A time to be thankful

I started this post at the beginning of June, but somehow never managed to finish it…anyway here goes!

Birthday time has come and gone and both I and my daughter C received some beautiful, thoughtful presents from family and friends.

It is a tradition in our family to write thank you cards at this time. Often the children will make the cards themselves, but my newly seven year old C wanted to buy a pack of cards and draw in them instead, so this is what she did. There were a lot of people to thank, so she took it in stages, doing¬†a couple of cards a day ( ...or there won’t be enough time to play, mummy!)


C drawing a little picture of the present she received.


Here she is with her new roller skates and accessories ūüôā

At C’s party, we made sure we opened the presents at the beginning so that the children could see her¬†delight at receiving their gift and she could thank them in person ( sometimes I need to remind her still about saying thank you as she is so in awe of her presents and rather shy, she forgets!)

However we¬†have gone to quite a few children’s parties where the birthday child doesn’t look at the presents until after the party, so my children haven’t¬†been able to see them open the gift we gave them. Often we never even receive an¬†acknowledgement of the gift or whether they liked it, let alone a thank you. Perhaps the child doesn’t even know who gave what gift, I am not sure? ¬†Certainly it happens quite a lot, even in our immediate family and I must admit it doesn’t sit right with me. Of course the child may not think of saying thank you after the event, but I would hope that the parent would send out some form of acknowledgement or thanks, even if just a quick text message, on the child’s behalf, after all they must know that it takes some effort to go out and buy or make a suitable gift?

Are we losing the art to be thankful? What do you think?

Being thankful is so important in life, I feel. If someone does something for me, gives me a present or just shows kindness, I consider it important to recognise this gesture and express my thanks.

We try to incorporate moments to be thankful in our daily lives.


Before our evening meal,  we sing our Blessing Song and during the meal, we each in turn say at least one thing that we enjoyed that day and one thing we are thankful for. The children struggled to begin with to think of something, but we kept modelling how to do it and now they happily regale us with the high points in their day.

Often melancholic children ( one of the four temperaments that are mentioned here¬†by Steiner)¬†¬†will come home and only speak about everything that went wrong in their day ¬†or what they didn’t like rather than¬†focus on the fun times they had and the things that went well. This is the case with my daughters, especially the eldest ( it doesn’t help that she is going through the nine year old change). I¬†myself have a predominantly melancholic temperament so understand this, which is why I make sure I write a gratitude list every evening before I go to bed! ¬†I list 10 things for which I am grateful: it’s a little ritual that I have been doing for over a year now. If I’ve had a ¬†tricky day, it turns things around. I focus on the love, the joys and the blessings and trust that everything is as it should be.


Talking of being thankful. I am realising that this little space here is also such a place; a place to embrace the joys of parenthood, my reverence for nature, my love of learning, my passion for making things, our journey in Waldorf education, the little triumphs and the small mercies and the magic of the everyday. Of course I could tell you of the discord, the sometimes incessant sibling squabbles, the moments I raise my voice in anger and regret it, the messiness of the daily life, which of course all happen, but I choose to focus here on the things that work, the things I am grateful for and to share the golden moments of our lives Р it is a constant reminder to me that there is so much to appreciate and be thankful for in life.


In difficult times such as these, where news stories focus on fear, hatred and tragedy, I feel there is even more need to be thankful and to appreciate what we have; family, friendship, all our myriad of gifts. Now more than ever is the time to spread kindness, goodness and gentleness.

Since having children, I don’t watch the news as I am just too sensitive. I can take on all the anxieties and feel quite hopeless and powerless. I have felt this way since I was a little girl and as my children are also very sensitive, I make sure we never speak about anything that would scare or worry them and we never listen to the radio or watch television. I more or less know what is going on out in the big wide world, but I can’t watch the images…the Jack Johnson song¬†Bad News¬†really resonates with me…

Anyway I am certainly not here to spread bad news!  I want to share beautiful pictures and life affirming things, because we have been given this wonderful gift of life and there is much to be thankful for.


I thank you for visiting and spending some of your precious time with me. 




