Showing posts with label Season's Greetings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Season's Greetings. Show all posts

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Overkill

We were in the car and my son said to me (again), "Why doesn't the Easter bunny bring me Lego sets and iTunes cards like my friends?"  Before I could stop my self I responded, "Because they are spoiled."  (I may have given it away.)  Luckily, he is 13, so it was not a shock (though our motto is "those who do not believe do not receive").  This is not the first time this has come up.  He doesn't focus on it but he has asked a few times through the years.

When our children awaken on Easter morning they run into the kitchen like millions of children across the United States to see what the mystical bunny has brought for them.  Last year, due to a serious deficiency on said bunny's part, there was no chocolate bunny (apparently all of the high quality chocolate was given out before he arrived at our house) but there were ample chocolate eggs and chocolate covered sunflower seeds in a carrot shaped package.  "Why do my friends get so much candy and we get sunflower seeds?"  Really?  See above response.

Each of the children's baskets last year contained a little candy, seeds to be planted in the garden and something special that the big bunny thought they would each enjoy.  The Sun received husband and wife gnomes for the garden and the moon got a new garden flag for her fairy garden.  This year looks similar.  Healthy organic gummies and chocolate eggs on a stick.  They'll  receive some wonderful thing to take them through a summer of fun.   Based on their needs (not their wants) it will most likely be gardening tools and gloves and perhaps some other small item.  You see, Easter just does not scream Legos to me.  Or iTunes for that matter.

You see, I believe we are not serving our children by gifting them with toys at every turn.  The greatest gifts we give our children are the tools to live an authentic life, humility, compassion, love and the understanding that hard work is the foundation to success.  So, do yourself a favor.  Do your kids a favor and dial it back a notch this year.

Regardless of your reason for the season, Happy Easter and may your spring be full of abundance.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Times: Imbolc

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall :
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind :
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see.
(mid-17th century English poet Robert Herrick 1591-1674)

Today is Candlemas, or, as many recognize it and I have long known it - Imbolc.  It is associated with the Celtic goddess Brigid and the Christian saint - Brigit.  (Long story, but here's a link to the best online explanation if you want to know more: Wiki.)   If you have not done so, it is time to take down any remaining greenery leftover from Yule or Christmas.  Spring cleaning is a must between now and the equinox!  And, it's time to plant your seeds of intention to be harvested throughout the year.  

My journey of authenticity has long had me celebrating these ancient days associated with the sun, with planting, with the seasons - celebrations of the turning of the Earth and its profound effect on how we live our lives.  Today, in the US, the groundhog saw his shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter.  I always find it quite funny as we have 7 weeks of winter remaining before we are officially into spring.  Living in Tennesse, I sometimes feel we have an unfair advantage to many other parts of the Western world as we truly have four glorious seasons.  And, though I really detest winter - in that I can never be quite warm enough - I love the opportunity for introspection, the chance to slow down and hibernate, and that the Earth has time to do what it needs to do to prepare for the next season of growth.

The children and I discussed the significance of the day and after preparing a traditional feast of Shepherd's Pie (yes, I know I'm obsessed) and shortbread cookies, we lit beeswax candles and all went round the table sharing what we were grateful for.  Part of my gratitude is the garden space we created last summer which I began planning once again today.  I spent the time between putting the potatoes on to boil and taking them off to mash circling items from my seed catalog which happened to arrive today (there are no coincidences).  The notion of fresh swiss chard, ripe tomatoes and yellow squash will take me through the next few weeks until the sun begins to warm our days.  

 There are many ways to think about this time of the year.  Many faiths and traditions that recognize this time in February when we look to the light to sustain us through the cold winter months.  Regardless of how you honor it, how you utilize it, relish in the darkness while looking toward the light, plan for the planting and then the harvest, go inward and reflect while you can for soon spring will arrive and your days will once again be filled.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

24 Days of Christmas - Day 20

It's the little things in life that bring us all such meaning and joy.  I know.  There are big things as well, the birth if a child, the purchase of a new home,  marriages......but I believe it is the small things that sustain us.  Today, the small things in my life include a quiet moment in the chapel watching the children rehearse their Christmas pageant; the gift from a friend of playdates with my children while I put the final touches on Christmas; and the knowledge that yesterday I prepared enough food to feed my family through Monday.  It is easy to get caught up in the stresses of the holiday but much more pleasant to take a quiet moment and appreciate the small things in your life.   What sustains you today?   I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

24 Days of Christmas - Day 18...I Think

Well, we are quickly approaching Christmas and things are beginning to breakdown at the Croy homestead,  home of the harmonious family.   Frustrated by the lack of 5 minutes to wrap gifts, I put the kids in front of Elf while I locked myself away to get said gifts ready for display.  In other words, we began Christmas break two days early.

