$75 Back To School Giveaway!

Back To School Giveaway : Imagine Childhood : www.theMagicOnions.com

 

Yay! Today one lucky reader will receive a $75 gift certificate to one of my FAVORITE shops… Imagine Childhood!

Imagine Childhood is a family owned and operated company specializing in earth-friendly goods, craft and activity tutorials and educational supplies that support and nurture the magic of childhood. Our carefully curated collection focuses on products that inspire children to create, imagine, and explore. With an emphasis on quality materials, our toys and tools are made for real kids and real adventures.

Take a peek at our 2015-2016 Lookbook for 200 pages of inspiring and thoughtful gifts! We’ve spent the last eight years combing the globe for unique heirloom quality toys, tools, games, and craft projects, many of which are $25 or less.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

In addition to our shop we also share free crafts, activities and recipes on our blog here and our recent book, IMAGINE CHILDHOOD: Exploring the World Through Nature, Imagination, and Play- 25 Projects that spark curiosity and adventure, can be found here.

Description of the giveaway:

Today one lucky winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to the Imagine Childhood!

To enter, simply pop over the the Imagine Childhood Shop and let us know which products catch your eye.

 

Back To School Giveaway : Imagine Childhood : www.theMagicOnions.comBack To School Giveaway : Imagine Childhood : www.theMagicOnions.com Back To School Giveaway : Imagine Childhood : www.theMagicOnions.com Back To School Giveaway : Imagine Childhood : www.theMagicOnions.com

 

Good luck, everyone. We will announce the winner on Sunday, August 21.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Sponsor Feature and Giveaway : Waldorfish

Lucky us… Waldorfish is offering us all a 20% discount on their WONDERFUL StoryStarters kits (you can read all about them below). Use the code MAGICONIONS at checkout.

 

Waldorfish was originally born out of a desire to provide modern, relevant resources for our community of teachers and families.  We have grown into a global community of teachers, parents, and homeschoolers. Altogether diverse and curious in the ways we live our lives, our online community shares a commitment to goodness, warmth, truth & beauty as it works for each of our families. As an international community, each of us is wholly different. We come to the table in kindness, listening & sharing to learn (not to agree or disagree). A great place to start if you are new to our work is this page, which includes links to samples of our tutorial videos and several free pdf’s and e-books!

 

Waldorfish : www.theMagicOnions.com

 

Trained both as public and Waldorf teachers, we have been involved in art & education for over 20 years and currently homeschool our two children. With our Waldorfish work we teach adults & children in person as well as online. Our courses guide soul-filled teachers and families towards confidence in integrating the arts and story-telling into their (home) school days!

Waldorfish : www.theMagicOnions.com

 

In 2014 hundreds of our community members – teachers, parents & homeschoolers, asked us for storytelling resources. They felt drawn to create a culture that pulls in and directs their families from deep within. We followed this thread with our whole hearts – we dreamt up and designed the fundamental images needed for an inspiring tool – our Story Starters deck. Now families around the world are using the deck & accompanying online classroom to ignite unique stories for and with their children & students!

Waldorfish : www.theMagicOnions.com

 

“It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.” ~Khalil Gibran

 

There is no one more valuable than the storyteller. They are our visionaries, the entertainers, the jesters, guides and crooners. When we give our children the gift of story, we give them their ticket, a limitless wellspring to carry them to any career, a lifelong magic trick in their back pocket.

 

Along with the healing and therapeutic potential held within stories, they also ignite in their tellers yet another invaluable quality.

 

“There’s a Native American proverb on my office wall that says, ‘Those who tell the stories rule the world.’ As technology increasingly intertwines us, I believe that’s increasingly true. It’s our job as businesses and workers and leaders to make sure the good guys are the ones telling the best stories. And like any skill, we’re going to need practice at it.”

~ Shane Snow, Why Storytelling Will Be the Biggest Business Skill of the Next 5 Years.

