Today is Palm Sunday, and in our family we have always prepared for Easter by making Palm Sunday branches or an Easter tree.....now my children are getting older (teens) we will plan to bake bread, but we will always have wonderful memories of making our branches and then hanging our handpainted eggs from them.
First find a suitable pot and two sticks, then bind the sticks together with wool to form a cross, and place in pot with soil and rocks to create a stable support.
Using florists wire, bind greenery around the cross to symbolise the life and resurrection.
Place an orange on the cross to symbolise the sun and the life forces. And a dough rooster on top. The rooster of course relates to the cock crowing three times when Peter denied Christ, and the rooster who calls in the dawn of the first Easter Sunday. You can then hang painted eggs from the branches. We have also used streamers in red, orange and gold, and cotton threaded with dried fruits, as decorations.
It was 2 degrees at our place overnight and on this the first day of winter our pipes decided that we could do without hot water!!! The things we take for granted!!!
Still, what a lovely first winter morning it was, soft fog with the pale sun breaking through...Jack Frost was definitely nipping at our toes...I still remember as a child I would walk up the hill to school and on frosty mornings the crunch of the frost beneath my feet would amaze me...and Jack Frost, well he seemed as real and magical as Santa Claus and I loved it when he covered the world in glistening white!
Little Jack Frost went up the hill
Watching the stars and the moon so still,
Watching the stars and the moon so bright,
And laughing aloud with all his might.
Little Jack Frost ran down the hill,
Late in the night when the winds were still,
Late in the fall when the leaves fell down,
Red and yellow and faded brown.
Little Jack Frost walked through the trees,
“Ah”, sighed the flowers, “we freeze, we freeze”
“Ah”, sighed the grasses, “we die, we die”
Said little Jack Frost, “Good bye, Good bye.”
Little Jack Frost tripped round and round,
Spreading white snow on the frozen ground,
Nipping the breezes, icing the streams,
Chilling the warmth of the sun’s bright beams.
Thank you everyone for your great parenting tips (here and on Facebook) - I've had so much fun reading them. As parents we have an incredible amount of tried and tested wisdom between us, don't you think? The lucky winner of Lou's book Turning Tears into Laughter will be announced soon. In the meantime, here is the first of Lou's tips. Hope you enjoy this new series, I will be posting a new tip from Lou each fortnight.
Include your child in all your home tasks each day, to a child work is play and keeps the young child happily playing and connected to you. A little broom or dustpan and brush next to your big broom in the kitchen, a small washing basket to carry their own socks and pants to a little washing line next to the big one! A mail bag or trolley is special to a young child to collect the mail - like a post person - each day from the letter box. A little shopping bag to look for one or two items in the supermarket, whilst shopping, or pay for a piece of fruit. A step to help to chop (soft foods with a butter knife at first) and stir in the kitchen is an essential home item with young children, and to help to wash up with bubbles.
Now here's a book that's very close to my heart. Not just because the title is a phrase that every parent yearns after, but because the author is an inspiring teacher who I have had the privilege to watch and journey through the last seven years of life with.
Lou Harvey-Zahra is a gifted teacher who has also trained in special needs education and Steiner teacher training. I first came to know Lou personally as one of the founding members of the Steiner stream at Briar Hill Primary School, where my daughter's began their primary school adventure. I had the pleasure of watching Lou's absoloute passion for all children as she helped birth a school and went on to run a Steiner playgroup for many years. Lou now teaches in a variety of schools as well as running a series of parenting courses.
Lou's book if jammed packed full of useful and practical advice for parents with young children, this is not your usual parenting book, but a clear and thoughtful look at how to understand your child better and turn what seems like a negative situation into a positive and creative one! In Lou's own words:
"When toddlers display inappropriate behaviour, rather than pointing a finger, perhaps we should ask the question ‘Why?’ Behaviour is a means of communicating. Is my child tired or hungry? Does she need to slow down and have some special time with me? Too much excitement can lead to undesirable behaviour. Are children in fact being creative and inquisitive, and their loudness or messiness is not purposely disruptive? Asking ‘Why?’ allows you insight and understanding into your child’s life. It stops the parent from reacting harshly, giving time to respond in a compassionate way."
