Friday, November 28, 2008

Advent Story Ribbon

This is now located at

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snow Squirrels and Andy Goldsworthy Lesson

One of Sunii's favorite artists is Andy Goldsworthy (see website: Andy Goldsworthy). So when we got our first snow today we were busy thinking of ways we could create art "beyond the snowman". Well, the snow didn't last too long and we didn't have much to work with but we had fun. We can't wait to try again next snow! Sunii's goal was to cover the entire side of the tree in Andy Goldsworthy style. I would then take pictures of the progression to creation and the progression of what happened over a few days as the "art" became part of nature once again (just as Goldsworthy does).

You can check back for more photos...these are just the initial shots. Of course we are nowhere near the masters that Goldsworthy is but the "feel" was still there - the process of working WITH nature to create something, the process of watching the art unfold in harmony with nature, working with what nature offers (in our case the snow was not as clean as we would have liked) and the process of watching nature claim it back.

And the squirrels? Uhh...not very Andy excuse is just that I am a little "nuts"....When I saw the tree Sunii was working on my mind said "squirrels" and I went from there. If we had more snow I wanted to mold a barking dog out of snow and have him chase the squirrels up the tree...but alas...the snow stopped.

Can't wait for the next snow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Solstice

It is a little early for this but people enjoyed it so much last year I wanted to give everyone time to share it. As I mentioned last year - you are welcome to post this to any list or on any BLOG or do anything you want with it, as long as you keep it intact with my name and website.

Twas the Night Before Solstice
By Kristie Burns

'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 my wife 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!"

Carrying on the Tradition

"Miss Kristie! Look! Look! Look what my fairy left me!"

It was Morgan, my "after school daughter". Morgan comes to stay with us every day after her school dismisses from 3:00-6pm. Since my eldest daughter is away during the school year this year Morgan uses her room. So we call her "my fourth daughter".

Morgan has built a fairy house in her room just like the one Sofi has in her room. They both look forward to signs that the fairies have visited. Is something out of place in the house? Did the fairies eat the chocolate they left for them? Did the fairies spill something or leave a note? Did the fairies leave a gift?

However, I didn't realize that Morgan was as entranced by the fairy world as Sofi was, until this past week. I thought she was just building the fairy house to have fun with, and because she liked crafts. Morgan, being 12-years-old, was not waiting for the fairies too, was she?

So, Sofi's fairy continued to leave "signs" and "gifts" (at night after Morgan left so Morgan was not hurt) but Morgan's fairy didn't visit at all. I still didn't notice what was happening. When Morgan came to me and said, "Miss Kristie, my fairy is not visiting." I put in my mind that perhaps her fairy should visit soon. However, I didn't put it in my mind as a priority. Even Sofi's fairy took a week break for a while there...

So I was surprised when Morgan came running to me with some gifts in her hand saying "look what my fairy gave me!" I smiled and showed my appreciation for the gifts. I imagined that Morgan had created some gifts "from her fairy" and this was making her happy. She seemed very happy. And since the fairies were on a break anyway, I didn't think much about it. Sofi's fairy had not visited for more than a week.

The next day Morgan came to me again, "Look Miss fairy left me a note!"

Each day it was the same until today I suddenly wondered....

'Sofi," I said, "Do you know how I explained what happens with Santa Claus and how sometimes we are inspired by these spirits to leave gifts?"

(If you are not familiar with the letter Santa left her last year you might want to stop now and read the letter at:

'Yes" replied Sofi.

"Do you think perhaps Morgan's fairy has been inspiring you?"

"Hmmmm...I don't know, " said Sofi, "If she was I wouldn't remember."

"Are you sure you are not aware of helping her at all?" I pushed a bit...

"All I remember is going into Morgan's room for no reason and then I don't remember why I was there," Sofi responded.

That was the answer I had been expecting.

I was so touched. Without a word, without a formal ceremony, Sofi had taken on the tradition of "fairy messenger". She had created elaborate notes and gifts and things for Morgan's fairy to give her for the simple reason of creating joy and wonder for Morgan. The fairies had spoken to her.

