Makings in Advent/Cinnamon star recipe

Makings in advent. 

Air dried clay ornaments,( in between arguing over who had more clay)the children had a great time making me guess what implements had made what impressions.  We used cookie cutters to cut them out and they took 2 days to dry thoroughly.   
    
  So many stars…  
 
Sweet Swiss wood cut decorations from our time in the Interlaken region this year.

 lily made her own cosy house transparency one morning.   
As we love our Swiss Christmas biscuit tradition so much, I will share 

I have a new favourite Zimpt Sterne Rezept / cinnamon star recipe this year

This one is gluten free also. 

 (sorry S for giving you the sticky old one…)

I can’t remember if it’s a copy from somewhere or if I adapted something else. It’s written on a scrap of torn paper with a swimming lesson note on the back….

Zimpt Sterne/Cinnamon Stars

250g almond meal for the biscuits

150g almond meal Extra for sticky dough or dusting while you roll out

1 cup rapadura sugar

2tsp ground cinnamon or more to taste

A small pinch of clove powder

2 egg whites beaten stiff

Mix 250g almond meal, sugar, spices and egg white to a pliable dough. Add more almond meal if it’s too sticky. You will know! It really shouldn’t be a painful messy experience! I knead the dough quite vigorously in the bowl. 

Dust with almond meal and roll out on/or between baking paper to about 5 mm thick.

 Refrigerate overnight or at least three hours.

Cut out your stars, rinse your cutters if they’re getting too sticky, dust everything with almond meal as you go if needed. 

Bake at 180’c for about 8 minutes. Pull them out of the oven when the bottoms are going slightly brown as I like them when they’re more chewy than dry and crisp! Oops many a black star has come outta my kitchen. 

Cool them on a rack and invite me around for a cuppa and a biscuit. 

I mean share them with your friends and family…. 

As an option you can mix beaten egg white with icing sugar and decorate them pre baking. More sticky messy fun! I bought a piping bag especially. Then you have snow capped biscuits. So appropriate for Advent in summer Australia, don’t you agree? 

Inspired by The Children Of Noisy Village(Astrid Lindgren) Cedar suggested we have a bean guessing game and make a prize cookie from all the scraps of dough. They got a jar of chickpeas and a notebook to record all the guesses from our home and neighbours. The children ran around giving biscuit samples and collecting guesses, displaying the prize cookie!
Well done J for guessing 1004, hard to believe this little jar held 1163 chickpeas! mm enjoy that cookie! I was sure there where only 381…..

  
Peace

X Roselinde 

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right now…

  
Amidst illness, parenting challenges, life challenges, menstruating, mess, lethargy, humidity and losing my life map temporarily as the end of the year screams towards me…..

Happiness is a coconut leaf harvest basket, full of colour and scent for dinner

These tiny moments keep me sane and happier! 

It really is the small things people.

Lebanese cucumbers

Green yellow AND purple beans

Chinese greens ( self sown, great weed suppressor)

Lettuce

Basil

Lemon sorrel

Pineapple sage flowers

What are you harvesting from your garden or your life?

X

Roselinde

celebrating the first week of advent (2013)

And so.. There I found this writing from years gone by and though a little incomplete I will just hit POST right now and share with you.
And so… Advent begins and great transformation takes place within and without…

Jesse has encouraged me to share some of my stories of this time.

I will focus on the first week of Advent and share some of the rituals and traditions we have collected over the years and are making afresh.

i have gathered inspiration from so many places and enjoy creating my own ideas. i want to create a flow of events to celebrate this coming season, bringing more depth and richness to the anticipation of Christmas and the summer festivals. it’s all evolving, it’s abit mixed up but i trully love it and enjoy what we are creating as a family and community. The hope and positive reminders for my inner journey are wonderfully reflected in these adornments and activities.

last weekend {1st Advent} we began folding stars from kite paper to adorn our windows. some good tutorials here on my pinterest page. This along with unpacking the candle windmill and making advent biscuits began our Advent period.