The kitchen now looks like Santas elves have been creating havoc (who am I kidding...they would never leave that mess). 

Once Elf was over I realized the beans I had been cooking all morning were not ready for lunch and I didn't have enough wits about me to give the kids oatmeal for lunch, so we ran out to grab a gf lunch (not easy in our neighborhood).  On to violin, then a mad dash home to get the Sun ready for his violin concert.  These may not seem like much but there were other stressors added in which revolve around scheduling and a father with a doctor's appointment each day this week and well, the conversation with my husband sums it up. 

"When you get to the church for the concert, come down to Boca Loca where you will find me with a sangria."  He responded, "So, you are that kind of mom."  "I am today." 

I will leave you with a picture if the moon sipping a Shirley Temple.  Cheers to you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

24 Days of Christmas - Day 16

How in the world did it go from day 5 to day 16?  Has the last week and a half really flown by that quickly?  I think so.  We've been quite busy on the old Croy homestead.  Trimming trees, making desserts, Christmas crafting....there have been Christmas concerts and activities and on Sunday we are North Pole bound.  Trying to not panic or be in any shape, form or fashion F-R-A-N-T-I-C, we are wrapping up our first semester of homeschool and putting the final touches on the Christmas season.

Here are few things we have been doing here at home.  Note the snowflake wreath thanks to Better Homes and Gardens and the new Christmas card holder made from an old window frame.  I hope this week finds you calm as you navigate these last days leading up to the Winter Solstice and the birth of Christ.  Relish in the increasing darkness and celebrate the light this holiday season! 

Have a very merry day!  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

24 Days of Christmas - Day 4

The Advent season has begun.  We have never celebrated Advent before, not at least the anticipation of the birth of Christ.  I am not sure why we are celebrating it this year.  Perhaps it is the Episcopal church we are attending and I want to give the children the experience of this celebration.  Perhaps it is my continued offering of all religious paths to my children.  Maybe it's the connection we also feel for the approach of the darkest night of the year - the Winter Solstice.  Regardless, we are anticipating the arrival of our precious pink and purple candles.

To prepare for the new celebration in our home (and to prepare for the arrival of our Christmas tree on Saturday), I spent yesterday cleaning the silver (the base for said Advent wreath), cleaning out closets and reading articles to the children about the meaning of the Advent and how the greenery ties into the Earth based religions we also honor in our home.

One of the best articles I found that resonated with me the most was one on how the advent season honors Mary as she prepared for the birth of her son.  It reminded me of an Advent season, 13 years ago, when I waited for the birth of my own son, born 2 days after Christmas.

Regardless of what or how you are celebrating and enjoying this dark time of the year, go in peace and be blessed. 

24 Days of Christmas - Day 3

Do you celebrate the Advent?  Do you use an Advent calendar?  We have not actually celebrated the Advent but do use a calendar to count down the days until Christmas.  We have filled the calendar with toys, chocolates, money, and little notes, going as far as having the children go on a scavenger hunt for their Advent gifts.  Last year we really began scaling down Christmas and this year are scaling down even more.  How do we keep the magic, make the holiday meaningful, and keep our children from being spoiled (which if anyone know my kids, knows they are definitely not spoiled)?

This year the Advent calendar gifts look very different from how they have in the past.  Inspired by author Isabel Wyatt in her 7 Year Old Wonder Book, I occasionally draw pictures for the children in a sketch journal and leave them on their bedside table to be waiting for them when they awake.  Last night I read to them the story of the Star Twins and instead of leaving the pictures by their beds I left them standing in front of the Advent calendar.

This is the outline of the picture for the Moon

When the book is filled - probably sometimes at the end of the school year, I'll pack the journals away with the other important items that I am saving for the children in hopes that they will pull them out as adults and remember this part of their childhood.

