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Archive for the ‘Frugal’ Category

Please check out Little Acrorn Learning.  Owner Eileen Straiton encourages you to sign up for her monthly e-newsletter, all the while receving a FREE 23 page guide to March.  I cannot begin to describe all the books, wonderful ideas, crafts, menus and inspiration all piled into one.  Good stuff here for Spring!

Free guide here.

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You are in for a picture-rich post.  If you want more information on this Maple Syrup Festival, please visit here.  For homeschool or enrichment communities there seems to be a unit study on this very topic, right on the website.  My kids are not old enough to go into that amount of detail.  Also, click on the pictures that tell a story to enlarge and read.  Enjoy! 

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The kind people at Earth Scouts have generously featured my blog, time and again, so I would like to direct attention their way.  Earth Scouts is a wonderful organization;  a flagship program of the Earth Charter, U.S.  I hope it grows and grows!  Recently, I joined the Badge Developement Discussion Forum.  We will be creating activities for earning badges.  See what badges already exist in this .pdf below!

EarthScoutsBadgesandPatch

A “scouting-plus” program which gives a way for children and youth to become empowered in their homes, schools, and communities in positive ways.

Did you know that you can make paper yourself? For many years paper was made by hand and therefore was very expensive. People treated it with great care, and never threw it away. They always saved it after they used it, and made new paper from it. Paper can be made from wood, cotton rags, linen fabric, grass, and many other natural products. It can also be made from old newspaper. Here’s how.

Vocabulary
■Pulp – small pieces of paper mushed up with water
Time:
■Set up: 45 min
■Activity: 24 -48 hours
You will need:
■Two and-a-half single pages from a newspaper
■A whole section of a newspaper
■A blender — Ask one of your parents or your teacher to help you use the blender.
■A measuring cup
■Five cups of water
■A big square pan that’s at least 3 inches deep
■A piece of window screen that fits inside the pan
■A flat piece of wood the size of the newspaper’s front page
Here’s What You Do:
1.Tear the two and-a-half pages of newspaper into tiny pieces.
2.Before you use the blender, ask your parents or teacher to help you. Don’t use your blender from home without your parents’ permission!
3.Drop the pieces of paper into the blender.
4.Pour five cups of water into the blender.
5.Put the top on the blender. (You don’t want to have to scrape newspaper mush off the walls!).
6.Switch the blender on for a few seconds. The paper will mix with the water and become what is called “pulp.”
7.Turn off the blender.
8.Open the newspaper section and spread it on the floor or table top.
9.Pour about one inch of water into the pan.
10.Put the screen on the bottom of the pan.
11.Measure one cup of blended paper pulp into a measuring cup and then pour over the screen.
12.Spread the pulp evenly through the water over the screen with your fingers. Feels mushy, doesn’t it?
13.Lift the screen so that the pulp stays on top of it. Let the water drain.
14.Place the screen with the pulp on top on half of the spread out newspaper section.
15.Close the newspaper section so that the edges meet again.
16.This next step is very important. Carefully flip over the newspaper section so that the screen is on top of the paper pulp.
17.Place the board on top of the newspaper and press to squeeze excess water out of the paper pulp. The newspaper section will absorb the water.
18.Open the newspaper and carefully lift the screen . The pulp will stay on the newspaper section.
19.Leave the newspaper open and let the pulp dry for at least 24 hours.
20.The next day, check to make sure the pulp is dry.
21.If the pulp isn’t dry, leave it until it is.
22.If it is dry, it is paper again. Carefully peel it off the newspaper.
23.Now you can use it to write on!
Questions to Answer
■Was it easy to recycle paper?
■How could you use the paper you made?
■Next time you go to the store notice what paper products are made from recycled paper.
■Are there any recycled products that you can use for school?
■Does your family use recycled paper products?
■How many trees are used for every person in the United States every year? (The answer is in this web site somewhere!)
■How many things can you do that will save trees?
Extension Activity – Learn more about recycled paper. What is the difference between pre-consumer recycled paper and post-consumer recycled paper?

Books

Trees To Paper
A Tree Is Nice

Re-posted from http://earthscouts.ning.com/profiles/blogs/be-your-own-paper-recycling?commentId=4791315%3AComment%3A4222&xg_source=msg_com_blogpost

Originally posted by Earth Scouts Network Administrator!

