Welcoming Autumn


It’s still hot where we live, even though autumn has arrived. Today is cooler; tomorrow it will be 96 degrees for our Michaelmas festival at school. But there are little signs that the season is turning, and frankly it’s a relief.


We had a low-key celebration for the equinox last night at home. We ate outside, in the cooling twilight. We had pizza topped in halves, salad, and a bit of apple pie. I let the grocery store prepare most of the meal. Sometimes, the best thing one can do is to take the available shortcuts that make life easier. It is often helpful and occasionally necessary. No guilt. We all have a lot on our plates.

Happy Equinox to all! Mosaic by Ian Wilson

(mosaic by Ian)

So, here we are. Poised on the edge. A season passes, another season begins. New opportunities arise and they bring new challenges and new gifts. We walk toward the light, knowing the darkness lies in the corners; we walk toward the dark, carrying with us the light of our hearts.

“what is joy without sorrow? what is success without failure? what is a win without a loss? what is health without illness? you have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. there is always going to be suffering. it’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.” —Mark Twain

These are just some of my sophomoric thoughts at this moment of turning. I strive to open my heart through it all.

May Day Is Coming!


I can’t believe I didn’t post about May Day last year! My beautiful niece (that’s the simplest title) danced in her school’s May Day celebration with her eighth-grade classmates. My little son played a part with his fellow first graders in our school’s May Day celebration, too. I must have been really busy this time last year—or overwhelmed—to have missed saying how proud I am of these young people and how truly enchanted I feel by this festival so cherished by Waldorf schools.

Well, as we head into this year’s May Day celebration, and my beloved older son’s Beltane birthday, I will conjure all the beauty of this celebration with photos from last year, 2014. Indulge me.


This is my sweet T, who is the most delightfully sweet force of nature. She is wicked smart, and funny, and charming, and kind, and diabolical, and beautiful, and compassionate, and bossy, and a born leader, and I love her deeply.


And I was bursting with pride at this moment.

8th grade dancers #mayday #magic #maypole #festivals #holiday #goldenvalleycharterschool #family #spring #waldorf

These are shots from Golden Valley Charter School’s May Faire, May 2014. The whole school community came out on a gorgeous morning to celebrate. All the classes wore white. They have a lovely May Queen every year in their celebration. Their graduating eighth graders dance the May Pole. It is every bit as charming in 2014 as it was in 1814. You can look up vintage May dance photos to see for yourself.

The May-Pole (Excerpt)

The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup,
I’ll drink to the garlands around it;
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown’d it.

—Robert Herrick

My lovely son #waldorf #sacramentowaldorfschool#waldorf #mayday #magic #7yearold #firstgrade

And there’s just nothing in the world like a boy you love festooned in flowers!



Let us take our baskets early 
   To the meadows green, 
While the wild-flowers still are pearly 
   With the dewdrops’ sheen. 

Fill them full of blossoms rosy, 
   Violets and gay 
Cowslips, every pretty posy 
   Welcoming the May. 

Then our lovely loads we’ll carry 
   Down the village street, 
On each door, with laughter merry, 
   Hang a basket sweet. 

Hey-a-day-day! It is spring now, 
   Lazy folks, awake! 
See the pretty things we bring now 
   For the May-day’s sake!

—Evaleen Stein


At Sacramento Waldorf School, where my children go, the first graders shower the dancers with rose petals as they enter and exit, and decorate the field with petals.



(Poor kid! I made his crown too big.)


I have written about this special festival before. I shared our experiences of celebrating May Day in the Waldorf kindergarten, too. That this festival comes every year doesn’t seem to diminish its beauty or freshness. That must be because these shining faces are growing and changing each year. Each year a new crop of lovely eighth graders take up their ribbons and dance their hearts out. It’s a bit of an endurance event; they work to weave and wrap the pole and an intricate, well-practiced way, practically down to the ground.








The little ones adore the rose petal “fight” at the end. This part isn’t scripted, but they all do it every year, with gusto and giggles aplenty. Such joy and silliness! The petals fly and the the parents wildly snap photos.

Lucas is absent from these shots from last year, though he was there. The sixth grade doesn’t have a special roll to play in the May Day festival, so he could just hang out with his friends and watch. This year, however, his seventh-grade class will be playing the music for the dancers. I’m really looking forward to that!


Blessings on your Beltane!

