A budget busy book you can make in an afternoon


These things. They’re all over Pinterest and it seems that everyone has made one at some point but…have you ever actually SEEN one in action? Probably not. My theory is that the reason we never see them in action is because they’re too fussy, too boring, too time consuming, or require skills that no one has.

I haven’t had one yet because I find them tedious. I don’t want to spend three months sewing a busy book or cutting up tiny felt shapes. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

My other hindrance is that a lot of these are academically based, which is not in alignment with Waldorf homeschooling for my child’s age. However, at this point, I’ve got a 4yo who knows his entire alphabet and is sight reading, who can count to twenty and do basic math, and knows all his colors and shapes. So I’m caught between Waldorf and unschooling in that I believe in child-lead learning, just as I myself learned. Having a special needs Gifted and Talented child is about balance.

I made my son a busy book because I run a lot of errands by myself with my new baby. Because I have limited time and resources, I hit up the Dollar Store and was pleasantly surprised to find many of the items I need to make a great little busy book. The rest of the supplies I foraged at Target, my local craft store, and my own home.

Here’s what I found:

IMG_20150718_184105128_HDRYou’ll notice I’ve got a 2in binder here- trust me and get a 3″ if you can find it. I also made use of some AWESOME clear zippered pencil case pouches from the dollar store. The dollar store is where I found this foam alphabet puzzle, which I liked because the letters don’t slip around and it’s flat. I took the letters all out and put them in a pouch so they don’t get lost in transport. The other pouch is another dollar store find- there are bright colored shoe laces and some foam shapes. The foam shapes are traced cookie cutters on foam, that I used a hole punch to cut holes in so the shapes can be laced. Sheet foam is pretty easy to find at craft stores if your dollar store doesn’t have it, or you can trace shapes on card stock or cereal boxes.

Homemade foam lacing: http://www.powerfulmothering.com/how-to-make-foam-lacing-shapes/

IMG_20150718_184255525These pouches are a little more advanced. In the first pouch, you’ll see some graphic cards that I printed off from another website. You can use duplos or legos to stack the pattern. For good measure, I included plenty of knock-off legos that I found in the dollar bin at Target. The cards were printed off and covered in clear contact paper. The second pouch was a garage find, and includes a screw, some washers, a wing nut, a rubber band, paper clip, regular clip, a lock and key, and some metal shower curtain rings. This one is actually the favorite.

Duplo tower cards: http://allourdays.com/2012/10/duplo-blocks-counting-tower-matching-busy-bag.html

IMG_20150718_184358169The first pouch here is more for sensory fulfillment. There’s the ever popular Silly Putty, and some dinosaurs that I found at the dollar store that stretch and change colors from the heat of your hand. They’re kinda gooey. You could also include some other sensory items, depending on what your kiddo likes, but I will probably continue to keep this simple because the “less is more” tactic works best with my kid. The second pouch is another printable. The shapes have numbers 1-5 on them, and I covered them in clear contact paper. The clothes pins have the corresponding number and color to clip to the graphic.

Shapes counting printable: http://www.powerfulmothering.com/shapes-counting-and-colors-busy-bag-with-printable/

IMG_20150718_184440069This next pouch will require you to go to a craft store. I got these pre-colored large popsicle sticks and velcro circles there, and I stuck the velcro to the ends, making one side soft and one side sticky. They’re used for making shapes and building things. The second pouch is an Ispy bag made from brown rice and random objects I had in my craft supplies. I put the objects on my scanner and printed off a color page as a “find it” list, then put it in a page protector.

Velcro dot craft sticks: http://www.powerfulmothering.com/velcro-dot-craft-sticks/

IMG_20150718_184511287My last activity is aimed specifically at my son’s learning curve with cutting. He struggles with writing and cutting, so I put these printables in a sleeve because they’ll stay in better. The safety scissors are on a retractable pin, which I got at the dollar store, along with the clear sleeves.

Scissor cutting pages: http://www.kidslearningstation.com/fine-motor-skills/scissor-skills.asp

Thank you to Powerful Mothering and their Ultimate Guide to Busy Bags!

The family couch.


One year ago, I replaced my vintage sofa, who refused to keep her feet on, with a brand new set of furniture. It consisted of a lovely mod chair and a faux suede sofa. It really looked great in my livingroom. People liked it.

