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*.