Friday, October 25, 2019

Toothbrushing poster


This is a poster to help your child brush their teeth. The purpose is that the child gets to stick a white sticker in the tooth gaps when they brushes their teeth, and when the mouth is full of teeth, the child gets a reward of some kind. Preferably not candy :-D But maybe stickers or something like that. It should be fun, but not expensive.
There's a slot for each of the child's 28 teeth, a tooth-brushing every morning and evening for two weeks.

Print the face and the teeth. It's OK if the teeth is printed in black-and-white.
Cut out the face and cut open the mouth.

Let the child choose the background paper.

Glue the teeth on the paper, about 1/3 from the lower edge.
Position the face on top of the teeth, so that the teeth fill the mouth gap. Tape it on the chin with masking tape or washi tape, so that you can remove the tape later without ripping the paper. See that it's straight and as you like it.
Now, fold the head down slightly so that you don't crease the paper, put glue on the "forehead" area of the face, and press in place. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO LIFT THE LOWER HALF OF THE FACE OFF THE PAPER SO THAT YOU CAN STICK THE TEETH IN THE TOOTH PIECE LATER

Decorate the face, for example with the colors of your own child, and put on the hair - in my example the hair is yarn, but it can be painted on, paper, felt or even the child's own hair. Have fun decorating.
You could make it a monster face, or an animal face, too. What ever rocks your boat. 



Here's some other tips on how to make brushing teeth fun for your child :-)

Friday, October 4, 2019

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Yes, Yule is coming, and with that gift giving times.


I was asked what I would give to my husband in an advent calendar, and I answer:
- stationery - my husband loves stationery, especially pens and notebooks. I could give him just pens, and it doesn't need to be expensive pens either, for every day and he'd be happy.
- book related things, from cheap pocket books or books picked up from second hand, antiquaries or goodwill, to bookmarks, audiobooks - he would love if I read books on MP3 files and filled his MP3 player with my voice... it could just be short stories, and he would be happy.
- my husband loves bears. Bear is his spirit animal, and he loves bears in all forms. For example, he'd love those novelty slippers that look like bear paws.
- beard care items
- he loves knitted socks, thick, woolly socks. I know how to knit. I could knit him 24 pairs of "ugly Christmas socks" and he would wear them year around proudly :-D
- he loves hats and caps and kippot (he's Jewish). So if I gave him 24 hats, he'd be very pleased.
- he loves gadgets. Frankly, I don't think I have ever met a man who doesn't love gadgets. Or a woman. Gadgets are cool :-D
- gift card to his favorite game store or Playstation. (Or stationery store or book store...)
- something to appeal all five senses; something that smells good, something that looks good, something that tastes good, something that sounds good, something that feels good. Or something to smell, something to watch, something to listen to, something to touch, something to eat.

Look at his hobbies. My husband likes to read, play games and study things. (Yes, studying is his hobby.)

Look at what he buys with his money, small things. Does he buy a cup of coffee from the same store? Gift card. Does he buy the same snack? Does he always carry a pack of gum?

Get him something to remember you by, like a key chain with your picture on

So - here's some ideas that won't cost as much as most gadgets...

52 reasons why I love you

You could also go find some two person card games from online and print them out for a personal, private, just for the two of you game book.

Candy tackle box

You could personalize a coffee cup for him, or a pillow case, or a t-shirt, it's pretty easy and affordable to get some textile pens or glass/china pens and you can fix the colors at home.
It's relatively easy to etch glass and make him personalized items, like water bottle on his nightstand or toothbrush cup or something like that.
You could also buy him one of those multiuse cups with insert sleeve and make him a bunch of them so that he can change them when he wants to.

Here's some more ideas




Friday, June 21, 2019

Thursday, June 20, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 20

recharge the batteries of cameras
Finish cooking and make a time table for next day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 19

Cook everything that can wait for a couple of days before and start preparing for the rest.
Get fresh flowers, if you plan on buying any.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 18

Purchase the fresh ingredients you need for the party.
Set the table, and mark the serving dishes with what is going to go there.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 16

You need to buy all the food and beverages you need for the party that can be stored.