Decorating the Little House

We have a little house at the top of the garden that belongs to our daughters. It hasn’t really received much attention since it was erected a year ago, except to paint it a girly pink inside and I put an old sofa in there (that I have had since I was a teenager), but it has been feeling¬†a bit lacklustre ¬†so we are in the process of sprucing it up a bit in preparation for the long school summer holidays. Our aim is for it to be cosy and colourful.

A couple of weeks ago, the girls and I painted a little table and chairs in outdoor paint and they each painted a flowerpot and filled them with flowers of their choice.



They spent a little time before bed yesterday covering the walls with animal posters they have been gathering for this purpose. They were so busy cooing over all the baby animals, it took a while!


I threw a pretty patchwork quilt ( the first one I ever made at evening classes) over my old sofa to cover all the worn patches. There are many!


I am going to make some little pink spotty curtains for the windows to make it more cosy in there and so the girls can have their privacy whilst plotting their next adventures!

I have also cut out some fabric for bunting. We debated what to call the house. I fancied The Hideaway or The Den but the girls weren’t keen, but when I suggested The Little House, they loved the idea as much as they adore all the Little House ¬†books¬†about Laura and Mary and their family adventures, so that’s what we will call it:

The Little House in the Garden 


I have a long morning home alone tomorrow ( a rare treat) so I am hoping to get the bunting done and hung up and perhaps the curtains. Let’s see.

Joining  Frontier Dreams for KKCO


The 24th June is both Midsummer’s Eve and the Feast of Saint John the Baptist. Although it is not the longest day of the year ( this is the 21st June), the sun reaches its highest point at this time and there were many ancient pagan traditions associated with this day, long before the worldwide influence of Christianity.


The Feast of Saint John is celebrated all over world by Christians with fires, fireworks and big processions. It is rare for a Saint to be so widely celebrated, but John the Baptist was a powerful preacher in his own right long before Jesus began his own ministry and he had many followers in distant lands. His preaching was fiery, calling for repentance for the forgiveness of sins and for people to live a righteous life no matter what their profession. He baptised those who repented and was the first person to identify Jesus as the son of God at his baptism when Jesus was thirty:

‚ÄúI saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptise with water said to me, ‚ÄėHe on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptises with the Holy Spirit.‚Äô And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God‚ÄĚ (John 1:32-34).

What makes this more interesting is that Jesus and John were connected before they were even born, but did not meet until Jesus’s baptism I believe. They had much in common: ¬†John was conceived miraculously to elderly parents and was born six months before Jesus; his mother Elizabeth and Mary were also related in some way and both were visited by the Angel Gabriel who told them of the son they would bear.

So how does this relate to how we can observe Saint John’s today? I like this quote from¬†All Year Round:

“At a time when nature rushes on, relentlessly pursuing her goals, fruiting and seeding, we are challenged by St John to pause, reassess our intentions and the direction of our life. He asks us to straighten and balance the landscape of our soul….”

Since ancient times, bonfires have traditionally been built in the night of the 23rd to encourage the sun to shine and ripen the crops and also to ward off evil spirits. Fire continues to be part of the Midsummer/St John’s celebrations to this day in many shapes and forms.

In our¬†Steiner ( Waldorf) school we celebrate St John’s with circle dancing, feasting and the children, teachers ¬†– and parents if they wish – jump over a little fire. Everyone is dressed in fiery colours of red, orange and yellow.




Jumping over fire is¬†associated with cleansing and renewing our intentions to live a righteous, purposeful life. Here again a quote from “All Year Round”:

” The most noble quality of Fire is it’s ability to transform substance. In the alchemy of the soul, there is always the possibility that the dross in our lives may be changed into something more precious. By ‘burning up’ what is unfruitful within us, we gain the strength to rise above ourselves, to jump over our own inner St John’s Fire”

Now apart from these lively celebrations, the evening of the 24th June is a special night for fairy folk! ¬†I have always felt there is magic in the air on Midsummer’s night (and not just because it’s my birthday!…) – think A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare and the poem below:

Midsummer by Elizabeth Gould

The sun goes down,
The stars peep out,
And long slim shadows
Flit about.

In velvet shoes
The quiet dark
Comes stepping soft
O’er wood and park.

And now the world
Is fast asleep;
And fays and elves
Their revels keep.

They fly on the backs of the grey-winged moths,
They skim on the dragon-flies green and gold.

