Welcome! This is the place to be for photos and updates about our sweet bunny baby.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Experimenting with Natural Dyes in our Toddlergarten class

As some of you may know, I have been running an in-home toddler group on Monday mornings, which we call "Toddlergarten".  I would love to do a whole post about it soon, and in fact I would really like to start using this space to record more of our learning-at-home adventures. So today I will share our project from last Monday, when we experimented with natural dyes and baking soda. We had a total of five children, all 2-years-old except for one who is 4-years-old.
Millie and I prepared the dyes the night before (if the group was meeting more than once a week, I would probably have the children help cut up the dye-stuff one day, then paint with it the next, so they could really see the whole process). To make the dyes, you simply cut up the dye-stuff (vegetables, fruits, spices listed below) into small pieces, add water to cover, boil, then simmer for 30-60 minutes. Strain the dyed water into glass jars. Ideally I would have liked to have used less water (therefor making a more concentrated dye), but I was also using this batch to dye silks so I needed enough to cover that project. I poured some of the dye into empty baby food jars (see above photo) and made drawings to go along with each.
Here are the ones we made:
spinach = pale yellow
strawberry = light orange-y pink
turmeric = bright yellow
blueberry = violet
red cabbage = blue
red cabbage + vinager = pink
red cabbage + baking soda = green 
I have also made successful dye batches with marigolds (buttery yellow on silk), blackberries (gray-ish purple), and beets (rosy pink on silk). Some other ideas to try are paprika, coffee grounds, tea, onion skins, raspberries, dahlia flowers... I'm sure there are many more.
I gave each child a 9x6 piece of dry watercolor paper (cut down from a 12"x18" 140lb cold press watercolor pad, which I get at the craft store using a 40% coupon). You want the paper to be small because the dye is not that strong, so it gives a better result when concentrated to a small area. I cut the corners off the paper to make it rounded (this encourages them to spread the paint around and let it flow, as opposed to trying to "draw" a picture with it). I made sure to have extras in case anyone needed a second piece, which three of them did.
They had fun guessing what had made each of the colors before I showed them the cards. We passed the jars around and smelled them too- the strawberry smelled sooo good! The cabbage and turmeric had really strong smells as well.
We started by using child-safe q-tips to soak up the dye and apply it to the paper. I put out little glass dishes of baking soda, and they used their pincer grasp to pick it up and sprinkle it on the paper. Then of course my child found the spoon I used to transfer it, and used it to dump big scoops onto her paper :)  About half way through I introduced the pipettes as a tool to pick up the dye. Two of the children had left the table, but came back to do more when they saw this. I was surprised how quickly they learned how to use them. The colors mixed together to make new unpredictable colors, and the baking soda changed the pH level and added another dimension to the experiment. As the papers dried, the colors continued to change! It was truly fascinating, because they don't necessarily mix to the "correct" color wheel combinations. An interesting rust-red color appeared on some of the dried papers that had not been there while we were painting.
Afterward, we poured the leftover dyes into clear plastic bottles and placed them on the windowsill (I glued the lids on). Here are some of the children's predictions about what would happen to them:
"The sun will turn them yellow"
"They will get bright"
"They will change colors"
So far Millie and I have observed that the turmeric has settled to the bottom of it's bottle, the green has turned yellow-ish brown, and the purple has faded to pink. On Monday we will see what other changes have happened.
I used the rest of the dye we made to color some playsilks (which are a must-have toy in our house and get played with daily). We are giving a couple of big ones as Christmas presents, and the little 11x11" squares shown below will be in Millie's stocking. I "set" the dyes and did a whole big process to try and preserve the color in them, but that's another post altogether. Here my sweet Millie is folding them on the bed after I ironed them. 
{colors starting with pink in top center: strawberry, red cabbage, blueberry, red cabbage with baking soda, cool batch spinch (pale yellow), hot batch spinach (green-ish yellow), turmeric}

I hope you enjoyed reading about our experiment. If anyone out there in blog-land gives this a try, please let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Birthday to Daddy

We celebrated Brady's 33rd birthday last Friday with Hawaiian pizza, grapefruit pound cake, and a French Press coffee maker! Millie decorated the wrapping paper with drawings of all of us when we were babies (all her own idea). Happy Birthday Daddy :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