Friday, June 14, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 14

Deep-clean the whole house and decorate it.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 8

Make midsummer mead. Use this easy recipe for Finnish May Day sima. It's like homemade carbonated soda. You can, of course, make real alcoholic Viking honey wine mead, if you want to, but if you want to makes something the kids can enjoy as well, choose the Finnish light version :-D

Friday, June 7, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer; Day 7

Today we will be taking care of the Midsummer greetings.

Update your holiday card list.
Check the addresses
Make the cards. Don't make it difficult. Most people aren't used to receive Midsummer greetings, so they will be happy to receive a card, any card. It's not a competition. I suggest you choose  a generic summer greeting, depicting the sun, the beach or flowers.
Post the cards.

Monday, June 3, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 3

Now is the day to play around with the menu, so that you can order any bigger pieces of meat or fish.

I like complicated menus. :-D I mean, 21 course dinners and such.
For bigger holidays we are used to serve food in the French style - that is, everything is brought to the table at the same time and the diners choose their own food of what is served.
You can choose to do it that way, or you can choose to have a Russian service, that is the courses are eaten in order and removed when everyone has eaten. Now, that will, of course, take time, but might be an interesting experience. Reminds more of a wedding.

It is traditional to serve a buffet table, though.


I would only eat vegetarian food during the summer (from Beltane to Samhain), but some people eat fish during Midsummer - especially here in Sweden where I live at the moment.

Other food ideas involve eating something they eat around tropics, like have a Caribbean themed dinner or African, Indian, South American, South-East Asian, South Pacific...

You could have a mermaid or fairy themed party (for the whole family). Might be difficult, but that's just a challenge.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 2

Make a master gift list.
Yes, I do plan giving gifts even on Midsummer.
No, I don't plan on giving gifts that cost more than 10 dollars. It's more like stocking stuffers than presents. Look up "summer gift".
Now, OF COURSE, if you CAN afford it, get extravagant. I can't.

Here, for example, is a mason jar teacher gift. She decorated the jars, put in some school supplies, a gift card and a handful of gravel, and that's it. You can take any jar or perhaps a plastic drink container and put in some things useful in the summer, like drink powder or mosquito repellent or chapstick. Maybe summer socks. Things like that. Cheap, small... it's just a gesture after all.
It would also be quite all right to give a small baggie of Swedish Fish and perhaps put a golden chocolate coin in to represent the sun. 

Also, get out your holiday decorations, if you have any, and check their condition. Do you need to fix any lamps or mend anything or replace anything? Now is the time. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

21 Days of Midsummer - Day 1

It's that time of the year again... Days are getting longer, the world is green, lush and full of life.

So, what to do during these 21 days to get the Midsummer celebration you want and deserve?

1) Plan

Once upon a time there was this site called Polyvore, and at Christmas time it was full of "challenges". People were challenging each other to create sets according to themes. (A Polyvore set was a sort of idea or inspiration board for clothes, mainly, but you could put in any images you liked. A lot of people used Polyvore to make art, or to create inspiration boards for interior decor etc. Most did outfits, though.) One of these challenges was by a snotty teenager, who... ugh. What ever. Anyway, the challenge was to make 50 sets to illustrate different Christmas related themes, like "gingerbread" or "eggnog" or "green". Because she was snotty, I created my own challenge, and I created a challenge for each of the eight Sabbats by the principle; 50 themes, colors, shapes, symbols, foods and drinks, myths, correspondences etc. associated with the Sabbat.

This is basically what you are supposed to be doing now :-D

Find the themes, colors, symbols, myths and other things YOU associate with Midsummer.