But I didn’t. I couldn’t place it. Was it the fact that I’m so little and my feet didn’t touch the floor? Was it because all three of us fit in the chair and it felt like I could never sink into it for a good snuggle? Was it because micro suede shows every hand print and drop of water, and I have two children? Was it the scotch guarding off-gassing into the room? Was it the fact that it was more suited to someone else’s taste? Was it the fact that every time I sat on it or laid on it, I had an allergy attack because it held so much of cat dander?

I have no idea. I didn’t LIKE it. And when I moved, it took two men.

Now, the pattern of grieving for an object you just spent $1200 on goes a little something like this:

“I’ll get used to it. It’s shocking now because I don’t do well with change.”

“It just looked different in the space I bought it in.”

“I’ll break it in.”

“I’m just worried I’ll damage it.”

“OTHER people really like it.”

“What would I do without it?”

“Can I keep hanging onto this?”

“How can I change this so I’ll like it?”

“How much can I sell this for?”

“How can I justify to others why I got this to begin with since now I’m getting rid of it?”

Do you know what the single answer to all of those questions are? It’s “This is just an X.”

The truth is, whether its a new purse or a new furniture set, it’s just a thing. You can’t take it with you when you’re gone- so if it doesn’t serve you in this life, LET IT GO.

I told you I was a Disney princess. You’re just suddenly realizing though that you’re probably racist cuz you thought I was that one with the belly shirt. HA. Kidding obviously. I’m totally princess Jasmine.

Well so, once I came to terms with all of that, I realized that it was ok to hate something I had made the mistake of wasting my money on because I am human. I tried to sell my furniture. No one wanted it. Worse yet, I had to figure out what I was going to do as an alternative. I have a pretty unconventional lifestyle, but we have service providers in our home often for my daughter. Could I convince other people to be wacky with me?

Ooooorr….do I care? :D

I didn’t want more dust/dander collecting furniture that I had to take care of so much, move, pay for, or arrange with two men.

I saw on one of the minimalist groups that a woman had just put her futon mattress on the floor in the living room. To me, this seemed genius- all FIVE of us could fit on it at once, I could nap on it, it could double as a guest bed, and best of all, it has a washable cover and I could put a dustmite cover underneath to block allergens and spills.

And my mom just happened to have a really nice one we could HAVE.

So did it hurt when Salvation Army pulled up and took my furniture? Just a little. But it totally didn’t hurt when my boyfriend and babies snuggled up to me to watch tv. ALL AT ONCE!

Granted, people don’t know where to sit when they visit, but I lead by example. I am bulging with baby, watch my butt twist into a pretzel on this futon mattress! Criss cross applesauce!

I DO however, now have two other pieces of furniture that I really enjoy. They are both rockers- the one my mother rocked me in, and a colorful vintage piece that was made for very small people.

That is the story of why I have no sofa.


My birth- my body, my process, and my baby- are not disgusting.


There I was. My before- bed Facebook checkin that I do every night to symbolically sign out, shut off my brain, and go to sleep, and I scrolled down my feed. I saw a variety of the usual- pro-vegan links, the days accomplishments by my friends, a few photos…and then….

“………..But pictures and videos of people giving birth are disgusting. Seriously.”

What preceded it? Honestly, I’d have to re-read it over and over to paraphrase it, because the latter made it insignificant. I mean, does it really matter what sort of compliment sandwich I would have found that in?

“But it was from a teenager, right?”

Nope, try again. In fact, it was from one of the very VERY few people who had supported me as a single mother, as the mother of a child from assault, and some of the most trying events of my life. I was completely shocked.

I don’t know, I mean, isn’t birth a feminist issue?

Yes. Yes, it is absolutely a feminist (an EQUALITY) issue. This article points out very beautifully the equality and access related issues of birth, related to women being oppressed, but there’s also a piece missing. This is my body and my child we’re talking about.

When a woman sullies her appearance because she’s just run a marathon, we show pictures of her dripping in sweat and pink from exhaustion, crossing the finish line.

When a child smashes into their first birthday cake, we post a video on our media pages.

When someone is fighting cancer, we don’t stop taking pictures of them.

Are those situations glamorous? No. Are they less than sanitary? Yes. Is the person vulnerable? Yes.

And so the question then becomes, what is different from a puking bulging cancer patient, a cake covered child, and a sweaty puffy woman?

