31 Days Of The Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day One

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, begins now.  Today is New Year’s Day, and in the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  open.  Read on for more…… Continue reading

New Year’s Thoughts

NINE REQUISITES FOR CONTENTED LIVING:
Health enough to make work a pleasure.
Wealth enough to support your needs.
Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.
Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.
Faith enough to make real the things of God.
Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.
~Goethe

I have a dear friend who shared this with the world on her Facebook page.  What a lovely sentiment.  And here is my New Year’s sentiments from 2009: Continue reading

Inspiring Links For The New Year

 

This is  such a holy and sacred time of the year.  It is a time to go inward and to reflect and also, I think to plan a little for the year ahead.  In that vein, I have to share just a few of my favorite things for the new year.

First of all, I am very content to see Heather offering a “Hibernate” on-line workshop.  I signed up for it when the announcement first came out, and am so looking forward to it.  You can find more details about that here:  http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/beauty_that_moves/2013/12/hibernate-online-workshop.html

 

I am also happy to see what Sheila wrote here about envisioning her year through a single word:  http://sureastheworld.com/2013/12/16/word-2014/

 

I am pleased to see some more blogging about homeschooling from the Tan family over at Syrendell.  For those of you homeschooling, are you ready for the last half of the school year here in North America, or are you already busy thinking about next year?  Here is a blog post from Syrendell about fourth grade:  http://syrendell.blogspot.com/2013/12/return-to-homeschooling.html

 

I would love to hear what you are focusing on these holy days and nights of Christmastide.

Many blessings,
Carrie

Celebrating Christmastide

 

Merry Christmas!  Today is the second day in Christmastide, a wonderful season that begins on Christmas Day and continues until the eve of Epiphany.  Freya Jaffke, in her wonderful book, “Celebrating the Festivals With Children”, writes:

During the twelve or thirteen Holy Nights that follow Christmas, the events of Christmas continue to resonate; and it is a lovely custom for children if candles are lit each day, with singing, music making and perhaps a reading.  This period is set apart from the rest of the year, and can be a time when we gather our strength for the year ahead.  Nothing urgent needs to be done, and we can really take time for things.  Children are deeply satisfied if mother or father sits down beside them with some craftwork, or perhaps join in a game now and then.  In contrast to the summer when we like going outdoors, we feel very comfortable at home in the warmth – apart from winter walks and the fun of snow when it comes.

We can celebrate the twelve days of Christmastide with children by using candles or a ring with twelve hearts or a simple Advent type calendar adapted to the twelve days of Christmas.  This becomes a nice way to bring children down gently from Christmas and to continue the joy and wonder society too often associates with just a single day.

Instructions to make a Christmas ring can be found in both “All Year Round” and “Celebrating Irish Festivals”.    There are instructions to make a “postcard” calendar for the twelve days of Christmastide, each window representing a month of the year, ie, the first card would represent January and be opened on the first day of Christmastide, the second card would represent February and be opened on the second day of Christmas.  I would like to do this and follow the Church Year calendar to be represented on these cards.  Maybe I can do this in time for next year!

Today is also St. Stephen’s Day, and in Ireland and other places this is a time of fasting, a day to visit friends, a time to walk and feed the birds.  “Celebrating Irish Festivals” talks about the custom of the Wren Boys in Ireland and the mummer’s play.   Today is a wonderful day to make treats for our feathered friends in honor of St. Stephen!

If you are careful to celebrate Advent as a preparation, this time of Christmastide in its fullness can hold such incredible joy and fun.  Each day the family can gather around the Christmas tree for singing and readings and to play old-fashioned games.  Some families like to  craft window stars, rose windows and transparencies during this sacred time.   Many families also spread out their gift-giving and acts of generous kindness to other family members amongst the twelve days of Christmas, which is another wonderful tradition. 

Many blessings to you as you celebrate these days,
Carrie

The No Yelling House

 

I have seen a lot of blog posts recently regarding gentle discipline and how to stop yelling within the home.  Many promise how to look at the New Year with an eye towards creating a no yelling house and parenting style.

