Author Archives: caf_officer

Autumn Treasure Hunt

autumn-leavesThis is the activity I have planned for out Mabon Meet up.  I’m going to send groups of kids out into the woods with a mobile phone / tablet (and an adult to supervise at a distance) to see how many of this list the kids can find and photograph.  Chocolate prizes will be given (probably to all) with great ceremony afterwards.

Wishing you all a Marvellous Mabon

Sam x

autumn-treasure-hunt

PD Lammas 16

pd-200-coverThe historic 200th issue of Pagan Dawn is out and we are proud to be a small part of that.  I have to say I had a little moment to see my name in the list of contributors alongside Ron Hutton.

As we come into the season of the harvests we have been looking at being thankful.

How do we instil an attitude of gratitude in our children?  As well as the main article I have linked here to some of my favourite Mummy Blogs on the theme.

I have also found some great Autumn Activities for you all to enjoy.

Summer Blessings and a prosperous harvest to you all, Sam x

 

Being Thankful

thankfulAs we move towards the year’s harvest, my thoughts turn towards how we give thanks for the blessings we are surrounded by in our lives. Our family is very lucky to have an allotment where we can grow lots of lovely fruits and vegetables, and where we all learn about the skills and hard work needed to keep our plot going.  For us it is very immediate, we pick the potatoes, clean them up and cook them.  I am eternally thankful for this, I speak to too many young people who do not have this connection to their environment and the food they eat.

One way we can be thankful on a daily basis is to spend some time each day together. For us it is when we gather around the table to eat.  Whether this is weekend breakfast, our evening meal .  We talk about our day, the fun we have had, the plans we have and what we have to be thankful for.  Many families mark this time together around the table to be specifically thankful; by saying grace before they share a meal together.  This can be a specific poem or prayer or you can take it in turns to speak from the heart.  This can be an honest and often amusing moment if you allow the children to give thanks for their meal and the blessings in their lives.

Being able to focus on the positives in our lives; to be thankful for the acts of kindness they have witnessed, is of massive benefit to all concerned. It builds better relationships, promotes positivity, reduces aggression, and diminishes the effects of toxic emotions.  The enhancement to empathy and self-esteem improve the lives of our children and us, we will simply be happier.

On my newsfeed on FaceBook I see a lot of lovely blog articles from Mums and writers about being kind and thankful in our lives and relationships with our children.  On our online version of this page I have added links to some of my favourites as well as some Autumn crafts and seasonal fun.

I hope that you all have a happy, positive and thankful Harvest season.

With muddy blessings and toad filled love     Sam x

Coming out again.

My eldest is about to change school, she’s nearly 11 and will be starting High School in September. Over the last 6 years we have become comfortable with our relationship with the Primary School and our Paganism.  I have been in to school to do assemblies and talk to classes over the years and have a clear understanding with the Head about our expectations and our children’s choices.

Starting new relationships with her new school means coming out again. Forms have been filled in addressing our faith and dietary needs, emails have been sent and responded to about the requirement for all the girls to have a bible (as well as a dictionary and atlas), as an academic text only it turns out.  However, all of this adds to the stresses of starting a new school.  My daughter is already marked out as ‘other’.  The Senior Staff I have spoken to have all been lovely, in fact I have already been arm twisted to come and talk to the 6th formers about Pagan ethics at a ‘working lunch’, but it still remains that these conversations have to be had.  As fabulous as the school is, as brilliant and social as my daughter is she still starts her school career on an uneven footing, as a member of a minority.

So for all of us in the same position; negotiating our way through educating our children in main stream schools from within a minority faith group, lets stick together.

Blog posts focusing on Gratitude and Thankfulness

Here are a few of my favourite Mummy Bloggers on Gratitude and Thankfulness

Moments a Day : Rosie & Blue  –   10 simple ways to teach gratitude

Dirt & Boogers : Why every Mom should keep a gratitude journal  –

Lemon Lime Adventures – Thanksgiving all year log

Why don’t you share your favourites with us too in the comments below.

Hugely (sex:)positive site for parents of girls

One of my favourite pages on Facebook as “A Mighty Girl”.  They post daily inspirational and educational posts and their website is full of helpful blogs and book recommendations.  They also talk about music, games and movie recommendations.

