Happy Winter Solstice

Despite a few cold, wintery days, I still have some blooms on what I believe is a winter-blooming Camellia japonica. It’s quite beautiful, though the flowers are quite bashful and point their petals down.

Today is the Winter Solstice, and for the past few years, I’ve tried to recognize this day, which has the shortest daylight hours of the year. You can read more about my decision to celebrate  “the return of light” here. And here are some quick ideas for celebrating too. Today the boys and I are planning on making some peanut butter and seed pinecones for the birds. As you know, we love birds.

This has been a busy autumn and winter. I was sick almost all of November, and we spent two weeks in Chicago visiting my husband’s relatives for Thanksgiving. Both he and I were sick the entire time we were there, except maybe the last 2~3 days. Sigh. But, it was nice to get away, and we managed to at least visit the Art Institute of Chicago. Since we weren’t feeling well, we made a point to see what we most wanted to see, which was the Impressionists and the Medieval armor. We also saw a wonderful temporary exhibit of Rodin’s work. We hope to go back someday.

Once we got back, it took me quite awhile to feel like I was back on track with daily life. I spent the first week concentrating on the boy’s lessons, and then the second week of December, I realized we needed to get ready for Christmas, which we celebrate too. So we decked the halls a little later than we usually do, but everything is ready to go now. We had a wonderful afternoon with some friends making Christmas ornaments at my house, and I even baked chocolate chip cookies for the occasion. I feel fortunate that we have quiet holidays at home with just the four of us. There isn’t too much hustle and bustle, and my husband is a big help with the shopping and turkey making on Christmas day.

This week we’ve been back to doing lessons in earnest, and I’m really happy with the rhythm we’ve got ourselves into. I wake my eldest son rather early so that we can get a few things done before I wake his brother. We doing writing, grammar, math, cursive, etc. (Not all on the same days.) My younger son is enjoying cello practice every morning after breakfast, and my husband and I usually sit with him. We’ve found making music practice family time is key in motivating our children to practice regularly. (Though our older son doesn’t need motivating as much.) After this, we have been studying Spanish, and I’ve also just started some lessons in the Chinese language too, and we’re all having fun — I hope it continues to go well. Playing a lot of games help. We’re also diving into China’s ancient history too, which I love, and to my delight, my eleven-year-old is enjoying our history lessons too. I’m not always sure my eight-year-old is listening, but hey, whatever he absorbs right now is fine.

And all that is before lunch! Our homeschool day continues until about 2 or 3pm, so it’s a long day. This week, most of our afternoon appointments have ended for a couple of weeks, and some for longer. It’s always nice to get a break from those, but I know I’ll start to miss them by the time the break is over too.

I hope all my readers have wonderful holidays! Whatever you celebrate, I hope it’s a warm, peaceful day (or days). I hope to find time over our break to write some more posts and connect with you again in the new year.

Please let me know what and how you’re celebrating this season.

 

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