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This Thing Called Life

I have finally decided where my journey is going to go for the next and that is to continue to run a home daycare even though all my little ones will be in school full time this coming September! For the past year I have run a fairly mainstream home daycare with just a few children, plus one of my own, but starting this February that all changes as I move to a more Waldorf style home daycare (the direction I really hoped to go anyway).

I am very excited about this new journey since it’s not one that I had really planned on doing. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do once all my children were in school, but an opportunity presented itself to me and I am going to go ahead with it.

I am also slowly working on getting my Lifeways training certificateย (slowly because we don’t really have a school up here in Canada, so everything has to be done when it’s offered). But working on this certificate will help me as I run a natural, holistic, Waldorf inspired, home daycare. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a new playroom, which is still very much in the work, but I LOVE! Thanks to my wonderful husband, I now get the whole main floor to use as a place to grow and create a place of peace and tranquillity for the little ones in my care!

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I still have a TON of work to do in this room, and lot of fun thing I look forward to purchasing or finding as time goes on; such as a nice warm carpet, some sheep skins, and some soft wall hangings.

This past November I started a natural, homemade online toy store called Forever Chickadee ย which I’m very excited about too. Now I can make some of the toys I’ve always seen online but could never afford, and sell the extras! Starting that business was an unexpected enterprise, but like I said, I have a fantastic hubby ๐Ÿ™‚

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As for my home daycare, I currently have 3, three year olds during the day (one of which is my own) and in 2 weeks we will have the joy of having an almost 1 year old join us!! I’m very excited about that since my littlest one is not so little any more (Mr. Day turns 4 in April – where does the time go??). This September all 3 of the little ones I have now will be starting school, so I’ll have to find some new little ones to fill our days up ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m going to be using Little Acorn’s Learning for the month of February to help keep our days more focused. For the past year I have been just using weekly themes but they have slowly turned more and more mainstream.

I’m sad that time is passing so quickly and my smallest is going to school, but I am excited about the future, delighted to have babies in the house again (even if they’re not my own). I’m also looking forward keeping the youthful spirit of Waldorf in my home!

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Centering Book

My Centering Book is a journal with photographs, written quotes and thoughts that help me calm down and find my centre. When I look at them I feel a wave of peace and calm and it helps me focus myself.
Most of the pictures are of my children or things that I find beautiful. Some are pictures of inspirations, or dreams of things I’d like to have in my own home. Not in the material sense of the word but in the, ‘how can I create that look with what I already have or for cheap?’

I keep it in my kitchen since that’s where I spend most of my time, especially when I’m with the kids but it’s portable so I can take it to my room and look at it before bed and when I’m crafting.

What a difference this has made. When I’m getting upset or stressed out with the kids it’s right there to look at, to remind me to take a moment to breathe….
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… to find my centre…..

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Possible Peaceful Breakfast

This morning the kids didn’t want to eat breakfast. They kept fighting with me, they didn’t want to stop playing. Although this is normally a beautiful thing, and I would encourage them to keep playing, the problem was we had things to do this morning and places to go. I couldn’t have them playing all morning without eating breakfast and getting dressed.
I was trying to find a peaceful way to get them to eat their breakfast without complaining, crying or being upset.
When my two year old asked me to light a candle, and it dawned on me; hey I know, my kids like restaurants!
I lit a few candles, turned off the lights and called the kids into the kitchen.
Their response was prefect! They are thrilled to play restaurant!  They sat and happily ate their food!

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They had a great time, and we all got to eat breakfast in peace!
When breakfast was over, my sneaky 6 year old tried to convince me she didn’t have to clear her dishes. She claimed that in a restaurant there’s a person that did that… hint… hint…mom…. ummmm how about no lol

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Where did you go….?

I started this blog over a year ago and I’ve left it a few times too ๐Ÿ™‚
I keep coming back to it from time to time looking at it and wondering why I’m not writing on it.
My life seems to ebb and flow so much, but I keep coming back to the same things over and over.

I have decided to use this blog to document my life and my journey instead of worrying about who visits or why.

I am going to be using this blog to be true to myself and keep myself motivated towards my goals ๐Ÿ™‚

We homeschooled my daughter for one year and then my husband asked if I could send her back to regular school. He was never really on board with homeschooling to begin with, although I had high hopes ๐Ÿ™‚
With two of my children then going to full time school I left all dreams of Waldorf behind and tried to just focus on what we were doing. Kids in school is a lot of work and adjusting to life took some time.

I felt since I couldn’t have Waldorf 100% then I couldn’t have it at all. I was SO wrong!
I now know that just because you can’t have the 100% like in a Waldorf school or some blogs and Pinterest, doesn’t mean you can’t still be Waldorf!

My husband got a new job that give our family “regular” working hours and so I decided to re-open my home daycare after taking a break since Mr. Day was born. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
This time though, it would be a more holistic, Waldorf, natural, crunchy style daycare.
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It was a lot of fun but wouldn’t jive with how I feel about raising children now.