First snow

❄️ watching squirrel antics, clearing space for a Christmas tree, stringing O's for the birds, playing in the snow, winter-y painting ❄️

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


An important part of the Waldorf lifestyle and education is the celebration of festivals throughout the year. Since our family doesn't follow any specific religion, I appreciate how many of the holidays are presented from a historical, spiritual, and community-based perspective. They are also grounded in the seasons of nature, which we try to focus on with Millie Bea.
November 11th is Martinmas, or Saint Martin's Day, when schools and communities gather after dark for a lantern walk. I had never heard of it until I started learning about Waldorf, but there is a lot to like about this festival. The very short version of the history is that Martin was a Roman soldier who showed generosity and kindness to a beggar on a very cold night in November. While other people passed by the beggar, Martin stopped and cut his own cloak in two with his sword to clothe the man. That night, Martin had a dream that the beggar was Christ, and so his good deed had been in service to all mankind. The lanterns represent our inner light, and what we have to share with others. It is the beginning of the season of giving, and also reminds us to cherish the light as the darkness of winter sets in.
So, you may be wondering what all this means to a toddler. I kept it very simple with a craft and a poem, and the knowledge in my heart that we are laying the foundation for her bright and beautiful future in this lifestyle we have chosen. 
To make our lantern we glued tissue paper to a glass jar. Millie loved spreading the glue on top of the paper to create layers. I cut out stars from construction paper and we put them between the layers. She chose the colors and I think it came out very pretty. After nap, when it was dry, we twisted wire around the top and over to make a handle, then added a beeswax candle.
(Peeling glue off fingers... A childhood rite of passage)
After the sun went down we crept back downstairs in our pajamas to light it again, and left it on the porch for Daddy to find. Millie could hardly contain her excitement! She kept looking out the window saying "It's getting dark... Almost time. Almost winter coming." Needless to say, Daddy was very happy to find our warm glowing light to guide him home!

The sunlight now is dwindling,
My little lamp needs kindling,
It's beams shine far in darkest night,
Dear lantern, guide me with your light.

Happy Martinmas!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Into the woods

Today we went on the most wonderful family walk through the woods. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, and we barely saw another person. We were out for about two hours and Sneaky Pete was off his leash the whole time in the woods. Millie has a bad cold and congested cough, so she wanted to be carried a lot more than usual, but she also walked and ran a lot. Sweet little lamb, looking for deer and collecting acorn caps to use as "cookies" for her baby dolls.
We took about 18 photos of interesting things, and I made them into an 11x14 collage poster on Snapfish. It should come in the mail next week and I'll hang it in Millie's new work space (which is just a table and empty shelf right now).
We also had an eventful bird watching day at our backyard feeders- 4 big blue jays, 2 tufted titmice, a baby(!) woodpecker, a male cardinal, and what I think was some type of vireo (gray, green, and yellow). And of course sparrows and squirrels...
Here are a few of the photos from the woods:
We also rearranged her bedroom today and it looks SO much better. There are a couple of pictures of it on the side bar from our Instagram, and we'll take one of the new bed area once we get the canopy hung up next weekend.
Hope you had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween practice

Here is Millie modeling the pieces of her outfit before we made them into an alligator:
I thought she would like to help make it, so I tried to work on it while she was awake. Big mistake. There was much angry baby protesting, felt pieces all over the floor (picking up dog hair no less), and a certain Mama having a nervous breakdown/ temper tantrum. Millie and Sunshine Bear ended up in their room for a few minutes while the blue alligator and I regrouped. Luckily we both agreed to forgive each other, and Millie enjoyed a special treat of watching a Halloween show on the computer while I finished the alligator's head. But you won't get to see until tomorrow night!
After tubby time we practiced Trick-or-Treating. It started off a little shaky, but ended very well.

Round 1
(Millie knocks on the "door")
Mama: Well hello, little girl! What is your costume?
Millie: A pig.
Mama: Oh my. Ok. Would you like some candy? What do you say...?
Millie: Halloween! Soap! Pumpkin!