 

Storytelling is a timeless skill. It has been the precursor to change as long as we’ve been on this beautiful, mysterious planet. And that’s exactly what these times are calling for, yes?

 

Change-makers.

We don’t want to bore our children. Or to lecture them. We want to mystify them! To enchant them into the glimmer of their own futures, to be awed in the face of giants (and giant obstacles). And to know themselves as great and creative problem solvers. Change-makers.

 

Waldorfish : www.theMagicOnions.com

 

We created our Story Starters kit to guide even very new storytellers towards confidence. Along with the 40-card, double sided deck, the kit also includes our online classroom:

  • 3 audio recordings (over an hour total!) with sample stories & ideas
  • 19 page e-book with even more resources & inspiring ideas
  • muslin, drawstring carrying pouch
  • access additional pdf’s with storytelling activities

 

Perfectly sized to tuck into a bag, the Story Starters can come along just about anywhere, and are water resistant (yay!).

 

“The cards are lovely! The pictures are beautifully done and include a mix of objects and scenes we have experienced and some which are exotic to us. This gives us a chance to tell stories from our knowledge of the world and others that come more from our imagination.” ~Susan F.

 

Waldorfish : www.theMagicOnions.com

 

This kit is an opportunity to create new tales that are custom-crafted to address the emotional needs and moods that are currently living within your family. Stories with clear moral lessons are healing & potently effective teachers. A well-timed cautionary tale can be so much more effective than “Don’t do that!!”.

 

Stories show us that an enemy can become a friend. Stories remind us that other people have had similar problems (and have successfully navigated them). Stories told through the lens of many different belief systems help support the importance of tolerance.

 

By seeing how someone in a story overcomes his or her troubles or character quirks, our children can learn to do the same.

 

All our best,

Robyn & Brian Wolfe

 

We would love to connect with you on social media!

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/waldorfish

Robyn on Instagram: @therobynwolfe

Brian on Instagram: @brianwolfe

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/waldorfish

 

**

 

Thank you, Robyn and Brian.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Raising Mindful Kids

Raising mindful kids.

 – by Tina Dombernowsky

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could teach our children how to live in the moment, how to be aware of their bodies, their thoughts, their feelings and their surroundings? What a beautiful life-long gift we can give them if we can help them to be mindful humans… a precious gift to them and a gift to the world too.

Teaching mindfulness starts with YOU!

Children learn so much more from watching what you do than from listening to what you say so, being mindful yourself, is the first step in teaching your child how to live a mindful life.

 

What is mindfulness?

 

We need to understand what mindfulness is and how it works in order for us to be motivated to keep practicing and living in a mindful way. Mindfulness doesn’t happen just by reading a book. It involves effort and strong intention.

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without judgment or trying to change it. It is being aware of your body, your mind, your thoughts, your feelings and your surroundings, with a moment-to-moment openness.

 

Raising Mindful Kids in 5 Easy Steps : Discovering Waldorf Educaiton with The Magic Onions

 

It often includes yoga and different kinds of meditations.

By bringing mindfulness into your everyday life while shopping, cooking, looking into your children’s eyes and even into every conflict you encounter, big or small, you will not only find beautiful energy that you never even knew existed, but you’ll also be able to experience the joy of what is happening while it is actually happening.

Being aware of what is going on inside of you and outside of you, will help you to respond mindfully to your surroundings (and to yourself). Too often, we find ourselves on autopilot and react automatically to situations. Mindful awareness will allow you to change your behavior and perceptions, as well as your attitude towards yourself and your children.

When I started on my mindful journey, it took me a long time to realize that I had to PRACTICE mindfulness to become more mindful. It wasn’t a quick-fix that happened overnight or something anybody else could do for me.  Mindfulness was a slow journey that required self-discipline and courage.

Mindfulness was something I knew I needed to conquer as I was at a point in my life were I felt I was exploding and couldn’t handle any more conflicts. I just wanted some peace and I realized that I needed to connect with myself and my children again in order to find it. I started yoga and meditation on a regular basis.

