Monday, December 27, 2010

Handmade, Reused & Local Christmas

Merry Christmas Blogger World! We are currently SNOWED IN!...I mean literally, when I opened my door I pushed snow! It is so beautiful and peaceful out there.

I wanted to share with you all the wonderful homemade, handmade, reused or locally purchased gifts from this Christmas. I am so going to take the advice of another blogger and get started now on next years gifts!


We started with making homemade gingerbread houses with our friends the Codiani's

I invited some wonderful ladies over to make homemade soaps! I wrapped them in tissue paper with a strip of snowman tissue paper and tied it with raffia and a tag. I gave these to EVERYONE for Christmas!

I made a baby doll for my niece. This by far is the most difficult gift I have ever made. My friends Jannelle and Katelyn also joined me in the doll making, which made it extra fun! We got the pattern and directions HERE.
I will post the doll making experience another time.

Handmade by others
my father in law made this copper candle holder for everyone this Christmas! He made them to fit my soy candles. He even made it so the tops can be changed to different designs, like a star or a heart. These will be for sale at my website soon!

I purchased these felt food from kiddcheleen. I picked out their favorite foods including my husbands.

Folk Toy Collection
I got these folk wooden toys from McCoyToys They made great stocking stuffers for the boys..."made at a workshop" Santa's?
There is a Jacob's ladder, a yo yo and a humming spinning wheel.

Educational Wood Lacing Card-Elephant
James found this lacing elephant in his stocking!
It was purchased from TnTWoods.

 CRAYON roll up holds 16 crayons with velcro closure TRANSPORTATION
These adorable crayon rolls were also in the boys stockings, they hold 16 crayons to take on the go!
They were purchased from pinkynme.

Personalized Cosmetic Makeup Bag
 I got my mom a new makeup bag for Christmas..she was using a Ziploc baggie!
I got this custom bag from JuJuBaju She put her name on it too!

Locally Purchased

Kaleidoscope Cookies- Sugar Cookies with Lemon Icing
(these are not the cookies I ordered but I LOVE this on!)
I ordered a try of cookies for my families Christmas party from a
 local bakery that happen to be friends too! The cookies we so yummy and they delivered them to my aunts house for me! Here is a link to their Esty site...oblada Bakery

Purchases from the local feed store...venturagrain

 Warren got me these Muck Boots from our local feed store!  They are very warm and easy to clean.  He had a tough time deciding on them, because they are made in China...but he purchased them from a local store, helping to give them the end he purchased them and I love them!

Warren also got me socks from the feed store

 The boys bought their Nanny a bird feeder from the feed store too. This one is similar, but the one they got suctions to the window!

We also bought a Kong dog toy for Starla and an Adubon Bird -Cardinal for my mom from the boys.

The Candy!!!

We buy our candy from a local candy shop for Christmas!

All stocking candy was bought here, I wont tell you how much we spent...we have a chocoholic problem in this house!

The Village Toy Shop!
village toy shopee

I have not been into a Toys R Us in years! I found this little toy store in Easton, MA and have given them my business ever since.  It is not huge, loud or filled with a warehouse of toys and lights.  It IS comfortable and quiet! They have all kinds of thoughtful , educational toys as well as wooden or organic toys too!  Yes the prices are higher than the big box stores, because they have to make money too and they are not selling a warehouse worth of toys to the masses, but I know this and I have made the conscience effort to support small local businesses even if it means spending a little more on high quality not junky plastic toys.

Some things we bought here are

Wooden pantry food

Automoblox Minis
Automoblox minis

Bananagram game

Sticky Mosaics Ballerina
I got something similar to this, but it was magnetic which I like better than the sticky, cause it can be used over and over by different children. bought from a church fair.

This animal hospital was $3.99! It is so cute, it has keys to open the doors that the little plush animals go into!

Mason bought this for his Papa at the fair for $1.00...they watch the Wheel together on Friday nights!

Recycling and Garbage Truck
I also found a huge recycling truck at a store called Savers.  They take donations and resell them for very little money, then they donate to a local charity!
The recycling truck was at BJ's last year for $39.99! I got it for $6.99! and its being reused!

This bassinet the bay is in was also a Saver find for $2.99

I also found Mellisa & Doug magnetic dress-us dolls for $2.99

Plus a few other wooden toys that are so cute!

