Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year, Solstice, and I'm back

I had planned to share about our Solstice celebration a long time ago but after I rested up from not sleeping well the longest night of the year and helping the kids put together things they got for Solstice I got a kick me in the pants cold. All I wanted to do was snuggle on the couch, rest and watch movies. So that's what I did. Then after I got a bit better we were on our way to celebrate Christmas in Columbia with Stephen's family. Then I got distracted with my new toys from the holidays: decorative scissors, a wire art kit from Jade, and money for yarn! I have been crocheting lots now that I feel better...that could be a whole 'nother post:)

Our Solstice night was pleasant. The kids made s'mores by the fire while Stephen and I made dinner. We had a lovely meal of butternut squash soup(although not my favorite), cornbread and pizza for the kids to remind us of the sun. After dinner we played a few new games together: Whoonu and Farkel. Then we were all very tired so we made up a big pallet on the floor in our family room to snuggled in a wait for the suns return. Stephen told us a bedtime story about winter and the suns return. The story put me to sleep I was so tired. I didn't sleep well which was good because I had gifts to put under our Yule tree from the sun and to fill up our stockings.

Soon the kids were awake and ready to wake up the sun. Although before that the kids dug into their stockings.

Waking up sun! Wake Up! (I think it worked.)

Corbin got a Lego Dino Attack helicopter from one of his grand dads. While I helped Corbin build the helicopter Stephen go to work on breakfast brunch: Gingerbread Waffles with mulled maple syrup (real maple syrup) and whip cream with some sausages on the side. The sausage weren't the tasty which could have been because we substituted pork instead of using chicken. I think if we have this meal again I will buy premade sausages. The Gingerbread Waffles were fantastic. I wouldn't mind some right now. We made this hot cocoa a few nights before Solstice which is also divine. I plan to have some tonight while we finish the last of the gift giving season celebrating New Years Eve at my moms.


The Sun is Back



Tuesday, December 20, 2005

In Memorial

My Aunt Eleanor passed on recently. It was expected, she was getting old. Yet it's sad because she was the last to die of a large family of strong women. Sad because I never really got to know her very well or her sisters. Sad because now all the wisdom about their lives is gone. Many of my family were small time farmers and from them I could have learned how to garden and how to take care of chickens. Not that information is not available to me in other forms either from books or a friend. There is something magical to learn from your family. I see that now as an adult, it's unlikely I saw that as a child.

I have fond memories of a few of my Aunts or maybe it's fond memories of there homes. My aunt Eleanor always had cookie dough in her freezer ready to bake a few cookies at a time. Her house always smelled like freshly baked cookies. Another time I smelled a house like that was when I was across the Atlantic, I went to my Danish boyfriend's grandmothers house for a Christmas dinner.

Eleanor lived in the same house she grew up in. About 3 years ago it was sold to someone else. Yet another passing. I got to see it just before it went on the market. Stephen and I considered buying it because of the history and the connection to family. I wanted to keep it in the family but we didn't.

I enjoyed going to Aunt Do's lake house in the Ozarks to swim and raft. We would all play cards. Sometimes it was penny anti poker. I must come from a lost line of Amazons women. At the lake it was a house of women. I grew up in a house of women because my mom never remarried. Whenever we got together with the extended family it was almost always women. I never really noticed how much my life was lived among women.

As I sit here I am trying to recall their images, my Aunts, the women in my life. I remember smiles and laughter. I saw Eleanor and Do, for the last time, when Jade was 6 months old. I have pictures of her with Eleanor and Do at the house they grew up in. There I was with Jade, my mother and my two of my Aunts in the house they grew up, three generations of women.

Eleanor will be missed. They all will be missed.

A Decadent Chocolate Cake

I had to brag for a bit because I just made the most fantastic Chocolate Mousse Cake for Winter Solstice this year. Often I make cakes and they taste fine but don't look so good. This one not only tastes delicious it looks beautiful. I decorated the top of the cake with a red flower fairy and silk leaves around the edges to cover up the messy cardboard the cake is on.

A birds-eye view

We want to eat cake!

Getting ready to sing a song for the sun

Not bad...But not my favorite

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tie Dye in the Snow and more

We did Tie Dye for family gifts this year. I just couldn't wait to share them. So here they are. So if your family and you read my blog you get a sneak peek.

