Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating Michaelmas

Happy Michaelmas

 So many wonderful things have been happening this month!
Yesterday was the celebration of Michaelmas and we have all been looking forward to it for weeks. We've been reading all sorts of dragon stories, our favorite being The Knight and The Dragon by Tomie dePaola, and the children have been re-enacting the stories with the felt dragon and knight that make up part of our nature table this month :)

Michaelmas Dragon

 I found this cute dragon craft on pinterest that we just had to make to *grin*. When you blow through the paper tube the streamers blow up like the dragon is breathing fire. It was a hit with my 6 year old and the added touch of googly eyes made it even more fun for him as he attempted to make the dragon make silly faces as he blew fire :)

Speed Peeling

 With all of the apples we had we saved a special basket of them for making a pie to go along with dinner and the kids made light work of all the peeling for me with this great little peeling gadget that peels, cores...

Apple Spring

  and slices all of the apples into uniform pieces.

  Munching on Apple Peelings

Not one part of the apples from our trees went to waste except for maybe the core but even then the chickens got those. L has a serious addiction to peelings LOL. 

 With the apples peeled and sliced it was time to make pie and legend has it that after Michaelmas you shouldn't eat fresh blackberries so of course we had to add blackberries to our apple pie which made it all the sweeter :)

Michaelmas Dragon Bread

 I had to time it right to get all of our baking done before the roast chicken had to go into the oven for dinner but we managed to bake the pie, sculpt and bake a ferocious looking dragon and even make a set of bread shaped swords to go along with dinner.

Swords for St. George

 This year I wanted to make our dinner extra special so we had my parents over and just before we ate I had everyone raise their bread swords and we recited the following poem.

 "Brave and true will I be,
Each good deed sets me free,
Each kind word makes me strong,
I will fight for the right,
I will conquer the wrong."

Since St. Michael is the saint of courage I thought this was perfect. I found it on one of the waldorf yahoo groups I'm on and don't know who to credit the poem to so if you happen to know where this is originally from I would love to know.

So after a little mock sword fighting with our bread swords we ate heartily and enjoyed the company of family :) 

Did you celebrate Michaelmas? I would love to know what you and your family did :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hello Fall ~ Apple Picking

Apple Picking

 Fall is definitely settling in for an extended stay :)
The leaves are turning beautiful reds, oranges and golds, the mornings are cool and crisp, even the evening fog that creeps through the fields at dusk has reappeared but the real highlight is that the apples are finally ready!

A tisket a tasket...

 With our baskets in hand we made our way down the lane to the apple trees that my dad has been tending for over a decade.

Apple Picking

 Why is it that the best apples are always out of reach :)

Apple Eye View

 With an apple eye view L got busy picking the biggest apples she could find...


 and passing them down to her brother...

Apple Picking

 who was waiting below hoping to fill up his basket first :)

Apple Picker

 For the really hard to reach apples my dad has this really great tool that has rake like prongs on the tips to catch around the stems of the apples and then it pulls them off the branches and they land gently on the foam pad inside the basket :) So much better than trying to shake them off of the tree *grin*.

Hello Fall!

 The children waddled home under the weight of their apple basket with giant smiles on their faces and thoughts of all the ways that we were going to be able to eat them.


 Apple muffins, apple pancakes, apple slices dipped in nut butter, apple pie...
oh it's apple heaven *grin*.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Class At The Lake


 I was sure that the last time we packed up and went home from the lake it was going to be a final goodbye to summer swimming and late nights in front of the campfire but the warm weather beckoned us to come out and play again and who were we to say no *grin*.

Class at the lake

 The forecast was for non stop sun so we quickly packed all our clothing and as much food as we could find in the fridge and raced out to the lake in hopes of finding a spot right on the beach. I think a few of the older campers were a little confused though to see our three children tumble out of the backseat when we hit the campsite. 

