Lilacs

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My plan for today was to take my family to Volcano to see the daffodils at Daffodil Hill, then have lunch somewhere quaint, drive through the countryside, and maybe visit Indian Grinding Rock. It’s a perfect day, cool with some cloud cover. The grass is green, the light’s pretty even—ideal for photos.

Instead, Asher’s sick. (I wish this child could catch a break!) Three of us are home; we let Lucas escape with his bestie. Ian is working. I will soon start working. We’re doing necessary things instead of what we wanted to do. It’s fine, really. There’s laundry and other chores …

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Still, I’m feeling a little glum while the scent of lilacs wafts through my window. Thank goodness for lilacs.

St. Patrick’s Day Festivities

We made our leprechaun house and welcomed the to the party we set up. #waldorfhome #waldorfinspired #holiday #home #stpatricksday #8yearold #secondgrader

We had our little St. Patrick’s Day fun yesterday. Asher and I made a little party for the leprechauns, which we do each year on the 16th. I know some people like to build traps to try to catch a leprechaun, but we like to throw them a party instead. We set out tiny dishes (an old child’s tea set) and put milk in the saucer and honey on a plate. With some green paper we made a little banner. This year Asher wrote the letters spelling “Welcome” himself. Then we put some flowers around whole thing. It takes about 20 minutes to do this, and Asher gets really excited. He’s always been very fond of leprechauns.

Welcome leprechauns!  Welcome to our party!  #waldorfhome #waldorfinspired #holiday #home #stpatricksday #8yearold #secondgrader #leprechauns

In the morning, he rushed outside to see what was there. The leprechauns left a pot with some fairy jewels and some gold dollar coins for Asher and Lucas to split. They ate up all the honey and drank the milk, so we can only assume they had a nice time in our little party space. They also made a huge pile of our shoes by our front door—the shoes we carefully put away into the cubbies where we belong. Leprechauns always do something tricksy, no matter what treats we leave for them. I’m told the little people all over the world are tricky like that.

Frosting

I made corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot, and an Irish soda bread from a Martha Stewart recipe. It was crusty and heartier than I expected, with caraway seeds and raisins and wheat bran. We read The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards. Asher and I baked and decorated cupcakes. He’s quite good at frosting them! I enjoy having times like this when he and I can do creative things alone together. He will usually gravitate toward whatever Lucas wants to do instead, as you might expect. But when we’re alone, Asher is able to be his young, 8-year-old self.

Sticky gooey

Treats for St. Patrick's Day

They turned out great! And yes, I saw a photo of cupcakes like this on Pinterest or somewhere and bought the rainbow candy knowing it would blow my boys’ minds. We don’t often make treats like this. Lucas’s eyes lit up when he saw these. (He was at baseball practice while we made them. Bigger boys have after-school activities and stuff.)

St. Patrick's Day dinner -- outside -- with my parents #holiday #home #stpatricksday #family #love #homemade

The best part of the day, though, was having my folks over for dinner. It’s so warm already, we had our St. Patrick’s Day feast outside! It’s good to enjoy the perfect weather if you have it, I say. Yum. Grandma read us Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman after dinner, and then it was time to get ready for bed.

May love and laughter light your days,

and warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours,

wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world

with joy that long endures.

May all life’s passing seasons

bring the best to you and yours!

More of my St. Patrick’s Day book recommendations are found here. You know, for next year. 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day—Almost

Path of hearts

My little son asked me last night, “Mama, are you going to do the path of hearts again?” And my heart grew three sizes in that moment. I’ve always tried to make the little holidays and festivals special for my family, and his asking about this little tradition shows me that he has had some memorable experiences of family celebrations in our home. I usually do all the magic-making at night or early in the morning before they wake. Tomorrow, we’ll have a special breakfast of pancakes and strawberries, I think. And I’m hoping Ian will make me a pretty steak dinner tomorrow night.

Valentines #8yearold #secondgrader #secondgrade #waldorf #sacramentowaldorfschool #waldorfhome

Asher’s class celebrated by exchanging valentines today. I’m so grateful to his teacher for splitting the class into groups. Asher joyfully made six valentines. If he had had to make 27 valentines, it would have been a different story. Lucas made brownies for his seventh-grade classmates.

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How do you do Valentine’s Day? Here’s a few ideas for you:

In other news, the boys are currently with their grandmother celebrating the end of the week and grandma’s dog’s birthday. (We do a lot of celebrating, I guess.) The kids have next week off. Ian’s prepping for a big conference. Lucas will play a basketball game tomorrow, and then play in a tournament next week. It’s 70 degrees today and gorgeous, and it feels entirely like SPRING.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends. Wherever you are and whomever you love, may you revel in the joy that connection brings. And may your heart be open to receiving all the love you inspire.