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Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.
Plato

The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.
Swami Vivekananda

(Source: http://www.brainyquote.com/words/re/reverence213051.html)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1rev·er·ence

noun
\ˈrev-rən(t)s, ˈre-və-; ˈre-vərn(t)s\

Definition of REVERENCE

1
: honor or respect felt or shown : deference; especially : profound adoring awed respect
2
: a gesture of respect (as a bow)
3
: the state of being revered
4
: one held in reverence —used as a title for a clergyman
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I wanted to give everyone the word reverence in context and defined by experts, before I began to explore its very essence.  I have thought of the word reverence for many years.  Reverence, something sacred.  Reverence, something/someone held in respect.  As I move through my day I really try my best to have reverence for everything.  I feel intention is brought into my life more pronounced if i do so.  What I mean is, all of my belongings, my worldly things count as well.  I try to practice a sort of spiritual housekeeping, as some have coined a new movement occurring in the world today.  It is not so new, but it is re-newed.  Spiritual housekeeping is where one might look around their home and meditate on what is necessary to live.

Is your home crowded with too many good intentions?  Do you have 3 blenders, a drawer full of scrap booking materials, so much furniture you can’t flow as you move through your home?  If so, determine, or use discernment to weed out items you are not getting to, or can’t move around.  Think before you bring something into your home.  Think about starting a new project, when you know very well you have 4 other projects waiting at home for you to began or finish.  Are you considering charging a few new things, but still have yet to pay for the other few new things you bought last month?

Do you care for yourself in the same way?  This would be termed as inner work.  Do you take out the trash?  Do you release or let go of what no longer serves you?  Have you thought to clean out what is within, before you journey forward?

I labeled my email account healingoneself, not because I am sooo wounded that I must put the thought in my face, but because I wanted to be reminded.  Remembering all of the questions above is a mastery.  Mastery means something one works at always.  Not something you can ever Master per se.  Sure we are given these names Master/Teacher, but life is ever flowing.  We are ever unfolding.  We are human, right now in our experience, at least if you are reading this you are.  So, we will forever be given tasks or tests to evolve into a higher place.  A higher vibration of living.  I would call this place Joy.  It is a state of being that fluctuates.  If we move through life with grace and joy filling us, we can know freedom.  You cannot possess grace or joy, so do not try.  It Must flow through you.

Let me give you an example.  Pretend you are as you are, but that there is an open hollow-ness that flows from the top of your crown, to the bottom of your feet.  Imagine something joyful coming through that top opening, flowing through you and exiting out through your feet.  Allow yourself to feel it.  You are Being.  When we hold onto “stuff” within or without, we cause blockages.  Imagine happiness flowing through the top of your crown again, but then it is stopped by something in the middle of your Self, before it can move fluidly through and out.  Many of us hold our breaths and live just like that everyday of our lives.  This is how dis-ease is caused.  This is how we manifest illness.  This is how we long for joy, but cannot ever let it flow through us, because of the holding onto things.

I challenge you!  Go through your home!  Your Self-home as well.  What no longer serves you?  What can you cleanse or purify?  What can you recycle?  What can you reuse?  If you are holding onto something because you believe you revere it so much, or hold it sacred, then I advise you give it away.  I have done that twice this year with two things I thought I held sacred.  I held it so sacred that I was too attached.  I practiced what some call giveaway.  Now, I am ready for my re-birth again; it is spring.  I have new seeds in my heart sprouting forth to the universe.  I have given away expectations that I didn’t even realize I was holding on to.  I was so attached, so in awe;  holding so sacred these things, within and without that it was a true distraction to my living experience.  I cycled through year after year, blocking my truer potential, getting in my own way.  NOW!  I am free and clear to receive the newness of life.  Without restrictions.

I challenge you to hold reverence for nature.  I challenge you hold sacred our drinking water, and pray every time you Witness a rolling stream or a dry riverbed.  I challenge you to hold your family sacred, your friends and your Community.  I even challenge you to hold a tiny bit of reverence for the things you do decide to possess.  Take care of your stuff.  Don’t let your laptop have an early death because you set a glass of water on top of it.  It will end up in a landfill and pollute Mother Earth.  Think that far ahead.  Take care and maintenance the things you do have, so that you may live in simplicity.  Drive your car till it cannot drive anymore.  Or ride a bike.  I will almost bet you, as you are doing these things, you will begin to care more for your inner Self.  When you live in such a way we begin to see each other as Swami Vivekananda says,

“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”

I wish for you that freedom.  True freedom.  This is something we can pass on to our children that is truly rich.
Many joyful blessings!

