Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Yard is a Yard!!

Yay! We have grass in the back yard! We hope to have sand for the sand box in the next few weeks. New menu is posted for the week, and I have plenty of pictures to post just as soon as I get a chance.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Looking forward to a yard face lift

We are excited to announce that our dusty little yard will be getting sodded the week after next! We hope to dig up the existing sod over this coming weekend, and then we will lay new sod over the next weekend.

If the weather cooperates, we will do our outdoor fabric dyeing project this week.

The updated menu is posted. Check it out!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Last week review and coming up...

Hello Folks! This week's menu will change only slightly from last week. We will be having mostly the same dishes as last week, only we will be changing up the quiche dish. Last week's was a little too green for the kiddos, so this week it will be mushroom and swiss!

The kids and I really enjoy cooking. As seasons change we will likely be doing a bit less baking and more planting, gardening and spending time outdoors. Lately we have been making muffins using our leftover oatmeal. I got the recipe from soulemama's blog, the kids love them, and it is a great inexpensive way to use up leftover oatmeal.

We eat ALOT of fruit around here, and lately pears sprinkled with cinnamon has been a favorite. The pears are sweet and with a touch of cinnamon it tastes like dessert! Kids and adults both chow these down.

We had a lot of fun with play dough this week! New spring time colors have been a hit, we made it together using this recipe: 1 cup flour, 1/4 c salt, 2 tsps. cream of tartar, 1 cup water, 1 TBSP oil, food coloring (to your liking). Mix it all up in a pot and heat it over the stovetop, stir continually until it forms a big, non sticky blob, remove from heat and wait until it cools a bit before using. I usually let the kids play with it while still warm, it is relaxing and feels nice!
This week we told stories about Tweedle the mouse who is busy gathering the loveliness of spring in a little bottle that she keeps in her pocket to use when winter comes. Things like blades of grass, smells, crocuses, dandelion petals and such. Her mouse friends don't understand why she is wasting her time doing these silly things, but they will see come winter....
Enjoy your Sunday friends!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly planner

Hello friends! We have hit such a stride at Seedlings, that I feel it would be nice to write about it a bit more. I am hoping to post a Weekly Planner every Sunday to give everyone an idea of what we will be having for meals, what stories we will be telling, and what projects we will be working on.

First, Meals! At the top of the blog, you will see a link to our Meals for the Week! Click on it, and you will see what we will be serving for the week. If you have a surplus of any fruits or veggies, we can take them off your hands and feed them to your kids. We have two snacks, in addition to our breakfast and lunch. The first snack happens in the morning on our walk, and the other one after rest time in the afternoon. Usually these snacks consist of fruit and nuts, or veggie and dip.

Each week, we will continue to tell nature stories that are based on what is happening outside! We have been making these up for the most part, and telling them at meal time, or when a child is needing some extra attention. I will start to post a few of these stories that we tell each week in a blog, so that you can ask your child questions about the story, and so that you can also join in on the story telling fun. This is great for literacy skill building and a great way to connect with your child.

This week we hope to do a few spring time projects! We will be dyeing cotton play cloths with kool aid, and we will be making some spring colored play dough to freshen up our play. Kelly and I are both working on heavy dolls for the kids to play with and we have a new doll highchair and cradle as well. Along with these projects, the outdoor gardening projects are beginning in earnest! As the days grow warmer, we will be spending more and more time outside. So, be prepared for your child to be dirty and tired by pick up time!

Happy Spring!

Monday, November 12, 2012


The frigid temperatures here in Missoula are so appropriate for this festival. As I learn more about Waldorf and the festivals celebrated, like this one, I am always inspired by how meaningful the correlation between what is happening outside, and what is happening inside (us) is. Connectedness. Meaningful.

Martinmas, from the little about it that I have gathered, is celebrated on November 11th. We will be celebrating it today November 12th, as I had almost forgotten about it. This will be the first year we have officially recognized it. But, truthfully this time of year has always felt significant, a time for internal reflection, compassion, stewardship.

