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August paid off with planning, and our rest, travel and play enriched us enough to focus daily on our tasks for the past month and a half. We began our new school year, as year rounders back in April. So when September hit, we were beginning the final stretch after a break. I make sure we are learning with in and out breaths, developing the best process for our heads, hearts and hands. That is how we came naturally to schooling this way. Intuition, meditation, prayer, focus, intent, manifestation.

Deepening our painting skills, we have learned a bit about Botany, with the Charles Kovac book. Geography skills have been expanded through music lessons, stories, and real life experience. I have learned more about the Old Testament stories by taking them in to my Soul and teaching, which has in turn helped me to become a more multi-dimensional teacher. It helps that I used one set of resources the first time I taught 3rd, and another set of resources this second time around. Waldorf Essentials has always been my lamp post though! 5th grade has taken us to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and into the lap of Buddha. Teaching 3rd and 5th at the same time has its teacher incentives, when subjects become intermingled. In other words, I have begun to deepen my own personal web of life. Everything is interrelated.

Our handwork rhythm has deepened and that makes me proud. Needle Point (with yarn) and Embroider (with thread/floss) has enriched our Souls using our Hands. Freehand Geometry is taking shape through a few Waldorf resources and I am having fun presenting the sacredness of the universe through Math, to my little learner. I intend to join the embroidering world and math in the next cycle of my teaching. I have a great recommendation for a book assisting with this, on my IG account. Also, please take a look at my personal embroider work project, which is stitch by stitch prayers for the Standing Rock Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline #nodapl  –  It is a pattern by @cozyblue, called Full Circle. This can be found #WIP style on IG.

Another one of my little learners will play in his 5th Suzuki violin recital in a couple weeks, And he is blossoming in our Cooking Class. So many good things. My littlest learner is unfolding beautifully in our Waldorfy prek circle, at my home church. The Circle Time was taken on by our Children’s Minister, in which we are so grateful. Once a week for an hour and a half we get together with 5/6 other families to sing, sign, hear stories, do crafts, move, shake and laugh. We come as we are, 2 to 4 years of age, at the moment. So many good things are evolving for the Wolf Pack, and Eagle Tree Homeschool. Teaching 3 age levels at the same time is a challenge, but with self care, time management, organization and Love as the centerpiece, it can be done.

If you are interested in speaking with me about my experience with Waldorf Essentials, I am now a (TFW) Thinking, Feeling, Willing Leader. Please comment below or contact me healingoneself@gmail.com. TFW is a blessing and gives you access to organized, essential mama lessons. Not only will Melisa hold your hand, if you are willing to do the inner work, but I will be nearby local, in Kentucky. It helps to have community.

Follow me over on IG @nurturing_spirit  for daily Waldorfy goodness.

If I have already referred you to Melisa and WE and you would like to be added to my secret Facebook group, just message me. I will add you. I plan to post videos, links to songs I sing for Circle Time or the Seasons and personal wisdom on homeschooling, mothering, marriage, and being self-employed (see www.coydogstudios.com and on IG @coydog~studios).

I also have a secret Facebook group for Handwork, if you wish to message me, I will add you there as well.

I have also organized homeschooling resources and other lifestyle pursuits over on Pinterest.

We have been using Waldorf Essentials curriculum for a number of years. I have taught both Kindy through Third twice, as well as Fourth and Fifth once through. I have had the honor to hold space for the preschool years three times, with my three sons, ages 11, 9 and now 3. Join me, if you wish and I will do my best to guide you as I can. Life is a journey, and we can take it day by day together.

 

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I have spent a lot of time writing on many subjects lately, especially spirituality and homeschool, as it is a thread that weaves through the tapestry of my life. The other day I had an opportunity to give to my boy’s choir teacher, because it was her birthday, so I wanted to do a little post about Handwork.  A nice change.

I enjoy knitting, though I am not a professional, nor can I read patterns well, not yet anyway I’m young still.  I love to sew, by hand and machine.  I can probably sew better than I can knit.  Also, I have been trying to work more with roving and felt and had my eye on a Pinterest project.  Here’s a screenshot.