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on the table sits our candle windmill. My German parents sent this over a few years ago and it’s appearance awakens the Christmas season in the household. The heat from the candles makes the windmill turn and the angels below circle the tree. we admire the carefully shaved wood curls spinning and the light glinting from the angels cheeks. Each Advent sunday we add objects connected with the four kingdoms. Reflecting the earths preparations for the Christ arrival, or the process of evolution, or the blossoming of the earth into mid summer  and so on. finding my own depth of meaning which i can trully celebrate inwardly has been my goal these last few Christmas/Solstice seasons, that each activity i unfold has authenticity for me in some way.

 

Treasures which may appear through Advent

1st Mineral kingdom; crystals, shells, bones, stones

2nd Plant Kingdom, leaves, flowers, lichen and moss

3rd Animal Kingdom; feathers, wool, felted animals, miniature animals

4th Humankind; little wooden dolls, something made by our hands, perhaps Mary Joseph and their donkey who are travelling through the house throughout advent will come by the table at this time, nearly at the stable.
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t the closing of each advent week, the treasures from the table will move to the nativity scene and build up the picture over there, while the table is devoted to the coming kingdom.

 

then we created an advent wreath to hold four candles which we will light one more each advent sunday. I recite this commonly found poem from an unknown author

or i have taken this song into my heart which a friend recently shared with me. it is delightful to have joyful seasonal songs to sing which dont fall under cheesy carol category!

, we rolled our own beeswax candles this year for the wreath and the windmill. the wax was gifted to us from a bee keeper. they where dirty and a little tattered but brushed up well and smelt divine with honey

IMG_0025 IMG_0027 the wreath frame was from some garden vine, wisteria i think. i twisted four wire spikes onto the frame. really twist the wire tightly against the wreath so your candles don’t wobble. wrap your wreath with greenery and stick your candles on firmly. i would use thicker wire next time it’s proving to be wobbly. i hear if you coat your wick in wax before rolling you will get a better burn…IMG_0028
IMG_0030 IMG_0032cedar liked snipping up the scrap pieces of wax sheet.IMG_0034 we harvested the evergreen fronds from the old section of the Bellingen market site. i have been eyeing of this particular tree for months in anticipation…IMG_0036 IMG_0037 IMG_0043 Lily was telling me “in the olden days a young child would wear the wreath like this mama”
IMG_0046 our advent table has an indigo silk as the backdrop. each night we put gold stars upon it. Lily hung up her two felt angels to watch over the scene. Cedar rolled the central little candle. we will light it on Christmas day; with the four larger advent candles being lit over the coming weeks.
IMG_0054the beauty of hydrangea and wattle blossoms. I can smell this Wattle tree from 50 paces away in the warm wind and it sends my heart into longing for my childhood places in Western Australia…
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he stable is made from bark and the manger is from a didgeridoo off cut filled with moss. awaiting the growing scene over December and the arrival of baby Jesus.
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 I have stuck the advent calenders onto the cupboard below. Lily has a beautifully illustrated scene from her German Oma a few years ago to reuse. Lily made Cedar a calendar this year with little illustrations or messages behind each door.
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IMG_0067 i don’t recall ever having a front door wreath before, but Lily made this one and well, i have to admit it looks totally festive on that red door with our door bell hanging so centrally just by luck! IMG_0068 the stones i painted last Sunday on mineral kingdom advent. we ventured out to The Promised Land and sat by the Never Never river inbetween downpours and painted and picnicked. Cedar initiated a little fire action so we burnt sticks until the rain returned and we ran for the car. my stones slightly smudged. water color paints where the gift of the day made from mineral colours. {once upon a time..}

simply advent

  



Advent unfolding

Slowly simply 

Plant colours dried and dyed

Gold and silver, mint and rust

Dusty green and watered silk

Scented with eaucalypt 

Light a candle under the wreath

Light a candle in my dark night

Pray for grace

Play for space

Gently unfurl

What is genuine in this moment

Admire and melt into summer colours and 

Breath of wind and starlight kisses

Unadorned and humble 

Feet on the ground

Candlelight in the window

Calls me into myself

Xx

Blessings

Roselinde

 

Bateau Bay Floral Reserve

On the Central Coast of NSW, the Bateau Bay floral reserve is delightful in spring! High above the sea the wildflowers and trees sing.  I walked this track with Cedar, Lily and Jesses mama Jane in the week after our return from Europe. Walking the land and basking in the wildflowers, views, textures and scents helped me reintegrate my arrival. It’s an easy, level path, forest/scrubland walk. We walked from the Rushby street Carpark in the direction of Crack neck lookout. 

