Song: The Harvest in the Feilds

Here is a great song that I love to sing in the Autumn time. It’s not a song that you would expect little ones to sing with you, but just singing AROUND your children is so very beneficial. Even if you THINK you don’t have a good singing voice, your children will be your biggest fans.

The actual practice of toning and improving your singing voice is also beneficial for the child. In this great (and long) article it states: “Teachers {or any caregiver/parent of the child} need to take the quality of their own singing voice seriously, not least because it radiates a sense of their well-being – or lack of well-being – to the children. Children also need to sense their teacher working on their own voice and how this is part of their self-development. In my experience, teachers working on their own voices find how it can be a source of regeneration and health in their lives.” To help in the development of your child’s larynx (see article) it’s great to provide a model of age-appropriate singing with a”forward, light and bright resonance” while reaching the higher pitches and bright open timbres that their voices easily lift up into. I know this sounds like a tall order to some who think they cannot sing. You CAN sing! You can all sing and with practice, you can ever learn to sing really well! AND to sing even better and really uncover your true voice, you can search for Werbeck singing courses in your area, like this one; or even join a local choir, like this one here in Portland

The most important thing is to love singing, love the song and sing often with and near your children. Another point of view with less focus on your singing expertise: “Children don’t care what you are singing or that you have an “interesting” voice.  You can sing about driving them to daycare, about your day, or about the day your child was born.  Singing helps babies distinguish between a singing voice and a speaking voice, and it helps them to produce sounds in patterns and rhythms that match those of others.” Music is essential! Enjoy the song!

The Harvest in the Fields

(click here to listen)

The harvest in the fields and on the orchard hang low,

the haze is on the hills and all the earth is a glow.

On lakes streams and rivers the geese seem to know

that autumn is upon us, tomorrow they’ll go.

The Joy of Work in Early Childhood

I am so excited to be writing this post! My child has officially entered this stage and I couldn’t be happier! We spend so much time together because my son will come up to me just to imitate my actions. “Do you want to help mommy,” I will ask and then hand him his own copy of what ever I am doing. He will sit and work with me until he eventually wanders off into something else.

Work is his play and play is his work! What I mean by that statement is that when children work with you, this is play for them as well as great quality time with mom or dad. When they play this is the work that will develop their growing motor skills and mental capacities. I highly recommend reading Freya Jaffke’s book, Work and Play in Early Childhood for more wonderful information and tools on this concept. Freja Jaffke was born in 1937. She worked at Reutlingen kindergarten in Germany for many years and now lectures throughout the world in teacher training colleges. She provides tried and tested advice on this important stage of development.

On this great Parenting Passageway Post on chores, Carrie writes “I remark here that rhythm in the practical work of the home and working TOGETHER in joy is what lays the foundation of wholly independent work… IMITATION is also another way to help children learn about chores when they are young.” Here, she lists a great number of chores that can be done with your children, including (for your toddler) “wipe tables and counters with damp sponge, wash vegetables or tear lettuce, help provide water and food for pets, help clean up after play and meals, water plants outside, pick up toys and books, throw things out for you, help clean up spills and messes…” and many more on the post!

Your little ones LOVE to help you and love the time with you in this way because all they want is to learn to do what we do as adults. So here is the amazing thing: you CAN get your housework done with small children in the house! Don’t wait until they go to nap because then they miss all of the fun! Do your work around them and they will come to you to help. Include them. “Do you want to help mommy wipe the counter? Here’s a rag for you!” “Do you want to help mommy fold laundry? Sit on my lap and we will do it together!”

I am so enjoying this part of my sons development and everyday I think of all of the fun housework we can do together. For those of you that do not love housework, you may think I’m nuts. But if you try housework with your little one, you may find that there is a level of enjoyment that you never thought possible.

What are your thoughts on housework with your child? What are your plans for implementing chores with your young family members?

Autumn’s Eve: Sharing the Joy of the Season With Our Children

I LOVE AUTUMN! I find that this is one of the most active and vibrant times of the year, more so than the lazy, hot summer or quiet and gently blossoming spring. IN the fall we have the wind and rain and leaves flying all about; we have the fascinating decay of the plants we have nourished over the past year; and we have the dusk coming closer and closer to our days, slowly wrapping us in quiet security. I LOVE sharing this time with children! There are SO MANY great folk songs, cooking activities and projects that we can share with even the littlest of people!

