Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Testing the Waters on a Waldorf Rhythm

I have been playing with the idea of homeschooling my sons for quite some time now.  I haven't entirely made up my mind yet.  This is a huge decision, obviously, and it's not one I am entirely ready to make.  However, I am trying out some things to help me determine what is going to work best for our family.  I have decided to try creating a rhythm similar to what I have seen done in other Waldorf inspired homeschooling homes.  I don't exactly know any of these families personally so I mostly just followed Ariella's example, as always, from CHILDHOOD MAGIC.  Here is how my first day went.

Cypress and I got up at 7 am, made coffee, prepared for the day.  I got some mango ready for breakfast but Cy could barely wait, clearly!

Once mangoes were peeled and oatmeal was prepared I crept into Free's room, and woke the sleeping dragon at 8 am...

We had our breakfast and I got the kitchen ready for our daily project.  We have decided to make Monday into cooking day.  He was very excited to hear that!  Freedom loves to spend time in the kitchen.

He took a bit of time to himself after breakfast since project started at 9.  He decided to take this time to exercise.  Starting with running around the living room...

Followed by jumping jacks, what an odd but healthy choice of ways to spend your morning.

Then he decided to make something to help me fly, or direct a marching band, whichever I prefer.  How thoughtful   : )

And then completely out of nowhere a big giant hug.  It was the most fun I have had before breakfast in a long time

Cypress and I got ready.  This is the only way I could get something like this done, and the reason you will not see Cypress for a bit.  (this is wrap I made the other day similar to the Mayan wrap or the sleepy baby wrap, super easy!!)

And 9 am we started our baking project: sourdough bread

Mixing and kneading was fun..

But not half as fun as the mess he got to make with the flour!

We had to let the dough rise for and hour so I gave Free a break to do whatever his little heart desired.  He was so excited about our new rhythm he wanted to draw it himself.  It really touched my heart to see how much he loved what I was doing.

Cypress had fallen asleep thanks to the wrap, I love it!

So I got the chance to help Free with the puzzle he chose for this break.

Then Cypress woke up just in time to help us break it down

We had a snack next.  Freedom asked for celery and peanut butter.

A few pokes at the dough

And waiting for another 45 minutes.  Freedom asked me to show him how I finger knit...

This is a VERY new skill for me as I just started yesterday but here's my first attempt at double finger knitting...

This is where it all came together.  Freedom plays the wii.  I know I know, just hear me out.  I give him 4 tokens on Monday and they are each good for 30 minutes.  He can't use more than one a day and it has to be an active, non-violent game.  No sitting on his butt, beating up bad guys.  He loved this new way of approaching our day so much he handed me a token...

My immediate response was "no way Free we are busy, sorry, not today".  He says "wait mom I know but these aren't for video games any more, they are for CRAFTS!!!!!!"

 Mission accomplished!  We started to make some felt crowns to sew onto the strip of double finger knitting I did.  I cut out a white crown shaped piece.  I let Free cut out some shapes to glue on.  He cut out a little green piece and informed me that it was a crown for the mouse king in case he came and forgot his own.

I was so impressed to see the way his imagination took off.  He has always been a creative boy but today was just so magical.    Our crown was mostly finished today but we will have to put it together tomorrow.

We threw the bread in the oven for a little bit.  Freedom was dying to show me how he could write his name...

And then for the first finished project.  Doesn't this look great?

By this time it was 11:30 time to get ready for lunch.  This was where we had our first melt down.  Free was hungry, Cy was tired and I was dying for a shower after having the oven running all day.  No pictures of this but we had lunch at noon and then quite time till about 1:30.  I really was surprised at the turnout of quite time.  Cy fell asleep and Free was actually pretty quiet for an hour! 

Anyway, when Cy woke up we decided to go to the park down the road and walk around the pond and play.  I tied Cy on and away we went.

I am not exactly sure about the significance of the colors in Waldorf education, but I believe Monday is red.  So we decided to see how many red things we could find on our walk...

Once around the pond and then for a snack under a shady tree.

Telling stories

And enjoying a chance to refuel

Free even had a roll down the hill..

This was the perfect time to relax in the grass and reflect on what we had been through during our first rhythmic day...

Of course it is too early to say what I have decided.  As it stands I am going to give Kindergarten a shot, but I have already explained to Free it's not a guarantee.  If I don't feel that they are meeting his needs, that they are soulful and mindful with him, I am pulling him out.  Period. 

I felt so good at the end of today.   Freedom LOVED it.  Cypress went with it pretty well.  All and all it just kind of fit in.  There are a few areas that need some tweaking, but all in all it was fabulous.   I can't overhaul my whole life in a day, but we can turn over a new leaf.  I cannot wait for tomorrow.  Tuesday is dad's day to do something special with Freedom.  They are going to fishing as the 9 o'clock project of the day.  Orange is the color, wonder how we can work that in? 

Well here's to luck with day two.  I will keep you guys posted.  If any of you have any suggestions, I am all ears.  I'm sure it will be great.  I cannot wait!

Wish me luck,

By the way, there is a giveaway of some toys and a dream catcher  made by Karen over at Bare Feet and a Free Spirit
Check her out and enter the giveaway, they are super cute!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making Baby Snacks

I have been making my own baby food as long as I have had babies.  However, I always bought the teething biscuits, mum mums Zwieback toast etc.  When it came to that type of baby food I was clueless.  Until now.  I found this lovely site.  They offer so many great recipes for little ones.  I decided to try these oat and naner drops.   Here's the recipe.

1 c quick oats

1 c ground oats (grind oats and make a coarse oat flour)

1/4 t salt

1/4 t cinnamon or ginger or cardamom (we'd try it with all 4 spices.)

1/4 t nutmeg

1 t baking powder

1 c (~2) overripe bananas, mashed

1 t vanilla extract

3 T oil of choice (I used sesame oil)

Here's what you need to do:

First: preheat the oven to 350.  Grind your oats to make the flour (mentioned above).  The you should mix all your dry ingredients together in one bowl - oats, flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and spice of your choice (I just used cinnamon).

Next:  mash your bananas well.  Mix together all your wet ingredients in a separate bowl - bananas, vanilla, oil (I used sesame oil and this worked really well)

Then: mix your ingredients together

Now:  place some parchment or wax paper on a cookie sheet so you can avoid adding unnecessary grease.  I chose to form these into more of a bar shape than the drop shape suggested in the original recipe so they're easier for little fingers.

Next: pop these bad boys into the oven and wait about 12 - 15 minutes

I actually ended up waiting about 15 minutes but when they are done they don't look any different than they did to start so don't wait for these to brown before you take them out or you've just burnt them.

Here's our finished product:

Next, take them to the experts for a taste test......

He's putting a lot of thought into this one, testing consistency, flavor, durability...

He likes it!!!!

Mama likes them too!  The sesame oil added a really neat flavor that went well with the bananas (and sounded better than olive oil, which was the only other option, yikes)  They also weren't very messy.  My kids have had biscuits that cover all their face and clothes in some bizarre goop or crumbled instantly into a million pieces. These are less mess and less work for mom.  So my take on these is that they are Eco-friendly baby snacks since I don't have to wash 7 baby shirts a day or vacuum the floor after every single snack session.  They contain no wheat or eggs and my version is vegan friendly thanks to the sesame oil.

They get two enthusiastic thumbs up from me, and Cypress!

What are your favorite baby friendly recipes?  We can never have too much variety for this little chow hound!  I'd love to hear any tried and true recipes you have.