Earth Day 2015

Happy Earth Day.  May we all make the world a better place with our amazing cleverness, cooperation, and compassion. Sending love and blessings to all.

Happy Earth Day!

Our little patch of Earth is presently covered in flowers. All of my beautiful plants are laughing uproariously in color. It makes me happy.


No filter Aurora, I think

California is experiencing a very serious drought. And I’m conflicted about having a garden at all. I’ve been building and growing and tending this little oasis of ours for 16 years now. I think often about taking out my lawn, but then I watch my children playing in our yard and feel so grateful that we have a place to play! I am withholding water from these plants. I’m taking Navy showers (brrr!) and saving every drop of rainwater I can capture whenever water does come from the sky.

I promise to bathe my children rarely. I promise to make them wear the same pajamas several nights in a row. I promise to save shower water. I promise to let the yellow mellow at night. I promise to eat less meat. I promise to plant only drought-tolerant plants. I promise I will only drink coffee and champagne from now on if I can keep my garden alive this summer!

Foxgloves are coming

So far, the yard is doing pretty well on water rations, but the temperatures are still cool.


Last week Asher asked if we could make a cactus garden. I bought him three little cactuses and brought a few more from my kitchen window out so he could make this. He painted the vine wreath with green and red paint, and then we buried it into the little garden so it looks like an arch now.

2015-04-15 15.50.52

2015-04-15 16.23.16

We also planted a tiny vegetable garden. I debated about this, but figured it was a good cause, especially since the drip watering system will be watering this box anyway. We planted 2 sungold tomatoes, 1 rainbow tomato (that might be the name), two types of cucumber (one is a lemon cucumber), 1 summer squash, 1 Japanese eggplant, 2 purple basil, 2 sweet basil. (We like to make pesto.)

Today, after school, I’m going to see if I can get the boys to plant some seeds with me and do some art for Earth Day.

And now poetry:

The Robin’s Song

God bless the field and bless the furrow,
Stream and branch and rabbit burrow,
Hill and stone and flower and tree,
From Bristol town to Wetherby –
Bless the sun and bless the sleet,
Bless the land and bless the street,
Bless the night and bless the day,
From Somerset and all the way
To the meadows of Cathay;
Bless the minnow, bless the whale,
Bless the rainbow and the hail,
Bless the nest and bless the leaf,
Bless the righteous and the thief,
Bless the wing and bless the fin,
Bless the air I travel in,
Bless the mill and bless the mouse,
Bless the miller’s bricken house,
Bless the earth and bless the sea,
God bless you and God bless me!
—Old English Rhyme


Canticle to the Sun

Praised be God for brother Sun,
Who shines with splendid glow,
He brings the golden day to us,
Thy glory does he show!
Praised be God for sister Moon
And every twinkling star;
They shine in heaven most bright and clear,
All glorious they are.
Praised be God for brother Wind
That storms across the skies,
And then grows still, and silent moves
And sweetly sings and sighs.
Praised be God for Water pure,
Her usefulness we tell,
So humble, precious, clean and good,
She works for us so well.
Praised be God for brother Fire
Friendly and wild and tame,
Tender and warm, mighty and strong,
A flashing, flaring flame.
Praised be to God for mother Earth,
Who keeps us safe and well,
Whose mother heart all warm with love,
Dark in her depths doth dwell.
—St. Francis of Assisi

Here are a few links I’ve enjoyed this week, and thought you might like them too:

Plantable gift wrapping paper

Plantable paper earths with seeds

Crochet earth ball pattern. I wish I could make this but I can’t crochet!

Recycle your Crayola markers

Green gifts from National Resources Defense Council

Elemental play book

Finally, our Late Spring Festivals E-Book is on sale for 50% off at Little Acorn Learning. It’s only $12.50 until 4/24/15.

OK. This was a rambling post. It’s what I get for trying to cram weeks of living into one blog. So, back to the message:

Happy Earth Day to all beings near and far, finned and furry, scaly and feathered, mossy and green. May we humans all make the world a better place with our amazing cleverness, cooperation, and compassion. Sending love and blessings to all. ~~~~

Advent Is Here, St. Nick Is Coming

St. Nicholas #waldorf #waldorfhome #festivals #holiday #needlefelting

I am sometimes a late bloomer, or adopter, or whatever. Advent has arrived, but half of us were sick, so, we’re … um … easing into it. We will catch up. We will slowly begin to set up for Christmas.

