Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giving His Heart...

Yoav's Safta (Grandmother) just asked him if he's excited about his birthday and he said, "Yes!  I'm going to give out bookmarks (he made these as party favors) and we hung up balloons."  I love that his birthday excitement is more about what he's *giving* than what he's hoping to *get*!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Birthday Party Planning

I'm feeling stressed about Yoav's birthday party (on Sunday, same day as his actual birthday), so I'm going to write up what I've planned so far.  I have ideas from various blogs and books, so I want to aggregate everything since my brain seems a little overwhelmed - jeepers, how did I get a master's degree!?!?!?

Prior to birthday:  This will all be part of our Birthday routine going forward - we've done everything except the Birthday eve poem in previous years.

Starting on six days to his birthday (since it's his sixth birthday), each day when he wakes up, he gets six kisses and a little story about when he was young(er) and I tell him it's x days to 6...

On the night before his birthday, I'm going to tell him this poem that I found here -
When I have brushed my teeth*,
And my blanket I've gone beneath*,
And mother switches off the light,
I'll still be 5 years old tonight.

But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I'll be 6 years old.

6 kisses when I wake,
6 candles on my cake.

* modified

On the birthday:  When he wakes up, he'll get six kisses and then I'll sing this song from Magic Cabin:
It was six years ago;
Today, Today;
That Yoavi came down from the Heavens to stay;
He came to bring gladness and joy to the Earth;
Good people and angels attended his birth;
So let us now join them in singing;
With heavenly birthday bells ringing;
Happy Birthday Yoavi. Happy Birthday Yoavi.

Next to the bed will be a few (I'm thinking six) special items I've collected from our forest adventures.

Then we'll go downstairs where his birthday crown will be at his place at the table with a candle lit and his presents.  He'll open his presents (needle book with embroidery needles, crayon roll, nature bag, a doll hat I'm knitting if I finish in time, and a little doll Jeremy got him (when he realized that all the gifts were quite obviously just from me and he wanted to include somethign of his own )).  We're having bagels for breakfast - Jeremy is going to pick them up on Saturday night.

Birthday Party:  This is a combination of the ideas in "Heaven on Earth" by Sharifa Oppenheimer and this article.

The party is from 3-5PM, we will have seven kids total, including my two - the kids will be aged 2.5 to 7.  I asked the guests to bring handmade gifts.  The schedule will be:
Scavenger hunt in the forest (they will search for beanbags that I made which will be the party favors)
Snack served (veggie sticks and hummus, tortilla chips and avocado, apple slices, water)
Circle time - detailed below
Craft - felt balls
Crown ceremony (see below), Light the birthday candles, sing Yom Yom Huledet (Happy Birthday in Hebrew) and serve cake/cookies
Story - The Boy and the Sea (in Spindrift) - this will be a Waldorf-style puppet show
Goodbye

Our Circle will be:
Opening - Come Follow
Game/Movement:  Yadaim Lamala (similar to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes - we'll play the same way, getting faster each time)
Game/Movement:  Ring around the Rosy (including the second stanza where you jump up)
Finger Play:  Insy Weensy Spider
Finger Play:  A nest is a home for a robin, A hive is a home for a bee, A hole is a home for a rabbit, And a house is a home for me!
Closing - Birds in the air, Stones in the land, Fishes in the water, I'm in G-d's hands.

Crown Ceremony - I'm not positive I'll do this, but Yoav loved it for his fourth birthday, so I'm leaning toward doing it.  We somehow misplaced the rainbow play silk in our move, but I have a long white one that I can use - I'll have a long silk laid out on the ground with a chair at the end draped in colored silks.  I'll hold his hand, sing the Six Years Ago song (same from first thing in the morning), walk him to the chair where Jer will crown him.  Then we'll go to the table and we'll all sing Yom Yom Huledet and he'll blow out candles and we'll have cake/cookies.

Cake - I'm going to make the carrot cake in "Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book" for the third year in a row.  I also made the Birthday Star cookies from the same book today for our Baking Day and will make some more Saturday night (they got the thumbs up from Yoav).

