I was going to write a post recapping Thanksgiving, but I have no photos to add. They all, rightly, have beautiful, joyful faces in them. Something unpredictable and intangible happens when there are so many pieces of our big family puzzle joined together.
Friendly reader Kathy inquired about the Advent teas that have kind of evolved over the last few years. It's down to a fairly good formula now but I still am having trouble gathering it all in one post. These aren't elaborate celebrations. We have a simple refreshment, perhaps a small activity, some liturgically appropriate music, we light the candle and pray together. Advent is a hectic time of year for everyone, but with our ballet obligations it's become increasingly difficult and increasingly important for us to carve out just a few moments of peace together. That being said, I will try to post about our plans the week prior on Wednesday. So here are our plans for week one:
Menu: Tea, shortbread, oranges. The first Sunday usually falls very near the feast of St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, hence the shortbread. I make a pretty darn good shortbread myself, but my son prefers the Walkers Christmas shaped shortbread. As it was one of the few cookies he could eat for the first 5 years of his life, we defer to him. He looks forward to these all year.
Activity: Pomanders which simply require cloves and oranges (and maybe a thimble). These adorn our Advent wreath.
Little Treat: To emphasize the concept of watchful waiting, I package a single paper white bulb for each of my children to watch grow through Advent. I also try to have the last batch of bulbs in the fridge by the first Sunday of Advent to plant on Epiphany and enjoy in February.
I recently read a cookbook that claimed that there are only three fruits native to North America; the cranberry, blueberry and Concord grape. I thought about that and it sounded inaccurate from both a culinary and a botanical perspective. Google revealed that there's a fair bit of confusion over that claim - for starters, what about native varieties of strawberries and raspberries? I've yet to determine on what basis the author made that claim and I hope to do a little more reading on the subject which I now find fascinating.
In any case, I decided to do a New World Food project over the last week or so. I thought it would make a fun kindergarten project for my son and a good American history project for my daughter. We made blueberry smoothies, Concord grape jello shapes (no one ate these, but they were awfully fun to play with), cranberry scones, pumpkin bread and cornbread. I'd like for them to put together a New World foods notebook but that would necessitate a trip to the store and me actually remembering to buy a printer cartridge. Poor execution of an awesome homeschooling idea - very typical for me, but November isn't over yet. It's been fun and yummy just the same.
The new world foods in our own garden are fading and the season looks to be over this week. I'll pick the last of the still green tomatoes and wonder what to do with them (I don't fry). The leaves on the blueberries are turning a gorgeous rusty plum color. The peppers are still producing but won't make it through the freeze. I had hoped for a bigger second harvest, but the window of moderate temperatures conducive to both setting and ripening my tomatoes was too short this year.
New flannel pajama pants (Simplicity 8488 & 'Be Merry' from last year). These hardly took any time at all. I should make more.
Knitting a gift in baby boy blue.
Flipping through favorite cookbooks over cornbread and vegetarian chili.
(Note pictured) Falling asleep on the couch with my arms wrapped around my son. I got up for a cup of coffee and a check of the email but I fully intend to resume doing nothing very, very soon. Hope your Sunday is as pleasant ~
So many of you asked to see the finished vest and here it is! I am so pleased with the finished garment. The Beaverslide was a relatively good deal, knit up quickly, and frogged beautifully! It's a soft, but very woolly wool. The color work chart is my own and the pattern is a hybrid of several (hence all the frogging). My little boy, who treasures his hand knits, is thrilled.
Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same.
The yarn I ordered came on Friday and I got right to work on my son's vest. It's Beaverslide in 'Lichen Frost' (yes please) with a stranded pattern in 'Jersey Cream'. The colorwork pattern had to be done over 63 stitches decreasing to 42 and include both trees and snowflakes, by request. Thus, I spent all day Sunday with my Fair Isle Book and graph paper, eyebrows furrowed singing 'Little Boxes' - note that singing Little Boxes does nothing to alleviate the boredom and frustration of counting to twelve over and over again. Because sometimes 12 was really 13 or 11.
This photo was taken yesterday in the car. I knit and my son flipped through his bird song book. This is one of his most treasured possessions and he spends hours studying each bird and bird call. And oh! I saw it at Border's on sale for about $7.00. It makes an excellent gift (thanks Aunt Kathy!).
My daughter most recently enjoyed Peter the Great by Diane Stanley. The illustrations are gorgeous and I loved introducing my daughter to a bit of Russian history. I rambled on for a good long time after we closed the book. I'm eager to explore the other books written by Diane Stanley.
OK, that's all for this morning because I'm shaping the neck right now and am so eager to get this vest done and try it on my little man who loves to look "astinguished" for Mass. It's been such fun to see what's on everyone's needles and night stands with Ginny's weekly Yarn Alongs!
I saw a link on Facebook mentioning a study of something called Forest Therapy. I think Amy linked to it (Amy always shares awesome links on FB). The idea of this is both something I would instantly dismiss as very new agey and also something I have seen to be true on countless occasions.
We live in a very suburban area. There aren't many "forests" here, but we do search out little pockets of wooded areas. And instantly, as soon as we get out of the car, my children cheer up and I relax. They run through the trees and I breath in the smell of damp earth.
We can only fit in a few minutes of this lately, but it works just the same. It is the best part of our days.
I always wondered if I loved camping just because it was vacation and all vacations are inherently good. But I've been on many other vacations and there's not one that compares to the joy and harmony my family feels while in the woods. This makes me so happy that we've found a place where we are all at peace... and so sad that we aren't there right now.
* I just need to point out that the reflection in that last photo isn't of my legs. It's a tree. I don't have weirdly asymmetrical legs. That is all.
** Except that now that I mentioned it, you are all picturing those as my legs and laughing, aren't you? I should have just let it go.
I've made our lesson plans through the end of the year. I'm pleased with my daughter's progress this fall. I'm pleased with my son's progress. I'm not so pleased with my approach to kindergarten this go 'round.
I thought buying the Memoria Press Kindergarten package would allow me to be more creative. Instead it made me a bit lazy. We would do the minimal work they required and ... that's all. Obviously, we still read and played games together but it wasn't the introduction to school I wanted for him. As the weeks went on, I found myself abandoning the lesson plan (except for the copywork and Bible stories) and going back to what worked for my daughter. Faith and Freedom Readers instead of phonics practice. I think they both have their place, but rudimentary phonics drills are less crucial to a child in a home setting who can already read a bit. The math is helpful in that he can write his number now. That's some progress. I hope to combine his handwriting skills with his existing ability to compute in his head to give him a solid foundation for next year.
I still don't regret my purchase. The art and music selections would not have been done without the lesson plan. Memory work is now a routine part of our day. Some of the enrichment activities are nice as well. If nothing else, this gave me the confidence that I've been doing well enough charting our own path. It also gives my unschooling friends the opportunity to say, "I told you so!" about all the workbooks and that's a nice thing to do for people.
I was scanning through photos to delete this morning and my son stopped me on this one, "It looks like a bird!" I didn't see what he saw at first. My daughter did and showed it to me. Needless to say, this washed out, out-of-focus photo didn't go in the trash bin.
* I usually rave about MP products and feel badly that it didn't suit our needs as well as everything else I've ever ordered from them, but I try to be as honest as I can here.
I find this book so charming but this page was really starting to bug me. Our schedule has grown so busy that it is more common to see frozen waffles on the breakfast table than something that pulls everyone from bed in a fog. I made a plan for good breakfasts this week and it all actually worked out beautifully.
Monday: French Toast made with brioche, apples slices and mulled cider.
as cozy as spring is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com