Our Hobbit Tutorial at the Family Book Festival

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Please join me and my family at today’s post on Jump Into A Book. We were delighted to be asked to contribute to this year’s Family Book Festival, which features book reviews and activities by other bloggers, artists, and writers. These wonderful posts are designed to get you and your family reading together and enjoying literature and family time.

We created a project based on The Hobbit: There and Back Again, by J.R.R. Tolkien because we all love the book so much. Just arriving at the decision of what to make was a long journey in itself! We’ve shared our process and a tutorial for making a diorama of a scene from the book. There’s modeling material, paint, gold foil, and dragons! What could be better?

Be sure to browse at Jump Into A Book and read all about the project other families did, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway—you or your school could win 31 Dr. Seuss books! Giveaway closes at the end of March 1st 2012 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be announced on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2nd.

Many thanks to Valarie for inviting us to play in the Family Book Festival!

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Recovery and Thanks

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Hello, I’ve been absent from this space due to a nasty virus, which is lingering and has entirely overstayed its welcome. I came down with it on Valentine’s Day, which is a special kind of meanness, in my opinion. It has caused me to need extra rest this past week, and since I’m still working because of deadlines despite being sick, it’s my fun blogging time that gets cut, unfortunately. But, I’m on the mend.

I just want to officially thank everyone for voting for Love in the Suburbs during the Circle of Moms Top 25 Creative Moms blog contest. Thanks to your support and diligence, I was voted into the Top 25! In fact, I landed at position 10, which is just staggering to me. Thank you again for taking time to vote for me—and for reading here in the first place!

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I have a few posts brewing, so I hope to share them with you soon. In the meantime, I want to share simply that Eileen, of Little Acorn Learning, and I are hard at work on our next e-book about Spring Festivals. We’re hoping to release it in about a week.

Blessings and good health to you!

 

 

Finished, Released, and Relieved

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This is a teaser photo mosaic that shows just a little of what my friend and I have been up to lately. For the last two months, Eileen Straiton (of Little Acorn Learning) and I have been diligently working on our latest e-book. We had so many fantastic ideas and so enjoyed inspiring each other that we kept crafting and writing right up until our self-imposed deadline. Furthermore, we created so much content that we decided to release it as TWO e-books instead of one.

Wooden Advent Wreath

One book is our Advent and Saint Nicholas Festival E-Book, which offers poems, stories, songs, crafts, and myriad special ways that families, schools, or childcare professionals can celebrate the whole month of December with children. The advantage to doing so is that you get a more thoughtful, heartfelt approach to the holidays, with less rushing commercialism and more time in each other’s company while making and giving of yourselves. A measured, calm approach to the winter holidays gives children time to dream, live into the stories of their faith and the season, and count the days of Advent. Children can savor the passing of time with peaceful, delicious anticipation and gentle, useful activity, rather than experience the holiday as a single, frenzied, blowout day that is over all too soon. A peaceful Advent full of simple pleasures and togetherness is what they’ll remember later, not the package-ripping and specific, expensive gifts.

Solstice Spheres

The other e-book we created is the Winter Festivals E-Book, and it’s full of ways to celebrate the festivals of Santa Lucia, Hanukkah, Solstice, Yule, and Christmas. Maybe now it makes sense that we have two offerings instead of one? See, the season of winter festivals is packed with beautiful symbols; messages of peace, hope, rebirth, brotherhood, generosity, and love; and so many inspiring and edifying traditions that it was tough to contemplate leaving out anything. And cold and dark days give us the opportunity to dive into the rich and various traditions that inform the winter festivals. This e-book also offers songs, ancient poems and carols, recipies, rhymes for circle time, caregiver meditations, crafts and natural decorations you can make, and a whole bunch of ideas for enjoying the many festivals of light.

We would be honored and delighted if you’d check out these e-books and spread the word a little. We have poured our hearts and souls into them.

It is our aim to provide nourishing opportunities for families and groups of children at school/daycare environments. Our content is firmly based in Waldorf instructional methods and theories of child development. We value the whole person—head, heart, and hands—both the child and the adult alike. We strive to be original, to use natural, affordable materials, and to create beautiful artwork and handwork without it being so complex that readers are intimidated. We strive to inspire and encourage frequent artistic expression and to share the joy and satisfaction of creating handmade gifts. We are Waldorf moms (and Eileen is a professional childcare provider) and we offer this work with love.

