Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And So We Begin

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From kindergarten through sixth grade I went to a public school. The summer before I went into seventh grade my mom decided to pull my younger brother and I out and home school us. This past July I registered my own home school with the state of North Carolina and, beginning next week, Kaiya and I will begin our very first year.
I'm really not feeling much pressure about this. She is six and a half and, in my mind, still very young and not ready for much in the way of academics. This is just a personal philosophy and I know others may feel the need to get their children started reading and counting as early as possible. But I will be taking a much more organic approach and leaning toward... this sounds like an oxymoron but I don't know how else to what I mean... structured unschooling. By that I mean keeping my feelers out for what she's ready for/interested in, while, at the same time guiding her toward what I feel is age appropriate. Guidance being key, I really want to focus on child led learning, and trust my children's own inner guidance and the true, natural love of learning that, I feel, dwells in us all.
I wasn't schooled this way at all. My mother used a very traditional approach with curriculums and tests and lessons that left my bottom hurting from sitting at the dining table for so long and my mind constantly wondering.
This is new territory for me, but at the same time, it feels very natural and like I already know just what to do. I'm digging into the Waldorf way of learning, very excited about that. When I first discovered Waldorf the main draw for me was the deemphasise of academics for young students and emphasis on art and beauty and nature and sensitivity and development of the soul, things I feel are essential for the spirit of a young child (or anyone, for that matter). Before I came upon Waldorf education I knew that the traditional approach to schooling left so much lacking for me. So much the growing child should be learning about that is being completely ignored in favor of academics and memorization. Such a huge chunk of what makes us human completely overlooked and the whole child not kept in mind. In my mind, all possibilities are planted inside of a child at birth. But when certain seedlings are left untended, they wither and die.
So, I will try to strike this delicate balance between my child's leading and my own guidance. We're not gong into this with handbooks or textbooks or folders and #2 pencils. We're going to take this one day at a time and add things where we both see fit.
Also, where I live there is no Waldorf community, the nearest school just opened over an hour and a half away, in Asheville North Carolina. But I do have one friend with a three year old daughter who thinks very much like I do and we are discussing and making plans to form a small co-op, to teach and expose our daughters to various things together. Right now, I am making plans for our first venture into this, a wool 'workshop'. More details on that to come.

That's the plan, one day at a time! I'm very excited to begin this new journey with my daughter.


PhotobucketThe new chicks have started laying. Which is especially nice at the moment, as we've not been getting very many eggs from the older hens. But I'm thinking it's because those naughty ducks have been a bad influence and they're hiding them, too. Well, anyway, we're getting enough to keep us happy now. They're pretty small but they're a nice size for the girls' breakfast eggs and they're a lovely brown. Happiness is, a new flock of laying hens.

P.S. Don't forget to enter this week's giveaway.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Morning Rhythm

Rhythm... I must admit that this is a bit of a struggle for me. I'm not sure why, I've always thrived on routines and predictability. But, as a mother, I find it difficult to make it come together. Let's be real, children, while they need predictability, predictable they are not! And, more than that, I never know what I should add, should it be a regular thing, oh, and lets not forget the mountain of work that constantly calls me away. Where does that fit in? I'm really not sure... yet. But I'm working on it.
I think I have mentioned here that we begin our first home school year in September (eek! less than a week away!), so I'm really feeling like this is something I've got to get and get it now! Linking up with Nichole today, I'm going to show you where we are, so far.My day starts at, ideally, 5:30 am. But River won't always let me leave the bed then or perhaps I didn't get to bed like I should have the night before and so we'll say, anywhere from 5:30-7. This is the time I really need to have, a little alone time, time to drink a cup of coffee, do a little blogging, catch up on emails. Because, yet again ideally, I would then close the laptop and not touch it again til at least nap time. But I still haven't figured out how to get all I need done here and stay caught up on everything in that time frame. Another something I really need to figure out, pronto.
Anyway, at 7:00 if the girls haven't already woken up, I go into their room and gently wake them, singing, pulling down the covers and generally they wake cheerfully, singing along. We use this one for waking and greeting the morning. Very familiar but with a twist, insisted upon by the girls.
Good morning dear earth
Good morning dear sun
Good morning to the rocks, and the flowers, every one
Good morning to the busy bees and the little bunnies and the dragons and the birds in the trees
Good morning to you and good morning to me

