Christmas in our Homeschool 2015

Just when the kids in traditional school are getting all excited about having a break from classes and lessons, here I am in our homeschool getting all excited about the extra fun learning activities we can do this time of year! Our Classical Conversations group has the rest of the year off and will start back up in January, so we have one more day at home for the next few weeks. That always makes this introverted, homebody of a mom happy! It means we can relax a little on our memory work, reviewing a little here and there while we take a break from learning new material. It also means we have more time for our other lessons and activities.

I recently joined a new facebook group that stemmed out of the Periscope videos by Julie Bogart of BraveWriter.com. It is primarily a group of homeschool moms seeking to support one another and share encouragement and resources. One of the other members challenged some of us to do daily Scopes on different topics throughout the past week. (If you do not know what Periscope is, essentially, it is live video with chat. I don’t want to go too far off topic, so I won’t go into it any more than that today.) I really wanted to scope Friday because she asked what we were doing in our homeschool for December. My day just was not condusive to that, however, so I decided to blog about it instead!

Here is my short list:
Jesse Tree devotions and decorations
Making GF cut out cookies/gingerbread cookies
Reading Christmas poems/stories
Watching the Nutcracker Ballet

As I posted earlier in the month, we are doing a Jesse Tree for Advent. This replaces our Bible lessons this month, and it is the first thing we do each day for school. Here is a poorly lit photo of the decorations we have up on our mini-tree so far!

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I think next week Little J and I will be making some Gluten-free cut-out cookies, probably gingerbread because those are just tastier than plain old sugar cookies. I have used this recipe from Gluten Free On a Shoestring before and liked the end result. I think J will enjoy decorating some Gingerbread men of his own, and maybe while they are baking we will read a version of the story of the Gingerbread Man. (That is about as unit-study-ish as we get around here, folks!) Since it is just our little family here for the holidays, I do not go all out on baking treats. We really do not need all that sugar anyway.

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On days when we do not feel much like doing book work, I plan to read some Christmas poetry and other holiday stories and such that I found in some children’s literature anthologies we have on our bookshelves. Just the other day we read an interesting story called “Christmas in the Piney Woods” by Charlie May Simon. It is set in the Arkansas woods and features a little girl who wishes for a baby doll for Christmas and gets a different surprise instead! I am wondering if it is an excerpt from a larger volume, but I have not taken the time to research that. We found the story in our set of Childcraft books (circa 1961) that my grandmother passed on to me. IMG_2519

Today I have been feeling poorly (just a chest cold combined with lack of sleep!), so Little J and I sat down and watched the Nutcracker Ballet together. I have only watched two variations in their entirity online, but my favorite is this one starring Mikhail Barishnakov and Gelsey Kirkland. It is just such a classic, and the dancing can’t be beat, even though it is missing a few of the dances! But this time I decided to share the New York Ballet’s version with him, since it has children dancing and a bit more narration. He seemed to enjoy it and was following along in the book we have that also tells the story of the ballet. Now he is coloring a nutcracker paper doll/puppet that I found as a free printable here, and when it is finished we will assemble it.

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So, there you have it–our homeschool plans for this December! I would love for you to leave a comment telling me one special activity you and your family will be doing this Christmas season!

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Another year comes to an end

 

Seems like I’m still getting used to 2012, and now it is just hours from being 2013! Oh well…it has been a year of many ups and downs for me, and I am looking forward to more ups than downs in the coming year!

We had a good Christmas holiday visiting family. Little J was especially thrilled with all the lights and decorations. We had to take down our tree a bit early so that the cats would not destroy it while we were away for Christmas, and he still talks about it every day. I think he misses it! We had a big snowstorm here Christmas night, and our house got about 14 inches! That is a lot for Southern Illinois! A couple of days later we got 6-8 more inches, so we had quite the winter wonderland outside then! Just beautiful…

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Little J doesn’t really like the snow so much, though. I think it we hadn’t had quite so much he might have enjoyed playing in it, but since he is so short he can’t walk in it. And his mittens kept falling off so his hands got cold and wet very quickly. So we decided to just come in and enjoy looking at the snow from the comfort of the indoors.

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I didn’t spend much time crocheting while we were away, but I did manage to get this darling little set made and listed just a few days ago. It sold so quickly that I didn’t even have time to blog about it! I decided to go ahead and relist it as a made to order item, and I hope to get more orders for these little sets this year! It seems that my boys crochet hats and sets have been quite popular, so I will be focussing on expanding that section of my shop more in 2013.

Baby Newsboy Cap and Bow Tie 

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Well, I wish I had more time and brain power to write, but Little J is calling to my from the other room. I think he wants me to play peek a boo with him while he pops in and out of a big box. :p It’s the little things that make a toddler’s day!

Happy New Year to you all!