So my goal for the next few weeks is to set up a space that encourages imaginative open play, warmth and caring, and find some wonderful families to join us ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s some of what we’ve been up to the past few months ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

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Bedtime Bag

I saw this amazing idea for a ‘Bedtime Bag’ from the bookย Handmade home : simple ways to repurpose old materials into new family treasures

Amanda Blake Soule also posted about the ‘Bedtime Bag’ her blogย Soule Mama ย ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

As soon as I saw the ‘Bedtime Bag’ I fell in love with it! My little boys are crazy and can easily trash a bedroom in no time flat no matter the time of day ๐Ÿ™‚
I put their PJ’s on their bed or under their pillow each morning and I can guarantee that come bedtime, no one knows where they went. This usually means more laundry for me and chaos as we either get new ones out or search for the missing pair!
I don’t have a spot in their room right now to put the PJ’s so when I saw this in Amanda Blake Soule’s book, I had a feeling this might be the answer to our bedtime woes.

I got busy sewing! It took me about 3 hours of interupted time but I got one finished ๐Ÿ™‚ย I plan on making one for each child ๐Ÿ™‚ So far I have Buddy’s done and he loves it ๐Ÿ™‚
I don’t have fabric at home nor the money to go and buy some right now so I used a repurposed bed sheet and some small scraps of felt.

Final prodcut

Final prodcut

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I cut out all the pieces and then carefully sewed it all together, it was quite the job since I’ve NEVER done anything like this before ๐Ÿ™‚

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Buddy took this picture for me ๐Ÿ™‚ he was very pleased with himself ๐Ÿ™‚

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Carebear loved helping ๐Ÿ™‚

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I plan on getting some hooks for their rooms that have 3 pegs; one for this bag, one for the clothes for the next day and one for their bath towel ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
This bag is perfect to hold their jammies and the book they want to read that night ๐Ÿ™‚
I think this will help us with our night rhythmย and also keep their rooms a bit more organized ๐Ÿ™‚

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Character Overload

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Character overload…I’m guilty of it!ย 

Being a child of the 80’s I was of the generation when media was at a super high and advertisements were pushing every cool Saturday Morning Cartoonย on us! Commercials (and our friends) made us feel unworthy unless we had the newest, coolest toy from the newest, coolest show!

Even now if I show my adult friends a picture of a toy from when we were kids they’ll all react the same way; ย with nostalgic awe and joy. “Oh I had that toy! It was so awesome!” or “My friend had that, and I REALLY wanted one!”.

This is how I lived my life until very recently, when I discovered Waldorf and started to delved deeper into what it means, and what a good childhood looks like.

Before discovering Waldorf I was a “mainstream” Mom that was hooked on the power of advertisement!

If my kids loved a character, than we went all out! Bedsheets, curtains, toys, cups, shirts, bags, stickers, you name it, we had it!

Carebear “liked”ย Minions, so she had a Minion birthday party, complete with homemade cake! She had Minion toys, and Minion shirts!
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Buddy loves Thomas, so he has Thomas EVERYTHING!!!

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He even got to meet the real Thomas that could talk and take them for a ride!
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Mr. Day “liked” Mickey Mouse, so he had Mickey EVERYTHING!
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Here’s Buddy with a Cookie Monster outfit and his sisters “Disney Princess”ย ukulele (because I couldn’t just get them a plain one, what kind of Mother would I be??).
I didn’t see a problem with it!
I didn’t seem to mind.
I thought it was normal, fun and cute ๐Ÿ™‚

During my research about Waldorf I found that they don’t allow media in the home for young children. They also don’t allow characters on clothes or bags in their schools.
I started researching why and through that I discovered what all these Characters and media were doing to me and my children. How much they were effecting my children’s play and creativity. Also their attention spans and sleep!
Here is an awesome video about media and children!!! ย Link here!

We never really cared about the quality of the things we bought, where they were made, or how long they would last, but more about the fact the item had a cute Mickey Mouse or Thomas on it!
When my children played it was always reenactments of scenes from TV shows. They used their TV character toys to play out TV scenes they had watched, even if it was months ago!
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When we started to cut out the media I also slowly removed the characters from our home.

Not all at once, but slowly.

I’d put a character toy away at night and see if anyone noticed the next day. If a toy was gone for a week and no one said anything then it stayed away. If a toy was asked for within that week, I would bring it out and try again later after Iย introduce some new, more open ended toys to capture their imagination.

I then slowly removed character clothing from their closets. I was a bit worried about this because they have some character shirts and clothing that they really loved.
Some were easy to remove since, as kids often do, they were growing and some items of clothes were getting too small.

But I’m happy to say, other then Carebear’s one Minion shirt, their closets are now character free ๐Ÿ™‚
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Buddy is still obsessed with Thomas and I think that might be for a long time. For now he only has a few special toys he loves and his bed set that was a gift from his grandparents. I’m trying to encourage a love for “trains” over Thomas, which seems to be going well ๐Ÿ™‚

Carebear only has one Minion shirt she loves but that’s all.

