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After 2 kids, the “need list” for a baby is definetly smaller then when we first started out with children.  As a matter of fact, I was myself amazed at how I didn’t want (need) anything for this baby.  We already have the diapers, a matress, and baby carriers, what can a baby need more then that?

Aside of course of mama made things 😉

I have created something for each of my children before they were born.  And for some reason, in the midst of a really  REALLY hot summer, I decided that a blanket was in order for this baby…go figure…

I wanted something simple but also with a pattern and made with something that had not bathed in pesticide.  Since baby is due in july, it needed to be not too hot, but also usable in winter.

I choosed the “project linus security blanket” from the book  Knitting for peace and used Blue Sky Alpaca colorgrown organic cotton as yarn for this project.  Perfect project, perfect yarn.  Soft and delicious.  And since the pattern created holes in the knitting, it is perfect as a summer blanket, but the yarn also makes it perfect as a colder weather blanket.

and guess what, now that I am over with it, I am receiving orders for a redo  from the other 2.  They all want to snuggle with it, even at 30 degrees!!!

It was also on my list to do a silk pilot hat.  But the blanket took longer then anticipated, and so I decided to go ahead and get one to make sure that I wouldn’t be caught without one.

from a nice mama in Sweden.  This hat is so soft and luxurious, I absolutely love it.  But I seem to have a little time on my hand, so I might cast one on a size bigger, so that will be ready when autumn comes.

There is something in knitting while being pregnant that makes you feel just so good, but then again, for me, knitting always does 🙂

Next on the needles, something for Pea.  He has been wanting a mama made pullover forever, and he does need one for when school will start again.  Time to get working on this…well, when the heat comes down a little…

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I have just finished to read this book:

It has been on my amazon wish list for such a long time, and for some reason, I kept putting off buying it.

I read Simplicity parenting before, a super interesting book by Kim John Payne, and loved it.  ( and highly recommend it)

It discusses simplicity with young children, with a Waldorf point of view, so I was not convinced that I would be able to really find something different enough to justify buying it.  Well, I finally took the plunge, and I am SO glad that I did.

I feel like this book tackles a bit more topics then Simplicity parenting.  Or should I say complement.  There are so many valuable advises that I took from SP, but I was able to add or reinforce some other topics with Living simply with children.  The topic of school, money, environement, things that I don’t recall reading in SP.  There is also a wealth of informations, links, ressources and all at the end of each chapters so if you feel the need to deepen your knowledge on one topic, it is rather easy to do.

The author really loves the book “your money or your life” and mentionnes it many times through out the book.  I might give it a look eventually.

I love how she stresses that simple living is not something you do because you are poor or can make it, but because you make a choice.  Or should I say CHOICES.  You have to decide what are your priorities, where do you want to go, and what is the best route to get there.  If things are for you, you need to work, and thus get less time.  But if you rather time and relationships, then forget the things, and get the time.

My thoughts and conclusion after ready this book:

It is crazy how the arrival of children in your life make you reconsider many things, your way of living, your values… I guess we call this grow.  This is something that has happened with the arrival of both my child and is happenning again this time around.  I feel like at every preparation for this new arrival, I did a step further in a direction, and I am realizing that this direction has not changed since the beginning of this.  I am just walking deeper into a road that seem to uncover itself as I go, and as our lives changes.  I don’t think there is an ending destination, I think it is the journey that matters.  But that journey really is rooted in simplicity for me.  Everytime I started to feel overwhelemed or just bad (not being able to define what was going on), something happened that made me simplify more, and suddenly, things started to make sense again.

Simplicity comes easily, anytime, and just feel so good to me, to us…

I am realising, after putting down this book, that materialism is really something I am struggling with.  I really feel a weight with material possessions, and feel just so much lighter when not in a” owning” state of mind.  I was scared to have kids, because the vision I had of childhood is the one that is promoted by commercial and the materialistic world we live in.  Comes with a child tons of stuff and that scared me.  I didn’t want to go through this.  And yet, we had a kid, and entered this world of consumerism, and god did that not feel good.  I hate that people around me would somehow decide how our lifes would be by getting us what they thought was useful for a baby:  mobile with lights and music, plastic toys, musical toys and so on.  But after some much soul searching, and reading, and surfing, I found that there is another way to live and there are other things that can be done then just stick to the images that we see everywhere of what life and childhood should be.

First thing to do: close the TV!

And then follow your heart and your soul.

Yes, I am currently in a journey of change, and our way of life has tremendously changed in the last five years.  We have tried stuff, made mistake, tried other things, took some wrong turns, and now are trying to become what our family is by picking what resonates with us.

Although I have said not so long ago how Waldorf did not resonate all that much with us, I have to retract that. When I first started to research Waldorf, I read a lot, and was influenced by the forums at Mothering.com.  So I was exposed to the outside world of Waldorf, the one that is being more and more popular right now: the beautiful toys notably.  And while I DO NOT want to bash in any ways the wonderful posters over there, I feel like materialism is a common trend that kinda turned me off.  We are, therefore, currently living deep into many of the Montessori principles since my son attend a Montessori preschool and is so happy in this environement, but there also, I felt the burden of materialism weighing on me when thinking about using this as homeschooling method.

But after the rain, the sun always comes out!

