Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Beginning...


     Many of us tend to use the start of a New Year to change things we didn't like last year.  Improve, adjust, add.  I am one of those people who love a blank slate, a fresh start.  But all too often, I find I put too much on myself all at once.  I want to change everything on January 1.

     It is insanely stressful and unrealistic when I do that.  Budget, eat completely clean, focus on the kids, minimize internet, be an amazing homeschool mom, keep a spotless house, organize every room floor to ceiling, clean out the basement... the list goes on.

     Not this year.  This year I decided to take things in chunks.  In January I am going to focus on our rhythm (home and school), and budgeting.

January Goals:

  • Create a school rhythm, and work home into it.
  • Create a budget.
  • Make a reasonable plan for sticking to the budget.
  • Only eat out for pizza night and the occasional spur of the moment meal. (Note:  Occasional is not every day...)
  • Work on my will

     Yes, I'd love to start eating clean, lose weight, take care of myself, and all those wonderful things.  But trying to create an entirely new menu of healthy meals and still stick to a budget and not stress myself out just isn't going to happen.  Instead I am going to start with meals I know, easy meals that will ensure my success.  Then, once I start feeling comfortable (or when I get an itch to try something on pinterest) I will add in a new recipe.

     That is the plan!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Playsilk Parachute

This is why I love my husband.  Okay, I love him for a million reasons, but his creativity and engineering nature is fantastic for homeschooling.

I can't remember what I was doing, or where I was, but he was left with the big girls for a while.  When I came home, he had created this really cool parachute from a playsilk (we dyed our own from Dharma Trading), yarn, clothes pins, and an empty peanut butter container.

Overall picture

He had drilled 8 holes in the lid (2 for each string), but after a few rounds, realized one central hole (or, two holes, I suppose) is better.  4 locations seems to tangle too much

He just drilled a hole in one side of the clothes pin for the yarn.  

This works best if you have a nice high deck to throw off of.  Luckily, we do.  ;)

They tried several different methods, from scrunching it all up and letting it go, to lengthening.  I think holding it out like Jujubee is doing worked best.  

And let it fly!  

You may notice there is a stuffed orange inside the jar.  It seemed to help when we added a little weight.  Too much weight made it sink too fast, too little didn't give it enough oompf to spread out and fly.  

There you go!  A parachute from a playsilk.  Have fun!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013/2014 Waldorf Homeschool Planner

It is complete!  I worked so hard to make a beautiful, simple, easy to use homeschool planner for myself (and others!) and here it is.

I love the artwork.  I made sure to change the graphics by season.  It is for sale at for an intro price of $15, which will change to $25. (and free bonus pages/forms coming soon if you purchase by October 31, 2013)  It includes 138 gorgeous pages of planning fun.  Lots of room for yearly, weekly and monthly planning.  Places for rhythm, form drawing, festival planning, notes, meal planning and more!

Sample of weekly lesson planning pages with each day colored with the Waldorf "color of the day"

Sample of monthly planning page with seasonal graphics

 Sample of 2013 planning pages with space for rhythm, notes, materials, etc

I am just in love with it, and I hope you like it, too!  Let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!  ourjourney at blogspot dot com

Feel free to follow me on facebook as well!  

Monday, September 16, 2013

First day of school 2013

Our first day of school was September 16th.  Jujubee is 8 and in third grade (Waldorf 2), Cocobear is 4 and considered "preschool".

The gnomes joined us for our first day.  

Our art center and nature corner

I put our work for the week in these boxes so I have all the supplies ready to go.  They are labeled by day.   The two large boxes are for overflow, or any extra items.

Not much on our nature table yet. Our seashells from vacation, and pine cones from Mamaw's house.

I realized the night before we didn't have a calendar.  So, I made my own!

Our form of the week

Jujubee decorating her main lesson book cover pages.

Kaybug likes homeschool, too!

Cocobear checking out her hints for story time (We read the sheep and the pig)

Jujubee walking her form

Overall, the first day was fantastic.  Pretty surprising considering we just got back from vacation the day before!  But since we were already starting later than usual, I didn't want to waste any more time.  The year is looking good!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our final curriculum decision for 2013/2014

I thought I had it all figured out.  Oak Meadow 3 for our main curriculum and Waldorf Essentials 2 for our supplementing.  Then I got Oak Meadow 3 in and decided I'd rather go ahead and use grade 2 stories, so I sent it back and was able to snag a used grade 2 copy.