Pinterest felting project

Isn’t it a beauty!  I thought I could make this little felt picture quick enough to gift the next day.  I began around dinner and was done by 10pm. That included eating dinner, and caring for the children.

Getting started with felt

The first thing I did was lay out some undyed grey roving, and shape it into a circle. Then I began the background by adding two layers, upper and lower.  I use special spiral needles from Cedar Ring Circle Co op.

Layering the roving

It didn’t take long to get the two layers down and then I worked on the white candle next and learned a little something.  It is easier to add roving as you go. I added a little too much, but I was able to pull it apart and rework it.  I added the accent colors just like the example above and here it is, but I am not finished yet.

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Next needs to come the solid felt backing, so that I could make this a wall hanging. I happen to have a full sheet of orange, so thankfully that worked.  Be careful when sewing on the backing not to mess up the felted picture.  It is delicate.  I did this part of the process the very next morning after making the scene.

sewing on the felt backing

I added an embroider floss cord on the back and viola!  Here’s the final picture below.  I feel satisfied with my handwork, and we had a lovely gift for the boy’s choir teacher.  She volunteers each week at the church and it is important for my boy’s to practice reciprocity, to a patient and caring teacher.  This was fun.

Candlelight

Feel free to find this project on my Felting Board.

And you can locate me over on Instagram where I post my projects a bit more.

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Today is Ash Wednesday, and it has been snowing!  There are already piles of snow outside of my door and I have been homebound since Sunday.  It was slick this morning and my husband got the 4×4 stuck long enough to miss a couple hours of work.  We usually go to Wednesday Evening Fellowship for Children’s Choir, dinner and a service, but everything is cancelled.  I am sad about missing today’s service, because it is Ash Wednesday and I felt the need to have a more reverent experience with our community.  However, it gave us opportunity to bring that reverence into our experience at home.

When we gathered for the morning at the table I smudged the children’s foreheads with white sage ash, because that is all we had on hand.  Early on I began weaving a little bracelet of purple hemp cotton to remind us of what we wish to achieve.

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In the weeks leading up to Lent Creator began to whisper to me what things our family needed to grow.  On my homeschool path there are exercises for each day of the week to help guide us to walk in a good way.  They are called Steiner exercises, by Rudolph Steiner.  Here is the exercise I chose to acknowledge and have us work through as a family, specifically for Lent.

 

Right-Word
(usually for Monday)

Only serious, meaningful speech must leave the lips of those who strive for higher development.

All talk for the sake of talking – to pass time, for example – is harmful.

Avoid the usual sort of conversation that involves jumbled, simultaneous cross-talk.

This does not mean you should cut yourself off from interacting with others.

Especially in such interactions with others, your speech should gradually become increasingly meaningful.

 

We aren’t giving something up this lent so much as hoping to gain higher development.  To help us there are several exercises we will utilize, because we humans need a lot of help, without shame.  We have a special candle that was gifted to us made of beeswax.  The exercise is called Silent Candle.  When we light this particular candle, we become Silent, several times each day.  The exercise is intuitive, and important to practice because during the time of preparation I hope to quiet myself.  It is hard to ((hear)) Creator speak when we are noisy inside and out.

Silent Candle

To signify our movement toward a quieter 40 days I had my oldest boy write ALLELUJAH in cursive on a piece of purple construction paper and decorate it, then tie it with twine in a scroll.  We placed it on our Seasonal table to sit till Easter when we can unroll it and proclaim ALLELUJAH, HE HAS RISEN!

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We added a purple silk to signify the liturgical season, along with our Icon post card of Jesus and Mother Mary, and our recent Saint Brigid cross and doll.  We have a few rocks and stones, as well as a robin’s egg and two real quail eggs gifted to me. I cooked the yolks, but emptied them by making a pin hole and blowing them out. The egg being a symbol for Easter and what is to come.

This season is important to me as a year-round home schooling mama, because it is a time to prepare for our new beginnings.  Just as we Remember Jesus and the 12 stations of the cross, we also walk our own path.  We prepare to be reborn, and begin a new year.  In my time of quieting down I am deep into reading my curriculum and meditating on my children and what they need for this upcoming year of learning. Winter is a time for Planning and Dreaming.  It just seems right, so it is lovely to coincide with my school planning.

