Spring Childcare Menu
This menu is set up so as to use the daily grains specified by Rudolf Steiner and widely used in Waldorf Kindergartens and homes the world over.
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|Candlemas and Lent are a time of purification and cleansing - a time to prepare for the darkness that comes before Spring. This time of year we may have regrets of resolutions that we have broken. The beauty of Life is that we are offered so many chances to begin again. What is in your life that needs cleansing? Is it resentment, anger, expectations, guilt? What would life look like without these obstacles to Joy? Take time to reflect upon this during your meditation time this week. Many people choose to give something up during Lent - what a wonderful opportunity for you to let go of old habits or thoughts that are holding you back.|
~ Eileen Straiton, taken from February 2009 5 Day Guide
| Cooking for Candlemas
Apple Crepes (Appel Pannekoeken)
1 large tart apple, sliced thinly
2 T melted butter
2/3 c flour (half whole, half unbleached, or add in some unusual ones like millet flour, or buckwheat)
Dash of sea salt
2/3 c milk
1 t vanilla
Whisk the eggs by hand then add the flour. Try to get out as much of the lumps as you can before adding the milk. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well. Heat some butter in a well seasoned cast iron skillet (or other non stick skillet). Add a few slices of apple. Pour about 1/2-1/3 cup of batter in the skillet over the apples slices. Swirl the skillet around so as to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium until the top is set and the bottom golden brown. Flip once and cook the bottom until golden brown as well. Keep warm under a hot towel or in a warm oven. Serve with butter, powdered sugar, honey, jam or, as is traditional in The Netherlands with some grated sharp cheese.
To make this recipe into a soaked grain recipe do the following: Blend the flour with the milk and 1 T yogurt in a blender until smooth. Let sit out overnight in a warm spot. The next morning whisk in the other ingredients and proceed.
This recipe was graciously provided by Tanya Carwyn. Tanya is a Certified clinical Herbalist and Nutritionist and real food fanatic. She lives with her husband and their two young daughters in Colorado.
'The Baby Seed' - A Fingerplay
A baby seed fell from above and landed in my hand
(left palm up - right finger starting high and swirling down onto left palm)
It asked if I could tuck it in, deep down within the sand
(close left fingers over palm enclosing right finger inside)
Each morning on my way to school I stopped to say hello
(make walking motion with right hand and wave hello)
One day it popped its head out high and asked if it could go
(left hand open palm down - bring right finger up through bottom and out through left finger spaces)
I took a pot and dug it up and carried it along
(make cup with left hand and pretend to shovel with right)
And planted it in front of school and sung to it this song:
(pretend to pick up pot and move it and place it down to the side)
My little seed you spoke to me in words that have no sound
(place finger to lips to make 'quiet' gesture)
I heard your wish and cared for you and placed you in the ground
(cup ear with hand and tap ground or flat surface)
And now you've come to brighten up the lives of all who see
(motion arms up and around to symbolize 'sun')
The little seed that grew so strong into a great big tree
(outstretch arms with fingers hanging downward like a 'tree')
|Hear How the Beautiful February Music Should Sound!!!
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Love Those Babies in February...
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Candlemas in the Tradition of the Waldorf Celebration
by Marsha Johnson, Teacher, Shining Star Waldorf School, Portland, Oregon, website Yahoo Groups: waldorfhomeeducators
Dear friends, we have before us the wonderful festival of mid-winter, known as Candlemas in our circle of Waldorf families, and how does this come about, what is its history and significance for those living today? This ancient festival (dated from the 300s CE, reflects on the custom of that time to bring the new baby for a dedication and religious ritual at 40 days after birth to the temple. February 2nd is just that number of days, forty, after Christmas Day, and so we have a great tradition of bringing a new human being to the holiest shrine, to be blessed and consecrated into this life on planet earth. As in most sacred ceremonies, candles were used, that flame representing eternal life and warmth, and the sweet smells of the waxes permeating our senses with pleasant impressions.