 

Raising Mindful Kids in 5 Easy Steps : Discovering Waldorf Educaiton with The Magic Onions

 

Becoming mindful was like a drop in the water and the ripples spread our around me, touching everything and everyone. Without searching for anything specific, I started to notice things like how lovely the wind felt on my face and the bright red of a fallen maple leaf. I also noticed the negative self-talk I allowed in my mind and how my mood and low energy affected my behavior. And, most importantly, I was able to really listen to what my children were actually saying, instead of automatically replying ”Okay…” while my mind was wandering and thinking about trivial things like what to make for dinner!

For the first time in my adult life, I had the beautiful feeling that I was authentically living each and every moment instead of being lost in the past or in the future. I felt like I was actually living MORE, like I had only this moment to live and I was going to really LIVE it like it mattered. All this, just by paying attention with a moment-to-moment awareness. My family started to notice the change. This reinforced my commitment to practice daily, as well as teach others how mindfulness and yoga, with very simple practices, can transform the feel and pace of your moments and, thereby, your entire life.

 

How does it affect you?

Many studies have shown that by practicing mindfulness you can actually change the chemistry and wiring in your brain.

MRI’s confirm that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, starts to shrink. This area, associated with fear and negative emotions, is involved in initiating the body’s response to stress. At the same time the pre-frontal cortex, associated with functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making, becomes enlarged.

The regularity of these two areas firing together, also changes. The connection between the amygdala and the rest of the brain gets weaker, while the connections between areas associated with attention and concentration get stronger.

By practicing mindful awareness over time, you will likely notice more patience, calm and ease. Practicing yoga and mindfulness will not remove the dirt from your child’s clothes or the dirty dishes from the counter, but, when practiced regularly, it will shift your perspective from one of urgent fight or flight to that of a more calm, less life-threatening view.

You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf on them (John Kabat Zinn).

 

Raising Mindful Kids in 5 Easy Steps : Discovering Waldorf Educaiton with The Magic Onions

 

5 things you can start doing now

There are many ways to teach ourselves and our children mindfulness: directly, indirectly, with sounds, stories, through guided meditations and books. But the most important and beneficial way to begin, is to start with your own yoga and mindfulness practice.

Helping our children through difficult times is not only done by working with the child alone, which I experienced in my work with my sixteen-year-old son, Patrick. He went to several specialist and behavioral experts, but the greatest improvement was when I started to bring mindfulness into our lives.

The more aware you are of your triggers, patterns of action and reactions, the more often you are likely to choose how best to parent, how to model healthy behavior, and how to live more mindfully as a family.

My clients often find it very difficult to keep up their own mindfulness practice. I usually tell them that it’s our actions that speak to our children and not our words. If we show our children that we are practicing self-care by doing yoga and meditation, they will start to embrace and value it themselves.

A very profound skill to teach children is to take time for yourself every day, to reset your system and reinforce ease and calm in your mind and body. By watching you do it, your children will learn to do it for themselves and mindfulness will become a natural part of how they lead their lives.

Remember, children are  small sponges – they absorb easily what they are exposed to.

 

Raising Mindful Kids in 5 Easy Steps : Discovering Waldorf Educaiton with The Magic Onions

1) The sacred morning routine

 

When I wake up, I practice yoga and meditation first thing in the morning. It varies how long it takes depending on the day and my needs for the day. If my children wake up during my practice, they know to be quite and typically they’ll lie next to me or snuggle under the blanket in my lap. I don’t tell them to meditate with me but by paying attention to their own inner world their daily transitions becomes much more peaceful. No words, no stimulation, just spending time doing nothing.

(Picture of me meditation with Cassius when he was little)

 

2) Setting the tone for a mindful meal

My youngest children are four and five years old, Savannah and Cassius, and they have a formal meditation practice every day, which includes the whole family. Before we start eating our meal, we hold hands and close our eyes. We started this routine one and a half years ago, when I realized that they were ready for it.