To Do (for me):  dye a playsilk blue for the story (I seem to have lost our blue playsilk in our move); make cake and cookies; practice story and songs; make sure camera is charged!


I feel much better now with it all written out!  Let me know if you have any ideas or changes!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hat for Yoav

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I finished Yoav's hat today.  It's with my new Three Irish Girls yarn; pattern is Knitting Pure and Simple Basic Hat and Mitten Set for Children; #8 needles.  Yoav is very happy with it - hopefully it'll be comfy for him when he wears it for long periods.  Elie picked out the orange, blue and yellow yarn for his hat.  I might just make him the same one since it's so quick and fun to knit (at this point in my life, fun to knit for me means that I can carry it around, start and stop without thinking, knit in the forest on our morning walk...).  I think Elie also prefers simple hats that don't tie or fit too tight.  He loves wearing my hats but refused to wear the pilot hat I made him last year.

Chickpea Stew

I made this for Shabbat and it was so delicious.  It was inspired by a friend who made a chickpea/mangold stew.

Chickpea Stew

Ingredients:
2 lb grass-fed beef, cut into 1" cubes
2 grass-fed beef bones
1 cup chickpeas (prepared first by soaking in water with 2 T lemon juice for 24 hours, then boiling for about two hours until they start to feel soft)
6 carrots, diced
6 potatoes, cut in chunks
2 onions, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, diced or minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Prepare chickpeas per instructions in Ingredients
2.  Sautee beef in a bit of olive oil until brown on all sides (to keep it moister through the hours of cooking) in stew pot.
3.  Separately, sautee onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic and continue to sautee for about a minute.
4.  Add water to the beef to cover, bring to a boil and skim scum that rises to the top.
5.  Add sauteed onions and garlic, carrots, potatoes, bones and salt and pepper.
6.  Simmer on stovetop for an hour or two.
7.  Make sure there's plenty of water to cover and put in the oven at 225F for about 12-20 hours, unti soft and delicious ;)

It's very tasty served over brown rice and for veg*ians, it would probably be great also with veggie stock (or water) instead of water, meat and bones.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Three Irish Girls Yarn

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Jeremy got back today from a trip to the States.  And, of course, he had a suitcase full of goodies including this beautiful yarn from Three Irish Girls.  It's the first time I bought (relatively) expensive yarn and I was feeling a bit guilty until it arrived and I saw how beautiful and deliciously soft it is!  The photo really doesn't do it justice (which is why I wasn't sure it was worth the money until it arrived).  I started a hat for Yoav and it is such a pleasure to knit with this yarn!  The yarn I'm using for his hat is called Galenas merino - it's one ply but worsted weight and oh so soft!  And the way the colors change from one to the next is just too perfect for words.  I love watching the colors change as I go.  I've used other multi-colored yarn before (custom dyed yarn and Purewool) but never with so many distinct colors and never have they changed from one color to the next with such... grace?  I don't know.  I can't find the words, but suffice it to say that I love the yarn and will be happily knitting us all hats, mittens and socks for the next month or two :)

Finished Nature Bag

Just posting a photo of the finished nature bag...  The purple spots you can see behind the embroidery is from the vanishing marker - it should be all gone by tomorrow...  It says "Yoav" in Hebrew and the flowers and bird are from Cinderberry Stitches Sweet and Spotty Needle Case.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Yoav's New Nature Bag

I made this little bag for Yoav last night (another birthday gift).  The pattern is from "Linen, Wool, Cotton" by Akiko Mano; fabric is organic cotton from Organic Cotton Plus.  I made a smaller version for Elie a while ago, which he loves and drags around with him often.  I'm hoping Yoav will be as happy with his.  He often asks me to hold his nature bag (which is like a standard canvas bag with two handles, but his is thin cotton) while we're in the forest because it's hard for him to balance and climb while holding onto the bag.  This bag is designed as a messenger bag with only one strap, so it's to be worn over his neck.  I'm adding some embroidery that I'll finish tonight - his name and some elements from the Cinderberry Stitches' precious Sweet & Spotty Needle Wallet.

