children in stream
LifeWays North America
Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 2Spring 2011

Spring Is In the Air!          

        There's little in this world more enjoyable than watching a flower poke its head out of the ground with a young child.  When it blooms, what excitement!  When the first bee comes to visit it, it's an occasion!  There is so much to do and see as the world starts to warm up.  And along with this warming comes...mud.  A joy for children, a bane for adults.  I well remember many experiences with mud in my own childhood:  feeling it squish through my fingers, through my toes, slick and slippery, or sometimes gritty. 


 How can we let the children in our lives have these visceral experiences, without destroying our homes?  A 

question for the ages...

          This newsletter is chock-full of thoughts on spring, activities to do with the children, and last (but not least!) some tips and inspiration on dealing with mud.  Enjoy!
                    -Faith Baldwin, Editor
In This Issue
Spring is In the Air!
Upcoming LifeWays Events
Sources for Rain Pants
Letter from Cynthia
Mud and Sensory Experiences
Featured LifeWays Program
Hot Cross'd Buns
Reports from LifeWays Trainings
Spring Story/Puppet Show
LifeWays logo
LifeWays North America is devoted to developing healthy childcare, parent-infant and parent-child programs, and training programs for caregivers, parents and parent educators. These activities are inspired by the works of Rudolf Steiner and the experience of Waldorf education and are supported by contemporary early childhood research as well as common sense and wisdom of many generations of parents. _______________________________________________

Upcoming LifeWays Events 

lifeways students tellling tales with puppets 

NOTE: If you are a LifeWays graduate, you can join any section of a full LifeWays training for only the price of supplies.


April 15-16, WISC in San Diego, CA; Warmth and the L.O.V.E. Approach to Child Guidance featuring Cynthia Aldinger.  Contact Bianca Lara, 760-722-8487,


May 1-7, Milwaukee, WI; LifeWays training featuring Suzanne Down and Cynthia Aldinger.  Contact Mary O'Connell, 414-218-8558,


May 2-4, Milwaukee, WI; Nursery Rhymes, Puppetry,Storytelling and the Development of Speech featuring Suzanne Down.  414-218-8558,


June 12-24, Austin, TX; New LifeWays training featuring Cynthia Aldinger.  Contact Laura Olson, 512-569-5880,


June 19-25, Columbus, OH; New LifeWays training featuring Susan Silverio.  Contact Susan Silverio, 207-763-4652,


July 16, Rockport, ME; Couples Retreat for LifeWays graduates and partners featuring Cynthia Aldinger presenting L.O.V.E. Approach to Child Guidance.  Contact Susan Silverio, 207-763-4652,


July 22-29, Fair Oaks, CA; New LifeWays training at Rudolf Steiner College featuring Cynthia Aldinger and Lauren Hickman.   Contact Rudolf Steiner College Admissions at 916-961-8727,


August 12-19, 2011, Boulder, CO; New LifeWays training featuring Suzanne Down.  Contact Suzanne Down at 720-438-8344,


October 9-16, Milwaukee, WI; New LifeWays training featuring Mary O'Connell.     414-218-8558,


November 9-16, Hawaii; New LifeWays training featuring Cynthia Aldinger, Kim Raymond and Cyndee Fehring.  Contact Kim Raymond, 808-268-0497,



The spring rains came 
and made a flood
And now there's mud
 and mud and mud...
The only cure 
for springtime mud
Is suds, and suds 
and suds and suds.
                           -Douglas Florian
splashing in puddles!
Use hay to soak up mud in high-traffic areas of your yard.  You can buy hay for about $4 per bale at any local animal feed store.


Joyful Days with Toddlers and Preschoolers!

chopping veggies cropped
     Live teleclass from LifeWays graduate Faith Baldwin, made up of conference calls, videos and online discussion. 
     -Six Tuesdays, starting June 21
     -Six Sundays, starting June 26
Normal price $220, but only $150 for LifeWays members.
       For testimonials and more info, visit
or email Faith at 

Sources for Rain Pants

"There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."

                                    -Helle Heckman


Two Tall Trees

(owned by LifeWays member Jess Henry) sells these toddler rainpants for $15.

Two Tall Trees

 sells these fleece-lined rain overalls for $34   

ad for rainpants

Children's Needs

carries these rain overalls which come in larger sizes for children up to 8 years old, for $21.49

Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Opportunity in Columbus, OH

briar rose  

        Briar Rose Children's Center is a full-day, year-round preschool for children ages 3-6. We are looking for a trained Waldorf Teacher with experience working in a Waldorf early childhood program to join our school in June 2011.