Here are a few “making of” shots from the last two months. I’d like to say thank you to my little helpers and models, Lucas and Asher, for being willing to go along with Mommy’s visions, and to Ian who tolerated my clutter of tools and supplies, my having four different holidays’ décor spread throughout our home at once for photo shoots, and my “Just a minute, I’m writing” excuses. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this work.

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Reborn Solstice Sun Watercolor pants

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Waldorf School Harvest Faire

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This is what the Sacramento Waldorf School Harvest Faire (held October 13) looked like to me. In all of these photos I’ve tried to capture a small glimpse into the tremendous effort and creativity required to bring off this wonderful school fundraiser festival. Each year I am inspired by the depth of commitment and strength of community that this event represents.

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Many families cooked and baked goodies to be sold at Cafe Waldorf.

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Each class sang the songs they’ve been working on in music class, and some brave performers took to the stage for fun and to entertain the diners. Many other performers took to the main stage. We heard a terrific young man playing violin.

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Kids (and kittens) made fairy gardens with clothespin fairies and gems. And plenty of glitter glue.

Scarecrow Gnome at Sacramento #waldorf #School #gnome #studentart #art #ceramics

The campus was decorated beautifully with fall pumpkins, cornstalks, flowers, scarecrows, and more.

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The Country Store sold handmade items and housewares, children’s toys, edibles, bath and body items, holiday items, and lots of crafting and handwork supplies. I’m a little sorry I didn’t buy a bag of raw wool, but I knew I’d have difficulty finding time to use it.

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This gorgeous Autumn Fairy Mother was handmade. I’m sorry I never got the name of the artist. I thought she was just beautiful.

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The sixth grade’s Michaelmas dragon was on hand and perfectly tame. He posed with knights and ladies for photographs.

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Amazing vendors were present, like The Puppenstube‘s own Christine Schreier. We had a lovely chat about mermaids and heavy baby dolls and I took her photo as she sewed on a doll, but she’s shy. Here is her collection of Buntsprecht wooden figures for sale.

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And here is the spooky and charming work of our own Mrs. Passie. She carves these beautiful gourds and makes amazing gourd lamps that cast lovely stars and patterns on the walls of a dark room. My son tells me that he’s been making a gourd lamp at school with Mrs. Passie’s instruction.

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Food vendors were terrific, and our class did a wildly successful tri-tip and mushrooms sandwiches booth. I’m told that the line was long and constant. Many thanks to our parent volunteers who manned the booth, but especially to Sean and Heather for spearheading this effort and procuring all the supplies. I even heard Sean say, “next year when we do this, we’ll …” so I guess he feels pretty great about it, too.

Lucas shooting #harvestfaire #waldorf #archery #son Asher, my lefty #harvestfaire #son #skills #waldorf #archery

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This year Katie and I worked on the Archery booth. We both expressed a strong opinion at a meeting last spring that archery just had to be at the faire. Thus, it became our problem to make it so. Katie did absolutely all the legwork and communications before the faire. I showed up the day before to set up, and then Ian and I worked most of the day of to make sure the booth ran smoothly, safely, and had happy customers.  We had great parent volunteers from our fifth grade class, thank goodness. And even the fifth graders played a huge part in setting everything up. Did you know a small group of 10s and 11s can move 15 hay bales? They can! One of the grandpas donated new arrows and six children’s bows to the Harvest Faire, which means that the archery booth can appear at Harvest Faire year after year. Which is great because it did a very brisk business all day long and we had archers ranging from 3 to 75 shooting that day!

Asher and Lucas loved archery and spent most of our faire money on arrows for another chance to shoot.

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The cake walk was popular as always.

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Beautiful colors, beautiful children, beautiful families were everywhere. The weather was warm and lovely. I think the whole thing was a huge success.

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My kids loved having their parents busy and committed all day. It meant that they could run around campus with their friends! They love having the opportunity to be independent, to go where they like and not have to ask. Although this event was open to the public, I feel safe knowing our community is there and everyone is watching out.