Because it’s birth and it happens to only women and babies, and it involves vaginas and breasts and misogyny doesn’t allow us to view it as a triumph.

Damnit, my body takes a SEED and creates a SOUL. My sweat, blood, tears, and vomit whirlwind me through the most painful experience of my life and I almost INSTANTLY forget it’s happened the minute I hold this wrinkly little being that I’ve waited nearly a YEAR to meet. I volunteer to do it again. I fight for my right to make this baby, I fight with my entire body to birth it, and then I fight to sustain it.

There’s nothing disgusting about that. All the vernix, blood, squished up babies and screaming women in existence cannot even compare to the ugliness of this world. But we’re not ugly at all- these moments are only ugly in the face of ignorance, from a place that lacks connection and compassion.

No, see, I argue that this is THE MOST beautiful thing in the world. It is the thing that brought us all here, the collective human experience, our LITERAL birth rite.

But is it glamorous? No.

Beauty and achievement in this world should not be defined by aestheticism and melody.

birth roar

My gluten free vegan pregnancy (and dirty confessions)

baby bed

OOOO LALA, steamy steamy, right? No. That is pretty much how I *got* pregnant but there’s nothing steamy about my pregnancy OR my confessions (aka why I’m a terrible person). But…apparently both being vegan and being gluten free is a controversial topic, and after reading a myriad of articles on the two, I thought I’d share my personal experience.

I am currently a little over 4mos pregnant. I’m not literally dying, but I thought perhaps I might have been at one point. I have had hyperemisis gravidarum with all three of my pregnancies. It is a condition that causes you such severe nausea and vomiting that you’re not capable of eating or drinking water adequately, nor keep food or water down. The dutchess has such a condition, and mine was so severe that I ended up taking a prescription drug called Zofran (a class B drug). It’s meant for chemotherapy patients to prevent vomiting. It doesn’t really. But it makes doctors feel competent.

Well, I can honestly say there is no competency there. With my daughter I gained 22lbs with the help of a 3 trimester McDonald’s craving (I was young and dumb, at the tender age of 18), with my son I gained a whopping 13lbs thanks to fried eggs sandwiches, and this time around I’ve gained TWO WHOLE POUNDS (which I’m certain went straight to my boobs, *high five*). It’s all good though. I have about 7wks to gain 3lbs, and I’m pretty sure I can do this.

You’re probably thinking I’m mad. “EAT SOME MEAT!” you’re probably screaming. To the nay sayers, I have to confess, that YES, that probably WOULD be a GREAT way to get very fat very quickly. But so would eating McDonald’s. See, the paradox of all weight gain journeys is in the HEALTH of the foods- meaning macro and micro nutrient diversity and HEALTHY fats. Healthy fats could be written as a gospel to some food camps, so let me clarify that I mean plant based non-saturated fats that don’t come from seed oils.

It wasn’t working. Peanut butter, junk foods (re: fake cream cheese and Daiya), cookies, trail mix, and the like just weren’t staying on. Or in. Soooooo…..

vegan bagel

I started trying to eat eggs. Then some foods that have dairy like your standard gluten free things in boxes and/or baked goods. And then I even ate some tuna fish. On my birthday I had baked haddock.

Wow, so not only was that contrary to my values but it made me sick sick sick. Not like a vegan who had gone too far too fast sick- but like… SICK.

Did you know that pregnant women were prone to erm…slow bowels? Me either. Especially since I’m a Celiac (re: poop water, tmi, I know). Do you know that one egg has all the daily protein requirements a person needs in an entire day? Did you know that cows milk is the leading cause of constipation in children? Did you know that it’s the leading cause of eczema?

Well it was mine. And I got eczema so bad in a place that I cannot photograph for the internet, that I ended up at the dr’s office. She literally winced looking at it.

So after a few baths in benedryl topical, I started using this, and it’s starting to heal. Needless to say, I’m done sinning. I’m a sinner confessed!

IMG_20141114_194454610But now what, right?

Just like a sinner gone astray, I revamped, and watched some McDougall videos online to gain back my healthier viewpoint. Sucanat in moderation. Nuts and avocado for fats. Lots of whole grain carbs like brown rice. Potatoes, corn, and squash. Green leafy veggies.


Um yes, that is gluten free vegan country anadama bread!