         In this position you will have the opportunity to fully explore and stretch your teaching skills and also begin/continue a path of self-development for the benefit of and in the context of beautiful children, supportive families and an empowered teaching team in a vibrant central Ohio community.

          You will also have the opportunity to develop a daily curriculum, train assistants, participate in weekly teacher's meetings, join our weekly study group, develop leadership and administrative skills, interact positively and openly with parents and be a center of peace and strength for the children.

          We have a capacity for 20 children, ages 3-6.  We have our own building and a beautiful outdoor area which includes a garden, climbing trees, a swing and a large digging space. Several parks and wooded areas are within walking distance of the school. We make and share an organic lunch with the children each day and celebrate four festivals each year. 

         Housing opportunities are available close to the school. This year-round position (currently) starts at 25-30 hours per week with time off for holidays.

         For more information please contact Marcelle Gilkerson at 614 557-7023.


One Day it Rained Really Hard...

mud 1

One day it rained really hard.  Simone had dug steps into the little hill just days before, and now the rain and the loose earth mixed all on their own making some great mud.  We were outside playing in the rain when the new mud was discovered.  Not only were the new steps muddy pools, but it was discovered that in full rain gear, one could slide down the muddy hill on one's Bum!  The children got entirely covered in mud!

mud 2 

Pretty soon, mud was everywhere!

mud 3

When it was time to go in, Simone got out the hose and hosed everyone they are drip drying!  It is required for each child who lives at our LifeWays program to have full rain gear.

-Submitted by Simone Demarzi, Carmichael, CA

"Home at School"

Home at school
A Professional Development Course Designed for Extended Day Providers in Early Childhood and Elementary School!

June 20-24, 2011
At the Waldorf School of Atlanta
$495 for this 5-day course
developed by LifeWays North America
Contact Sondi Eugene, 


LifeWays Caregiver

ONE DAY I WENT OUT WALKING ( feet moving) 


I STEPPED INTO THE WOODS TO PLAY ( stepping in a circle in place with hands over head) 


I CAME UPON A MAPLE TREE ( arms reaching out like branches) 


THERE A BUCKET HUNG FROM THEE ( arms circled in front ) 


I PEEKED INSIDE FROM THE GROUND (up on toes hands together behind looking in ) 


WHERE THE SAP WAS POURING DOWN ( fingertips wiggling down in front of me as my hands descend ) 


IT FILLED AND FILLED TO THE TOP( hand over hand climbing up over head) 


I TOOK THE BUCKET OFF THE TREE ( gesture grabbing the bucket) 


I POURED THE SAP INTO A PAN ( gesture of pouring something out of a bucket) 


IT BOILED AND BUBBLED AS FAST AS IT COULD(shoulders moving up and down as if they were giggling) 


AND WHEN IT WAS FINISHED ( hands opened in front of you) 


IT TASTED ( hands to mouth) SO...GOOD! ( hands on belly) 

Submitted by Missy Whaley

Doctor's  Orders 

just mud


One day Dr. Ita Wegman deviated from her usual prescription for a certain ailment and for this particular patient recommended finding a deep source of mud to sit in, from the knees down. Mudding oneself is of course grounding and connecting or reconnecting with Mother Earth. For the young child playing in the mud is an aid to incarnating.


-Submitted by Ayesha Mall 



More information on the healing properties of mud:

Spring whispers softly to the child perched on the branch where winter lingers 
Her hand reaches out as she sings out calling to the "Spring Maiden" 
She jumps down surprised to find the earth below her feet 
Looking up , up at the branch... then down 
down at the earth her sweet voice sings out the landing 

Skipping across the grass to the ladder she climbs 
climbs up, leg extended out, she reaches out 
out to the corn husk fairys that are hanging, 
hanging from the bare branch where winter lingers 
still singing climbing down 

Twirling her skirt spins , she spins singing in Spring 
spinning and spinning 
she slows down... she stops, her voice quiets 
Standing straight she places her hand on her belly 
then on her back 
her dance is complete 

-Written and submitted by Chrissy Whaley 


Mud Patches
water play 2 

Let the Children Play

This one is for the truly committed amongst us.  If you have the room and the resources, creating a permanent digging patch works well (12 square meters is a good size).  You can buy the dirt from a nursery, your local council or a building supplier.  Mix in approximately 1/3 sand to 2/3 soil to provide a more friable and diggable mix.  Props for the mud patch are limited only by your imagination.  Here are a few ideas: 

  • Cooking appliance-old range or box made into an oven
  • Tree stumps or tree cookies to use as table surfaces
  • Pots, pans, cooking tins
  • Large metal or plastic bowls
  • Cooking utensils 
  • Recycled containers 
  • squeeze bottles
  • funnels
  • trucks
  • animals / toys
  • natural materials
  • sifters / colanders
  • moulds
  • gardening tools
2.  Mud Puddles

Does your playground have a patch of ground that gets muddy after the rain?  Why not embrace the mud and give the children some time and space to make mudpies; cook; dig trenches or create roadways?