  
    
   
   
    
    
    
    
    

 
   
    
    
    
    
    

    
    
    
    
 

How much Can a Koala Bare?

  
A koala is not a bear, but they are absolutely adorable and fascinating marsupials. It seems like this one has claimed the territory around our house and property and we’ve seen (him) a few times in the last weeks. We hear a lot of grunting snorting at night which is more evidence of koala presence. The first night Lily remarked she had heard the weirdest frog on the night! When we spotted Sir Koala in the morning the mystery was solved. It’s so precious for me, as growing up in WA there are no wild koalas about and I had only seen a couple in the wild (Adelaide, Rosebank,) until I moved to NSW 6 years ago. I have only seen about 6 wild koalas since then so it’s excellent to see this plump patchy grey fella just outside. They perch on some thin branches and snooze swaying some 25 metres above ground. When they wake up and stare placidly with their endearing fluffy ears and comical nose I can’t help but be cheered! We did rescue a baby koala after a flood, when Lily was three, which was incredible to nurse the little one on my lap after we paddled home. We had been out boating looking for the lost pieces of our friends bridge when I spotted “a puppy in that tree” my brain could not comprehend immediately what I was seeing. Koala habitats are greatly endangered and I just read our local Koala habitat protection zones where reduced by 40.\’ At least one or two are safe on this land we stay on thankfully!

Taking Stock

Returning home and taking stock. Thanks to Pip at Meet me at Mikes for the word list.

  Making :

time to stroll around outside before children wake up. counting leaves and flowers and feeling that everything is really happy I’m home

and fantasise about all the gardening I will do… I have some cheeky plants that went ballistic while I was away and still a few gaps to plant in….

Cooking : snow pea, red capsicum and pineapple sage flower salad with lemon and mandarin dressing, also young broad bean and leek sauted in lemon juice. Mmm

Drinking : mango smoothie, mangoes foraged by Jesse. What a man, he brought in about 300 mangoes last season! Now we enjoy the last frozen cheeks…

Reading: our ash grove blog, beautiful and creative and wondering how does life look homeschooling with 5 children?

Pondering: how to grow with the children and stop my default repeats.

Wanting: a massage, a shiatsu or a kahuna therapist to knock on my door right now…

  Looking: at cobwebs. Lots of cobwebs. Overflowing suitcases, washing and general debris of returning home. Flowers! Lots of flowers!  Also looking at some of my favourite things. Is this really my home?

Playing: a game where i am employed by this house for domestic duties and I get paid holidays and good hours… And other perks…

Wasting: time searching for cherry red flannel sheets on the internet. I know winters over right, but  maybe for next year… 

Sewing: lots in my imagination! Like a whole new rack of simple stylin lady fashion. 

Wishing: spring was 6 months of the year, I could teleport and whistle really genuine bird calls. Not at the same time.

  Enjoying: the reward of planting bulbs at Easter and seeing a bed full of freesias bursting with colour and fragrance in spring . No instant gratification involved. Patience. I think I’m growing up!

Waiting: to grow up and be more patient. To get a hold over this overactive mind. To visit  my newly moved mama and papa in Tasmania!

Liking: the morning sun as I meander the gardens and check on the fruit tree buds and seedlings and the caress of the cool breeze and bird song. Spring mornings in Bellingen are delightful. 

Delighting: in the wild creatures, on the night of our arrival home we are greeted by the first cicadas, the fire flies and a python on the verandah. Welcome home!

Wondering: if I will be able to do all I dream of in one day.

Loving: gathering my family for a home cooked garden dinner by candlelight, at home, at our own table for the first time in a long time. Sweet.

Hoping: the children will have a great swathe of warm memories from their time in our care.

