Saturday, October 30, 2010

The long way home

Yesterday we went back to the same hike we took last week, only this time we hiked up higher and came to a point on the trail that had an amazing view over the valley below. The sun was very bright and the photos don't quite show the debts of the mountain ranges that lay rolling before us. 
It was breathtaking!!
I find that we head for the country or the woods whenever possible these days, our structured home schooling lessons are short, about one and a half hour tops, working pictorially with the alphabet right now, and since Kaleena already know the letters we move along quite rapidly, 
leaving us plenty of free time to get out doors.
I want to soak up all the natural beauty of these mountains now while I can, for while Denmark is certainly beautiful, it is a very different kind of beauty, it is very very flat. And where these mountains have a wild and untamed beauty about them, the Danish beauty is more quaint and controlled. 
I have once again started packing, we will not leave here until mid January, yet I feel I need to get started organizing so that everything is ready for shipping when that time comes.
Our journey is still long, although I can sense the end of this chapter near. We will meet up with my husband in Venezuela in the beginning of February, with a quick stopover in Miami to see friends, we will spend the winter enjoying our latin relatives and their beautiful country, before making the big move to Denmark in spring time.
How fortunate to be a homeschooler, there is absolutely no stress involving schools and moving, we just pack up up our supplies and continue as we journey on. I LOVE homeschooling!

~I hope you are enjoying your weekend~

Friday, October 29, 2010

This Moment

A friday ritual inspired by Soulmama
A single photo, no words
A moment I want to pause, treasure and remember
~A happy weekend to you~

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dia De Los Muertos

As our first 6 week session of spanish with the homeschooling group came to an end, we celebrated with an old Mexican tradition which happens around this time; Dia de los muertos, and while I am no expert on this celebration, this was in fact my first time hearing of it, I love the feeling of it. It is an old Aztec tradition, and unlike so many of us westerners the latin cultures tends to view death not as something frightening  but as a transition, a passing to the spirit world, yet still very much present and especially so during the celebration of this festival. Skulls are used to symbolize death and rebirth, and to honor the dead. And bright marigold flowers to attract their spirits. Their favorite food is made, and a general honoring and celebration of their spirit takes place.
We made an alter, and each family brought a picture or reminder of a passed loved one and told the group about them. We were also told about this wonderful celebration and where it came from
 after this we went outside where the children made skull and marigold necklaces and painted skull and butterfly masks. Each family also brought a dish to share that was a favorite of the loved one they were remembering
 The skulls were made from salt dough (1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, about half cup water and baked for an hour, and pierced for a necklace, and painted)
 The marigolds were made from tissue paper, 6 almost circles, three larger (about 2 inches) and three smaller. Then a string was pulled through and tied, to the back a bead was tied so the children could string them onto their necklace . Then the center circle was crumbled around the knot creating the center of the flower, and the rest of the circles gentle crumbled around. 
 Paper plates were used to create the skull and butterfly masks, which the children then colored and added a string to
 and the potluck meal was filled with lovely favorites.
A really sweet celebration
~honoring the children's great grandfather Caco~

Monday, October 25, 2010

Handmade Holiday

I have finally gotten started making christmas presents.  (Far ikke kigge)
I am determined to make most of my christmas presents myself this year, it just feels so much more meaningful, and it gives me great joy to not participate in the consumer frenzy that permeates the holiday season, it is also more kind on the wallet and as an extra bonus the children were so inspired today when I sat creating that they started making gifts also. For me there is nothing like receiving a handmade gift, a gift made with thought, hand and heart, and nothing quite like giving it either.
 The link to this pattern was passed on to me from this lovely and talented mama, and I will be giving 
a lot of these for christmas this year. I used a bulky weight yarn, which made them slightly bigger than expected, so now this pair will make a lovely gift instead of being for me.  I love them!!
Nest ones I will use a worsted weight yarn instead though..
 Ahh, and my new favorite craft material is felted sweaters. I have found some great 100% wool sweaters at the thrift store, washed and dried them and voila a great natural material to work with.
I made these "oven gloves" (goodness what is the proper name for such mittens to handle hot pots with?)
for my dad who loves to cook. I made them from one sweater, and still have some left over, cut around an older one of my sisters, sewed it up and needle felted decorations on them. 
I had not quite considered the issue of washing them prior to making them, but I suppose he will have to hand wash them, and anyways he is a very clean cook, as oppose to me:)
and from one of the sleeves from the same sweater I made this handle for my black pan, or cast iron as they are called. I LOVE this pan and use it for everything, and as anyone who uses these will know, they get very hot. Some time back I saw these handles over on A Handmade Life, and loved it. It has taken me till now to finally make one, and I love it. She did knit hers and then felt it, but I used a felted sweater instead, and needle felted the flower on, yes well the flower still needs a little work:). I love how it came out and I love how useful it is. I will certainly be making more of these lovely little ones.
~Happy creating~

