Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Time to Bring the Fairies in for the Winter!


Some people put birdhouses out in the winter - we build fairy houses IN. My eldest daughter, who is now 13, started this tradition years ago and my youngest has continued. However, my youngest insists that only natural things can be used in the fairy house because "fairies don't like manmade things mama". So I thought I would share a tip with you - Sofi created this fairy house below without any tape! She used toothpicks to hold the "floors" of the house up. I didn't help her at all. This was her own project she did one day when I was doing dishes or something (oh, I mean, loading the dishwasher...I STILL can't get used to that!). I have also included a picture of her sister that was taken 5 years ago when she used to make fairy houses too!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Twas the Night before Solstice by Kristie Burns

Dear Mamas,

While I was knitting unicorns today my mind was so filled with all the fair trade, handmade toy, Christmas posts I had read on all the Waldorf lists lately I started to get a bit silly and made up this rhyme inspired by the popular "Twas the Night Before Christmas". I needed a good laugh and I hope it gives you one too. Since this is my original work of parody please share it all you want but please give me credit as I have done below (and mentioning my website would be nice too) - enjoy! Warning - I cross posted this because this was inspired by all the Waldorf lists I belong to...


Twas the Night Before Solstice
By Kristie Burns
http://www.thedreamangels.com/

Twas the night before Solstice and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even our pet mouse

Knitted wool stockings were hung with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The children were tucked in organic cotton sheets,
the air filter blocking pollution from the streets.

While mama stayed up to make handmade gifts
I co-slept with the kids and watched auras shift.

When out in the herb garden arose such a clatter
I sprung out of our futon to see what was the matter!

Away to the solar panels I flew like a flash.
They took me hours to install, I hoped they hadn't crashed.

The crystals we'd laid out to absorb the moonlight
Sparkled like fairydust and blocked my sight.When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh without any reindeer.

At that moment I knew that the little old man
had received my last letter so bold and so grand

Could you stop using reindeer? Last year I wrote him,
and enclosed with the note a PETA pin.

As he neared the house in his all-wooden sleigh
I noticed it was powered by wheatgrass and hay.

Ostheimer! Kinderkram! Stockmar! Fair Trade!
Don't bother landing if the toys aren't handmade!

"Hey Arriana," I called to her with chagrin,
"With that body mass do you think he's vegetarian?"

She paused only a moment from her crafting and said,
"One moment dear! I'm shaping this gol-darn Waldorf doll's head!"

On our roof I strained to hear the ole boy
but I'd recently insulated it with soy.So I drew in my hand and was turning around,
when in through the front door came St. Nick with a bound.

The Advent wreath had caught in his hair
As I said, "Why in the world did you enter from THERE?"

The soot in your chimney contains poisons galore.
You should consider the environment more.But he was dressed in fur from his head to his foot
So I said, "Look whose talking about my soot!"A bundle of felt he had flung on his back.
"I hope you like handiwork," he said with a laugh.

His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples were treats!
His cheeks reminded me of when I dye silk with beets.

He must be of the choleric type I mused.
It's a good thing with lavender the stockings I infused.

With his fur boots he slipped on the bamboo wood floor.
I offered him Arnica and then closed the front door.

After all that I'd paid to the energy company this year
I didn't want one bit of that cold air in here.

He had a broad face and a little round belly
I asked him, "Have you seen your naturopath lately?"

He was so chubby and plump I worried for his health
But I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to task,
needle-felting dragons and weaving a mask.

He knitted a pure cotton sweater and two pairs of mittens,
then picked up a knife and carved 2 wood kittens.

He finger-knitted an entire nativity scene.
With the most amazing skill I'd ever seen!When he sprang from his seat on the floor and arose
I yelled, "Arianna - watch - there he goes!"With the unfinished doll she was struggling to sew,
Arriana went to watch him out the window.

And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight!
"Arriana, my dear, the stiches are too tight!"