I'd recommend assembling a mud bucket or tub with materials such as :
  • Old containers
  • Large wooden or metal spoons
  • Old measuring cups
  • Plastic scoops, like those found in coffee cans
  • old pots, pans, or cake pans moulds
  • Natural materials such as pebbles, sticks and seeds
This way you are always prepared for mud play and when the puddles appear you are good to go!
-Submitted by Laura Olson
Cynthia and ChildLetter from Cynthia                 

Dear Friends,

         Blessed Spring to you!  As I write this I am on my way to Hawaii and feel as if I am going far, far away - my first time there!  We are offering four workshops on four islands to explore the possibility of starting a training there.  This means I will be in Hawaii on, or near, the first day of Spring!  Will there be spring mud in Hawaii?  I don't know.  But I do know that there are parts of Hawaii that have red soil like the red soil I grew up with and that my sons grew up with in Oklahoma when they were young.  We even have "Red Dirt" tee shirts for sale in our gift shops!  It dyes whatever it penetrates.

         So what do you think about Spring?  Is it the season that calls forth fanciful thoughts of flowers, bees, gardening, new life?  Or does it represent for you a difficult transition that begins with slogging through all the wet, the wind, the mud, the unpredictable temperatures?  Funny how these two experiences belong together.

         It reminds me of a conversation I had several weeks ago with one of our current LifeWays students.  She inspired me when she began to describe her journey with her Living Arts daily and weekly chart.  She found that over the winter holidays her efforts to "stick to the schedule" became a weight, a joy-stealer, something she needed to loosen up a bit.  However, as the winter continued to unfold, she found she needed to reunite with her chart as it helped her family to regain their everyday life footing.  We spoke about the dual nature of the word anchor.  On the one hand, the chart had begun to feel like the kind of anchor that binds and restricts movement.  On the other hand, it served as the kind of anchor that helped to keep her from floating away into growing chaos.  She mentioned how grateful she was to have it to come back to after choosing to loosen up for awhile.  I was

 grateful for the conversation as it so well characterized something I had wanted to articulate to LifeWays students for a long time.  Keep joy at the foundation of your senses of life and balance.  Sometimes joy comes from holding to form and knowing what comes next, and other times it comes from a big outbreath of momentary chaos.  

         Today, the day I am writing, is the first day of Lent.  It makes sense to me as I grow older that one does not get to have Easter without first going through Lent.  It is the season of letting go, of adjusting to change, of feeling the weight of "I'm still not who I want to be" before coming to a sense of "I'm changing and growing".  It feels like the perfect time for Christopher Fry's prose from The Sleep of Prisoners:


 "The human heart can go the lengths of God.  

Dark and cold we may be, but this is no winter now.  

The frozen misery of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move; 

The thunder is the thunder of the thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring. 


Thank God our time is now when wrong comes up to meet us everywhere,  Never to leave us till we take the longest stride of soul folk ever took.  

Affairs are now soul size.


The enterprise is exploration into God. 

Where are you making for?

It takes so many thousand years to wake.

But will you wake for pity's sake?"


When I first read this many years ago it felt heavy, even a bit depressing, to me.  Now, however, I see it filled with hope.  Through darkness we find ourselves seeking and drawn toward light, hopefully waking up.  My wish for you this Spring and this Easter is that you will embrace whatever may be burdensome and see that burden as the gravity you need from which to springboard toward levity.

Cynthia by the lake with child

        May you be blessed with at least one opportunity to enjoy a mud pie,  jump in a rain puddle, see a rainbow, observe the first flowers blooming, experience a grand thunderstorm, observe birds building their nests, and hear the quiet of a tree budding.



Blessings on your work and play, 



Mud and Sensory Experiences                 
muddy kids


We sit in the mud... and reach for the stars.                   -Ivan Turgenev


          Spring is Coming! Rain splatters against the back door and the sound of water creates a hush in the neighborhood. The grasses bend and tomorrow the slippery ground will be mushy and add its own movement to my steps.  I still remember the smell and silky feel of the mud that we found in the canal that bordered my friend's back yard, this was my favorite playground and I devoted countless hours to exploring this area.  Jars of pollywogs became marvelous rewards that we cared for and observed for days. 