I tried and tried to make OM2 work as our main, but it was just too much going on at once for us.  We really enjoy the Waldorf approach to learning, and with OM, though it is gentle and art focused, there are so many stories going on at once. A social studies story, science story, a reader, a language arts story.  I attempted to make it into a block schedule like traditional Waldorf - still a no go.

Finally, I decided if it isn't broke, don't fix it.  We are using Waldorf Essentials 2 as our main curriculum, and adding in a few aspects of OM2.  So far, it is working nicely.  Jujubee really enjoys the OM reader - Ben and Meg, and we are using "Beginning Recorder" from OM as well.  When we come across a fun activity from the OM2 science, language, or social studies we throw that in if we have time, but basically we are using WE2.

Here is our school rhythm:

Form drawing
Read a story
Model from story
Read aloud from reader
Write in journal (I provide writing idea)

Recall story
Draw and summarize in MLB
Math review during circle time

Watercolor from story
Read aloud from reader
cursive writing practice

Recall story
Draw and summarize in MLB
Math review during circle time

Nature journal
Read aloud from reader

We are still ironing out our weekly rhythm as far as our daily chores go.  Things should calm down here soon after camping season is over and we will be able to stick with it more.

How is your year going?  Feel free to share your rhythm or link to your blog post about your curriculum choices and rhythm!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Our plan for third grade

This year for second grade we used A Journey Through Waldorf grade 1 (Waldorf starts their grades a little later than mainstream education), and for prek3.  For third grade, we plan on using A Journey Through Waldorf grade 2 partially, but are looking at using Oak Meadow grade 3 as our main curriculum, and I'm unsure if we will use WFA again for prek4, or the early years guide by Melisa over at Waldorf Essentials.

We thoroughly enjoyed our first year of Waldorf and are looking forward to continuing with the method. I realize Oak Meadow is not considered true Waldorf, but I am okay with that. I'm not the kind of person who can be hard core anything. I pick and choose what I like, what works for us, and leave what doesn't. The Waldorf method seems to be perfect for us in the natural aspects, the rhythm, handwork, stories, artistic aspects and wanting to protect childhood. But, with Jujubee being so far ahead naturally in reading, writing, and math I just couldn't keep "holding her back", so to speak. We will still learn gently, and through a living education vs textbooks/rote memorization. Oak Meadow is slightly more academic, and seems to be a better fit for where she is. For Coco Bear, we may chose the true Waldorf route, as she seems to need more time before she is ready to think about academics. They have always been very different, so I'd expect nothing less than for them to have different learning styles.

I ordered Oak Meadow 3 yesterday and am excited to get it and take a peek. I really wish you could customize it a bit. Ideally we would pick and choose from their grade 2 and 3 to make a perfect fit. Many of the literature choices in grade 3 we have already read, and we have gone over several of the history and science,topics already but I'm interested to see how it is taught in OM. This is also why we will supplement with JTW grade 2. Because I still feel Jujubee needs those stories, and honestly, I do too :)

Homeschool Helper - a planning app!

I am a planner.  I love to plan everything, so that makes homeschooling even more fun for me.  I am also an office supply and organization junkie, always on the search for the perfect homeschool planner. I have to admit, I'm pretty happy with my current paper planner.  (I totally scrapped the online planner from and

On a whim, I decided to look for homeschool apps for my iPad.  I have searched plenty of times and found nothing but figured it had been a while since I last searched.  WOW!  When I found Homeschool Helper, I immediately thought... I need this.  They had me from the beautiful design, but all the awesome features made it ridiculously necessary.  And... it is only $4.99.  Ha!  Boy are they giving the expensive planners a run for their money!  I've used them, and they fail miserably in the digital department.  Obviously some people just love paper.  I am one of those people.  But, I think I could stick with this planner.  It is SO easy to use and beautiful.