At this point, I am dressed so I will attempt to smoothly get the girls dressed and into the bathroom. Realistically, though, the girls become distracted by toys or books right away and there is nothing in their closet they will agree to wear or Kaiya is going to lie in bed and refuse to dress (because 6 is the new 16, apparently). And while all of this is going on I am swiftly making everyone's bed, on Monday changing the sheets. If I am lucky they're ready to head into the bathroom by the time I am done.
If not (more often than not) I will spend another 10-15 minutes attempting to find clothes that make everyone happy and convincing Kaiya to get dressed, which isn't easy. This isn't fun, it's actually a stressful way to begin the morning, arguing with and cajoling her, and if you have some advice for me on this one, I would love to hear it.
Eventually we are off into the bathroom for teeth brushing and hair combing. We sing my little teeth brushing song (to the tune of Merry Old Land of Oz, from The Wizard of Oz).
Brush, brush, brush
Brush brush, brush
Brush all your little teeth
Clean, clean, clean
Clean them good
So you don't get cavities

This generally goes pretty smoothly. And, yes, we brush before we eat. I just have to do this, always have. I can't stand morning mouth and I can't eat with it, either.
Next up, we head outside to care for the animals. I wrote all about that here last week. As I said, our rule is, people don't eat before the animals are cared for. It is important to me to teach the children that our responsibility to our animals is very important.
Once we are back in, it's time for our own breakfast. Generally we have eggs and toast one morning, and oatmeal the next. Occasionally we will change it up with muffins or biscuits or something special. But we usually reserve those things for the weekend. Some mornings the girls will help me, otherwise they play or read til it's ready.

Mornings aren't that big of a deal for me, at least not this getting ready for the day part. It's everything that comes after that stumps me. I'll get more into that next week maybe. Until then, enjoy some other posts on rhythm, linked up on Nichole's beautiful blog.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meltdown Monday Giveaway

Welcome to Meltdown Monday! Today's giveaway is coming from the talented Stephanie. Stephanie can be found blogging about food and knits over at her blog, Homely Homegrown. She doesn't have a shop but she has won a couple of giveaways here and wanted to be able to share something, too. So, let's meet Stephanie!

This Cosy Life- Hi, Stephanie, and welcome to Meltdown Monday! Tell us a little about yourself so we can know the person behind the work.

Stephanie-I love to knit toys for my 2 year old daughter! I have discovered how quick and fun it is and have learned some great new techniques this way. Fruit and veggies for the play kitchen are a recent favorite. I usually knit with wool.

This Cosy Life- What inspires your creations?

Stephanie- Fun and whimsy. I like to browse Ravelry for things that catch my eye and make me say "Oooh how fun!".

This Cosy Life- How do you balance 'making' with mothering?

Stephanie- I always have a project (or two or three) on the needles and I just knit in whatever spare minutes I can. Knitting takes a backseat, but I love to create when I have a quiet moment.

This Cosy Life- Thank you so much for for joining us for Meltdown Monday!

Today Stephanie is offering one more slice of summer with this sweet, hand knit watermelon.

OK, so to enter leave me a comment. You can let me know how your Monday is going or, better yet, tell me how you beat the dreadful Meltdown Monday or just say hi. Whatever.

For additional entries;
(leave a separate comment for each entry, if you don't, they count as one)
Tweet this (include @thiscosylife in your tweet)
Share on Facebook
Blog this giveaway
And for this giveaway you can gain one additional entry by following Stephanie's blog.

I will randomly pick a winner on Sunday September 4th and announce here, on my blog. (Please, make sure I have a way to contact you!)

*Meltdown Monday Giveaways are open worldwide.

PS: If anyone is interested in participating in a Monday Meltdown giveaway, here on my blog, contact me here. Whether an item from your Etsy shop or just a little something you would like to give away to brighten someone's Monday, it's all good!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday Night

This sweet girl normally showers with me. But, yesterday evening she was so cranky while I was making supper, so I popped her in the kitchen sink for a little bath. And the crankies drained away!

And now a winner of this week's Meltdown Monday giveaway is...


Congratulations! I will email you right away and you will have 48 hours to get back with me.

Hope you're having a beautiful and restful Sunday!

PS: If anyone is interested in participating in a Monday Meltdown giveaway, here on my blog, contact me here. Whether an item from your Etsy shop or just a little something you would like to give away to brighten someone's Monday, it's all good!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Girls Love Dinosaurs

I'm blogging here today. Won't you hop on over and join me there?

P.S. It's the last day to enter to win an Autumn Fairy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Don't forget to enter this week's giveaway, one of my own autumn fairies!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Farm Help

We have a rule in our house, people don't eat til all animals have been fed. Now, ordinarily, the older girls stay in the house and the baby goes to grandma's (next door) while I care for the animals. But we're trying something new. The girls get up at 7 and so, sometime before 8, everyone is dressed, teeth are brushed and beds are made and that means we're ready to head outside. Yes, we. The main gathering spot for the livestock is directly behind our house, so we don't have far to go. Every one's boots go on and here we go.

They all come running, ready for their morning treat. Which I am out of, and they are none too happy, let me tell you.
The girls love this and are very eager to pitch in. Filling up water tubs.
Sidetracked by flowers on the other side of the fence.
Checking here and there for eggs. We don't usually find any unless they're ducks eggs. Our chicken hens don't usually start laying til around 9-10am. The ducks, however, lay as soon as the sun comes up (though, they usually hide them and we don't get any).