We all know about the common festivals of Autumn, but there are more than you think. As the season goes on, I will be posting about these specific festivals, but first I want to mention Michealmas Time! Just after the Equinox (on the 22nd this year) Michealmas time comes to us on the 29th of September. Your local Waldorf School will most likely have Michealmas Festivals open to the public and I urge you to go. As shared on the Parenting Passageway: “Michaelmas is an autumn festival that to me really opens up the season for the awakening of our souls as the weather gets colder, the light recedes, and we look toward strengthening our own inner reserves, our own inner strength. Michaelmas, as you can probably guess, is named for Saint Michael.  Michael was one of the four archangels, and is the angel who threw Lucifer out of Heaven.  He is the Angel of Courage, the Angel of the Fight Against Evil.  Take courage for the long, cold winter from Saint Michael!” To me, this is a time to focus deeply on my inner work and share in the strength building activities with our friends and family. This is a time for meditating, writing poetry, dancing and sharing the joy of Autumn with our children. These heart-warming activities will build our joy reserves for the harsh winter and Michealmas Day is a time to remember out work for this time.

There are so many great Autumn activities we can share with our children. Meditation and Inner work is not something we do WITH children, it is something we do for our children as a spiritually strong parent is essential. provides a good foundation for their own strength. On The Magic Onions Blog, I have found a treasure chest full of brilliant ways to share the joy of Autumn with your little ones. Here you will see great books to read, lovely nature table decor, finger games and songs and recipes to make with our children. Here’s a poem that she shares with us to share with our children, I find it lovely!

October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came –

The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,

And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand,

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind the band.

~George Cooper, “October’s Party”

I would love to hear your thoughts on how to you celebrate this season, as you can never have enough ideas in your pocket on how to bring the joy of mother nature to your children.

Finding Community: Why I’m Moving to Portland Today!

Today we are officially leaving Seattle and moving south to Portland, OR and I could not be happier! My husband and I have lived in Seattle for 6 years now and have had many major life transitions here. We got engaged and then married, I completed my journey through Waldorf Teacher Training and finally, we had our son and he lived his first year here. We’ve always had an inkling to leave the city after my training was completed as that was our reason for moving here, but over the past year we have felt the conformation for this change.

In this city, I don’t have many close friends and family and when I say close, I mean within a mile of me! I of course have my wonderful PEPS group which is helpful, but not the same as family! It is too hard to drive 20-30 minutes to meet the almost daily needs of family when you have children. Especially in Seattle with all of the lakes that you must constantly work around and the crazy traffic! Going to Bellevue where a very dear friend lives is only a few miles away but is the biggest chore ever because of traffic and tolls! So I needed more; I needed a second family within walking distance that I would see all of the time and in Portland, this is what I will have!

I grew up with a girl that lived down the street from me. We met when we were around 6 or 8 and I saw her daily in the summer and most days during the rest of the year. Only now as an adult and mother I see how this benefited our mothers to be able to have a second family to support you just down the street! I’m told stories of how our mothers conspired with each other to get us out of the house for mom breaks, chores and errand running and this was much to our delight! We would make cookies with her mother and we would do art projects with my mother. Our childhood joys were keeping our mothers sane!

So now I will be living less than a mile from my childhood friend that also has a child 4 months younger than my son. (who, by the way, I can hear chatting in his sleep while I write this early in the morning of our move, too excited to sleep) I will regularly care for her child and see their family all of the time. We have plans to cook together every week, have monthly game nights, go on family vacations and generally see each other on a very regular basis. Having this community will not only benefit my sanity by allowing socialization but it gives me a fluffy pillow of support knowing that if I am truly struggling (like my challenge with ppd) I will have help and that I will be able to offer that same support to her family.

Raising children without this kind of support is very common these days and it is so unfortunate. My biggest wish is that one day all mothers can find a support system to help them and a community that children can be a part of. When children reach school age you do gain some of that community, but the first few years can be particularly isolating for new mothers and fathers. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help match you up with that support. Ideally, I would site the many resources, but I am moving today so I will have to leave that to you for now and update this later. For now, this is a great site with tips on finding the community you need.

What support systems did you find helpful for your new motherhood? Or is this still a struggle? I would love to hear your thoughts.