Do you ever find your energy for festivals and family celebrations waning? I do, sometimes. This time of year can be so overwhelming. I try to remember that my To-Do list only exists in my mind—no one else can see it. No one’s judging me when I don’t get to things I intend to do. No one knows but me. So I try to set my intentions, make my priorities clear to myself, and then let the rest go. If it happens, great! If it doesn’t, that’s OK too. As important as rhythm is, balance and sanity are just as necessary in family life. We’re only human.

One of the things that I find to be a little difficult these days is preserving the festivals for my younger son, while my older son ages past them. Not that Lucas is done with Christmas or Halloween, or really anything with treats, but he’s getting a little blasé about the stories and myths surrounding our holidays. We work hard to infuse beauty and joy and wonder into our home and family life. And keeping the magic alive for Asher is important to me. But children grow—out of some things and into others—and that’s as it should be. As a tween, Lucas is sometimes a bit lukewarm about things, and that attitude can affect my ebullient, sanguine 7-year-old, who is living into these festivals with his whole self.

There we are.

St. Nicholas’s Day is upon us (tomorrow, Saturday, December 6). We talked about St. Nicholas at breakfast this morning. Asher had lots to say because he’s been hearing stories about the Bishop of Myrna at school. He is excited for St. Nicholas to come! And he remembered that St. Nicholas brings yummy oranges. I’m sure something exciting is happening today at school. St. Nicholas and Rupert have visited the classes at school before. We’ll polish our shoes tonight, and see if any small goodies come for tomorrow morning. Simple and small is best. I’ve spiffed up my St. Nicholas nature table doll, who is a few years old now. He’s looking pretty dapper again, ready to bring goodies to the world’s children and to herald the coming of the Winter Sun King.

In honor of St. Nicholas’s Day, Eileen and I are having a one-day sale on our Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book today only (December 5)! It’s available for half price ($9.99) at http://www.littleacornlearning.com.

The e-book offers poems, stories, songs, crafts, and many special ways that families, schools, or childcare professionals can celebrate a simple, peaceful month of December. We wrote this e-book with the hope we might help people create thoughtful, heartfelt holidays, with less frenzied commercialism and more togetherness time.

Advent Mosaic 10 x 3

This mosaic is a peek at what’s in our Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book. Many thanks for reading this far, and for spreading the word to anyone who might be interested in our offering. And whatever you do this month to celebrate whichever holidays you celebrate, do it with simplicity, love, and joy. Blessings of the season on you and your loved ones!


Our Happy Solstice

sun ornament


The Sun in Winter

Pale sun goes sailing
Through the frozen sky;
Trees raise to him their arms
As he goes by.
Haste, sun, grow brighter
As the days go past;
Wake from their sleep the buds
And leaves at last.


My day started with a gorgeous trail run with my friend.

The kids played with the neighborhood boys, and just at sunset, Ian got to explain to the kids what the winter solstice is—that the earth’s axis is 23.5 degrees tilted to the plane of her orbit, and thus we have seasons of more sun and less sun, and that after this shortest day, the hours of sunlight each will get longer for the the next six months.

Solstice fruit salad. #Solstice #holiday #home

We declined a party invitation with regret, and celebrated at home on Saturday evening. It was quiet. It was cozy.


Soltice dinner: fruit salad; spinach salad; avgolemono soup; honey suncake #Solstice #home #holiday Avgolemono soup

It was a little dark, just as I wanted it to be. The candlelight was lovely.

Honey suncake!!! Simple. Delicious. #Solstice #holiday #home

We had a meal of Greek avgolemono soup, fruit salad, green spinach salad with little yellow squash suns, and a honey suncake for dessert. Simple and delicious. I had a vision, so the kids and Ian just relaxed while I prepared it. I loved the part when I called them in to eat, and everything was glowing, perfect, and pretty. I only wish the boys had enjoyed the soup more.


And I convinced my darling boys to do some art with me. We painted these pretty sun symbols. Now we can hang them to remind us of how grateful we are for the sun’s warmth and light. They could be Yule or Christmas ornaments, or a kind of mobile. I don’t know yet. But I love them.


And as for our furry friend, Solstice the dog—we celebrated his second anniversary in our home. He got some new treats and a new rope toy. We adore him.

