April 16, 2015

Spring Circle Songs & Fingerplays

I first encountered "circle time" as a parent at story-time at the library. It was amazing to watch the wiggly little bodies synchronize together for ten minutes and follow along with the teacher. When I began homeschooling Isia for preschool, it became an easy way for us to start our school-time together. And it's been an important part of our school routine every since. The best part has been memorizing the songs & fingerplays together! The fingerplays are handy while waiting in line or in restaurants, and singing circle songs can be a good way to ease a transition or get a smile from a grumpy little one. These are the new songs and fingerplays that we've added to our rotation this spring, we hope you enjoy them too!


In our winter garden, seeds lie warm below,
flowers are waiting, waiting, waiting, 
for the Spring to show. 

We act this out with our hands, creating a flower during the last line with two raised hands cupped together palm to palm with fingers spread. Alternately, you could have the children crouch down, perhaps covered with a play scarf at the beginning for the "ground", then encourage them to grow "up" into flowers during the last line. 


Where are the froggies when the north winds blow?
We cannot see them in the ice and snow. 
Deep, deep down in the mud they lie, 
froggies sleeping with tight-closed eyes. 
When the warm spring sun comes out, 
froggies wake and jump about. 
Oh how happy they will be, 
a springtime world they will see!

Where are the turtles when the north winds blow?
We cannot see them in the ice and snow. 
Deep, deep down in the mud they lie, 
turtles sleeping with tight-closed eyes. 
When the warm spring sun comes out, 
turtles wake up and crawl about. 
Oh how happy they will be, 
a springtime world they will see!

Where are the bears when the north winds blow?
We cannot see them in the ice and snow. 
Deep, deep down in a cave they lie, 
baby bears sleeping with tight-closed eyes. 
When the warm spring sun comes out, 
bear cubs wake up and run about. 
Oh how happy they will be, 
a springtime world they will see!

Where are the squirrels when the north winds blow?
We cannot see them in the ice and snow. 
Cracking nuts in a hollow tree,  
squirrels are cozy as cozy can be. 
When the warm spring sun comes out, 
squirrels wake up and climb about. 
Oh how happy they will be, 
a springtime world they will see!

We say this one as a poem, with questioning hands during the first line. The kids then sink down to sleep (or act like they're nibbling nuts) in the third line, before "waking up" in the fifth line to perform the action. They do the animal's actions for a minute or so, then we all join hands (which brings them back to circle) and twirl in a circle for the last two lines. Squirrels were originally jumping in the last verse, but Isia thought climbing would be better (smile). 



Winter goodbye, Winter goodbye
You may no longer stay, 
springtime is on its way.
Winter goodbye, Winter goodbye. 

I've sang different variations of this in Waldorf circles. It's a very old folk song, but I could only find the tune here- not any videos with people singing. If you come across one, please share! 


A little seed for me to sow, 
a little earth to make it grow. 
A little hole, a little pat, 
a little wish, and that is that. 
A little sun, a little shower, 
A little while, and then a flower.

This is the kids' favorite! They curl up on the floor at the beginning, like little seeds. Then I "grow" them! I "sprinkle earth" on them (line two), pat them (line three), make a wish (line four), give them sun by making a circle with my hands (line five), rain down on them by lightly tapping them with my fingers (line five), and then they grow tall into flowers with "blossoms" (two raised hands cupped together palm to palm with fingers spread). I usually get asked to "grow" them over and over again (wink). 


One little, two little, three little raindrops, 
Four little, five little, six little raindrops, 
Seven little, eight little, nine little raindrops, 
Ten little raindrops falling down!

Falling, falling, falling raindrops,
Falling, falling, falling raindrops, 
Falling, falling, falling raindrops, 
Ten little raindrops make a puddle!

Sang to the tune of "Ten Little Indians," I based this song off a similar bubble one we sang at library time. We count fingers during the first three verses, then have "raining fingers" until the last line when we make a circle "puddle" with our hands. This is a great song to whisper-sing together like a secret while waiting in line at the store. 


This is a house for robin
(make a nest with hands)
This is a hive for bee
(two fists together to make a hive)
This is a hole for bunny
(thumbs & pointers on both hands to make hole)
And this is a house for me
(arms and hands form roof overhead)

A great fingerplay to lead into "A House Is a House for Me" (see below). 


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Several verses were found via The Mystical Kingdom, a great place for even more spring songs!

More everyday songs can be found here, by Sarah Baldwin (Waldorf educator, owner of Bella Luna Toys). Her "blossom" fingerplay during the mealtime blessing is how we make the flowers in the verses above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXPTN-Iw46I

Books that we're using along with our circle this spring*:




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Spring Circle










April 8, 2015

Lazy Days Skirt

I'm not much of a pattern person, as I've admitted before. Before kids, my sewing efforts required a lot of estimation and guessing- which can be timely, with no guarantees. Time is a bit more precious these days, so I'm learning to embrace the joy of the pattern. It's especially handy as a jumping off place. Because if the basics are already engineered out, then you can focus on the details. And the details? Those are my most favorite part of all. 
Lazy Day Skirt

Growing up there were always new Easter dresses. Something pretty, that would stay in the fancy party rotation through summer. And someday, I always hoped, I would sew something special  for my daughter or daughters for Easter. Now two daughters later, that time has come! I'm not quite up to a dress yet, but a skirt? A skirt I can handle, especially when it's a free pattern from oliver + s. I've always loved looking at their patterns, but this Lazy Days Skirt pattern was my first to sew. It was a delight to work with! Of course, picking out the fabric was the most fun part of all. 
Lazy Day Skirt

I was so excited to try the ribbon hemming of the pattern, especially when I found this ribbon! Luckily, Isia loved it as much as I did. Although I did have to insist that it only be used in the skirts, not in her art projects. Which was fortunate, because I ended up having just enough to make Esther's skirt too- which I'll share later this week. 
Lazy Day Skirt
Lazy Day Skirt
Lazy Day SkirtLazy Day Skirt
And then it was done. Pretty for church, but practical enough to come home and start playing in the muddy yard directly afterwards (ahem). A perfect pattern for full summer days... which means my sewing machine is going to be busy! 




March 31, 2015

A String of Garlands

We often get on a creative streak around here. Such as when everyone decided they love markers, and we did one marker project after another. Or my obsession with plastic lids. Our most recent creative streak is garlands, and it began with this sun: 
Garlands

Isn't it great? Isia loves to cut and glue these days, and made it by herself. Well, then it needed some hearts "for company," so she made those. Then there needed to be a house. And then, finally, she wanted to hang it all up to be displayed. At first I thought about just a single string garland, but I knew the house would just keep flipping over since it was so heavy. So I ended up taping up a "z" of string over our kitchen window, and taping everything (on the back) to that. 
Garlands

Well,  that looked so cheery compared to the snow we had at the time, that we decided we needed more garlands! So we added this one to our collection. 
Garlands
Garlands
It's so simple! Isia used our round squeeze punchon cardstock, construction paper, and old cards to create a big pile of circles. Then Billy use his big preschooler skills to help find the matching circles & glue them onto a piece of cotton yarnfor hanging. We'd lay one circle down, add glue to it, then our yarn, then our matching circle on top. I left long yarn ends on both sides for hanging.

Garlands
You can place your circles as close together as far apart as you like. A perfect way to welcome company, or a gathering... or a long awaited spring!

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A (Very) Simple Garland



March 23, 2015

Time to Create

How do you find time to create? It's a question that I'm asked a lot now that we have three children. And it's a question that I've spent my life asking other Mamas. I just realized recently- mostly while mulling over this post in my head- that the whole time I was asking that question, what I was really asking was not how they find time to create, but "how do you find time to get everything else done, and then create?" Because I've struggled with that feeling, especially since staying at home with kids, that everything else had to be done- the kitchen put away, all the clothes clean, etc.- before I could give myself permission to sit down and create. And the reality is that time never happens. If I wait to get everything else done first then the likelihood of me ever sitting down and creating anything is nonexistent. Life is never going to slow down or move over, so that I have more time to create. That is not how my life works, especially during this season of littles. So when you see projects that I'm creating in this space, I understand that it's easy to think that everything else is done before I'm sitting down to create- but that's not the case at all.

For example, feeling at the end of my rope this week, I realized it had been a couple of weeks since I had gotten a break from our lovely children. And that it would do all of us good, especially me, if Cory was to take them out for an hour so I could catch my breath. Which he graciously agreed to. Now right before they left, Isia, Billy & I had been sorting clothes. And I really had to fight the urge, after they left, to not continue sorting-  knowing that we were getting closer and that the end was in sight. Knowing how nice it would feel to have all the laundry done. But also realizing that, if I spent the whole time sorting laundry, I wasn't going to be any more refreshed when they got back home. While it would be a good use of my time for the house, it would not be a good use of my creative time. So I fought that urge down, walked away from it, then took pictures (of what I was walking away from) so I could share that truth with you.
Creativity in Real Time
Creativity in Real Time

I stepped away, got out my fabrics, and worked on my Dad's quilt which has been lingering in the back of my mind these days. And when everyone arrived back, I felt like I had a lot more rope once again. Which is a good feeling! So please know, when you see projects here, you're not seeing them because everything else got done. They're being created in spite of the household to-do's. Because when I look back on my life, I know these projects are what I'll remember most of my stolen time- not the folded and put away laundry, or the immaculate floors. And they're what I want to share with our kids. While I try to keep up with the house, I want them to remember my creativity best. Because it's not only a large part of who I am, it's a large part of what I want to pass onto them. So I try to make sure my time reflects this, and reveals the truth of who I am- for them, and for myself too.