Ok ok, so MAYBE these aren’t the healthiest of foods- but they’re nuts. I’m not very fond of nuts and I have to limit my exposure because of my son’s allergy, so the fact that this is confined to a premade food is great.


I also started making the smoothies from Happy Herbivore’s book Everyday Happy Herbivore (and my own pumpkin smoothie recipe).


And I bought myself some hella expensive fruit.

jap chae

And I planned easier and more nutritious meals (since first trimester kicked my ass and I ended up surviving on premade soups and such).

The baby likes Asian food.


Of course I never tried gluten. I’m a Celiac- I cannot have it without destroying my intestine and facing unimaginable pain.

The lesson here is that if you’re going to be vegan, do it with conviction. We do it for health, and we stay doing it for the animals. For me, it’s hard being with a partner who encourages me to do things that are counter to my morals and who eats a standard American diet. I didn’t arm myself with a support network, nor did I prepare myself for weird cravings. But now? I’ve got this!


Our first Halloween as Ex-Muslims

pumpkins 2014

If you follow this blog, you may have realized at some point that I was Muslim until this July. We had a family meeting and decided it wasn’t for us, so my children and I set out on an adventure to live life and investigate our spirituality outside of religion. It’s been awesome.

I’m going to put myself out here…I don’t know how to do the majority of American holidays even though I’m an American. Muslims are not allowed to participate in any extent. I had to rely on extremely early childhood memories with my mom and Google. Maybe a little Pinterest.

Long story short, I think I might have made some stuff up. You’re probably really surprised (sarcasm). But let me tell you, not nearly as surprised as I was when my uncarved pumpkin got stolen. See those pumpkins up there? I got THAT right! I may or may not have put that BFA to good use (and if you want to get good at pumpkin carving, why not get your own BFA for a mere 50k? lame.) My advanced technique came from years of gutting pumpkins for their seeds and to cook their flesh down to freeze.

pumpkin seeds 2014

Now, ok, pumpkin carving was simple enough. But there is no single teal pumpkin project that could have solved the needs of my trick or treating family. My daughter can’t have dairy, and my son can’t have nuts, gluten, or dairy. Wow, right? Nope. Because my kids don’t know that OTHER kids bring home pillow cases full of candy, and were perfectly happy to fork over a handful of things they couldn’t have in exchange for these treat bags. I tried to keep it minimalist and buy a few consumables, but also some quality little presents that wouldn’t be broken in a few days. We ended up going trick or treating at the local mall because I didn’t want my kids bringing home too much candy AND because the thought of groping around in the dark in a town we’ve only lived in for 9mos seemed exceedingly unsafe.

treat bags halloween 2014

All I did was make some hemmed sacks and tied some ribbon.

And I took the leftover fabric to make these bean bags full of rice to replace the metal trains they throw at eachother for “fun”.

bean bags 2014

carmen treat bag 2014This one was for my daughter who is in 6th grade, and the one below is for my son who is in preschool.

abe treat bag 2014

I also tried a new tradition of making caramel apples, since the kind at the store aren’t dairy free. My son wouldn’t eat them because of his sensory issues, but my daughter had one and really liked it. I think they were better than crack and at the remaining FIVE. That’s right. The recipe came from one of my favorite blogs, Nourishing Minimalism, and I cheated a bit and used my hands to mold the caramel on a little better.

apples halloween 2014

Last but not least, we made our costumes as much as we could. I went a little wild at our local box store and got the accessories, but each child was allowed to pick what they wanted to be. My oldest wanted to be an ANGEL KITTY and my son? A FAIRY. Yup. A fairy. Good Lord, was I EVER prepared for the rash of gender grooming homophobic idiocy to proceed my sheepish announcement to inquiring minds, but you know what? Not a single damn word. Is it my ever growing gray hair and permanent growl, or is it that maybe the world is becoming more progressive? I don’t know, don’t care, but here it is:

cj halloween 2014

Carmen made this costume from a leopard tunic she owned, and brown leggins, and I bought a pack of kitty accessories and angel accessories. I used hypoallergenic face pencils and spritzed her all over with spray glitter.

abe halloween 2014Yes, and the caption to that one is “Argh! I’m a FAIRY!” Abe’s costume was a little more straight forward. Black wings, and a glowstick wand. I bought a shirt that was 2 sizes too big to make it like a tunic, and cut the sleeves off, causing them to be belled. I also hit it with spray glitter. The belt is just felt with leaves sewn on and some velcro to keep it closed. He wore knit pants underneath, and let me write a little on his face.

