Stone Soup and Why You Should Taste it!

Yeah- I know…. it’s a fair and everyone is having one this time of year but everyone is not having a FAIRE.

Did any of you read the recent New York Times article published right after Steve Jobs passed away a few Sundays ago?  It was written about one of our fellow Waldorf schools in Palo Alto California, and if you were at all curious about what all the fuss is about- our Faire would make for a great introduction.

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Our school Holiday Faire is difficult to describe, but I’m gonna give it a shot because I want everyone to come (that way you’ll know that I am not making this stuff up and can vouch for me in other yet unproven circumstances!)

The first time I went to Europe I was taken aback by how magical everything was.   It was like a feast for the senses, and I devoured everything i could see, touch, smell, taste, and have developed a penchant for italian shoes and european goods that borders on an obsession.   Although we won’t be offering the Prada shoe’s for sale at the faire we will be offering the most gorgeous, unique and luxurious products I could find from all over the world.  Yes, that’s right… I was the buyer for the faire and let me tell you- you are in for a TREAT and I AM NOT BIASED I SWEAR!!!

Each year we have a theme to our Faire and this years theme is from the old story of STONE SOUP ~ Remember the children’s book?  Well as the story goes- a hungry beggar goes from home to home with what at first is an empty pot and a single stone asking for a donation from each home’s kitchen so he can make a most delicious stone soup. All the towns people contribute and everyone in the community takes part in it’s wonderful creation and then sits down for a meal together.

Until a few years ago when I started to get involved in the creation of this Faire, I felt kind of jaded about the holidays. It was so commercial, and nothing seemed unique or special. Now I look forward to each year of our Faire where I know I can find unique gifts that you can not find anywhere else, can catch the spirit of the season and spend a day of joy with everyone celebrating together. It’s just so special with the most amazing colors, smalls, sights, dance, music, and food… it’s just magical. The community that makes this “soup” is just amazing and you will experience their hard work, home cooking, handcrafts, and joy so please… come have a taste.

Saturday evening (NOV 19th) is for Adults only from 6-9 pm. If you bring a friend who does not currently go to the school and you are one of the first 50 through the door you and he/she will receive an amazing gift bag with some amazing products and discounts from community contributors (just a lil’ incentive!)

and Sunday all Day 10 am- 4 pm (November 20th) is our FAMILY DAY ( so feel free to bring the kids) where there will be food, festivities, games, a gnome cave, a pocket lady, music, dancing, a puppet show and of course a continuation of some amazing shopping!  Bring your own shopping bag ( just in case) and you’ll enter into a wonderland inside the school where you’ll visit our School Holiday Store where you will find handmade goods, european toys and products from India, Africa, Peru, and around the world. The Bee Room with fresh honey, gifts, luminaries and everything made from Bee’s products.  Then you can visit our “book garden” where you can get some hard to find Childrens books from writers like Elsa Beskow etc. and a gently used book garden for brand new titles for just a few dollars each. There is an amazing Farmers Market so you can stock up on yummy veggies and food items for Thanksgiving, and there is a cafe, a craft room and so much more.  If you click HERE you can see images which are  just some of the things you will find at our school this Holiday Faire.  Please “Like” us on Facebook HERE so that you can get reminders of our other great events and please don’t forget to SHARE this post on your own wall so that friends can join you with their families too!

PS: If there are any brand conscious people out there we have invested in over 70 unique brands including: Nova Natural, Sarahs Silks, Kathe Kruse, Moulin Roty (France), Osthiemer (Germany), Handprint (India) En Gry & Sif (Denmark), Mama K’s Aromatic Clay, Evi Dolls (Germany), Channel Craft Toys ( USA), Grimms (Germany),  Jam Town ( Africa), and much much much more!

Soaps, Fine candles, Felted Bags, Purses, Computer Bags, Slippers, Hats, Food, Wooden Toys, Dolls, Doll House and Accessories, Fairy Homes, Robes, Cutting Boards, Jewelry… it’s endless!

The Meadowbrook Waldorf School 
300 Kingston Road (Route 138)
Richmond RI 02892

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Over the Rainbow Bridge: Summer Vacation

Yesterday I attended my son’s last day of school for summer vacation and I wanted to share these precious photographs.

Both of my kids go to a Waldorf School.  I am a huge advocate- not because I think it’s THE way, but because it totally works for myself and my family.

I wanted the next best thing to homeschooling, and I wanted a kind, nurturing, and conscientious atmosphere that they would spend the next eight-ten years of their life in. I love the philosophy which you can read about here, and I am incredibly moved and inspired by the children who graduate from Waldorf Education.  I’ve decided to try to write a little series about why i love Waldorf so I will try to post those in the coming weeks/months.

Yesterday I got to participate in the “Rainbow Bridge” ceremony for those who will cross over into the first grade so Shaw was saying goodbye to many of his good friends that he spent the year with (Shaw will still be in Kindergarten next year because he is not yet of age to enter the first grade).  If you are interested in the Rhode Island Waldorf School and want to know more you can visit their website and blog  ( where at the top of the page you can read an article I wrote about my own experience in a Waldorf School while growing up in Michigan).