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The beauty that surrounds us

As the energy in our little temporary household intensifies nothing calms my spirit as a walk in the woods, and just now as it appears that the autumn color display is at it's near peak, it is really a sight to behold. It speaks to my soul the constant changing of nature.
It is a helpful reminder, that although our lives right now are permeated with separation and rootlessness, this too shall pass, because just as sure as the leaves will change and fall during these coming darker months, just as surely will they return and flourish in the lighter days just on the other side.
 I am feeling a little tired these days. I miss my husband and our family life, I long for a place of our own, and yet I am filled with gratitude for this time spent with my sister and her daughter. Our time together has been well spent, and many important seeds have been planted, yet now coming to the end of this two year stretch, it feels like my strength is running out, it feels like I am about to cave in just before the finish line. Of course I will find the strength needed, we always do, somehow miraculously we always have exactly what we need to move on to the next step on out journey.
On days like this I get me to the woods:). To watch my children run carefree through the fallen leaves, build dams in the creek and fairy houses on the forrest floor, the joy of it, the importance of it, it fills me and gives me strength.
I am once again reminded, it seems I need a lot of reminding lately, that though our road has had it's challenges, every step of our journey has had a purpose, 
and for the ability to see this and know the truth of it in my heart, I am grateful.
Once again I look to the beauty that surrounds us, I take a deep breath in , go to that place of peace deep within, and exhale in gratitude.
~with love and gratitude~

Friday, October 22, 2010

Paper bag Halloween lanterns

Today we made these little lanterns. It was a learn as you go project. We used what we had on hand, therefor we did not use orange tissue paper, rather black, purple and red.
We gave the children each a paper bag to draw a motive on, an outline, which we then cut out
 then we added a bit of glue around the edges of the cut out  (on the inside of the bag) and attached a piece of tissue paper. (For another time, I will be more aware to use the side of the bag that does not have the closing, and also to cover the whole side of the bag, as it shines through and shows exactly where the tissue paper reaches)
Then we gently folded the edges down.
here they are, Kaleena made the one with the cat and one of the bats, and Keenan made the ghost
 The effect is really quite lovely although I still have not quite gotten the hang of capturing the mood of candle light with my camera:)
Needless to say, these are extremely flammable and I was careful to cut all loose tissue paper of, and used great caution when lighting the tea candles inside them.
~May your weekend be filled with the gentle glow of candle light~

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From field to table; a pumpkin feast.

Last week we went to pick pumpkins on a local farm, it was a beautiful windy autumn day.
Yesterday we set about carving them, the children were ever so excited, and we saved the seeds which we roasted in the oven, and the meat of the pumpkins with which we made a pie.
A lovely process for the children to take part in,  from the field to the table, and some lovely 
Jack O Lanterns as well.
The children happily scooping out the insides and separating the seeds and the meat.
 To roast the seeds I washed them, spread them on a stainless steel tray, added a bit of canola oil and sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar and baked on 400 for about an hour or until crisp. I usually roast them with olive oil and sea salt,  but we decided to make a sweet variation to add to our pumpkin pie. They turned out delicious.
 For the Pie we used this recipe, I did use condensed milk instead of  dehydrated milk. And I did add the "meat" of a butternut squash as well for sweetness. (mainly because I did not use a pie pumpkin)
It too was yummy, of the best pumpkin pies I have had.
 Served warm with whipped cream and our toasted seeds, yum!!!
And the three pumpkins carved by the children
 At night just before bedtime we had a little candle lighting ceremony to welcome
 the season where the vail between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest.
~thanks for coming by, and happy pumpkining~