Friday, January 31, 2014

{This Moment} Her First (Written) Words

{This Moment} - A Soule Mama Friday ritual. A single photo- no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments section for all to find and see. We wish you a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

All Boxed Up And Ready To Go

A thank-you note was created and signed, cookies have been boxed (or bagged) and are now ready to be delivered to their new homes! If you ordered cookies from the girls be expecting a visit from us soon. To everyone who ordered: thank you for supporting their troop! It is greatly appreciated! xo

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Safe Travels, Kristoff And Happy!

We are part of a group of Waldorf families participating in a traveling gnome exchange (think Flat Stanley but with gnomes)! The girls are so excited about this project and cannot wait to hear about all the fun things their gnomes did while they were away. The three of us worked on creating a letter to include in the packets we are sending along with our gnomes, and we decided to include some coloring sheets about Massachusetts as well. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the gnomes we will be hosting and will be sure to share our adventures with them here in this space as well. Safe travels, Kristoff and Happy! We look forward to your return so we can hear all about the many adventures you had while you were away! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

This Monday Of Ours

Our day today was full of snuggles and silliness and lots of creating. Of writing thank-you notes and playing. Of a trip to the store, a couple of new blank books and a brand new box of crayons (is there anything better?). It was a good day, this Monday of ours, and a lovely way to start our week. Looking forward to what tomorrow brings (though we're not looking forward to more wicked cold weather). We hope your day was just as delightful! Stay warm, dear friends!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Smiles::Birthday Kitty

Evidently Gretchen is getting a head start on planning for Emma's birthday next month! Finding it hard to believe that my baby will be turning six...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Josephine: A Multicultural Children's Book Day Review

January 27th is Multicultural Children's Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature and our family is very honored to have been chosen as one of the book reviewers for this wonderful (and much needed) event! According to recent statistics only 10% of children's books published are diverse in nature. This is despite the fact that according to recent census data 37% of the US population consists of people of color. With that in mind Multicultural Children's Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature was born! Many thanks to Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom and Valerie Badayr from JumpIntoABook for putting this event together, and to Wisdom Tales Press, Lee and Low Books, Chronicle Books and Susan Daniel Fayad for serving as sponsors. As they say, never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world!
We were sent Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker to review. Before we began reading I showed the girls the trailer for the book (which they loved).  It is a gorgeous (albeit long) book. With 104 pages this is not a book that you should read all in one sitting (we did, and if we could go back in time and change that we would). It spans Josephine's entire life and could (and should) be read one section at a time. We loved learning about her travels and being able to look up video footage of her on YouTube as we read about different performances that she did. We were fascinated that not only was she a dancer but she was also a spy, learned to fly planes, performed for the troops and was awarded France's highest honor (the Legion d'Honneur). The girls loved that she adopted twelve children from all different countries and made sure that they remained connected to their home cultures and home religions. She and her "rainbow tribe" (as she called them) were truly helping to break barriers! 
I also discovered that Chronicle Books had a couple of activities to go along with this book. 
I knew that the girls would love to make their own banana bracelets in honor of Josephine's famous banana dance!
They decided to cut each banana out to make it more like her skirt. Brilliant idea, girls!
Grace modeling her banana bracelet and her favorite part of the story. 
The girls absolutely loved this drawing activity and came up with some great ideas!
Grace thought Josephine might have liked to walk a peacock!
My only criticism of this book is that in the beginning it mentions rape. To say that I was *very* surprised to see that a children's book would contain such a word is an understatement, especially given that it's target audience is seven to ten year olds. After the shock of seeing this word in this book wore off I chose to skip reading that particular word aloud rather than get in a discussion with my seven-and-a-half year old and my (almost) six year old about what rape is. There will come a time when we discuss that topic but in my opinion these tender ages are not the time. 
Thank you Mia and Valerie for choosing our family to serve as book reviewers for this very important day! We hope that you'll keep us in mind for future book events too!

*Full Disclosure: Chronicle Books provided a copy of Josephine to review. All opinions expressed are my own. *

Friday, January 24, 2014

{This Moment} The Perfect Twirling Skirt

{This Moment} - A Soule Mama Friday ritual. A single photo- no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you are inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments section for all to find and see. We wish you an weekend full of beautiful moments!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

To Canada With Love

At the end of last we wrapped up some rocks to send to our friends in Canada. Kim had asked us if we'd be up for a rock exchange and of course we immediately answered with a resounding "yes!" After a good stretch of time searching for the best rocks we felt we finally had some worthy of sending to her sweet little man Reece. The rocks, along with some postcards, were packed in a very festive mailing envelope and shipped out yesterday! We hope you enjoy this little bit of New England, dear friends! The rocks that you sent us are just gorgeous (and very loved!) and we hope you feel the same way about these! Enjoy, and let's surely do another nature exchange this spring! xoxo

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Finding Balance

I know that I have posted this picture before (just last week as a matter of fact) but I felt that it tied in so beautifully to the rest of this post that I needed to use it again. Read on and you'll understand why.  

Today on Facebook I read this fabulously spot-on blogpost. And while I rarely devote a whole post here to something that I read there I just couldn't help but feel that what I said there needed to be shared here as well. Kara over at Quill and Camera posted about life as a recovering Waldorf perfectionist. This post is beautifully written and resonated deeply with me (even though we've never been 100% Waldorf). 

"My kids’ favorite toys continue to be open-ended. We don’t push early academics. We bake. A lot. We have a rhythm.

We really dig gnomes.

But I don’t sing a song when it’s time to leave a public place or mop the floor.

The parts of Waldorf that just don’t work for us, I leave for other families. I admire those families very much. And yes, a little part of me sometimes wishes we lived in a community where none of the kids had Xboxes, because something about that just sounds very nice.

But when we opened up our world a bit, when we joined a diverse homeschooling co-op for instance, so many wonderful things happened for us. So I don’t regret at all embracing the parts of Waldorf philosophy that work for us, and letting the rest go."

-Kara from Quill and Camera

We have never been Waldorf purists (or perfectionists) though we are happy to be connected to this beautiful community. I must admit that there have been times when I've wished that we could be *more* Waldorfy than we are. Truthfully though, when we've tried to be more Waldorfy it never really felt right either. So much of what we've embraced about the Waldorf philosophy are things that we just naturally did or things that just inherently felt right to us. We've experienced new festivals and new things along the way (and met some amazing families) thanks to our connection to the Waldorf community, all the while adopting only what truly felt right to us and leaving the rest for other families for who those things are a better fit. It's all about balance, my friends. It's all about finding what works. For us, it's a blend of a whole bunch of different approaches to life and learning (seriously, we really don't fit under any one category these days), but it's that blend that makes us the family that we are! Oh, and we *really* dig gnomes! xo

With A Little Help From Papa

Sunday morning we all noticed that the gorgeous (and huge!) snowman that the girls had built the day before had fallen. Immediately they asked if they could head outside to rebuild it, and right after they asked that question they asked if David would go with them to help. 
The snowman building team decided that once we got home from church a new snowman would be built. And, as you can see it surely was! 
Great job, team!
The toppling of the big snowman meant that Grace needed to rebuild Olaf too. 
She's got a talent for sculpting Olaf, this girl of ours!