The bag:
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My (organic) "Emily's Organics" label that I got from greenbeanstrings on Etsy:
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Finished photo (with embroidery) coming soon!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Craft: Doll Bag

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This was our craft for this past week - a doll bag (for his 16" Waldorf doll).  We cut a piece of fabric 5"x10" for the bag itself and 2" x about 12" for the strap.  Yoav hemmed the top edge of the bag using what I thought was a pretty embroidery (he purposely did it decorative - not straight stitch), then he put right sides together, sewed up the two sides, then sewed up the strap with backstitch, he helped and then I finished turning it inside out with a knitting needle (always a painful process for me) and then we rolled the raw edges of the strap a few times and sewed them in place on the sides.  Yoav LOVED the bag and was so very happy with it - saying that he loved this project and he loved the bag, putting it on his doll's arm...

Unfortunately (you'll see why in a moment), Elie wanted one also, so I made one quickly by machine when the kids were asleep.  In the morning, Yoav saw the "perfectly" stitched bag for Elie and felt that his was inferior :(  Blah.  I always prefer something handsewn to machine-sewn, but who has the time or inclination to hand-sew everything?!? - I was pleased with myself that I squeezed in time to machine-sew the bag for Elie.  Anyway, the story ends with Yoav asking me to take out his stitches and machine-hem his.  Hopefully this won't have an impact on future hand-sewing projects.  The bag came along with his doll on our Nature Walk the next day - the doll even picked up a little stick and acorn to bring home ;)

Sandbox!!

What could be better than this!?!??!  FOUR happy kids in our new sandbox and I'm playing on the computer (inside, unnoticed)! :)
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We finished our sandbox a few days ago and the boys are loving it.  I've wanted a sandbox for about three years - pathetic, huh?  In Brooklyn, I searched and searched for reasonably-priced safe sand to no avail.  Last year, we had a sandbox, but I didn't know where to get replacement sand and it was also much too small and awkward (it was a cutesy wood boat-shaped sandbox) for fun play.  A few weeks ago, we were at a big hardware store in Bet Shemesh (the type of industrial store where builders buy supplies) and we asked if they sold sand - not only did they sell sand, they sell REAL sand - sand from a beach in Israel (I assume/hope from a place that will not cause erosion) - joy of joys!!!  And I know it's real sand, because it has small pieces of shells in it!  YAY!!  We dug a pit in the yard and filled it with four big bags of sand.  I'd like to get Jer to help me make it even a tad bit bigger.  I'm expecting many hours will be spent in this sand pit this winter!  And it makes for a great (very easy) playdate ;)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yoav helping Elie

Yoav and Elie were just upstairs playing and I heard a crash and then crying (Elie).  Then I heard Yoav saying, "I'm sorry!!!  (so empathic/concerned/maybe a little frightened)  Where did you get hurt?  Should I give it kisses?"  Then I hear lots of frantic kisses ;)  Then, "Ima, can you come up to help?"  I love the whole thing - I love that he was caring toward his little brother and I also love that he wasn't trying to hide anything and called me when he felt that maybe it was more than he can/should handle.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yoav and Attachment

I have a friend here who has taken a few classes with attachment guru Gordon Neufeld.  She popped by today to pick something up and, for the ten or fifteen minutes that she was at our house, Yoav was busy making things for her kids (Yoav adores her two youngest daughters).  He even gave her a little modeling wax doll he made for my brother that was already packaged up - clearly it makes sense that a young girl would prefer a doll than a 30 year old soon-to-be-married man ;)  About this, my friend said that Neufeld terms this "giving one's heart".  So, Yoav "gave his heart"to her.  She said this is the last stage of attachment and shows that his attachment is very strong that he is now able to give of himself in this way.  I want to read more about this so I can understand it better, but it certainly made my heart swell to hear ;)

