's 2011 Highlight Reel


“Is Christmas really over, mommy?” asked my 5-year-old earlier this week.   We looked at the vacant space the Christmas tree left behind, and sat in silence pondering his question.  For me, both the emptiness and the pause were a symbol of the grand adventures of 2011 now wrapped up, completed, and tucked away…now mere memories.  As 2011 draws to a close, I invite you to pause while reflecting on a eleven choice moments captured on Sono-Ma.

1.  Studio Soirees Celebrate Crafting and Community

“Have you ever thought about bringing all the artists you write about together?” asked Leslie Fiorella, textile artist, in early 2010.  ”I adore the feeling of community I glean from the stories of other people like me carving out time for their craft.  But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could meet each other?  Share our inspirations and struggles live?  We could be like the Impressionist Artists who would gather to redefine their arts and propel each other forward…”

Why hand’t I thought of that?  The idea of hosting “Soirees” was born, and a few months later we had our first gathering of local artists at the Cast Away Yarn Shop.   There we decided it would be wonderful to gather in local artists’ studios where we could see a crafts persons tools, workspace, current works in progress, and full collections.    Not long later we gathered at Monica Ashley’s adorable studio.

In 2011, the soirees continued with three more fantastic gatherings featuring Paul Kaiser’s Night Heron Wood Works, Marc Feyh’s Fairy Museum, Isla Corbett’s Modern Felt Designs, and Sharon Eisley Fine Artist as well as 150 enthusiastic guests. We wore costumes (shown above), tasted chocolates, enjoyed conversations, and more during our free, inspiring, evenings.

2.  Support Tent Becomes a Family Oasis at Local Festivals

Sono-Ma and community partners created a family oasis at 6 local festivals. More than 6,000 people found comfort, nursing support, and information at our shady pavilion.  Taking inspiration from the Mom’s Breastaruant movement, our local Support Tent provided families with a space to nurture healthy families.  From space to nurse, a diaper changing station, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, water, samples of locally made products, and stellar local resource information – it’s no wonder families left last year’s tent expressing heart felt thanks!

3.  Farmageddon Raises Questions About Small Farming Practices and Access to Raw Products

Many Sono-Ma community members gathered at the Arlen Francis theater to watch the Farmegeddon movie and discuss issues facing local farmers.  Sono-Ma’s Farmer Paul joined in the discussion to talk about new Community Supported Agriculture regulations and wage issues for farm hands.  We raised a toast to “civil disobedience” and drank tiny cups of cold, raw goat’s milk in support of a local farming family who is refusing to adhere to an order to stop selling raw goat’s milk shares.  (Those of us who are raw food lovers and Nourishing Traditions followers truly appreciated this event!)

4.  Japan’s Radiation Crisis Raises Questions for California Parents

Readers raced to review Doctor Sloan’s advice (with more than 1,000 link shares in just 2 days) on protecting our children from radiation.   The crisis in Japan shocked and saddened the world.  It also left parents reeling with questions.  Dr. Sloan posted the top questions arising in his pediatric clinic and offered reassuring advice to families.  He also offered reports from the Home Birth Summit, and kept families focused on health with stories like More From the Obesity Front.

5.  ”Babies Need Hats” Has Thousands of Parents Bundling up Babes

Donna Stusser, Early Childhood Waldorf Teacher, shared her “Babies Need Hats” article on Sono-Ma drawing more than 1200 readers from around the globe.  Those of us who’ve taken Donna’s classes or read her article are now bundling our children daily.  My boy has on woolen under clothes and a hat wherever we go!

6.  Real Play Story Becomes Holiday Shopping Guide

Last year’s Sono-Ma’s story: “Pass me the hammer, Daddy” – Family Harmony Found in Work and “Real” Play inspired many to check out the Real Play Work Bench Shopping List.  Hundreds of parents passed the link for the article detailing how to  support your child’s “real” play this 2011 holiday season.  Sono-Ma’s work bench diagram and tool list helps you prepare your own play/ work space for your child.

7.  Waldorf-inspired Living Stories Gather Interest

Our family’s walk along the Waldorf path inspires many Sono-Ma stories.  From “Discovering ‘What is a Nature Table’ on Summer Solstice with Monica Ashley Designs” to “Bringing Advent Home with Local Waldorf Families“, Sono-Ma shares photos, songs, fairy tales, and other resources to help local families bring Waldorf education into the family rhythm.

 8.  Sono-Ma Celebrations Offer How-to Create Wholesome and Homespun Celebrations

Local parents shared creative ideas for family celebrations via Sono-Ma’s new Celebrations series.  ”Garden Party” took the cake for good outdoor kid fun, while the “Fairy Tea Party” offered fly away ideas for activities and crafts.  Our “High Tea Celebration” offered novel ideas for celebrating mother’s-to-be.    This stories are examples of just the kind of idea sharing we’ve always wanted to facilitate on Sono-Ma!

9.  Preparing for Your Girl’s First Period & Other Women’s Empowerment Stories

DeAnna L’am kept up her noble efforts to empower women’s pride for their bodies.  She challenged us to “Stop the Rain” and pass on new legacies to our children.  Many passed on the link for her article encouraging families to prepare for their daughter’s first period.

10.  Farmer Paul Got Families Out on the Farm

Farmer Paul Kaiser brings his hard won food raising insights to Sono-Ma with monthly stories.  These vignettes paint a vivid picture of the seasons as Paul shares his tales of farm work and celebration.  His photos of apple pressing with his son or harvesting brocoli with his daughter inspire appreciation for Sonoma County’s agriculture as well as a deep grattitude for our abundant and diverse food crops.

11.  My Pantry Shelf Brings Families to the Kitchen

Karen Wilkinson of My Pantry Shelf frequently posted family recipes and treats to tempt Sono-Ma readers.  Encouraging families to come together in the kitchen, Karen offered ideas for snacks, dinners, and holiday gifts that found their way into many Sonoma County homes.   Popular stories included the cranberry cashew granola bars.


Today’s images and story clips are just a few of the many rich moments we were able to document on Sono-Ma in 2011.   There were others that our family – and yours – held and privately savored.  Last night we closed the year with a final community celebration.  We gathered around a bonfire and sang in celebration of all that’s come to pass.  Embers floated up in the clear night sky as we lifted our voices, and held our hands open to receive 2012.

We look forward to sharing all that is coming!



Cloverleaf Ranch Summer Camps

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