E-Book for Equinox and Michaelmas Festivals

E-Book Cover

For any new readers, I would like to humbly mention that we have a beautiful e-book for sale that is perfect for this special time of year. This one is our Autumn Equinox & Michaelmas Festival E-Book. Eileen and I are really proud of it.

Here is 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

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

~ Eileen Straiton,
Little Acorn Learning

~ Sara Wilson, Love in the Suburbs

With Guest Contribution from Jennifer Tan, Syrendell

Super Father’s Day


Happy Father’s Day to the two men who mean the most to me!

To my Dad, who is my foundation and my safety net, I am very happy we are so close! I love you Dad. I hope you enjoy your potato bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii) and that it flowers like crazy. Thanks for teaching me to stop and smell the flowers.

To Ian, my husband, you are everything to me and a wonderful father to our boys. You inspire us, support us, and are always so much fun! Thanks for all that you do, day in and day out, to keep us safe and comfortable, and striving and living life to the fullest. Our children have an amazing role model in you and we are so proud you are ours.


We spent this morning at the Superheroes 5K in Sacramento, at Ian’s request. This is how he wanted to spend Father’s Day. How could we deny him this?! Ian is Captain Paisley; I was Vigilantia; Asher was the Red Knight; and Lucas was Wizard Runsalot.


The boys ran the entire way, and left me in the dust. Lucas’s time was 32:32. We had tons of fun and there were hundreds and hundreds of people there in costume. Sacramento represents! Fantastic!


Superheroes 5k

Finally, I just have to say that I’m glad that the boys were game to give this a try, and not too cool to be playful. I’m grateful that the axe I made out of cardboard and aluminum foil was well received by Asher. I’m glad that they were comfortable making up their own superheroes. Lucas is interested in doing more runs like this. Thanks, Ian. That’s your good influence right there.


Happy Father’s Day!

Spring Is Here!

Flowers and new leaves

Everything is flowering now, it seems, in joyous celebration of the start of spring. How did you celebrate?


My love made me a raised bed!

My darling husband built me a raised garden bed this past weekend. It’s glorious and 8 ft. by 4 ft. It took a couple of hours to build. I still need more soil to fill it. Seven 2 cubic ft. bags wasn’t enough, but that’s all that would fit in my car. It meant I got to go to my happy place for a brief while, and I refrained from buying much—

Happy place

Just a tiny six-pack of red snapdragons and one of orange marigolds … you know, for luck.

It’s spring break now and my children have two weeks off school. Today’s project was Clean the Bedroom. (It looks pretty good now.) Yesterday’s projects were more fun:

Before During dyeing

We dyed Easter eggs, using our hens’ eggs. We started, as you can see, with an assortment of colorful eggs, and only one white one.


It’s good rainbow fun, you know.

After, no filter; we dyed brown, green, and one white egg.

Brown eggs and green eggs turn lovely, gentle colors when you dye them.

We also did another springtime project as a surprise for Daddy that I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

Shamrockin’ Half Marathon and Crockpot Lamb Stew


Our St. Patrick’s Day was really different this year, although we did do some of our traditional family celebrating, such as creating this cool party space for the leprechauns.

Ian ran in the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon—his first—and so our boys had an overnight with their besties while the leprechauns partied in our front yard. They all had a blast it seems (boys and leprechauns). Ian and I woke up bright and early on St. Patrick’s Day to make it to Raley Field for the half marathon.


I am so proud of him. Seriously, I am amazed. He’s awakened early nearly every day for five months to train, in part for this event. He’s run in the dark wee hours of the morning, in the winter cold and rain and fog to do this.


13.1 miles. In a row. His time: 02:00:56. Awesome! This is my best shot of him crossing the finish. Bunch of people were in my way, even though I had the best seat open to the public in the whole stadium.


I’m so proud of you, honey!


Afterward, we celebrated with some friends, eventually collected our children, and then came home to this:

Leprechaun gold



Leprechaun gold and golden chocolate coins! The leprechauns must have enjoyed the goodies we left them. And then we ate an Irish family feast.

Crockpot Lamb Stew

This is a recipe for a crockpot Irish stew I found and then altered. I don’t have a pretty photo of it, so you’ll just have to trust me. I made this crockpot version because I needed something that would cook itself while we were at the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon. It was delicious.