We are always in a fluctuating state of giving and receiving around here.  We take time to rest and receive and we take time to give to others.  During this time we will be doing little things to uplift each other.  Our homeschool consultant calls chores “home blessings,” which I like because when we do for our family, it is good for the whole.  A blessing indeed.  We will take time to choose from a small bowl of laminted blessing cards a couple times a day to bless our family and practice giving.  Lent is not so much about being “religious” to me as it is a time to practice developing ourselves and seeking to walk this earth in a good way.  There is no better way than giving, which is an outward of expression of the fullness we feel inside, because G-d has filled our cup.

Here’s my Pinterest Lent board if you need inspiration.  If you would like all the Steiner exercises of the week, then see my Pinterest board, Planning, Cleaning and Organizing.

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It is very hard to believe that we are coming to a close with Waldorf Third Grade curriculum, The Old Testament, Form Drawing, Math and reviewing the four processes, especially making sure we know multiplication and then divide really well.  Jewish Festivals.  Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Building and woodworking.  Choir and a chance to perform for church. Movement, always movement.  Crafting, some sewing and knitting. And acquiring fluency with reading, as well as cursive.

Waldorf is an interesting and inspiring curriculum to follow.  I have learned before Waldorf that Spirit is in the mundane, but Waldorf and the rhythm required helped my will to solidify this aspect.  I do read some Rudolph Steiner and respect his writings, but I also utilize my G-d given intuition to guide our children, when it comes to what I am to teach them.  As a teacher I must guard my words and the mediations of my heart, as it says in Psalms 19:14, for it is our children that will inherit the earth.

As a parent I must guard our children’s senses.  There are actually 12 senses. Touch, life, self-movement, balance, smell, taste, vision, temperature, hearing, language, the conceptual and the ego senses.  Some of these senses are inner and some are outer.

Touch, is the internal response to contact with the outside world. Life, this sense is the internal feeling of well-being and being alive. Movement is being inwardly aware of the way the body parts move in relationship to each other. Balance, this sense orients us to the world with respect to up, down, right and left. Smell is the sense that allows one to come with the outside world via odors carried by the air.  Taste is a deeper connection with the outside world in which flavors are directly sampled.  Sight is the sense that takes in the exterior images of the outside world.  Warmth, with this sense we are directly aware of the warmth of another body.  Hearing, this sense can tell us more about the inner structure of an object than sight. When an object resonates, we learn about its deep structure from the sound we hear.  Speech.  The sense of speech, word or tone, which is the hearing that involves meaningful words.  Thought refers to the deeper sense of entering the being speaking through their words.  Ego, this is the sense of ego or I, which enables us to turn our thinking towards the being of another and behold their I, their unique individuality directly.

Here are two links to provide you with deeper learning.  I used the chart in the first link to bring you the 12 senses in an organized manner.

http://www.waldorfhomeschoolers.com/twelve-senses

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/22/the-twelve-senses/

To remain aware of all these senses within oneself, as well as meditating on these senses for our children takes a lot of work.  It takes my inner work and time management.  This past week was a long and hard week.  At the beginning of the week our beloved pet friend, Kiva, who was almost 17 years old, dropped her robe. She ran across the rainbow bridge and I could see her smiling, looking back and running hard and fast to the pasture in the sky.  We have dealt with that grief of burying a friend this week and honoring her the best way we know how.

One of our children also began violin this week.  We had choir, Cub Scouts and the children went with Papa Bear to the wood shop.  I am always preaching balance at home, so much so it probably gets on everyone’s nerves when I have to say “no” often, so that we do not overdo.

Well, this week we overdid.  My middle guy woke up this morning with the responsibility of going to an early church service and having to speak a short passage, the Cub Scout Promise.  He had the passage down, but to culminate the week his front two middle teeth fell out last night.  What changes this child has seen recently! And this child needed more sleep to process all that he has seen, heard, felt and sensed this week.  I was not able to bring this balance to him and this morning he was showing it.  I felt so bad for him as he was so tired, but had to keep his responsibility to his Pack and Den.  It was my responsibility, and his dads to protect him.  I promise to do better next time that we have such a hard and long week.  Children are half our size, four or five times younger and cannot endure what we adults endure.  We all must remember this as parents.  It is okay to learn, stretch ourselves and grow, but we have limits and boundaries for a reason.

Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder has been one perfect book to help us in the 9 year change process.  Almanzo provided some insight to the changes one sees in our child throughout the year, and the growth, will and responsibility that ensues.  My oldest has really come a long, long way this solar cycle.  We vision these changes for our child, we assist, but the work is truly up to them.  I could not be more proud of Eagle Boy.  He has grown with his building skills, skills I have always seen within him, and spends some time with dad at the wood shop, one to one and a half days a week on average.  I can’t say how Good this is for him to be with a masculine authority figure enough.

At the start of the year we had chickens and a tom turkey, as well as a female turkey on a clutch.  By the end of fall all was lost, so we will be starting over this spring.  We do still have and love our French Angora bunny.  She has a lovely bunny condo near our basement, packed with straw for warmth.  We feed her timothy hay, pellet food, applewood sticks and pine cones, sunflower seeds, banana peels and plenty of water.  We have also collected some of her hair, and plan to do something with it, but no ideas as of yet.  It seems as though bun bun will be on a cycle of 90 days with shearing.  We welcome her up in our kitchen most days to hop around and visit.  And we purchased a nice round pen for outside days and plenty of hop time.  Occasionally, I allow Eagle Boy to walk her around on a bunny leash, which is a sight.

Jewish Festivals and Judaism was a large portion of the teachings this year as well. The Old Testament is the Christian Model and perspective of the Hebrew people. However, the Jewish people themselves follow The 5 Books of Moses, also known as the Torah.  Nevi’im, which is the book of the Prophets, and the remaining writings are known as the Ketuvim.  When asked to sum up the essence of Torah, Rabbi Hillel famously responds, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Now go and study (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a).”  The Golden Rule is at heart a Universal Ethic.  Here is a link to take you into a further study of the many faiths and their way of speaking the Golden Rule, Living Reciprocity.  We did not delve into the Hebrew Bible, but we know there is a difference between the Christian model of the Old Testament though.  And that is a start.

Looking deeper into the Jewish festivals we used many books suggested by our local Jewish Community Center.  Also the book Jewish Festivals, by Drucker and Patz.  I also found my private online Waldorf community of Jewish people and non-Jewish people extremely helpful in schooling me on the facts and the emotions these festivals bring to family life.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn and study deeper many faiths and to bring these faiths to our children, so that we may have tolerance, understanding and compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters.

Form drawing has been a very pleasant element in our schooling for several years and I continue to use Christopherus Form Drawing and Waldorf Essentials to aid us in crossing the midline and bringing focus to our week.  Especially on Monday’s!! After speaking with our eye doctor two years ago and recently again this year, Form Drawing has really helped to strengthen the eyes and help with convergence. We are proof!

Reading!  I knew that we had some work to do this past year with reading, but we buckled down and got to it.  Daily reading is so important.  Taking the time to snuggle up and practice is really a pursuit of the will, especially if your child does not come to it easily.  I loved reading A LOT, so I had to have patience with my older guy who loves reading too, but only in his own time and only what he wants to read.  I did really want to nurture and respect his coming to reading in his own time, but I could also tell as a part of his will development, he needed me to help him stay focused.  Sanguine and choleric in nature, we needed that impressed into our rhythm.  I did allow him to read what he wanted, but occasionally we ran out of books that he liked and had to just read what we had on the shelf.  Although in Fourth Grade I intend to go to the library a little more with him and learn some Library Science, researching skills and the checking out of books that will enable him to continue strengthening his fluency, as well as comprehension and book reports.

Cursive has finally taken a front seat with Eagle Boy’s summaries and slows him down a bit, which is needed for his soul development.  Verses, and summaries for the Old Testament stories and Jewish Festival teachings have held priority the last half of Third Grade with cursive.  He proudly enters these into his Main Lesson Book.