I've tried to find things to change about this app, and besides making it available on multiple devices via cloud, and allowing a student login (where they can view and check off work, but not edit) I can't think of anything it doesn't have. Attendance tracking, lesson planning, scheduling, field trips, grades, reports... You name it!  You can effortlessly use it for multiple students, add your planning information, and view your plan on a beautiful format. I was pretty skeptical at first, not wanting to be fooled by the initial "wow" factor like I had been before. Especially considering it was a fraction of the cost, and I only had to pay ONCE. How could it possibly be good?

Well, if I wasn't sold before, I am now. I love it, and will be using it to plan our next year as soon as my curriculum arrives. What do you use when planning?  Do you enjoy apps as much as I do?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eating clean

Something I have been trying to do, and failing at, is "eating clean" or "whole".  This means you only eat foods that are not processed/refined and have only whole ingredients.  So no white flour, sugar, etc. Let me tell you, for a processed food lover (I couldn't love any food more than pasta and donuts), it is not easy.

Well, my family is worth it and I think all the processed food that we are eating (even though we are definitely eating less of it!) is really affecting CocoBear.  She is such an active, energetic, outgoing little girl.  But she can also be a handful and the disobedience is starting to make me wonder if it isn't food/environment related.  

My plan is to spend the next couple days making a menu and a list of foods that are clean.  Then, going through my pantry for a grocery list and elimination of all the stuff that is processed.  This is the hard part.  Getting rid of food we payed for.  But if I try to wait until we eat it all, I will just buy more, and the cycle goes on and on.  I once tried putting it in a rubbermaid container in the basement telling myself that I would throw it away once we had been "clean" for so long.  

It made it's way back.  I know, I'm awful.  

So, here we go, wish me luck!  Off to google clean eating recipes.  ;)

Monday, January 21, 2013


I have found a new love.  Though I am just beginning to teach myself to knit, I find myself drawn to it.  The beautiful colors, the texture of the wool in my hands, watching it turn into something useful stitch by stitch.  I love the rhythm of it, and how I can do it anywhere, anytime, and still be conscious to the outside world.  Be able to watch the girls play, have a conversation, humor them and their latest adventures. 

So far, I have taught myself to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off.  Pretty basic, I know.  But with this, I have created a fluffy, cozy scarf for myself, a wool ball for the baby, dish cloths, and I am currently working on a cozy for my iPad mini.  But soon, I will teach myself to knit in the round because what I really want to make is longies for Kaybug.  The upcycled sweater longies will do for now, until mama can make them herself. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our curriculum for 2012/2013

I stumbled upon an awesome website this past summer while looking for "the perfect preschool curriculum" for Cocobear.  Once I found it, I knew it was made for us.  Simple, nature and seasonal inspired, with lots of book recommendations (that I can find almost completely at the library!) nature study, and more.  Best part?  It's completely FREE. 

The wonderful gals at have created a prek/kinder curriculum by the season and it is absolutely fantastic.  Cocobear is 3, so we are only gently adding in the alphabet at this point, but I have taken this curriculum and woven it into our first/second grade curriculum ( we are using for Jujubee and they work together perfectly.  I am effortlessly able to combine a 3 year old and 7 year old together, I can't complain!  I also love the free planner pages Wee Folk Art includes.  I write each weeks WFA activities down on it, then the WE activities for Jujubee, and still have enough room to plan out daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.  It really is an amazing curriculum, I cannot believe they offer it for free, but I am eternally grateful. 

We started Wee Folk Art in September, and have loved every second of it.  It is a Waldorf inspired curriculum for ages 4-6 (though like I said, my 3 year old loves it, we just barely touch the alphabet portion).  I am not sure what we will do after this year, possibly re-do the curriculum?  Make my own?  Anyhow, after using it for a month I started looking into the Waldorf method.  It seemed to suit us, I was drawn to it, and one website in particular really spoke to me. 

Melisa Nielsen of Waldorf Essentials is one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have met.  Never did I intend to randomly message a maker of a curriculum and get the heart felt response she has given.  After speaking with her several times through e-mail, I decided to be a part of her Thinking, Feeling, Willing program, and to give the first grade curriculum a try.  I am SO glad I did.  Waldorf, at first glance, can be pretty overwhelming to try to start on your own.  With her guidance and the extremely well written curriculum I feel prepared every week to start our journey.  Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have found this path for our family?  It may not be right for everyone, but I can't help but feel like we were put on this journey for a reason.  We started in October and have enjoyed each lesson.