Organizing For Peace Part Two

Part of my inner Advent this year is really looking to see how we can bring more peace into our life. When we moved to the farm 18 months ago, it was whirlwind of necessary projects (water and heat, anyone?) and we had a list of a number of cosmetic/flow type issues that would make living here easier. The necessary projects definitely outweighed the cosmetic things, so the ongoing projects are still there for the future, which causes me as a visual person to often feel unsettled. We also began boarding horses a year ago, which took some time to build a rhythm around, and now that we have had a year of that here, our routines are more set with that and I think I can figure out how to fit my homemaking routines with this.

The first point in figuring out my rhythm has been to look at where my time is going this week. Some things have changed since we moved here – more of my time went to animal care and outside projects, more of my time went to driving since we moved further out and there isn’t as much around us and work is further away, and I felt like every day was semi-different and it has been hard to get a set morning or evening routine.

One thing I noticed this week has been a lack of an evening routine. My evening routine honestly has been trying to squish in a bunch of online CEU courses and then do night check in the barn. Which is fine, but it doesn’t cover a lot of the other areas I need pulled together for the next day.

So I am headed back to Flylady I used Flylady so much when my children were small and up into early high school (modified for our own family), and it was helpful. Somehow I lost a lot of the routines for our home and am ready to get back to it.

I have many more areas pulling for my attention these days, so it is important that I get those areas in, but also important that I literally schedule in time to rest, to relax, to create. And, in order to keep my priorities straight, I am taking the word I am using for 2023 (bold) and using that to divide my life into faith, family, work and finances, farm, health, homeschooling. I created Pinterest boards for each of these areas to help me grasp what massive action steps I want to take this year to help things move a bit forward.

I would love to hear where you are now – are you drowning, are you feeling triumphant and productive, are you looking forward to a new year?

Blessings and love,

Carrie

Hope For When Your Advent Looks Different

I love this first week of Advent, where the theme of this time is the idea of hope. I want to encourage you today that just because your Advent looks different, it doesn’t mean that it is wrong. Traditions can be established and can also change over time to better meet the needs of your family.

Maybe you are setting up new family traditions for Advent. It takes time to build traditions, and it really can’t be done in one year.

Maybe your children have grown up, and you are waiting for them to arrive home for the holidays.

Maybe your children are a mixture of different ages, and things need to change a little bit to meet the needs of all the children and teenagers in the family.

All of these things are okay!

If you are trying to establish new traditions, I think this back post would be very helpful to you: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/06/christine-natales-musings-on-saint-nicholas-day-and-starting-new-holiday-traditions/ , You can layer simple ideas in over time. If your children are very small, just a few well -placed activities can be wonderful. It doesn’t have to be all the things you read about on social media.

If you are waiting for your young adult children to come home and you feel your Advent is remarkably different, I advise you to be gentle with yourself with all your feelings. All your feelings are valid. It is okay to be sad or to feel a sense of grieving for when your children were small.

I think it is okay to choose some of your Advent traditions and do them just for yourself or to find ways to translate your traditions for your young adults. Perhaps you will send a St. Nicholas Day package to your young adult, or perhaps you will bake cookies later in the season so you can do it together. Whatever fills you is important and you can determine the course of your new traditions.

If your children are all different ages, I think it is very important to choose the traditions that meet not only your small children, but also your teens. Your teens may secretly enjoy the things your younger children are enjoying, or they may enjoy being the keeper of the magic for younger children. However, they may also crave something geared towards their own age group that includes their friends. Ask them about what would make the holiday meaningful for them.

I would love to hear about your family’s traditions for this season.

Blessings,

Carrie

Organized for Peace Part One

This is the beginning of the holiday season as we turn toward our inward light during the darker nights. I love this time of year, having a cozy home and being home, and am planning to make the most of this time by organizing for peace. I hope you can join me, and if you blog or are on social media please drop a link to your own household and life organizing below.

