There’s a lot of online articles about cultivating a simple, green, less-commercial season. But who has time to read them? In an effort to truly keep things simple, we’ve gone through a slew of articles and compiled our favorite ideas and tips for the season.
This lady has it covered! Michelle at NannyPro has compiled 30 blog posts about scaling down, planning ahead, and managing materialism at the holidays.
Here are a few unique tips from two bloggers that resonated with us:
- Only do traditions that bring your family great joy.
- Say No to the parties.
- Organize your house now to make room for gifts.
- Buy online and ship gifts direct, even to those who live nearby.
Eartheasy.com offers this startling stat for the Holiday.
“Half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. (Source: The Recycler’s Handbook, 1990) In the US, the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags totals over 4 million tons.”
No need to be a part of that statistic. Use recycled paper to wrap gifts or buy re-usable cloth gift bags (available at our school store). Here are some other great ideas online for going green:
- Lift the taboo on re-gifting.
- Gift up-cycled items.
- Give the gifts that require no batteries.
- Choose environmentally friendly decorations like LED Lights and Live Potted Trees.
We’ve all been urged to buy local and buy less. Here are some ideas for getting buy-in from family. Treehugger.com says:
- Talk to your extended family now about changing gift giving rituals for the long term (you’re not the only one overwhelmed by the stuff).
- Shorten your adult gift list. They’re grown ups. They’ll understand.
- Give those still on the adult list a simple handmade item or small token of gratitude.
- And for the kids, ask your children to create a short gift list and put items in order of importance.
Good luck out there. Enjoy the season!
Join us for our upcoming series of educational films and conversation.
December 5th: 9 a.m. Consuming Kids-The Commercialization of Childhood. This movie throws light on the practices of the multi billion dollar marketing industry that sells kids everything from junk food to video games.
December 19th: 9 a.m. The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner. This documentary tells the story of his life, interwoven with contemporary examples of how his ideas and insights have influenced pioneering work all over the world in education, agriculture, medicine, finance and the arts.
January 23rd: 9 a.m. Mother Nature’s Child – Growing Outdoors in the Media Age. This documentary explores the essential ways nature experience promotes children’s well-being, contributes to the future of the planet, and nourishes the human spirit.
Join us in celebrating the awareness and wonder of ancient festivals that connect us to the rhythms of nature and the progression of the seasons. This fun filled day includes story telling, live music, food, crafts, shopping and more!
- Time: Saturday, November 17, 2012 / 10 am to 4pm
- Location: Spring Garden Waldorf School — 1791 South Jacoby Rd in Copley, OH.
- Cost: Admission is $2 — $1 goes to SGWS and the other is donated to the Good Samaritan Hunger Center. Cash only please.
Check out our FaceBook Event Page
- Unique kid crafts like yarn dolls, paper stars and more.
- Music from great local bands like Hey Mavis.
- Young child entertainment like puppet shows, marble room, and the infamous magical cookie fairy and boat rooms.
- Older child entertainment like the pocket person hunt and trebuchet challenge.
- Eating wholesome and delicious homemade food and baked goods.
- Shopping at a handmade artists’ market, child-item raffles and our special child-only shop for Mom and Dad holiday room.
Spring Garden children often take walks around the grounds in the morning and there are many beautiful things to see and watch. Mr. Grimes’ new garden is also a popular place with the children.
The left bed of the garden is adorned with sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos, nasturtium, and zinnias. The right side is cover crop which is visually interesting too. On both sides, a plethora of insect life is thriving…assassin beetles, ladybugs, butterflies, green things, iridescent things…and yes…bees.
The right side plays guest to a different variety of insect life…alfalfa, clover and fava beans are in that row. On the right side row, children are encouraged to pick the tiny purple flowers, but just the purple flowers; not the purple and white ones. Teachers often tell the little ones that the gnomes have a much easier time in the spring if they help them do this job.
The east side of the garden is the pumpkin patch, where mysterious round objects of various sizes peek out from the foliage. These objects are in the process of serious transformation and one can see changes in size and color virtually on a daily basis. The children will be able to help come harvest time.
Get to know other parents and enjoy Waldorf-inspired education and conversation at these upcoming Spring Garden parent events. All these events will take place in the school store at 9 am.
Care of the Child Conversation Series: 10/24 9 am
Dr. Karin Cseak and Susan Moss RN will be discussing homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, and any other important medical topics of interest to the group. Past discussions have focused on handling fevers, calming techniques, encouraging better sleep, and much more. Please join us and bring your health and healing questions.
Book Discussion – 11/8 9 am
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids. Join us in guided conversation and sharing about this wonderful book by Kim John Payne. Learn why Amazon reviewers give this book 5 out of 5 stars!
New Parent Tea – 11/7 9 am
Have questions about Spring Garden? Looking to meet other new parents? Want to hear news about festivals, events, or volunteer opportunities? Then please come to our new parent tea. All new parents from Early Childhood to Elementary & Middle school are welcome and encouraged to attend.
The University of Akron is hosting author and “godmother” of Biomimicry, Janine Benyus, on the evening of September 20th at E.J. Thomas Hall. The topic, Nature’s Apprentices: Biomimicry in the Great Lakes and Beyond, will give an insider’s view of Biomimicry — the practice of learning from and then emulating nature’s best ideas to create a more sustainable world.