2011 Autism Walk

I have so much to write about. Life is full and busy and exciting events are happening. I’ve also got major deadlines and tons of work right now, so I have to hold off a bit more.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

But here are some shots from last Sunday’s event, which bears the cumbersome title of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is a group that raises funds for autism awareness, research into prevention and treatment, and advocacy for individuals and families.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

This year’s event in Sacramento raised $200,000, which is pretty cool. Ian’s company worked hard to raise money, staging several fundraisers over the last several months.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

This was our second year participating. (My post from last year’s walk is here.) We walked from Raley Field in West Sacramento to the State Capitol and back, about 2.4 miles.

Bubble Fun Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011 Asher and Ian

The event has a kind of festival air, but also poignancy, when you read the T-shirts of groups that say things like “I walk for Mason.” This year we were all hoping Governor Brown would sign SB.946, a law to enact autism insurance reform. And he did!

Autism Speaks

Lucas

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

I like this event for several reasons, but mostly because we can do it together as a family. My children are learning that people come in all shapes and sizes and abilities, and that we all need to stand up for people who need help.

Dragon Bread for Michaelmas

Dragon Painting by Lucas

Lucas’s watercolor dragon painting, which is on display in our home.

Today is the official Feast of Saint Michael. Michael was the archangel who threw Lucifer out of heaven. It is Michael who sends us courage to fight the good fight, to face up to dragons and monsters in ourselves and our society, which seems so very necessary in these difficult times. How do you meet on the battlefield the dragons of fear, hate, greed, and bigotry? What will you do to celebrate and conjure courage and goodness?

Dragon Bread Recipe (3rd Grade Cooking)

Last year in school, Lucas’s third grade class made dragon bread and they copied the recipe into their cooking main lesson book. I’ll translate and fill in the gaps:

DRAGON BREAD

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

3 3/4 cups  flour

3/4 cup warm water

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

Mix together the yeast and warm water. Let it rest. In another bowl, mix eggs, oil, salt, and sugar. Add flour. Add yeast and water mixture and mix until blended. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it’s firm and smooth, then round it into a bowl coated in a little oil. Turn the ball over once to coat both sides of dough with oil. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Now place your dough on a greased cookie sheet and shape it into a dragon. You can use scissors to cut legs, a mouth, scales, etc. Poke in almonds for teeth, or dried fruits for spikes,  if you wish. Cover and let your dragon bread rise again for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until done. Devour with righteousness!

The First Dragon Bread to Be Eaten for Michaelmas Dinner

Of course, any bread recipe you like will work just as nicely. Yum!

Easter Day

Easter Breakfast

Easter morning breakfast, including homemade apricot “sunny side up” pastries, from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  My family ended up joining us here for an early Easter morning celebration.

Easter Altar

Treats from the Easter Bunny. On Easter Eve, we put out fresh carrots on this rock. In the morning we always find nibbled carrot ends, fresh fruits, flowers, and Easter baskets full of goodies. This year, there was a gift for the boys to share: a butterfly garden for watching caterpillars turn into painted lady butterflies!

Asher Finds His Chocolate Bunny!

Asher was quite amazed by the chocolate bunny in his basket. (Funny thing is, after eating a couple of bites on Easter Day, my children haven’t mentioned their Easter candy since, even though there is plenty leftover.)

A Butterfly Garden from the Easter Bunny

Unwrapping the butterfly garden.

Handmade Egg and Bunny from Mama

Here’s Asher showing off the bunny and egg I made. Lucas got one, too.

Still Hunting

Early morning egg hunt. There were some coins in the plastic eggs!

Thrift Store Bunny Easter Basket

Around the middle of the day, we had some free time to go for a nature walk. We revisted Miner’s Ravine in Granite Bay. It sprinkled on us a bit. The boys ate plenty of miner’s lettuce.

Miners' Lettuce Bouquet Miners' Lettuce

Many Greens Slight Rain

Fallen Tree Blocked Our Path

We found the trail blocked by an enormous fallen pine. Lucas thought we should forge through the branches.

My Love

My love.

Running Up the Granite Rock

At Miner’s Ravine there is a huge outcropping of granite. Lucas nimbly ran up it. He also climbed trees. We saw lots of butterflies and beetles, munched on miner’s lettuce, and wandered for a little while.

Then we headed over to grandma and grandpa’s house for an Easter afternoon. VoVo made yummy ham for sandwiches and Aunt Kellie made a gorgeous salad. The boys hunted (the same) eggs again and they came away with toy motorcycles from Easter baskets. It was a wonderful holiday.

Noah and the Flood: Third-Grade Play

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Last month, our dear third graders performed a play called Noah and the Flood. There were two sweet casts, one for the morning performance and one for the evening performance. These photos are from the evening performance, which was held at sunset one day near the end of March. That’s dear, pious Noah above. She did a marvelous job with a ton of lines.