New Videos at www.thewaldorfchannel.com

Dear Members,

Check out the new videos at http://www.thewaldorfchannel.com/, International Visual Resources for the Waldorf Parent. New posts include:

Eurythmy in the Class
Eurythmy on Stage
The Basics of Waldorf
Reading and Writing in the Waldorf Method

These videos were all generously donated by Eugene Schwartz, International speaker and Waldorf teacher who graduated THREE classes!

Enjoy!
Blessings & Health,
Kristie

9-in-one Holiday Cookies

This is my FAVORITE holiday cookie recipe. After you are done making the base dough there are instructions to make 8 different cookies and when you end it looks like you made 8 batches of cookies but you didn't! I make these every year now and I don't even bother with other kinds of cookies. Why make a thousand cookies over days and days if I can make one recipe and it LOOKS like I made thousands of cookies over days and days? This coming so soon after my "Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe" will probably establish me as one of the laziest moms around...but really - I love to find recipes that are easy so my kids can help more and so I can have more time to do more things! And these cookies are so buttery and yummy! They are gourmet. Hint: the hardest part of this recipe is gathering all the ingredients. Make substitutions if you need to - don't stress yourself! And I have a 9th idea...how about taking a bit of the white dough and spliting it in half, adding a bit of peppermint and red food coloring to one half and then twisting those into "candy canes" - see? Now you have NINE cookies! Here it is (I got this from a magazine 12 years ago...not sure what the copyright limit is on magazine articles and I can't find it online so I apologize if I am stepping over any boundaries here...)

8-in-One Cookies

Basic Dough

4 sticks of butter (2 cups)
1 cup of light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 lg. Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Beat all except flour until fluffy
Gradually beat in flour
Take ½ of the dough out to make chocolate dough by adding ¼ cup cocoa and ½ tsp. Vanilla.

Divy the dough into 4 parts each and add the following to them:

CHOCOLATE DOUGH divided into four parts makes:
Chocolate chunk
Hugs and kisses
Chocolate-marshamllow thumb-prints
Chocolate-vanilla spirals

VANILLA DOUGH divided into four parts makes:
Oatmeal/peanut butter cookies
Jam Thumb-prints
Apricot-pecan cookies
Chocolate-vanilla spirals

Oatmeal-peanut butter
1 part Vanilla dough
½ cup oats
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup creamy peanut butter

Jam Thumb Prints
1 portion vanilla dough
32 almond slices
1/3 cup apricot or raspberry jam

Roll Dough into 8 inch log
Slice into 16 pieces
Roll pieces into balls
Thumb-print balls
Put a small dab of jam and an almond in the “print”
Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees



Apricot-Pecan
1 portion vanilla dough
¼ tsp. Ground cardamom
8 small dried apricots, diced
¼ cup chopped pecans

Mix cardamom and apricots into the dough
Roll and slice as in the jam prints
Put balls on greased cookie sheet
Bake 12-14 minutes

Chocolate Chunk
1 portion chocolate dough
¼ cup vanilla chips
¼ cup sliced almonds

Mix and bake as in recipes above 10-12 minutes in flattened balls.

Hugs and Kisses
1 portion chocolate dough

Roll as in jam thumb-prints.
Instead of jam put a “hugs and kisses” Hershey’s Kiss (The white and black ones) in the middle before baking 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Marshamallow Thumb Prints
1 portion chocolate dough
small jar of marshamallow topping or small marshmallows

Roll Dough into 8 inch log
Slice into 16 pieces
Roll pieces into balls
Thumb-print balls
Put a small dab of marshmallow sauce or 2 small marshmallows in the print
Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees


Chocolate-Vanilla Spirals
1 portion vanilla dough
1 portion chocolate dough

Roll out both doughs to approximately the same rectangular size.
Put the rectangles on top of each other and roll as if making cinnamon rolls
Slice into circlesBake on a tray for 10-12 minutes at 350

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

10-minute pumpkin pie!