As part of my series of blog posts about Sex:Positive conversations with your children I wanted to recommend this site and these pages and books specifically. Continue reading

Imbolc – the light returns

lambs-2-1397998Greetings.  As you read this Christmas is over and the light has started to return.  The tree will have come down and decorations will have been packed away for another year.

Over in Ireland women will have been celebrating “Little Christmas.”  On January 6th the men will take over the housework and women will gather together in homes, pubs and hotels to relax and chat together, freed from their usual day-to-day tasks.  A colleague posted a wonderful description of her family’s celebrations on FaceBook last year and it sounded just like our Imbolc celebrations.

Her description was of women sat together drinking tea and eating cake, being served by  the younger girls, all eager to be with the older women as stories of younger days were told and family gossip passed around.  As the day wore on the teacups would be filled with something a little stronger and the stories would get more risqué.  This was an important part of my friend’s life, reinforcing family relationships and passing stories from one generation to the other.

The Norwich Chant Collective’s Imbolc gathering was to “Sing in the Spring.”  It was a women only affair and was full of song, laughter and feasting.  I was blessed to take my daughter to a small gathering of Chanters when she was around 7.  She put on her white dress, tucked a stuffed sheep under her arm and joined us in the ritual.    She sang her heart out, and learned much about the women of our circle.  She still talks about it.

­­“Oh Brid our heart, our brightest flame.  Give your blessings unto us.”

candles-1439891At Imbolc we honour Brid, Breedie, Brigit, St Brigit.  Many names for the Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing.  So, at this time of year let us celebrate her, and the energies of Spring by singing something, cleaning something and planting something.

Plant some something

This is a perfect time of year to get planting.  Whether you have a window box, an allotment or pots on the window sill; children of all ages (and even the grownups) will enjoy watching seeds growing.  The daily vigil, as you wait for those first shoots to poke through the earth; the tender care that you need to give young plants.

We are looking at what we want to plan at our allotment.  The children each have their own plots and can choose exactly what they want to grow.  Last year they grew flowers, spouts and our first harvest, radishes.  Who knows what exotic and tasty fruit and vegetables  they will want to grow this year.

On a magical level, this is a great time of year to plant the seeds for the coming year.  What do you need to do now to start the next steps of your projects and pathways?   Whether you are planning your allotment planting, world domination, your next karate grading or the perfect tree house; each project needs careful consideration and  planning.  Early Spring is the best time to start new projects and endeavours.

Clean something

Spring cleaning is another tradition that continues to be enacted in households all over.  As light levels increase and temperatures rise we instinctively open up our homes to allow the fresh air in and the oldness out.   On a mundane and magical level, spring cleaning is a great thing to include the whole family in.  Practically, it’s a great time to clean out old toys or clothes that are too small.  Time to freshen up bedrooms or rediscover old toys buried in cupboards.

Magically the banging of drums, ringing of bells, sprinkling of saltwater, wafting of incense and sweeping with a beesom are all excellent ways for children to get involved in family rituals. From the smallest to the biggest the whole family can take part in a big spring clean ritual.  It is a great anchor point in the year

Blogs talking about bodies and consent

I realised as I was researching and writing the article for Beltane 16 Pagan Dawn that how we talk to our children about bodies and sex and how we SHOW our children what we think about bodies and sex is a HUGE topic.  Far more than one page in a magazine.

To start with I would like to share with you some of the blog posts and web sites that have helped me to think about my parenting and to shape the way I respond to my children.   Continue reading

Talking about our bodies

The overt sexual energy of Beltane makes this an unlikely family festival.  However, we need to be able to talk about sex in an open, positive and appropriate way with our children, whatever their age.

lover-father-1310288“Sex positive” is a term that I am seeing more and more in my research and social media interactions.  It is a campaign by Brook, the topic of blogs and the underpinning philosophy of an empowering way of talking about sex and bodies with children of all ages.  Sex Positive is a response to the judgemental, body shaming and limited information often available to young people.  It is founded in respect, consent and happiness. Continue reading