Second, I told her that Yoav has recently started saying that it looks like I don't love him on occasion :(  It can be a very minor issue - yesterday he wanted to make "his salad" (a salad he came up with comprising of diced carrots, diced red pepper, bit of parsley, salt, olive oil, lemon juice) but it was late and I was tired thinking about clearing space for this and helping him get the ingredients and I have to de-seed the pepper...  So I was trying to "find my Center" and took a deep breath and said OK or something to him (just validating his desire to make the salad, not affirming that he should do it then).  He immediately went to the couch and buried his head in sadness.  My friend was surprised that he was able to verbalize this feeling - the moments when it seems like I don't love him.  She thinks it shows that he's very in touch with his emotions and that often kids' emotions are too dulled to really feel these brief moments of disconnect - all kids sometimes think their parents don't love them, but many must feel that it's normal and they get desensitized to the feelings associated with the disconnection.  She also made the point that it's great that he's verbalizing it *to me*.  He knows it doesn't feel right and he wants to talk to me about it to help make sense of the feelings.  She agreed with my standard response, which is simply to lovingly explain that I ALWAYS love him, even though sometimes it might not seem to be so - to make it clear that the disconnection is simply me being tired or overwhelmed and has nothing to do with my relationship with him.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Woolens Sale

A special notice from Michelle at Greentaramama - my favorite source for winter woolies:

Autumn Greetings from Vermont
We are enjoying a beautiful and sunny foliage season in Vermont, but there is a chill in the air today!
Many trees have lost their leaves, and we are having our first Nor'Easter of the season.

It is time to plan for the winter months and make sure everyone has a warm set of woolens (or two!)

We would like to extend a 15% discount on woolen orders placed between now until October 19th. We are well-stocked on babies and childrens woolens, and have many more adult woolens on the way. Our silk wool blend for adults has become very popular. . Use the coupon code "wool15" (without quotes) at checkout to receive this discount.  All orders over $100 ship free as well.

Organic Baby Woolens
http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=54_58

Organic Children's Woolens
http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=6_61

Organic Adult Woolens
http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=18_19

You may also SPECIAL ORDER from the entire range of Ruskovilla and Engel items.  15% discount will be applied to these orders as well. Please place any special order now for assurance of holiday delivery.
Find catalogs and price lists in pdf for here
http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=4&chapter=0

Please send your order via email with the item code, description, color, size and price as well as your name and phone number. We will call you for payment. Email to greenmountainorganics at gmail.com

Or check out online using the engel or ruskovilla special order purchase, and enter your order in the comments box.  You will be charged for the entire order when the order ships to you, less the $5 special order charge that you pay when you order.
http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=117

Stay Warm!

--

Michelle Morton
www.greenmountainorganics.com
The Vermont Green Lifestyle Store
www.greentaramama.com
online womens circle

Stockmar Block Crayon Roll

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I just finished this crayon roll for Yoav's birthday.  It can hold 12 Stockmar block crayons.  Disregard the water marks - I used a water erasable pen for markings... 

Measurements:
Outside fabric, inside fabric and interfacing fabric:  6.5" x 11.25"
Red fabric (two pieces):  4" x 11.25" (folded in half lengthwise before sewing to the inside fabric)
Ribbon:  20" (this time I used ribbon from Lillalotta).

Directions:
1.  Cut all fabrics
2.  Iron interfacing to wrong side of inside fabric
3.  Fold crayon-holding fabric (my red fabric) in half lengthwise and iron.  Pin in place (fold is toward the inside of the crayon roll).  Make a vertical mark at 2.125" from the left edge, then four more markings every 1.75".
4.  Stitch along markings, going back and forth a bit at beginning and end.
5.  Fold ribbon in half with pattern on the INSIDE and topstitch to right side of inside fabric.
6.  Pin ribbon to the inside fabric so you don't accidentally sew over it.
7.  Place right side of outer fabric to right side of inner fabric and sew with 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 3.5" hole for turning right side out (I left hole at short end on the side without the ribbon).
8.  Trim corners and turn right side out.
9.  Poke out corners with a knitting needle or similar, iron and topstitch 1/8" all around.
10. Insert crayons and enjoy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tutorial: Felted Acorns