In the beginning, when I guided the meditation, it was no longer than 1 minute. It was not easy when we started out. But that was okay, because it was practice for me on how to experiencing the situation without trying to change anything. Just paying attention, which is really hard for them, stretches their attention span. I usually start our meditation by guiding them to pay attention to their body and then their breath. After a while, Cassius asked if he could guide the meditation and it was magical to observe the focus and concentration and to hear that little voice say the meaningful words. Not only does he learn how to guide others, but for him to do that, he must go within himself and search for answers. That is mindfulness.

Now my daughter has started to ask if she can guide the meditation too. It is quit astonishing to witness a 4-year-old pause, think and care for the words she speaks out loud. The feeling of being listened too without interruptions may very well be a motivating factor for my children, which is another plus on top of the actual meditation.

(picture of cassius guiding a meditation)

 

3) Ask three specific questions and listen

 

Thoughts, feelings and body sensations. When your child is throwing a tantrum, feeling scared, sad or really happy, try tapping into their sensations instead of being carried away into your own thoughts that removes you from the here and now. Along with asking what your child is thinking, an essential tool is to invite other awareness into their consciousness beside thoughts, such as bodily sensations and feelings. It can be difficult for the child (and us) to differentiate between these three components of our experiences but you can help them by asking specific questions. ‘How does your body feel right now?’.

The other day when Savannah was crying, I found my self wanting to quickly fix what was wrong, solve the problem and make her stop crying, instead of being 100% present. Wanting to fix things is an old, deep-rooted habit of mine but, because of my own mindfulness practice, I quickly noticed it. By paying attention to my own thoughts, feelings and body sensations, I could choose to respond more thoughtfully to her behavior.

I verbalized the fact that she was crying and suggested that she might feel sad and this understanding made her stop for a second and search for answers from within. I observed her, and she nodded her head feeling met and understood. Savannah distinguished the feelings (being sad) from the bodily sensations (the tears and the sound of her crying) and furthermore she made a connection on how they were related. This is being mindful… stopping everything to look inside you to see what is really going on. I then asked her were in her body she could feel the sadness and again she paused and pointed at her heart. I asked if she could describe the feeling and gave her some options because she is still so little and still needs a little help. She answered that it felt like her heart was smaller and heavier.

This way of dissecting the situation into three components; thoughts, feelings and body sensations can help the children to tune in and take the ”temperature” of what is going on in their minds and bodies.

I also taught Patrick (my older son) these things when he was very young and this tool has really helped him throughout the years. He became good at separating the components from each other and expressing feelings to a much greater degree. It’s reflected in our family discussions and in his relationship to his friends and teachers. Mindfulness is a lifelong skill developed that will help him in every situation.

 

Raising Mindful Kids in 5 Easy Steps : Discovering Waldorf Educaiton with The Magic Onions

 

4) STOP – Pay full attention and you shall receive

 

We often walk away from our children when they are playing nice and quietly by them selves because then we can get things done while they are occupied. It feels like, as soon as they notice we are not there anymore, they come running and ask for something. I often catch myself half trying to meet their needs, but not really paying full attention, because I’m still trying to fold laundry and figuring out were the other sock is. This results in even more neediness, and the spiral starts to spin.

Why not change this once and for all? If your child want’s to show you their drawing or they need some love from you, stop and pay sincere attention to them. A magical thing will happen. Your child will feel that her need is met and will most likely feel completed and get back to what she was doing before.

Use the word STOP inwardly. This will get you out of your head so that you can choose more wisely. Kneel down in the level of your child’s eyes, and listen without thinking about ending the conversation! Children sense when we do this and will try even harder to get your full attention. Being mindful in the moment can actually save you so much time in the long run.

 

5) How to teach your child to use his breath

 

I have a memory of when I was very upset as a child. An adult told me to ”take a deep breath” – I remember feeling resentful as that was not what I wanted to do at all. I didn’t want to get out of anger because I was actually showing the world how I was feelings.