Final Picture of the Star Twins

This holiday season, I hope you are thinking about the spirit of the holiday - however you celebrate - and being conscious of the messaging you are giving to your children.

"Shall we liken Christmas to the web in a loom?  There are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels our understanding." -   Earl W. Count, 4,000 Years of Christmas

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

24 Days of Christmas - Day 2

Today is Giving Tuesday.  It is a day when we think about the importance of giving instead of receiving.  For us, giving comes in many forms.  Today's giving for me was in putting together messaging for a non-profit trying to raise money on what promises to be a huge day for those doing good works around the world.  For Nathan, it is possibly giving up his Tuesday night to deliver wreaths from our son's Boy Scout fundraiser.  On Sunday, giving for the Sun meant serving 20 homeless men for three hours with his church youth group. 

Unfortunately, the hours we give are not enough.  To make things happen in this world, money is also required.  That's why today we will also make a small gift financially to the person/organization of our choice.  Today's gift will most likely be someone or some group tied to orphans living in one of China's many orphanages.

In the spirit of giving, I want to share with you some of the organizations that have their way into my "in-box" today in case you are at a loss of who put on your #givingtuesday list.

Happy Giving!  

Monday, December 1, 2014

24 Days Until Christmas - Day 1

This past weekend Nathan and I were able to have our 10th annual no-child Thanksgiving weekend.  It's a tradition that my mother-in-law began for us.  When Noah was two years old, she insisted that he be allowed to stay with them for the weekend while we (I) had a much needed break.   Each year we spend Friday shopping and eating out and the remainder of the weekend going to the movies, taking on household projects or doing anything else that strikes our fancy.

As the years have passed and our shopping interests or the interests of those we are buying for have changed, the shopping has diminished. We now purchase what we can from local makers and sellers, make what we can, or order online.  It's a rare day that finds us at the mall regardless of the time of year.

This year I find that I am once again a seller and now a maker as I am making many of our holiday gifts for friends and family.  Today, I am sharing with you my top 5 books from the company I sell for - Barefoot Books.  These books are broken down by age and I'm giving you a book for each age that will bring wonder and joy to a child in your life.

A final note on these books.  All of these books are for all ages.  My 8 year old enjoys looking at our old board books as much as she enjoys reading the first Harry Potter.  My 12 year old (the one who devours a biography on George Washington in one sitting) enjoys his copy of Odysseus as much as any Percy Jackson novel.  When you are purchasing books for your children, it is always a great idea to look at age suggestions, but remember, children of all ages love books and love to read to.  Believe me, I know!  Most weekday afternoons you can find both my 8 year old and my 12 year old on the couch with a cup of hot tea listening to me read outloud.  

Embark on a dreamy, nighttime jaunt with a young boy and the moon. Overcoming a fear of the dark and discovering the world at night lives at the heart of this poetic tale. Includes notes about the moon and plants and animals that thrive in the wee hours.
100 Greatest Books for Kids List, Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine
Ages 1 to 7 years 

Come along on a high-seas I-spy adventure! Young readers will delight in pointing out everything the boy sees through his telescope in Nicoletta Ceccoli's dreamy illustrations. The rhyming, cumulative text, built on the familiar I-spy refrain, helps develop memory skills and builds reading confidence. Anchors aweigh!
Ages 1 to 5 years 

Journey through the night sky on a poetic trip that blends adventure, imagination and science to teach the basics of our solar system. Includes endnotes about the planets, stars, moons, constellations and even a little mythology.
 Ages 5 and Up

As Odysseus fights to find his way back home after the long and brutal Trojan War, he has to endure harrowing ordeals and adventures, and come to terms with devastating losses. Storytellers Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden’s graphic retelling breathes new life into this great classic.

Winner of the NAPPA Gold Award
Ages 8 and up

Become inspired by this breathtaking collection that brings together seventy-four of the finest poems in the English language, celebrating all manner of human experience. Features introduction from UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

Winner of the NAPPA Gold Award
Moonbeam Awards Silver Medal Winner
For all ages 

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween - Oh How I Love You

I'm throwing school out the window today. Ok. Not really. We never really stop learning, do we? Today we have transitioned to the next phase of the Middle Ages having finished Vikings on Friday. I like to start a new block with crafts and fun and decided we would have art day where we focus on creating illuminated books. You can only fill so much of your day with an ancient art form (we'll continue it tomorrow) so over a lunch of pizza (Mondays are pizza day) for the kids and sauteed veggies for me, I pulled out an old favorite at my house. Silver Ravenwolf's Halloween. I love this book. I mean I really love this book.