Marvelling: that Cedar has just had his first doctor visit! I was a bit out of depth for this cut and am grateful for the medical help when needed and to Jane for holding my hand and standing up to the pushy Dr. And so grateful he has been a well boy thus far. I know dr help is a big part of some families reality and it’s fantastic when you need them and there they are! 

Needing: to practice to say what I think even if it might be uncomfortable. 

  Smelling: something delightful on the air, floral, springy, mystery blossom.

Wearing: daggy old clothes and feeling ok about that. 

Following: my own adventures on my own blog. Now that’s good for perspective!

Noticing: sometimes I write something I’m proud of. Sometimes I take a photograph I’m proud of! 

Knowing: I need to practice believing in my gifts and talents.

Thinking: about the simple gift of a safe home to go back to and all the people who don’t have one right now.

Feeling: a bit helpless to make a difference right now on a global scale and remembering to practice peace at home.

Bookmarking: hmm. Any suggestions?

Opening: an illustrated envelope, with a handwritten card containing old photos of myself and friends from another life, a gift from a dear friend today to make me smile!

Giggling: at the sweetness of being seventeen.

Feeling: incredulous that it’s only 6 years til I have my own sweet seventeen year old child! 

Quoting: family life is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but all together a sweet melody.

  
All photos from my springy garden! I didn’t shoot the crazy bits.

The BlueForest (Blueberries in the BlackForest) or When nothing goes right, go left.

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This fellows shirt said it for me!(apologies I don’t remember your name….if ever you see this post, email me!) 

It’s taken me a while to pull this story together because some days are painful and ugly and Who wants to hear about that right?.  Even when I awoke that day  determined to be optimistic and cruisy, my effort does not stand up to the challenges of the day. A story about needing to go left. When the small things in life are not going right! And trying to maintain humour and gentleness amidst trials. The blessing is that all things pass and I’ve learnt to just hang in there, do what I can, drop what I can and tomorrow is new.

Many days ago now, We left Switzerland on another stinking hot day. Paused in Basel to busk (unsuccessfully), parking was very hard to find but we ended up near the river so kids and I could swim, by stalking a shady parking spot . The water was gratefully crisp enough! I heard later that even 15 years ago the Rhine was too polluted to swim, now it’s very popular with people dipping and floating along.

We where right by the historic bridge which is beautiful and in the distance could spot the spires of the cathedral and old city. It was strange to be looking at buildings with barely a gap between, facing the rivers edge. I guess the parks are elsewhere. I really wanted to go to the old Paper Mill museum but it was just too hot to walk around. I felt thwarted in my educational efforts and bizarre to come all this way and not be able to do more than keep sane and do nothing really. Have I mentioned yet my family calls me a grumpy polar bear when it’s hot? Hot hot. Im not averse to a bit of whinging about the heat… Really it’s such middle class western  luxury to have the options we do and I’m very grateful.

We pulled into Freiburg late that evening after a disappointing detour past Bad Bellingen (should’ve realised by the name!) bad means bath in German.  I was hoping for some natural place to bathe but it’s a turquoise pool set up. There’s a lot more happening in the Australian Bellingen! Lovely in winter I guess. 

Anyway, disorganised, tired and hot, past dinner time, we got busted for jumping on the tram without tickets! We didn’t want to miss it and wait longer to get to some dinner! They showed us how to function the in tram ticket machine and let us off thankfully! Ignorant travellers I guess. I get anxious in the face of authority and doing something wrong!

A treat to eat out in the old city. Mexican in Germany? Freiburg has a very pretty inner city and good vibes in the evening, lots of people about and delicious foodie smells.

Back to our hot van late to get some rest. Camping in a hot tin can is so difficult!Especially with tired hot kids in the city which does not cool down til dawn. Jesse saved the day by putting their bed outside under a tree and sleeping with them. We found a mobile home campground for 9euro a night near Bissier strasse park and ride. Cheap but noisy from the railway. Thank goodness for earplugs.  The next night was more pleasant at the Hirzberg Campground. It’s 1.2km from the enchanting old City centre. Also green and shady. It can be really tricky coming to a place you don’t know and looking for a place to stay. I ignored my intuition about going straight to the campground the first night unfortunately. 

