Casa, DIY, Family life, Nature, Practical Life, Preschool

DIY: wax-dipped autumn leaves

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Have I mentioned how much I love autumn? Even with the high spirits of Halloween behind us and the disturbingly eager holiday retail machine kicking into gear, I’m determined to stay present with the season as long as possible. Particularly since otherwise, November can seem like one long grey wait for better days.

23158082_10102016913446891_704227450_oAs the night time wild winds blow, the kids and I seem to collect beautiful and colourful leaves spotted on our travels each morning, adding to our collection daily. Some get put on the nature tray by the back door, some founder on the floor of the back seat, some crumble out of pockets in the laundry.

But a chosen few are dipped into sweet-smelling wax, saved, and hung up to bring the glory of the outdoors into our home. Because it involves using some caution around warm beeswax, this is a great activity for ages three and up, depending on the child. (If your kids are anything like mine, that added element of manageable risk makes leaf-dipping extra appealing!)

It’s simple really.

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What you need:Β 

A bunch of beautiful leaves

Beeswax, grated

A double-boiler or some other method for heating the wax

A length of string or yarn

A hole punch (optional)

How to do it:Β 

  1. Gather up your leaves and grate up your beeswax into the top of your double-boiler. Start water boiling on the stove. Note: I have a metal bowl and grater that are used exclusively for beeswax, because it can be tricky to clean up once it hardens, and you don’t want any melted wax going down the kitchen drain.
  2. Lay out some paper to catch any wax drips and some parchment for your wax-wet leaves to dry on.
  3. Heat the beeswax on top of boiling water until just melted. Once it’s melted, you can either bring the bowl of wax over to your leaves, or bring your leaves right to the stove — whichever is safer.
  4. Hold each leaf by the stem, and dip it into the melted wax, being sure to cover the whole surface of the leaf, front and back, with a thin layer of wax. Set it onto the parchment to cool.
  5. When your leaf is cool and dry to the touch, and flexes without cracking the wax, it’s ready to prep for hanging up. Have your little one punch a hole in each leaf, and thread through with a string.
  6. Hang up your sweet nature bunting, and take in the autumn splendour!
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Family life, Nature

Getting back to nature

Imageβ€œTime in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”
β€” Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

It’s the eve of the first day of May (Uno de Mayo?) and here in our neck of the woods, it feels like the weather’s about a month behind schedule: wind, torrential rain and chilly temperatures.

Despite all that, our family is taking on a challenge. The 30×30 Nature Challenge to be specific!

30 minutes in nature for 30 days in a row, throughout the month of May. We’re joining thousands of other Canadians in committing to getting outside. Research (and our own experience) tells us that doing so will make us happier, healthier and less stressed.

For some time now, I’ve set an intention to get outside with Jasper everyday, no matter the weather. And usually, we do. But it’s amazing how often that precious little time gets squeezed out of our day β€” over-scheduling, weather-shy parents (Jasper is an all-weather backyard enthusiast). It’s truly amazing to me how often we spend more time in the car than we do with grass beneath our feet. For us, the 30×30 challenge is a chance to reset and realign ourselves with the natural world.

I highly recommend jumping over to the Suzuki Foundation website to learn more about the challenge and the benefits of spending time in nature. Consider joining us (and many others) on this journey to connect with the world outside these four walls.

And pray for sun.

The photo above is from May 1, 2013, when the little guy was but a wee mite and the sun shone and the flowers bloomed.

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