She knew, intuitively, what to do and how to do it. She knew that you must never reveal your secret - even to those that know, she knew how to be quiet about it, and do it in a careful way. And at the same time she anticipated the wait of her own fairy eagerly and with great surprise and joy - completely knowing that it was I who was the messgenger but completely "knowing" that it was not I that left the items. Somehow she had completely grasped the idea of the wonder and mystery of it all and was able to be the messenger and the believer at the same time.

We completely skipped the entire drama of "Oh my! Really? There is no Santa? There are no fairies?" and peacefully merged into the next stage of her life where she becomes the messenger for the next generation.

There are two things that made this transition so peaceful. First, we do not stop believing in our home. We believe in believing. I tell the kids - you have to PROVE it does not exist or I will believe it is real! Secondly, the gift-giving and visiting process is done by teaching us to listen to our intuition and perhaps those tiny voices that come from other places. In learning to listen to those other voices we are able to gift without deception and be open about it. And the child learns to listen to their own intuition and their own angels and spirits guiding them...and the tradition is carried on.

I cannot say I understand it completely. If I did it would certainly lose its magic. All I know is that Santa continues to leave gifts, Zarelda (the fairy) continues to leave gifts and now, a new fairy leaves gifts for Morgan. And sometimes the fairy houses are disturbed and none of us know how or why...

Blessings & Health,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Class Mantras

We are always working together to develop workable class mantras. By workable, I mean ideas that work for everyone in the class, are understood by everyone in the class and are meaningful to what we want to accomplish. I thought I would share some of my favorite "mantras" with everyone. What are some of your favorites? If you have some favorites yourself please post them to the end of the BLOG. Thank you!

1. Mantra One: We need solutions and not problems. This is to encourage students to come up with solutions to their problems instead of complaining. It is so easy to fall into the "I don't WANT to do that activity" mode. This mantra encourages students to come up with workable solutions instead of complaining. This works well because in the process of coming up with workable solutions students are given wonderful opportunities to be creative and they are allowed to "be in the teacher's (or parent's) shoes" for a moment and experience the actual difficulty of coming up with ideas. A good example of this was two days ago a child in the enrichment class said, "I don't want to make bread again!" When it was suggested that she find a solution to this "problem" she realized that she actually did want to make bread, she just didn't want the same toppings on the bread so we found some additional selections for her and she enjoyed her bread very much!

2. Mantra Two: We need to keep the air clean too! This is a reminder that our words and attitude can pollute the air in the same way the dust or dirt can pollute a surface. If gossip ensues, or children are teasing or focusing on negative thoughts they can be encouraged to keep the air cleaner by putting happier, more peaceful thoughts into the air. This idea can be expanded on. You can have an "air cleaning" session with a sage stick and some positive thoughts said outloud by everyone or you can do a little "acting" and pretend you are wading through a thick sea of dirty air.

Repetition helps enforce the ideas so instead of repeating the ideas 500 times, the familiarity of making it a regular statement helps to reduce the need for repetition and encourages everyone to participate in the "reminding". If you were to make a different comment every time someone complained it would become confusing to the child and would create an ongoing need for the parent or teacher to repeat their ideas over and over. When you use a "mantra" it makes it easier for the child to remember.

You can also create verses, poems or songs out of these mantras, you can draw them and hang them on the wall, or include them in the Main Lesson Book.

(there are many more topics in previous weeks. Scroll down to previous BLOG posts to see the previous member topics)

Montessori and Waldorf Meet on a Rock
My Favorite Nature Walk Theme & Activity - Full Lesson

There were many member questions answered this week as well. These questions included: Ideas for reluctant readers, natural tick removal tips, how to deal with "selfish" behaviour, and more.

The member video this week was "How to Make a Felted Bendy Doll"

Remember - for a limited time - when you become a member at you only pay for ONE of the services (Waldorf Channel Membership, BLOG Membership or Health and Homeschool Consulting) and you get the other two services for free!