Friends, yelling is only the symptom, it is not the disease.  And sometimes to me, the flip side of yelling in parenting is something just as bad that no one seems to talk about:  the passive -aggressive parenting style. 

If yelling or being passive -aggressive is the symptom, the disease boils down to an aggregate mixture of several things.   The basis for creating a no yelling house and parenting style is creating a home where your parenting is based upon love and connection.  Love and connection and an ability to act from this place toward not only our family members but also all of our fellow members of humanity is where to begin to eradicate this disease.  Along the way, we also need to talk about rhythm, simplicity and priorities, and the tools of healthy boundaries and open communication.

Please join me in January for 31 Days:  The Inner Rhythm of the Heart.

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

Last Minute Gifts to Make

 

Happy Holidays! I know many of you are in a flurry of crafting and baking right now, but I know some of you are also looking for last minute ideas for gifts to make.

 

Here are a few suggestions:

I have a friend entranced by peg people, which got me thinking about those little people again!  One of my favorite Pinterest sites has this to offer:  https://www.pinterest.com/queenslace/peg-dolls/

 

My oldest daughter and I have been making straw stars.  I think this is a great project for children who are middle school (ie, age 12) and up.  Here is a link to order supplies:  http://www.germanplaza.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=280

 

Here is a list of 10 Waldorf Christmas crafts.  I love “cinnamon ornaments” and think having little ones make these for a grandparents Christmas tree is always lovely:  http://www.valleywaldorf.org/10-waldorf-christmas-crafts-kids/

 

Here are free projects from The Silver Penny: http://www.thesilverpenny.com/FreeProjects.html

 

Wee Folk Art also has much to offer:  http://weefolkart.com/

 

Last year, my last minute gifts included peppermint bark, savory salt, and grain free granola.  Things one makes in the kitchen are always good gifts!

 

Please do share what you are making this year!

Blessings,

Carrie

Sixth Grade Ancient Rome

(For the first part of this block, please see this post:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/11/20/sixth-grade-ancient-rome/).

I detailed in a previous post how we tackled our first three weeks of Rome, including drawing, painting, and mosaics, along with the resources we used.  The first three weeks also included, toward the end, an assignment to read “The Bronze Bow”, as suggested in the Christopherus Roman History Guide (http://www.christopherushomeschool.com/Sixth-Grade-Roman-History-Bundle-p/chrb0010.htm – however, I do not have this newest version but only the older version so do be aware there has been a revision!)  and we orally discussed this book and its major themes.

So, our major work in the first three weeks included drawing a beautiful Continue reading

The Simple Christmas

 

Christmas begins on December 25th, and continues until January 6th.  Christmastide is a beautiful season with simple pleasures. 

 

I think we have to be so careful to not raise our children with a sense of entitlement, but with a sense of gratitude.  Gratitude begins with us, and with how we are gracious and grateful with less material things and more with the connections the seKason provides.  Kim John Payne talks more about this important topic here:  http://www.themotherco.com/2013/12/a-simple-holiday-less-toys-and-more-time/

 

I have my own suggestions for slowing down and enjoying Christmastide.

 

  • Go media free if you are not media free already. 
  • Get outside.  Hike, ski, skate, and enjoy the season and the great outdoors in your area.
  • Have a Christmastide party with your close friends and  family members.
  • Have a board game night or a night of playing cards together.
  • Have a crafting night.  You can make rose windows, straw stars, window stars, paper lanterns, dip candles, or roll candles.
  • Visit something seasonal in your area – a winter wonderland, ice skating, a cultural celebration.
  • If you are religious, attend your place of worship for the wonderful feast days that happen during Christmastide.
  • Take a night to make popcorn and tell tales.
  • Do sweet and kind things for each other throughout the twelve days of Christmas
  • Say thank you often for the small things in life, and model this for your children.