Nichole

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When speaking about wild foods one must do more research on wild crafting.  I am speaking on the herbs available around us, urban and rural.  When you harvest a wild food, you must take into account depleting your resources.  I am not sure one could deplete dandelions.  Do leave some plants for the animals and be gentle and kind to the plant as you harvest.  Thank the little plants for being abundant and healing.  This just may insure a return of the plant next time around. 
Also listen and breathe deep in your time with the plants.  These plants may have a story to tell you.  If you have any ailments, try a simple meditation.  Meditate on what your body tells you.  Then, take a walk.  See where you are drawn.  Is it a patch of red clovers?  Is it a patch of Wild Carrot?  Is it a patch of Yarrow?  What do you think your ailment and that plant have in common.  It could be the need of red clover to purify your blood. 
Please feel free to listen to Susun Weed having a discussion with Linda Conroy about Wild Foods.  This MP3 discusses:
~Urban planning and green space around 23 mintues.
~Increasing animal poplulation while harvesting.
~Urban maple sugar processing.

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Gung Hay Fat Choy everyone! (Wishing you happiness and fortune in your new year!)  I want to give you a link right off the bat.  Have your speakers and volume ready.  http://www.nancymusic.com/Gunghayplay.htm  
You will hear a song about Chinese New Year!   The song is perfectly calm and went right along with all the creative processes we were taking part in. 

When I first meditated on doing a block about Chinese New Year, my first instincts were to enter into the immediate Now.  I began cleaning my home.  I began sweeping out the old, and making room for the new.  We went through our clothes.  We went through our kitchen cabinets.  We went through our supplies, art and food.  Somehow I found myself living this process.  Then, I got to take a trip to San Antonio and really let go.  I thank Creator for arranging all this for me.

Upon returning we picked up our children.  They had spent the first couple days of February in a blizzard, up north, with Grandma.  My goal was to pick them up and ground in to our home.  Warmth, baking, soft music, aromatherapy, warm baths and beeswax candle dipping.  Transitioning from travel with children I have come to realized is an art form.  Especially if you are homeschooling.  And, even more so if you are presenting life to your children holistically.

The Story of the Chinese Zodiac (prints one page)

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/the_story_of_the_Chinese_zodiac.pdf

Here is a coloring page to go with the story.

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/chinese_zodiac_story_coloring_page.htm

Anything Chinese New Year here.  Look for the Rabbit though.

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/chinese_new_year_coloring.htm

I had fun watercoloring a silhouette of the rabbit, along with the sign for double happiness.  I did notice Wolfsion writing on our foggy kitchen storm door the chinese symbol for Happiness.  He was inspired by a stone sculpture we have.  And, we made a paper chain of red and purple.  Here is a picture of us dipping the beeswax candles together.  Dad captured the moment.

I don’t know if you can see what I can see, but there’s magic in this picture.  The magic of the candle making in the background.  The secret, the chemistry.  And in the front, River is just full of Light.  Filled with magic.

Ok, I can show you the candles now.  We are so proud of our discoveries.  I mean aren’t we bringing light to our lives?  The cool thing about all of this is being creative and happy with the mundane.  That aspect of the journey is very hard.  It is the only way to joy though, because it is a part.

Our faithful bookmobile lady also brought us the book Chinese New Year~Cultural Holidays, by Katie Marsico.  I most like the circular illustration of the moon phases.  We discussed the celebration beginning on the new moon, and ending on the full moon.  Wolfsion has already expressed the moon phases in his drawings and sketches.

To explain, I use a soft approach with this information.  The kids have been around the wheel a few times, but they are slowly waking up.  At this point, I work with their observation aspect in a soft way.  I don’t delve too too deep yet.  However, they come to me with very deep and simple findings.  Today we painted each others faces after nap time.  For Samantha she was the perfect bunny-girl.  A super hero.  And River was doing his bunny hop.  Which makes me happy and I note his movement development.  Joyful Movement is the name of a curriculum resource I have by Christophorus.  I have just began to peek inside and really integrate more movement to assist with developement.  Everytime there is new movement or strength, there is an immediate transferrence to their waking up…the brain.  It is amazing being a Witness in this human pathway.  Ok, so here’s some little bunnies.  They are far happier than they look, they are only in fear of smearing their paint.  Ayla Bear, our beautiful black dog licked Samantha’s paint right off!

