Wednesday, April 28, 2010


:: we have a birthday coming up - lucky number 6. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

happy earth day



we celebrate earth day exploring local history and nature. connecticut had 7,000 native americans prior to the eurpoeans coming over. we also discovered that  the mystery insect was a caddis fly. the naturalist knew exactly what we had found the other day. and during the pond discovery, we ended up netting the same caddis fly. it was neat to be able to share that with all the other families. 

happy earth day

Friday, April 23, 2010

corners of her room

:: as i finished up simplifying and organizing her bedroom, i left a new book "fairy houses" with some tiny needlefelted acorns and hoped that it would be well received. i was very happy with the results of our hard work in simplifying. it brought a smile to my face, looking at the things that bring joy to my daughter. from her crystal and rock collections, the basket of shells that my mother made for her years ago to her amazing ability to find heart shaped rocks. to her handwork basket that contains the flower press that we have used for many years that makes me realize how much she has grown. to the weaving she did last year that she made into a rug for her dollhouse and the little nature corner that contains a little beeswax bluebird in a nest she made. and i am most excited about seeing how this new space will allow her creativity and imagination to take flight.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

simplified play

with my daughter at her grandmother's house for a few days, my husband and i did the first sweep of simplifying. in doing a big sweep, it might work better to have the little one's away. we have tried to do a little at a time in the past but it just did not work for us.

it was a challenge to change a play area for an almost 6 year old to an area that could be shared with a 1 year old. the first step was to remove all the small items which could be a potential choking hazard. we left toys that were safe for a toddler to play with, like wooden blocks, smaller-sized playsilks, a few musical instruments, a basket of wool balls and a basket of wooden eggs downstairs in the play area. and on the top shelf of the playstand, we were able to keep a few of our daughter's toys downstairs.

we brought one of the playstand upstairs into our daughter's bedroom. all her natural collections were organized. smaller-sized ones were put in canning jars and others went into baskets. the open-ended toys stayed and the commercialized toys were eliminated. the simplicity parenting book offered a few tips of toys without staying power:

1. broken toys
2. developmentally inappropriate toys
3. character toys like my little ponies, care bears, barbies, littlest pet shop, etc
4. toys with too many functions and buttons
5. hi-tech / over stimulating toys
6. offensive / annoying toys
7. "developmental" toys like smart boards type gadgets and leapsters
8. toys you are pressured to buy
9. toys that inspire corrosive play
10. toy multiples

this is something that is years in the making for my family and we really are not there completely yet. we really did eliminate a lot of toys that we accumulate from well-meaning relatives. i think our family tries hard to purchase what they believe our daughter will like, but unfortunately, the toys just are not played with and the toys really hinder imaginative and creative play. 

i have not purchased from mainstream toy stores in years. the last time, my husband and i walked around and around the store, desperate to find a gift for our daughter's birthday. we knew none of the toys in the toy store suited her, but felt we had to purchase something. we purchased a set of fairy dolls (which fell apart) and a set of bugs encased in marbles (weird, i know). 

i will say that my husband and i sometimes are not on the same page with this as well beacuse this past christmas, my husband felt that he needed to buy her "other" toys. in his attempts, he went off to toys stores numerous times, only to come home empty handed and his head spinning. he searched the internet tirelessly and spent a lot of time picking out some gifts. despite his well meaning purchases, the toys were barely played with. we'll have to see if he feels the need to venture out to the toy stores again.

has your family been able to simplify? is everyone on the same page? does your extended family support your efforts? what do you say to your spouse or family regarding this?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

simplicity parenting

i have had this book for a while, but i have not made it past the preface. today, i needed to have already read the book, as our little one's skills of climbing and moving furniture rapidly developed. (well, small furniture), so i had to jump to chapter 3 - simplifying the environment.

we are in the process of trying to rearrange our adjoining living room and playroom (intended to be dining room) to make it safe for a almost 6 year old and 1 year old to share the same space. we had our little guy sectioned off in the living room but he's able to hop up on the furniture that was acting as the barrier. now, we are in the process of trying to rearrange the blockade to keep him safe in the living room. i say blockade because today we started utilizing a smaller wooden kitchen as a gate and by lunchtime he was pulling and dragging the kitchen set over, in order to get to the playroom. with this pic and the fact that he took his first steps at 8 1/2 months, need i say more about my little guys's determination and strength!