The next day we met with friends who guided us to nearby lakes and the day was easier. There are a lot of man made lakes along the autobahns, dug out to make the road beds. Another late hot night in the city. Jesse Was busking and we walked in to meet him for dinner. Some moments I am thinking wow this is crazy! Cosmopolitan culture in Europe, dinner at 9 pm and some crazy gigantic ice cream and berry dessert! strolling old cities (600+ year old buildings) balmy summer nights, wonderful and romantic and different if only my inner mama voice could be quiet! My kids where in bed at a wholesome 7.30pm before we left Australia!  This life has such diverse moments. It’s challenging and reallY good also to let the restrictions drop a bit. ItS so temporary. Soon we will be back in home rhythms. I have little resilience for lack of sleep unfortunately. Blessings come though in the form of kind hearted folks and hilarious storytellers in the dark city streets.

From Freiburg we are invited to go berry picking and then swimming in a forest lake higher in the Black Forest mountains. 
Yes please. My days in the city where hot and bothered and I was stretched to breaking. But I hung in there! Not too many tears! Me, not the kids…. But As lily says, ‘it’s not really a holiday because we are doing everyday life. And why can’t we do more holidayish things anyway?’ Memory making.

 My spirit was so renewed by this afternoon tramping the woods and having the warmth of friends. Being outside is my greatest gift at present. Soaking in the different greens of the broad leafed woods and the unfamiliar bird calls and wind whispers and rock songs. It’s fresh and new still and the foreignness leaves me a little thrilled. I really am far far from home. If you have read Ronja by Astrid Lindgren you would see the grey dwarf holes in this wood and Ronja running about and giving her spring yell. 

this handy little rake catches the  blueberries for you, but be careful you don’t strip the leaves off also.    I loved this moment! The papas with their matching picnic baskets! Beautiful masculinity in motion    Cedar said he could stay here forever, well, until it snowed…   There where few berries left and small this season, despite that, the reward of gathering something deliciously tart and sweet from the woods filled me with happiness. It’s so simple.   Tiny finger staining treasures. A worthy hunt! I hear the wild blueberries in the US are enormous! I would like to experience picking there one day…
The lake water is stained amber by leaves and tannins I guess.  The trees surrounding shade the water green. Be brave it’s very cold below the surface! The skin feels soft and wonderful after swimming here.     I was excited to see this small orchid growing in the ditch as we left the forest. Another tiny wonder. 

And thanks goodness we where off to visit dear friends after this. The last challenge of travelling in the unknown was done and from here on we are sheltered by good friends until we fly home. Phew. We did it.

Uracher wasserfall

So, just like that, not once but twice, a beautiful post vanishes! Gahhhh!

Just some photos then.

The children wanted their portrait taken on every stump! I soon started distracting them so they would walk past them…

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Above photograph by Lily.
    
  The fairies who live and play here are this big!  If I was a fairy I would live in this hole and that would be my slide to your house…
  
Well, maybe a few words because the walk to the Bad Urach  waterfall really is beautiful and an easy path of about 1.3 km. the woods are enchanting, the creek you walk beside burbles merrily and my children where so entertaining (and cute in that outfit Cedar) it helped lift me out of the mental mud.  Walking is good therapy. Especially when it’s somewhere gorgeous. Even though the forest Wass being loped that day, it’s shocking to see these beautiful mature trees cut down! Perhaps they are weed species like the camphor laurel on our area.

Things where really compressing for me, in our last days in Germany. The end of a four month chapter in Europe and beginning transitions towards home, tying up threads and feeling all the feelings. Hey, you’ll be happy to hear we sold our van the evening before we  flew  ! I know I know!

Keep calm and knit! I reconnected with my knitting pins to make lily this Little Sallops beanie. I enjoyed the pattern and have made it before, and will again no doubt. It’s satisfying to see something I have made, loved and worn, Cedars shorts I made from this pattern, and his wool/silk blend sunny yellow shirt is from Engel. The Engel factory is nearby and I relished seeing the origins of these wonderful clothes and the bargains in the seconds outlet! 