In this way, too, the custom of preparing new candles for use during the whole of year was undertaken, a good time of year to melt tallow or wax, in the cool weather, and pour carefully into tall slender candle molds, with wicking carefully taut and ready within. The fats from animal harvesting or scraps from hunting were carefully guarded and kept very cold in the winter weather, and then boiled down, cleaned, and used to make hard long lasting candles. Wax from the bee hives was stored and then cleaned by boiling and filtering, then carefully made into various sized tapers. Wicks were thin threads, hand braided into various forms, cut, pre-waxed and straightened, ready to dip via a long stick with several tied on, to prepare dozens of useful candles to guarantee that light would be present in the home during the dark nights. Children helped with this satisfying chore, with the braiding and the dipping and the un-molding of the beautiful tall golden or white candles, helped to wrap these with clean cloth and store in boxes in cool places until need. Some were set aside for gifts or donations to the needy, the poor, the ones who could not make their own candles easily. Can't you see the children setting out on February 3rd, candle packets wrapped securely, to deliver with smiling faces and generous hearts, to those who had need?
Yes, we can embrace this festival of lights with some joyful preparation and activities, too. The Candlemas Festival is also one of those special Feast Days in ancient history and traditionally there has been the special supper of pancakes on this night. In the pagan tradition, it so happens that that the Feast of Brigid, the goddess of nature, is also honored on this very same night and indeed, there are many families who enjoyed some Celtic traditions with good food, parties, candle celebrations, and all night festivities to welcome her back into the land again. This little holiday is also the first of the ancient markers of Spring, and we can see many signs around us of that blessed time of year with the crocuses coming up and blooming, snowdrops rising out of the icy banks, and the indomitable spirit of Mother Earth starting to wend her way out of frosty winter, upwards and gently pressing towards the sun, yet weak with winter chill.
Activities in preparation for the home or community celebration might include the final retiring of all holiday decoration as described in this little poem:
"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall"
- Robert Herrick (1591-1674), "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve"
In the Waldorf home or community celebration, we can find these elements to help us recognize the significance of the day and keep the seasonal awareness strong and present:
Beeswax candle making (dipping is wonderful, simply find a large tin can, juice can size #10 or larger, and fill it ½ with water, then drop in wax chips to bring the level up to ¾ full. Simmer the can in a pot filled with hot water until all the wax is melted. Use a stick with a wick tied on with about 4-5 inches long and dip it into the hot wax, then into a deep plastic pitcher of cold water, just nearby. Use your fingers to straighten out the waxed wick, and then keep dipping first in the hot wax and then in the cold water, until the candle grows in thickness to that of about ½ to ¾ inch.
Beeswax candle rolling: obtain some sheets of beeswax, which has a corrugated appearance. Cut into smaller pieces, triangular or rectangular, and lay wicking down one side right on the edge. Roll up carefully, keeping the wicking poking out of each end, to make simple tapered candles. Press the thin moldable edges down against the beeswax to seal the candle and keep it whole. These are safe and easy candles for the youngest child to make. Use smaller pieces of other colors of the pressed beeswax sheets to make simple decorations on the outside of each candle.
Candlemas Pancakes: mix 1 cup milk or soy milk with 1 egg, beating well, and add 1 t. vanilla. Add 1 cup flour (any type) mixed with 1 t. baking soda and pinch of salt. Stir into liquid with a fork until barely blended. Add more milk if too thick. Melt butter or oil in a fry pan until bubbly and drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot pan and fry on both sides until cooked. Serve with fresh applesauce or honey-butter mixture. This will make enough for a couple people, can double or triple the recipe, good with part corn flour for the flour, too.