Movement never leaves our sphere for learning.  The boys take hikes regularly, jumping on the trampoline, and having a lot of fun building in our backyard. We have a lot of wood that Papa Bear could not use or store at his new wood shop, so the boys have had a daily access to Some tools and this wood. Papa Bear made a small structure on a large fallen limb from Grandfather Tree, as a fort.  The boys also have access to fire building with permission. Over time Eagle Boy has collected knives as tools, not toys, and this has been a huge teaching in itself.  One aspect to this past cycle that really turned us upside down was getting sick several times in late fall and early winter.  For about 2 months we were pretty down and out, and have had to make up some schooling recently, so that everyone can be prepared for this next cycle.  But we enjoy learning, so it is okay.  Although, this down time really got us out of our rhythm of Movement, in comparison to our normal routines.  We are slowly bouncing back and are very grateful for our health.

Lastly, almost one year ago our family began attending my childhood church. I felt the call home and it was perfect timing with our Old Testament studies. Our boys have flourished in many ways.  They have made good friends and have come to love going to Wednesday night fellowship, eating with friends and doing crafts relating to the liturgical calendar (which is circular, not linear!)  I am pleased with this and Eagle Boy will be attending, by his own accord, a Baptism class beginning next Sunday.  Baptism will be at Easter service which will bring us full circle, as that is the first service we attended last year, where he saw his friends doused with holy water.  I love that our church sends a small bottle of this water home with the child as well. Eagle Boy initiated this process on his own, so I feel it is good timing and an excellent ceremony to end one season of his life and begin anew.

Winter is my time for planning and dreaming and we look forward to learning more in Fourth Grade about Norse Myths, Viking life, Geography and Mapmaking, Math, Reading, more Form Drawing, Grammar, Cursive, Archery, Land Management, Tool-making, and whatever Great Mystery brings us.

Hopefully, in my next post I will explore First Grade coming to a close for Little Fox and all the exciting changes and growth happening for him.  Thanks for reading this post and keeping up with us.  Now, we must take the rest of the day to rest and prepare ourselves for another week.

Here’s my Pinterest board for Third Grade if you need any extra links or visual inspiration!

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The path of simplicity is truly what you make of it.  To me and my family it is a road of beauty.  It is a road that is not convenient always, but who says it should be?  Simplicity is the paring down of your life to purify the energy around you and find out what truly matters.  What does matter to you?  Most people say family.

I am piggy-backing on my last post about slow living, slow eating and slow educating.  To do these things you have to take a look at your family culture. Have you written down what is important to you?  Do you have goals? Expectations?  Boundaries?  How has society influenced you?  What are you really wanting to leave your children when it is all said and done.  Lots of money and “stuff,” or memories shared?  I am sure they would appreciate money, perhaps even skills that you have taught them, but most of all values, at least to us, values are important for posterity.

There have been several occasions where our children have lived in a very cluttered home.  There was a time when I was so overwhelmed with stuff that I thought I would go mad.  Eventually I cleared out anything and everything under their beds, on the shelves and streamlined their rooms. My living room and kitchen area is simple.  Not a lot of extra decor taking up space waiting for me to dust it off.  If I don’t use it, it doesn’t belong. I have been a practical person most of my life, so this was not terribly hard for me to figure out, although it was a side effect of having children.

We teach keeping the lights off when not in use.  We teach wearing appropriate clothes to keep warm and keeping the heat turned down to a reasonable temperature.  We like to air out the house on nice days and not overuse our cooling system.  We like to be proactive and eat well instead of getting sick, but it doesn’t seem like that mattered this year with all the sickness going around, it caught us too.  But we have learned from it and worked harder to investigate gut health, eating foods that are fermented and utilizing mother nature and her bounty of healing foods and herbs.