This is why it’s important to teach your children to have a good relationship with their breath before a tense situation 0ccures. I don’t like it when, in an argument, my husband tells me to ‘calm down’. It upsets me and feels provoking to me. But if my body and mind are already tuned into calming down, by daily mindfulness practice, it is be easier for me to actually listen, stop and act on it.

 

Raising Mindful Kids in 5 Easy Steps : Discovering Waldorf Educaiton with The Magic Onions

 

I hope I have given you some real tools to help your family become mindful. I know it will have a profound impact on your lives.

I am so grateful for your time today. Thank you.

Tina

**

Tina Dombernowsky is a mother of three and runs her own successful Yoga Therapy business. She teaches clients how to overcome stress in everyday life using yoga, breath work, meditation and mindfulness, drawing on her own experience and many years of training.

Tina is a RN-BScN from Copenhagen, Denmark. She is Certified Advanced Yoga Teacher, Mindfulness Instructor (MBSR), Kids Yoga Teacher, NLP practitioner (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Life Coach.

Find Tina on Facebook and Instagram.

Phone: +1 (562) 810 8913

Email: tina@tinadombernowsky.com

**

If you are interested in bringing Waldorf philosophies into your home, I’ve put together a great workshop that will guide you through every step in the process : 8 Steps to a Waldorf-Inspired Home.

 

8 Steps to a Waldorf-Inspired Home Workshop. How to bring the beauty of Waldorf philosophies into your home by The Magic Onions

 

This workshop explains and guides you through the beautiful and meaningful philosophies that you can bring into your home to create a calm and creative sanctuary wherein your children will thrive.

In today’s busy and over-scheduled world, so many of us are searching for ways to help our children enjoy an authentic and joyful childhood, one in which they have time for unscheduled play, building deep and meaningful connections with friends, animals and the earth and lots of magical time in nature.

I’m happy to let you know that a few key (and simple) changes can make all of this possible.

And, for a limited time only, I’m offering this workshop at a special discount for Magic Onions readers…

 

Special Offer

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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How to Build Your Waldorf Community :: Discovering Waldorf

How to Build Your Waldorf Community

–   by Meredith Floyd-Preston

 

 

“Finish up your snack. It’s time to go wait for Daddy.”

It was 4:00 on a November Wednesday and I was preparing my 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son for the “wait for Daddy” afternoon practice that had been in place for months. It was a somewhat ridiculous exercise for several reasons…

 

  1. It was a chilly November in a San Francisco suburb known for its depressing late-afternoon fog.
  2. I knew very well that Daddy wouldn’t be home for another hour and a half.
  3. Our suburban street was eerily quiet and unfriendly. Our long afternoon vigil would be a lonely and solitary activity.

Despite these arguments for abandoning the practice, after a long day at home alone with little ones, I looked forward to that “Daddy’s home!” moment with such longing, I was willing to brave the elements and create a little welcoming committee.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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When I look back on it, it is clear that what I was really longing for was community. My children were little and a few days each week I had a Waldorf-inspired childcare in our home, so my options for community felt really limited. The highlights of my days were the few opportunities for adult interaction that I had managed to create…

 

  • My long-held NPR habit became solidified as I snuck off to the kitchen during nap time to listen to soothing adult voices.
  • We never missed weekly story-time at the library (I’ll never forget the tears that ensued one day when we arrived and found the library closed – I’ll let you guess if the tears were mine or 4-year-old Calvin’s.)
  • I found a homeschooling group that met weekly a couple of towns over. Even though the academic-minded preschooler parents didn’t share my Waldorf leanings, we went as often as we could.

 

Community is Important

There is no doubt that community is important when it comes to raising children (it takes a village, after all.) According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development,

“When parents receive parenting support, they are more likely to feel better about themselves and their parenting abilities, and in turn interact with their children in responsive and supportive ways enhancing the development of their children.”

