Our chicks

About five weeks ago we brought three baby chicks home. I affectionately call them ‘the babies’. We already have 6 free ranging chicken in our yard so they will soon have more friends to be with as soon as they are big enough to go outside.

This is the day we brought them home.

The yellow one is a salmon favorelle, the gray one is a blue chochin, and the black one is unknown. We are starting to suspect she’s a copper marran. Time will tell!

Getting some outside time while we clean their cage.

They were running out of space in the guinea pig cage we initially had them in. I’d been stressing about what to put them in when a very large box arrived yesterday with guinea pig supplies. I suddenly realized it would be perfect for the babies! Here is our new set up.

I think it’s spacious enough until they have enough feathers to sleep outside. They spend a bit of time outside every day unless it’s cold and wet. I’m looking forward to seeing them becomes friends with the older hens.

Learning about Rosh Hashanah

As part of our third grade year, we are learning about and exploring the Jewish festivals. Our first one to come up was Rosh Hashanah and we had such a fun time celebrating it.

It was a few weeks ago, so I’m a bit tardy on writing up this post.

Here are some pictures from our celebrations.

I made two loaves of vegan challah, one to have each night. There are different traditional foods that are eaten, depending upon the culture/region. We ended up checking out the book shown above from the library and used that to plan our meal. While a Seder isn’t always done at Rosh Hashanah, it was a great way to really learn about this festival. Rosh Hashanah is like the Jewish New Year. A Seder is basically when you eat certain foods that represent something or have meaning, in a certain order.

The kids spent the week before reading picture books from the library about the festival.

We ate dates stuffed with walnuts, apples dipped in honey, green beans, leeks, spinach salad, winter squash with couscous, and a head of lettuce made into a salad. (We didn’t manage to get to the store to buy a pomegranate.). We also had grape juice in lieu of wine, and of course, the challah.

We lit the candle before we began and before each dish, we said the blessing (in English). The book above explains the reason for each food as well as giving the blessing in English and Hebrew to be said before eating the food.

We celebrated Rosh Hashanah two nights, although we only did a full Seder on the first night. On the second night, we had challah and apples and honey and said some blessings.

We will be celebrating Sukkot this coming week. I’m not sure what kind of a shelter we will manage to build, but we’ll figure something out. It’s sure to be fun, though!

Finishing off our first week not-back to school

We had some bumps along the way this week, but finished on a good note today.

Some pictures from our day.

Vegan nectarine cookies that I made with my Kindergartener.

Form drawing review for the third grader.

Daily math practice sheet for the 3rd grader.

The third grader was learning about the Jewish days of the week and months, as part of his block on the Old Testament stories.

Speaking of OT stories, I just got these two gems in the mail today. I’m a huge Roy Wilkinson fan. These are for the parent/teacher to read, not the student.

Our family isn’t religious, though we are spiritual and I’ve done a TON of inner work over the past five years to get though the baggage I used to have around all things Christian. I’m looking forward to this block because I grew up never knowing any of these stories, many of which are woven into the everyday of our cultural references. Who is Cain? Lot? Seth? I grew up in the dark about who these characters were.

This is the block that often turns people away from choosing Waldorf. Many people are very uncomfortable telling the OT stories to their child if they are not Christian or Jewish. And I get that. That would have been me six years ago! I often joke that it’s a good thing that when we started using Waldorf education with my oldest, he wasn’t in third grade (he started in fourth grade) because I would have been turned off and immediately said no and we would have missed out on the education model that is a perfect fit for our family. But when you look at the curriculum as a whole, when you zoom out and see the big picture, it becomes clear that it isn’t about indoctrinating your child. It is about how these stories speak to the child on a soul level, meeting them where they are at developmentally. In first grade, it is fairy tales. In second grade, it is stories of saints (from any religion or tradition you choose). In third grade, it is the OT stories. The third grader is entering a new developmental period, leaving the misty imaginary realm of young childhood and on the brink of adolescence. They are in the thick of the nine year change. This is a time when the stark black and white of the OT stories speaks to the child in a unique level. In fourth grade, it is Norse mythology stories. In fifth grade, Greek mythology stories.