1.5 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cubed and browned in a skillet
1 14.9 ounce can of Guinness stout
4 to 5 medium russett potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
2 onions, chopped
2 to 3 medium carrots
8 ounces of sliced crimini or shitake mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 or 3 stems of fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves
10 ounces frozen peas
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

Last Step: I’ll just put this right up front because this is the type of thing I always miss when reading and (not) following recipes: Add the peas in the last hour of cooking.

OK, First Step: Brown the lamb in a skillet. Add it to the crockpot. Add the Guinness, onion, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and tapioca. Stir a little. If your Guinness isn’t almost covering your lamb and veg items in the pot, add a cup of water or more Guinness.

Another Tip: Quick-cooking tapioca will make a really thick, luxurious gravy. I had never used it before. I found Kraft Minute Tapioca did the trick. It looks like Bob’s Red Mill also makes some tapioca products.

Cook your lamb stew in the crockpot for 10 to 14 hours. (I cooked mine for 8 hours. Then slept. Then turned it back on before we left for the day to cook for another 6 or 7 hours so it would be ready to eat for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.) I don’t think the extra cooking time harmed it at all. I think you just have to make sure your lamb is tender. Again, add the frozen peas in the last hour or so.

Makes 8+ servings. Enjoy!


Review: Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

Review: Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

I was tickled to be asked to review Anni Daulter and Heather Fontenot’s new book, Naturally Fun Parties for Kids. Alas, I should have done so in a more timely fashion, as the book released earlier this year. But hopefully late is better than never. I’ve paged through this book dozens of times and I think it’s marvelous. Every time I pick it up I light upon a brilliant idea that hadn’t ever occurred to me before.

Daulter’s and Fontenot’s book is all about throwing parties with kid-friendly themes. As a huge fan of parties in general and, really, ANY excuse to dress up, I can totally relate. We all need celebrations and we all need to exercise our creativity muscles. This book is just the ticket to show what’s possible, with a little ingenuity, patience, and planning. A party for children doesn’t have to glorify a licensed media character! The book is organized into seasons and the authors provides three awesome party ideas per season. My favorites are the Summer Solstice Beach party, the Winter Solstice Party, the Forest Fairy Dress-up Party (Oh, to have girls!), and the Knights and Dragon Quest party.

The book offers “tips and tricks for making the parties green, natural, simple, and organic in style and content.” I like the emphasis on taking inspiration from nature and keeping it simple. The authors suggest thrifting, upcycling, borrowing, and making items from scratch to make the parties doable and special.

Review: Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

The book’s photography, by Tnah and Mario Di Donato, is simply gorgeous. Do NOT take my silly snapshots as an indication of the book’s beauty. I just wanted to give a little teaser. Their photos are vivid and inspiring.

Review: Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

What is kind of fun is how much the authors’ esthetic matches my own. Several of the projects in this book are ones we have done in the past, or ones that I’ve always wanted to do with my kids. I’m particularly intrigued by the beeswax ornaments (Winter Solstice Party), the upcycled sweater aprons (Community Cooking Party), and the grapefruit sugar scrub (Natural Spa Party). But there is much more.

Review: Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

Each party comes with a project and materials list, and a timeline for getting things put together in advance of the big party day. That’s just the sort of thing people like me need! I’m often full of ideas at the too-late last minute and don’t have time to execute them. These handy lists fix that deficiency.

Review: Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

Activities are provided for each party, too: games and crafts, and even a play! And the party themes are well chosen to appeal to kids, such as pajama parties, berry picking, art, egg-dying in spring.

Review: Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

The authors also provide plenty of delicious-looking recipes and, frankly, you don’t need to throw the party to make them. Herbal tea spice cake and mushroom and onion mini crustless quiches both sound like they’ll be visiting my kitchen soon. Furthermore, the recipes are geared toward kid palates. Nothing too fussy and plenty of fun: Italian ices; black bean, corn, and cheese quesadillas; grilled flatbread pizzas; Dutch oven apple-berry cobbler, etc. Now, where the heck does one find a donut pan for baking donuts? (The Internet, I suppose.)

Those who like to do paper crafts will love all the invitation making in this book. That’s mostly not my thing, to be honest. So I’d probably skip some of that stuff. Anyone with a flare for scrapbooking and stamps and stuff will dig it.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration for celebrating with children, check out Naturally Fun Parties for Kids by Anni Daulter with Heather Fontenot.  I wonder if I could con my boys into a Forest Fairy Party? Well, maybe not that one, but definitely the Pancake P.J. Party. They’ll go for that!

  • 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.

    © 2003–2018 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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