Homeschooling: Sugar cookies, modeling and apples

Happy Fall everyone! We definitely felt it this week in the weather change when it started to finally be in the 60’s here in NY. Our week was filled with many adventures. We are taking advantage of our last year here in seminary and went apple picking for the first time. It felt really nice to create those memories with the family and the days could not have been better for that event. Now the question is… what am I supposed to do with all these apples?

For our projects this week in handwork we did a lot of modeling. Here on campus they had an event that gave us an opportunity to model even more. I see myself really needing to control my own wants over my kids to try to see them accomplish something with the clay. This is my biggest struggle since I tend to want to see a result as if it accomplishes a check mark off my own to do list in homeschooling. Gradually though I am learning to let go. This weeks recipe called for sugar cookies, which we made and has lots of fun putting them into animal shapes that went with the forest party theme in the story of Waldorf Essentials. I am noticing that Mr. 4 is not really that interested in the story content maybe because I myself am not enthusiastic when telling it. I am still thinking weather or not to continue with the same story or move to something he would be enthusiastic about, like using a story from the “Tell me a Story” Waldorf book that has many children’s stories in it. If anyone has struggled with this, I would love to hear how you handled it.

It was my turn to teach co-op this week and this was our last week with the days of the week. For Saturday, I focused on the story of St. Theodore and his koliva dream. I had the children use playsilks and do a short play of the story which they really enjoyed. I had a fun time being a kid myself and playing along with the story to inspire them to act out their part. I love seeing little kids eyes light up as the imagination expands. It’s almost like seeing something magical. We finished off with a craft of koliva for Saturday, with an explanation of why it’s sweet and how it is used to pray for the departed.

There was a lot of self work on my part this week with teaching and homeschooling and events so I had to dive inwards a lot. This time of year with the leafs changing and falling down I am reminded of winter coming and that inward work that goes with seasons.

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DIY: Deodorant

Today I wanted to share with you my deodorant recipe. Now just a note but natural deodorant still makes you sweat, but sweat it not an unnatural thing! This deodorant will not leave any white marks on your shirts and no you really do not smell after using it. You may sweat but you won’t smell! So here is what you need:

1/4 tsp essential oil

1/4 cup of cornstarch (can use arrowroot)

1/4 cup baking soda

1/2 cup of coconut oil

Combine all the ingredients and there you have it. I put mine in a jar and use a popsicle stick to put it on my armpits so my hands do not become oily. If you have a recipe that you use for deodorant please share it with me, I always like hearing different ingredients that can be used for one purpose.

Homeschooling: Painting, baking and storytelling

This week in homeschooling was a bit rough for us I must admit. It was hard to get my kiddos into the Woody, Hazel and Lil Pip story and also we did not have things we can dye together for handwork. I love the story and was looking forward to this part but it did not really speak to Mr. 4 at this time. We had an extra day of school this week cause my hubby is out of town so we decided to redeem the whole week by shortening the story and acting it out instead of reading it. We also used a different recipe this week since we had so much bread left over from last week. We made banana and blueberry bread, paleo style, since my husband needs to have a diet change due to his energy levels being so low. For our extra school day we ended up having a second day of baking and just doing cookies which worked out wonderful with the party at the end of the story. What to do but adjust. This is why homeschooling is great.

Overall, it was one of those… mama is going to be a better mama if we do less type of week. This NY strange fall weather, too much going on in community, added to stress energy for myself and my kids. In times like these I like to brush it off and just move on. No use in feeling guilty for not accomplishing certain tasks or not having enthusiastic boys for circle time. It is easy to do here in seminary, since majority of moms homeschool and the other half have their kids in public school. Different learning styles are always discussed and sticking to my own gut has been exhausting on its own.

For our Russian, we are moving on slowly but surely. The boys are getting it and I am happy to have them speaking it a little. Below is my awesome artistic abilities of stick figures. I am learning that consistency is key when teaching a foreign language.

Finally, for our tinkergarden activity we presented a sheet the kiddos can tinker with after reading the book “Not a Stick”. This was a beautiful experience, seeing the kids have so much fun and their imaginations just go with making a sheet into a dragon, fort, a popcorn maker, just to name a few things. I really enjoyed watching them.

At the end of it all, with weather still in the 80’s for now (eekk what will winter bring?!) all we can do is enjoy the sun and run barefoot through the grass still and on occasion even put our feet up.

Hope your own homeschooling journey was a success this week. I would love to hear about it.

Colds and flu oils

Let’s talk wellness again. This time let’s focus on the cold and flu with kids and essential oils. First off, I’d like to say that this works for my own kids, I am not a doctor, so if you choose to use this recipe for wellness in kids please note that all oils work differently with bodies and babies before 1 yr old should not use this blend. Alright with that said, I wanted to share this blend with you because with kids usually there are some oils that are too strong such as eucalyptus. This is a gentler mix I use mostly as a back massage because we do not use diffuser a lot in our home due to sensitivities to smell.