Lou will be joining the Honeybee Toys blog every fortnight with tips on Creative Discipline and Conscious Parenting. To celebrate we are giving away a copy of Turning Tears into Laughter to one lucky reader. To be in the running simply share with us your own piece of parenting wisdom...
Here is part 4 of a 13 part series, where we will delve into the delightful kingdom of childhood. Each month, we will receive a gift from the Wise Women who so blessed the young girl Briar Rose. Some of you may be more familiar with her common name, Sleeping Beauty. Enjoy!
The veins of gold run deep in a young child. Snaking their way throughout the heart and soul of a child, each boy and girl must learn to balance caring for their precious resource and knowing when to shout ‘Eureka’!
Their riches are not vain piles of inanimate resources such as cash or silver coins, a dowry box of linen or a milking cow. Their riches cannot be measured in pounds or kilograms, by their shiny glean or date stamp, or by the colour of their robes. Their riches are veiled, hidden behind youthful eyes, deep in the bowels of the spirit.
Youthful exuberance is one such richness and glory, a commodity that many an aging grandparent would trade the world for. A young child relishes the ability to speak their own truth, to embrace growth and change, and to be immersed in a world of total choice. It is a gift that can never be regained. Their wealth also lies in having a clean slate, where each choice leads them on a new adventure and toward a new direction, with limited or no baggage at all. Oh, for the freedom of light “life-travel”!
A young child glows gold with their wonder at the world they will one day inherit. They see no limit to their potential, and seek to become everything. One day a ballerina, the next a truck driver, or teacher, artist or singer, zoo-keeper or sailor. They seek the pearl inside the oyster, trusting there will be a pearl inside every shell. Yet should that belief be quashed, they quickly shed disappointment because they also find beauty in a grain of sand. Their most valuable wealth though, resides behind the eyes, veiled and cloaked in the finest of silk. This richness is individual, quirky and unmeasurable. It is the soul of the child, the rare gifts that converge in this unusual matrix to create a one-of-a-kind being, NEVER seen before or to be repeated again.
There is a pot of gold that sits at the bottom of the child’s own rainbow. No matter how hard we try to secure the rights to that chest, their pot remains slightly out of reach for every other person in the world. We can come close, we might even catch glimpses, but the breadth and depth of the trove can’t ever be fully grasped. (Nor, by rights, can anyone steal or squander ours!) Only the child may sit and count coins, share the gold among family and friends, or bury it deep behind a tree. Their soul’s deepest riches are a treasure that no one else can keep but may only borrow if offered.
Albert Einstein observed, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be geniuses, read them more fairy tales. When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."
Some parents worry that fairytales will scare their children, or even provide "sexist" role models. However, I have found (using traditional not Disney-fied versions) that they provide rich food for the mind and allow discussions about feelings to be expressed. Fariy tales speak to a place deep within us, or from the "subconscious" as Jung would say. Unlike movies or television they allow the imagination to do it's own work, teaching us about ourselves and the world we create around us.
In is book The Power of Stories Horst Kornberger, a writer, artist and Steiner-Waldorf teacher explores the power of particular stories such as Odysseus, Parsifal, Oedipus, Bible stories and fairy tales, and explains how to apply that power to help a child develop, or to heal and transform a child with difficulties. He also includes ideas on how to create new stories to help children with particular needs, and shows storytelling to be a universal gift that we can use to benefit those around us. This is a thoughful and inspiring book for teachers and parents wishing to take a deeper look at the purpose of the fairytale.
What was your favourite fairytale as a child? Mine was Goldilocks and the Three Bears!
I am reliving my childhood at the moment after discovering the most beautiful version of this treasured book by Gerard Muller, which is so much like the one I had as a child - it's just delightful! The old worldly illustrations include lots of wonderful extra detail for children to discover in the theme of big, medium and little: big, medium, and little versions of birds, squirrels, mice, plates, umbrellas, slippers. You discover something new each time you open the pages....just beautiful.