Every year somebody asks me to publish this recipe again. Ever since I discovered it my kids don't even like the "regular" pumkin pie anymore! This is SOOOOO easy and tastes like a pumpkin pie with a thin crust - the recipe actually makes its own crust. Hope this helps your life be less hectic on Thanksgiving :)

Homemade "Bisquick"
3 cups flour (you can use a mix of whole wheat, oat, white flour, rice flour and other kinds of flour but the best results come from at least ½ the flour being wheat or spelt)
1/3 cup butter or oil (olive or sunflower are both fine)
2 TBS. Baking powder

Mix all this together with a pastry fork and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can make pancakes or waffles in minutes with this or the two recipes below¼


Homemade "Bisquick" Pumpkin Pie
(This REALLY tastes like pumpkin pie and it makes its own crust)

1 eggs
½ cup sugar
2 c. cream, tofu or condensed milk
¼ tsp. Cloves
½ tsp. Ginger
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 ½ cups pumpkin (1 small can if using a can)½ cup Homemade Bisquick mix (see above)

A Gift For You: Poem for Crafters

Dear Parents,

I wrote this poem when I was knitting some gifts for friends one year. You can modify it for the craft or gift you are giving but please do not copy it to other lists or BLOGS without mentioning my name and website as it is copyrighted. Thank you :)

Something Made Just For You
by Kristie Burns
http://www.thedreamangels.com/

It’s a wonderful magic when someone
Makes something especially for you
For a thought of how much you’re loved
Goes into each stitch they do.

And each time a person asks
Who are you making that for?
Your name is said with love and care
And you are thought of more.

This positive field of love
Surrounding you with power
Is woven into this entire gift
Forever from this hour

A Classic December Verse

Dear Parents,

This is from a collection of classic poetry (not copyrighted). It is such a beautiful verse!

I Heard a Bird Sing
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember:
"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
Oliver Herford

A Story from the UK

A friend in the UK shared this story. I liked it so much I asked permission to post it here. I think we can all relate to this! Here it is:

AT times its a real battle here to avoid the world of TV and Computer. (Note: We are a multi generational family...My father lives with us and although he has his own annex, he watches the TV almost constantly, trawling the news channels and popping in to impart all that he has seen, and hubby is a musician which today means lots of Computer access) So I get really smug when I see DS playing in a very waldorf way avoiding all the high tec stuff.This morning I stood for an age watching him as he retold the story of Robin Hood using his Holztiger Knights, I was so pleased. A real puffed up moment , until I got close enough to hear his narrative.....Robin Hood was telling the Sheriff of Nottingham that if he did not like his treatment he should call him on his mobile. 087654678739 ( or a similar string of numbers) or goto his website.....

Rainbow Turtle

I just had the BEST customer service from http://www.rainbowturtle.com/ - they have a large assortment of Waldorf items and there are real people on the other end of that ordering form! They also have some items that are hard to find on other sites. Just thought I would share.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Free Waldorf Tutorials & Resources

Dear Parents,

Remember that there are a lot of free downloadable Waldorf tutorials, guides, knitting patterns, lesson plans, etc...at my site:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorfschoolonline/files/

Take a few minutes to visit the link and see if there is anything you can use - and pass the word around - this is all FREE.

Blessings & Health,
Kristie

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Mama/Baby Sets


















Dear Members,


I just posted some new mama/baby unicorn sets to Ebay - they are sooooo cute! You can see them at:



or




Thank you for looking :)

Blessings & Health,

Kristie

Thursday, November 8, 2007

QUOTE of the week by Picasso

I was at the Art Center having lunch a couple weeks ago and the hostess recieved a birthday card with the following quote:

- "It takes a long time to become young" - Picasso

Such a wonderful concept to ponder...

NEW PIANO method has a touch of Waldorf :)




Dear Parents,




There is a new piano method created by a previous neighbor and (current) friend of mine - Sarah Lyngra. I have seen and used most of her books and they teach piano through stories and colors. Sound familiar? She sends out a monthly newsletter and has so many clever ideas such as a monthly "music sudoko" (Mudoko) and many more! Check out her site at:




IN THE NEWS: Chinese Toys


I am sure none of you have missed the articles in the news lately about the dangers of some Chinese toys. It looks like appreciation of handmade &/or natural toys are finally seeing their time in the spotlight!