I CAN’T believe it’s SUMMER VACATION ALREADY!!!!

Preparing the rainbow bridge

Shaw "working" through play... his favorite thing to do!

The Boys

The Gift of “NO”

I have had heard from many this week through email and comments (always welcome!)  saying how much they’ve enjoyed the humor posts lately about my struggle to regain control of my children.

As much as I have made light of this situation, it’s truly been troubling me. What happened to my sweet kids? I witness them hitting each other,  saying unkind things to one another, acting entitled, disrespectful, rude, ungrateful and oh,  did I mention ungrateful?  They feel that everything is a negotiation and that they should be the center of attention at all times.

I have put my mind to researching every book and text I can access on the subject of discipline lately and as I poured over excerpts, essays, and entries online and off line the term “family values”  comes up repeatedly. This has brought me to an interesting crossroads…..

What ARE my family values and have I ever communicated them to my children?

I think back to my own upbringing, and all of the ways i undermined my mothers techniques with my internal dialog vowing  never  to repeat her words, mistakes, or measures …. OH YES I WOULD BE DIFFERENT- BETTER . We all do the BEST we can….

OR DO WE?

For instance…

1) I KNOW that letting my children watch three movies in a row so I can get some work done and allow them to scream “MOOOOOOM I NEED A SNACK!” as i distractedly talk on the phone and fill yet another snack bowl and bring it to them so as not to disturb the catatonic state i have going for me is NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

2) I KNOW that giving in and opening the yet unpurchased bag of oreo cookies in the grocery store and saying “maybe” while being peppered with the “can I get a toy?” questions to avoid a scene in the grocery store  while finally rewarding them at the end for not acting like ANIMALS with some form of additional treat or bribe is NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

3) I KNOW that negotiating with my five year old as he turns my own words on me telling me “Mom, it’s your choice, a popsicle or a cookie” as he deny’s my pleas to eat something healthy, while I whine “how about some proteeeeein”?  Is NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

4) I KNOW choices of chicken nuggets, pizza, pasta with butter, cheese quesadillas and gogurts as a family meal each night in order so I don’t have to deal with the “YUCK!” comments, dinner table fights, prolonged whining and remaking something they will eat all the while hoping I do not dirty another dish I will have to wash for the umpteenth time IS NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

Now- these are just four examples and trust me, I can go ON and ON but what it really comes down to is

What the hell am i teaching my children and who wears the pants in this house anyway?

The fact of the matter is that I DO KNOW what i should be doing to illicit the proper behavior in my children but I have let my own agenda, self doubt, fatigue, and countless conflicting messages in the media cloud my vision on a minute by minute basis instead of simply DOING what MUST BE DONE.

I know I have GOOD children,  AND that they REQUIRE direction, support, and limits at all times at this stage in their development and that I am the best one for the job.  If I bungle this NOW…what will that mean for their future? In my excavation on the subject I re-read this little gem:  the gift of NO, (If you click on this link this article pretty much sums it up). I love this article…. it makes sense to me and I think it will make sense to you too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and I truly appreciate all of you who are also exploring this conversation with me it makes me feel somewhat normal and not so alone!

Five Tips on Discipline

Last night I attended a parent gathering at school to discuss “discipline” at home – a subject I find both fascinating and haunting.   Fascinating because It’s something I’d love to be better at, and haunting because of what i’ve stooped to thus far. Sometimes I forget that the goal NOW is to parent in such a way that the RESULT is that my children are well adjusted, compassionate & competent adults.

Here are a few things I learned I learned last night….

1) Sitting on my small child’s chest while yelling “who’s da man?” is only going to cause resentment and require a hefty investment in psychotherapy later in life ( yes, I’m ashamed to admit, he has pushed me this far)

2) Negotiating with your child is a bad habit and if you do it – you teach a child NOT to accept your limits. Most of the time there is NOTHING to negotiate.

3) Stop making empty threats: you will lose your power and your credibility.  Have a few rules and enforce them regularly with realistic consequences that actually work  (I remember i once took away Halloween like three times before we went out trick or treating! )

4) Discipline *as much as possible using natural consequences: for instance ; If dinner is served and your child makes the choice not to eat it, he or she will go to bed hungry.  Choosing NOT to eat the dinner causes the consequence of going to bed hungry.  It’s a guarantee this behavior will not persist for very long and your child will stop fussing when you put dinner on the table ( imagine? – this is going to be a hard one for me)  This does not mean, however that you allow your child to go outside without a coat and become cold if they so choose, but instead a natural consequence might be that they lose out on another privilege that might be important to them or that they be required to sit by themselves inside while everyone else play outdoors.

5) Your child is not your friend.   Children need a competent adult who loves them without strings attached. When you try to be their best friend you rob them of their parent.  Don’t make this mistake.

No matter what – discipline with consistency ( not consistently inconsistant) so that your child has a firm understanding of what his or her limits are. This also allows them the opportunity to self regulate later in life when you are not around.