Friday, February 17, 2012

Carnival Beads

We've loving embraced a Waldorf inspired daily, weekly, yearly rhythm in our home. In choosing this lifestyle we've added elements to our day for our creative nurturing. Today is Friday so today we have handwork. Since I am learning more skills in this particular area, we are limited in what I can teach and experience with the littles. Felting, however, is one of my favorite activities and I couldn't wait to share it with my littlest children. My older two, who have experienced felting thanks to their days at our local Waldorf school, equally enjoy this modality of creativity. I know they are eager to get in on the 'rolling' when they return from school today!

Since I am only me I was not able to take pictures of our entire felting process; from roving to felted ball! Therefore I am providing a link to a great site that has step by step instructions for those of you new to this process. Knitty; little purls of wisdom

In our yearly rhythm celebrations we try to include many festivals and holy days (holidays) from many cultures. Carnival or Karneval (as it is known in Germany) is the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday ( which marks the beginning of the Lenten season) are known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday in many cultures. Aside from eating pancakes! many celebrations include a celebratory parade, costumes, and masks. Our beaded necklaces will adorn our Seasonal Table and I'm sure will be dangling from the necks of my littles........they needn't any excuses to dress up!

The following excerpt is from an article written by my son's Waldorf Kindergarten teacher on the idea of wool felting as handwork. You can read the rest of the article here

"Wool felting is a dynamic activity for the young child. It combines a connection with the element of water and repetitive motion working in the limbs - the interaction of friction between the two makes the fibers lock on a molecular level. We can realize and give thanks for the gifts of mother earth and our animal brothers and sisters as we experience shearing in the spring or plant gathering for dye in the fall. Fleece can be washed out of doors and dried in the sun by many busy hands. Carding is a rhythmic and peaceful ongoing activity that is very satisfying to the sense of touch in the young child. In the felting itself, there is the magic submersion of limbs into warm water and soapy bubbles that fills the need for true sensory experience.

The finished project often reveals much about the child who worked it - a simple felt ball can remain soft
and fleece-like, or be packed as tight as a golf ball. The will working within each child leaves a mark on
the end product, but this is not to say that we enter in to the activity for the end product! It is the process
of becoming that is paramount in the young child's experience and development. All activity must be
taken up with great joy and purpose."

I've been able to find wool roving locally by visiting our local Waldorf school's supply store. Here are a few beautiful online resources to help with your search for roving if this is an activity that interests you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spring Lambs

Our celebration of Candlemas continues this week as we think about all the newness that is preparing to surround us. The snowdrops, the crocus, the baby lambs!!!

We live on a farm with a myriad of creatures, one being sheep. Oh how we love the sheep. Their 'maaaing', their gentle faces, their curious nature and mischievous ways! Springtime is lambing time and the children are always eager to learn the news of  the birth of a new lamb.

A simple and sweet craft one can make in honor of the new life that is upon us, the Light and new beginnings that Candlemas ushers in, is a felted lamb toy. It is a super simple and quick crafting that takes only a piece of wool felt, wool or cotton stuffing, some thread and a needle, and a template the shape of a lamb.

Make yourself an outline of a lamb out of card stock or cardboard. Trace your outline onto your wool felt, twice. Match up the pieces together and begin to sew a simple stitch around the border. Leave a small opening before you finish to fill your lamb with your cotton or wool stuffing. Sew up the lamb and voila! You have a simple, handmade, felt toy that your child will love to add to their seasonal collection of toys. Our lamb, the one that is pictured was made for our neighbor (who is the devoted Shepherd to the sheep) who needed a sign asking folks who might stop by to return again later. So, we added some simple threading and a handmade sign that asked their visitors to "Please come Again".

I wish for you a peaceful day as you contemplate all the new things that are awaiting your discovery. It would be wonderful to hear of all the exciting new things that have popped up for all of you, so please leave a comment and let us know what's peeking around the corner!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon

The Chinese New Year is considered the most important and is the longest celebration within the Chinese calendar. The New Year celebrations last 15 days; days which are full to the brim of special meals, parades, honoring spirits, visiting family and friends, and lastly a lantern festival. Everyday of the New Year is honored and each meal has meaning, what is eaten and not eaten is all for a reason, whether to bring bounty, health, love, wealth, protection. These are sacred days for those that celebrate the Chinese New Year; bright colors (specifically red), lights, lanterns, fireworks, dances and flowers. Nothing is spared and every detail is well thought out and planned.

The Year of the Dragon (which is the only mythical animal portrayed in the Chinese Calendar) is particularly special for us at It's a Simple Life as our eldest child was born in this year. Those born with the Dragon sign are said to embody the ability to soar to the highest mountains and dive to the deepest depths of the sea. Within them lies the balance to exist on land and in water. What a beautiful trait to have the gift to shape shift from one element to the other.......have you ever seen this at work within 'Dragons' you may know? When my son was young, around 1 1/2-2 years old he had no fear of water and literally could go from land to water without fear or question. It was an amazing sight to be next to him, paddling and floating along as if he had done it for eons. I guess, maybe he had!

Other traits consistent with The Dragon, and which I can attest to with my own Dragon are: uninhibited, a night owl, following rules that are deemed acceptable my them while breaking ones that are seen otherwise, a wonderful ally, charismatic but impulsive, generous but egotistical, and fiercely independent.

Today, in honor of this New Year celebration we have made fortune cookies. A traditional Chinese gift and treat that offers a notion of good fortune and tidings for the receiver. These cookies are hot to handle so please be careful if working with small children. The mixing and making of the fortunes is a good place to have those wee ones help out, and then the eating of course!

Chinese New Year Fortune Cookies
makes about 12-16 cookies
*Preheat your oven to 400 degrees


2 egg whites
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. of water
*little strips of paper with messages to use as your fortunes*

First, make your fortunes to go inside your cookies

To make your batter, begin by whisking your egg whites until foamy

Now, whisk in your flour, powdered sugar, almond extract, salt and water until
it makes a nice smooth batter.

Pour your batter by the tablespoonful onto your prepared cookie sheet. (I placed a piece of parchment down and greased the top because the recipe called for a silicone mat which I did not have). The recipe also suggests pouring just two cookies at a time as once your pour the batter you're to spread it around until it forms a 4 inch circle.

Next, bake from a few minutes, until the edges are nice and golden. Lay your fortune
across the top of the cookie,

Fold your cookie in half. They are very hot so please  be careful and do not allow little
hands to touch!

Next, fold the pointed ends together. I found this takes a little practice......and patience.
Some will fold nicely, others won't. It depends on perfect baking time and
batter consistency. I placed the folded cookies into a muffin tin to help them retain their shape.

The Dragon is a symbol of power. How does this feel to you? What types of power and energy do you put towards your life, your friends, your family? Do you allow your soft spots to show and be vulnerable or are you always guarded? Maybe there is an unbalance between what you should be 'doing' and the energy that you're putting elsewhere.......or maybe you'd like to 'do' something but can't muster the power, the courage, the energy. Embrace this New Year......embrace the Year of the Dragon and allow this to be the year to enable to your heart to bear it's gifts into reality. 

I wish you a Happy New Year! Let me know what you're wishes are for this Year of the Dragon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I am a student and my favorite subject, aside from food, is Love!

Several years ago I worked for a local distributor. Part of my job entailed riding in a delivery truck with this guy (who's now my husband ;) ) to deliver local and organic produce to NYC. We would leave at 3am and get into NYC around 5:30am. It was a beautiful drive over the Tapanzee, the sun would rise over the and all along the Palisades there were the most amazing colors.....deep rich reds, oranges, yellows. Cars whizzing around and up over the bridge and I wondered, but mostly I hoped, that others took a second to notice the beautiful panorama, too.

Once we hit the city it was fast and loud. Noise, people, cars everywhere. Some places we traveled were a bit depressing. We witnessed many fights and belligerent disagreements. With concerned hearts we watched as little, little children would walk themselves to school, alone......and even sadder still, we saw many fractured parents losing what little control they had on their children in broad day light. It was those moments that I felt I could never come back to the city again. It was just too real for me to handle.

And just when I thought I couldn't handle anymore, I had an idea. I slowly started accepting the things I saw as terrain, offered a silent prayer for love to find those troubled souls, and started to focus on another To get me through the 14 hour day I would play 'I Spy', except the only things I could spy were lovers. Older couples holding hands, parents hugging and kissing their children, someone offering their dog and piece of their bagel and a scratch on the head. To me, there was nothing more gratifying than to spy to lovebirds in a stolen moment. I had so much fun seeking out the good in the world that I spent most of the day in quiet contemplation of it all. I even had a book all planned out. A simple photo essay showcasing the most powerful emotion on Earth.

I am a constant study. Always looking to better myself and trying to fix where I've been wrong. I've found that if love can soften the heart of the angriest should also soften mine, and it does......when I'm ready to receive it. Love is one of those things that has to be unconditional. There is no possible way to love with expectation of something in return, how can it be love then? In this post, and subsequent ones, I will be studying the 4 Greek words for love.......Agape,Eros,Philia,Storge. It's here that I will put in a sample of a speech from Martin Luther King Jr. where he gives a powerful nod to the meaning behind 3 of the 4 words.........

"The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.

Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen."

There is hardly a voice more poignant and hardly a person better to teach us all the power of love than that of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"There is no remedy for love but to love more." ~ Thoreau

And that, in a nutshell, is my goal. To love more. Join me?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lightning Medicine Cloud

"He's the hope of all nations," said Arby Little Soldier, upon whose land the calf was born on May 12, 2011. "The red man, black man, white man and yellow man; we've all got to come together as one."
Unity and peace were major themes, as was respect for the environment and the awareness that all living things are interdependent.
The white buffalo is an omen that signifies the arrival of hard times unless people learn to change their ways and live in a manner that benefits everyone, including Mother Earth."

The full article link is below........after reading this excerpt, does anything come up for you? Do you believe in omens? Do you believe that any of this has any significance in your life? Are there any changes you could make to bring significance to this event for you?

I find these things amazing. I am a spiritual person so I believe all events happen for a reason.I tend to be attracted to Native American process as they are so connected to the Earth and her rhythmes that I trust they feel things on a deeper level than I am aware of. To know the power behind the birth of a white buffalo feels good. This has been happening more often over the last decade and I wonder, has the Universe been working over time to get out attention?

For our family, there are several things that have come up recently that we have been compelled to shift..........our waste consumption, our energy consumption, how we spend our quality time, and our relationship with food. These are big areas to cover but they are important, nonetheless.

The significance of Lightening Medicine Cloud's birth has proven to peek the interest of all of us here. The kids are eager to see pictures and know more. The adults are just as curious and look forward to learning more of all the white buffalo that have been more this past decade, their timing in this world, what was happening, where we's a process, as always.

I encourage you all to sit with this and FEEL what it is that comes up for you. If anything, and it's OK if nothing comes. To feel the power behind someone else's passion and beliefs isn't easy. It takes a lot of acceptance and trust to be able to honor them for who they are and respect their traditions, regardless of our own.

To me, it feels good. I feel joyful, hopeful, and more sure of the paths that we've chosen and feel more confident continuing in the directions we've chosen. We will continue to make the changes to the areas I've listed above and from there........who knows what will come next!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011


your happiness
your sadness
your gifts
your misgivings
your truth
your guilt
your strength
your weakness
your excitement
your fear

Feel YOU! My hope is that through my feelings about feelings and emotions I will be able to share with you the abundance and the lack that is me that will help you to harbor a real sense of pride about who you are and what it is that helps you to remember your greatest self.
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