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!