 

Please leave a comment in the comment box regarding your favorite traditions for Christmas. 

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

Happy Santa Lucia Day!

 

I love this day and hope everyone is having a wonderful day curled up with hot cocoa and lussekatter!

 

Please don’t forget the wonderful free stories that are out there by my friend, the wonderful Master teacher and writer Christine Natale:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10811968/Stories/A%20Little%20Story%20for%20Saint%20Lucy’s%20Day%20-%20December%2013.pdf

 

There is also a gentle and sweet tale about St. Lucy right here on The Parenting Passageway for free:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/12/14/guest-post-a-gentle-santa-lucia-story-by-tiziana-boccaletti/

 

Here is a post with quite a few links in it regarding crafts and songs and traditions:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/08/more-about-celebrating-santa-lucia-day-in-the-waldorf-home/

 

One of my favorite books for this day is “Lucia:  Saint of Light” by Katherine Bolger Hyde.  It combines the traditions of Santa Lucia from a Swedish perspective mixed with the main stories we have heard regarding Santa Lucia and includes a recipe for lussekatter.  Here is the cover: 

 

 

Have a wonderful, warm day!

Blessings,
Carrie

Dealing With The Christmas Crazies!

 

The Christmas (and other holiday) Crazies are here!  Children everywhere are so excited with the season, and everywhere parents and teachers are emailing that their children’s behavior is off the top crazy!

 

Well, I love the Christmas crazies in one sense.  I mean, think back carefully when you were a child and how you LOVED the holidays.  Remember the anticipation, the waiting, the magic of the holidays?  The feeling that Christmas would never come?  How about funny stories and crazy fun things?   I remember my father telling me about his German aunts who started baking in early November for Christmas. They stored millions of dozens of Christmas cookies under their beds and all the children in the family would sneak in and eat the baking for several months before Christmas appeared! Or how about my own daughter and her cousin, who, two years ago, woke up at 3:30 in the morning wild and ready for breakfast and gift giving?

 

I am sure you have your own version of the Christmas crazies from your family – leave your funny story in the comment box so we can laugh with you!

 

But on a serious note, sometimes the adults getting ready for the holidays feel anxious and stressed.  People write to me about this topic and I think probably would like to hear something other than “embrace the crazy and have FUN!”….So here are a few brief thoughts:

 

Leave time and space for the fun.  Leave time and space to be outside a lot to work off energy, try to keep your food not completely off kilter, and again,  work off the energy.  Those of you in colder climates are so fortunate  really.  I remember ice skating on ponds, skiing, and cross country skiing as a child. And hours playing in the snow and sledding, and yes, shoveling, and carrying and stacking firewood.  Lots of time to work and play!  And those of you in warm climates, you have the beach and the waves and the sand and surf. Fun!

Do a little planning.  If you have traveling to do, making sure you have a bag full of activities and parent-approved whole foods often goes a long way.  Some of my favorite things for longer trips include beeswax modeling, pipe cleaners, stickers for putting on paper, telling stories, playing “I-Spy” and other games.  Long car rides are great for singing!  Have some little projects for around the house. If baking or whatever project you want to do is too much with multiple young children and ends in tears, give yourself permission to NOT do it.  Do it in a few years.  It will be better, and find something you can all do and enjoy together now.

Keep the schedule as low-key as you can.  Remember the time and space rule. With small children you are probably not going to be able to do everything you want to do.  Pick what is fun that you can all do together and forget the rest.  Simple is best, and less is more.

Find your sense of humor.  Some of the things that can be so irritating in the moment will truly be funny ten years from now, and provide stories to tell your grown children and grandchildren. If everything went smoothly, eh, what would there be to tell?

Yes, traditions are lovely, but they can be flexible, they can change as your children grow.  Some years just call for simple and that is okay!  And you don’t need a thousand traditions to make a holiday!  Just a few will do.  Smile

 

Please share your favorite funny stories, and your favorite and most loved traditions!

Love and hugs,

Carrie