I'm really happy with the results. I want to do more. I had them hung up in the house last night too and it made the house seem so festive and swirly. I think I will make some tie dye blankets to have around the house to brighten things up on dreary days.

We have been busy preparing gifts. I am in the end of the year get prepare for more things coming into the house mode. So I am clearing out the old to get ready to receive the new. I have put lots of unfinished projects on freecycle and things we haven't used in years.

The kids opened a few of their Solstice gifts early. Corbin has been busy playing Shadow the Hedge Hog on the gamecube and Jade and I enjoy playing Battleship.

I have sent out my holiday cards. Now that the shirts are done I need to get them all packaged up and ready to mail.

I have been having fun creating and doing this this year for the holidays. I have fun every year yet I do get a bit stressed out if things are running late like this year. There is something about the holidays and all the things we are doing for it that gets my creative juices going and I want to learn how to do things.

I had so much fun making my holiday cards. I want make more cards like that with all the seasons in mind. I am also wanting explore more art with collage doing Art Trading Cards and bigger projects. All the snow flakes and Santa boots I have been doing has inspired looking into origami. I want to share with the kids how to use a compass to make designs.

I have this idea working to make some kind of Soltice banner to hang up in the house to honor the sun, the night and trees. I'll probably sew it and maybe dye lots of the fabric myself.

I have a crochet blanket I want to finish too. So much to do and learn...So little time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

What does Monopoly have to do with History, Math, and more...

I am often surprised but maybe I shouldn't be anymore after unschooling for almost ten years. Or maybe my surprise is just delight on how we touch upon so much from unexpected places.

I was reading the 2nd book in the Outlander series when the heroine said "Go to hell, do not pass Go, do not collect 200$ ...." The heroine at the time was in the mid 1700's in Scotland. She wasn't from that century she time traveled (quite by accident) from the mid 1900's just after WWII.

Anyway, I was curious was Monopoly that old? So looked it up and it was created in 1935. Since Monopoly is a favorite new game I shared with the kids what I was learning about the game. The history touched about WWII and the depression. Then we started surfing the Monopoly game site and found a place so you can print of your own Monopoly Money.

When Corbin found out about the money he wanted some $500 bills especially. So the money lead to counting large numbers. If you click around the site you can find out strategies to play the game and some other fun facts.

Not only that, our holiday decorating touches upon geometry and holiday stories with reading. This year Jade has gotten over a reading struggle and is mastering picture books with some ease. The origami and snowflakes is showing patterns with folding and the cutting to get the shape you want. (If you click on my categories to the right you can find some links to make snow flakes and both five pointed and 6 pointed stars.) While baking cookies Jade thought it would be fun to read the Gingerbread Man and make some Gingerbread cookies to go with it.

Homeschooling can just be all about the food and we did bake cookies today which lead to science and food coloring, baking, and reading the labels on the decorating sugars.

Have a yummy virtual holiday cookie

Now Corbin needs help writing a letter because he found some envelopes. Learnin' we can't escape it in this family not even during the holidays.

If you need something seriously silly to do here but don't hit Santa.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

More Sledding

Sledding Again

We just can't seem to get enough of the sledding. I'm glad we got a chance to sled as a family. Stephen was able to get some pictures of me sledding too.

Mom and Dad cruise down the slopes

The kids still have fun sledding.

Today the snow is melting. No more sledding until the next snow.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Dashing through the snow

We had a great time sledding yesterday. The snow hasn't melted so the kids want to go again today. So that's the plan so far. Corbin is already up with is snow books on. I've got my coffee made and shoveled the front porch. I also retrieved all the snow gear left in the car. It will need a toss in the dryer before we leave or the kids will be wearing frozen stiff gloves and hats.

Jade heads down the hill. She crashes, she burns.

This is fun. Let's do it again!

I went out just in case anyone came to our homeschool groups MNO but the weather held many back so I was alone. My consolation was quiet time, reading, a cappuccino and some cheesecake. Even better when I got home Jade had baked a heart shaped chocolate cake for me. It was an I Love You Cake. Just before bed we were talking she said that Dec. 8th is a special I love you mommy day. She even sang me an I love you song just before we cut the cake. That sure lifted my spirits. Although we had a good day overall. I was on occasion a bit snippy with the kids with the stress of shoe shopping and sledding. Hopefully things will go more smoothly today. Maybe I will get another cake too:)

Thursday, December 8, 2005

More Sledding

Going down is such a blast.