We own a small farmhouse with almost four acres.  The simplicity of play and living has far outweighed the desire to own more.  That is not to say we have not struggled and won’t ever struggle.  We own a business, Coydog Studios, and it has not been easy.  Thankfully, because of our life before we made the transition, it wasn’t as hard a transition as it could have been.  We did have family help at times and for that I am grateful.  I support my husbands creativity, and we are proud he has recently earned a place in the Kentucky Art’s Council Directory as Architectural Artist.  In reading his bio you will see how simplicity leads over into his work and creative life as well.  In our world Spirit and the Physical realm are not separate.  It’s simple, and interwoven throughout every moment.  Ryan speaks about “sacred space” in his work and I too think of our home as Sacred Space.  Sanctuary.  I have to work harder and longer if our sacred space is cluttered and dysfunctional.

As you know we home educate.  To fullfill my duty and sacred contract I have made with Creator I cannot have an environment that has not been simplified. There are times before and after having a baby that the house may seem fuller, but to everything there is a season and I always come back around to clearing and cleaning.  Simplifying is a constant.  Simplicity takes work.  Especially in this day and age when one can buy anything.  Where there are box stores on every corner and Amazon Prime can deliver you anything within two days.

To make it possible to shop at places like Whole Foods I had to do the work and preparation.  I had to go online, make lists, mark recipes, and read tips on how to shop.  I spoke with the folks working in the grocery isles.  They were more than willing to speak to a smiling, learning face.  I have learned in the isles where we shop, on the shelving, there are stickers for all the products.  On these stickers which read the prices are other numbers and information.  On the left hand side, top, there is a number that represents price per ounce or pound.  When you are shopping and trying to decide which product you get better bang for your dollar, read those numbers.  For example, I wanted to buy crackers for Cedar to munch on.  He is 15 months old. I had the choice of buying the baby brand cracker, or the crackers that were the generic Whole Foods brand.  I got more product for less if I bought the product not geared towards babies.  It’s all about the marketing, no matter where you go, and I realize this aspect.  Also, if you have the desire to buy something by the case, you get an automatic 10% off.  This is a rare need for us.

Also, we do not buy sodas, or loads of junk food.  Most of the food we eat is whole.  I do enjoy sweets upon occasion, but we have been sick this season more than any season in years, so we are eating less sugar that compromises the immune system.  If we do eat sweets I make them at home and alter the recipe with other substitutes that won’t hurt us, as much.  And as I said before I do not do a lot of purchasing in the middle section of the grocery, because I have learned to make many things.  In doing so, and in learning to cook good foods I have enabled us to shop at places like Whole Foods, where labeling is transparent. Where a family can shop and purchase non-GMO products.  And when possible we shop at Farmer’s Market, in season.

We have also learned to eat less meat.  You can still have a good meal without meat.  Your health is not determined on whether you don’t have meat on your plate, nor does every meal without meat have to be pasta.  Just take a look at my Pinterest food board and see many alternatives.

Below is another good link that I have also pinned on my food board with others sharing ways to shop at these other stores without compromising your budget, yet eating better.

http://foodformyfamily.com/menu-planning/whole-foods-menu-challenge-100-gift-card-giveaway

Fish was by far the most expensive it seemed.  Chicken and beef were doable if one prepared them in a good way and used the other parts to make things like bone broth, or leftovers for lunch the next day.  You can buy products like cous cous in the box or bulk.  If you buy cous cous in the box it is the same price as other grocery stores, and there is more variety.  Cous cous in bulk is even cheaper and there is less packaging waste for the landfill or to compost.

Something I have also noticed is the shopping carts are smaller at places like Whole Foods.  The isles are shorter, and there are less marketing ads flying around.  There is only one small isle of condiments, not a longggg isle, or two. Sometimes too many choices are just too many, and overwhelming.  We find the shopping experience at marketplaces like Whole Foods higher vibrating, and that is about worth the difference right there.  Trader Joe’s is definitely cheaper in some aspects and we have the choice to go next door and get some of the alternatives, however my friend’s husband works at Whole Foods and he says WF is competeing with some of TJ’s pricing. So, stay tuned and keep your eyes open. I still like to stop in Trader Joe’s as well though for certain things.