Go to Pinterest, and gather all kinds of images and ideas you would like to try and have. This is mine: Summer Solstice - Midsummer

What I want is to have the whole house decorated. I am holiday crazy, so I really want everything from crocheted tp-roll covers to silly holiday themed clothes, so in my house everything is dressed in holiday carb. If you have read my blog, you know I have no scruples taking traditions from other holidays and feasts and adjust them to my Sabbats. I have taken my favorite traditions from every holiday I have ever celebrated, and I am all the time looking for new ideas to add to my traditions, so there will be costumes and trick-or-treating, Christmas tree and egg hunt, presents and Easter Bunny and Santa Claus and everything possible. Adjusted to the holiday at hands, of course. :-D


Midsummer day's "correspondences"

The obvious symbol of Midsummer is the sun, and most Midsummer correspondences are sun related.

The colors are white, yellow, orange and red, colors of light, fire and sun. I also add blue, the color of water and summer sky. My Midsummer is heavily related to water.

The deity is a solar deity. 
My favorite solar deity is Saulė. I also call Her Sunna Sulis or Sunnan Sul. 
In my personal mythology Saulé is the "Mother Midsummer" - Father Christmas, Santa Claus of Midsummer. 
She moves with her lover, the Oak King, Jan (as in January... ;-)) - Christianized as St. John, and therefore celebrated at Midsummer. 
One could see these two as Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies, so Midsummer "elves" or "tomtar" are the fairies. 

If you want, you can have an "elf on the shelf", or fairy in the air. Just don't use it as a snitch, a threat scaring the children to "behave". Traditions for children are supposed to be fun. All these "if you are not nice, the devil will come and get you! You won't get any presents, just coal in your sock, if you're not nice, obedient and do what I say!" traditions are despicable crap. If you can't raise your children without slapping and threatening them, you shouldn't have children. 

The theme of Midsummer is life, abundance, fertility and light.  So, all the magic related to these themes is appropriate at this time of the year. 
As a fertility feast, sex is an essential part of the holiday. You really should go out on the fields and make love in the flowers. 
(Now, of course, only if you want to and your partner wants to, and you protect yourself from STDs and unwanted intrusion and so on and so forth... *sigh* I hate it that this world is so twisted about sex and sexuality. I wish it would be as safe and normal to go frolic in the wild flowers as it is to go to a corner shop to buy some milk. I wish I didn't remember that it's not all too safe to go to a corner shop to buy some milk either...) 
  


I have noticed that deep cleaning everything and decorating is a huge part of my holidays. Now, one thing about decorating the house for Midsummer, is that Midsummer is celebrated outside, in the nature. You should be up all night and watch the sun set and rise the next morning - and in Finland where I come from, it barely even happens. The night is three hours long, from 11 P.M. to 2 A.M. In Stockholm it's 5 1/2 hours. In Finland it's like solar eclipse... the world lives in twilight for 3 hours, it never gets really dark, one can barely see any stars, but the birds are quiet, except for the evening singers, nightingale and song thrush... it feels like the wind even quiets down... the magic is so thick in the air one can feel it even when one isn't used to feeling it. I feel the Mother's heartbeat, Gaia's Song, almost as if I was wading ankledeep in the soil... It is amazing. I'd even let children fall asleep where they happen to be, they will be protected in Midsummer's Night, and not take any harm. Now, I celebrate my Midsummer in the Finnish countryside, where there are no other people within miles (except for a couple of neighbors), so I don't need to be vary about strangers... I don't believe the people in more habitated areas harken to the Midsummer Magic and let people be in peace, so I wouldn't recommend letting children fall asleep in some park just because it's Midsummer.


So, if you can't get out or can't be outside the whole Midsummer, bring the greenery inside. In the winter, one uses evergreens as a reminder of that there still is life even in the coldest midwinter. In the summer, one uses anything and everything green that grows outside :-D Bring in leafy branches (don't just take branches from living trees that grow around you, go buy them as you would a Christmas tree. There's bound to be some landowner somewhere who cuts trees for firewood, and you can ask to get the branches. Do this a good time beforehand.) Build yourself a small indoor sukkah. use the artificial greenery. Use treelike indoor plants, like figs and hibiscus. Use green fabric to imitate lush greenery. Make paper leaves and staple on a green sheet. Use camouflage netting. I am imagining sort of nature taking over the home, or Sleeping Beauty's rose growing all over the place. hang leaf garlands everywhere they can be hanged, stick boughs, flowers, fake greenery behind every painting and fill all the vases, pots and jugs with bouquets of summer flowers.

