How To Have The Most Peaceful Family in January

Here is how:  turn off the screens.  Get rid of TV, computer screens, videos, video games…all the screens.  Have a screen-free  two weeks, cold turkey – just like that!  And then see how much better everyone does playing and getting along as siblings and decide to extend it further.

Here are some wonderful things to do in January without any screens:

Cut out paper snowflakes, including really cool 3-D snowflakes

Dip candles

Roll candles

Play board games or card games with your children

Draw, paint, model

Whittle wood

Make popcorn together

Bake together

Play in the snow – build snow forts, have snowball fights, snowshoe, downhill or cross country ski, ice skate on a pond

Read and tell stories

Build forts inside

Take a walk outside in the cold – look for animal tracks or berries or birds or all of the above

Knit, crochet, cross stitch, finger knit, spin, sew

Sing and make music together – learn some new songs!

Clean, scrub, dust, work around the house – rearrange furniture

Go bowling or find an indoor swimming pool to swim in

Write letters to family and friends; write stories together

Snuggle on the coach with hot chocolate and marshmellows

Cook for a neighbor

Find a place of worship to attend and get involved

Throw a party

Clicker train your dog, cat, or other animal

Take care of plants; start seeds indoors when it it is time

Add your own ideas here!

Many blessings, enjoy January!

Carrie

Hunting For Solutions in Waldorf Homeschooling?

This is the time of year, homeschooling mamas!  I am back on some of the Waldorf Facebook groups and the questions about new beginnings are flowing in on those boards.  These tend to be many of the same questions people have over and over from year to year.  And that is okay, because the people who are searching for answers are often new and this is the cycle of things in homeschooling in general.

Waldorf homeschooling in peace and joy requires that one lets go of creating a school environment in the home – you are a busy mother; you are not an entire paid faculty.  At the same time, Waldorf homeschooling also asks you to rise up and try.  Try to paint, draw, memorize, look for poetry.  Try.  Try and bring as much as you can as you strive.  That is joyful Waldorf homeschooling.  You have to be able to let go of guilt and enjoy the benefits of homeschooling – which is to be together as a family and to meet the child in front  of you.  Let go of your guilt and perfectionism and enjoy!

Here are a few of my tips for the specific common questions, which generally seem to involve rhythm and the early grades – Continue reading

The Peaceful Family You Want……

Is within your reach.  Is not only possible and plausible, but waiting for you.   It begins with you.

Peace begins with feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually strong.  I see so many beautiful mothers who really neglect their health until something happens, and they know they HAVE to start making home cooking, menu planning, sleep, exercise, health appointments and other things necessary for them to enjoy good health because within it, their family cannot thrive!  If you are homeschooling or have stay at home children, putting these things as part of the rhythm is so important , along with the “how” – who will watch the children whilst you cook 20 freezer meals?  Who will watch your children if you go for a walk or do yoga, etc?  The “how” is as important as the “when”. Continue reading

Monthly Anchor Points: January

Anchor:  a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay: Hope was his only anchor.

When we work to become the author of own family life, we take on the authority to provide our spouse and children and ourselves stability.  An effective way to do this is through the use of rhythm.  If you have small children, it takes time to build a family rhythm that encompasses the year.  If you are homeschooling older children and also have younger children not ready for formal learning, the cycle of the year through the seasons and through your religious year becomes the number one tool you have for family unity, for family identity, for stability.

January, how I love you with your still and silent ways.  I am reminded of the hibernating animals, the crunch of snow under my feet as a child growing up in the Northeastern United States, the glow of beautiful beeswax candles, the twelve festive days of Christmastide and the twelve Holy of Nights, new beginnings and new starts with a blank year before us.  Seed catalogues start to arrive with the promise of a garden to grow, organizing about the home is to be done, and I think about snowflakes, paper stars, and candles all month long.  You can read more of my joy about January  here.  It also has some wonderful ideas for working with children’s energy during the colder months.  Maybe now is time to rotate the toy collection, move things around so they are fresh and new and inviting for small hands and little hearts. Older children might appreciate a re-vamped crafting, art or woodworking space.

I urge you to use your January to slow down, plan ahead for the next part of this year, to enjoy being outside and allow yourself the luxury of a vigorous walk.  One of my friends sent me an article about the beauty of walking outside in a safe area under a dark sky and it made me think of walking in cold wintry skies.

My month will be anchored by  these festivals:

January 1st through January 6th – The twelve festive days of Christmastide and the twelve Holiest of Nights.    One of my favorite days of this cycle is today, the Feast of Saint Seraphim of Sarov.  There is a lovely book about this saint, and I plan to make a picture of this saint and a bear friend for the children today.  http://www.amazon.com/St-Seraphims-Beatitudes-Blessings-Wonderworker/dp/0978654307/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420235365&sr=8-1&keywords=st.+seraphim+of+sarov+children

January 6th – Epiphany.  You can see back posts regarding Epiphany and how to celebrate here and   here.   This is a festive day complete with a King’s cake or pudding and gift giving in our house.  The Christmas season ends for us here and we usually do take our tree down and then we tend to clean and rearrange and enjoy the freshness of things.