Feeding and watering the rabbits...
And don't forget the chickens. This guy is proving to be quite greedy. He hops right up there with his big head right in the grain tub as soon it's open. Men!
I took care of the animals on my own because it was the most efficient way of doing things. I can get it done much more quickly doing it on my own. But, it's not always about efficiency. It's about doing this with my girls. Teaching them that we are responsible for these animals that give us food and wool. Teaching them the joy that comes from taking care for them and that there is joy in work. They're learning how to behave around the animals... don't chase the chickens, sheep don't like when you walk straight up their face. Even little River is learning this.
It does take some extra time and today I had to wash River's hair because she came in with chicken poop in it (not too sure how that happened). But it's worth it to see them eager and involved and to be able to share this time in the morning that is so fulfilling to me.
Afterward, it's time to head back inside and fill up the hard working people tummies!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Right Now

I'm trying to enjoy a peaceful moment before the girls wake while trying to keep the wild baby at least a little quite, too, so her big sisters sleep on just a few minutes more.
Right now I'm pondering rhythm and the things we choose to allow in our lives, or not.
Thinking of what I want to include in our first year of homeschooling and how it will change our days.
Hoping today will be a better day than yesterday's wild baby induced train wreck.
Gearing up for much, much patience.
And, right now, I'm stepping away from here to enjoy this quite moment with said wild baby.
I hope you have a beautiful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The New Guy

As promised, some photos of that new guy on the roost. Please don't ask what kind of rooster he is. I got him from a friend and she has told me several times already but I just can't remember. I do know he is two different breeds... that's it.
Regardless, he's a pretty good looking guy, I think. And he's finally started crowing (he's only 14 weeks old). I really love the sound of a rooster crowing in the morning. Just something so nice and homey about that.

OK, a couple of things;
*If you haven't entered this week's giveaway, you should.
*The little blue vest is already gone but the sweater still needs a home (free!).
* Natural Kids has moved! You should check out the new site.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meltdown Monday Giveaway

Comments on this giveaway are closed.
Yes, it's these ladies again. I still have no access to my pictures so I think the fact that they are already here will determine the giveaway today. Which is late! And I'm very sorry about that. It's just been one of 'those' days. And I'm very glad to see it wind down. I hope your Monday was great, though. Not too much melting down?

This week you can enter to win one of the little autumn fairies you see above, your choice of color. You can choose between pumpkin, acorn. gold and apple.

OK, so to enter leave me a comment. You can let me know how your Monday is going or, better yet, tell me how you beat the dreadful Meltdown Monday or just say hi. Whatever.

For additional entries;
(leave a separate comment for each entry, if you don't, they count as one)
Tweet this (include @thiscosylife in your tweet)
Share on Facebook
Blog this giveaway

I will randomly pick a winner on Sunday August 28th and announce here, on my blog. (Please, make sure I have a way to contact you!)

*Meltdown Monday Giveaways are open worldwide.

PS: If anyone is interested in participating in a Monday Meltdown giveaway, here on my blog, contact me here. Whether an item from your Etsy shop or just a little something you would like to give away to brighten someone's Monday, it's all good!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Yesterday, I spent the whole day out with my best friend since I was 12. It was nice. Since having kids, I really can't remember the last time we went out with just the two of us (and her 6 month old, but who's counting?). My ex stayed with the girls here at my house. I'm always ready for the house to be in shambles when I get home. What I was not prepared for, however, was for my laptop to be completely inoperable. I have no idea what's wrong with it and he didn't bother to tell me there was anything wrong with it. So, I'm feeling rather irritated and worried that I may loose what's on it. The biggest loss would be all of my pictures...

I had a post planned out for today, but I'm using my mother's laptop and I have no pictures on it. So you get to see some of my newest little wooden dolls. Witches here, fairies here. And, of course, a giveaway winner.

Congratulations, Andrea! I will contact you in just two shakes of a lamb's tale.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Organizing With Baskets

Today I'm blogging over at the Natural Kids Team blog. Check it out!

P.S. If you haven't already entered to win this gorgeous wool angel do so now. Winner will be drawn tomorrow. Have a beautiful Saturday!

Friday, August 19, 2011


I'm putting this one out there, should I forget what a blessed mama I am.
Breakfast in bed.

Handmade gifts.
Being 'read' to.

And early morning birthday snuggles. Before I even had a chance to get out of bed (Actually, I was up an hour before them. When Kaiya woke she said 'Oh, no! You were supposed to be in bed. So, back to bed I was.) I already had a better birthday than anyone could ask for. It blows me over all they come up with on their own, how giving they are and what joy the take in it. I must be doing something right.
And, thank you, to all of you for your birthday wishes!