What you need:

Ravintsara 10 drops

Ho wood 5 drops

Palmarosa 5 drops

Thyme Linalol 5 drops

First, blend oils together in the same order given. If you want to use a diffuser then use 6 drops of the blend in your diffuser. Use 1-3 drops in 1 tsp (5ml) of carrier oil for a back massage. Depending on the age of your child, use a small amount each time. You can leave out ho wood if you do not have that oil. For carrier oil I like to use sweet almond for kids but coconut oil or olive oil will do. If your child has a fever then it is best to consult your physician if you plan on using oils along with other treatments.

I hope this keeps the bugs away from your kids and help recovery process.

Homeschool: Dragon bread, swords and modeling

Hello fellow homeschooling moms out there. Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week! Just wanted to share with you what we did this week in our homeschooling journey. We had an exciting week with sword making and dragon bread. We also used clay as a project instead of beeswax for now since it is softer. I wanted to see where Mr. 4 was at in terms of trying to actually mold something together so for now I think we are going to still be using clay. This weeks story involved a dragon so I finished up my peg doll and used it as a prop. We also made swords together for handwork just by using sticks and old yard to tie the two. Overall, I am seeing that it is very VERY messy cooking with multiple kids. Makes me wonder about how homeschooling multiple children will be. Also, for circle time the younger ones want to be involved but it is hard with interruptions. Does anyone else have this problem? Sigh.

Here is the dragon bread recipe we used from the Waldorf Snack Book:

2 cups of very warm water

Large tablespoon of honey

1 tbls of yeast

Around 5 cups of flour or more until the dough is not sticky (a mix of wheat and white is what the book uses)

1 tsp salt

Now the thing about this recipe is that it made a lot of bread. Yes we shaped it into a dragon and it was great fun but now we have to eat it all. Both my husband and I are not bread eating people so we have to serve this bread as a snack everyday pretty much to not have it go to waste. We are using jelly and honey for the snack and next week we are supposed to make more buns. We will see how it goes.

There was another tinkergarden activity this week and it was about spreading happiness :o) The kids all found treasures around our building from nature such as acorns and sticks, then they got to decorate them any way they wanted and hide them for others to find. It was a lot of fun making happy faces on acorns and working together to find places to hide them. It was also fun afterwards when the treasures were hidden and the kids were playing, seeing random discoveries from other kids.

It has been such nice weather here in NY lately, it still feels like summer (I am not complaining). Some of the women here in the community got together for an evening of bonfire fun. It was so warm that night we had iced apple cider! Was a nice break for this mama here reminding me to relax and let go and enjoy the night sometimes. Motherhood can be so mundane and hard at times and we find ourselves stuck in autopilot. Just taking a break from a bedtime routine with kids, taking my shoes off and walking in the grass, watching the fire dance, looking at the moon, staying in the moment, has been my self care lately. It is worth it. We forget so much about ourselves.

Hope you had a blessed week!

DIY: toothpaste

Today I wanted to share with you my favorite toothpaste recipe. It is so easy to make and you only need 3 ingredients. Here we go.

What you need:

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1.5 tablespoons of baking soda

10 drops of peppermint essential oils

Combine in a container and store in bathroom. That’s all folks! Super easy and chemical free. It might be a bit getting used to after you ditch the Colgate or Crest, but so is a chemically free life and then you wonder… how did I ever live like that before?

Sickness season

We are at the end of September here and the cold and flu season is upon us soon. Let’s prevent those colds getting to us and our kids. I wanted to share some basic essential oil recipes to prevent bacteria and viruses sneaking up in your home.

First, I wanted to share with you the secret weapon against bacteria and virus you can buy at our local health store. Colloidal silver. It can be bought in sprays and also added to lavender oil. On its own I use it on my kids before we go anywhere especially during the flu season. There is always interaction with other kids here in seminary so that is one way to help avoid bringing those bugs into our house.

There is a broad-spectrum room spray that is a good combination that covers both bacteria and viral if you are not sure what’s going around.

What you need:

Thyme 10 drops

Oregano 12 drops

Palmarosa 10 drops

Lemongrass 9 drops

Clove bud 4 drops

Dilute oil blend into 2 tsp (10 ml) of distilled white vinegar then add the mixture to around 3 1/4 tbs (50 ml) of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well and leave to cool and shake before each use. If you would like you can use this in a diffuser but some people do not like the smell combo and children can be sensitive to it. Try to prevent the water in the spray from falling onto delicate materials and wooden furniture.