(Much coaching ensues)

Round 2
(Millie knocks on the "door")
Mama: Hello little girl! Don't you look nice. What is your costume?
Millie: A new, blue, green, white, pink, sofa, alligator!!
Mama: How lovely! Would you like some candy?
Millie: No thank you.


Round 12. Or maybe closer to 15-ish.
(Millie knocks on the "door")
Mama: Hello, who's there?
Millie: A new blue alligator!
Mama: I have some candy here, what do you say...?
Millie: Trick-or-treat!

We were in hysterics by the end. I was pretending to be shocked when she "ate" the imaginary candy instead of putting it in her imaginary bag. She loved that. I also taught her how to say "I need another piece for my Mama".
When Brady came home he took over being the person in the house. After she went to bed we worked on the costume together. Tomorrow afternoon we have a neighborhood party to go to, which will be adorable. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Snippet of Toddlerhood

You know how they say that when a toddler is being quiet you should check on them? You know, because usually they're up to some no good mischief like coloring on the walls or emptying shampoo bottles onto the floor? Well, Millie Bea did not get that toddler memo. Usually when she's in another room being quiet it's because she's concentrating on something- like tying a knot or wrapping a doll in a blanket or filling a bag to take to M&M beach. Now that she's talking, her non-mischief is getting out-of-control adorable.
Today we had the kids here for Toddlergarten and we baked pumpkin cinnamon buns. Here is Millie putting maple syrup and cinnamon on her dough:
After this she must have needed some alone time, because she went upstairs to use the potty in her bedroom and didn't come back down for a while. When she reappeared I asked her what she had been doing upstairs. Her answer? "Folding clothes. Listening to music (on the radio)." Sure enough when I went up later she had taken her clothes out of the clean laundry pile on our bed and laid them out on top of one another in a neat stack. The radio clock was moved, but naturally she had turned it off when she was done.
~ filling the bird feeder ~
~ adding leaves to the compost ~
Another "better check on the quiet toddler" moment from today was when I was getting dinner ready after the other kids left. I found her changing Duckie's diaper. 
Then she set up a picnic for herself and Duckie, feeding him while he sat in her lap. 

I believe it was tomato/potato/M&M soup.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Apple picking 2014

Two new posts today! I just saw that a post from a few weeks ago didn't get published, but it should be up now if you scroll down :)
We went apple picking a couple of weeks ago. Teta Annie came down to join us! I'll do a separate post with those pictures. Here are some from Fishkill Farms where we picked apples, corn, peppers, kale, and flowers. (And in case anyone is wondering, Millie's french braid was done by Mama, but her extreme banana curls are au natural!)

From today

((Oops! Looks like this post from my phone didn't get published. Well here it is now!))
Notes from my phone, 9/8/14

Sweetheart things my baby said and did today:

While Millie was looking through the mail, she found a picture of a little girl with her mama, and was pointing out that I am her mama. I said "do you know that being your mama is the happiest thing in the world?" and she said " oh, thank you mama" and gave me a big hug.

While I was cooking dinner, Millie was going back and forth between helping me and playing in the other room. She found a new package of chalk and took that out and was drawing on her big paper- even using the cardboard from the box to color on it and make prints (all her own idea). Then she came into the kitchen, pulled the stool up to the sink to wash her hands, and then washed all the dishes in the sink for me! She would hold up each piece after she washed it and say "here you go mama!"

We had cornbread and chili for dinner using Nana's recipe from her mom. Millie was skeptical at first because it didn't look so pretty, but I told her it was from Nana and that Nana says it's called "Millie's chili"- she thought that was great! I told her if she at least tried it that she could call Nana later and tell her about it, and she ended up loving it and ate the whole thing. While she was eating I said "do you remember what the name of this is?" She smiled and said "Minnow Beatrix yum yum yum".

At dinner I hurt my tooth while I was eating and I put my hand on my cheek and said "ow!". Millie said "oh no no no...", climbed down off her high chair, climbed up into my lap, and told me to open my mouth. She pretended to grab something off my tooth and said "hurrah!" and then pretended to throw it on the ground. Then of course she asked me to pull her food over so she could finish eating while sitting in my lap.
~making rosemary-Parmesan crackers for our first day of toddlergarten (at home) tomorrow~