For a bit of background of what Martinmas is, I borrowed this from the Waldorf essentials site. It is a nice story, and has a really great message.

The Story of Martin and the Poor Man by Cerdiwen Anya Coit
Amiens Long ago, there lived a good young man named Martin. Even as a boy, he knew that one day he would be expected to serve in the military. His father was an important military officer. And, though he desired a peaceful life outside of the military, he knew that it would be his duty to follow the life of his father. So, Martin joined the military, became an officer, and was eventually assigned to garrison duty in the town of Amiens.
One bitterly cold winter evening, the young Martin rode through the gates of Amiens on his fine proud horse. He was dressed in the regalia of his military unit: gleaming armor, a bright helmet, and a beautiful white cloak, lined with lambs wool. It was nearly freezing outside, but his thick cloak kept him warm. He was hardly aware of the cold.
But then, as he approached the gates of the town, he saw a poor man, a beggar, dressed with clothes so ragged that he was practically bare. The man was shaking and blue with cold, but no one reached out to help him. People would pass through the gates, looking straight ahead, so their eyes would not meet with those of the poor, desperate man.
Martin, seeing this, was overcome with compassion. He rode straight to the poor man and took off his white cloak. And with one stroke of his sword he tore the lovely mantle in two. He wrapped half of the cloak around the freezing man and the other half around his own shoulders.
The people nearby watched in amazement. To see a fine military officer do such a lowly thing was a ridiculous sight to many, but others were touched by the goodness that Martin showed.
That night, as Martin slept, he had a dream. A man appeared to him who looked so familiar, and he was wearing the half of the cloak Martin had given to the poor beggar. And then, Martin saw in the eyes of this man, and the light of the Divine which we carry within us.
From that day on, Martin’s life was changed forever. He knew that he could no longer be part of the military, for his true desire was to live a life of goodness.
Golden light is turning grey,
Mists begin to rule the day.
Bare the trees, their branches lift;
Clouds of dead leaves earthward drift.
Through the field the farmer goes,
Seeds of ripened corn he sows’
Trusts the earth will hold it warm,
Shelter it from cold and harm.
For he knows that warmth and light
Live there, hidden from our sight;
And beneath a sheltering wing,
Deep below, new life will spring!
Deep below, deep below, new life will spring!

This story is a little too heavy for young kids. You can lighten it up, or make up your own similar story about helping others, bringing in the light, feeling the inner light during the darker days. This feels spiritual, in whatever sense you feel it. There is no right or wrong way. It is really based in the changing of the season, reverence for darker days, taking care of those who are less fortunate than us, internal light...

So, for the festival, often times children and adults will hold lanterns and will walk through the streets, park, forest, or wherever they choose outside, with their lit lanterns and sing songs, or meditate on bringing in the light within to get us through these darker days.

At Seedlings today, we will be making lanterns for the kids to bring home. You can do with them whatever you choose. As a family, I think we will take a little walk with ours and try to think about this inner light, and helping others. This will be the first time we have recognized this time of year, in this way. If you are interested in joining us for the walk, let me know.

As you may know, at Seedlings we have been following a story of Sam the Gnome,  and his adventures with his forest friends. Today we will talk about the lantern walk that Sam and his friends take in the forest. Ask your children about it when they get home today.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Talking Pictorially

Some food for thought here.  Something that Waldorf folks talk about when working with young children is talking to them pictorially.  Because young children are so imaginative, story telling and bringing what you say to life can be really effective in conveying your message/rule/thoughts to them.  Fairy tales that have already been written can be great resources, using characters that come to life for children and adapting their story to fit your needs is a great way to start.  But if you don't have an arsenal of fairy tales at the ready when you need them, you can also use your own imagination. If this all sounds a bit vague and confusing, I will give you an example of what I am talking about.