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And then, at the very end of a long, tiring, and happy day, we all flopped out. It was worth it!

Lately

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I’m not going to get anything done today until I write a bit. I am all pent up and my feelings on all subjects are all over the place. They’re mixed up because I haven’t been writing, which is my process for sorting things out, for determining what matters, what to hang on to and work on, and what to let go of. I’ll try not to make this too complainy because there’s really tons of good stuff.

Lately:

I am very busy with work; I have three projects going full speed ahead. Well, the truth is two of the three projects are taking up so much time that the third is languishing and I hope to get back to it ASAP. I don’t know when that will happen and it’s worrying me. I hope it goes without saying that I’m very glad to have the work. I am. Really.

Pretty computer. So new, there is no dust!

My computer died last Wednesday. My main, desktop, do-everything-on-it computer. I will spare you the emotional trauma of this and just say that I have a new one now. It’s a great new machine and my old data is fine. “Hard drive is robust like ox,” said my tech support queen. This is a VERY HAPPY thing. I am still tweaking and finding workarounds to this happy thing, however, as the happy thing is far from optimized at this moment and I don’t have time to optimize it … yet. Nevertheless, all of this will be better soon. In the meantime, I’ve struggled to keep those three projects moving forward.

I just fell in love all over again. #violin #waldorf #home #son

The boys are doing great. Lucas is adapting gradually to the greater expectations of fifth grade. (I have a whole post on this topic brewing in my head.) Lucas is really enjoying both soccer skills practice and his twice weekly karate class. Asher is zany and clownish and enjoying the hell out of life, it seems. Both boys are healthy and happy. Managing them is like herding cats, or monkeys, um—good-natured, sometimes-disdainful-or-obstinate, constantly forgetful catmonkeys who are generally too busy singing or shouting or bickering or spilling or bouncing through the house to listen to you. Or me.

I’ve gone over to my sister-in-law Kellie’s house a couple of times to help out a little with baby Jack, her newborn son. He is beautiful in every way—utterly perfect—and is finally seeming to get a handle on this breastfeeding thing. Some babies are stubborn like that. Holding a teeny baby has got to be one of the best joys of life. I only have to hold him a moment before he has cast a dreamy spell on me and I find that everything else fades away. Still, I did that so-familiar thing of holding baby and editing one-handed. It brought back so many memories and feelings from when my babies were small. Anita Martin, the charming and talented photographer who took Matt and Kellie’s wedding photos has taken some gorgeous shots of them with new baby Jack. They are truly spectacular. Our love goes out to Matt, Kellie, and Jack during this difficult and wonderful newborn time.

Harvest Faire  and the Walk Now for Autism Speaks events both happened last weekend. (I’m planning to write more about this.) It was community service weekend, to be sure. Consequently, it felt rather like no weekend at all. Today, Friday of the following week, I am running on fumes. (Return to the first paragraph under “Lately.”)

I’m also supposed to be writing a book. I hope to get back to that ASAP before my coauthor disowns me.

I love the fall. Can’t wait to hit the pumpkin patch and start work on those Halloween costumes.

I miss painting sooooo bad. It’s been too long and I now feel fear when I think about picking up a brush. Isn’t that the way of it? I’ve lost my momentum and with it some confidence. It’s a thing I have to correct at the soonest possibly opportunity. Must buy that fancy light so I can paint in my house at night. Must get back to class. Mustn’t forget what I’ve learned so far.

 

 

 

In Memoriam Amanda

Rest in Peace, Amanda

1990
You were young and beautiful. You were sassy and courageous, and wicked smart. You swore a lot. Wore loads of silver jewelry. We had a Norse mythology course together and you were into women’s studies. We had coffee together, and lunches.
You introduced me to Dave, your boyfriend at the time, who was one of the gentlest guys I’d ever met.
You guys offered to get me high, in your cute little apartment with altars and weird art. Shivas and Kalis and Bob Marley, scarves draped over lamps, incense. I don’t remember all the details. I just know I’d never been in a home like yours before.
You were wild and wonderful, a force of female energy. No denying it. No need to.
You were my Hecate sister, my Artemis, wise beyond your years and more concerned with being free and thinking free, so that caution wasn’t a concern.
You were not afraid of the dark.
You gave me a beaded Scorpio bracelet. I still have it.