Candlemas Nature Scene: set up the nature table to reflect the wonderful qualities of the honey bee and its magical beeswax. Pure beeswax votives can be found that have a honey bee molded into their shape, these are fun to place onto a wintery scene of white, blue, purple, and golden silks, surrounded by pine cones, pine needles, cedar branches in a vase, and perhaps some tiny bulbs of narcissus or jonquils set on gravel in a lovely small dish, ready to push up into bloom.
Beeswax Modeling: using dark blue, gold, and white beeswax modeling clay, form some small yellowoblong shapes, then stripe them with a tiny thin 'snake' of blue, then add thin white tiny wings to make 'bees'. These can be tied with fishing line and hung up to make a swarm over the nature table or elsewhere. Very cute and very small!
Community celebrations can include gathering for a potluck with foods featuring honey and golden yellow colors, i.e. squash soup, cheese pizza, round yellow cakes, and so on. The lighting of the beeswax candles starts off the event with singing and blessing of the bees and their hives. Children born within the last year are brought forward and a celebration of sorts can be created to honor and welcome them into the family of the human. Anointing the forehead with precious oils or even honey is a nice way to recognize these special children and wish them sweetness in their days on the earth. Having each person present come up to this beautiful baby and look into their eyes and simply say, yes I see you here, is a lovely and touching custom for Candlemas.
We are now in a state of creating and recognizing within ourselves, these holy places and sacred spaces. We are moving from the need to build outer structures that will 'hold' these spiritual faculties, as we are incarnating further into our individualities and we can indeed, create inner temples of such glory and honor, such brilliance and beauty, that they shine right out of us into the world, illuminating the darkness all around. Candlemas serves as a perfect time of year introduce into our family, once again, the awe and respect for all earthly life!
Here are some resources to help you in your festival!
BLESSING OF BEES-a western religious poem
Lord God, Almighty,
who didst create heaven and earth,
and all the animals that live in the air
and on the earth for the use of man;
Thou who hast directed that
the ministers of Thy holy Church
should light candles made of beeswax,
send down Thy blessing on these bees,
that they may multiply
and be fruitful
and be preserved from all harm
so that the product of their labour
may be used to Thy honour.
From the Koran
And your Lord inspired the bee: build homes in mountains and trees, and in (the hives) they build for you.
Then eat from all the fruits, following the design of your Lord, precisely.
From their bellies comes a drink of different colors, wherein
there is healing for the people.
This should be (sufficient) proof for people who reflect.
Bless This Candle
Bless this candle in my hand
Bless the flame as here I stand
Bless the faces round this light
Bless all people on this night!
M. Johnson 2006
Honey bee, honey bee
You make honey oh so sweet
Fragrant beeswax in my hand,
Full of goodness from the land.
M. Johnson, 2003
Wish for the Fields
Night is dark, and cold, and long
Winter's hold is still so strong,
But beneath the earthen crust
Underneath the frozen dust
Life is growing, moving, thriving
Roots are drinking, resting, striving,
Buds are swelling on the trees
In the hives, still sleep the bees
But moving humming strumming sing
Soon we all will welcome spring!
M. Johnson, 2006
| February Music for Penny Whistle or Recorder from
Home (Music) Making
The Land of The Fire Fairies
Adapted from Anne Elizabeth Allen
**taken from the Little Acorn Learning February 5 Day Guide
This is a very old fairy story that children enjoy so very much. Again we can use our beautiful playsilks to dramatize this tale. A red silk bunched up can be placed on the floor ahead of time to symbolize the flames of the fire Ted falls asleep next to. If you have a small figure dressed in red to hide under the silk, this can be the fairy that comes out to tell Ted that the King has sent for him. Now take your red silk and lay it long and narrow for the 'road' that they travel. You can just tell the tale as you move your fairy down the road (or you can really take the time to set up beforehand and have small figures on each side for the other fairies working on logs, houses, etc.). Use a large figure for the King of the Fire Fairies and speak in a deep tone as you tell his part.