Townsfolk Taunt 3

Here are the wicked, doubting townspeople harassing Ham, Noah’s good son, who helps to build and stock the ark with animals. I think these townsfolk kids might have had the most fun because they got to skip about the stage, teasing and making fun of Noah’s righteous family and doubting that there would be any consequence for their bad behavior.

Noah's Wife Says Quit Whining

This is Noah’s wife in the foreground. She was clearly on board with the whole ark-flood project. Her daughters-in-law, in the background, were less enthused. And yet, despite their bad attitudes, they were saved from the rising waters.

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Such a good boy was Ham. Noah had two other obedient sons as well.

My Mouse

They went out into the world to find two of every animal, reptile, and bird to put on the ark to save them from the terrible flood. Lucas was very happy to be a mouse. (I think he still misses Emily Mouse.)

Angel

This is the angel that convinced the other angels that not every human was wicked, and perhaps they should save one righteous family. This darling boy really got into his role and delivered a stirring performance.

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Two third graders got to man the floodwaters and the subsequent rainbow. With a very long rainbow silk, they created a glorious rainbow over the saved people and animals at the end of the play.

The play’s finale was the “Rise and Shine” song you might remember:

The Lord said to Noah:
There’s gonna be a floody, floody
The Lord said to Noah:
There’s gonna be a floody, floody
Get those children out of the muddy, muddy
Children of the Lord

Rise and shine
And give God the glory, glory
Rise and shine
And give God the glory, glory
Rise and shine
And give God the glory, glory
Children of the Lord

Tutorial: Earth Day Art Project

Finished Earth Art

We did a lickety-split Earth Day art project today. This is a quick, fun project for all ages. It couldn’t be easier and chances are pretty good you have these items on hand.

Materials

paper coffee filters
washable markers
spray bottle with water

Tutorial

Using washable marker pens in blues and greens, color your coffee filter with continents and oceans. Although it can be fun to think about the shapes of the Earth’s real continents and try to draw them accurately, this isn’t at all important. You just want to create a “blue-green marble,” like our planet as seen from outer space.

Earth Day Art Project

Marker ink seeps quickly into the coffee filter, which is meant to absorb moisture. You don’t even have to worry about the white space in between marker pen strokes.

Earth Day Art Project

When you are satisfied with your continents and oceans, lay your coffee filter down flat on your table surface and spray it lightly with water from the spray bottle.

Earth Day Art Project

The ink will begin to run together and spread, like a watercolor painting.

Earth Art

I recommend that you don’t spray too much water on the earth; if you do, the colors may get very mixed and muddy. Stop while you’re ahead, as soon as the earth is saturated. This is difficult for children, because spraying is so much fun! My kids kept picking up their earth. I think this contributed to their colors mixing so much.

Earth Art

Leave your wet earth on the table top to dry. We did ours outside and they were dry within 20 minutes or so. As they dry, they may try to blow away.

As soon as your earths are dry, they can be taped up in a window. If they are too wrinkly for your taste, gently iron them on medium heat (and without any water spray or steam). Of course, you may wish to make a whole solar system, or perhaps yet-to-be discovered planets of your children’s own invention. Have fun!

Black Chasm Adventure

The Dragon Helictite: Black Chasm Mascot

We got to go caving last weekend! Thanks to a dear friend who wanted to celebrate her birthday underground, we had a spectacular day. We went to Black Chasm, in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Jackson, California. Ironically, our family went there exactly a year ago.

Black Chasm Formations

The cave is gorgeous and very well lighted so that the rock formations are shown to best effect. This cave has some rare formations called helictites (top photo), which seem to defy gravity because they grow any which way. In the first photo above, you can see the dragon head formation that the cave uses as its mascot; it’s sticking out farthest on the right.

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The trip was fantastic, not only because I adore caves, but because we got to go with some of our very favorite people and celebrate Ritsa’s birthday. Isn’t she cute?

B-day Girl

Ian and T Blue and Headra

We picnicked on goodies and the children got to ramble in the woods a bit. I love how doggedly Asher tags after the bigger boys. He’s every bit as tough as they are, just not quite as fast or sure-footed.

Boys Tromping

Zany Lucas

Asher Love

It was chilly, having snowed the day before. Everywhere we looked the stones were covered with a beautiful carpet of moss, thick and brilliant green. We followed some directions to find the Zen Garden Trail and, I have to say, I’ve never seen anything like it in California. It looked so much like a set from one of the Lord of the Rings movies, as though we suddenly had been transported to New Zealand and should expect orcs to come trundling around the corner at any minute.

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This place was heavenly and perfect for exploring. We rambled up and down boulders and in between huge, monolithic rocks, all draped in lush moss.

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Here we are, minus two beloved photographers who managed to avoid being in most of the pictures. Many thanks to Tate for letting me use some of his photos. Happy Birthday, Ritsa!

More adventures, please, darlings! I love them so!

This Moment: Marble Run

This Moment: Marble Run

Inspired by SouleMama {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

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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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