You wrote poetry and articles—a “zine” we called it back then. For a few years after I moved away, we stayed in touch. You sent me some of your work. I missed you terribly.

2011
And we met again in 2011, via Facebook. I had searched for your name repeatedly over the years, and then finally one day, I found the right Amanda. In Sacramento!

You came to my home and met my family. You and Ian used to know each other, when we were in college together. You met my kids for the first time.
You were still wild, and now with an edge. A little more darkness and pain. Probably a lot more. I didn’t know how you could fit into my domestic bliss. I was a little afraid of your brand of crazy.

But your voice was the same, and I was thrilled to know you again. It felt great to hold you in my arms when we hugged. Your voice—I can hear you speaking in my mind even now. I will never forget your voice, Amanda. And that you helped me learn how to use mine.

2012
How are you gone? I found out through Facebook, which is a shitty thing to find out no matter how the news travels. But because of Facebook I knew within a day. My friend is dead? Is it some kind of sick, inside joke? Not real?
Real.

You are – were 42 years old. Too young, my dear. I blew it, Amanda. I’m sorry I didn’t really understand how tough life was for you. I wasted too much time, when we could have been talking on the phone, or meeting for coffee. I could have …

Now I wear your Scropio bracelet that you gave me 20 years ago. And I hear you in my mind sometimes. And I stalk you on Facebook. I read the things that your friends are writing to you and about you. I’ve written to you there, too—how I really wish things were different.

Your wall is the weirdest and newest kind of gravestone. This now-ubiquitous technology has allowed people who don’t know each other to connect, share stories, and to mourn. I read what’s written there, and page through your photos. I’ve stolen some because I don’t have any of you that I can find; we were friends before I used a camera constantly. The photos are little pixels of you. They are not enough, but it’s what we have.

Ours was and is a mediated relationship, and I am sorry for that. Your horoscopes come up in my newsfeed, as if you were still using them, sharing them. I think you might like that these weird astrological messages come from the ether on your behalf. Through Facebook I have learned that your friends are holding a memorial for you tomorrow in Sacramento and I cannot be there for it. I am hoping that those who go will post photographs, and continue to use your FB wall as a way of showing and sharing our love for you. I hope this digital tribute, this little slice of your life will continue. It is weird and wild and wonderful.

Like you. Magic.

Too soon, my Hecate sister. Too soon to fade into the night.
I’ll see you again someday at the crossroads.

Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Festival E-Book

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I’ve been a bit quiet in this space lately. We’ve been adjusting to a new school year and working through some projects. I am delighted to announce that my dear friend Eileen Straiton (of Little Acorn Learning) and I have finished another big e-book. This one is our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book and I’d be honored if you’d check it out and spread the word a little. It was a pleasure to work with Eileen on this and I’m really proud of it. We have such a great rapport and similar values, and I think this comfort and compatibility reflects in our e-book. So here’s to healthy, joyful, creative collaboration!

Here is a little teaser: a mosaic of just some of the images from the projects and activities we offer in our e-book.

Taste of the Contents of Our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book

133 PAGES of verses, fingerplays, poems, song, crafts, meditations, book recommendations, circle times, recipes, and much more to guide you in celebrating the Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas
in your home or school!

  • Needle Felt a Beautiful Apple Mother Doll
  • Go on an Apple Picking Field Trip and Learn
    About Different Varieties of Apples
  • Design a Breathtaking Early Autumn Nature Table
  • Read Books with the Children Celebrating
    Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Make Your Own Apple Stamps
  • Enjoy Homemade Applesauce Together
  • Crochet an Apple for Your Nature Table or Play Kitchen
  • Create a Beautiful Autumn Candle Holder Centerpiece
  • Make an Archangel Michael Mobile
  • Harvest Natural Dye Materials from Outdoors and
    Make Capes of Light Playsilks
  • Hold a Michaelmas Family Feast
  • Create Dragons out of Nature Items
  • Bake Dragon Bread with the Children
  • Make a Dragon Tree Block Checker Set
  • Sculpt Dragons out of Modeling Material
  • Cut Out Paper Flying Dragons to Display on Your Wall
  • Make a Michaelmas Felt Play Set
  • Paint an Autumn Leaf Stencil Painting with Watercolors
  • Crochet Beautiful Autumn Leaves for Your Nature Table
  • Paint Your Own Interpretation of Michael and the Dragon
  • Look Inward and Face Your Own Dragons with our Caregiver Meditation
  • Share Verses and Songs About Autumn and Michaelmas
  • Meditate on Quotes from Steiner and Other Inspirational Individuals
  • Enjoy Pinecone Weaving
  • Share Circle Time Together
  • Make Michael Sword Napkin Holders
  • Sculpt Michaelmas Worry Beads
  • Craft an Autumn Equinox Wreath
  • And more!