Public school had already started a week before but the freedom of homeschooling blesses us with the opportunities to travel whenever and wherever the wind may blow us :) That's not to say that we weren't doing any learning while we were away though! Our oldest son is in grade 8 this fall so we packed along his core subjects and the two of us worked on his lessons as the water lapped towards our toes and the wind ruffled our hair.

Dragonfly Wings

 Being surrounded by nature gave us ample opportunity to study science through observation and discussion as we explored the parts of dragonflies found floating in the lake....


studied the quirky habits of the squirrels all around us as we watched them chatter, play, and gather seeds they stuffed into the hollow holes they had made in the cedar trees.

Squirrel Treats

 We made a little art in the form of posters notifying the squirrels just where to find the tasty pinecones we had collected for them...


 and collected specimens that the children begged to bring home. I'm not sure that a crayfish would make a very good pet though and had to gracefully decline the invitation to add him to our family LOL.

Sea Monster

 Since I wouldn't allow Mr. Crayfish to come home with us he was turned into a scary sea monster that needed guarding by the hoards of playmobil men that seem to travel with us everywhere. That was until he escaped :)


 The days were so warm that the children spent most of their days in the lake swimming and playing and even Hubby braved the water and joined in with the splashing and jumping off of the swim dock.

 We discovered a trail to the most amazing hidden lagoon while exploring to. A perfect spot for swimming and jumping in off the rocks.

Hidden Lagoon

 And the water was the most amazing color of green as it sparkled in the warm sunlight :)

Class at the lake

 A perfect week of both school work and play.



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nine Times The Sun

9 Times the Sun

Nine years old!!! Oh my how I remember her chubby little cheeks as they drooped down over the white swaddling blanket that the nurses handed her to me on the day that she was born. She was so tiny and she shocked us all with her jet black hair that covered her head *grin*. No longer does she have that black hair but she has replaced it with locks down to her bottom :) 

Mini Rainbow Cakes

 Last year I made her a big rainbow layered cake and a few days before her birthday this year she mentioned how it was her favorite cake so I thought it would be fun to make it again but I didn't want it to be a repeat of the last one. So I made mini rainbow cakes using my all time favorite recipe.

Rainbow cake

 One for each of us and it was so much fun to see her smile from ear to ear when she got her very own. They were more work than I had anticipated and they gave me a little grief as I tried to ice them while they swayed dangerously from side to side like they would topple over but the end result made up for all of that. So cute :)

Birthday Sushi

 We are all nuts about sushi around here so on the morning of her birthday L and I worked together to create a huge platter of california rolls, crunchy rolls, ones filled with smoked salmon and more to share at her birthday lunch :)


 We actually had to fend off some sneaky snackers that wanted desperately to sample our sushi before it was time *grin*.

Salmon bites

 My mom made some amazing little salmon bites that she topped with a dill sauce and capers...

 and I had fun creating these fruit kabobs shaped like flowers :) Who knew miniature cookie cutters could do such a great job and I speared the skewers into an upside down half of a watermelon which provided the perfect sturdy base for all of the kabobs.

 The day couldn't have been any better as the sun shined down on us while we ate lunch in the garden :) We played croquet, had fun trying out her new hula hoop...

and you've got to love her fashion sense LOL.
Sneakers and a dress.... at least she left her gumboots at home this time *grin*. 
Oh how I love this little girl.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer Days






Foot Power


Touch Tank







 The lazy days of summer are winding down and I'm looking forward to transitioning back into our regular rhythm and picking up our school books again :)

We have packed our days full of camping, exploring, playing and enjoying the special moments that summer provides with nights spent on the beach in our cozy camper, collecting buckets full of shells and other treasures that I know we'll find a use for somehow, watching little ones fall asleep in front of the campfire and become brave little swimmers at the lake, trips to the aquarium and special dinosaur exhibits, watching our baby calves grow and making wishes on every dandelion gone to seed in sight.

I think we made good use of our days *grin*.