You might be thinking this is a busy time of year and feels hard to get organized, but I think it can be done and an amazing way to head into a new year. I know a lot of people whose 2022 was one they would rather not repeat, so what better way than to think, dream, and create new spaces and new beginnings?

I have two threads going on in my home right now. One is holiday preparation and one is preparing for some of the big things for the new year that I really want to accomplish.

For holiday planning:

  1. I am planning simply. I am ordering online for the teens and young adults in my life a few things, and everything else will be handmade. If you want some ideas for handmade gifts, please follow my pinterest board here:
  2. We are decorating little by little as is our custom with Advent, but in the past I found we were pretty late often with the business of end of semester and end of year things, so this year we are starting now and having a more set plan for decorating and keeping things simple. I am decorating with real greenery and orange slices and pomegranates – you will be able to follow along on my IG/Facebook if you are interested in those crafts!
  3. We are planning some fun family things. This time is precious when young adults are home from college and we want to do some simple but fun things like go look at the holiday lights, have a sweet hot chocolate/cookie decorating party with friends, game nights.

For new spaces and new beginnings:

  1. The spiritual connection –My word of the year came to me early this year (it’s “BOLD” because I have big things that are going to be happening next year!) and I started brainstorming what areas of my life that I wanted to have boldness, confidence in. I started pinterest boards for these areas, which will help me make a few lists to take MASSIVE action steps to make things happen!

2. Ideas for the coming year –I have a list of farm projects and although we don’t have a large budget to do some of the serious things that really need to be done, we can move forward in several areas. This will include arena renovations, more barn work, planting fruit and nut trees and gardening, and adding more beehives.

3. The Environment –I am getting a small dumpster as there are things here that the former owner of the property left behind when they moved that we have been cleaning up little by little, and things we have been pulling out of the pastures (tons of leftover netting from hay bales) that need to go! And once things are super organized, I want to organize our space so we can have even more food and water stored. My goal is to be able to grocery shop from our stores and grow enough produce so I don’t have to go to the grocery store frequently.

4. The new beginnings — now that we are settling in and have had horses here for a year and through seasons, we have a better idea as to how to balance working on the farm, working outside the home, homeschooling – so new rhythms will be helpful. Our basic weekly rhythm right now will be:

BASIC WEEKLY PLAN for Holidays and Winter

Exercise daily

Sunday – church/youth group or rest, indoor crafting projects (sewing, crochet, handiwork, mending) and cooking/canning projects, look ahead and prep for homeschooling week, sometimes dinner with friends
Monday – work with errands afterwards as needed, homeschooling in afternoon with extra art or handwork, teen’s outside activities as needed
Tuesday – homeschooling, after dinner is time for continuing education courses and studying
Wednesday – work and our teen has an outside program day, teen’s outside activities as needed
Thursday – homeschooling with a break to connect via Zoom to our church’s Women’s Bible Study, I usually have home visits to patients in the afternoon but if not I do outside projects or cooking and canning projects. Sometimes we have a date night on Thursday nights or it is time for continuing education courses or you tube programming regarding homesteading after dinner.
Friday – work and our teen has an outside program day
Saturday – homeschooling as needed, cleaning and outdoor projects and big chores, sometimes during the winter our teen has horseback riding lessons, friends over

And to keep our daily family life solidly centered here: https://celebratetherhythmoflife.blogspot.com/p/waldorf-family_08.html So that means sneaking in times for playing games, laughing together, doing things together

You will notice there is not a lot of prepping for homeschooling in this rhythm. This is because this is my third time through these grades and everything is fairly laid out at this point. I do most of my planning over the summer so things are ready for the school year at this point. Our yearly rhythm still revolves around the festivals and seasons.