So, if you’re wondering how to make this time of year feel magical, this e-book may be just what you need. Thanks for peeking!

Only $24.99

Authors:
~ Eileen Straiton,
Little Acorn Learning

~ Sara Wilson, Love in the Suburbs

With Guest Contribution from Jennifer Tan, Syrendell

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Midsummer Festival E-Book

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I am delighted to announce that my dear friend Eileen Straiton (of Little Acorn Learning) and I wrote a Midsummer Festival E-Book! It has been a marvelous journey and I loved every step we took in making it. Please spread the word!

Little Acorn Learning
Monthly and Seasonal Guides
for Childcare, School and Home

*New* Midsummer Festival Book is Available!

This wonderful Midsummer Festival E-Book will bring the magic of summer into your home and help you keep celebrating throughout the season!  It is packed full of Waldorf songs, stories, verses, crafting tutorials and much more to help you celebrate Midsummer and the Summer Solstice with the children in your home, classroom, or childcare environment.

  • Read Stories and Fairy Tales Filled with Sunshine to the Children
  • Enjoy Verses, Songs, Poems and Fingerplays that Celebrate the Coming of Summer
  • Learn about the History, Background and Symbolism of the Summer Solstice
  • Get Ideas for How to Create Your Own Meaning of this Special Festival
  • Enjoy a Solstice Feast
  • Play Solstice Games
  • Make a Midsummer Bonfire
  • Create Simple Beeswax Suns with the Children
  • Make a Solstice Wreath for the Birds
  • Design Midsummer String Art Sunbursts
  • Read a Story of The Sun Child and Create a Sun Child Necklace
  • Craft a Shiny Garden Suncatcher
  • Use a Rock Garden Sundial to Tell Time in Your Garden
  • Make a Catch the Sun Throw Toy for Your Child
  • Create a Paper Solstice Sun
  • Read How to Create Daytime and Nightime Midsummer Magic
  • Hang Summer Solstice Flags Indoors or Outdoors this Season
  • Plant a Midsummer Indoor Herb Garden
  • Craft a Sun Mosaic Birdbath
  • Make a Sunshine Fairy out of Wool Roving and Felt
  • Sew and Stuff Herbal Dream Pillows for St. John’s Eve
  • Needle Felt a Summer Sun Wall Hanging
  • Create Sweet Pocket Sun Sprites for the Children
  • Bake Sun Bread with the Children
  • Go on a Sun Hunt
  • Make a Sun Mask
  • Design a Sunshine Banner
  • Crochet Sun Medallion Necklaces

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In addition to our Midsummer Festival eBook, Little Acorn Learning has lots of wonderful offerings to fill your summer months with enriching, creative activities for your family, daycare, summer camp, or homeschool group, so please check out their other fine products.

A Story for Leap Day

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It seems to me that Leap Day is a special day, one where magic might be closer at hand than usual, since it comes only once every four years. Surely the fairies and elves must come visiting on this special day, when spring magic is so potent and new!

I did some poking around on the Internet and found, well, not much. I asked our Waldorf teachers if there was a tradition of observing Leap Day, but no one I asked knew of any.

That didn’t sit too well with me, so I sat down and wrote a story to tell my boys. Here it is, in case you need a Leap Day story to tell.

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The Boy and the Elf

by Sara E. Wilson

Once upon a time, in a land far from here and yet not so far, a child lived with only his grandmother in an old cottage with walls so thin that when the howling winds blew they found their way through the cracks to blow out the candles. The boy loved his grandmother very much and she loved him. They spent lots of time together every day. He helped her with the chores, bringing in the firewood and scrubbing the soup pot. He wound the yarn that she spun into neat little balls to be sold at the market, for he had good eyes and nimble fingers, but best of all, he had a warm, golden heart.

