Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Advent Gnome

The Advent gnome made his appearance in our home again on Sunday, much to the delight of my little man. The Advent gnome has been a part of our Advent season for three years now, and every year he is greeted with much enthusiasm from Reece.

As we journey towards the light during the Advent season, Reece and I will share our light and love with others in many ways. Following along with the Advent verse we use, each week is dedicated to a different kingdom. The first week of Advent is the light of stones, so our activities are planned around stones. We hiked and collected rocks on Sunday, yesterday we made window stars, today we will make snowflakes, and there are plans to felt the rocks we collected on Sunday this week, and also a day to make crystals.

As we move into the second week of Advent we celebrate the light of plants, and so we will make orange pomanders, plant bulbs for forcing, cut down and decorate our tree, buy some plants to tend indoors during the winter and even enjoy a little dinner date together.

The third week of Advent focuses on beasts. We will hike and feed the birds one day, and other days will see us making bird feeders for the backyard, leaving salt licks in the woods for the deer, donating some treats to the animal shelter and even treating our chickens to a few treats.

During the fourth week of Advent we celebrate the human light, and so our activities will focus on sharing with those in our community. We will bake cookies and deliver them to our neighbours, we will shop for food for the food bank, we will pick up mitts and hats to donate to a local organization to help keep children warm this winter, we will shop online through World Vision purchasing a gift that will help bring a smile to a child's face in another country, and we will celebrate the Winter Solstice with friends, hiking, enjoying good food, and a backyard fire.

As we move through this dark season my hope is that we share a little of the love and light we hold in our hearts with those around us through these simple daily activities.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The First Light of Advent

The first light of Advent is the light of stones
The light that shines in crystals in seashells and in bones
The second light of Advent is the light of plants
Green plants that reach up to the light and in the breezes dance
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts
That shines in all creatures in greatest and in least
The fourth light of Advent is the human light
The light of hope and of thought, to know and do what’s right

~ Rudolf Steiner ~

On Saturday night, once my little man was sound asleep, I spent time preparing our home for Advent. Our dining table was cleared, and placed in the center was our Advent spiral along with our carvings of Joseph and Mary. Every day another candle will be lit as we say our Advent verse, and Joseph and Mary will travel along on their journey. We added this Advent spiral to our traditions last year, and it was definitely a highlight for both Reece and I. When he woke yesterday morning he was so happy to see the spiral, and couldn't wait for us to light our first candle.

I also changed our nature table, creating a rock spiral. Each day Reece replaces one rock with a star as we travel the path towards Christmas. I love this and it allows Reece to be actively involved in this journey. As we reach the end of the spiral a wooden cut out of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus will be added to the nature table.

Our reading during the Advent season this year will include two books. The first is The Light of the Lantern, Stories for Advent. I so enjoyed reading these stories with Reece last year, and look forward to reading them with him again this season. The second book we will read from is Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, A Family Celebration of Christmas. We will of course be reading many other books through this season, books about St. Nicholas will make appearance, as well as many other winter and Christmas related books. As I pulled out our seasonal books yesterday Reece excitedly sat looking through each one, remembering them with a big smile on his face. He was so happy to see them all again.

Rhythm and ritual are big parts of my life with Reece. They guide us through our year, and bring us closer to the earth, her seasons, and the festivals and celebrations that flow through the year. Over the years we have slowly found the rituals that feel right to us, and help guide us through each season, and we welcome them each year with much joy.

How do you celebrate Advent in your home?

Sunday, November 29, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"

Reece, my little man, you light up my life, fill my days with so much joy, and make my heart overflow with love. There is not a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that you chose me to walk beside you on your journey. To hold your hand, to guide you, to be your mama. I love you little man, and I hope you know just how much.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, November 26, 2015