           According to Rudolf Steiner, children learn through ALL their senses, the young child literally "drinks up" daily experiences and the environment. In retrospect I can see that these early experiences allowed me to learn to trust the information my senses communicated and to "know" things through my hands.  I'm convinced these early experiences contributed to the development of healthy creative abilities and respect for the mysteries and wonders of our world.  

           At the child care center, children stick out their tongues trying to catch raindrops, and who doesn't remember the joy of jumping into puddles and the smell of freshly rained on earth!  A very special friendship began on the playground as 2 Vietnamese speaking brothers, a 3 & 4 year old, became fast friends with a Spanish speaking 4 year old boy.  The joy of chasing and catching bees bonded these three for weeks as they marveled at the beauty and speed of our garden bees.  It was beautiful to witness their joy in being together and the way they organized their play without the benefit of a joint language.  Shinning bright eyes, smiles, their movement sense and excitement communicated all that was needed to fill many mornings.  Now the children have moved on to dig in the garden patch and sprouting wheat berries, which amazingly children love to munch on when they have had the opportunity to watch them grow.  To encourage parents and let them know that playing with Mother Nature is beneficial as well as enjoyable I put together a list of the wonders of playing with mud, this also explains why children are going home a bit "dirtier" than usual these days. 


1. Did you know that studies have shown dirt to be good for your brain? Apparently, there are types of bacteria that are naturally found in soil which activate the neurons that produce serotonin - a key chemical in many bodily functions, as well as a natural anti-depressant. In other words, dirt can actually help make you feel happy.

allegra in the soil


2. Dirt is also great for the immune system, especially in children.

  Research has shown that early exposure to the naturally occurring microbes in soil will help build stronger, more disease-resistant children.


3. Children who play outside laugh more, which means they're happy! Amazingly two physical benefits of laughter are lower blood pressure and stress levels.


5. Spring time brings everyone outdoors, children become more adventurous, more self-motivated, and they are better able to understand and assess in my example above with the bees, after a surprising sting the boys showed respectful reverence for the bees! 

           AND I remember mud was the treatment of choice for sting bites, my grandmother and mother relied on this during the spring and summer. 


There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.                                                                   

           -Carl Sandburg


Living just two hours away from Calistoga, I admit I must make a pilgrimage at least twice a year.  I take to the waters and the mud baths and feel renewed and enjoy what feels like new skin. I remind myself that I do this for health reasons also and take comfort in the thought that without enough exposure to different bacteria and microbes the immune system doesn't learn to recognize its own cells, and some research considers that this could be a reason for higher rates of asthma, eczema, and other diseases. Other interesting trivia about mud assert that the four main properties of mud are:

  • Absorbing power  --Mud has a very high absorption capacity, due to its colloidal size particles, and it has good qualities as an antitoxic and decongestive.
  • Cicatrizing action  --Due to its high aluminum silicate contents, it cicatrizes wounds, eczemas and other disturbances of the skin very quickly. This translates into less scaring and marks.
  • Stimulating capacity  --Mud absorbs several types of radiation (solar, magnetism, radioactivity, etc). It may be released again, but at a lower frequency, resulting in a very concrete potential of organic stimulation, which influences the body vigor and metabolism, thereby invigorating the cells reconstruction and accelerating all the organic processes.
  • Antimicrobial effect  --Its highly powerful absorption effect inactivates the microorganism action and such action seems to be strengthened by a natural antibiotic capacity of mud.
holding a worm

To welcome spring, children will perhaps make mud pies, create sculptures and architecture  and perhaps a good barefoot walk in the warm, health giving mud is in order...I'm sure it will surprise the children so see teachers enjoying this too. 


   I made all my generals out of mud.

                                -Napoleon Bonaparte



-Submitted by Rosario Villasana-Ruiz, M.A.


Featured LifeWays Program:  The Little Red Farmhouse            

      feeding the goat

          "Laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing, comes the springtime over the hills. O-over the hills comes the springtime ha, ha, ha, laughing over the hills."  The birds are singing and wearing their fanciest feathers.  The fruit and nut trees are blooming with lovely colors from a vibrant fuchsia to a delicate ivory.  There is a new shaggy calf in the lush green pasture next door.  Excitedly, the children find tender green leaves peeking out of the earth where we planted over one hundred tulips in the autumn.  Spring is coming! 

