Taking a Blog Break

January 1, 2013

So much to blog about. Our wonderful trip to Florida, Adelaide’s second birthday, all of our holiday and advent crafts, Christmas, New Years and more, but I’m taking a blog break. Not sure when or if I’ll be back.

All of the things to blog about hanging over my head stresses me out. I feel as though I won’t ever catch up, and I don’t like it. Going to spend my January living my life, connecting with my family and pouring myself back into our rhythm, which gets off beat when there is so much chaos over the holidays. Hope you have a wonderful time finding your rhythm again, as well. Perhaps I’ll miss the blog immensely, and feel it’s gentle pressure to do fun activities and give our days more structure, but perhaps I’ll not miss it at all. Only time will tell.

Xlear Review

December 4, 2012

With Christmas almost upon us, it’s the time for holiday goodies. Can we say sugar overload? We like homemade sweets as much as the next family, but sometimes a healthier option is in order.

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When I was offered the chance to sample and review Xlear SparX https://www.xlear.com/ candy with xylitol, a natural sweetener that’s actually good for your teeth, I jumped at it. Eleanore and I were surprised they were so fruity, sweet tasting and good! It is a true healthy indulgence I would not feel guilty about giving my children. They almost remind me of a healthier nerd-like candy– a childhood favorite of mine. Best of all, they contain no artificial color, which is something we’re avoiding in our family.

I’ve known about the company for a while, as both Eleanore and Adelaide love their bubble gum flavor children’s toothpaste, and now we all love their candy, too.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet SM (http://www.greenmomsmeet.com/)
program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Finished and Almost Finished Waldorf Babies

November 15, 2012

If you’re friends with me on facebook, you’ve already seen a picture of Adelaide’s finished Waldorf baby for her 2nd birthday, but I just realized I never posted a picture here on my blog!

Here she is:
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The yarn is handspun by me and from my stash. The shirt is from this pattern and the pants are just a custom knit by me. *Everything* except the doll needles ($4.50 at Joann’s) and one little skein of embroidery floss (I didn’t have any pink floss in my stash) for .39 was from my stash. For the doll skin, I used an old white t-shirt I dyed a tan-ish pink, and I used another old white t-shirt of Eleanore’s for the inside of the doll head.
I used Waldorf Doll Making as my main reference, but I also used these great online tutorials to clarify a few things.

This is a great tutorial from Living Crafts magazine (and they’re not going to be printing the magazine any longer – I was devastated to hear that a few weeks ago :()

This is a nice walk-through with pictures and even a printable pattern from Echoes of a Dream.

And this is the tutorial I used for the hair. It made it a lot easier to sew it together before sewing it on the head.

This one will be for Adelaide’s 2nd birthday, as Eleanore received a Waldorf doll for her 2nd birthday. However, I thought that Eleanore might like another doll for Christmas. Plus, I had all these patterns just waiting to be worked in the Making Waldorf Dolls book, so I figured why not whip up another one.
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I’m not finished with it yet — I’m still sewing the arm piece to the body and legs. This one was a little more difficult for me, if you can believe it. My hand sewing skills are a little rusty, and I made the head a little too long. I veered a little from the pattern in the book, adding a few bean bags filled with lentils to make her more of a “heavy” baby. Eleanore especially loves her weighted dolls, so I hope she likes her.

I’m actually loving making these dolls; I’m so glad I got over my intimidation of them. They’re the perfect crafting project to unwind with in the evenings. I’m kind of sad I’m almost finished with this one, but I do have lots of projects to be worked before Christmas — a mermaid tail for Eleanore’s bigger Waldorf baby, a child-sized mei tai, hair ties, blocks, etc. I do see more doll making in my future though!

Preparing for Advent

November 14, 2012

The day after Thanksgiving we’re driving down to Florida and then Indianapolis, so I’m trying to get things organized for the holidays before we leave. It’s a daunting task! One thing I’ve wanted to do for ages was an advent calendar. This year I am giving it a go. It will be a bit strange, as we’re out of town until December 9th, but I figure we can just double up after we get home and perhaps even take a few with us.

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I made our advent calendar this year out of library pockets, then printed out library cards to slip inside, stamped the days on and then hung it in a Christmas tree shape with the 25 on the top. I think we’ll go ahead and do a Christmas-y stamp on each one in addition to the number stamp.
Each pocket has a holiday activity to do. I really wanted to focus on activities, rather than candy or gifts. Here is my list:

1. Make an advent wreath for the table.
2. Bake advent bread.
3. Make paper snowflakes for the windows.
4. Write a letter to Santa Claus.
5. Make shoe prints for St. Nicholas Day
6. Make candy cane milkshakes (smoothies)
7. Make a winter nature wreath.
8. Make snow (instant snow powder).
9. Make orange peel bird feeders.
10. Collect food for those who are less fortunate.
11. Make ornaments to give and hang on the tree.
12. Take a video of us singing a Christmas carol to send to family.
13. Bake St. Lucia bread and make crowns.
14. Make candy cane playdough.
15. Make paper chains for the tree.
16. Donate some of our old toys and books for other boys and girls to enjoy.
17. Visit Santa.
18. Decorate edible Christmas trees (using upside down ice cream cones).
19. Drive after dark to see the lights and decorations.
20. Make hot cocoa and watch a Christmas movie.
21. Make wrapping paper.
22. Bake Christmas cookies
23. Make a popcorn and cranberry garland for the birds.
24. Open one gift and read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
25. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Other ideas: make Christmas slime (add glitter to make it “magical”), make fudge or candy, roast chestnuts…

And, in case you were wondering, yes that is green crayon on my wall. Adelaide loves to color, and wanted to make the wall beautiful. This mama is out of magic erasers at the moment…

Waldorf Wednesday

More Birds

November 12, 2012

Normally I’d be posting about Martinmas today, as yesterday was the night to head out on the traditional Martinmas lantern walks. Unfortunately, a trip to the indoor play place with our homeschool group last week got Eleanore sick. Every time we play at one, we end up sick. I don’t know what I was thinking. So, we had a quiet day at home. We did read our usual martinmas stories, but both girls were so tired, we didn’t even get to walk outside in the yard with our lanterns as I had hoped. A candle at dinner while we shared our meal was enough for this year’s celebration.