On shimmering dew-wet grass they alight,

Tiny petal-skirts whirl, gauzy wings unfold.

The fairies are dancing beneath the moon.
Hush! See the shimmer of their twinkling shoon!

My daughters have created many fairy feasts, built fairy dance floors and little shelters in corners of the garden over the years and on the morning after Midsummer’s Eve, without fail, they have been rewarded with scatterings of fairy dust and little crystals, rose petals and a feeling that a fairy ball has occurred. Young children need wonder and magic in their lives. These are nourishing times for them and for us.


Set up time. We even added solar lighting this year so the fairies knew where to go!


Fairy dance floors in silver and gold ūüôā


Fairy feast of tiny rose petal sandwiches and fruits and seeds laid on by the girls.


And in the morning,  trails of fairy dust and a thank you from the fairies.


My children find it difficult to fall asleep on Midsummer’s Eve (just like at Christmas and birthdays!) Everything is so magical and alive and it’s light until late.

Two books that we love that reflect the mood of the midsummer night fairy festival are:


Little Fairy can’t sleep¬†by Daniela Drescher – beautifully illustrated as you can see.

The Flowers’ Festival¬†by Elsa Beskow – a long time favourite summer story.

And as mentioned in my previous post, we also celebrated our Strawberry Fayre in the Early Years Department of our school on the 24th June this year. Here are a few glimpses of this lovely summery festival.


I also said I would share my midsummer decorations/nature table in my last post so here they are:.







Gosh! This is a rather long post…hope you are still with me!

Last but not least I also had a little birthday celebration in the afternoon with my  family of four in a local garden that we love visiting in June because it is full of the most wonderful fragrant roses and plenty of magic too.

Oh, I do love June: everything in nature is blooming and so abundant and full of vitality; it is a time full of promise and outdoors fun.


And before we leave June, I will leave you with a song my daughter H sings at school:

“June, lovely June,¬†

Now beautifies the ground

The sound of the cuckoos

In the green woods resound”



Strawberry time


It’s time to celebrate strawberry season and the start of summer! Apart from just savouring the sweet juicy goodness of the humble strawberry, ¬†Wimbledon has begun, synonymous with champagne, strawberries and cream, sunshine and the occasional ¬†British downpour ¬†(!) ¬†and we even enjoyed a beautiful strawberry moon¬†last night, coinciding with the summer solstice.

What more could you ask for ? ūüôā

In the Early Years Department at our Steiner (Waldorf) school, they will be holding their annual Strawberry Fayre on Friday; one of the many beautiful and varied seasonal festivals that mark the rhythm of the year in a way that young children can relate to. The children “sell” strawberries and scones with homemade strawberry jam and cream to the parents ¬†( we donate a little money to the school in return for some strawberry tokens which we give to the children as payment). It is a wonderful outdoorsy festival and the weather has always been just perfect – fingers crossed this good fortune continues ¬†as it’s my birthday ¬†this year too!!


At home, every day, we are able to harvest a little bowlful of ripe juicy strawberries from the strawberry patch in our garden ( just before they get eaten by the wildlife if we are lucky!) and that feels so good.


The children love hunting for them under the canopy of leaves. Eye spy with my little eye something tasty and rosy red…..clearly they don’t always make it into the house!

It is the first year we have had the space and time to grow our own fruit and vegetables. I used to have an allotment for many years pre-children, ( was there ever such a time??! Feels like another lifetime…) but I had to give it up after my eldest daughter was born as she cried so much and never napped unless I was walking with her ( she had intolerances to food I was eating unbeknown to me…but that’s another story I will probably share at some point), so having a big allotment and working it on my own wasn’t feasible….I did try to grow some vegetables in our ¬†last small garden but the local cats thought it was their toilet, so we never ate them. Sob! ¬†¬†We have plenty of challenges in our current garden with the local wildlife – foxes, badgers, crows, seagulls, slugs to name but a few…. but we are meeting the challenges and so far are keeping about 80% of our crops. I think in organic gardening, you have to share to some extent.

For many years we’ve visited a local PYO farm for our strawberry picking adventures (and may still go there once our own picking season is over -it is good to keep up these seasonal traditions), but there is nothing quite like going out into your own garden searching ¬†for sweet treasures.