          Here at the little red farmhouse playgarden, the children spend most of the day outdoors tuned in to the subtle changes of seasons in Sonoma County.  They scarcely miss any newly opened flower, mushroom, moss or fallen branch on our daily walk to feed the animals in the pasture next door.  About the distance of a football field and down a little hill, our daily walk (the same each day) is full of magical new discoveries.  In the pasture next door a handful of shaggy highland cows, wooly sheep, horses and one very old and friendly goat greet the children as they offer carrots and a song.  On the way back we sing, some children run 

tree huggers

across the whole the meadow and some hold my hand and walk.  We open the back gate together and pick a few things from the garden that they planted themselves.  Even in the middle of winter, there is always something to find to add to our meal or a sprig of herbs for our water.  The wonder, beauty and simplicity of nature has everything and more that I could ever wish to provide in an early childhood setting.  But how did this playgarden come to be?

          When I asked myself this question, a long winding tale unfolded complete with fairy godmothers, a knight in shining armor and of course, a bit of magic.  I graduated from the Lifeways training at Rudolf Steiner College in the summer of 2007.  The following summer I moved from Colorado, where I taught in a lovely Kindergarden, to Sebastopol, CA.  My dear friend Rachel, who I met in the Lifeways training lived in the next town over and the two of us started a Lifeways program in her beautiful home the fall of 2008 for three days a week.  That spring we supported each other with our different visions for the following fall.  She would work as an assistant in a Kindergarden class and I would open a Lifeways program in Sebastopol.  I called around and met all of the early childhood teachers in town and felt fully supported to join the community.  The next step was to find the right space, it did not take very long between wishing for and manifesting the
making cider
 perfect place to live.  The farmhouse was built around 1865, with many renovations of course, and is on a good amount of beautiful land.  The landlords are a retired couple who grew up here and live right next door.  "Farmer Gary" as the children
 call him, grew up on this land.  His wife, Suzanne, knows the happenings of every bird that lives here and always has a warm greeting for us.  Their daughter, son-in-law and two year old granddaughter live there too.  We have our own little
 community here who are out and about working on the land and the children are
 very interested in whatever Gary is doing, he seldom can pass without a handful of questions and a dozen "hellos".  The children have also been able to watch as "Baby Audrey" has grown from a newborn to a very welcomed playmate.  They are
 such wonderful neighbors and it is not everyone
 who would enthusiastically welcome a playgarden into a rental property on shared land.  
Once the right place appeared the rest just followed.  Without children of my own, I did not have many "things" to put into the space nor did I have a budget.   A few hand-me downs, a few trips to the thrift store and let's just say that that knight I mentioned is a really handy fellow.  The two of us set to work with hammers,
 nails and many encouraging little helpers, we built all that we needed out of scraps.  A playhouse out of a wooden garage door, an indoor loft out of old floorboards, a picnic table and chairs out of logs and a broken play structure climbing wall, a washing station, play frames, even a rickshaw out of scrap wood 
many hands
and a few buggy tires.   I set to work making dolls, puppets, wooly animals and gathering acorns, rocks, seedpods and anything else that I thought a child might play with.   It may sound like a lot, but really, we don't have much "stuff" here.  Our days consist of being outdoors, gardening, cooking, cleaning, celebrating the changes of seasons in a simple way, a story, plenty of singing and playing. 
 The group is small, six children each day, this year nine families make our community.  It feels 
like a community, the families are supportive and interested in the wholeness 
of our group.  They help each other with care-sharing andcarpooling.  I have enjoyed watching friendships blossom among the parents as much as among the children.  One parent told me that "It feels like home here".  What a compliment!  Simply put, I strive to build a bridge between 
home and school, to create a space for children to play and experience the wonders of nature and to share the gifts that each day brings.  I am grateful.

-Submitted by Kerry Madrid, LifeWays graduate 2007, lover of nature, food, and unrelenting laughter.
hot crossed buns Hot Cross'd Buns                 


        One way that we mark the Easter season is by baking hot cross buns with the families in our parent-child program as well as with our own young ones at home. 

         On Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, we mix a large bowl of dough and the kitchen fills with the aroma of cinnamon and cardamom.  With our parent-child groups we mix the dough ahead of time since it requires several risings so we can go right to the work of shaping.  All hands, big and small, go to work shaping the dough into round buns.  What fun to roll and squeeze and squash it and then shape it lovingly into buns.  While they rise/bake we may play a little hand clapping game together using the old traditional rhyme/tune:


Hot (both hands clap lap)

Cross (both hands cross in front to touch own shoulders)

Buns (clap both hands with your partner across from you), 

Hot Cross Buns (repeat gestures again), 

One a penny (Hold up 1 finger) Two a penny (Hold up 2 fingers),

Hot Cross Buns!  (Same gestures as first line!) 