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These are the felted acorns we made for our craft this week.  The acorns here (at least where we live) are different than the usual ones in the States.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for the smaller acorn caps.  These are still cute, but I like the US acorns better.  Yoav enjoys making felt balls, but this was the first time making the felted acorns and his eyes LIT UP with wonder and amazement when he saw the first one ;)

Materials:
100% wool roving - available at A Child's Dream or either Omer or Orit Dotan's Etsy shop for those in Israel
Dishwasher soap
Acorn caps
Large bowl

Directions:
1.  Fill a bowl with warm water and dishwashing detergent (I think any detergent works - I use Dr. Bronner's)
3.  Take a handful of roving and form into a ball as best you can.  Take some threads of roving and wrap around the outside of the ball to hold it together.
4.  Dribble some soapy water plus some extra soap gently around the outside of the roving.
5.  Pass the "ball" back and forth between your hands very gently (no squeezing).
6.  Sing as you do this, because it will be a while!  ;)
7.  Dribble soapy water over the ball until it slowly becomes saturated.  Continue passing back and forth between your hands - this will cause the wool fibers to lock together - the ball will begin to firm up and get smaller.
8.  Once it begins to feel more like a ball than a blob of wool, start gently rolling it between the palms of your hands.  Continue to dribble soapy water over it occasionally.  You can gently squeeze excess water out as needed (don't do this before the ball begins to firm up or it will get lumpy).
9.  Continue for about ten minutes or until the ball is the firmness that you want.  The longer you continue the felting process, the denser the ball with become.
10.  Rinse in cold water and let sit overnight to dry.
11.  Match up felt balls with acorn caps in terms of size, add a squirt of craft glue into the acorn cap and glue the felt ball to the cap.  Let dry.

These make a great addition to an autumn Nature Table!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Six Year Change?

I think I saw the first clear sign of the Six Year Change today.  We were getting ready to do our craft (felted acorns) and Yoav was making moping noises on the couch.  Just before this when I had pulled out our craft materials, he said he didn't want to make the felted acorns.  I started going upstairs to get something else to do and he asked where I was going.  When I told him, he said, "I'm not sad about the craft." and started crying.  I was pretty shocked by this, because I've never seen him cry like this before.  He tantrums - cries when he spills water on his clothes or when Elie draws on something of his, etc., but he doesn't cry from *sadness*.  Actually, he really doesn't get *sad* - he gets angry and frustrated, but not *sad*.  So I went to him and held him as he cried (and nearly started crying myself!)  He mumbled something like, "I'm sad because you weren't with me."  I had been putting some groceries in the fridge and I guess he was really needing some Ima-love.  We ended up cuddling on the couch with a book ("The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly") and it was exactly what he needed.  After reading a few chapters, he was ready to start the craft, which he enjoyed immensely - I'll post photos tomorrow.

Yoav's Birthday Needle Book

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I just finished this sweet needle book for Yoav's birthday.  I used this tutorial.  I'm happy with how it came out, but I had to make two because the first one didn't come out right - once you get to the button part, this is obvious, but your buttons need to be fairly small or they won't both fit with the measurements in the tutorial.  I kept the first one for myself and just used small tear-drop-shaped coconut buttons I had, so it actually looks fine without the felt.  For my second try (the one in the photo which I'll give to Yoav), I cut the felt to about 2.5" x 7.5".  My only other adjustment was to add a little bead at the end of the string that holds the buttons together.  I used 100% wool felt from A Child's Dream and the buttons are bamboo buttons from Near Sea Naturals.  And inside I put a few gold-eye chenille embroidery needles that I also got from A Child's Dream.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"made by emily" Ribbon

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How beautiful is this ribbon!?!?!?!  It's a custom order from Anna over at www.lillalotta-blog.blogspot.com.  Sadly, she's not going to be selling tapes anymore, but all her work is lovely and I'm excited to see what she comes out with next.  And even more excited to use my new tape :)  First use will be for Yoav's new crayon roll for his birthday (his old one has a terrible closure ribbon that is hard to tie and re-tie, so I'll be using some cute Lilla Lotta ribbon for that as well).  Thank you, Anna - I love it!!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