Colds, Christmas, Cats and Crochet

Well, I’ve contracted my first virus of the season. Not really something to celebrate, especially since it has attacked my throat with a vengeance. The timing is pretty horrible because I not only have to get my preschool choir ready for their special this Sunday, but I’m also supposed to sing for a local women’s group on Thursday. I have a feeling that my voice will not be strong enough by then, but I’m praying that I’m wrong about that. I’m doing my best to get well, but these things have to run their course, no matter what.
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On a happier note, the Christmas decorations are up and have not been totally destroyed by the kittens, yet. DH and I did resort to putting the Christmas tree in our bedroom, however, because they could not leave it alone. I came out into the living room one morning and found part of a Christmas light, the rest of which apparently was eaten. I didn’t even attempt putting decorations on the tree until we had it behind closed doors because it was obviously my three little dare-devils were not able to resist the temptation! Hopefully next year everyone will be mature enough to enjoy the tree from a distance…. I did enjoy getting to set up all of my nutcracker collection for the first time ever, and the kitties have been pretty good about leaving them alone. The only other thing they’ve bothered is my little mini-Christmas tree display atop the piano. I think they have a fascination with the trees because they feel somewhat like grass…which is fun to chew! Here’s hoping that the poor little tree survive until next year!
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Speaking of cats, I caught Molly in this funny pose last week sometime. I heard an odd noise coming from the cats’ room and found Molly trying to get under this upside down basket. Now, we’ve teased the kitties by putting the basket on top of them before, but I’d never seen one of them actually trying to get underneath it on purpose. Too cute.

In relation to crochet/crafts, I’m happy to report that I made some unexpected sales this week! The ladies of the church held a wonderful Christmas brunch and silent auction to raise funds for a local homeless shelter, and they invited crafters and collectors to come show their “wares” as a part of the festivities. As a result, I had a couple of people request custom orders and a few more people who asked me to bring back some of the things I had on display so they could purchase them! I was thrilled! I think this area will be much more craft-friendly than where we lived in Texas, and I’m hoping that will help me begin to turn a profit someday soon!

Well, I’d better be off now. I have more work to do on my Christmas gifts, and since I’m sick, now is the perfect time to do it!

The holiday season is here! Yippee!

Well I have been very busy away from the house lately…errands, church activities, and the like…so my poor little blog has been sorely neglected. I thought I’d better at least try to get one post done before Thanksgiving, even though I don’t have a lot of things to share right now…Just kitty pics and a couple little felt projects.

My babies are now 7 months old, and calming down accordingly. They are also getting lots bigger! I had put their collars away for a couple of weeks, and when I went to put them back on yesterday, I had to drastically loosen them to fit properly! They cold weather is also encouraging lots of snuggling these days, and I got some cute shots of them snoozing on our bed yesterday. The lighting in the master bedroom is pretty horrible for taking photographs, and I’m not in the mood to retouch this one right now, but you get the picture. They are just like one big kitty-blob!

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One of the projects I’ve been working on, aside from Christmas gifts, are these little felt heart Christmas ornaments. Our church is having a bazaar and silent auction to raise money for a local homeless ministry, so I made these little ornaments to help out. I actually made four total, but I forgot to take pics of the last two before taking them to church.

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Stitching on all those little seed bead was not as much fun as you may think, but I guess it was worth the result. I also made one with a seed bead snowflake, which was very cute…too bad I didn’t take a picture!

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Part of me would like to make some more of these for my etsy shop, but it seems like there are already alot of people selling similar things there. What do you think? I am somewhat at a loss about what to sell these days. I have sold a couple sets of personalized cat toys, so I’m thinking about making more pet-related items…it’s just hard to know what to do, especially with all the worries people have about the economy these days. It’s not going to help me one single bit!

But we still have more to be thankful for than I could ever list out here. And I plan to fully enjoy this Thanksgiving with family, giving God the glory for all He’s done for us over the past year. What a year it has been! Thank you, Lord!

Christmas 2007

I have been too busy and/or distracted to blog this past week. I finished up school for a couple of weeks last Thursday, and I enjoyed having my parents in town for Christmas Eve. My dear hubby and I got to have a few days off together before he had to go back to work, and now I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of an empty house. Soon it will be time to take down all the decorations again, although it seems that I just put them up a short time ago! Christmas seemed to sneak up on us this year, and I’m really not ready for it to end!
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I know everyone has certain traditional foods they just have to make and eat at Christmastime, and I my family is no different. This year, in addition to the usual turkey dinner and other festive foods, I continued a long-time family tradition of baking Christmas cookies. My mother and I used to do a huge amount of baking together during the holidays, as she always passes out plates of goodies to her friends and neighbors each year. Since I have married and moved far away, I have not done so very much baking at Christmas, but I do still make a few little things. One of those old stand-by’s we call “Aunt Helen’s Christmas Cookies.” They are made using a family recipe that was passed down from my grandmother’s Hungarian aunt. Some people that taste them say these cookies are like the little moon-shaped sweets called Hungarian Wedding Cookies. The recipe may be similar, but these have always been a Christmas tradition in our family, rather than one for weddings! Mother always rolled them into little balls instead of a crescent shape. They are dipped thoroughly in cinnamon and powdered sugar as soon as they come out of the oven, giving them their sweetness and characteristic “snowy” appearance! Yummy!