I really enjoyed tring to find or make gifts for my friends and family that were EarthFriendly!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrations of Birthday, Solstice and Friendship

December 21 is a day of celebration around our house for a few reason, this year more than any other tho....

Not only is it the First Day of the Winter season, it is also my mom's birthday! In our house birthdays are celebrated as though they are a big holiday! The day is spent in preparation with lots of help from the kids...we bake a cake and decorate it, hang balloons, and streamers, make a birthday banner, make cards and wrap gifts (some are little toys the boys want to give from their rooms), and even clean up the house. I try to make my mom's birthday as beautiful as possible...we are surrounded by boys birthdays....and its so close to Christmas I want her to feel special!

Then there is the Solstice.....but this year was extra special....
We have been gifted this year with the loving friendship of two amazing families! In this new friendship the boys and I have found fun, laughter, conversation, giggles (teeheehee), talents, lessons, and so much more....
They have opened their hearts and their home to let us join with them some holiday fun.

We were invite by the Codiani and the Haven families to make "homemade" gingerbread house.  The children were in joyful happiness as they ate candy, licked fingers, smooshed frosting and candy, and ate cookies. Memories I am sure none of us will soon forget.
I quote Athena age 5 on Christmas day "This is the most fun I have ever had in my life!"

The children also exchanged Christmas gifts for each other as well.....I was gifted with more than the empowering friendship of two amazing women, they surprised me with a beautiful handmade shoulder bag and inside was the most amazing "tea wallet" yes I said tea wallet! for my TEA!!!(that I carry with me) and yummy chap stick too! Check out Katelyn's friend who makes these amazing creations at pixypatch.

We were invited back to their home later that night to walk with them to their Unity church for a Solstice Celebration! The chairs we set up onto a large circle with a small table in the center.  On the table was a ring of tea lights. I was interested to see what Mason would take away from this experience... 
The Minister "Tess" started with asking us to say our names as she lit a candle for each person, in doing this it made the space a sacred place. We sang about darkness...this was Mason's favorite part of the whole night he said, and he read along with the words and was singing too! It really was a lovely song.  James relaxed on my lap listening to the music. We learned of how in earlier times children would go outside and bang pots and pans and YELL at eh sun to wake up, believing it went to sleep in the north and maybe forgot to come back(being the longest night). Later Tess took the children outside to YELL at the sun!
We spoke of things we would like this night to take away from us, such as poor health, impatience, unforgiven, we did this Tess blew out the lights and as we sat in the dark listening to music (and children quietly talking :) we thought about these things that we needed to let go of.
In return to welcome back the light we spoke of the things in which we would love the light to bring to us for the year to come, such as peace, happiness, health, patience,etc... and re lit the candles. Finally we all sang "This Little Light Of Mine" then enjoyed snacks. 
It was a nice peaceful ceremony and I feel that if was a great experience for the boys to have to sit and listen and participate in a community gathering of friends.

We all walked back to the house and had another treat of homemade Moon cookies or black and whites.

I am left with many feeling from this years Winter Solstice...Peace, Love & Happiness are just a few!
Thank you Codiani and Haven families!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

videos from Santa

These are the most amazing videos I have ever seen! Santa has sent a video to both boys to check on them to see if they have been good, and what they have asked for for Christmas.  Check them out!

Mason's video from Santa

James's video from Santa

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Letter from the princlipal!

Dear Mr & Mrs Cummins,                                                                       Nov, 2010

      This letter is to inform you that due to too many holiday decoration, celebrations to prepare for, fun Christmas projects to do, baking, wrapping, and the need for the Christmas tree to go where the school table and shelves vacation will be held from Thanksgiving thru January 3rd!

       Instead of our usual curriculum we will be following 2010-activity-advent-calendar instead. With some adaptions for age. We will still continue to learn everyday with baking (math), books, discussions and such writing activities as writing a letter to Santa and Thank You cards.  We will also be taking lots of field trips to see such fun things as, The Enchanted Village, a seal watch boat trip with the Spineless Wonders class,  Santa at Norton Common, Christmas Lights, etc...

 Mason will continue with his piano lessons and recital and Story of the World Co-Op.