we initially were going to move our daughter's smaller things to the higher shelves on her playstands, but looking over at her toys, almost all of them are too small for a 1 year old. she has lots of baskets full of treasures, like sea shells, rocks, pine cones, gemstones, beads, marbles, coins, tree blocks and sticks, wooden balls, beach rocks, acorns and fairies upstairs in the hall (the only other place possible) would take her away from where most of our family activities are and that would not work well for our family.

what i love most is that her treasures are that they are open-ended. from the first time she took some pine cones discovered on a nature walk and set them out to represent our family, i saw the light of open-ended toys. shortly after, flower gardens were created from colored blocks, sea shells were arranged into fairy paths, tree blocks and polished stones became the birds at our feeders and our overgrown Peegee hydrangea bushes became her "secret hideout". of course, along the way, her treasures have grown. 

i do have to go back to the beginning of the book, but, what have you do with all your little older one's treasures? do you scale them back from time to time? do you rotate them?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

another day, another nature center

:: i am hoping someone could help us identify this. it looks like a cylinder clump of grass, maybe an inch in height. it was moving around on the bottom of a small spawning ditch. i caught a glimpse of some thin legs before it retreated back into it's home. any thoughts?

 :: the bottom had a round hole directly in the middle. 

:: a joyful part of my day, walking across a wood beam with my little one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

enjoying the journey

:: allowing ourselves to be....what a wonderful gift

Saturday, April 10, 2010

making flower children

:: we wait in anticipation of each blossoms we will see unfolding around us. each day brings even more beauty into our lives ~ snowdrops, daffodils, magnolias, cherry blossoms, pear blossoms, rhododendrons, violets, dandelions, grape hyacinth, bleeding hearts and our hyacinths anyday. 

:: my daughter and i made a little snowdrop in preparation of spring. we used the pattern in feltcraft. the little snowdrop has been sleeping under my little one's pillow every night and i can tell her love for him comes from us crafting him together. i especially enjoy these days when we can look at our festival resources together and decide what we would like to create. in the background is the flower book with beautiful ida bohatta morpurgo illustrations from 1946, which my little one found in her easter basket. 

 :: i found some violets and dandelions on my walk with the baby today. i arranged them on the nature table for my little one to discover. i hope you too are enjoying the beauty that is unfolding around you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

easter preparations

wishing you a happy easter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

wet felting easter eggs

:: wet felting easter eggs. in the past, we have wet felted some wool balls to make acorns and wet felted some hearts using cookie cutters, but this was our first time wet felting easter eggs together. 

if you are using a plastic egg, i recommend taping the seam so that it stays whole throughout the entire process. i like to start off with wool batting, which felts really nicely when you use small wisps of wool. make sure you spread out the wool so it is thin and airy. alternate the direction you add the wool to the egg. add a few thin layers to your egg is covered with wool and now you are ready to start wet felting. you will need a basin filled with hot water (warm water for the little ones) and a little soap, we used an olive oil soap. cup the egg in one hand and then you are going to add "fairy sprinkle" (the littlest amount) of soapy water over the wool. be, oh so gentle and careful handling the egg at this point, to keep the wool in place. after you have sprinkled a little water over the egg, cup the other hand over the egg and give the egg very gentle "hugs" or pats. you will notice when the wool starts to felt and then you could add a little more "fairy sprinkles" and pat a little more, patting from hand to hand now. the wool will become firmer and now you could submerge the entire egg in the basin of soapy, hot water and rub on a washing board. to make the eggs firmer, repeat the process with a colored roving. allow to dry for a day or two and cut an opening, either 1/2 way across or 1/2 way zig zagged. finish with embroidery floss and a blanket stitch.

here is a little tutorial over at rhythm of the home that uses bubble wrap to help with the felting process, which would be great to use with younger children.

here is an excellent tutorial on making a felt ball, which uses a blanket stitch.


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