Gotta love these kids. And that’s a wrap- that’s how we navigated Halloween. Next up….Christmas! (phew, this one will be complicated….)

Invasive habits of “typical Americans”- an urgent call for Mindfulness.


Ok, look- I KNOW I’m a naturalist. Ok ok, maybe a hippy. I KNOW I’m different.

I’m not different to be asinine. I’m different because I’m trying to practice more conscious living, which means that I’m thinking both for myself and wellness, and for that of others and the planet.

But let’s be honest- it’s not really a first-world habit to think about people outside of ourselves. We use more water, energy, and meat than other parts of the world. We didn’t really even start caring about Ebola until it came to the US. American’s, as a whole, tend to live in an elitist bubble.

What happens if you live in America and don’t ascribe to those values? What happens if you try to LIVE with someone, or around someone who is DIFFERENT?

Let’s start with awareness. This is an urgent call for mindfulness- community sustainability and collective responsibility to one another.

Here are some invasive habits that you might have and are not aware of how invasive they are. Granted, I know this might sound like a judgmental post. That’s probably pretty accurate. I think we all judge people who tread on the earth in a way that denies ownership. Aside from the fact that hippies get our own fair share of mockery, however, I think this stuff needs to be said.

1. Your air fresheners are literally air pollution.

They can kill small animals. Not only do they contain carcinogens, but they can trigger asthma and allergies. Fresh air and homemade food are the BEST smells for a home.

2. Other smelly stuff about your person is also air pollution and carcinogenic.

Perfume, laundry “soap” (and I use the term loosely), shampoo, body washes…all that crap is carcinogenic air pollution that offgasses into otherwise clean air. They also trigger asthma, allergies, headaches, and eczema. You’re not the only one smelling it- you smell like a walking perfume shop. That INCLUDES patchouli and nag champa. Let’s be considerate, eh?

3. Your plastic bags are SO 1990’s.

The only thing that says “I’m so lazy I can’t grab a bag from my back seat” MORE than, well, not grabbing a bag from your back seat, is someone who SNORTS at the idea and declares it inconvenient. Do you know what is less convenient than bringing your own bag? Dealing with a polluted planet.


4. You might be processing out loud, but really, you’re unloading, and my peaceful center doesn’t mean I can be your baggage check.

Americans as a whole totally lack stress management. They don’t get enough sleep, they eat crap, they don’t make time for themselves, and they are workaholics (undoubtedly because of a lack of a living wage). But that doesn’t mean you need to leech onto people who DO have healthier lifestyle habits. They are leading by example. If you are stressed to the max and you have a friend who always seems calm, ask them for some tips- but don’t unload. It’s toxic. See a therapist or join a community support group. Local places of worship have them for free and often have childcare.

5. Frying food makes your house, your stuff, and your clothes SMELL.

And it clogs your arteries. Gross. Fry food on occasion. But everyday is overkill. I don’t want to smell like McDonalds, and that smell DOES waif through apartment buildings. It also discolors your drywall and parts of your kitchen.

6. Your idea of cleanliness is not the same as actual cleanliness.

Febreeze anyone? If something smells, clean it. But chemicals aren’t CLEAN. They’re dirty. They’re just a different kind of dirty. There are all sorts of ways you can deodorize a mildewy or dirty smelling environment, from baking soda to lemons. And if it’s your person, WASH. Washing with soap is usually the answer. Perfumey chemicals are not- and that includes “dish detergent”- which is NOT safe to eat. Period. All those chemicals also pollute our drinking water.

7. You use a LOT of electricity.

It seems like a no-brainer to save money, but few actually realize how things add up. Close the fridge. Turn off electronics at night. Turn off the lights. Stop putting things in the dryer. Its not that hard. Using electricity contributes to pollution.


8. You make a LOT of garbage.

Pretty much everything you’re eating is in a package and we don’t get it. Perhaps even more baffling is that you’ve probably never read an ingredients label. But one thing at a time. If it comes in a package, it’s probably not real food. There are LOTS of ways around packaging, and if you start replacing packaged foods, you’ll notice your health improves.