If you have patience or are blessed with even a bit of lawn or land you can grow a few plants to compensate the grocery bill.  I tend to grow medicinal and culinary foods most.  Community gardens are on the rise as well.  Another way we save, while having children is to breast feed 1 to 2 years and to use cloth diapers and cloth wipes.  I did make baby food for our second child, but we utilize the concept of baby led weaning now, so while we use some non-GMO brands like Beechnut, our little bear eats from our plate a lot.

Now, it may take some time to arrive at this destination.  There is more to it. Rhythm is tied to success I believe.  To keep us successful I shop the same day every week if we can help it.  We shop in the mornings, with three children who come to learn and be the next generation to make good choices.  It is also our payday, and I do errands for our business to make the short drive to a neighboring town worth it.

Feel free to comment with your own tips, or leave links to blogs or articles that may have helped you and your family budget better and still be able to purchase whole non-GMO foods.

Blessings!!

 

 

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A post has been building in me for some time.  I awoke in the middle of the night as I do sometimes inspired.  For most of my life I have lived very slowly. Growing up we had 100 blessed acres, and three families working together to nurture each other, grow food and live slower.  As I grew folks passed on and families moved away from each other, making it harder to rely and lean on each other for assistance.  Since leaving home after high school I have grown.  I have traveled.  I have opened my heart to healing and staying teachable.  For me I am not fixed in time and space.  I am changeable.  I leave myself room to change my mind as I learn new things.  But something that has not changed much is my desire to live slowly. Intentionally.  Honestly.  And I desire this for my family. Nature shows me this teaching in her seasons.  We do live in a part of the country where there are four seasons, although this winter seems mild so far.  I believe Creator placed us side by side with nature to learn cycles and the process and journey of living.  To everything there is a season the bible says.  And many other cultures feel the same way.  We have had the fortunate blessings to learn from Elders who have also told us stories to help us to understand these ways as well.  It is my intention to give you a glimpse of our family culture that works for us, but that has a lasting impact on posterity.  We care about our children’s future.  We care about our grandchildren. When my stories are told and I have passed into the earth I would like my legacy to be a lasting one.

Slow educating.

We homeschool and are known to ourselves as Eagle Tree Homeschool.  I am a firm, loving, boundary keeping, sensory protecting mother of three boys.  In my heart, the eagle holds the vision, and the eagle is also a symbol of the heroes journey, a symbol of youth.  The eagle also flies close to the heavens to bring prayers and messages from The People to Creator, and back again.  We also hold the name Eagle Tree Scouts for all of our Scouting adventures, although my middle son recently joined Cub Scouts to be a part of a group with some of his friends at church. Homeschooling is not easy, I never thought it would be, but Creator led me to it.

We are Waldorf-inspired, where academics do not fully begin until around 7 years of age, when the milk teeth fall out.  During the first seven years of the child’s life we spend working with them in balancing the brain and the body.  Gross and fine motor.  Sensory issues.  And in general play-based learning.  From a neurological standpoint this works for us. Here’s a list of articles supporting our view.

http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/07_community/articles.asp

To me homeschooling is a great privelege and honor our country and state allows, and I have great counsel with Melisa Neilsen of Waldorf Essentials and many other women. Our inner work is the vital Center of success with the children.  Please go to this website to learn about how you can find more help in that way, with parenting, inner work, marriage and home educating.

I am not here to convince you of anything, but if you want more information on Waldorf, then please watch this video to help you understand further.  Home educating and Waldorf is not for everyone.

In early childhood we as parents work with the children in observing the seasons, seasonal festivals, spirituality, as well as normal daily life and skills. Slow living. Rhythm.  To us it is about the whole child.  The whole family.  The whole woman. The whole man.  The whole marriage.  All of this takes work, compromise, and we make plenty of mistakes or “learnings” as indigenous folks call it.  Not to be forgiven, but understood that this is a Part of the life process. Our children ((appear)) behind other mainstream children at first in things like reading, but quickly these practices take root and they are growing into strong sturdy trees reaching towards the sun.  It is difficult to explain and I don’t care to unless someone is genuine about listening to our chosen path.  Here is another article supporting the views of lifelong relevance.

http://www.waldorftoday.com/2011/11/daily-rhythm-at-home-and-its-lifelong-relevance-by-helle-heckmann/