(With younger children, one can simply hold their hands and clap them together with yours, crossing on the words "cross")


pie making

We might also share this simple tale:

          Once upon a time, Brother John, a kind and gentle monk, was getting

 ready for Easter.  The people in the town were poor and hungry for they had no food.  Brother John was a fine baker and he longed to help the people of the village.  So it was that he set about baking buns to feed them.  (Gesture the kneading of dough and hum the tune "Hot Cross Buns", the children often hum along).  When the buns were baked, he decorated each one with a cross of sweet icing.  (Gesture crossing pointer fingers one over the other slowly saying, "criss-cross, criss-cross, criss-cross") On Friday, Brother John took the buns into the village and delivered them to the people.  With each bun he shared he said, "Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be!" (Repeat this several times with gesture of giving with hands).  And with that the people smiled and thanked him (Smile and nod) and from then on every year people baked the "hot cross buns" and shared them as a symbol of friendship and blessing.   (Close by singing together the Hot Cross Buns song). 

           Finally, we fill baggies with icing and snip off the end and put crosses on the buns.  Families then take some home to share with loved ones.  We may also take a journey to deliver them to neighbors. 

          (Note:  We honor many faiths and traditions in our community, Easter is just one festival we mark.  The crosses on the buns traditionally stood as a Christian symbol of The Crucifixion, however it is also said that the buns were eaten in honor of the goddess Eostre
and the cross was thought to have symbolized the four quarters of the moon.  Eostre is likely the origin of Easter.  Of course, how much you share about the Easter festival is up to you and what fits your community.  The rhyme represents a time when hot cross buns were sold by street vendors calling out their wares.) 



 1 cup milk                                                       1 egg yolk

c sugar (or honey)                                      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

c shortening                                                teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons salt                                              2 cups whole wheat flour

cup warm water                                          2 cups white flour

2 packages active dry yeast                            1 cup currants (optional)

1 egg                                                               3 tablespoons butter or shortening, melted                                                                  


  1. Scald milk;stir in sugar, shortening and salt.
  2. Cool liquid to lukewarm.
  3. Measure warm water into large warm bowl, sprinkle in yeast.
  4. Let stand about 5 minutes, then stir until dissolved.
  5. Add lukewarm milk mixture, egg, egg yolk, cinnamon, and cardamom; beat in about 1 cups flour.
  6. Stir in additional flour to make a soft dough.
  7. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth.
  8. Shape into ball, place in greased bowl and let rise in warm place until doubled,1-2 hours.
  9. Punch down and knead in currants.
  10. Divide into 16 portions and roll into balls/buns.
  11. Arrange on greased baking sheet;cover and let rise again.
  12. Bake in preheated oven 350 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  13. Remove from baking sheets; brush with melted butter.
  14. Cool slightly; decorate tops with crosses made with icing of:  ( cup coconut oil, c. honey, 1 tsp, vanilla extract, 2 T. rice milk, 2/3 cup "Better Than Milk" Rice Powder.  Or you can use a traditional icing of:  1 c confectioners sugar, t. salt, t. vanilla extract, 1 T. water).  
Laura Olson

These are so popular, I usually double or even triple this recipe!  I have a gluten-dairy-free version as well as a quick brown bread recipe that can work for buns with just one rising if you are short on time! If you are lucky enoughto let the children collect the eggs for this recipe, please do!  Contact me at  for those versions.  Enjoy!


Submitted by Laura Olson, Austin, TX 


New LifeWays Trainings

ladies cookingColumbus, Ohio

 Looking for Graduate Credits in Professional Development?


In the Ohio LifeWays Early Childhood Training to begin June 19-25 in Columbus, each week of training may qualify for 3 semester hours of graduate credits through Ashland University. Meg Freeling will guide this process and can be reached at Ashland is well respected and these credits may transfer to other colleges and universities.


For more information on the training or to enroll, contact Susan Silverio,  

Learning how to play the Lyre 2Lifeways Austin coming in June 2011! 

Submitted by Laura Olson, Austin, TX


We are pleased to announce the beginning of Lifeways training in Austin, TX this coming summer.  So far a group of 15 lovely individuals plan to participate and we welcome a few more! We are fortunate to have a talented teaching faculty assembling to support Cynthia Aldinger who will lead much of the core coursework this first training year.  We will offer a schedule that meets four times a year:  2 weeks in June, long weekends in November and March, another 2 weeks the following June.  I am also blessed to be assisted in the administrative realm by Melba Caldecleugh, long-time, gifted Waldorf kindergarten teacher and dear friend. 