Also, on that note, stop sending dye laden cupcakes to my kid’s school. If you want to give your kids red 40 and “juice”, that’s fine- but don’t shove it in MY kids face. Use some common sense. You know that stuff is crap. Maybe a “little bit won’t hurt” YOUR cheeto eating kid- but MY kid isn’t used to neurotoxins because we make daily conscious habits to avoid DRUGS. No one’s kids should be used to neurotoxins.

9. Speaking of which, no one litters anymore.

Do you poop where you sleep? Ok. Don’t pollute where you breathe or drink. It’s really that simple. You’re not an animal. If you WERE an animal, this would already be obvious.

10. Meat consumption is scary and feels like you’re handling a biohazard.

You’re handling a dead body where I put my food. I think that sums it up, but if you need specifics, most Americans eat factory farmed meat which is LADEN with extremely deadly bacteria. Not only are safe handling practices crucial, they require disinfecting with chemicals strong enough to kill the super bugs, so it’s one unhealthy habit on top of the next. From then on, meat is hazardous because it needs to be cooked properly AND it has to be stored and consumed properly. Very complicated, very mess, and very gross. It makes me sad.

11. You might be closed minded towards trying new things.

You think you’re right because you’re in the majority. But you know what? The Nazis had that mentality once. It just goes to show you that knowledge is VERY important before you make a judgement call. YOUR habits aren’t likely the result of thought and consideration, they’re undoubtedly because you learned them somewhere and everyone around you seemingly does the same thing. That doesn’t make it right or ok. If you think some of our habits are weird, there are ways to investigate why we do things by asking questions. “Hey, why do you wash your plastic bags?” is way more effective than “What the hell is THAT contraption and why are all these BAGS on it?”

plastic bag dryer

12. Your judgment of other people’s lifestyles is deflection.

We know you feel bad when we point out how your plastic bags are strangling sea turtles. But the answer is to change. Not to continue to be in denial. We’ll try to be tactful, but don’t try to argue with us that you can’t live without bacon. Pigs can’t live without bacon. So don’t mock my dietary habits because I will be ruthless.

13. You consume a LOT of sex and violence.

Everything you watch on tv is pretty much entertainment, including your “news”- fair enough. However, it’s sexist- which hurts women and molds the minds of young people, perpetuating inequality. Watching violence on tv actually perpetuates adrenaline addiction, and for some can trigger fight or flight- which believe it or not, contributes to your stress load- and also passively condones community violence. There’s also a LOT of consumerism on tv, which is a whole other issue. In short, cutting back on sexist and violent media would help you find your center, and make you more conscious of your actual surroundings. It would also save your children from adult content that they are being exposed to. Sex and violence aren’t for children. Go outside, and get some ACTUAL hobbies that don’t include tivo. Come visit your hippy neighbors. They’re not watching tv either. We usually have some home brew going too ;)

14. Your cancer rate is ridiculously higher than ours and it WILL effect us.

We’re afraid you’re going to die a long suffering death. That’s why we’re pushing. And you’re polluting our planet. Please stop.

15. Fashion is stupid.

Caring for your appearance- win. Caring about MY appearance- fail. In fact, it can be argued that fashion crazes contribute to consumerism habits, which increase personal debt (which can effect your partner), and it also objectifies ALL people, not just women. We know the connection to fashion trends, the media, and eating disorders- haven’t we evolved beyond “fashion”? Wear what makes you feel good- not what is “in”.

16. Speaking of consumerism…you have a LOT of stuff.

Ever get off the phone with someone who is coming to visit and have to scramble around to clean up? It’s because you have too much stuff. Even if you have a really clean house, clutter is hard to organize constantly, and even harder to clean around. But a lot of people shop for fun. It’s time we re-define fun. We don’t need that stuff. It doesn’t make us happy. And when we live with clutter bugs trying to fill their emptiness with stuff, it’s stressful and suffocating. I’ve written at length about the benefits about being minimalist but YOU don’t have to be. Just be mindful.


17. Your poor self-care probably means you get sick easy and you’re exposing us.

Lack of sleep, and a Coke and cigarette diet mean a strained immune system. And while we do the complete opposite, we’re not superhuman. People who practice natural living understand the direct correlation between self care and wellness and we want you to start being an adult and investigate doing it for yourself instead of expecting us to suck it up. Ask for help NOW when you’re WELL :)

18. Let holidays be about something OTHER than plastic crap from China and food.

2/3rds of Americans are obese. And plastic stuff from China is not cruelty free AND it pollutes the planet and our children. Is that really worthy of celebration? No. We’ve got Labor Day cookouts late summer, candy holiday, gorging our face holiday, and then cookies and cocoa holiday. I strongly recommend experience based holidays. Have some health foods. Use moderation. And get thoughtful and sustainable gifts- IN MODERATION.

