Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Festivals E-Book Winner!

Congratulations to Hillary Brestar for winning a FREE copy of our Winter Festivals E-Book!  (Hillary please contact us at info (at) littleacornlearning.com to claim your prize!)

Today I will be working hard to not stress while I finish up preparing for Christmas.  Going slow, allowing myself enough time and stopping to be mindful of the beauty of the season around me.  It may take a few pauses but I am determined  :)

xoxo

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Less Things, More Experiences (and a Winter Festivals Giveaway!)

It's the crazy holiday season again and I know we all struggle with keeping things magical, yet simple.  I continue to do my best to not let this time of year pull me into the hype of being overwhelmed and over-budget but it's never easy.  And, it's not just the gift-giving and the busyness of the holidays.  There is something else that takes place this time of year, something deeper that still requires me to hold on tight to those things that I should remain grounded to without floating away.

I have to remind myself to slow down, regroup and simplify.  It is not easy for someone like me.  My mind works in creative circles and while fun, it can also be exhausting.  I've been struggling in a lot of areas lately trying to figure out where I am going and what I am doing.  I have to make a conscious decision to stop and determine what I want to do with my time as there is just not enough of it and also where I want to put my energy, paying close attention to where I may be sending it that it not able to take flight.

Redirect.  Refocus.  Over and over again.


My business, my writing, my artwork and my bucket list really need more of my attention and maybe even a reevaluation.  And throw in trying to prepare for Christmas and it is all very overwhelming.  This year the girls left Santa a note asking him to give them less so he could give to others who need it more (my sweeties).  So Santa responded that he would give each girl:

One thing they want
One thing they need
Something to wear
and something to read

Oh how I've always wanted to do this.  I've heard it many times and love it so much.  But, it's sure not as easy as it sounds.  I keep looking at my stash and fighting back the feeling of "this isn't enough".  I even have a few extras that I bought that weren't planned so it adds to the pile.

Of course, I know it *is* enough but even those of us who try to be more mindful can be so conditioned to think they do not have enough.

I wrote this article two years ago and I pull it out each year near Christmas time to remind me to heed my own advice.  Only a few things should lead this holiday season and none of them should be things.

Kindness
Traditions
Family
Love

Brianna found a Ben's Bells in front of our local middle school yesterday.
Her class has been learning about them and she actually came home the other day saying how she wishes one day she will find one herself but she "knows she never will".  She was beyond excited when we did find one and this morning she jumped out of bed SO excited to show her teacher and class.

When you find a Ben's Bells, it is a reminder to practice small acts of kindness and you are able to keep it.  A day after the anniversary of Sandy Hook, it was such a sweet reminder to me and the girls to stay focused on what matters most.  And I like to believe it wasn't a coincidence that Brianna found one.  She's grown so much this past year in so many ways and little joys and successes like this just build upon her journey.

How do you stay grounded during the holidays and throughout the year?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments section and we will gift one lucky reader a free Winter Festivals E-Book randomly by tomorrow night, 12/17.  It is full of fun crafts, recipes and ways that you can celebrate this busy time of year without shopping and racking up debt!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Happy St. Nicholas Eve!

Tonight St. Nicholas comes to many households and leaves small tokens and goodies in children's shoes that are left out.  Sometimes he leaves candies that look like gold coins, gum or apples and fruit.  Simple little things.  Nothing that requires much planning.

Will your children be leaving their shoes out for St. Nicholas tonight?  Is he the same man as Santa Claus in your home?

In addition to our Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book, The Saint Nicholas Center is a beautiful website FILLED with ideas, stories, games and history on St. Nicholas to help you bring this beautiful tradition into your home and fill it with the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season.

And, as a special treat to you for today only:

Happy St. Nicholas Eve! 
What will St. Nicholas leave in your shoe?

Here's a little gift from Little Acorn Learning to YOU!

ONE DAY SALE - 50% OFF our Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book

Get this amazing e-book for only $9.99 to help you celebrate this special evening and 
Advent all month and for years to come!

Act FAST - Sale is for today, December 5th ONLY! 



Wishing you a BEAUTIFUL ST. Nicholas Weekend filled with family, love and peace.  We would love to hear about how you celebrate this beautiful ancient festival day.
xoxo

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Congratulations to Karen - Our Advent Traditions Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to all who shared their Advent traditions with us.  They were all so beautiful that we hope to share them on our Facebook page to inspire others these days of Advent.

Our random winner of the free Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book is Karen:

"We live in Sweden and celebrate with advent calendars, St Lucia, reading stories such as Elsa Bescow Peter and Lottas Christmas, Christmas trolls story of being kind and loving, baking pepparkakor."

I love it when I hear from people who live in other countries than I do.  I hope you enjoy your free e-book full of ideas to help you celebrate this beautiful time with your family.

Please contact us at info (at) littleacornlearning.com with your email address and we will send your download links.

We would love to continue hearing about other Advent traditions and customs.  If you have some to share, please do so here or on our Facebook Page.

With love,
xoxo




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Share Your Advent Traditions - A Giveaway!

