The following is a response by Ana Bravo to the question: How have you used the LifeWays training and how well did it prepare you for your work or help your family life?
The Living Arts: Creative
For years, advent – the four weeks prior to Christmas - in the O’Connell household has been celebrated with the gradual building of an advent nature scene on our kitchen table. I love this tradition, because it blends the Christian tradition of the advent wreath with a deeper appreciation of the natural world.
We recently spent a glorious morning at the farm with some of the children and parents from Tree School, a parent cooperative preschool based at Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center.
Here is a little autumn story poem for autumn harvest days. I make apple finger puppets to help make this visual. Just draw a small fingertip size apple – cut 2 out with red felt, add a brown stem and green leaf…easy! Sew around it, leaving room for your finger at the bottom. This one is so easy you can make many!! You will need 3 apple finger puppets for this puppet poem story.
One little apple hanging on a tree,
It fell down and bumped my knee!
Another little apple as rosy as a rose,
It fell down and bumped my nose!
Another little apple, ripe and sweet,
It fell down and bumped my feet!
It rolled and rolled nearly to my house,
Where it was spotted by a tiny little mouse.
“This yummy apple will make a fine meal,”
And he munch munch munched it, even the peel.
Because young children love stories, and magic, and anticipation, it can be especially enriching for children if we add those three aspects to any project that we do with them. Let's take the idea of making Apple Crisp: it can be done in half a morning. Simply chop up some apples, stir in some cinnamon and raisins, put in a buttered dish with granola on top, and bake for an hour at 350. Voila. But how can you expand that project, and make it into something that your child will remember for weeks or months or even years to come? Do it by weaving in stories, and magic, and anticipation.
Here in Colorado, Autumn swept in with a snowy Bang this week! I love this idea of making a fabulous ritual out of turning on the heater for the first time in the fall, with its imagery of the dragon warming us! -Faith
CREATING SPECIAL MOMENTS
Part I, The Dragon/Heater Celebration
from Esther Leisher
Family life, and life in general, is enormously enriched if we remember to create special moments. Those moments can be festivals or holidays that much of the world is celebrating, or they can be unique to your family. Some may be so simple that you hardly know what to call them. Here are some of the ideas I had for the celebration of everyday things--turning on the heater for winter, the first hike of spring, pulling the first carrot out of the garden, celebrating an abundance of sunflowers.
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