P.S. Don't forget to enter to win this beautiful wool angel!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Today, I am 31 years old. 31... Inspired by Lisa I am going to share 31 things about myself, that perhaps you don't already know about me. Here goes...

1. I am the middle child of five children, two brothers and two sisters.

2.When I was a child I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up.

3. As an adolescent, I wanted to be a writer.

4. Other than this blog, I never write anymore.

5. I read almost no fiction. I feel guilty and non-productive when I do.

6. I am obsessed with salt and vinegar potato chips, but hate the way they make the inside of my cheek peel when I eat too many.

7. I have eczema. After River's birth I developed a pretty bad case which is now all gone but on my right hand. It gets so bad it often cracks and bleeds. Makes knitting quite difficult at times.

8. I'm a fiber snob. I used to knit with all manner of synthetic fibers, now I can't stand to touch the stuff.

9.I stopped eating meat just a few months ago. I don't push it on my girls, though, but I won't cook it.

10. I can't turn down a good basket.

11. I didn't let anyone celebrate my 30th birthday. I had just told my husband I wanted a divorce and couldn't stand the thought of celebrating it without him.

12. At 31 I think I'm finally over it... yeah.

13. My great aunt used to babysit my younger brother and I. She had a swing in her back yard and one day, after my mom left, I went to it and swung the whole day. The whole day.

14. I'm knitting constantly but I can't remember the last thing I made for myself.

15. I have sheared sheep with sewing scissors.

16. I have a hot temper and patience is a constant struggle.

17. I don't mind saying I was wrong, especially to my children.

18. I adore The Muppet's Christmas Carol and sing along with all the songs every year.... and just sing them anyway whenever the mood strikes.

19. Nearly half my back is covered with a tattoo of one of Brian Froud's fairies. I frequently forget it's there and am surprised when I spy it in the mirror.

20. I've never stolen anything, except in elementary school. A boy who sat next to me kept taking part of my lunch money from my desk so one day I stole some of his.

21. My mom home schooled my two younger siblings and I after I finished the 6th grade. I hated her for that and fought her the whole way. Now I'm grateful she did it and put up with me through it.

22. I quit when I was 15. I don't regret that but do regret that my daughters do not have an example of continued education.

23. We kept rats when I was growing up. They were some of the most affectionate pets I've ever had.

24. Their tails still creep me out.

25. I sing and dance a lot... a lot. And now my girls do, too. It's much like a musical at our house.

26. I like a cold house at night, or anytime, really.

27. We have a wool sign hanging up in the hallway that I made, it says 'Be Kind'. The girls remind me of it when they feel I'm not being very kind.

28. Since having my three girls I sweat more, my hips ache if I'm on my feet too much, my cervix is mildly prolapsed, I get very mucus-y if I consume much dairy and each day is fuller than I would have ever dreamed.

29. I don't remember hardly anything about my childhood. It wasn't traumatic or anything like that, I just don't remember. When others talk about theirs or my family talks about times gone by, I really have nothing to add. It's just a blur.

30. That said, I'm very unsentimental and don't like to hold onto things. Even what I do remember, I don't like to reminisce.

31. I also don't like talking about the future too much. Planning in a very realistic way, sure. But I despise speculating and what ifs.

There you have it! 31 terribly fascinating things about your truly. So, have a happy day, will ya?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Handmade Knit Me Downs

I wanted to let you all have first dibs on a couple more pieces I'm adding to the Hand Knit hand Me Down Flickr pool. You don't know what I'm talking about? Well, if you knit (or crochet) you really need to check it out. I've been busy and not posted there in some time but I would really love to see it take off everyone be able to share in all of the hand-me-down goodness.

Just a brief rundown if you're unfamiliar...
Upload your gently used hand knits (and crochets) and find a new home for an otherwise outgrown or unused piece that you put so much work into. You must knit or crochet to join and there will be no selling or trading allowed. This is only for giving away.
LinkLinkI am finally letting go of this little vest. It's actually the piece that inspired me to start the group. It was already smallish when I made it and I would love to find it a good home. In this picture River is one, so I say it's best sized for 0-1. I've knit it with Louisa Harding's Thistle, merino wool and alpaca. Rav notes here.
And the buttons are wood. it's so soft and the color is just divine. Do you love it as much as I do? I hope so because I would love to see another little one wearing it.
This one River wore from the time she was about 2 months old to one year old.
LinkAs you can see the sleeves were pretty baggy at 2 months but it still fit pretty well.
This one has some synthetic in it. It's Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend, 56% Wool, 22% Polyester, 22% PTT. I adore the colorway! Very fall-ish. Rav notes are here.
If you would like to have either of these sweaters, please, head on over to the group, join if you haven't already, and snatch them up. They're free!