As it is strawberry season, I thought I would add some little strawberry folk to my nature table. I had planned to needle felt them as I did with these flower children here


but when I went to my wool stash, there were only a few wisps of red wool left, so I had to have a rethink and make them out of felt instead. ( they are loosely based on  the way the  spring flower fairies are made in this book).


I am just updating my nature table ¬†(finally). The tables in both the lounge and dining area are now covered¬†in a red cloth and there will be a distinct strawberry theme to reflect what is going on in nature, with plenty of bees, roses, golden suns and spirals and a little bit of magic ( after all Midsummer’s Eve is coming!) ¬†As usual, the¬†girls have coloured in their monthly seasonal picture¬†which we hang in their playroom:


I will share the Midsummer nature table when I have finished setting it up. I have cut out a couple more pieces of felt so the girls can each make a strawberry child for their own nature tables ( they each have one in their rooms) when we get together after school¬†tomorrow. Here is a sweet picture my youngest drew of the strawberry folk to finish off with ūüôā


Hope you are enjoying nature’s bounty wherever you are.

Joining Nicole at Frontier Dreams for KKCO

A Waldorf Kindergarten birthday

Today was C’s last birthday celebration in Kindergarten and it was an emotional morning for me. We have been privileged to attend eight of these very special ceremonies since my eldest daughter started playgroup.

A Waldorf Kindergarten birthday celebration is so very nourishing. It is like a warm embrace for the child and his/her parents.

In our Kindergarten, the children all sit in a circle of chairs and in the centre is a beautifully decorated small table with a silk cloth on it, some flowers, a candle, some shells, a crystal or two and any other natural decorations that the teacher deems beautiful.


The birthday child is dressed in a beautiful gauzy little cape and sits on a special chair next to or between his/her parents. A candle is lit by the birthday child and a hush descends as the Rainbow Bridge Birthday story is told. I imagine the story varies quite a bit between Kindergarten teachers, but this is the version we heard and loved today:

Once upon a time in a land far yet near, there lived a heavenly child. She worked in the house of the Sun and she worked in the house of the Moon and she worked in the house of all the Stars.

One day when the child was playing with her friends, she looked down just as the clouds had parted and she saw far far below a beautiful, round jewel shining in the sky. So she went to her guardian angel and told her angel what she had seen. ¬†“You have seen the earth” said the angel and a longing stirred within the child. “May I go down there?” asked the child. “Your wish shall be granted but before you go, you may take some gifts with you”.

Together they journeyed to the house of the Sun and the Sun greeted the child and her angel and gave the child the gift of warm sunlight, to light her on her path. A little while later, they travelled together to the house of the Moon and the Moon welcomed them both and gave the child a gift of colours to help her on her journey over the rainbow bridge.

One night, as the heavenly child was sleeping, she dreamed a wonderful dream. She dreamt that she was walking upon the earth amongst the trees and the flowers. There were animals and children; ¬†earthly children. As she was walking in the dream, she met a woman and a man and the child knew that she wanted to be with them, so she said to them: ” May I be in your family?” and the woman smiled with such a warm and welcoming smile and the man answered from his heart “Yes”.

When the child told her angel about the dream, the angel replied: “Now you are ready and I shall accompany you on your way”.

And so they travelled together once more, through the lands of dream and over the rainbow bridge and down a spiral staircase until they reached a gate. The child felt a little anxious about leaving her wonderful heavenly home, but with courage in her heart and her angel standing right beside, she went throughout he gate and a little baby was born upon the earth.

She opened her eyes and saw the woman and man from her dream. ” Our little baby” ¬†they said. ” We shall name him/her….” ¬†And so children ¬†… ¬†years ago ¬†… ¬†was born upon the earth”.

Blessings on the angel who led you to earth.

Loving your dear mother who gave you birth.

Oh, that story never ceases to bring tears to my eyes! Thinking of our precious baby choosing us to be her parents. I remember recognising her right from the start, so familiar, yet unknown to us.¬†Our baby angel. Oh dear, more tears….