The east wind was blowing the falling snow into drifts against the house, fences, and trees. Colder and colder it grew, and little Ted, who had been out playing snowball, suddenly burst into his grandmother's room, crying:
"Oh, I'm so cold"
He took off his coat, hat, muffler, and overshoes, stamped his feet and shook off the snow. A bright fire was roaring in the grate, and Ted lay down before it to warm himself. He began to watch the flames dancing up the chimney and disappearing into the darkness above. Picking up a stick, he lighted it and held it up the chimney, trying to see whether he could tell where the flame on the end of it went; and he was enjoying himself very much, when his grandmother called to him to put down the stick. "Why," said Ted, "I am just playing, and want to see what becomes of the flames when they go up the chimney."
"Yes," said Grandmother, "perhaps you do; but the fire king does not allow people to play with his fairies. They are meant to do work, not to play." "The fire king!" said Ted, as he dropped the stick into the fire; "who is he, Grandmother?" "I've never seen him," she answered; "but he lives in the land of the fairies."
With his toes turned toward the fire, lying on his back on the warm hearth, Ted soon dropped off to dreamland, the home of the pixies and fairies. No sooner had he reached that queer land than straight out of the roaring fire jumped a tiny little fairy clothed all in red, who said to Ted:
"The king of the fire fairies has sent for you. Will you come with me?"
Ted was up in a moment, and jumping into the fire, followed close behind the tiny little leader. The bright red road along which they traveled was very interesting. On either side was a fringe of gray moss-like ashes, and as they hurried along Ted saw the fire fairies at work by the hundreds. In one place they had a large log they were working with, which was sending up great flames and much smoke. All around the log were the blackened remains of the grass they had spoiled. In another place a beautiful house was being torn down and burned up by these little mischief-loving fellows. Again, he came to a large stove in which were many of them were helping a cook get dinner ready, and warming the cold fingers and toes of a little boy and girl.
The fairy who was leading Ted went so fast that he did not have a good look at any of these things, and very soon the fairy shouted at the top of his little voice, "Look!" Ted did look, and straight before him was a larger palace than he had ever supposed could be built. Flames were bursting out of doors and windows, and the roar made Ted hold his ears, it was so loud.
On either side of the great front door stood a large giant whom the little fairy said were the giants Heat and Light. Putting Ted safely on the top of a high wall, the fairy disappeared into the palace. And just at that moment a giant greater than either of the others came to the door. In a voice that sounded like thunder and shook everything around, the giant called:
"Where is the little boy I sent for?"
Ted knew then that this was the great fire king, and was frightened, but answered quickly, "Here I am!" Then the giant said: "I have sent for you to tell you that my fire fairies are not to be played with. They never hurt any one unless they are played with and taken away from their work; then they are sure to hurt the person who disturbs them."
How frightened little Ted was as he promised faithfully never again to play with fire! He was glad when the giant, satisfied with his promise, shut the great door and disappeared, and his little guide in the bright red suit came skipping toward him, and offered to take him back home.
On the way back he found things changed. The stove was black and cold, and the people who had been warming themselves around it and getting dinner had gone away. The house was burned to the ground, and only a few sleepy fairies were showing their red coats in the gray rubbish. Where the log had been only an ash-heap remained, which the wind was carrying away. The road was no longer red, but dusty, and Ted found that he could walk much more slowly.
How tired he was! His face felt so warm, his body so stiff-and what was that noise? How much like the dinner-bell it sounded! Was that the fairy who was slinking him? A long stretch and a yawn, and his eyes flew open. There was his dear grandmother trying to get him awake.
"Did you see him, Grandmother," asked Ted.
"See whom?" she answered.
"The fire fairy," said Ted; and then began to laugh when he saw his grandmother's eyes twinkle.
"Oh! Grandmother," said he, "I have really been to see the giant king of the fire fairies, and have seen his palace and the two giants Light and Heat that guard his door."