After serving as Spanish teacher and grades school class teacher at the Austin Waldorf School, I left to begin my own parenting journey and now have four beautiful children ages 4-12.  For the past five years, I have devoted my energies to developing parent-child and early parenting programs as Director of Blossom Family Center.  During that time, I had several opportunities to participate in local Lifeways events and was truly inspired and delighted by what I experienced and by the dynamic teaching of Cynthia Aldinger.  I also had the fortune to work with Heather Lanier from California during my Spacial Dynamics training last summer and was convinced once more of how essential this work is.  So it is with great joy and gratitude that I enter into the position of Director for the Austin training.  



hawaiiNew Training Coming to Hawaii!!
          Aloha! We just completed a four-island excursion of LifeWays workshops in Hawaii in March, and happily feel that we can go forward with establishing a training there.  The scheduled dates are : Nov 9-16, 2011March 24-31, 2012June 14-21, 2012 (17th off)  or July 5-13, 2012 (8th off); and October 10-17, 2012.  While we hope this will be of special support to our friends who live in Hawaii, we also realize that some of you may want to take this opportunity to spend time there.  Just as I was told before I went, it is very true - it is a place of enchantment.
         Sadly, my very first night in Hawaii was the night of the tragic tsunami in Japan.  Yes, it did also reach the Big Islant where I was staying that night, but there was no loss of life and the damage, while serious, is repairable.  Traveling with dear friends and colleagues Kim Raymond and Cyndee Fehring, we noted with tenderness the fragility of life and recognized the grace and blessing of learning to live each day as fully as possible.  At each of the four workshops we took moments at the beginning to send love and gratitude to the souls in Japan who submitted their lives to the spiritual world that day and prayers of sympathy to their loved ones still here.
          While all that is happening in the world lends a somber note, we met a young new soul at our workshop on Kauai.  Only three months old, this little one filled the room with light and levity.  Her Hawaiian name will likely take a whole line on a page to write it out, but it's meaning is so beautiful, having to do with the spray of the water from a waterfall, the breezes blowing in the trees, the blessings of God and much more.  She is a wonderful reminder to us of life's continuous renewal and joy.
           Kim, a long-time early childhood teacher at the Haleakala Waldorf School on Maui, and Cyndee, a LifeWays graduate of Rudolf Steiner College and founder of the Aurora Foundation that supports orphaned children in Thailand, are the Co-Directors of this new training.  I think they both consider their experiences as mothers and grandmothers to be of as much import as their professional work.  I am very excited to work with them and will be teaching in at least two of the week-long sessions this coming year.  Please contact them at the following address for more information:  Mahalo,  Cynthia



Milwaukee, Wisconsin


The Wisconsin training class is halfway through our year together.  We started out small, but added four new students in February!  Our week together was cozy and inspiring in our room overlooking the snow-covered forest.  As we prepared to celebrate the festival of Candlemas with our friends and families, we dipped candles all week long.  The smell of the beeswax was wonderfully soothing.  We topped off our week with a day and a half of Nurturing and Nourishing with Dr. Mark Kamsler and his wife, Kathleen, who deepened our understanding of health and wellness, and taught us plenty of practical applications to use in times of illness.  And on our last day, a snow storm!  Our students from the south were happy to experience a big snow, and equally happy to get back home to warmer weather.


 Now we look forward to May!  Our May training is Sunday, May 1st through Sunday, May 8th (we'll end early for Mother's Day!)
We have Puppetry, Storytelling and Language Development with Suzanne Down on May 2,3, and 4th.  The rest of the week, we'll focus on continuing our rich,deep human development coursework, Music, Movement, Apron making, and Felting.
 We still have room for new students!  If you join the training now, you'll finish by next February.  This is a wonderful group of students.  You'll be glad to get to know them!  If you aren't ready to commit to the full training, you can attend Puppetry, Storytelling and Language Development with Suzanne Down on May 2, 3, and 4 for only $300!  LifeWays graduates may join for only $80.
Questions?  Interested in joining us?
Please call Mary O'Connell at (414) 218-8558.

woodworking, CA training

California Coast LifeWays Training 2011 update


Our wonderful, enthusiastic class of 14 women have gathered several times each month since September to immerse themselves in the LifeWays curriculum. To our delight we have learned among other things many, many new songs from Andrea Alfonso-Gibbs, experienced hands-on home health care techniques with Trish McPhee R.N., explored brain development and developmental theorists with Joan Caldarera, knit, stitched and felted with Marianne Alsop and were blessed with the tranquility of Hill of the Hawk Farm in Big Sur for gardening, hiking, nature observation, woodworking, cooking and baking with Heather Lanier.