October Block

We started our new Block today with a new Circle.  It went over really well.  We've been doing Circle outside this year before we come inside from our morning walk and it's so perfect.  Both kids participate and enjoy it.  Today when I started new verses, Yoav sat down and said he was watching, but a moment of watching the tippy toes one, he jumped up to try it.  I love watching both kids trying to copy my movements and learn the words for the new verses.  I'm using a new Closing verse, which isn't ideal (the same verse is supposed to be used all year), but neither kid liked the Owl one that I was using and they'd both start playing and talking while I was doing it and I felt like I was just talking to myself.  I started a page here to keep track of my past Blocks.

* Opening:  Come Follow
* Movement:  Up I stretch on tippy toes, Down to touch my heels I go, Up to the sky my arms I send, Down to the earth my knees do bend.
* Movement (Midline Crossing):  Apple Tree (from Enki materials)
* Movement (Base Line):  Winds of October (from Enki materials, but similar versions are online)
* Finger Play:  Clap up and clap down, Clap behind, Clap before, Clap up and clap down, As we did before.
* Finger Play:  A nest is a home for a robin, A hive is a home for a bee, A hole is a home for a rabbit, And a house is a home for me!
* Hebrew:  Come Clouds
Closing (done as finger play):  Birds in the air, Stones in the land, Fishes in the water, I'm in G-d's hands.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Great Sale on Visions Glass Cookware!

There is a great sale going on right now at Visions - it's glass cookware so it's the safest possible cooking option - even stainless steel leaches chemicals into food if you're cooking acidic food.

http://www.shopworldkitchen.com/index.asp?pageID=240&b=15

If you're not sure if you'll like it, get the 2.25L round saucepan - on sale from $41.99 to $14.92!!!  Seems like a mistake, so order fast if you're interested ;)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bark Boat

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Our craft today was to make a bark boat, which fit well with our story, "The Boy and the Sea".

Even though this craft required only the most minimal of woodworking skills, I can officially say that it marks our foray into woodworking. It might not seem like much in terms of woodworking, but it took me a LONG time (over a year) to gather everything we need in order to do woodworking. I got some lovely gauges and a hand drill from Garrett Wade last year as well as a few things here (saw, vise) and we FINALLY found a suitable table at Ikea.

This was a project from Freya Jaffke's "Toymaking with Children". We looked for bark in the forest on Monday with no success (we didn't want to take it off a tree - we were hoping to find some on the ground) but then, amazingly, on Tuesday, a big piece of bark flew onto our front porch. Talk about easy prep!!! The piece of bark was perfect - very large and thick.  This was our process:
1.  Saw bark a bit on the sides to shape it like a boat (Yoav did only a very small bit of sawing and then wanted me to finish).
2.  Using a small gauge (or hand drill), form a hole for the mast.
3.  Fill the hole in the bark with craft glue and insert a thin stick - this will be the mast.
4.  Cut a piece of 100% wool felt to the size of the boat.
5.  Cut two pieces of embroidery thread (or other thick thread) and insert with needle in two places along the sail where the sail will attach to the mast.
6.  Our mast has a little branch coming out at the top, so the thread won't slip, but otherwise, saw a groove around the stick where the thread will be tied so it won't slip down.
7.  Attach sail to mast by tying thread in double knots around the mast.
8.  Let glue dry and take the boat for a sail :)

The bark can be any size to make various sized boats and the sail can be made of fabric, felt, or even feathers or a piece of thin bark.

Enjoy!