Even while dealing with runny noses and sore throats, we’ve all been having a wonderful time watching the birds outside our dining room window on the suet feeder. We’re using our National Geographic Field Guide to Michigan birds to identify them (perfect pictures that make it easy enough for even Eleanore to do so!)
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So far we’ve seen male and female cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, chickadees, blue jays, white breasted nuthatch, dark eyed juncos, male and female downy woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, and just today we spotted a carolina wren for the first time.

Eleanore’s been enjoying it so much that I decided to join Project FeederWatch. Once we receive our packet with materials, a calendar and poster, we’ll be keeping track of all the birds we see visiting our bird feeder and submitting the data to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for their research. They even have a homeschool guide!

And when we emptied a milk gallon yesterday, we couldn’t resist making another bird feeder. We cut a hole in it, punched a twig through beneath it, filled it with birdseed and hung it on the other side of our suet feeder. The nuthatches and chickadees are loving it!

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Make sure and enter my tiny prints giveaway for your chance to win $50 to spend at their store. I’m picking a winner tomorrow!

It’s time for Holiday Cards ( and *another giveaway!*)

November 11, 2012

I’m back with another great giveaway!

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It’s nearing the holidays, so of course it’s time to wrangle the family and take those pictures. I just attempted to take a few pictures and I hope at least one of them is good enough for our holiday card. Getting two kids to smile at the same time is a bit of an adventure…

Once again, I’ll be ordering my cards from Tiny Prints – they have wonderful thick paper and I love the choices they are offering this year. I was very happy with the circle cards I picked up last year — they were adorable tied on a package, and we also hung a few on the tree!

There are also other fabulous Christmas Photo Cards to choose from, as well. And be sure to check out their special offers page — looks like they have a coupon valid right now for 25% off your purchase!

AND Tiny Prints is offering one of my readers a coupon valid for $50 off any order from their website. Leave a comment here to enter! Once again, receive another entry if you share via facebook or twitter – just leave an additional comment letting me know where you shared the giveaway. This is a quick one – I’ll be picking a winner Tuesday morning! Congrats #4! Jess, you’re the winner! Watch for your email coming directly from Tiny Prints with your code.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints.

For the birds

November 7, 2012

With Autumn comes the bird feeder crafts. I’m sure you’ve seen this craft everywhere, but Eleanore and Adelaide had fun gathering a basket of pine cones, spreading them with peanut butter, in between sneaking tastes, and then dipping them in bird seed.
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We hung them right outside our dining room window, expecting to spy on the birds as they enjoyed their treat.

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We didn’t need our bird book, however, to identify the creatures that dined… sneaky squirrels.
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We watched Mr. Squirrel (Mrs.?) carefully pull each pine cone from its hanging place one by one. Oh well.

We have since hung a suet block on our holder and are now enjoying our daily visits from the chickadees, red bellied woodpeckers and tufted titmice. That bird book came in handy after all!

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We also made a beautiful, simple garland from some of the fall leaves we modpodged.
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Don’t forget to enter my National Geographic Super Reader giveaway!

Waldorf Wednesday

A picture of Adelaide’s finished Waldorf doll coming soon – I just need to finish her pants, plus another great giveaway next week!

National Geographic Super Readers Review

November 4, 2012

SuperReaderKit

I was so excited to be given the opportunity to review National Geographic Super Readers through the Mom’s Meet program. As a homeschooling family with a preschooler, it was perfect for us! Eleanore was right next to me when the box of goodies arrived and she dove right in.

Eleanore is just starting the beginning stages of learning to read, as it’s definitely not something we’re pushing (being very Waldorf-inspired in our homeschooling journey), so the Shark book at level two that was included was a bit above her reading level right now, but she *loved* the gorgeous photographs and hearing me read it to her. There are other great titles in the program as well, with dinosaurs, trains, tigers, volcanoes, planes and more all being covered. We’ve found that most of the early reader books we’ve checked out of the library are fiction, so the photographs were a great change of pace, and I can see it being very motivating to children learning to read. The poster which was included in kit, which is also available on the website is a great motivator, as well. You can chart all the books your children reads with stickers as they work through the program, and they can see their actual progress. Perfect for honing those early math skills, as well!

The program consists of leveled readers, which are all listed on the poster you can download from the website. The topics are varied, so would work fantastically in many different unit studies you might be setting up (for those that homeschool). But I can definitely see how the program would work well for those that don’t homeschool either. You can make it as basic or as structured as you want it to be! The website is really nice addition to the program, as well. We don’t do a lot of computer work yet in our homeschooling, but for those that do, they offer supplemental games and videos to tie into the books. The downloadable badges, bookmarks, printable iron on transfers and magnets are perfect for parents to download to use along with the books, too!

National Geographic, along with Mom’s Meet is offering a great contest for my readers! THREE winners will be chosen to be receive a National Geographic Super Reader book along with a poster, bookmarks and badges. Leave a comment here for your chance to win! Please share via facebook or twitter, and leave another comment to let me know, for a second entry. I will use random.org to select three winners Friday, November at 10:00 am EST.
Congratulations Jessie, Jess and Jacklyn! You all three won a National Geographic Super Reader pack!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Mom’s Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Mom’s Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.


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