But recently, I have found something else. I was searching for a post by a wonderful mama about bedtime  where she was linking me to her blog.  And gosh did I love what  I read.  I wasn’t aware at the time that she was Waldorf or anything, I just loved the ideas and the feel of that post.  I went back to it about 2-3 weeks ago, and then my curiosity was piqued seing that she also had so many things to say about Waldorf, things that were way further from the best toys, the necessary items, basically, nothing that had to do with owning things, but rather living Waldorf.  And in one of her post, I stumbled about a yahoo group adress: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorfhomeeducators/?yguid=301863949  where she claimed there was many articles about Waldorf that were really a must to read.  Being the curious person that I am, I HAd to go and see.

And I have to agree.  I have found so many things that totally resonates with me.  Many that adresses the dangers of materialism, of commercialism, of TV and everything that comes with it.

Yesterday, I was meditating on the topic of newborns.  MY soon to be newborn.  What does he really need?  Does he really need “things”?  And giving a quick look in the file section, I found an article written a couple of years ago by the owner of the list.  I would love to share this part of the article with you:

Soon, though, within perhaps minutes, the weight of materialism beings to exert itself into the realm of the child:  possessions and objects. Humanity does bear the burden of both consumerism and clever mass production capacities.  We overflow with things, we drown in stuff, we wade through our homes and garages and sheds and attics and basements and storage spaces and barns and warehouses and containers and malls and giant cargo ships, with closets, drawers, and shelves overflowing with physical matter.”

“Well intended parents and relatives stock these rooms with every imaginable beautiful “natural” toys.  Hand carved wooden animals fill barns, needle felted villagers populate oak-tree dwellings, handmade dolls with exquisite clothing lie in bunk beds, and china tea sets rest on hand spun plant dyed organic cotton placemats!  Dozens of toys line the shelves and floor.  Can the young spirit breathe in this space?  What can unfold in the inner realms when surrounded by a plethora of objects, colors, shapes, forms, sensory impressions?

In this light, then, if you provide the child with hardened images, and objects, in your home or classroom, then you rob the child of this important venue of spiritual education, one that begins at birth…

Even in the Waldorf world, materialism raises its head with the advent of professionally produced ‘toys’ and products, aimed at capturing the market share of the ‘natural market’.  Homes and classes filled with ‘made’ objects or ‘made’ ideas, are offering hardened thinking to the children, no matter how beautiful or gloriously created these items are. These objects are designed to appeal to us, to the adults, who yearn for the days when a simple stick could be literally anything.  We need and admire these beautiful creations, much more than the child under age seven does…

Nature tables are becoming filled with human-manufactured objects, pushing aside the plants, leaves, wood, and stones.  …”

Written by Marsha Johnson

And that.  That article, really made me think through the night (while baby was obviously having a gymnastic class in there…)  it lifted a veil over Waldorf, one that I was not fond of.

I am still unsure what route we’ll be using when comes the “pedagogy” times.  But I feel like I have seen something that I can really relate to. The more I am reading about the less known sides of waldorf, the more interested I am in reading some more.  There are things that I don’t relate to, and that don’t resonate with me.  But I am grateful to have the time to learn, and read and try!  Isn’t this fantastic to have the time to try, and to feel how this and that makes us feel?  It is the best way to truly find what you are, to customize your life the way you want, and not being dictated what you should think and do and have!.  Trying, making mistakes, trying again, and then knowing.

I will continue to make mistakes and learn, and while all that, I am confident that I will find my path, the one I am supposed to be on.  And there is one thing I know, simplicity and simple living, is part of it.

Yes, I am nesting big time.  But I think whoever is out there over us designed this period to give us the chance to change and find a new path, one we should be on.  I am all ears!

Keeping in the same line of subject today.  The sand paper letters.

I wondered for a while how I would make those.  I knew I wanted them made on wooden boards, but at the time, that was it.

I found some really thin wooden board at my local art shop. In the watercolor section.  SO I bought that and had DH cut them into 4 squares, so I didn’t need all that much.

Then I painted those boards with acrylic paint that I also bought there.  I used the same red and blue that I did for the red rods and the numeral rods.  I created the pink with a dash of white.  I started by painting only one side, but was not happy with the end result, so I ended up painting both side, and I am happy that I did.  It makes a neater job IMO.

Once the paint was dry, it was time to add the letter.  I had different options:

1- apply glue and pour sand over it to create the letters

2- Used sticky felt

3 go the longest way and use sandpaper.

After weighing all the options, I decided to go the “real” route, and use sandpaper.  I do not regret one bit this choice, even though it took longer.

SO I used 220 sandpaper.  I could have used softer, but that was what I had on hand.  DO NOT GO LOWER THEN THAT THOUGH, it is too rough for little hands.

I cutted the letter with a exacto and a self healing board.  Then I glued them with carpenter glue.  This does a wonderful job of sticking the paper!

I finished with a slight coat of Mod podge, but I didn’t pass over the letters  for fear that they would not have the necessary tactile feeling anymore.  I think I could have done it though without problems.

So here is the finaly result:

I organized them in a basket, I couldn’t find any wooden boxes that would fit them in, and that allowed me tu reuse things I had on hand.

I am super happy with the result, and I don’t feel the need to get already made sandpaper letter. (which is an indicator for me of my level of satisfaction 😉

I did see some really nice handmade ones though.  So if you don’t feel like making them, but would rather have something homemade, these would be a very nice choice.  Otherwise, this is a fun but I admit time consuming project.  YOu cannot do this in one seating, because of the paint…

HTH 🙂