January 13 – Feast Day of St. Mungo, the Patron Saint of Glasgow.  The book “A Royal Ring of Gold” could be good for older children (middle school) – please always preread.

January 18-24 – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

There are a few other Saints I am celebrating this month by reading some of their writings as well. 

Ideas for Celebration:

Making music – what a wonderful time to make music in our homes.  Jodie Mesler has a true passion for making music at home and tries very hard to make music do-able for those with no musical background at all.  For those of you who can read music , there are many wonderful music in the Wynstones books and other musical books sold at Waldorf booksellers.

Making crafts – I love things to do with stars and snowflakes for this time of year and there are many examples on Pinterest. I would be pleased to have you follow any of my Pinterest boards as I gather ideas for my own family.

Making time for outside fun – down here we can still hike and paddle; other areas of the country you may be able to still surf and swim and still others you may be cross country skiing, skating, or downhill sledding and skiing.  You could try indoor roller skating and bowling as well.  Stay active and enjoy movement together as a family!

Plan a garden as family

Feed the birds and observe them and draw them

Walk and observe what plants are growing and what the animals are doing

What could you do as a family to help others?  This could be a lovely time to gather supplies for a food pantry or donate clothing or something for your local animal shelter

What about an adult time for you, the person you are besides the mother, with friends or another female adult in your family? I have tickets with my sister-in-law to see the Russian Ballet perform Swam Lake this month and am looking so forward to it.

The Domestic Life:

Making bone broths

I am in the midst of re-organizing all of our “medical” supplies – organizing the essential oils by what we frequently use them for, organizing the homeopathic medicines and stocking up on the ones we are low on, gathering things of nature for illness

Revamping rooms, framing pictures, dreaming of what else we would like to make for our home

Crafting a few things for Candlemas!

I would love to hear what you are up to in these January days.  Shine your light out into the world.

Blessings and peace to you,

Carrie

5 Ways to Have A Peaceful Family Life in 2015

The idea to use one word to embody the direction, vision and scope of a year has been in use for some time now.  This year, I chose a word for my personal use but also a word for The Parenting Passageway. Our word for the year is “peace”, so you will be seeing quite a bit of that this year on this space – how to really craft peace into your family life.  To move us forward, I was thinking today of five ways to have a peaceful family life.

Know who you are and make apologies for it as you live your life and be the parent you want to be.  When you know yourself and really know your strengths and your weaknesses and work with that for the benefit of your family, it becomes an unshakable foundation.  Love who you are and  what you bring to the table. This confidence and quiet strength allows the family to shine!

Go for balance.  Look for balance throughout the cycle of the entire year.  For example, I am feeling a real need to keep January simple with time to be outside in the morning every day.  So I am working with that pull.  It may change in Spring and I will put together something different.  Look for  the balance with activities outside the home – are they all for one person, one child?  Are there too many?  We need balance to be both parent and person – is that there or is that always on a backburner?  Make this the year for balance for all members of the family!

Boundaries.  Part of having a happy family life is boundaries. Continue reading

Peaceful New Year’s Wishes

This week between Christmas and New Year’s did not start out as I had planned.  I wanted a very quiet and calm place of nurturing and steady rhythm with a lot of time outside to hike and play.  I wanted time to dream and plan and unplug, which is what I normally do during these twelve days of Christmas and the twelve Holy Nights.  Somehow, instead we ended up with commitments almost every day (yes, I forgot to use my “X”’s on my calendar to “X” off days, I guess!)

Then I guess  our oldest daughter and I got sick with some sort of flu-like virus where we pretty much laid in bed for over 24 hours, too sick to do anything else…. And now the littlest one is down and out as well…..So that took care of our commitments, but not in the way that I had planned!

My wish for you  this New Year is the gift of steadiness – of not jumping into the highs and lows, but the sure knowledge of when to take a risk to do something new and when to know when routine is just right.  It is so important to remember Continue reading

Silence

For many meditating during these nights, silence is a theme for yesterday.  I am meditating on silence today as I think of the polarity between myself and St. John the Evangelist, whose feast day is today.  How do I bring silence and stillness into my life so I can have a more fruitful inner life?  I find it hard to deepen that if there is nothing but noise or clutter or chaos swirling around me.  So, having time to be home, to not rush, to have space and time is so important.  How can I construct the rhythms of my family and of my heart in order to have this space this coming year?

And when do I boldly proclaim the truth in words, the way St. John proclaims the Logos?  Do I speak truth when it is needed?  Do I do that boldly, tactfully or timidly?

While so many people say they want to quit homeschooling in November and February, I find that a bit ironic for me personally since I perceive those months to be ones of silence and stillness and I love that aspect.  Solitude is so different than taking a knowing break to replenish the soul.

How does silence manifest itself in your life?  Do you welcome it?  How does silence work with courage?

Blessings,
Carrie