I hope this help some of you keep healthy this season. Next time we will focus more on childrens care with essential oils to help them naturally with common colds and coughs.

Homeschooling week

Happy Friday! Hope your homeschooling journey was a success this week. We had a great time this week baking and making crowns that goes with our story. I wanted to share the recipe with you this week since we substituted it with the one in the curriculum.

Carrot raisin bread

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 salt

1 cup sugar

Wet ingredients:

3 eggs

3 tbs molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup oil (I used olive oil)

1/4 cup pineapple

1 cup raisins

1 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven 350 F and prepare bread pans. Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside then mix wet ingredients in a different bowl. Combine the mix from 2 bowls into one. Spread the mix evenly between two bread pans and put in oven to cook for 60 min, use a toothpick to test the middle. Your kitchen will smell so nice! This was a winner with all the boys (husband included) although cooking is a messy process it is worth it to see the excitement on the boys faces after it is done cooking and they taste their creation.

For our co-op the kids continued to learn days of the week with Tuesday for St. John the Baptist.

Oh forerunner oh baptizer

Holy St. John, pray for us

You lived in the wilderness

You baptized the master

Help us follow him too

Help us follow him too

Holy St. John pray for us

That is the song we taught the children and they made a beautiful Tuesday page with a river and the Holy Spirit coming down.

Handwork

This week we made leaf crown and they boys loved it. We also flew our kites from last week since the breeze cooperated with us. It was so much fun to them running around with crowns pretending to be kings of the forest and flying their kites. For my handwork I am working on a dragon peg doll for next weeks story and have it almost done.

This week with friends we did a tinkergarden activity with balancing gnomes and the children had to figure out how to use a stick to balance the gnomes on the other side. It was lots of creativity, working together, and critical thinking involved. This builds good social skills for the kids and I enjoyed seeing all the kids actually working together and not fighting battle against each other. You can also do tinkergarden activities with your kids or group they have a website http://www.tinkergarden.com for ideas and their philosophy.

What was your highs and lows on your journey this week?

DIY: Body wash

Today I wanted to share a DIY recipe for body wash. Recently I started diving more into organic and natural living and started doing some basic essential oil blends for things like sleep and immune booster. So far I have made my own face wash and toothpaste and now body wash, here is the recipe for the body wash.

What you need:

1/4 cup Coconut oil

1 teaspoon Calendula oil

10 drops Favorite essential oil

1/4 cup Raw honey

1/2 cup Dr. Bronners castile soap

An unused bottle

Start off by melting the coconut oil indirectly, this means to put a cup of hot water in a bowl, then in a smaller cup put in the coconut oil, then put the coconut oil cup into the water cup. Make sure the coconut cup doesn’t sink into the hot water bowl. I used a bowl of hot water then put the oil in a small plastic cup and had the cup float in the bowl.

Then once the coconut oil is melted add in the honey. Mix it all together and add your drops of essential oils (I used lavender for its smell and skin healing). After that I added the calendula oil and mixed that all in together (you can also use vitamin E oil). Lastly I mixed in Dr. Bronners soap slowly with the rest of the mixture and put it in an empty plastic bottle for the shower.

Please note that it most likely will not lather up but it does get you clean. I use a baking soda or brown sugar scrub beforehand then finish off with this in the shower. Leaves skin smooth and chemical free!

Homeschooling week

This week in our homeschooling journey day after day we had unpredictable circumstances. We started off strong with lessons and co-op going smooth but then the store ran out of eggs… all eggs… what store does that? Sigh…NYC. Therefore we could not prepare a recipe this week. Thankfully, this week was the Exaltation of the Cross feast in the Orthodox Church so we just did two days of painting instead.

I tied in the Waldorf Essentials core story of super Sam with the feast, this is sort of a Waldorf approach with tying stories together that seems to work with younger children. We did make kites together as part of our handwork this week as this was part of the WE story but there was no wind (of course) to test them out. Painting was messy. Like I said, nothing was working with us this week.

Part of the co-op was their work on Monday and how it represents the angels for the church. They learned a song:

Oh holy angels and archangels

Mighty brave and strong

We ask that you please pray for us

As we sing this song

They made their own angel craft and put it in their school book.

My handwork this week was a peg doll of St. George since he will be part of our story next week.

I am working on my stitching, this is still very much a learning process for me. I never knew how to do any of this stuff before discovering Waldorf. Now I see the handwork makes a difference.

Our Russian studies have been going as well. Consistency is key with foreign language. My husband does not speak Russian so dialogue is hard to have in front of the boys, so I have to to an actual curriculum for them and be consistent. We use our chalk board for stick figures of things we learned so they see it all day and we repeat it often throughout the day.

Hope your week in homeschooling journey was good. Blessed weekend to all.