This session ends with graduation mid June and a new group of students will begin in late August. Applications, limited to 14, are now being accepted for the next session. Please see our information sheet for specific class dates and the application on the LifeWays web site under Training Centers. Any and all questions can be directed to Marianne Alsop 



Lifeways 2009/10

Boulder, Colorado


Dear LifeWays Friends,
          The LifeWays Training in Boulder Colorado hasa group of enthusiastic, creative, intentional, strong women.  The students mirror the location in many ways, as Boulder is a town of conscious thinking, surrounded by the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains.  We have a powerful faculty as well, with many national leaders in their fields.  We welcome you to consider joining our next training series which begins this August 12-19, 2011.  Click here to follow us on facebook for new, resources, and photos of our work. for information on the training.
Best Wishes,
Suzanne Down-
Director, Lifeways Boulder, CO

fairy baby puppet, cropped Spring Story or Puppet Show                 
This story was sparked by my childhood garden in spring.  We had many old strong lilacs surrounding the patio outside the kitchen door, and we made forts under their fragrant flowers.  the sunlight filtered through the purple clusters and the aroma is still one of my favorites in the whole world of scents.  All around the lilacs, my father had planted tulip bulbs of every color and shape.  Spring was always a magical time for a child's senses.  The 'fairy cradle' theme is found in many old legends.
-Suzanne Down

Fairy Cradles
          Grandma lived in a cottage covered with climbing roses, with a forest of sweet, sweet smelling lilacs outside her kitchen door.  Grandma loved flowers, and all around her cottage were gardens.  She had gardens for butterflies, spring pond gardens, even moon gardens so she could sit in her moon chair on full moon nights and enjoy the delicate niht flowers.  She thought full moon nights were beautiful and had an outdoor tea party every full moon.  Even in the snow!
 But now it was spring, which was one of grandma's busiest times.  She was planting and caring for her spring flowers.  She loved her gardens almost as much as she loved her own grandchildren.  In the grass under her walnut tree was a fairy ring.  She knew it was a fairy ring because there was a large circle of darker grass growing, and the circle was full of tiny mushrooms.  Grandma said the fairies danced there on full moon nights.  And grandma, with her tea party in her moon garden would wait and hope to see them, or at least hear their song.
One year, in the spring woods near grandma's cottage, the fairies had heard about grandma, and her loving care of the flowers.  Full moon was coming and this is what the fairies did...
spring scene
          The fairies have their babies in spring, and when the full moon called them to come and dance, they brought their babies to grandma's garden and nestled them softly in the tulips, like cradles, and rocked them to sleep with a lullaby that sounded like tiny bells.  Then off the fairies went to dance in the ring, all through the night, in the light of the beautiful full moon's light.
Grandma, in her moon garden was drinking a cup of tea.  All was quiet as she waited and hoped to see the fairies in their ring.  When all of a sudden she heard tiny sounds coming from her tulip patch.  She walked over and saw nothing.  but the tiny sounds seemed to be coming out of the tulips themselves!  Grandma tiptoed over to the tulips and looked inside.  Oh my, there in the moonlight she could see the sweetest, smallest, most wonderful babies she had ever seen.  There were many of them, in all the tulips!  Why these are the fairy babies, she thought.  She just knew they were!  The must have been sleeping and now needed their mamas.
          Grandma just sat down and started to sing.  She sand soft songs of rainbows nd dewdrops and flower petals.  Each little fairy baby fell back asleep.  Grandma didn't see the fairies dance in their ring that night, she saw something even better!
          From that night on, grandma planted more tulip bulbs, and her tulip garden grew and grew.  Her tulips were the most beautiful in the land, they bloomed the longest, and started to smell as sweet as perfume.  Though grandma never saw the fairy babies again, she often heard the song, like tiny bells, of the fairy lullaby.  Her garden smelled sweeter and sweeter.
Suzanne Down          Some say if you have tulips in your garden, and they smell of a sweet perfume, then the fairies leave their babies there while they dance.  many have planted more tulips just to welcome the fairy folk.

-Adapted for puppetry by Suzanne Down of 
Juniper Tree School of Puppetry Arts


Have anything you'd like to submit for the Summer Newsletter?  Send it to Faith Baldwin at 
LifeWays North America
403 Piney Oak Dr
Norman, Oklahoma 73072