Advent is already on it's way.  Sunday, November 30th, begins the first Sunday of Advent and whether or not Advent fits within your family customs, the time leading up to the Winter Solstice and Christmas is a good time for contemplation, going within and working through unresolved issues in your heart.

In the Waldorf tradition, the weeks leading up to Advent are celebrated by creating reverence for each of the four different kingdoms: stones (earth), plants, animals and mankind.  There is something about this holistic look at this time of year that speaks to me so deeply and I do my best to use this time to dig deeper spiritually.


There are many traditions and customs during this season that families, schools and churches recognize.  Advent wreaths are often used with candles that are lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas time.  Baking Advent bread or adding an ornament to a Jesse Tree each day are other traditions that come to mind.


My family has begun our own unique traditions that I've shared in the Advent and St. Nicholas Festival E-Book such as our Advent Kindness Clock which includes a little act of kindness that can be done each day leading up to Christmas.


We also created a beautiful Advent Wall Spiral where my daughters place a special star each day of Advent time.


I would love to hear about the traditions and customs in your family this time of year.

In the comments section below, share with us your family traditions leading up to the Winter Solstice and Christmas.  On the very first day of Advent (Sunday, November 30th), in the evening, we will randomly choose a winner to receive a FREE copy of our Advent and St. Nicholas Day Festival E-Book!  Be sure to check back here to see if you won.

In the meantime, we have a wonderful Buy One, Get One Free sale going on at Little Acorn Learning for only 2 more days!  For the price of one e-book, until Thanksgiving Day, get both the Martinmas and Thanksgiving Festival and the Advent and St. Nicholas Day Festival E-Books for only $24.99. Both books combined provide hundreds and hundreds of pages of celebrating that will last you for many years to come!



Good luck!
xoox

Monday, November 24, 2014

Adventures in Letterboxing


This weekend I took my Junior Girl Scouts to a Letterboxing event at one of the Girl Scout camps in Connecticut.  I've always been interested in finding out more about letterboxing and it was such a fun day.



First we each thought of a symbol to represent us along with a name and we created handmade stamps.  Maia chose The Bookworm and I chose Little Acorn, of course.  Then we were provided with clues leading to four letterboxes hidden in the woods.


We didn't realize how challenging some of the clues would be.  There were so many leaves and it made going up and down inclines really difficult.  We were so excited when we did find the letterboxes!  Inside each one was a special stamp that we could stamp into our homemade log book.



Unfortunately we were unable to find one of the letterboxes.  By the time we realized we went too far, we had struggled getting down a huge hill by holding onto one another and we were unwilling to go back up.  

Letterboxing is a really fun hobby and I love to be outdoors and hike as it is so this will really add some fun to it for my family.  The woman who ran the program told me to check out www.atlasquest.com to find Letterboxes near us and I was really surprised to see there were some in our own town and close by.  

If we weren't preparing for a huge snow storm on Thanksgiving, we would go Letterboxing again this weekend but I think the snow will really make it a bit too difficult.  We are expected to get 6-10".  We just got a new shipment of wood to prepare for the winter.  Initially we got 2 cords of wood but we realized the source was not good.  The wood we received was not well seasoned and is burning way too fast.  Hopefully this will get us through the winter.  The girls may have to take off school tomorrow to stack it :)






Sunday, November 23, 2014

An Outdoor Thanksgiving



This event is put on by friends (family, really) of ours each year.  It is such a cool way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the true sense of the way it was celebrated between the Pilgrims and the Native American Indians.  We feel so lucky to be included in this amazing tradition.  








The event is held potluck style and turkey and all the fixings are served.  It's usually very cold outside and this year was no exception.  I have to admit that even though I consider myself an outdoors person, I was silently dreading the bitter cold we may face.  I'm glad I didn't let that concern take over enough for us to cancel our participation.  As long as you dress the right way, have warmth by the fire and (for adults) something to drink to keep you toasty - it's really such a fun fun day.








I was thinking that it is something that individual families could even do in their own backyards.  Maybe not the actual day of Thanksgiving but close to... invite a few friends and family over and start a huge fire outside.  Have everyone bring something special and enjoy an Outdoor Thanksgiving yourself just like the First Thanksgiving.  Just a thought.  If you do it - please share it with us.  We'd love to see photos!  xoxo


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving Leaf Garland

Thanksgiving Leaf Garland
Supplies Needed:

Leaves from Nature Walks
Thread and needle or sewing machine or yarn

Take the time to bring your children on daily nature walks this week.  As you walk along, gather any leaves that catch your eye to create this Thanksgiving Leaf Garland to decorate your home or nature place with.  You may even wish to drape the garland over your mantle, doorway or use it as a centerpiece at your table. 

Tell the children that you are collecting Mother Nature's leaves to make a pretty garland and show her how thankful you are for the earth's blessings.

There are a few ways you can do this: 
  • You can use a thread and needle and carefully create the garland.
  • You can poke holes in the center of the leaves and string the leaves with yarn.
  • You can use a sewing machine to stitch over the leaves and create garland.  


Have fun and be sure to send us photos of any creations (info@littleacornlearning.com) 

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