The birthday child is then presented with a gift, a booklet of the other children’s drawings and a beautiful card. After opening the gift, we looked through all the¬†children’s pictures in turn, showing them around for the other children to admire. The children are so supportive of each other’s efforts, it really is touching.


C received a little golden candle snuffer that she used to put out the birthday candle at the end of the ceremony and a beautiful card with horses on it because she loves them so.

It was a truly magical morning and C felt so special and treasured by her teacher and friends in Kindergarten.


I am so grateful to Steiner (Waldorf) education for these special moments. The whole of the Early Years is so nurturing, gentle and beautiful. I can’t imagine anywhere better for the incarnating child.


The blessing of a rainy day


Sunday was the first day it’d rained in over a week. It has been glorious weather and we have been really enjoying it; spending lots of time playing, eating and exploring outdoors. But on Sunday we had an inside day¬†because of the rain¬†and it was really nice to be at home together.


I have made a resolution to learn to crotchet this summer. I have been knitting for ten years ( and on and off since I was a little girl ), but I never got the hang of crotchet. My sister was a whizz at crochet and couldn’t knit, whereas I understood knitting and couldn’t get my head around crotchet.

I have attended a few day courses in the past and at the time I felt I had progressed, but without practise, I soon forgot how to do it again and again! ¬†I guess I just wasn’t ready.

A friend of mine is currently making a gorgeous granny square blanket for her daughter and she recently showed me how to do a basic square. I was delighted as I love granny squares. They have such a lovely homespun feel about them; cosy and comforting ( like my own German grandmother was). So I am determined to practise this time; at least a square a day and hopefully I will make a nice cushion cover to go on our purple sofa in a couple of weeks or less. I am using this book to help me.


Am excited about using these lovely colours! They are from the Sirdar snuggly range baby bamboo.


I still don’t have the tension quite right and my stitches are a bit twisted, but I hope practise will sort that out? I would welcome any tips from more experienced crocheters ūüôā


My daughters joined me on the sofa for some projects of their own. My eldest  daughter, who learnt to crotchet this year ( in the third year of the Steiner Waldorf school curriculum), followed my lead and crocheted a small juggling ball ( with split peas in it) and made up a quick crocheted flower . Then she started knitting something as she still prefers knitting really.



The younger one was busy finger crocheting and making a little picture of daddy (?!) with hama beads.


We moved into our house two years ago and have done many home renovations in this time. I love the way the house is now; colourful, light and airy but it is lacking in personal touches; photos and pictures still haven’t been put up and we need some more homemade goodness scattered around the place. Many of the cushions and throws we brought with us were made by me at some point some years ago, but it all looks a bit worn now. It is always nice to put some fresh love and energy into a home now and then I feel. Now is the time.

And apart the blessing of quiet time together making things that morning, the garden was also thankful for the rain and I was thankful for a break from watering!


It has actually rained on and off since then so although I am grateful for this little rainy interlude on the weekend and the time to get things done indoors today, I would welcome many more warm sunny outdoorsy days this summer ūüôā – not guaranteed here in England by any means!


Painting with flowers

I was going to write a very different post today, but I had to write about this as I am so excited about it! My eldest daughter came home from school with a delightful little revelation for me: you can paint with flowers!

I love finding out new things and I have to say this filled me with childlike wonder and ¬†immediately after school we set off down the road to our local park in search of wild flowers to paint with. We didn’t have to go far. There are beautiful wild flowers growing everywhere at this time of year!



It seems that most¬†colourful flowers can be painted with ( although the clover didn’t really work and the valerian also wasn’t so great so we fed them to the chickens!) but a lot produced a deep pigment that was a joy to work with.


We used lavender and borage flowers for blue, dandelions and buttercups for yellow, wild flower leaves for green, sweet williams and other wild pink flowers for pink or dark red and various flowers in our garden for other shades of pink, red and brown.


As soon as we got home the girls sat down to paint with the flowers we had gathered and frequently ran off to get more buttercups or flowers from the garden. Here they are getting busy.


I love that the girls could paint these just¬†with nature’s bounty. ¬†I feel so much gratitude for all of Mother Earth’s myriad gifts to us. In fact I believe everything we need is out in nature, we just need to learn to re-access the knowledge.

What a lovely little adventure we had; a special time to reconnect with nature and my girls.