Although the grandmother sang to the boy, and baked him sweet cakes on his birthday, and told him stories by the fire every evening before bedtime, the boy sometimes felt lonely, for he had no brothers or sisters and no playmates. When grandmother went into town to sell her yarn, he sometimes stayed behind and spent his time wandering in the woods. He had a favorite creek, where he liked to catch frogs in summertime, and a favorite meadow, where he liked to lie on his back in the spring and watch the clouds fly past. He had a favorite tree that he hugged and climbed, whose coppery leaves he danced and jumped in during the autumn when they fell to the earth.  He also had a favorite cave in the mountainside at the very edge of the farmer’s orchard, where he dared himself to go in the wintertime.

As it was wintertime now, on the day the boy had some time to himself, he went to the small cave. He always hoped he might hear coming from it sounds of snorts and snores from a sleeping mama bear. He never did hear such sounds, but he never gave up hope of someday hearing them. The orchard was in full bloom now. The air smelled sweet and the trees were clouds of white and pink blossoms and the ground around the cave entrance was littered with pretty petals. He listened carefully, and heard not the hoped-for snores of bears, but a high-pitched chuckle coming from inside the cave.

The boy wondered what could be making such a noise and called out, “Hello! Is someone in there?”

Pop

There before him, just outside the cave, stood a little man. His nose was sharp and his ears, sticking out of two holes in his hat, were pointed. He was dressed all in brown from the tip of his tall hat to the cuffs of his long trousers. The only things about him that weren’t brown were his rosy cheeks and his very blue shoes.

“What do you want?” asked the little man.

“Why, nothing,” stammered the boy. “I just came to the cave to see if any bears were here sleeping.”

“No bears. Just me,” said the elf, looking rather cross that he had been discovered. “I come here to be alone.”

“Um, me too.” The boy looked down. “I’m usually alone unless my grandmother is with me. Why were you laughing?”

“I’ve just played a marvelous trick on the farmer’s wife, who forgets to leave out nibbles for me. I’ve soured the milk! And down the road a bit I came across two children shouting ungrateful words at their mother, so I’ve got them good, too. And that, my boy, is why I was laughing.”

“How did you get the children? What did you do?”

“While they were sleeping I tied their hair in knots. They’ll have a time of it brushing them out in the morning.” The little man burst into a fit of giggling lasting several minutes. “Well, since you found me here on a Leap Day, you have to tell me what you want—and, if it’s within my power to, I must give it. That is the magic of Leap Day, which comes but once every four years. So what’s it to be?”

The boy sat down and thought a good while about what he might ask for. While he waited, the little man first tapped his foot, then stood on his hands, then jumped up and spun in circles to entertain himself.

The boy didn’t want to wish for wealth or beauty or playthings. He and grandmother always had just enough to eat, so he didn’t wish for rich foods or sweets. He realized what he wanted more than anything was a friend. When he thought that, he smiled and listened hard for the little voice inside him to tell him whether that was indeed what he should wish for. The little voice in his heart said, yes.

He plucked up his courage and said to the upside-down elf, “I wish that you would be my friend, and teach me about fairies and gnomes and leprechauns, and creatures of the woods.”

The little man at first seemed surprised. He planted his blue shoes on the ground and stood up. Shock filled his wide brown eyes and he blushed from the hollow of his throat to the tips of his pointed ears. But then he smiled, and a giggle bubbled up from his belly. Soon he was guffawing and rolling on the ground again.

When he finally stopped laughing, he said, “And so it shall be, my friend. My little human friend. You will find me here, at this cave at the edge of the orchard whenever you come. You know I am here when you see the flowers. And we will talk and play and be fast friends. We’re Leap Day Friends forevermore.”

And from that day on, the boy never felt lonely again. He lived with and helped his grandmother, who loved him ever so much, and he visited the cave beside the farmer’s orchard as often as he liked to meet his elfin friend. They had such good times together and the boy learned ever so much.

And if it ever was, it is even still.

