Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here come the holidays....

I'd like to preface this post by saying that I have edited it 5 times for spacing, etc and there is something wrong with blogger.
I am letting it go because it shouldn't mean so much to me to have perfect spacing... so here it is, my spacing-impaired blog post... ENJOY!
Soooo.... I am sitting here, having just whipped up a batch of koolaid playdough with Parker, watching him roll and cookie-cutter away, wondering if I should be thinking about Christmas.
I've purchased very few of my gifts so far and we just recently started with the holiday decorating...I usually bake a few things... biscotti, gingerbread, a few kinds of cookies... I have not started yet and I wonder this:
What do YOU do to prepare for and then celebrate the holidays?

We usually go to zoolights, parties and spend Christmas with family and friends...we have Chinese food on Christmas Eve and Eggs Benedict and turkey on Christmas Day. We listen to Stuart McLean and watch movies, open presents and visit. This year we will be spending part of the holidays in Radium, BC at a lovely Chalet!

The tree goes up December 1st and it will be our first year with an artificial tree! I've always held out and insisted on a real tree, but our last few years of trees haven't made it a week without dropping copious amounts of needles on my floor.
I have a small bottle of Alberta Lodgepole pine essential oil distilled by some nice gardeners here in Calgary. I intend to dab it here and there and IMAGINE I am celebrating Christmas at my grandparent's place on highway 16, 5 minutes from the Jasper Park gates.
I remember getting dressed up warm and anually setting out with my Grandfather, little sister and cousins to cut down a Christmas tree. There were SO many perfect Christmas trees on my grandparents land... 20 acres of lodgepole pines and spruce trees. Every year I pointed out a dozen, beautiful trees (often over 10 feet high) and every year we came home with the same tree... 7 feet tall, beautifully green and bushy on three sides and barren on the 4th.
My Grandfather would put the barren side of the tree in the corner and nobody would say another word about it.
I often wondered why he did that... cut down a tree that wasn't perfect...
I used to think it was because he didn't want scruffy, half-barren trees in his forest, but, lately I've come to believe that he wouldn't have cut any tree down if we hadn't been pestering him. He worked almost every day of his adult life in that forest and he loved the trees, the animals and the wildflowers. I think it brought him a lot of peace.
So, this year, Grandpa, I didn't cut down a tree... and every time I look at my artificial tree, I am going to think of you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Homeschooling ramblings...

So, I have had quite a few people ask me how homeschooling is going.

Parker opted for the local homeschooling "Blended Program". This means that every Thursday and every second Tuesday and half Friday he attends a school with other homeschoolers. The days are shorter - 10 amd-3pm and it is based on Thematic teaching, but it is fun for him and he likes it so far... his favourite subject is "Recess" or "Dodgeball", but what first-grader's isn't?

At home we do some reading and some basic math, use the abacus, watch an educational video or two, model with clay, paint, bake, dance and play. We meet up with other homeschooling friends, go to the zoo, science center, pool.

One thing about homeschooling that I love is that we get up about 8am. There is no hurrying. There is no rushing through breakfast. There is very little stress. If we need a nap in the afternoon, we put on a quiet video and cuddle on my bed.

Liam is as happy as a clam having time alone with Mama. We have been swimming, shopping, lunching and playing... it is good times and he seems to be out-growing the "f'ing fours"... thank goodness.

So, so far, homeschooling is good... very good!