To be honest, it has been a very long time since this book was cracked open but it was exactly as I remembered it.  Ravenwolf not only walks the reader through the history of Halloween or Samhain (as much as can be pieced together), she gives sources!  Imagine that.  Someone writing who gives sources (seeing that less and less!)  She also gives recipes, traditions, crafts and spells for the adventurous.

If you are looking for a traditional book on Pagan holidays, this entire series is worth reading.  But this book, Halloween, is by far my favorite.   To print the Halloween art above click here. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Whisperings of Fall

It's almost here you know.  Fall.  I've heard it everyday for the last week.  When I was getting out of my car in the light of the full moon, I heard the whispers around me as the veil thins.  Our home is surrounded by trees but there is one who speaks when the seasons change.  I can hear her rustling with anticipation, especially now that her leaves are beginning to drop.  Yesterday, my children and I decided to skip church in order to commune with nature and with God as a family at a local nature center.  It reminded me of a previous year when we walked there just as fall was beginning its march toward winter.  And, it reminded me of one of my favorite fall quotes.  Do not endure the wonderful approach of fall inside.  Indeed, be at one with the seasons today!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

St. Patty's Day - An Explanation

13254928385_d56f484186(1)March 9, 2014

I feel I must explain.  It’s not that I hate St. Patrick’s Day.  I don’t.  Really.   I may or may not be of Irish heritage (or maybe I am), but truthfully, despite having access to my ancestry, both of my parents have been here since the 1600′s, so I am not sure where Ireland fits into my gene pool.

 With that said, I LOVE all things Irish.  We frequently have Irish music playing in our home.  I am drawn to shamrocks, leprauchans, and Irish stories of mystery and magic.

But, I am many years away from going out for green beer and all of the things that come with SPD.  And, as an adult, I looked into the deeper spiritual significance of this highly celebrated day and realized it is not in alignment with my own spiritual journey.  It was, however, in seeing from a parent’s point of view and from the point of view as someone who is saddened by the continuous consumerization (that’s a word, right?) of EVERYTHING that I took a stand.  It seems I am not alone.

I could rant right here about why I became very frustrated with this very green holiday, but I read a great article in the Huffington post that said it so succinctly.  Read on, friends, and leave the green to those with real Irish heritage.  When all is said and done, I leave you with what I find so beautiful about Irish traditions in the form of a blessing for you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Croys

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Croys

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Well, I did it.  I took a leap of faith and left my job.  And, I convinced my husband that it is a leap that will benefit the entire family.  Two and a half years ago we decided to enroll our son in private school with the agreement between ourselves that I would work to pay for said school.  For nearly two years that worked fine.  Then, we were blessed with our Moonflower and for the last few months we have juggled the kids, the house, volunteer work, family and ourselves.  Though the balls have been in the air, I have found the circus quite overwhelming and not so fun.  Okay, to be truthful, I'm miserable.  

We eat out more than we should, when I am not at work or shuttling to and fro work I am cleaning, I never see the kids and when I do I have zero patience for them.  I have wondered over and over why we are doing this.  I realized several months ago that someday we will look back and see that the quality of our children's education was wonderful but the quality of our lives was awful.  

I am not leaving the workforce.  Over the summer I decided to go into business for myself and am an Independent Consultant for a great direct sale company.  I want to continue to have an income and hopefully a career, but it has to be on my terms this time and on my family's terms.

I'll be writing more about this on this blog and my more grown up blog Living Harmonies, but for now, just now that you are about to be seeing lots more from me in this forum and out in the world as after next week I'll no longer be tied to someone elses idea of what my week should look like.

What are you waiting for?  What in your life needs to change today?  Look around and take a leap.

Happy Sunday.


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you some of my favorite holiday music.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Annual Event

Well folks, it's that time of the year again.  Time for the annual playing of Arlo Guthrie's rendition of a Thanksgiving Day in 1965.  It was, BTW, based on a true story.  I remember the first time I heard this.  It was at a dear friend's house.  Her father pulled it out one Thanksgiving weekend when I was 14 or 15 and I have loved it since.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Croys.