 Hope you have a wonderful vacation.

        Sincerely Yours,
       Kerryanne Cummins
     (Principal of the Cummins School)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where did the time go?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogger friends!

I have missed you and have a TON of blogs I WANT to post, but just can not seem to find any time!  I have had many conversations this holiday with family and Friends about "Where did the time do"?  It seemed to me that August-now FLEW by in the blink of an eye! I barley remember the past 4 months! I try to do those life focusing things like "live in the moment", 'stop and reflect", "Stop and listen" etc....but time still flickers by! I don't want my life and my children's childhood to be a blur....anyone out there have any secrets to slowing down time? 

My friend Jannelle has one of those "fancy phones" and one of her apps is a "mind full app", so every hour a very beautiful soft gong sound comes from her phone to remind her to be mindful of what she is doing right then.....instead of thinking about impending housework, schedules, classes, appointments, dinner, us moms tend to get bogged down with.  Unfortunately I do not have a "fancy phone" so I don't have any mindful app to keep me grounded (tho I wish I did) 

So now it is the holiday season (already!) and I find myself constantly thinking about what I need to get/make for who, what parties are coming up, what we are doing on Christmas as far as who to see when.  These things NEED to be planned and done,  but it adds more to consume my brain!  

Here is my question to you my blogger friends...

"What do you do to cope with all the "stuff" that keeps us bogged down and busy, not just during the holiday season but, for everyday life too.  How to YOU slow down time?"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Earth Friendly Mama's Barefoot Book Store!

As soon as I saw these books I knew they would be perfect for my family!
Some of the collections they have are:
Fun first steps
Natural Child
Travel the world
Tell me a story
and gifts!
So I signed right up to become an Ambassador to help share this unique collection of carefully crafted books and gifts to help children on their journey to becoming happy, engaged members of the global community!
They are Whimsical, Inspiring, Wholesome , Educational and Fun!

The company started with two stay at home moms right here in MA!
I am all about supporting small businesses (having one myself). These women are amazing! They give back to the global community and they are promoting a product that fosters a love of learning in children. I could go on and on about this great company, instead come check it out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

School for November, 2010

I am tring to keep a journal of what we do for school each month or week if I can, so I will have a written/picture reference for writing out my end of the year review, and for when James is older. So here is a run thru for November;

Halloween Candy Sort!
If you cant beat em, join em! Yes he counted out and sorted ALL his candy!

When I rolled up the rug to move it out of the way, They decided it would make a great balance beam, They also learned that if one stands on the other end, it knocks of the person balancing!

Fun with friends and play dough

A and J working with the bead stair...accually J was just watching!

Save By The Bay class...Salt Water Marsh lesson

In the mud with his teacher

The boys were playing a pumpkin matching game Mason cut out of his High Five magazine

Magnetic Mosaic, color/number matching and fine motor skills

H and J having fun play time

These next pitcures are of our school shelves:

Physical Science:
Invertabrate cards

Ridgitity Tray

A and M sort items that are magnetic or non-magnetic

Head phones and electric toothbrush use a magnet to run the motors.

Metal paper clips are magnetic and fun to play with too!

strapping a magnet to a toy car, they used the negative force of the magnet to push the cars along.

The little ones sort magnets with Janelle after the big kids are done with them.

Making a compass!
Mason rubs a needle on a magnet

On the tray;
 compass,magnet,direction cards, cork, needle, tape, and bowl of water

After taping the magnetized needle to the cork, mason watches as if floats around to find north!

Next we did Reflect and Refract Light
Making a rainbow refracts light thru a prism.

Refracted light

Reflected Light



Cursive Practice


Mason was making a treasure map for me to find the treasure in the box he hide in the yard. 

Practical Life Skills:
I moved their play sink (that I got from a friend's mom that worked at a Montessori school!) down stairs, I put small sponges, pump soap, towel and aprons for them to wash their own dishes.

I put their dishes, cups, utensils, wash cloths and dust pan inside.
We use NO plastic.

Mason mopping with his kid size mop--he actually loves to mop the floor!

Toddler Color Sort Game
I found this game at a church fair for $1.00

Roll the dice to find color and number of wooden beads to place on your card.

Russian Doll we got in the continent swap!