The Year of the Rabbit is our destiny this Chinese New Year.  We have a nice nature table set up with white silk fabric draped over wood chunks forming a den for our rabbits.  Wolfsion has been long friends with one rabbit, who goes by Bunny Rabbit Dance.  Well this is Bunny Rabbit Dance’s family.  We take care of them by checking their stores, and even adding a stone sculpture with the Chinese writing of Happiness.  Thanks Magic Man!  The boys great uncle gave that to us at our wedding.  I would show you a picture of this landscape, but Bunny Rabbit Dance and his family are off making tracks.  It is the wrong time of day, they aren’t home.

If you don’t mind e-books though, here’s the link. 

http://www.starfall.com/n/level-c/chinese-fables/load.htm?f

We enjoy different kinds of presentations, because our world is filled with many mediums.  In traveling, I like to expose the children to low/moderate amounts of things.  We do not over-expose tv, computers, or phones, but it very much is in this world.  I do believe I am protecting the boys senses, but also slowly opening them up to things that exist.  I can’t imagine traveling to Seattle, or Germany and the boys not having been exposed previously to any of those three categories.  Storytelling, free-play, crafts, music, baking, nature and community, with the thread of Spirit ,weave together the majority of what we are made of.

Have you ever thought you wanted one thing, but when you got there, you realized that you already possessed the truer sense of what you were searching for to begin with!?  If you like wonder, magic, dragons and faraway places then you will like the book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.  I got it from a beautiful blog.  This lady is an awesome teacher and student of life.  There is much inspiratation here for the family in 2nd grade.  I realized after receiving this book from my AWESOME bookmobile lady, it would only be a preview for my eyes only.  The book is just not quite for Kindergartners.  I didn’t know that, but I am very glad I had the opportunity to read it myself.  Timing is everything.  I felt able to apply the story to my life in the Now.  I hope you get to read the story about Minli too.
http://ancienthearth2.blogspot.com/2011/02/chinese-new-year-year-of-rabbit.html

“D” is for Dragon.

 In our journey we also watched a video of the Lion and Dragon dance.  We give Microsoft a shout out, because Uncle Thomas works there in Seattle, and we found this video by accident.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzvmzfxx3pA&feature=related

One of the funnest things we did though was sit at a low table on pillows.  The menu was fish and rice, chopstick style.  We happened to pick the chopsticks up in San Antonio, so the boys were happily suprised…perfect timing.  We decorated our table with a bright red tablecloth in honor of the celebration.  Nian the dragon would not be stopping by for dinner, but the Ancestors would, so we left a Spirit Plate out.  Our centerpiece was a dipped beeswax taper, set in sand.  And, there you have it.  We took about 3-ish weeks to move through all of this process.  Thanks for stopping by~

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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In teaching my boys everything about everything I look around myself, and ask, What is right before me?  Well, one day I was at the grocery and a bag of salted peanuts in the shell was staring at me.  I envisioned them living in this beautiful wooden bowl of my husbands.  Wabi-Sabi style.  I envisioned the boys having snack time and manipulating the nutty center right out of the shell.  What I came to see in reality was their little hands working, squeezing, popping, and cracking the yummy-ness right out.  I could see how this little activity would play its part in strengthening their hands, to ready them for holding and using crayons and pencils and paintbrushes.  The boys are already holding these utensils, but it is truly a matter of dexterity, and fine motor skills.  Of strengthening and training.  So, it is therefore my job to trick with clever ideas.  The fact that I could mix snack time and handwork is a bonus.  

The boys had already been with me to Whole Foods to purchase peanut butter.  We watched the machine grind the whole peanuts into butter.  So again we talked about how that little nut makes peanut butter.  With children you must repeat, repeat, repeat.  It is good to use the same approach many times, but then to also come at something with another angle to give them perspective.  This was another one of those times I like to call “this is where it comes from.”  “This is where it comes from,” has developed into a series for us, which teaches sustainability.  This series for our family is about CHOICES, as well.  So many people have no clue life is filled with Choice. 

What Choice is before you right now?  What are you gonna do about it?

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