I know that parenting support in the form of a community during those fog-filled days would have made me less lonely, a better parent, a more caring wife and a more fulfilled individual.

Unfortunately, though, some of our Waldorf ideals can actually make community building more challenging.

 

  • Waldorf ideals recognize and honor the importance of the home as the most appropriate place for the young child. Limiting exposure to the larger world and spending most of your time at home can feel incredibly isolating for many Waldorf parents.
  • Holding Waldorf ideals can cause us to feel estranged from the larger mainstream world. When your children don’t know the Frozen soundtrack by heart or you can’t participate in playground conversations about traditional discipline, you can feel a bit left out.

Truly, parenting the Waldorf way can be a lonely and isolating experience.

But it doesn’t have to be.

 

How to Create a Waldorf Community

 

That “Daddy’s Home!” ritual that my little ones and I practiced feels like yesterday but it was 17 long years ago. The following year my son started kindergarten and we joined a Waldorf community.

These days, when I ask my Waldorf alumni children what they miss most about Waldorf School, they always answer “the community.” We found a supportive group of parents, teachers and children to connect with and that made all the difference.

It took some time for me to find the right way to get involved with this established community, but here are some ways you can start to find your own unique place.

 

If you have a Waldorf school nearby . . .

 

  • Volunteer – Waldorf schools are always needing support. Donate your time, money or expertise to make the community a better place.
  • Sign up for a class or camp. Most Waldorf schools offer parent-child classes and summer break camps. If money is an issue, ask for a scholarship. Waldorf schools want their communities to be thriving, interesting places and they usually won’t let money get in the way.
  • Post playdates, childcare and activities on the community bulletin board or weekly newsletter. There are bound to be other people like you looking for opportunities to get together with their children.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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If you don’t have a Waldorf school nearby . . .

 

  • Attend meetings at your local La Leche League chapter. If your children are past breastfeeding age, contact the leader and ask if she has contacts for conscious parenting communities.
  • Talk to other parents at the park. Be on the lookout for the parents whose parenting choices reflect your own. Be brave and start conversations.
  • Use social media. There is an active Waldorf community online. Talk to people via forums on Mothering.com, Facebook groups or Twitter. The internet is a fantastic resource for adults. Using it to find community is not out of sync with Waldorf ideals.
  • Recognize that the benefits of community far outweigh the drawbacks of plastic toys or media exposure. Though the parents at my weekly homeschooling group didn’t share my Waldorf ideals, they were conscious, intentional parents and they provided my family with the community we needed.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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However you go about it, get out there and find yourself a community. You’ll be happier, your children will benefit, and Daddy won’t mind so much if you’re not home to roll out the welcome carpet.

 

How to Build a Waldor Communtiy from Discovering Waldorf Education on The Magic Onions Blog

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**

Meredith Floyd-Preston is a Waldorf class teacher and mother of 3 who blogs and podcasts about her experiences at A Waldorf Journey.

Meredith has a special treat for Magic Onion readers. Sign-up here to receive a free PDF download of Meredith’s Waldorf at Home Resource List.

If you are interested in bringing Waldorf philosophies into your home, I’ve put together a great workshop that will guide you through every step in the process : 8 Steps to a Waldorf-Inspired Home.

8 Steps to a Waldorf-Inspired Home Workshop. How to bring the beauty of Waldorf philosophies into your home by The Magic Onions

.

This workshop explains and guides you through the beautiful and meaningful philosophies that you can bring into your home to create a calm and creative sanctuary wherein your children will thrive.

In today’s busy and over-scheduled world, so many of us are searching for ways to help our children enjoy an authentic and joyful childhood, one in which they have time for unscheduled play, building deep and meaningful connections with friends, animals and the earth and lots of magical time in nature.

I’m happy to let you know that a few key (and simple) changes can make all of this possible.

And, for a limited time only, I’m offering this workshop at a special discount for Magic Onions readers…

Special Offer

Blessings and magic,

Donni

 

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