Thursday, December 17, 2015

Handmade Presents

Today is the last day of handmade present-making. The girls are now old enough that I don't need to come up with a craft idea, pass out supplies, and have us all sit and work side by side with me available to lend a hand. They have had a variety of gift ideas this year.  

The window transparencies were my particular favorite!  

You can use the pieces from the inside to make a flower which can be a gift in itself, or a decoration for a present.  Leah even used the leftover tissue paper pieces to decorate notecards made from the center of the circle (for our frame we used old manilla file folders and traced a Corelle bowl and the lid to the Quaker oatmeal box):

It is easy to flip the transparency over and write a nice holiday message and your name and the date.

All in all, for presents this year we made

Sewing sachets:

Cross stitch, a new kind of handwork

Here's Zac, ready to eat!  He is almost seven months old so we have started solids.  His list so far:  oatmeal, rice, pumpkin, pears, and homemade whole milk yogurt.  Today:  PEAS!

The introduction of pumpkin was a memorable day.

The Nativity, one of my favorite Christmas decorations.  I needle felted this years ago.

Leah and Becca hang treats for the birds outside on the buckeye.  Pinecones, peanut butter, bird seed.

The girls said their favorite present was the book of coupons for family time, punched from old Christmas cards using my Creative Memories Tag Punch.

I wrote a little note on the back of each tag.  We included coupons for bowling, snuggle time, family movies, camping, going to Castle Park, walking the labyrinth, cooking together, and so on.  Adam suggested we leave some blank, too, so that the girls can write in things that we didn't think of.

The Tomten on our Nature table.  Something handmade and wonderful I bought at one of Rahima's conferences, years ago.

Zac loves his Christmas present:  Sophie the Giraffe!

Making rock candy snowflakes, from an old Hearthsong kit.

Zac is sitting up!

And eating yogurt mixed with cereal.  Loves it!

Square knots in form drawing.

New pajamas for Leah:

We've tried several schedules for the homeschool day, from our initial plan of 8 am to 4 pm (with a long break for lunch and outdoor play), to our intermediate plan of noon to 6 pm (so that I could nurse the baby and sleep late with him, and then get my housework and projects done before school began), to our current plan. In this new and improved plan, I still have my mornings free and the girls have plenty of free choice time to pursue their own interests, protected by virtue of it taking place FIRST in the day instead of LAST with the leftover time. They still need to record what they do in their plan books. Their independent time is from 9 am to noon, and then we have a family lunch, and then we have teacher-directed time from 1 pm to 4 pm. Tea time with Becca is at 4:30, when she gets home from school. I absolutely loved the noon to 6 pm plan but the girls wanted those morning hours to be productive time and to end earlier in the day. Today they baked up a storm, making snacks for the car trip tomorrow, and finished up the Christmas presents.

We've also revised the plan books to make them more Waldorf-y. We still use the color coding for each type of work, which we took from Montessori, but we have our page divided up into thirds, with a space for Head, a space for Heart, and a space for Hands. They are identified with the Sun, Moon, and Star from Leah's Zoology block, the threefold nature of Man.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!!!  We are taking two weeks off from school, while the girls are in Wisconsin. I have high hopes for coming out of this holiday season refreshed and recharged.

My mental-health-break gift to myself:

Stress-Proof Your Brain: Meditations to Rewire Neural Pathways for Stress Relief and Unconditional Happiness