If you want to go down, you have to go up too.

We stayed for about 2 hours. I sledded as much as the kids. I was feeling a bit weary at the end. So were the kids. So maybe I'm not old after all, I was just tired. If there is snow tomorrow there are plans to go again and Dad's coming too. I'm so glad we homeschool. We have this opportunity to do what we want when the weather is perfect for sledding or making snowmen and creating our family holiday. We have are having fun making things celebrating now rather than waiting for a break. We are lucky, very lucky.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

A Winter Wonderland

Some paper crafts I did yesterday and the kids helped some. I have been having fun learning how to make more complicated snowflakes. I really like how the coffee filter snowflakes turned out. I plan on filling up the green fabric with more snowflakes. So we will have a winter wonderland inside our house and outside too. I'm also fascinated with the snowflake geometry. I think I'm having more fun than the kids.

I took these pictures this morning. My favorites are the plants that used to be cosmos flowers and the the snow hats on the pumpkin and the trash cans. Snow can even make trash cans look beautiful. I also like the patterns of the snow on the green hammock.

The kids had lots of fun playing in the snow. Corbin likes to go outside and roll in it so he is covered in snow. He also went a bit crazy yesterday and ran out to get the mail with no shoes. They do have snow boots but we did go out and get some new boots that fit better. I got some too. So we are going to go sledding and snow boarding.

Insomnia or why I am up at 1 am

I really don't think I am suffering from insomnia but I am still awake because finally the house is quiet.

Very, very, quiet.

It seems we have all been doing, doing, doing lately and talkative and playing and more doing and I just need QUIET (that's for emphasis I'm NOT yelling because QUIET remember, I NEED it.)

I think moms might ultimately suffer from insomnia or an inability to go to sleep at night or maybe wake up after their kids are asleep because they are trying to get the solitude they are craving. That's what I am craving and why I am still up at 1am. I want solitude. I want peace. I want a chance to think my own thoughts.

So I have done that. I've soaked in the quiet making some snowflakes, all by myself. I have thought my own thoughts, like how moms need solitude, peace, and quiet.

Now, I am tired.

I hope I won't regret this in the morning.


There is always coffee. Coffee is good. Coffee AND solitude even better. I better set my alarm.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

My computer has been hijacked

I haven't been able to post recently because my computer has been hijacked by the kids to watch dvds. Jade bought (with her own money !) a set of Astro Boy Anime. She was a bit disappointed to find out they were we not the 1960's Japanese black and white originals but they were the original 1980's versions done in color. We did learn that Astro Boy was the precursor to all Japanese animation and why most Japanime has the surprise eyed look. Jade hopes we will be able to get the 1960's originals eventually and do some comparisons. For now they are only available in Australia.

Later today we will be watching Star Wars because we are doing a Star Wars theme day. I came up with Star Wars day because I have been feeling a bit guilty not finding things to do with Corbin. Jade likes to take part in lots of what I like to do so we get connection time and talking time. Corbin likes more active and action figure type play that I just don't have the patience for but I can get into some imaginery play for a day.

We started the day coloring some Star Wars pictures and Corbin dressed up. We may get to making some TIE fighter ornaments. We are taking a break to play Monopoly. Too bad we don't have a Star Wars Version. (Just in case you were wondering...I won.)

We have been playing more games recently. I have been enjoying that especially when I am in a game playing mood. The kids most of the time enjoy playing for playing sake rather than for winning. And it's fun to see what they know from games like how they add and subtract large numbers.

We have also been busy doing things for the holidays too. I have finished my holiday cards. I need to get some mailed off soon. Jade and I made some snow flakes and some other paper ornaments. I made some paper cranes and some Santa Boots from Paper Gifts And Jewelry (The Paper Magic Series) by Florence Tomenko. I just found some more snowflakes ideas and some you can make with coffee filters.

Now on to Star Wars and doing our best to stay warm in bitter cold Kansas.