Happier Kids Now

Just making sure everyone who reads my blog knows about this online Expo - it's an amazing line-up of guests, including my fabulous coach, Scott Noelle :)

Registration (free) is at www.happierkidsnow.com. All interviews are available for free for 48 hours. I'm listening to the bullies one now - highly recommended!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Knitted Gnome

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How cute is this little gnome!?!??! I used this free pattern - THANK YOU Tonya! It is such a fun pattern - just took me an afternoon (with interruptions) and Yoav stuffed it and sewed the arms on (you can't tell that he did it versus me - I was surprised he was able to do it so well with no tips!) The wool is Purewool. I definitely will be making more of these - it's easy, quick, fun to knit, and the finished product is adorable!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Succah

This is a bit late, but I'm catching up...

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This is our Sukkah - we put it on the porch just off the dining area. Our decorations were fairly lame - we made a rainbow chain garland as our craft project for the Craft Day just before Sukkot. We used origami paper, which worked well as a sturdy colored paper that will stay together with tape (versus staples). We also put up our Birthday Banner - I'm planning to make a Jewish-themed one that will be more suitable as a general Holiday Banner.

Simchat Torah Craft: Felt Torah

This is our Simchat Torah craft. A bit late for anyone looking for inspiration for this year - too many holidays, too much to do! ;)

The project was a felt Torah and Yoav really enjoyed this project and LOVED the end result. He loved bringing his beautiful Torah to shul and carried it around like it was a baby and placed it on his shelf in the playroom after Simchat Torah was over.

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Materials:
One piece 100% wool felt, 8" x 5"
2 sticks, fairly straight - mine are 7.5" long, 1/4" diameter
Paper for scroll - ours is 4.5" x 60"
Wool yarn to use as Torah Binder
Wool yarn for finger crocheted top and bottom
Scraps of felt, buttons, etc. for decoration

Directions:
1. Make two 7.25" long finger crochet chains to decorate the top and bottom (and to add finger crocheting to the craft, always a happy addition to any Waldorf craft LOL). Attach with a few stitches, starting at one end of the felt (ie, about 1" will be left on the other side - this is where the felt cover will overlap when rolled into a cylinder).
2. Add any other decorations with glue or sewing. To save time, I sewed Yoav's house design onto the Torah with back stitch. It might also be fun to do some simple embroidery as decoration.
3. Roll felt into a cylinder, with about a 1" overlap. The finger crochet ends should line up perfectly. Pin in place and sew with backstitch or running stitch - or you could glue if preferred and you have time to wait for glue to dry :)
4. Cut out pieces of paper about 4.5" wide and tape together until about 60" long.
5. Tape paper onto sticks securely.
6. Roll up the scroll from both ends so they meet in the middle. Check to see if the scroll fits into the Cover. If so, bind the scroll by wrapping with a piece of yarn and knotting.
7. Insert scroll into Cover and bring to shul!

Our Forest

In the forest:
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Path heading away from our house:
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Path heading toward our house - our house is on the left one house closer than the red house - it's not visible in the photo b/c it's SO CLOSE TO THE FOREST!!! ;)
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I'm sure I'll be writing a lot more about our forest experiences as the weather cools (it's still HOT here - supposedly the temperature is going to drop dramatically in the week or two ahead). For now, we are (generally) going into the forest for our morning walk and morning snack. We head out along the path by the house and pick a spot to enter the forest. The kids climb around for a bit and look for bits of nature to bring back for our Nature Table, and then we find a flat spot for snack. There are a few really beautiful forests within ten minutes of the house, so, once the weather cools, we'll add an afternoon a week in a forest (which can either be this one next to our house or a different one if we find one that we prefer for long periods of time).

Yoav's Haircut

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Yoav got a shorty haircut! We planned to just get his cut but with the same basic (longish) style, but when we were there, I saw a kid who looked so cute in his new shorty haircut - I asked Yoav if he'd want to try a cut like that, he didn't seem to care, so I told Jer to ask for a cut just like that boy's ;) I love it! I was always afraid a short cut would look too preppy, but I guess it's the kid that makes the cut, not the other way around. I saved a few scraps of his hair - it looked too pretty on the floor to just let it all go to the trash forever... Oh, and yes, Yoav also seems happy with the cut - we all love how it feels and he was admiring himself in the mirror before bed ;)