Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, dear readers
This week’s theme is Christmas Plants in Exploring Nature With Children
This week has been dark and rainy, but we managed our nature walk. All the birds & fowl were extremely hungry!
We observed & sketched holly from a large tree in our garden; it was studded with bright, jewel-like berries last month, but is pretty bare now.
We are making the most of the darkness & cloudy skies; we have twinkly fairy lights and candles everywhere. In front of our nativity is a gorgeous, ginger & citrus scented candle.
As an aside, I am on the second sock of a pair for myself (a rare treat! they are usually for someone else)
I hand-dyed the yarn and chose a stitch pattern to accentuate the colours, which I thought were rather similar to the illustration in our read-aloud today; A Christmas Carol.
I thought I would take a little time to show you the many different advent calendars we have in our home.
I am compelled to point out that I have celebrated advent with children for many years now; my eldest will be thirteen years old in a few short days. So our collection has been built up over the years.
In the photo above, you can see the Advent spiral I made many years ago. We used to have a more traditional advent wreath, with five candles, but I made the spiral & prefer to use this instead. This year we have been very blessed my my mother in law, who gave the girls these two Yankee candle calendars, so we will be using the lovely scented tea lights to light our way to Christmas.
We say this little rhyme as we light our daily candle:
Winter is dark,
Yet each tiny spark
Brightens the way
To Christmas Day
Shine little light
And show us the way
To the bright light
Of Christmas Day.
Unfortunately, I cannot remember where I found this rhyme, so I am not able to give credit to the author. Please let me know in the comments if you do!
The country diary of an Edwardian Lady advent calendar I bought last year, but for some reason we did not use it, so is new to us this year. Isn’t it beautiful?
Next up, we have two lovely books; Tasha Tudor’s A Book Of Christmas, which is so much more than just an advent calendar. A real treasure!
The Animal’s Advent is a sweet nature-themed calendar.
Here is our Jessie tree
Again, I made the most of the ornaments when the children were very small, we also use a clay Christmas tree ornament, which goes onto the Jessie tree on the last day.
I found the templates for the ornaments free online (the link has been long-forgotten; I printed out the daily readings and such years ago, but there are many links on the internet for you to follow. I customised the daily readings, and now use the ornaments I made with selected readings from The Jesus Story Book Bible
You will notice the nature table has been cleared for December, so we can add our nativity. We add baby Jesus on Christmas eve, before bed-time 🙂
The Wise Men make their way from a shelf in my bedroom, along the landing, down the stairs, as advent progresses, arriving on the nature table on Epiphany.
This is the children’s nativity set. When they were little, they would play for hours with this set.
(Picture of Elianna when she was a wee dot!)
We have this calendar, into which I tuck wee chocolates
This year we have also added the Latin Advent Calendar from Classical Academic Press.
In the kitchen, I have my very own Nativity
I love having this in my window! As I stand washing dishes, or preparing food for my family, its presence gently reminds me to reflect upon Christ.
I bought this set the first Christmas I was married, and in my own home. It is a very treasured possession.
I also have my advent devotional readings, which are a calendar of sorts.
This year I am using Lighted Windows, which I have used in previous years too.
I usually journal during my quiet time; sometimes I add drawings & colour.
This is an excerpt from my Lenten journal this year.
Often I just write 🙂
Each evening, I read this lovely book to Rose: Advent Storybook 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas. A beautiful tale for young children/
This week’s theme from Exploring Nature With Children is weather, and this post is rather pitiful I’m afraid.
Rose has been extremely poorly this week with a virus, so we have stayed at home and done very little; though we did get to read a little Lassie.
So Rosie’s virus, combined with working on the Nature-Themed Advent Calendar and daily home educating life has meant Rose & I did not get our nature journals completed this week. (My big-girl did, however, and I forgot to take a photograph. Oops!)
Rose & I made it to the park yesterday. Elianna was feeling a little under the weather, so we left her at home, working on her Latin and maths, while we went to visit the pigeons and pond-dwellers…
They were rather hungry..
As we got ready to leave, Rose emptied the last of her wild bird seed into the water and the ducks had a feeding frenzy, with their little bottoms all up in the air!
We said good-bye, and walked away with Rose looking like the Pied Piper of Hamelin!
It seems the cold and damp weather is having a very strong effect on the wildlife as well as us humans.
I hope you are all well and have managed your nature walk this week, let me know how you are getting on in the comments, or on the FaceBook group; It makes my day to hear from my readers.
I shall be posting a supplies list very soon for the Nature-Themed Advent Calendar, which begins on Tuesday! I love Advent so much; we go from regular lessons to ‘Advent-school’, which is the best part of home educating, in my opinion. I love the waiting, the contemplation…
Anyhow, I shall be back soon with the supplies list. (Don’t worry, as this is a nature-themed calendar, the list will be very short!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
I am really excited to share with you today an upcoming series that will be starting soon right here on Raising Little Shoots: A nature-themed advent calendar!