And this is my favourite  ( excuse the dirty fingernail Рi had just been gardening!)

What a blessing to paint with flowers! I would highly recommend it.

A cushion for Lily

In the midst of being ill and my youngest daughter’s birthday¬†and party, I made a present for our dear friend Lily who also celebrates her seventh birthday in a few days. I always try to make her and her older sister something special as they have been our dear friends since they were born and the girls all have a special connection; like sisters really.

I made her sister a cushion with her name on it when she was seven, I think (and they also have some personalised bunting I made) so I thought it was about time I made a cushion for Lily too.

Lily loves yellow, so I had a look at my material stash and came up with this:


It is a small cushion for her bed, with a couple of sweet rabbits appliquéd on the back.


I used the envelope method at the back as it is so easy to make and suits this type of playful cushion.

There is nothing quite like a handmade gift and especially one bearing the child’s name. They are always treasured more than anything shop bought I find. I think the child can just feel all the love and thought that has gone into the item, making it uniquely theirs and that feels really special. It reminds me of all the pretty dresses my German grandmother made me when I was a child and how special and original I felt in them. Every child is unique and special after all. Let’s make them feel it.

My girls are already requesting I make one for their beds too.

Watch this space ūüôā

You can find lots of other creative folk at Frontier Dreams KKCO .




Glimpses of a birthday

My youngest daughter C, turned seven last week. As usual the house was decked out in the birthday paraphenalia that I mentioned¬†here¬†to make it special and festive.¬†Her sister even made her a ‘Happy Birthday’ poster for her chair.

We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day.

C wanted to spend the morning at home opening presents and playing with them. She was delighted with her new teddy bear that her sister had made¬†as you can see below.¬†In the afternoon, we met friends for a play in the park and a traditional cream tea ¬†in our favourite tearoom. It was a simple day, but still special. At one point, a ladybird landed on C’s arm, reminding us of a page from this¬†birthday book:

“If a ladybird lands and decides to stay awhile, its because he is hoping to see you smile…”

There was birthday cake of course ( Victoria sponge with lots of cream and berries – courtesy of Daddy) and lots of love and laughter.

And Teddy slept in the little moses basket by her bedside all night long.

And then almost a week later we had a birthday party. We were due to have four guests, but two had to cancel at the last minute, but it was still sweet with just four girls. C particularly wanted to invite friends she has known for a long time and prefers a smaller group of friends.

C really wanted her nails done Рshe loves dressing up Рand since seven is quite a milestone, I treated us to some washable nail polish. Here she is getting ready!

We always do craft parties at home as they are nice and calm and the girls love decorating things. All the children were really absorbed: they dressed paper fairies, decorated wooden treasure boxes and coloured little sails for these noodle boats, that the children sailed on our garden pond.

Daddy made yet another cake, with three tiers this time, as requested by the birthday girl ( once again Victoria sponge with lots of cream and berries and some freeze dried strawberries) and a big platter of fruit which we all enjoyed!

The sun was shining again miraculously   ( after several days of gloomy weather) and much fun was had celebrating our sweet darling girl.

Sister love

My eldest daughter, who has been a prolific knitter since learning it in her first year at our Waldorf school, decided to knit her sister a teddy for her birthday from this this book.


I have helped her with some details, but she has worked hard to make this beautiful little bear for her sister’s birthday. Apart from the bear, she has knitted a selection of accessories including a cardigan, rucksack, purse, blanket, cushion and soft cuddly bird!



This bear is clearly going to be very loved as every stitch has been a true labour of love.

There are days when my daughters seem to argue incessantly, but there is so much love, care and thoughtfulness too. I think this bear symbolises that for me: the sister love.

My youngest also recently sewed a little dress for her sister’s toy rabbit as her older sister was feeling a bit sad.


They can be so sweet and caring, it makes my heart melt to see what they do for each other. Of¬†course there are the battles but a¬†week doesn’t go by without a¬†little card being made with “I love you so so so so so much” on it to cheer a sister up.

A book that we enjoy on the subject of sister love is Big Sister Little Sister by Charlotte Zolotow.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; having a mama that makes things with love, it follows that they will follow the same path, but I still delight in seeing the joy in their faces when they are creating something for the other.