19. When we invite you to share our values, actually reciprocate or don’t partake.

I’m a HUGE advocate of sharing, pitching in on helping with someone else’s kids, carpooling, or checking in when someone is sick- those are my values as a sense of community. I want you to try giving back too. One person doesn’t make a community. Return my stuff- in good condition. And consider watching my kids every so often if I’ve watched yours for 4wks.

20. Your personal bubble makes me uncomfortable because it is HUGE.

If you’ve lived next door to someone for over a month and haven’t introduced yourself, you might be American. I’m not saying you have to hug me- I’m way into consent culture, but at least SMILE at me when I waive hi. I’m happy to see you. You’re my neighbor. You are part of the reason I choose to live here. We don’t have to be bff’s because you probably think I’m a fruity hippy. But I’ll be deeply hurt if I find out you had to take a taxi to the hospital one day and didn’t think to ask me to help you.


And that…is that. Apologies to the child that had a dialogue with my daughter about home birth and the mortified teacher who tried to tell her that “vagina” was not a word she could use at school. Additional apologies to the person who tried to give my son pancakes and had to show him how to eat them. We’re not from planet ‘MERCA :p In fact…we’re real, rebellious, free-thinking AMERICANS! It’s time for change- what part are YOU taking in the revolution?

Recommended Fall Reading for Waldorf Kids


Ahhh fall. The perfect time to snuggle up with some hot cider, a blanket, and a good story. Literacy and story telling are a huge part of our family life, and we both keep books in the home AND visit the library often. Having greatly minimized my son’s books, we’ve been slowly collecting prize-worthy titles, in the form of rewards and gifts.

I got a few of these title names from The Magic Onions, a blog on family Waldorf homeschooling, and I couldn’t recommend them more as a resource. I also did some independent research, but what I have found is that the library is going to be the best resource because few blogs actually discuss the content of the books in relation to age and comprehension.

Here I am. To do that for you! (just a little…)

Now, I’m aware that most Waldorf kids don’t learn how to read until a little bit later, but my son is 3.5 and reading 3 letter words. He also enjoys being read to. But…he’s 3. He doesn’t like to sit too long for involved stories. That is why I recommend Autumn by Gerad Muller, Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington, and Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky.




This first book, Autumn, is for the child and parent to narrate and storytell together. It shows a variety of children participating in numerous fall and outdoor activities.

The second and third books, Pumpkin Pumpkin and Every Autumn Comes the Bear have one line per page and the story line is not complex. Pumpkin Pumpkin is about a boy who grows, picks, and carves his pumpkin. Every Autumn Comes the Bear is about a bear’s journey to transition into fall and winter. It discusses in basic terms how the bear is in nature with other animals and the environment.

The next book is one my son really likes, but the story line is a little more complex and the wording is lengthy. I wouldn’t typically recommend it for a child who was younger than 5. I think 6-7 would be a more appropriate age for this reading content. The title is The Apple Cake by Nienke Van Hichtum and it’s about a woman who makes a series of barters to eventually get apples to make a cake. Each trade enhances the person’s life substantially, and upon return to her home, she’s rewarded by the happiness of the good she has done in her community and her apple cake.


The titles Wild Child by Lynn Plourde and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert have amazing illustrations. Wild Child is a metaphorical story about mother nature putting her autumn child to sleep. The story is rhythmic and compelling, but because it is abstract, it would be too complex for a child under age 7-8. The same is true of Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, which is about how a child grew his maple tree. The story seems simple enough, but it’s full of facts that are intangible to the intellect of a small child, such as how shoots are gathered by greenhouse workers, and the back is full of tree-harvesting and growing facts. IMG_20141003_155152733



Lastly, Christopher’s Harvest Time by Elsa Beskow is a beloved and favorite work and author, but the story line is very drawn out, complex, and wordy. The illustrations are also muted and detailed. This is definitely a title for children aged 8 or above, as are most of Beskow’s works. However, this is not to dismiss the story line or heirloom quality graphics.