However, in the chaos that has emerged from this I want to remind people not to make their choices based on fear. Information and research are the best way to shop. I know of some wonderful fair trade products that come out of China, as well as some products that are sub-standard made by crafters or made in the USA. So before you buy anything make sure you have all the information you can on the person who made the product and how they made it. Even though the newspapers are finally "on our side" we don't want to make the mistake of blindly following what we are told to do. Keep doing your own research and following your own intuition. That said...


There was one article, however, that stood out for me because it was so shocking. Here is a quote from that article:"You might be surprised to hear Chinese suppliers complaining that the prices at Wal-Mart are too low, but that is just what this translated article appears to be saying. The complaint is related to the retailer's classic fallback position of slashing prices across the board in order to boost sales whenever revenue performance is lagging.


Although Wal-Mart has tried to increase profits by recruiting a different kind of customer -- one who is interested in more fashionable clothes and name-brand products and has the money to buy them -- its classic price chops continue to serve as an old, reliable crutch. In other words, it will likely never recover from the "always low prices" mantra it has built for itself.


So it's interesting that many of the retailer's largest Chinese suppliers are now saying they can't continue to supply Wal-Mart with the "low prices" it requires of them. It's quite a retail epiphany when a Chinese supplier says that it can't supply products as cheaply as retail requires. Only Wal-Mart has this kind of power, and if these vendor and supplier feelings are true, then signs of desperation are probably starting to swirl in the hallways of Bentonville right now.

PRODUCT: Playsilks to Dye


A friend recommended the following site to purchase plain playsilks from:




once purchased, you can use natural dyes to color them! This makes a great project for the children and is also an affordable way to double the costumes in your dress-up trunk. It is amazing what children can do with playsilks!

MAGAZINE: Living Crafts

A new magazine called "Living Crafts" has come out from the Waldorf community and met with a wonderful response from even the non-Waldorf crowd. It is being carried by Michaels and Barnes & Noble as well as available online. Finally! I look forward to seeing more issues.

Do you have UFOs in your house?

Dear Friends,

I just heard the term "UFO" used to mean "un-finished object". I thought it was so cute I wanted to share it with you all just in case you have not heard it before. I was writing to another crafter about crafting and projects we are doing and her response included, "I have a lot of UFOs in my house"

NATURE WALK: What ever happened to Cloud Gazing?


Has it been dreary and cold in your town too? We sometimes forget that along with those dreary days come some gorgeous clouds! Take a look at this society online that makes it their job to appreciate clouds and share that appreciation with others - you will be inspired to take a nature walk and do some cloud gazing. Does anyone have any good cloud-gazing stories?


Link here:


PARENT CRAFT: Baby or Doll Sling


Dear Parents,


I am not very good at sewing and to make it worse I really don't like to sew! However, when my daughter was born I managed to make a sling for her and a few years later I made a smaller one so she could carry around her dolls - she LOVE them. Give it a try for a holiday gift. Make your child a sling for their dolls or animals and save a lot of money! You are basically paying for the price of a little bit of fabric.


Here is a nice online link on how to make them:

ALERT: Linseed Oil Self-Ignites


Dear Waldorf Parents,


Just as "safe and natural" herbs sometimes have dangerous contraindications so do other natural products. Be sure to use everything you have with wisdom and knowlege - if it is "natural" or not!


There are many reports (confirmed by a firefighter as well) that cloths soaked in linseed (used sometimes to put a natural finish on wood or remove old paint) will SELF-IGNITE. Please be aware of this if you are going to use this natural product and be sure to clean and store cloths related to this oil properly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Blankie Jeans



Dear Parents,

I wanted to share with you what my daughter, Sofi, did with her old Blankie today. She is 8-years-old and her grandmother quilted her a blanket when she was very little. She loves it so much and once when I was sick I had nothing else I could do so I sat for 4 hours and sewed up all the ripped parts! But they ripped again so today she cut out pieces from it and designed a new pair of 8-year-old jeans. I just thought that was so cool! Here's a picture: