Monday, September 5

A Springtime Birthday Crown

While I have four all-boy boys, my sister has three fairy-princess daughters.  Each of them are named for a flower and so their birthday crowns are likewise adorned.  Here is the latest, which I managed to get to to her just after her second birthday while we were traveling this summer.  I really enjoyed making this crown and I'm sad that the photos didn't turn out very well, but you can get the idea.  

Happy (belated) Birthday Mariella Violet!

Wednesday, August 31

Back to School

Well, I didn't mean to be silent over the summer, but life with our four boys is very full at the moment.  It isn't super busy in the run around sense, but I just often find that when I might have time to write my mind is too full of other things to allow myself to settle.  However, the last two days have been a bit quieter as school has begun again.

I continue to be thrilled to have our boys at Veritas.  It is a thoughtful place and the habits they are forming are truly growing them in a gentle and meaningful way.  Jim is back as well and enjoying a calmer year with many classes he has taught before and one new challenge in leading the senior thesis projects for the first time, which feels just about right.  I even found myself wishing I could go 'back to school' yesterday.  That said, the little boys and I have been enjoying a few quiet days of games, stacks of books, and lots of puzzles (preschool/my work at preschool will begin in a couple weeks.)

Here are a few first day shots.

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis,
sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Thursday, June 16

Ordinary Time

I wrote a reflection on ordinary time for Grow Christians that was posted yesterday.  You can find it here.  (Also, it is a really fun site to browse!)

Wednesday, June 15

The Great Green Growing Season

Oh, there are no words to express the goodness of this earth that nourishes growing things.  The fact that dry seeds come to life and produce food and beauty that sustain us is truly good.  I've been pondering the miracle of growth often lately as I wonder through my garden and watch my four boys who are growing like weeds.  

Yes, this creation is very good.  

Monday, June 13

Saint Barnabas

Yesterday was St. Barnabas' feast day.  We didn't celebrate last night as I simply didn't have time to think it through.  But today I made some marscapone brownies and Jonah read to us about St. Barnabas  while the rest of us drew cupcake toppers of St. Barnabas after dinner.  Isaac and Rowan really liked that he is often depicted on or beside a small stack of stones and there ended up being stones everywhere.  If nothing else, I don't think they'll forget how he was martyred anytime soon.  Here's hoping we all remember to be follow his example in building the kingdom and encouraging others as well!

Friday, May 20

Red Hot Pentecost!

I was so excited to be part of the Pentecost celebration at church Sunday.  I had made white clay doves (cookie cutter type) and written the fruits of the spirit on them.  They had a hole to string red balloons through.  Someone else made red hand kites for the kids and we bought a couple cakes.  It was the first time these things had been done at our church (as far as I know) and I was really excited to celebrate together.  But alas, we ended up with a nasty little virus and decided it was best for everyone to stay home on Sunday.  

So I'm grateful for a week of red at home.  I hung banners Monday and got out our shoe box of decorations and we will enjoy them through the week.   Here is a glimpse of our Pentecost celebration.  How are you celebrating?

The boys painted the red paper like flames on the banner across the door.  The banner hanging behind it is from my mom's stash of Red fabrics.  
This banner was our Saints and Seasons group project earlier in the month.  We each brought a yard of red fabric and cut it into strips.  We then tossed all the fabrics in a pile and tied them on twine to make banners.
While Isaac and I drew the other day I made lunch box notes for the older boys.  

And we had Red Velvet cheesecake cupcakes.  My boys insist on calling them Pentecost muffins, but there is nothing muffiny about them - they are definitely dessert!  The cupcakes are from this recipe and have my very favorite frosting - a whipped cream cheese frosting, which is so light and delicious (I half the sugar). 

Friday, May 6

A Tour of the Godly Play Room

This month many spare moments have been consumed with finishing our Godly Play room.  It helped to have the training we hosted mid-April as a goal.  As with any space, it will never truly be done.  We'll be adding stories, supporting materials and larger banners in the coming months.   But the space feels complete on another level, the hardest work is done and now comes the fun of tweaking and enriching the space.  I love the Natural light in this room and the collection of different natural woods (pecan chairs, birch tables, pine and birch-look shelves...)  Overall, I really love the space that many hands have worked together to create for our little ones.

Much of how the room is laid out (especially what is on each set of shelves) is diagrammed in the Godly Play books.  However, I will point some things out as I know that not everyone reading here has those books available.
This is the view when you enter through the first door.  We've been using this as our threshold.  Because the room was made from two smaller classrooms there is a second door, which I think  we will use next year as it enters more directly to the circle where we start our time together.
In front are the focal shelves.  Our Christ candle, Nativity and Risen Christ, and the Good Shepherd go across the top shelf.   On the shelves underneath are the baptism set, world communion set, circle of the church year and liturgical cloths.

On either side of the focal shelves are the Christmas and Easter shelves.  I love that these shelves highlight the importance of incarnation and redemption.  I'm dreaming of adding creation shelves as well to highlight that doctrine too.

One of the things I love most about Godly Play is the visual time line that the children see and work with each week.  On the top shelf of this set of six shelves are what are called the core stories.  Creation, the Ark, The Great Family (Abraham and Sarah), The Exodus, The 10 Best Ways, The Tabernacle and the Temple (on the second shelf down util we can get another set of shelves), and the Exile.

On the floor in the corner is the desert box, which is used to tell many of the Old testament stories.

Turn the corner and you have the New Testament stories.  The Gold boxes are parables.  The last set of shelves hold the red Pentecost set, one lonely Saint, and "the part not yet written" (a blank journal).  I'm so excited that there is an empty book that the children can write in and can physically see that they are part of God's great story.  I gives me chills to think about how we are gifting our children not only with the the great story God has written, but also with what I hope is a deep sense that they are part of this story.
The sheep skin is for a reading nook that I hope to make more inviting over time.  Our rugs are under the 'observer chair' and need a box or basket to live in.  Yes, still more to be done.  

This is the view of the other side of the room.  

These are our practical life shelves, which aren't typically in a Godly Play Classroom.  I have a feeling this space may be needed as our collection of stories grows, but for now, it is a nice collection of options for the children.  The basket of Jerusalem blocks have been an interesting addition and I'm still not sure how I feel about much of the work that is done with them.  Oh, it is fun work, but not always very purposefully responsive.   
These are our art shelves.  Each class has folders above the shelves where their work can be left from week to week.  The shelves hold watercolors, brushes, beeswax crayons, water, scissors, pencils, pens, prismacolor watercolor and colored pencils, glue, markers, oil pastels, Plasticine, play dough, cotton balls, fabric scraps, clipboards and clay.  Smocks are hung to the right of the shelves and drying shelves for clay and paintings are above the smocks.
These are our cleaning shelves.  Water, tissues, rags, cleaning spray (water and peppermint oil), and a watering can for our growing garden are currently present.  I have a running wish list for these shelves in my head.  The basket on the drying shelves above the cleaning shelves has things the adults might need to use or supervise children using in the classroom- stapler, wet wipes, permanent markers, and tape.
This is the hallway outside the classroom.  
We use the hallway space as storage for feast items, extra matzo, teacher books, extra supplies, seasonal items, etc.  It saves space and decreases clutter in the room.

And here is the room in action.  It always feels a bit lonely without the children. There is such a sense of joy sitting and being present while they go about their work.  
The yellow lantern is for our birthday song, which I'd love to share at some point.