Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tree Block Menorah

Chanukah is starting tonight!  The basic story of Chanukah is here.  A description of the menorah is here along with the proper lighting procedure.

This year we made a tree block menorah.  We cut eight 1" pieces of tree blocks from a fallen bay laurel tree.  The wood from bay laurels seems to be ideal for tree blocks for those who live in Israel.  We used a mitre box to cut the pieces straight.  Yoav and I shared in the sawing.  We then glued on (with craft glue) metal "candle holders" that we found in our local craft shop (which was filled with Chanukah crafting items) and glued each tree block onto a piece of spare wood.  I think it would be prettier if the base was a thick branch with the top and bottom cut (horizontally) to make it flat on both sides and a similar shape as the base we used.  But that would have been a lot of sawing for us.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Newborn knitted hat and mittens

Finished a tiny set of newborn mittens and a hat.  The patterns are from Louisa Harding's "Natural Knits for Babies and Moms".    The yarn is Purewool 100% merino wool.  I've made the hat a bunch of times so far and the mittens a few times, but this is the first time I was organized enough to make the i-cord to keep the mittens together!

Our Blooming Forest

Winter is the time of rain (not nearly enough, but at least there's some) and growth here.  Still gets cold at nights, but it's comparable to a NY spring, but warmer during the day.

The forest behind our house is so beautiful right now!  These photos don't nearly do it justice.

Za'atar - often used on toasted pita
Zutar - makes very yummy tea - I think it's part of the mint family

I'm told that these are endangered, so we are very fortunate to have them!

I'm so very grateful for the series of events that led us to a home in the forest!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Math Block 1 / Quality of Numbers - continued

We're still plugging away on our math block, although I have to admit that I'm having a MUCH harder time with this block than with the Language Arts block.  For the LArts Block, each day is critical - Day 1 - story, Day 2 - draw picture; Day 3 - find/draw letter; Day 4 - painting (not critical), but for math, no day is more critical than the next, so it's too easy for me to skip days or just throw in the math lesson at some point in the day, but not complete with Circle and verses and all...

We spent the first two weeks learning the first ten numbers, drawing them and now are slowly working through drawing pictures with the numbers and with that number of something in the picture (like one person, two trees, etc.)  Yoav started seven and eight today, but got frustrated when his eight apples looked more like hearts and I decided to wait until tomorrow to try again (because he seemed overall to have had enough).

My favorite day was the learning of addition (which of course he knows, but I'm referring to addition in the whole-to-parts way I'm teaching it, based on the ideas in Ernst Schuberth's "Teaching Mathematics for First and Second Grades in the Waldorf Schools").  We picked a number and then broke it down into parts.  Yoav enjoyed this and was very quick with it.  It's great because there is no "right" answer - we just talked about finding ways to make a ten (and then twenty).  Yoav marveled at all the ways he came up with.

We are also doing verses to learn the twos, threes, fours and fives times tables - little songs that we say as we walk and on the second/third/fourth/fifth step, we say that word much louder and stomp.

Quick and Easy Baby Quilt #4

Just finished my fourth "Quick and Easy Baby Blanket" from "Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" by Joelle Hoverson.  It's listed as a 2-4 hour project, which is about right.  The cutting always takes me a long time (this is my fourth one - here's one, here's one and the other I forgot to take a photo of) and at the end, you make little embroidered stitches every 4" to hold it together (see last photo) which takes a long time to first measure and mark the locations and then to do all the stitching (by machine, but still slow...)

The front fabric is Cloud 9 Organic cotton, backing is organic cotton (front and back from Organic Cotton Plus); batting is organic cotton and thread is organic thread from Near Sea Naturals, so it's truly a 100% organic blanket :)

This one measures 34" x 45" - I used up all the cloud fabric I had.

I honestly don't love the fabric, but it's sleepy-themed and organic and there's nothing else I can think to do with it other than a baby blanket, so it had to be done...

I know it needs to be ironed!  But I'm afraid to do it until the vanishing marker marks vanish for fear that heat might cause them to set.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elie's 4th Birthday!

Yesterday was Elie's 4 Year birthday.  I can't believe how big he's getting!

We have our birthday routine down pretty well now and I'm really happy with it.

Prior to the birthday, starting on four days to his birthday (since it was his fourth birthday), each day when he woke up, he got four kisses and I'd tell him it was x days to four (4 days to 4, 3 days to 4, etc.) and I told him stories about his birth/baby-hood/toddler-hood.

On the day of his birthday, when he woke up, we (Yoav actually started singing first!) sang our special birthday song that I've been singing for a few years - it comes from Magic Cabin (slightly modified below):
It was four years ago, Today, Today;
That Elie came down from the Heavens to stay;
He came to bring gladness and joy to the Earth;
Good people and angels were here for his birth;
So let us now join them in singing;
With beautiful birthday bells ringing;
Happy Birthday Elie. Happy Birthday Elie.
Then, I ran downstairs to light candles on our "candle lake" and then sang the Magic Cabin song again as Elie came down the stairs and I met him to put on his birthday crown.

Elie got downstairs to find the candles in the Candle Lake and his presents at his spot at the table:

We sang Happy Birthday (Yom Huledet Sameach) and he blew out the candles:

And started opening gifts (only the handmade ones are from me/us - the rest are from grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins)...  First wooden Ostheimer animals that Jeremy picked up in Neve Tzedek at Omer:

Then the doll's crib from Ikea (with it's horrible cotton/poly bedding - I made new bedding while the kids were playing with all the new toys):

Yoav got one too as I knew it was too special to be just for Elie...  Yoav put his together himself and Elie and I put together Elie's:

Here they are finished with the new bedding.  I made pillows, pillowcases and mattresses (with quilt batting inside).  The quilts were gifts from a few years ago (here for the D9P one - I didn't post about the other).

Then a doll cardigan and hat I made with Purewool yarn.  The cardigan pattern is from Shelley Caskey at Waldorfmama.  The hat is my standard - the infant hat in "Natural Knits for Babies and Moms" by Lousia Harding.

Yoav helped Elie with the buttons:

Here are both dolls in their cardigans and hats (Yoav got one too - that story is here).  I also made a new skirt for Elie's doll using the Oliver & S Lazy Days Skirt Pattern.

Then a Debresk tow truck also from Omer:

Yoav was just as happy as Elie with that one ;)

That was about it for the birthday excitement.  We didn't do school - just played with the new things and had a relaxing day with Yoav's horseback lesson (and lunch at the amazing restaurant at the ranch) in the afternoon.

Happy Birthday Elie!  We love you!!!