Mr. Day has picked a generic cat and dog for his new stuffed night time friends ๐Ÿ™‚ and so Mickey is all gone ๐Ÿ™‚

The kids have not once complained and I’m finding their play is getting longer and more full of imagination ๐Ÿ™‚

Not having the toys there to constantly remind them of TV has been a HUGE help.

It will be tough when they go to school, but I have faith that what I’m doing is going to help them so much as they grow ๐Ÿ™‚

There is a FANTASTIC article, that I feel really says what I’m trying to say here LOL but much better!
Awesome Article

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The Dreaded Packed Lunch

Before we had so many diet restrictions in our house I used to go crazy trying to pack lunches.

Iย HATEDย and dreaded it. Each morning as I packed lunch it was like nails on a chalkboard. What to pack? How to make it look nice? Was it healthy enough? Good enough? What will the teacher say when she looked at it?

I found this amazing website calledย 100 Days of Real Foodย and tried to copy what she had. Her lunches looked so beautiful and so healthy. I agonized over how to mimic these beautiful lunches forgetting I had a 3 year old, 2 year old and newborn at home and was functioning on almost no sleep.
That first year my daughter was in school was tough. My husband also had just started a new job that required him to be away a lot and work over nights. We had no support in town to help me with the kids, so I was on my own with three very little ones.

By the end of the year we had decided that we would homeschool my daughter for senior kindergarten instead of sending her back to school. That last lunch I made I literally had a small celebration! Finally the stress would be gone!!!

One of the biggest perks of homeschooling for me was no more packed lunches.
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Although we had a wonderful year of homeschooling we have decided to send our kids back to school. This year I will have 2 in school full time, one in junior kindergarten and on in grade one. That’s TWO packed lunches. A year ago this might have made me want to pass out but now that things in our home have changed so much I have no problem with packing lunches! None what-so-ever! ๐Ÿ™‚

And here’s why…..

As much as it sucks, my son Buddy has a bunch of food restrictions. Everything we have in our house has to be ย gluten/dairy/egg/orange/lemon free and also as free as possible from additives and preservatives.
It can be complicated at times but strangely it has made life easy, there are less options.

We went from having unlimited choices to only a few. I think we forget sometimes that young children don’t need as much variety as we like. My kids never complain that they don’t have something new in their snack or lunch, they almost seem to get a comfort in knowing what will be in there

A typical packed lunch now for my kids includes some of the following:

* Left overs that don’t need to be microwaved (ex. homemade pizza)
* Sandwich – my kids love gluten free German salami slices and so when we make sandwiches that’s all they want. LOL
Usually with butter, and sometimes with mustard or vegenaiseย (which by the way is super yummy).
* Vegetables – my kids only really like cucumbers, carrots, broccoli and peppers.
* Fruit – apples (whole so they don’t get yucky), plumbs, peaches, any kind of berry, well pretty much ANY fruit (except oranges or lemons).
* Apple sauce
* Coconut yogurt – I have these amazing little containers which are the same size of a single serving of yogurt. They
work great since our school is a garbage free school so these container are perfect.
Popcorn (organic home popped)
Corn nacho chips
Raisins
Peanuts, almonds, cashews and seeds (not for school but if we’re out other places)
Dried fruit – they love mango
Dried Cranberries – they taste awful but since we’ve been eating them since my kids were tiny they like the flavour now.
Rice Crackers
Corn cakes ( like rice cakes but yummy and made from corn)
Home baked muffins, cookies, biscuits, or other treat.
Amazing Chocolates!!!ย for a treat. These are so tasty and kind of addictive! I use them for baking and the chunks are great for a small treat for the kids.
** Most of these foods are organic.**
At school they have 2 recesses and one lunch.
I pack a main dish (sandwich/leftovers)
A fruit
A vegetable
and ย 2 snacks.
They seem to take comfort in knowing what’s for lunch.

Even though my 5 and 2 year old don’t have food restrictions they understand that since their brother can’t have those foods, we just don’t have them. It’s more fair if we all eat the same foods. They do get a regular alternative, for example, they eat regular bread where he gets vegan rice bread. They eat regular yogurt and he eats the coconut. As long as they’re all eating the same type of food, everyone is happy.
There aren’t a million choices, just go to the cupboard, grab some stuff and put it together.
Sure they’re not as beautiful as some of those amazing packed lunches onย 100 Days of Real Foodย but I know my kids will eat everything in their lunch and I know I won’t go crazy this year.
PS ~ did you know that teachers don’t look at kids lunches. In a class with almost 30 kids they don’t have the time to wonder around and say, “Hmmm I guess Carebear’s Mom just doesn’t care what her daughter eats.” or “Oh look at how beautiful Buddy’s lunch is. His Mom must really love him.”
Nope, doesn’t happen….LOL