Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weeks 14 & 15- France

Yesterday we finished up our two week travels around France. We spent most of the time in Paris, because who doesn't love Paris?  Fridays are generally a lighter day. Mister finished his Singapore Math 3A book.  Brown-Eyed-Girl colored while I read to them from George Mueller.  We all felt the anticipation of getting school done for the day, because it meant school vacation for the holidays and the cousins were coming over.

As all this was happening in my home, the unspeakable was happening a few states away.  When I heard the terrible news of the Connecticut school shooting, I wept. I have to admit I was thankful my babies were home safe with me.  I have to admit I thanked God I could homeschool them.  I  have to admit the thought of sending them into this evil world makes me want to cloister them within the four walls of our house.

But I cannot do that, nor is that what God wants me to do. For now, yes, they are protected from certain things they would not be if they were in public school.  That is one reason why we homeschool.  But I have to admit that the terrible thing that happened yesterday at a school could happen absolutely anywhere.  It was not a school that did this, it was a man.  We could be at the library, at the grocery store, at the movies, at our church, and a man could walk in and do the same thing. 

My children and their lives are not in my hands. They are in God's.  I must prepare them to go into this world that has so much evil in it, but needs salt and light and the love of Jesus Christ.  I must do all I can to train them to be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves.    I must entrust them to the Lord each and every day.  At home. At play.  And away.

Lord, please be with those hurting families in Connecticut.  Make good on Your promise to make beauty out of ashes and to use all things for good.  What Satan meant for evil, may You use for good.

France is known for making pretty soaps in different shapes with lots of rich scents. We made our own soap out of regular soap bars, melted in a "double boiler".

When it cooled, the kids molded some into various shapes, and also cut some with cookie cutters.

We made our first batch of gingerbread cookies since we were making the Eiffel Tower out of gingerbread as well.  I didn't get a picture of the finished project, but the kids cut theirs out using a template and decorated them once baked.  We didn't even attempt a 3-D model, though it had crossed my mind.

We enjoyed a French feast together last night.  We didn't have real wine, but we did have some sparkling juice, baguette and hot brie.  So delicious!  I'm happy to say the kids loved the brie!

Brown-Eyed-Girl loves all colored liquids, so she had many glasses of the juice. So much so, we teased her she would get drunk.  Mister was believing it would really happen.

We listened to accordion music from France while we ate and I cherished my family sitting around the table together.  As popular author Karen Kingsbury always writes at the end of her dedications, I am thankful to God Almighty, the Author of  Life,  who has- for now- blessed me with these.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Snow!

I think I cherish my role as housewife and stay-at-home mom most in the winter.  I truly get to live out my title in my house and home.  The cold and snow outside is a perfect excuse to not go anywhere.  Our yard is a winter wonderland for the kids to play in.  I keep the home fires burning quite literally as I stick another log in the woodstove.  I assemble grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and boil water for hot chocolate.  Because it doesn't matter if they go out for two minutes or two hours, they must have hot chocolate when they come in.

I rarely go stir crazy because I love being at home.  I always have plenty of work to do.  And it's the perfect season for my favorite past time, cooking!  The oven bakes up more homemade bread and casseroles and treats than any other time of year.  My creative juices in the kitchen flow with excitement because it's not too hot to run the stove and everyone delights to come inside and smell the scent of what's cooking.

The roads are quieter on my street this time of year. The snow creates a cushion that absorbs the sounds.  Everyone drives slower.  The loudest interruptions are the snow plow and the general exuberance of three children.

Today was our long anticipated FIRST SNOW!  I enjoyed being a home body -house wife and the kids enjoyed some fun outside!  We had a hot lunch with cocoa when they came inside.  We warmed up by the fire and read books and played a game of Scrabble Junior.   Even with Christmas right around the corner, winter means we slow down a little bit.  When the days are sunny and warm, I feel guilty for staying in.  But when the snow flies, we hibernate at home.

By March I will be calling this same Winter Wonderland "Cabin Fever". But for now, I sigh contentedly as I watch the kids slide down the hill in the back yard and enjoy the sun as it makes the icy trees sparkle.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Weeks 12 and 13- Norway!

Another stamp is in our homeschooling passport for the year!  We finished our visit to Norway.

We took a week off in between our visit for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was much needed and much deserved.  We did take a field trip to the Maine State Museum. a place we had gone before but one that is worthy of repeat visits.  I didn't get too many pictures because I was chasing Petite all over the place.  But here are the cousins in front of some Maine black bears.

We had the pleasure of hosting Thanksgiving for both my family and Josh's. Here's the crew crowded into the kitchen right before we carved Tom.

It was a very exciting week off for us, because Josh got his first deer since high school, right in our back field.  I never thought I'd be the kind of girl excited about hunting, but here I am posting my beautiful family all bedecked in blaze orange with  Josh's buck.  He got skunked last year so we were thrilled to celebrate with him.

Brown  Eyed Girl's Van Gogh-esque work
My very favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh, who is from Holland.  I actually couldn't find Holland on the European map because it's another term for the Netherlands.  The kids created landscapes in the style of Van Gogh, using swirls and paint thickened with glue to give it texture.  Van Gogh often used thick paint and the brush strokes are evident in his work. I never met a painting of his that I didn't like, but I was surprised that he only sold one of his pieces while he was alive.  Now they are worth millions.  I enjoy the two giclees that I own of his work and I covet more. This project was from the excellent book Usborne Art Treasury.

Mister's fine art "reproduction"

Earlier this year, Josh had the awesome privilege of visiting Finland on business.  He brought me  home an excellent Scandinavian cookbook, Scandilicious: Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking, which we used to learn about Norwegian food.  We made this Tropisk Aroma, or Norwegian spiced chocolate cake.  We used my kitchen scale to accommodate the metric measurements- so we had a great math lesson with this too.

It was quite yummy, though I overcooked it a bit.  That's what happens when you're a busy mom.

I was hurrying to get this published before we head to France tomorrow, so I'm sure I left out fun details and that this has horrible typos, but forgive me.  Again, it's what happens when you're a busy mom!