If you can be outside, the best place to be is by water. Have a beach party. And have a bonfire.

This connection with water is my other Midsummer theme. I associate mermaids to midsummer. As you can see on my Midsummer board at Pinterest, there's quite a lot of fishes. Now, in Christmas, the Scandinavian symbolic animal is the pig. I have chosen fishes as the symbolic animal of Midsummer. You could also use white horses, white snakes and white cows, or even white reindeer/deer.

 Roses are heavily associated with Midsummer as well, as are daisies.


Anyway, what I want you to do today is to plan your Midsummer. What do you want to do, how much, and all that.

I don't expect that to take more than a couple of hours, because I expect you to have at least some sort of idea of what you want to do. I also don't expect you to plan on doing a lot to honor this day. Most people aren't as mad as I am :-D

This means that you should also have time to make a preliminary budget and menu as well.

ADJUST THE PLANS TO YOUR BUDGET!

It is not fun if you worry about money or if you spend more money than you have and have to pay with giving up things. There is always a possibility to get what you want by spending less or no money.



Monday, January 14, 2019

How We Celebrate Imbolc: Emily Murphy

This is a fictional account of Imbolc as I'd love to see it celebrated.



One of my favorite memories from my childhood is that we used to visit our grandparents and Brighid would come to visit. She was a big woman dressed in white with big, red, curly hair and big laugh. We sang to her songs we had practiced and then we would talk with her about all the things we want to be and do when we grow old. I told her about wanting to become a fashion designer, and she told me to learn to sew and draw, and gave me small gifts I can use to do that, like one year I got a drawing pad and set of pens, and another year I got a very nice sewing kit and fabric and pattern to make myself a dress. My brother wanted to be a carpenter and he got carpenter tools and wood.
I was about 20 when our "Brighid" died, and I finally realized she was just an ordinary person, and that the gifts were from our parents. We haven't found anyone to play Brighid to our children, I play her to some friends' children. Not our family friends, because they know me and that I'm not Brighid, but I have some friends whose children don't know me.
At our house the kids write to Brighid about their future plans and she sends them a package that magically appears at the foot end of the beds on Imbolc morning. These gifts are always something they can use in their future professions, or something that helps them reach their professional goals, or something about their creative pursuits and ambitions.

Our Imbolc begins on the eve. We don't decorate before the eve. The dinner is being prepared and one of the parents (or grandparent, family friend, aunt or so) takes the kids out to play - hopefully in the snow, or ice skating, if there's ice - and the other parent stays at home and decorates the whole house. If we get a relative to take the kids, even better, because then we can do it together. It is amazing to leave the house as it usually is and come back to winter wonderland


Then we have a dinner and a small dedication ritual. It is usually just lighting candles and blessing food, but for Imbolc we have a bowl of snow or ice on the table, to melt by our heat, to symbolize how Mother Earth is awakening and the snow and ice is melting outside.

We read a picture book together before bedtime, the kids get a new pajamas for the feast, and in the morning the kids find Brighid's gift on their bed.

Then we'll eat Imbolc brunch. There is a lot of dairy and citrus fruits that are in season right now, and pancakes. We'll have it served on a side table and we eat it in the living room, watching family movies with season appropriate message. The Pebble and the Penguin is a family favorite. It has love, escape from capture, winning against all odds, surviving difficult situations, winter and pebbles :-D


Later the day we have a mystery play. We do it every Sabbath. It is the same every year, to create tradition and habit. I wrote it myself, because there aren't any mystery plays for Pagans.My husband and I chose our favorite folk songs and carols and we wrote new words for them. These little plays aren't long, and in the beginning my husband and I used to play most parts. We also used teddybears and dolls to act as stand-ins and extras :-D Now we are leaving more and more of the fun to the kids. The two eldest are quite capable of doing most of the work and they think it's great fun.



