The light is golden and the shadows are a bit longer, welcome September! This time of year I feel particularly connected to nature and my own back yard. Mason jars are being filled, pickles fermenting and warmer layers coming out of storage bins. Each year I try to bring an experience of autumn to my family that is both connected to the subtle change of season as well as representative of the inner feelings of autumn’s harvest. In our autumn newsletter I’ll share some of my favorite simple activities that we look forward to each year as the season changes.
You will find:
- autumn verses and games to play with your children
- a delicious autumn recipe
- a tutorial for a felted acorn garland
- a pattern for a knitted pumpkin
- our simple home rhythm for autumn and a lovely post of one mama’s journey with rhythm
- journal and/or conversation prompts for the parenting journey
- autumn self-care invitations
- fun things to do with your little ones
One of my favorite memories in the Waldorf kindergarden was when we would discover stars inside of a crunchy apple. Each of the children would have a cloth to polish their apple and when it was shiny as could be, I would choose one to cut while reciting this verse. I loved watching the children delight in seeing a perfect start hidden in each apple.
by Betty Jones
Who would think an apple
Red, gold, or green and round
Would have a secret deep inside
When cut it can be found!
I thought this secret only shone
In deep and darkest night
But when I cut my apple
It shines with five points bright!
And now you know the secret
Where shinning stars are found
In every crunchy apple
Red, gold, or green and round.
Here is a simple game that can be played with your baby as a touching game, as a lap game using your hands, or your child can even act it out with a golden silk.
Five little leaves so bright and gay (hold out hand, flutter outstretched fingers or use pressed leaves)
Were dancing about the tree one day (sway hand in rhythm overhead)
The wind came blowing through the town OOOO (put other hand to mouth and blow)
One little leaf came tumbling down (sway hand from side to side while folding appropriate finger towards palm, repeat entire verse 5-4-3-2-1-0)
Leaves Floating Down
A fun games for baby or children. Use a golden silk instead of your hands if you can.
Autumn leaves are floating down, (float hands and arms up and down)
They make a carpet on the ground. (move arms back and forth towards the ground)
Then swish! The wind comes whistling by (quickly “swish” hands back and forth in front of body)
And sends them dancing to the sky! (“dance” hands upward)
All the leaves are falling down, (flutter hands downward)
Orange, green, red, and brown. (continue moving hands downward)
If you listen, you will hear them say, (cup hands around ears)
“Wintertime is on its way.” (whisper)
Kale and Shiitake Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 small butternut squash
2 acorn squash
2 big handfuls of shiitake mushrooms
1 bunch of lacinato or Russian kale
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
½ cup toasted or raw pumpkin seeds or pecans or candied pecansJ
Optional 1 cup of cooked arborio or brown rice
Olive oil/hempseed oil, coconut oil, sea salt, cinnamon, pepper, cilantro, tamari or braggs
- Cut butternut and acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds and rub a little coconut oil on the open side. Roast in an oven dish or cookie sheet at 400 cut side down for about an hour. The butternut will take a little longer than the acorn to cook. Turn cut side up, sprinkle with cinnamon and sea salt and roast another 15 minutes or until they are soft and cooked.
- Cook rice if you are adding this to your dish.
- While the squash is roasting, chop and massage the kale with your oil of choice (we like hempseed oil or pumpkin seed oil), toss in a dash of tamari or braggs to your liking and cranberries. Set aside.
- Saute or pan roast shiitakes until firm, not mushy. Set aside.
- When butternut squash is cool enough to handle, chop into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Toss into the kale salad and top with a little cilantro.
Just before stuffing and serving Mix the kale/butternut salad, the shiitakes, rice and the pumpkin seeds or nuts all together. Put everything in the roasted acorns. Enjoy! Serves 4
Let’s get crafty!
We love making felted acorn garlands! It’s very simple and inclusive for young children as they can gather the acorns, remove the “hats” and help with wet felting. Older children can tie the string on the acorn stems and glue the felt into the cap. I found this great tutorial (and website, Making it in the Mountains) to show you how.
For those of you, like me, who need the leaves to change for knitting needles to emerge, here is a simple and sweet knitted pumpkin pattern from The Sitting Tree.
Autumn brings a new inspiration for a healthy home rhythm in our home. I feel the urge to tidy and get organized, create time for self-care and nurturing our marriage, and also leave open space for spontaneity. Here is our family’s rhythm wheel for autumn, it’s pretty simple but when each day has a focus it’s remarkable how much gets accomplished without compromising a feeling a presence and connection. Click Here to read a lovely post about one mama’s journey as she creates a home rhythm in her family.
If you are feeling the urge to create a home rhythm this season, our Healthy Home Rhythms E-Course can help…and look at these nifty printables (the center wheel rotates through the days), one for each season and a weekly meal planner. Sign up anytime Here.
What does autumn mean to you and your family? What are some feelings that arise when the season shifts from summer to fall? Create some time to think about the gestures and values that autumn offers. Write in your journal for personal reflection, you can use a timer for 30 minutes or even just 10 for busy parents. Have a conversation with your partner, family or friends and hear what they are feeling. Please feel welcome to share in our comments area or on our Facebook page.
What lessons has your heart harvested from the summer?
In what ways do you experience abundance?
In what ways do you cultivate generosity?
How does your family recognize the season of autumn?
As a child, what do you remember about autumn?
Interested in nurturing mamas and babies in your community? Our next online class is September 28th, with only a few spots left. In our handbook and one week online training you will learn how to connect new mothers in a local supportive circle, share valuable parent and child education, and cultivate collective wisdom that inspires each woman’s unique art of mothering. Mothering Arts is a practical training that will inspire you to create a sacred space of sharing for mothers and babies in their first year postpartum. Our Mothering Arts Training only happens three times a year! Learn more and read what participants are saying here.
Self-Care for autumn:
- Make yourself a golden leaf crown
- Roll in a pile of leaves
- Wake up before everybody and enjoy a chai latte
- Take a walk in nature alone and experience your surroundings with your senses rather than your thinking
- Eat a warm apple pie
- Give yourself a pumpkin facial
- Practice a balance pose on the autumn equinox, the center point between summer and winter solstice.
- Take a nap
- Hire a house cleaner
- Create a gratitude practice at dinnertime where each person can share something for which they are thankful
- Go to a barn dance
- Dress up for Halloween with your children
- Create a beautiful piece of art with things found in nature
- Write an affirmation and say it every morning
- Commit a random act of kindness every Friday
- Say “thank you” to your body
Busy Busy Bees
These little hands are anxious to help. Raking leaves is great for balance, core strength and who doesn’t love a pile to jump into?! My favorite source for good quality child sized rakes is For Small Hands.
Harvesting, bundling and drying herbs is a lovely way to share an autumn day with young children. We dry ours in our camper van which helps dry them without worrying about moisture but also leave a wonderful fragrance in the van. After they are completely dry, we store them in glass jars and make custom labels.
Who can resist apple pie, apple crisp, apple crumble, apple sauce…not me!
This gadget, called an apple peeler corer slicer, is both efficient and child friendly (there is one very sharp spot for parents to be aware). It has a wooden handle that is turned (my son was 15 months old in this photo) and the apple is peeled, cored and spiral sliced in a jiffy. We like to load up our crock pot before bed, turn it on low and wake up to fresh warm applesauce to have with oatmeal. The long skins (or snakes, as my son calls them) are a fun snack and have also been used as jump ropes, hair ties and horsey reigns by Kindergardeners.
Thanks to all of my dear friends who shared these beautiful photos of your children. May your Autumn be filled with golden light and magical family memories.