Beginning on December 1st, through to December 24th, each day there will be a new post; an unfolding of the Christmas Story in scripture, and an activity for the day. The activities will be mostly nature-based, with a few special Christmas activities here and there, to add a little Christmas magic.
Please use the share buttons, and be sure to subscribe to the blog so as not to miss a day!
A few days ago I shared my idea with you for keeping a Calendar of Firsts.
I have been so encouraged by how many of you shared, both here and on FaceBook, that you would like to join me in keeping a Calendar of Firsts for 2016.
I promised information on setting up your own calendar of firsts, so here goes.
I used the Moleskine Large Weekly Diary (soft cover) last year & will do so again this year. Please feel free to use any diary you like; you do not need a Moleskine to join in with me. Just beware of any diaries with a glossy finish to the page. They will not take colour well.
The paper is not great; a little thin for nice, splashy watercolour, but the layout is perfect for my needs. You can see in the photo below you have a left side with a week to view & space for each day.
This is perfect for recording the ‘firsts’ that you see in nature, and making wee sketches.
You can also see in the picture above that I also printed out tiny photographs on my printer; these made lovely additions to my sketches.
The right had side page is lined, so I added full-sized photographs to some of these pages.
To others I added a full-sized sketch
Because the Moleskine paper was so thin, I worked these full sized sketches on watercolour, or cartridge paper. This also helped with the mini sketches for the following week, as although I was working on the Moleskine paper, it had some weight to it from the paper glued in the previous week.
Here you can see my lovely 2016 Moleskine. It is a lot thinner than the book that has been well loved this year (see the top picture)
Not essential, but a nice touch, is to add washi tape to each & every page edge in your diary. This makes the pages more substantial, and the edges prettier 🙂
I have several roles of tape; here are a few. Don’t worry about this step, it is not essential.
Here you can see I have added a strip of wash tape to the first page; simply apply half the width of the tape, then fold it over, so it covers the free edge of the reverse page. (I hope this makes sense!)
Here I just need to trim the top & bottom of the tape.
You will also need a waterproof pen; I love this one. The micron pens are great too. Basic sketching supplies of your choice, be that watercolours, coloured pencils, or even pens. You might find an old post, Supplies For Nature Journaling useful.
I think that is everything! Please do let me know if I have missed anything.
It is a capital plan for the children to keep a calendar––the first oak-leaf, the first tadpole, the first cowslip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen, and when. The next year they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year, be in a condition to add new observations. Think of the zest and interest, the object, which such a practice will give to daily walks and little excursions.
Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p. 54
At the beginning of the year I came across Stephanie Ackerman’s Documented Faith Project.
Stephanie was using a journal to record “my life, my dreams, my prayers, my moments. A place to document my faith sometimes monthly, often times weekly possibly even daily”.
I was really moved by this idea and immediately set to work, creating my own pages, capturing daily happenings, special moments, and so forth.
I added sketches, photographs, words, stickers and other memorabilia.
This diary helped me to develop my style of quick pen-sketches, with touches of splashy water colour.
I used a Moleskine Large Weekly Diary, which has days of the week on the left hand page, and a space for notes on the right hand page.
On the right hand page, I would glue in a piece of paper to create a larger sketch. (The paper of the Moleskine diary is very thin, & not the best for water colour.)
A lot of my sketches have been nature-orientated
Which has led me to thinking…What a wonderful format this would be to keep a Calendar of Firsts, as Miss Mason advised!
So my goal for 2016 will be to use this way of diary-keeping, to keep my very own Calendar of Firsts. I intend to do this in addition to my nature journal. I am planning to use the same diary; The 2016 Moleskine Large Weekly Diary.
Each week I will record the firsts of nature as they happen in my locality; the first Snowdrops, the first time the goldfinches visit my garden, the fist visit of the hedgehogs, and so forth. I shall still continue to record special family happenings, but the focus will be Nature-firsts.
This is something that could be kept individually, or a family Calendar would be a family treasure to return to year after year.
It would be wonderful to have you journaling along with me; do let me know if you would be interested in keeping a Calendar of Firsts yourself. I will post nearer to the time some ideas for setting up your journal, supplies, tips and so forth.
This week’s theme from Exploring Nature With Children is Moss.
Today was an extremely wet day! We braved the rain to go and feed the pigeons, geese, ducks and swan at our local nature spot.
The geese & ducks were worm hunting..
We hunted for moss..
We found a few, before the rain drove us home to warm up & complete our journals.