Saturday, January 12, 2019

Imbolc photo list

Make a list of symbols, colors, myths and other such things for this season. Use existing lists and your own associations.
There's plenty of good lists about this online.
Some of my symbols are hearts, sheep, snowdrops, Brigid's cross and candles. I also associate wolves and angels to Imbolc.
My colors for Imbolc are white, red and pink, with purple and midnight blue.

Take a photo of all the symbols and colors you find in your home and make a collage; all the hearts, all the angels, all the red things...

What myths and mythological creatures do you associate with Imbolc?
For example, many people associate the tomtes (gnomes) and Santa and Santa's elves to Christmas. For Imbolc, many people think of Brigid. There's a LOT of Christmas things built around Santa and his elves (gnomes). Come up with your own family tradition for Imbolc.

My family tradition is the Mistress of the Copper Mountain or Malachite Goddess.

Do you plan on doing any spellwork for Imbolc? 
Take photos of things and events that remind you of Imbolc themes, like rebirth and birth, inspiration, fire, crafts and skills and knowledge etc.

Have a bonfire night or lantern walk - or both

"Santa" or "Easter Bunny" photo with the Deity or a Saint or the mythological spirit of the feast.

Another Christmas tradition I love is the creche. It is in reality just a vignette, 3D illustration of the Christmas myth. Create your own around the myths of your own tradition. 


A European Christmas tradition is the Advent. Four weeks before the Christmas, children are counting down the time different ways. There is the tradition of burning a candle on each Advent Sunday, there's Advent calendars, there are stories told in 24 parts, one every day of December leading to the Christmas day. 

Adopt this for each Sabbath, and take some photos of your traditions. 

Also, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, was the last day before Easter lent. Choose a period of time (I think 3-4 weeks is a good amount of time) and celebrate "the first Advent" with something special. Here in Sweden we usually have a Glögg party, people come together to drink mulled wine and something else, like "secret Santa" gift exchange, or to watch a movie together, or play games or do some Christmas related crafts, like ornaments or cards. Or just to be together. 

First Advent celebration

Now, find out about the different saints being celebrated at this time, and make something special of that day. In Sweden, Saint Lucia is being celebrated on 13.12. with very early breakfast in bed with special pastry, served by a fair maiden wearing a white gown and candle crown, with a red sash on her waist symbolizing her blood from her martyr death... that part isn't that nice, now, is it... :-D
But the tradition fits perfectly Imbolc. It also sits nicely about in the middle of the waiting period for the feast, about two weeks after first Advent, two weeks before Christmas.

Find out other feasts from different traditions you could appropriate and adjust to your needs. 

Invent your own.

Small parties during the waiting period

Then you should take a photo of your decorations, throughout the house

The Ornament or new decoration of the year

Wreath on the door

Your windows - take a photo from inside out, to frame the weather with your decorations, then take a photo from outside, to see how pretty your window is to everyone else. 
You could start a tradition of decorating your windows as if they were the display windows of a grand department store :-D


Nature walk, look for signs of spring

Neighborhood. How do they decorate for the season? Do they? How does your neighborhood look at this time of the year?

"Bucket list" activities and family traditions
- do you have traditions of things you do every year just because it's Imbolc? Like winter picnic? Ice skating and hot chocolate bar in the snow? 
You should. 
Take Katherine Marie and her 12 boxes of Christmas fun. You definitely should do something like that with your family. Don't have children? Never mind. Have special date boxes for you and your SO. Don't have a SO? Never mind, have special self pampering boxes. Or have "girls' night in" boxes.

Movie night
Write a movie list with some 10-20 season appropriate movies with Sabbath appropriate themes, and have a movie night. Take photos.
How to make the movie special? Take a cue from Polar Express Watch Party or a Grinch Movie Night.

Now, I find it hard to find suitable movies for Imbolc (of course, because Imbolc isn't "a thing", like Christmas), but some suggestions are:
All Snegurochka movies
All movies about the polar areas, like The Pebble and the Penguin and White Seal. (Yes, and Happy Feet, even though I personally dislike it)
Jack Frost (I mean the 1998 movie, but also Rise of the Guardians could do.)
Brendan and the Secret of Kells
Basically any movies about bears and wolves and hibernating animals, or cows, especially those placed in winter.
Ice Age movies could do.


