It is a cold, snowy Maine (holi)day. It is fun to be home as a family. All of us. Today I decided to make the day about warmth. Our downstairs temp is hard to regulate, so cooking and baking and other warm activities are on the list.
I think a lot about being warm. I took for granted the even 72 degree thermostat in our St Augustine house.
We prepared a lot for single digit temperatures. We get enough wood for our stove, make sure our pipes are insulated and we are dressed in enough layers to get us through the day.
Physical warmth is especially important for young children because they are using such a tremendous amount of energy for growth. If they have to use the energy to stay warm, they are taking away from their essential growth processes.
Creating warmth is something I think about in the social/emotional sense as well. An atmosphere of warmth is love, is generosity, and it is what is required to do transformative work.
There are a lot of ways to foster an emotional sense of warmth. This is when we connect as a family and when we are nurturing our relationships.
The moments I find the “warmest” are when we are sharing creative moments— art, baking, crafts, or storytelling. Sharing is another time we are promoting that warmth. When we are doing things together, communicating about our day, about our feelings and truly listening. It is easy to get stuck in the auto-pilot mode and coexist but not necessarily share ourselves. And finally, when we are being grateful or being generous with our time I see the warmth being nurtured. This is when we are out shoveling snow together or doing work that is necessary, all of us together.
Today, candle making was on our creativity list and a great way to physically and emotionally create warmth. Even Keenan enjoyed this project. Ezra had fun because he made the candles for his 5th birthday cake!
It is a simple project, it just requires some patience and some mess-prevention.
- beeswax pellets (about 1 lb. was enough for 12 candles and we could have easily made more)
- candle sustainer tabs
- measuring tape
- tall, narrow glass or metal container that is dedicated to wax
- knife or spatula dedicated to wax
- pan to be used as a double boiler
- newspapers or table cloth to protect work surface
- essential oils for scenting the wax
- Prepare your supplies. Cut cardboard into 2″ squares and cut small slits in each side. Measure 15 inches of wick and then thread through the cardboard. Tie the metal candle sustainer tabs on the ends both ends of the wick. This will help weigh the wicks down when dipping into wax.
- Melt the wax. I fill a pot 3/4 full and use as a double boiler. I use a glass bowl only for our wax projects. When wax melts, pour into a tall, narrow glass for dipping. Add 5-10 drops of essential oil if desired for extra aroma.
- Dip the candles. Hold the cardboard square and dip the wicks into the wax as far as possible. Pull it out, allow it to drip a few seconds and then move on to the next set of wicks. I had my 2 year old, 4 year old, husband, teenager and myself alternate between our wick pairs. When the candles are heavy enough do dip without the sustainer tabs, cut them off and continue dipping in rotation until the candle is your desired thickness. We made a few thick ones, and a few birthday cake candle size.
- After the candles are hard enough to handle but still soft, trim off the ends to flatten the bottom of the candle.
- Allow the candles to hang to dry (we used our laundry drying rack) for a few hours to completely harden.
- Clean up. I allow the wax to harden and peel off the paper we lined our table with and just add back to the wax bowl to use another time.
This project was fine to do supervised with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. We were just very careful and guided them when the wax was initially very hot. I would think a 7 or 8 year old could do this with a less supervised approach.