homemade orange garland

this morning wes and i decided to get a little crafty. last year we made an orange garland and the kids loved the way it looked hanging above our fireplace. so, we decided to make it again, and this time i thought i’d share how we did it in case you’d like to give it a try! i needed a reminder myself on the recipe, so i’ll have it filed here forever.

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here’s the recipe for ya:

• slice oranges thin

• dab with paper towels

• line them on parchment paper or a non-stick cookie sheet

• bake at 250 for 1 hour and flip orange slices, baking for 1 more hour (check every 15 minutes or so to make sure they’re not getting too brown around the edge’s)

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i like using twine to hang ours, using a needle to string it through. i don’t let wes help with this part, but he watches and observes. i’ve found it to be quite therapeutic for me and calming activity for the kiddos!

B9D064B2-FAB9-4386-BB43-FE514861FCB6this is a nice way to brighten things up on the cold, and sometimes gray days this time of year.  i also like adding fresh pine throughout our home to bring some of the outside in! plus it smells SO good! eucalyptus is another lovely scent during the winter months (its one one of my favorite essential oils too, to help knock out and prevent excess congestion)

cinnamon, orange, and black spruce are my favorite combo of oils to diffuse in the winter to help promote a peaceful environment and beat winter blues. who couldn’t use that while we’re all stuffed up in the house?! it’s a great way to rid the air of germs too!!

i hope you’re all keeping warm and cozy and staying well this season!

best regards,

laura

rooted in nature: spring stories & activities

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ive always loved being in nature so incorporating it into our everyday learning just makes sense. living where the changing seasons are makes it so nice to see all that nature has to offer. the changes of the weather, the animals, plants, and the changes within our own home as i decorate with the season in mind. all of these changes intertwine, helping us to expand our thinking to the outside world. i believe this is so important to teach from a young age in order to give a sense of responsibility and nuture curiosity in the world around us.

i love showing my kiddos all the beauty and wonders of nature, along with the potential dangers to be aware of. the book “finding wild” is so helpful with this. i adore the illustrations too!

letting children spend hands on time in nature allows them to explore and soak in all kinds of information, giving them a growing appreciation of the many wonders and endless opportunities to learn. i like choosing books that go with each season and wanted to share some that we’ve been loving as we slowly shift into the lovely season of spring. i also keep in mind our “letter of the week” as i choose our books, helping to associate a picture with the letter for memorization and recognition.

here’s our spring reading list:

“i am a bunny” by richard scarry

“finding wild” by megan wagner lloyd

“puddle” by hyewon yum

“secret tree fort” by brianne farley

“bunnys many colors” by lisa mccue

“birds” by keith and jonathan west

“petunia” by roger duvoisin

“when spring comes” by kevin henkes

“the velveteen rabit” by margery williams

im sure there are lots and lots of other amazing spring books, and would love to hear of any that you’re reading to your little ones! we also enjoy doing seasonal crafts, and i wanted to share some that we’ve done so far/plan to do.

spring activities/crafts:

• birds nest: this is a quick and easy craft to do with all ages.  we cut the bottom of a brown bag and rolled it down to make the nest, then added pieces of brown paper, cut out a bird, and colored it (we also added some leaves)

• paint a picture of a puddle – little ones love making raindrops and it’s a good opportunity to talk about the weather and the importance of rain for plant growth

• nature walk – we took a guided nature walk over the weekend as a family. it was so refreshing and we always come back feeling rejuvenated after being in nature all together! (definitely bring snacks and water to keep everyone happy)

• make a bird bath/bird feeder – pinterest has lots of good ideas for this too!

i hope you have found this helpful and i would love to hear any spring activities you enjoy doing with your little ones!!

best regards,

laura

waldorf inspired learning

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i’ve been researching waldorf education and find it to be such a peaceful and calming way of teaching children about their world, allowing them to approach life with mindfulness. it encourages a growth mentality, continued love of learning, and rhythm over rigid routine. i especially love the way nature is incorporated, giving them an appreciation for all of the delightful creation that surrounds us.

one way i’ve been incorporating waldorf ideas is through regular (weekly if possible) visits to local libraries. the library we visited this week had a lovely courtyard with a beautiful garden. we also visited the park, collected leaves, painted them and made leaf prints.

this year we decided to do homeschooling with my 3 year old and have been letting fall inspire our reading. i love the changing seasons so much, but fall may be my favorite (if i had to pick). i love sweater weather, vibrant colors of the changing leaves, hayrides, and the list goes on!

here’s a list of the books we’re reading for our fall inspired theme:

“Fall” by Moira Butterfield

“Red Panda’s Candy Apples” by Ruth Paul

“How do Apples Grow” by Betsy Maestro

“Leaves” by John Farndon

“Fall” by Ron Hirschi (my fav)

i enjoy having a weekly theme as a way to expand our knowledge and share things we’ve learned as a family. overall, i’m happy we’re building a foundation for a love of learning.

what are some of your favorite fall crafts?! hope you have a lovely rest of your week!

best regards,

laura