To speak to our way of educating is to relate why we also eat slowly, or slowly dine.  While teaching Third Grade this year we have spent time learning the Old Testament and Jewish Festivals.  In this time I have learned about Shabbat.  A time to rest.  We do have Sabbath in Christian tradition as well, but this article really hit home and I have posted it on my Facebook page several times.

https://groundedmag.com/article/finding-rest/

Life is not easy, and we don’t always have what we think we need.  Life is uncomfortable at times, but suffering has made me stronger and I have also learned the things I think I wanted, were not even necessary for healthy, whole living.  There is so much luxury today for all of us, even compared to my childhood and my parents and grand-parents childhood.  So much has changed since the turn of the last century, 115 years before.  Cars, grocery stores, the internet, public schooling.  The opportunities are vast.  The economy relies on folks to work and stimulate consuming.  I however prefer to live simply and honestly, even if I must suffer at times.  I do not need an overly large house.  I do not need all that is trendy.  I am not entitled to have these things.  Only if I work for them and desire them should I have them.  And I hope to teach our children this as well.  We have suffered recently at the end of 2014 to make a change to our family for the greater good of us as a whole.  My husband is a man who works with his hands, who loves to build and create things and we support him.  Not only do we support him so he can support us, but it is vital for him to create as soul expression, even if it is a commission for someone else.  In the end, it is vital I stay home, as we have decided to provide slow living for our family.  It has made me stronger and more humble in the ways of the world.  I am a teacher and healer, true at heart and I enjoy what I do day to day, the spiritual mundane.  I walk in prayer and lean on Creator to help me.  I am not alone, and never have been even through my suffering days.  Our family has been a great support as well in trying times.  As hard as it was to accept help from them, I know their parents helped them tremendously and I intend on doing the same for our children.  I do help them and I will help them.  And so in the meantime it is important for us to keep or hold Space.  I hold the Center energy for the family or space.  In doing so I have to meditate on the foods we provide, among other essential for healthy intentional living.  Long term it is important to win out over obesity, disease and destruction of the environment.

Slow eating.

For some time we have shopped locally, whether at Farmer’s Market or our local grocery.  Even though I have shopped at Whole Foods before I never took the amount of time to really delve deep enough to see if I could shop there on a budget the same as our local store.  However two friends of mine swore to me it could be done.  The point was to avoid Genetically Modified Foods or GMO’s, which tear up the gut, as well as foods sprayed with Round Up.  You have other choices as well like Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare and locally there are cooperatives.  So, I set off to do my research on Pinterest (not a total time suck when you engage your will power).  I have pinned several blogs and articles on how to shop Whole Foods, grocery lists, receipes and coupons, which can be found on Whole Foods website. Here is a link to my Pinterest board where I have almost 20,000 pins and almost 2,000 followers, not that I tried.  Go ahead and take a keek, it’s up to you to do the work for your own family, tailoring style, taste, and menus.

Slowing down is not new.  Slowing down is old and our ancestors understood this concept.  Over time however we as a society have somehow found value in being busy.  Being busy means production is taking place, and that is necessary to some degree, I won’t argue that.  But, I will argue for balance.  Long term and with the long vision that I hold for our family Slowing Down is important, because babies do not keep, and neither will Mother Earth if we do not do our part. Here is an article supporting dinner time as a family.  We are not perfect and our house is quite loud at times.  Our boys do burp and fart in front of us and their immediate grandparents at times, but it is because they feel loved and comfortable and well they are boys/kids.  It’s funny and contrary and they show us that life is really not all that serious as we adults intend to make it 24/7.  Now, in front of their peers and others they tend to curb themselves and have better manners.  In fact, quite often I get compliments at the grocery, at church and elsewhere.  Still, we are not perfect and do not claim to be.  But I do claim to love them and I do claim to love Mother Earth and Creator.

http://parentandthepro.com/slowing-dinner/

Let’s reconnect here again.  Feel free to subscribe to my blog if you wish, or just check back upon occasion.  I don’t promise to write regularly, but I do promise to be honest, truthful and transparent.

Have a blessed day, the sun is shining outside and in our hearts.

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