Imbolc carols

Again, there aren't really any. But, do your best. Remember, most Christmas carols were folk songs with new lyrics, or one just took a melody anywhere, like hymns, and put in appropriate words. A lot of "Christmas music" is something we associate with Christmas for some reason, like it was used in a movie we use to watch every Christmas. Every song is made up. Most songs are rather new. Just start making songs, and create your own traditions.

Imbolc cards

Make your own (it's not as if there was a lot to be bought, now, is there), take pictures of when you do, take pictures of the ready cards, cards in envelopes ready to be posted and cards you have received and displayed.

Have a craft night - you can gather to make presents or cards or ornaments and decorations, or just something. Take photos.

Take photos of presents being wrapped, your wrapping station, presents all wrapped up and gathered on the present table (or where you plan on gathering them) and people reacting to their presents.
We don't have a tradition of gift-giving at Imbolc, but let's start it! It's always nice to receive presents and love tokens! 
Give something to eat, something to smell, something to touch, something to listen to and something to watch. Give a book. Give something to create with, like tools or paint. Give something to help learn a new skill or to improve what one already can.

Take a photo of someone sneaking around trying to act all mysterious and hiding things

Go on a shopping spree and take photos. It's not likely there will be an Imbolc market, but - do your best :-D You could do it in a style of a stag party and dress up appropriately and make it a fun thing that way.

Now, one of the favorite photo-ops for Christmas is fetching the Christmas tree. There is no tree for Imbolc, but perhaps you could create something similar. Going to a flower shop to buy some white bulbs, like snowdrops and hyacinths? Gathering willow pussies (here it's something done for Ostara, I don't know how it is where you live.) Fetching the holiday dinner from a local farmer? 



Plant snowdrops and take photos of them growing. 
(Just remember that the time to plant the bulbs for forcing is 2 months before the feast! If you want snowdrops blooming for Imbolc, you need to plant them in November.)
If you live in an area where it is possible to find wild flowers in bloom, take photos of them.

Take photos of all the preparations for the feast, like baking for the feast and roasting the turkey (or what ever it is you plan on eating.)

Take photos of the goodies served, the table set, people eating the dinner, and the food coma after :-D

Take photo of all dressed up to their finest for the party, but also take a photo of some "outfits of the day" before the day. 
Make it a thing to wear something Imbolc related during the weeks before.

Take photos of your pets and children and lover and yourself reacting to all this

Take photos of everything that happens on the feast day
Take a "day after" photo

Create a "12 days of..." traditions. Have a big party on the 13th day to "dance" Imbolc off. 

2.2 Imbolc - 1st day
3.2 2nd day - St Berlinda, a hermitess, protectress of trees and cattle
4.2 3rd day - St. Joan of Valois, the saint of women left because they were ugly, sick, crippled, deformed and bluestockings. Saint of women being educated as well as men.
5.2 4th day - St. Agatha - the rape victims, prostitutes and breast cancer victims
6.2 5th day - St Dorothy, who send back apples and roses from the Garden after her death.
7.2 6th day - St. Juliana of Bologna - the patron of single mothers
8.2 7th day - St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron of slaves and torture victims
9.2 8th day - NYD
10.2 9th day - St. Scholastica - patron of books, school, tests, reading and St. Austreberta - refused to be part of an arranged marriage, used a wolf as a donkey, because the wolf ate the donkey and promised to work for it. Brought up a healing spring.
11.2 10th day - feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, the healer
12.2 11th day - St Febronia, Juno Februata, Goddess of purification, purging, fever - staying steadfast with what one believes to be true even when tortured and St Humbeline, sisterly love and intelligent, charismatic women
13.2 12th day - St Catherine of Ricci - patroness of the sick, an expert on religion, management and administration, counceler and correspondant. Among others with three future popes. 
14.2. 13th day - St.Valentine's day

Candles

Celebrate Pancake day

Imbolc past
Imbolc present
Imbolc future