You can approach the OT stories as fact or myth, depending upon your family’s beliefs. For us, they are a story, just like the other mythologies.

Our first day

Today we began our new school year. Ninth grade for my 14 year old. Third grade for my 9 year old. And second year kindergarten for my 5 year old. We covered a lot and had a good start. Tomorrow, the mother (me) needs to work on having a wee bit more patience and on being ‘unflappable’ as they say.

Following are my week’s plans for each older child, along with the weekly paper I give them so they know what to expect and accomplish each day.

Grade three:

Grade nine:

Three years ago, I had this last minute idea to do a mini survey of the kids on the first day of school. So I quickly wrote this up. I’ve been making photo copies every year. Today was their 4th time filling it out. They all enjoyed hearing their responses from years past.

We always start the morning out with a walk. Our goal is to be home by 8:30am to get started on our day.

I had the 3rd grader prepare our morning snack.

Teaching the third grader crochet. He’s a good knitter already. The ninth grader is also doing crochet for handwork time because we never got very far with it when he was younger (he started late with Waldorf). They will both be making washcloths to begin.

My chalk drawing for third grade. Last night when i was drawing this, i decided that I must make a new chalkboard. This one wasn’t done properly, as I used a brush to apply primer and the primer left ridges. It is very frustrating. On the left hand side on the small chalkboard, are his math facts for the week.

We will be dying yarn this week, before the weather gets cold. We will be well stocked with yarn for crocheting!

Painting to prep

I’ve been needing to do my prop paintings for my 3rd grader’s lessons, and this week, I finally got the paint out and knocked them out. I had to do 9 paintings for the first 4 months of lessons. I still have 2 drawings to draw and some modeling figures to create, but those will be done soon enough. The painting can take a bit more time.

Here are some photos from my first night of wet-on-wet painting. Note that I intentionally try to make sure my paintings are perfect. They will be used as the prop while my son and I paint it together during his main lesson, and he can be a bit of a perfectionist. So, it is best if mine don’t look stunning.

I use stockmar water colors.

My kids have been painting rocks almost everyday. My daughter found a painted rock at the library and is hooked! She likes to leave them places for others to find.

Look for a blog post coming soon with a mini run down of what our planned out year will look like. I’m excited to start the new school year next week!

What a summer

I always have this idea that summer will be a time to laze around and watch the flowers grow. And I know I’ve had summer like that in the recent past, but I think as my children get bigger, our summers get busier.

Don’t take me wrong. We have plenty of empty days with nothing planned, but for an introvert like me, the down days aren’t nearly enough lately in the summertime. I know that part of the busyness stems from chasing after a baby right now. He keeps our days very busy. But for the past month we’ve had so many happenings.

First, we went to the coast for a few nights to celebrate my second son turning nine. It was a lovely trip and really filled us up.

Four days after we got home from that trip, we left for 5 days at fiddle camp. This was our third year in a row attending and my kids loved every second of it. It was great. I was thoroughly exhausted when i got home and it took a good 3 days to feel back to normal. Camping with a mobile baby as a solo parent is no walk in the park! I’m so glad we went, though.

We had a full week to recover from fiddle camp before it was time to pack up and head out for the day for a fiddle contest about an hour away. Third year attending it as well. My second son competed and did great. My oldest only brought along his guitar to back up others, and then regretted not bringing his fiddle along and entering. Next year.

The following week brings us to the present. This is fair week. When you are in the 4H program, that makes 5 days of driving back and forth to the county fair, sometimes multiple times. Thank goodness for carpooling. The animals must be cared for and checked each morning before 8, so we head out by 7am. Today my oldest was at the fair for nearly 14 hours! It’s exhausting but fun. I’m sorely looking forward to the rest of August being a bit empty. But then again, I just received an invite from a fiddling family to attend a kids fiddle camp out at the end of the month. Three hours away. I think it’s a testament to my love of the music and watching my kids play that I’m seriously considering attending.