Yesterday, Axel and Asa were drawing with expensive rectangle beeswax crayons. The kind of crayons that we put away in a closet when not using. Axel is more interested in building with these crayons than actually drawing.  Which is fine with all of us, except that he often leaves them on the floor where they are apt to get stepped on, kicked under the couch, lost, etc. 

I asked Axel to please pick them up and put them away.  He said I'm too tired to right now, I will later.  I felt myself start to dig my heels in, and I said Axel, you need to put them away now or they might get kicked under the couch, stepped on or lost, and those are expensive special crayons that we use when Asa is working on...... I lost him after the first sentence.  He refused, ran away, laughed at his cleverness. And I felt frustrated and was ready to take it to the next level by making him pick them up.  How I was going to do that, I didn't know. 

Then it clicked. And I said:

Once upon a time there was a little turtle who had a pile of special rocks that he played with everyday.  He made beautiful castles out of these rocks, and even took the time to polish each and every one. He took good care of these rocks and made sure they were put away at the end of the day after he played with them.  

One day the little turtle had played so hard all day long, and was tired and hungry.  So he decided to leave the rocks on the ground outside his house, and would pick them up in the morning after he awoke.  

So the little turtle went to bed, and fell asleep quickly.  The next morning he awoke and stepped outside to gather his rocks.  But, when he stepped outside, his rocks were gone.  For the cleaning fairies had swept them up that evening, into their big dustpans and threw them away.  

The little turtle was sad that he lost his little rocks, and wished he had put them away before bed.

Axel looked at me, smiled, turned around and picked up every single crayon and put them away.  And, after that he and Asa got the little wooden turtle that Axel got in his Easter basket out, and started reenacting the story using cheerios as the rocks! Honestly I was a bit surprised that it worked. I have tried this before, and it hasn't worked. It takes practice to build up your storytelling skills so that you really engage the kids in what you are saying. I have launched into stories before that were completely ignored by the children.  Just like any skill, you have to practice it over and over, and soon you will see the transformation! 

Donna Simmons has a download-able talk about how to talk to your kids pictorially, and I found it quite helpful, it costs $14.  Also, a book I just got from Walking Stick Toys, called The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book by Isabel Wyatt is an amazing reference for storytelling. If you haven't visited Walking Stick Toys yet, I encourage you to.  Erika (the owner) sells beautiful toys, craft supplies, books, clothing, etc.  It is located at 829 S Higgins. 

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!  We have our garden space and will be working on it in the next coming days! I will send out information about a work party soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gardening and May Day Gathering!

Hello Seedlings friends.  Spring is officially here, and we are edging ever nearer to being open!  July 1st is the for sure date, though we may be able to open as early as mid June.  I will keep you posted. 

Also, we got the word last week, that our application for a garden spot at the Northside Community garden was accepted! We have a spot, and I will claim it this Saturday. We will be spending a lot of time and energy in this spot, and would love parent involvement. We will be planning a work day there soon, and all of you green thumbs would be much appreciated. More on that to come.

And, as we get nearer to spending a lot more time together as a group, we would like to host a few get togethers to get to know one another better. As I said at our meeting, the Smetanka family is finishing up with our last year on the Moon-Randolph Homestead and we would like to host a May Day get together to celebrate spring and to get to know each other a little better.  This will happen on Saturday, May 5th, at 1pm, and will coincide with Bike/Walk/Bus week.  We will be giving tours of the homestead that day, and with any luck will have a May Pole dance as well.  We could use some volunteers to help with making the ribbon for the May Pole, and invite everyone to bring a potluck dish.  Let me know if you are interested in volunteering your time for this.  I will send out an official e-invite soon.

Beginning in May, we will start scheduling individual home visits with those of you signed up for summer enrollment.  This is not to see how you run your house, or to inspect anything, rest assured! It is strictly for getting to know your child better, and to create a connection with them.  Coming to your home is a way for us to bond with your child on a personal level, hopefully making the transition to Seedlings smooth and easy.  

Hope you are all enjoying your early spring, and this beautiful sunshine!  See you soon!