I’m so irritated my original words vanished, this is a mere ghost of it. Anyway, i guess it’s practice for non-attatchment…

I love this apply cherry berry part of Southern Germany and we are so blessed to have friends to stay with. I realised just before we left there is a thermal spring bath in Bad (bath) Urach, something to go back for…..

Oh my god. Do this again? I need a long time for the challenges to fade and the good memories to take the front seat! For all you sitting at home and wanting to travel abroad with a family! It’s amazing to soak up other cultures and history and be inspired for our own home and garden and community and education and speak other languages and see my eleven year old conversing in German with the village kids and eat wonderful fresh cold climate produce and visit nearly every living relative I have and eat ice cream and play croquet with my 93 year old grandfather and hold hands with my Grandmother and observe Cedar soaking up every element of Opa’s farm education and walk and walk and walk and sniff mountains and flowers and watch your children blossom and find their place in family and soak up stories and places and wonder at this big beautiful world and live into how other people live and be inspired and expand ones reality and mind and overcome difficulties and be more capable and resilient than I ever thought I was and cherish friends new and old and be courageous and be kind and and…. 

And far out! It’s exhausting and over stimulating and challenging and difficult to meet four peoples needs and live in a 2.5×3.5 m space and doubt your choices and wonder if there’s a darn good reason most people don’t do this and and to be ungrounded and find your way when you know nobody and no one is inviting you in and you are lost and can’t speak the language or find a decent cheese, I mean camping place…. 

So yes, maybe one day we will make a trip to Europe again.

Because really we didn’t get very far….

Have you travelled extensively with your family?

Where would you go if you could?

Travel well friends.

Roselinde

Geometry playground

Class 5 geometry lessons are underway! It’s exciting for me to revisit the beauty and symmetry of compass art, Learning about polygons, prisms, pyramids, solids, quadrilaterals, angles, lines and circle language. I enjoy the artistic focus in presenting this work with Lily through the Waldorf curriculum.

On an adventurous day out recently we were happy to find this playground in a small village. (Neustadt near Metzingen) Soon there where exclamations about how this whole place was framed on polygons, prisms and even a quadrilateral pyramid supporting the tree! We are all looking at the world through geometry glasses now!   
    
    
 

I hunted for four leaf clovers (unsuccessfully) and enjoying watching while the two spent half an hour cleaning the sand out of the water play basins and creating waterfalls. I know Lily gets lonely for friends her own size when we travel and I cherish the richness of her relationship with Cedar and their ability to play together despite 6 years age difference. 

They where really engaged with the water pump and this initiated more conversations about living in historical times, continuing on from visiting Lichtenstein Castle earlier in the day. Shall we detour there right now, it’s a lovely late summer day in Southern Germany….

   
    
    
    We took the tour so we could snoop around inside the castle. I was especially enthralled with the detailed paintings on walls and ceilings. Photographing strictly Verboten! So you will have to go there yourself.

Afterwards we sought out the Easter Egg museum, decorated not chocolate !unfortunatley closed but the glimpse in the door was inspiring for our own Easter festival. After studying ancient Egypt lily was taken with the egyptian artwork eggs in the centre. 

  
 Anyway back to geometry!

We have been playing with toothpicks and modelling clay to create a sample board. It began with lines, which naturally flowed into the exploration of what can you make with lines.   

  glimpses from Lily’s main lesson book.

 It is fascinating the different polygons and patterns which are made when you follow the times table…  
  

Draw a dozen intersecting straight lines, then identify and color the various types of triangles.

Mamas exploration.   Lily’s

  Cedar’s

   
  Practicing rays by imagining starlight that shines on forever.The city map practicing all different types of lines. See if you can spot them!  
    
    
  First freehand circle explorations before introducing the compass.  
    
    Cedar watched the above flower of life developing, later he sat quietly and recreated his own very beautiful version. I loved making and colouring this mandala as a child also.

  The hexagon creations are beautiful, followed by a dodecagon.
   The fun side of mathematics for us!