up earlier this week and sent our box of goodies on their way down to the US and in a couple of weeks our box will make its way back to us full of new surprises :) In past years we have received beeswax candles & decorations, aprons with wood burned wooden spoons, playsilks in seasonal colors, gnomes, knitted animals and so many more wonderful things. 

Are you participating in a seasonal swap? I would love to know what you are making :)


Monday, November 12, 2012

Celebrating Martinmas

Martinmas Lantern

Yesterday we celebrated Martinmas or St. Martin's day :)

Lantern Walk

I wanted to replace last year's paper mache leaf lanterns with some pretty new star shaped ones so we spent the morning cutting out our cardboard stars, gluing in yellow vellum paper to create the star shaped windows and adding wire handles so that we would be able to carry them on our lantern walk in the evening. They turned out beautifully and were perfect to go along with the special story I told them of needing a little home to keep Autumn's spark safely within during the dark and cold months :)

As it grew dark and we had finished our dinner I had each of the children bring their lantern so I could place a bit of spark (LED candles) in each of their lanterns and off we went through the dark. It was pouring rain outside so we weren't able to go outdoors this year but instead we turned off all of the lights in the house and made our way from one end to the other a few times singing our lantern songs *grin*. So much fun!

We made a special recording of the song we used this year so that we could look back next year and I thought it would be nice to share it along with the words with all of you as well :) The original German song is called "Ich geh mit meiner Laterne" and this is an English version of it. (You will have to click through to my blog to see it if you are reading this via email)

I go outside with my lantern, my lantern goes with me
Above the stars are shining bright, down here on Earth shine we.
The cock does crow, the cat meows, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

I go outside with my lantern, my lantern goes with me
Above the stars are shining bright, down here on Earth shine we.
So shine your light through the still dark night, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

As I looked for the tune to sing it to I actually came across quite a few versions but really liked this one and you can even find a video that shows the sheet music to go along with it here :) The other song that we sang was "Glimmer Lantern Glimmer" and you can hear it in a video here.

Martinmas Lanterns

 The sunlight fast is dwindling,
My little lamp needs kindling.
Its beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear Lantern, guard me with your light.

Happy Martinmas!