As we head into The Last Week Before Christmas, I decided the entire week (well, OK, at least most of the week) will be devoted to homemade gift making.
The owner is now in a town that's 30 minutes away and we thought about scheduling a day of clay spinning (he still offers occasional classes) so we could make more pottery gifts, but the month got away from us. That's a project that needs to be started months ahead so there's plenty of time for the baking and firing.
Sigh...we sure miss our pottery neighbor.
So I had this crazy idea to make paper mache bowls instead. And we may still get to that project, but I'm not sure it will be in time for Christmas. Instead, this last week will involve some shrinking, some baking, and alot of knitting! Here's some of what the elves are working on this week:
tutorial with printer friendly recipe. The recipe I've used for years and years goes something like this:
3/4 cup cinnamon, 1 cup applesauce, 1 T ground nutmeg, 1 T allspice, 1 T ground cloves. Mix and form dough. Dust work area with cinnamon. Roll to 1/4 thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Let them dry in the sun on wax paper or cookie sheets (don't forget to poke a hole with a straw before they dry). Takes about 2 days to dry fully (if you're in a hurry you can bake them for several hours at 250 degrees). Turn to prevent curling. We sometimes put a little glue on them and dust them with glitter and add buttons after they're dry.
Peppermint Bark - to put in decorated jars. Found this picture over at One Crafty Mumma (my new favorite craft blog) and was inspired...and drooling. I can't wait to try it out! The recipe can be found here.
And of course, Shrinky Dinks. We make zipper pulls, necklaces, ornaments, gift tags, etc out of these. The kids never get bored watching them shrink up. Last year we had a tabletop shrinky dink tree. Very cute. More ideas here.
Now get to work little elves!
I should also add we grew these in pots, rather than in the garden. I had bought some yams/sweet potatoes from the store and a good friend suggested I plant one of the eyes (the little knobby parts of the potato) and watch it grow into a beautiful vine. So I did just that. I stuck one of the ends into one of my potted plants and
More on that later...
And BTW, The Vegan Table (towards the top of the stack) is awesome! I'm returning it because I have to (sob) but it's now on my Amazon Wish List. I've poured thru a mess of veggie cookbooks this past year...some I loved and some not so much...this one is definitely a keeper.
So, off to the library we go...icebergs, the Old Testament, and a few books to read at Christmas (Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin', A Christmas Carol, and Christmas in Camelot) await us.
Labels: what we're reading now
For our first art lesson we worked on blending primary colors. I must admit, I actually kinda enjoyed this one myself. The girls want formal art instructions and since art classes are expensive, and their Pappa is an artist by trade, I thought maybe I'd get them to a point where he could take over. So, we're working on blending colors, creating backgrounds, and drawing from still life. But first, we blend.
But did you know the same will happen with leeks?
I bought some leeks the other day and after using up what I needed I decided to throw the bottom part in some water. And, viola! whaddya know...more leeks are growing!
Now the question is, what in the heck will I make with them?
But we're finally organizing some sort of routine.
I find myself overwhelmed some days. Some days they work so slowly thru the material (and spend quite a bit of time giggling and playing with the dog and cats) I wonder if we'll ever finish even one subject. And the little one
...ummmm, Mama just poured herself a glass of wine, we'll do Spanish tomorrow...
One thing I do notice the girls constantly asking is, what are the public school kids doing now? They are still very aware of when PE is and when Math is and when recess is...not in a sentimental kind of way, just in a 'wow, it's so weird we aren't there doing those things anymore' kind of way. They tell me often they are happy being homeschooled, and I've noticed a significant difference in the pace and mood around the house, especially in the mornings. We sleep in (sorta - it's more like we stay in PJs longer but still get up around the same time). We take our time. And yet the days still go by fast. But in a different way. They go by fast with us together now. They used to go by fast with the kids away for a good part of the day. Always rushing to something or through something. And that's one of the (many) reasons I wanted to homeschool: time was going by so fast, I felt like I was missing out on so much of their day...and rushing them thru the rest of it. As the years tick by, it's amazing to me how you can one day wake up and barely recognize the little babes.
I have a friend who's homeschooling two girls about the same age as mine; he's been at it about 8 months. He's (following the same curriculum) and is at the point where they may do math at 8am, cursive at bedtime, just whenever the mood hits them. His third grader can make chocolate chip cookies from scratch all by herself, has learned to sew pillows, and does her own laundry. She's also no longer afraid of math and has confidence where once stress and pressure used to be. He says some days you pour yourself a cup of coffee, look at them and think, "that's how it's supposed to be, no stress about grades or tests, just the joy of learning" - and not just learning the 3 R's, but learning how to be independent little people.
Ahhhh, sounds lovely....
Some days it's hard to know which yardstick to measure progress by. But I agree, it all matters. It's all filed away and will someday perhaps be measured by nothing more than how much wine it required for survival.
Or how many minutes it takes to make a hopping bunny stop hopping!
We're getting there!
It seems Advent calendars lean more towards the secular side these days. So we decided to try to make our own version this year. After scouring the interwebs for ideas (and finding lots of really great ones), I decided with my two little monkeys we should do something fairly easy (my youngest monkey likes being able to say I did it all by myself), with the option of extra embellishments for the older gal; and something that focuses on recycling, rather than the purchasing of more stuff. Lord knows we do not need more stuff. We just need to find ways to repurpose the stuff we have. At least that's the theory.
I'm pretty sure that gives them special powers.
I once left my Girl Scouts alone with jars of glitter on the table. I turned my back on them for a few minutes, and they took that opportunity to start a glitter fight. Think pillow fight, but with glitter. It took 6 months to get all the glitter out of their hair.