Free tickets are available for a limited time only to friends of SGWS. Get them at this link: http://glbiomimicry.org/events/
According to Great Lakes Biomimicry (GLBio), “Since the publication of her seminal book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine Benyus and her colleagues at Biomimicry 3.8 have developed a method for bio-inspired design while introducing millions to its potential. They’ve worked with over 250 corporate clients and professors from more than 100 universities to integrate biomimicry in both design and decision-making. They have collaborated with some of the world’s greatest innovators to re-imagine everything from carpet to cities.”
At the EJ Thomas lecture, Ms. Benyus will speak on up and coming biomimicry advances on those out in the marketplace. She will also touch on Biomimicry’s newfound popularity, including why the Harvard Business Review call it, “one of the top 20 breakthrough business ideas.”
Waldorf parents know that summer is a time for cherished freedom, slowing down and lots of unstructured play. Returning to school can be a jolt to everyone’s system. Here are some gentle ways to lessen the stress as your family re-enters the school-time routine.
While the children enjoy their last 2 weeks of summer, you can be gearing up behind the scenes.
- Meals: Consider meal planning for the first week of school. Making a simple menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner can make you less stressed during that hectic first week.
- Events: The school year starts out strong, so be sure and put August and September’s events in your calendar now.
- Clothes: Waldorf schools have lots of clothing requirements, especially for the outdoors. Order, shop or trade now for your rain wear, coats, boots, hats, indoor and gym shoes. Avoid the last minute scramble.
As the first day of school approaches, think back to those days and remember the excitement (and sometimes fear) behind returning to school. Open communication lines now about academics, friends, and other first day or year-long issues.
- Talk Positive: As you discuss the upcoming year and upcoming change, be sure and focus on a child’s strengths and joys to build excitement for what’s to come.
- Schedule a Play date: Back to school time is a great time to reconnect with friends. This gets children excited about returning to school and helps them feel comfortable about the first day when they will see their playmates again.
- Get Involved: Being involved with school right away helps children see that they are not isolated from family during this busy season. Keep schooling a family activity and keep separation anxiety at bay.
Transition to New Routines:
While fanfare is not recommended, a gentle return to school time routines can make the first few weeks of school much easier on the family.
- Rest and Nourishment: Earlier bed and wake times are tough with the summer sun in the sky, but trimming even 20 minutes off a late night can make a big difference. Consider meal times as well and begin feeding kids according to school breakfast, snack and lunch schedules.
- Shifting Priorities: Summers are not always ideal. Media can creep into a schedule, academics can be forgotten, small motor skills play second fiddle to large ones. Oh yeah . . . the fiddle is still in the case. As school approaches, gently reintroduce some old priorities. Returning to outdoor play followed by some focused work, getting the nature table ready for new additions, and reviewing a few academic basics can be very valuable for boosting confidence and building excitement.
- New Beginnings: Remember how each year felt like a fresh start? Well, it is! Don’t forget that new routines and habits can begin now in the family. Talk about goals, create a new homework spot or file system, discuss new school year challenges and rewards.
It’s going to be a great year!
We’re starting a new series on the blog highlighting our talented school store vendors, many of which are parents, teachers, and friends of Spring Garden. This week, Shannon Trepka of Shannon Soaps talks about why she started her business.
The primary motivation behind the founding of Shannon’s Soaps was genetics – more specifically skin conditions inherited by my husband Brian. His sensitive skin had difficulty coping with store-bought soaps – even the higher-end ones from certain mall-dwelling bath stores. I began by making “melt and pour” oatmeal soap (so named because you melt larger blocks of soap and pour it into molds, adding color and fragrance) with supplies purchased from a craft store.
When the craft store stopped carrying soap making supplies, Brian found a recipe online for making oatmeal soap the more traditional way – with fats and lye, and suggested that I try mixing up a batch.
I was a chemistry major in college, and a former Science and English teacher, but I still told him he was crazy. Then a couple of weeks later I tried a batch of oatmeal mint and the whole family loved using it. And I loved making it!
Encouraged by my family and friends, I started Shannon’s Soaps, which sells handcrafted bath and body items. Recently, I set up a website, featuring soaps, bath salts, lotions, and bath fizzies at http://www.shannonssoaps.com, and made arrangements for the Spring Garden Waldorf School’s store to carry select items, many with all-natural ingredients.
Robyn, my 4-year-old daughter, is a sensitive skin sufferer, and my best salesperson and customer!
So, stop by the store next time you’re at the school and check out what’s available from Shannon’s Soaps. As with the other items in the store, part of the sale price goes to benefit the school. Beyond this worthy cause, you’ll be buying a quality, handcrafted personal care product.
Watch this amazing sword dance performed by Spring Garden Waldorf School’s sixth grade class.
image by chrisroll
Five hundred new fairy tales discovered in Germany! These tales, recorded and collected by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) around the same time as Grimm’s tales were being preserved, have been discovered tucked away in an archive. Click Here to read about the Turnip Princess.
Wondering what to do this summer with the family? Consider Vacations that connect kids with nature.
Speaking of nature, check out the green resources page WhyWaldorfWorks.org, which keeps you up to date on green news and has links to great green organizations.
And finally, check out this Free Rudolf Steiner online study course at http://www.philosophyoffreedom.com/ to help readers work through his fundamental book, Philosophy of Freedom.