Please share your plans and drop your links below!
Many blessings and gratitude for you all,

Carrie

Heading Toward Winter

All outside is dark and cold

But just beneath the earth

Sleep seeds from which new life spring

Bringing Nature’s gifts to birth

  • Betty Jones, from “A Child’s Seasonal Treasury”

The days are shorter, the nights are colder, and the leaves on the deciduous trees have fallen. We are headed toward winter, a time of deep rest, a time of projects, a time of wonder at snow and lights and the beautiful winter sky with the skeletons of trees etched against the horizon.

We can set up a seasonal table with snow white and pink silks, crystals of quartz and amethyst, glass vases, paper snowflakes or an beautiful Advent tableau with a dark blue silk with candles and gold paper stars. The traditional Advent wreath can come out.

We are moving from a time of mourning and remembering our ancestors, the saints, those who have gone before us to a new year and a new path. We are preparing for what is to come. What are the deepest longings of your heart for the coming year? Advent can be a time of fasting and preparing and contemplating for this new beginning. I have already chosen my word of the year for 2023 (for more on that tradition, see here)..I think this is going to be a BIG year, so I chose the word BOLD. I will have one child finishing college in December 2023, another child beginning college in 2023, we will have been on our farm for two years in the spring, and with this I am making some new and different choices in the midst of this seventh seven year cycle of my own life and also returning to my roots in many ways.

I am dreaming of some kind of Waldorf homeschool opportunity for high schoolers and I am back to wanting to teach at homeschool conferences. Waldorf parenting and education is so nurturing to all family members, no matter what the age. It draws me in with its healing impulse over and over again.

What is calling you for winter?

Blessings,

Carrie

November Action Steps

Do you ever feel as if the idea of having a simple, healthy, peaceful family life with joyful and peaceful family members would involve so many things and so many steps that it seems unattainable?

Since I began this blog in 2008, I have had the sole mission of helping families find peaceful parenting in a hectic world. We began homeschooling because we wanted our children to be healthy, so the mission of The Parenting Passageway has expanded slightly over the years to include the ideas of developmental parenting and health leading to peace, and now I even have more ideas about simple living and homesteading for peace and health since we have moved to our farm in 2021.

It sounds like a lot, but it always comes back to what is healthy also promotes peace. If you have smaller children, or perhaps you have much older children like me and feel like you have lost your way a bit from the things that were mainstays when your children were smaller. Let me help you narrow your focus for this month!

If you think about the month, there is a mood to it, a theme, or seasonal arcs. To help you figure that out for your family and where you live, you can always start with the monthly anchor kinds of posts that discuss the festivals of the month and ideas for working with children for the month and adapt it. I have done this for years, but here is the latest one for November 2022: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2022/10/30/november-light/

Here are some ideas for action steps:

My advice is to get a notebook or planner and write down some of the moods, stresses, challenges, joys as you go through this month. It will help you to look back next year and remember that October was always crazy in your family or July was endless or whatever typically happens for you where you are right now. You can’t plan ahead and be proactive and lead your family if you have no idea what happened in the past.

If you are concerned about health, or maybe like me you got into homeschooling or homesteading due to concerns about health in children, try some of the ideas here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2017/11/03/homeschooling-from-rest-the-rhythm-of-health/

This month, I am focused on exercising four days a week ( I use BODI, which was formerly Beachbody on Demand. No affiliation or anything, it just works for me!) and I am still enjoying juicing: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/18/give-us-our-daily-juice/

If you are concerned about discipline, try this very early post (oldie but still a goodie!): https://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/16/gentle-discipline-as-authentic-leadership/ and this one: https://theparentingpassageway.com/gentle-discipline/

If you are concerned about homeschooling over the holiday season: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2018/03/01/planning-waldorf-simple/ and this one about homeschooling in December: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/18/what-to-do-with-homeschooling-in-december/

Creating warmth in your home this month: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/11/04/warmth/

Finally, large attitude of gratitude: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/11/23/an-attitude-of-gratitude/

You can follow along in my stories on Instagram for some of the farm projects this month, and bread baking. I would love to hear what you are up to, and if you have an IG account, please drop it below!

Many blessings to you,

Carrie