We woke Tuesday to a gift...snow! Outside our windows was a world covered in white waiting peacefully to greet us. It was the first real snow of the season, and we headed out right away to take it all in. There is something so very peaceful and calming about the earth when it is covered in a fresh blanket of snow. As I stepped out the front door I wanted to tip toe so I didn't disturb the earth as it prepares for its winter rest. The air was still, and quietly singing from a tree was a chickadee or two. We walked in wonder, breathing deep, and expressing our awe at the beauty around us. The sun shone, creating snow sparkles across the ground, and around us, big fluffy flakes continued to fall. This time of year is hard for some, the diminishing light, the cold, but for me that darkness provides a time to tune in more deeply to who I am and where I am going, it allows space for evenings by the fire, reading and knitting, my little man sleeping soundly in the next room, it creates the perfect backdrop for living simply and mindfully, a way of life I try to embody all year round, but during the darkest time of the year seems much easier. As I walked slowly on Tuesday morning taking in the magic of the first snow, I breathed deeply, and when I exhaled the weight I have been carrying lifted, slightly, and in its place, a little light and joy crept back in.

Monday, November 23, 2015

More Making

The making continues around here, and I am having so much fun. From rope baskets, to soap, to body butter, to salves and lip balms, I am in my happy place when I am making things. Some of this making is for the holidays, but a lot of it is to sell. With this new path I am walking as a single, homeschooling mama I am looking to expand my sources of income. You know the old saying not to put all your eggs in one basket, well I am consciously trying to create different sources of income for Reece and I, and selling the things I create is one of the avenues I will explore.

I have, over the years, sold many of my products, but I have never actively marketed them, all my sales are from a small group of people, who continue to be return customers. But with this new path comes putting myself out there, and so I have been spending some time over the last few weeks building up a supply of products to sell.

For now, I am only going to sell locally, and then the plan in the New Year will be to add a shop to Life At Nature's Pace. I have had thoughts of opening a little shop in the cottage in the backyard, a little place where people can come to browse and chat, maybe even have a cup of tea, but that plan is a little further down the road.

There are a lot of ideas floating around in my head, and many things to consider, but I love making things, so it seems like a great idea to give this a go, and see where it takes me. Wish me luck, won't you?


And this is where I do a little self promotion...if you live locally, and would like to support a family in your community this holiday season by purchasing handmade items for gift giving, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"

Reece, we were both hoping to wake to snow this morning. We had grand plans to hike and play in the fluffy white stuff, but it missed us, and we awoke to sunshine and chilly temperatures. Still, a good day for a hike in the woods, and a little seed pod collecting, which is exactly what we did this morning. We returned home with rosy cheeks and red noses, ready for the first hot chocolate of the season. Goodness, it was so delicious! Watching you in the woods this morning I noticed how much you have grown, both physically and emotionally. This transition we are moving through has brought about big change in our life together, but it has also brought about big change in you. Your confidence is growing, and all of sudden you are very independent, taking on jobs and chores around here without being asked, you are stepping out of you own boundaries, and finding joy as you open yourself up to possibility. It is a joy to witness this growth in you, to be a little part of the young man you are becoming.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, November 19, 2015

At the End of the Day

If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know how important rhythm is to me, and in turn to Reece. It is grounding for both of us, and provides security and trust in knowing what is to come, both in our day to day living, and throughout our year. Some of our rhythms change with the seasons, and some of them change and evolve as Reece grows and matures. In the spring I added a little something to our end of the day rhythm, something that has made this time so very special for both of us...I began to ask Reece five questions.

After we have finished reading, and we are tucked in, snuggling under the blankets by the glow of a candle, I ask Reece the following five questions about his day.

What made you happy today?
What made you sad today?
What did you learn today?
What was the most fun you had today?
What are you most grateful for today?

He sometimes has an answer ready, and other times he is quiet for a moment or two while he thinks back over his day. At first, I asked the questions, and he answered, but a few weeks into this new rhythm he turned to me one night and said what about you mommy, what made you happy today? And so, it evolved and changed, and now we both answer the questions as I asked them, Reece always goes first, and then me. It is such a special time for us, sharing moments from our day, and I have to admit always interesting to hear his answers.

Once we are finished sharing bits from our day, I hold my little man and together we say this verse, one we have been sharing at the end of the day for three or four years now:

A star for you to wish on
The sun for warmth and light
The moon for you to think on
Sweet dreams, a kiss and a hug goodnight.

I say it often in this space, but it truly is the simple things that make life so darn amazing, and this addition to our end of the day rhythm is one of those simple things.