Yoga for Kids : Heart Seal
By Erin Barrette Goodman
Many Yogis (that's the fancy word for people who practice yoga) begin and end their practice by gently pressing the palms of their hands together over the center of their chest, which is also known as the "heart center," to form a Heart Seal.
The Heart Seal helps us to bring the energies of the Mind, the Body, and the Heart together to focus on peace and happiness, which is what the practice of Yoga is all about. This lovely, gentle sequence makes a nice transition into/out of rest time or to begin/end the day.
Begin by sitting comfortably on the floor. Legs can be folded or stretched out.
Take a deep breath in and think about something that makes you feel very happy (sunshine, snowflakes, your friends, your pet, your family).
Next reach your arms up way over head as you take another big breath in.
As you breathe out, slowly float the arms down and bring the palms together at your Heart Center (right around the sternum).
Repeat this breathing sequence two more times, letting the happy feelings in your heart grow bigger each time you breathe.
After the third breath, hold the hands at the Heart Center. As you gently press the palms of your hands together, close your eyes and imagine that you are sealing all of these good feelings into your heart.
Optional: Invite the children to share (verbally, in writing, drawing, or painting) the happiness and peace that they sealed into their hearts.
Erin Barrette Goodman (www.eringoodman.com/blog) is a writer, yoga teacher and mother of two. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network (www.ribirth.net), which promotes empowered decision-making during the childbearing years.
| The Blizzard's Robe|
As I sit and write this, snow is covering our house and garden. Though books are a part of our everyday life, they contribute into a focal point during winter time.
A family snow time favorite is to build a roaring fire, gather some cozy quilts, and bring a huge stack of books with us.
In the middle of our "snow" book pile lies "The Blizzard's Robe" By Robert Sabuda.
Far up North, where the sun barely rises, live the People Who Fear the Winter Night. Huddling around their fires they sit in fear of a visit by the very terrible Blizzard. He can destroy anything with his icy wind, snow, and ice.
Teune is a young village girl who makes the finest robes the village has ever known. One night as blizzard paid a raging visit, Teune put her robes on the fire to keep warm. Sparks rose out from the top of the Yaranga (their house), and caught Blizzard's robe on fire. The villagers were so happy not to have o deal with Blizzard's wrath anymore. Teune felt very bad to destroy Blizzard's robe, so she set out to make the most beautiful robe ever made. In return, Blizzard gave a great and lasting gift to the people.
This book is much too good to leave on the pages. Would you like to make your very own blizzard robe? You can make the blizzard robe alone or with a group. However you choose to play, the gem of this game is that it is ever changing and you will not get the same robe twice. We've enjoyed playing this during transition times such as between clean-up and dinner, just before we go upstairs for our bedtime routine, and just after breakfast.
You Will Need:
· 6- 12"x 12" pieces of decorative scrapbook paper
· 6- 12" x12" pieces of solid color paper in a variety of colors
Measure and cut these into 4" x 4" squares for a total of 108 squares.
On 4 solid color squares draw one of the following on one square each.
· A horizon sun
· A reindeer
· A yaranga (this is their dwelling place)
These will serve as the center piece of our robe.
How to Play:
Leave the solid colors in a stack and the decorated papers in a stack.
Each person chooses 2 solid colors and 2 decorated papers.
The person whose name starts with the letter W or closest to it gets to pick the center piece. The person on his or her left places the next card and then picks up a card from the same sort. For example, if you place a solid, you'll pick up a solid. Continue around the table until each person has had a turn and you have made the robe that you want to make. You don't have to use all of the cards but it's really fun to do so. This game is totally flexible and the possibilities are endless.
Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book, derives the greatest pleasure from taking the books she reads and helping them come alive with her family, book club, friends, and workshops. An advocate for literacy, Valarie spends many quality hours helping at risk readers. She spends her days with her husband, three creative children, and one adored cat. Together they live in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. To reach Valarie please visit http://www.jumpintoabook.com