 

 

© Sara E. Wilson

 

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Michaelmas Time

Sixth Grade Dragon

Dragon and Archangel Michael from 2009

It’s Michaelmas time again, one of my favorite times of year. Over the years, as I’ve engaged in our Waldorf school’s Michaelmas Festival, I’ve come to see Michaelmas as a truly enlivening and uplifting event that reaffirms my faith in humanity’s goodness. Michaelmas happens each year at a time when I find myself noticing nature turning toward dryness and decay. I notice all the upheaval in the world, both personal and global. It’s not that such things don’t happen at other times of the year, but something about this season makes them more poignant for me. As the nights grow longer and the year begins to die, my own dragons surface and start making noise that cannot be ignored. And so, I pay them some attention.

We all have faced some dragons recently! Ian faced the Tough Mudder and emerged victorious, having worked so hard to prepare both physically and mentally. Asher has faced down his own fears about being in a new school. Lucas is wrestling with new expectations on him now that he is older, and finding that sometimes he wants to quit piano and sometimes he doesn’t—for playing requires discipline and fortitude and stick-to-itiveness. My own issues revolve around some beloved family members, and their ill health is weighing on my mind. (Oh, and fear of failure. And fear of success. Money woes. All those old standbys are still present, too.)

Michaelmas Nature Table

Our Michaelmas nature table display, with handmade figures

For me, the Michaelmas festival reminds us that we all have a part of us that lurks in the murk, with our dragons—fears, angers, resentments, jealousies, laziness, etc.—as bitter (and sometimes comfortable) companions. Our societal dragons are fear, hate, bigotry, greed, and isolationism. And yet despite our foibles and in the middle of our challenges, we keep striving, working for the good. We shine our lights into our days and nights and work to make the world brighter in small ways and in big.

With Michaelmas, we have our metaphor of plucking up our courage and going out on the field to meet our dragons head-on. Though we are frightened, we call them by name and take a good hard look at them in the sunlight. And in doing so, we shrink them and corral them, tame them or banish them, or simply bring them under our better control. When we face reality with honesty and bravery, we are imbued with light and can use this strength daily in our interactions will all people.

But let me be clear, dragons are mighty teachers, too. Our dark sides can be a source of inspiration, power, and mystery. The fertile soil of our inner darkness must be balanced and harnessed by the light in us, that we may live healthy, happy lives and do soulful work.

Asher is experiencing in Kindergarten the story of a simple boy, George, who acts out of bravery and righteousness to help others and in doing so overcomes fear and darkness. He retold the story to me yesterday with great gusto. The older Kindergarten children are making their wooden swords of righteousness. They are dyeing silken capes with golden light. They are preparing themselves to be bold and good in the world.

Lucas's Sculpture of St. Michael Battling the Dragon within a Ring of Fire

Lucas’s 2010 modeling clay scene of Archangel Michael battling the dragon within a ring of fire

Lucas’s class, the fourth grade, are making shields. In the Michaelmas festival this Friday, they will protect the villagers when the dragon arrives. Their great courage will shield the innocent from harm.

So, if you’re curious about this festival, here are some other places you can look. I hope that it might inspire you as it has inspired me.

My post about Honoring Our Dragons.

A Michaelmas craft the boys and I enjoyed last year.

Last year’s 2010 School Michaelmas Festival. And here’s 2009’s festival post.

Last year’s family Michaelmas celebration at home. How might you make a dragon dinner?

Individual Dragons

Third graders making dragon breads at Sacramento Waldorf School

Here are some other wonderful Michaelmas links for you to explore:

Read this one. I promise you won’t be disappointed: Barbara Klocek’s article about Michaelmas in the Kindergarten. (Mrs. Klocek was one of Lucas’s Kindergarten teachers.)

Lots of info about Saint Michael and Michaelmas here.

Carrie’s 2009 post about Michaelmas on the Parenting Passageway is here.

A great post about building a dragon with a sixth grade Waldorf class is found on The Waldorf Way blog.

A new article about Michaelmas “The Festival of Human Becoming” by Danielle Epifani on The Wonder of Childhood online magazine.

Mamaroots has a tutorial for making stick dragons

The meaning of the Michaelmas festival by Rudolf Steiner is here.

Rocking Granola has a great list of more resources here.

Dragon Day

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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