The things they say - Christmas edition

The kids playing doctor together. Lucy is sick and Jonah is the doctor.
Jonah: (Holds up a wise man).
Lucy: I don't see how that's going to help me
Jonah: Oh, I be right back. (Runs and gets a purse with a necklace and headband.)
Lucy: No, that's won't help either. Go get something else.
Jonah: Oh, okay. I be right back...repeat 10X

Lucy: Can I have some of that stuff on my bread?
Me: Nutella, sure.
Lucy: Well, we got it a couple days ago so I don't think you should call it new-tella, just tella.
Me: No, its not because its new. That's just the name - Nutella.
Lucy: I call it Tella.
Me: Okay, but its name is Nutella.
Lucy: Well, then Tella is it's nickname.

Jonah's been getting into a teensy bit of trouble due to his lack of self control around the Christmas tree. So we just keep moving ornaments up out of his reach. Now, he's joining in by bringing me ornaments and telling me to "put dis up I no reach mama"

Lucy is really into similes and comparisons these days. Here are some favorites from the last few days:

Me: Stay back while I pour the toffee. If it touches you, it will burn.
Lucy: Will it hurt? How much?
Me: A lot
Lucy: It will hurt like a snake bite would hurt.

Lucy: I love being snuggled up close to you. Very close to you. Close to you like a puppy is close to its leash.

Lucy: Do you love me?
Me: Yes
Lucy: A lot? As much as (pausing then pointing to a friend's popcorn ceiling) all those bumps on the ceiling?

We're reading from Genesis to Jesus' birth in The Jesus Storybook bible for our advent devotionals each night. Getting Jonah to sit and listen is a bit like herding cats but we still try. But the night we did the story of Jonah, he was quite attentive. When we got to the page with the picture of the Jonah falling into the water next to the fish he shouted "Oh no, its gonna get me!" and then when Craig turned the page, he pushed Lucy out of the way "let me see me, I need to see me!"

While reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Jonah: I don't like that guy, he angry. (Repeat on every single page until the last one!)

Me: Okay, mimi all done for now
Jonah: Little bit more?
Me: No, all done, maybe later
Jonah: (Hits his own arm) Oww, I hut (hurt) my arm. I need mimi. I need mimi to feel better. I hut my arm!

Jonah in bed, not sleeping, holds up his foot: One daddy toe, one baby toe, two baby toe, eight baby toe, seven baby toe, no, no, no. One daddy toe, one baby toe, two baby toe, six baby toe, no, no no...

Craig: Where did your clothes go?! Why are you naked?
Jonah: I took off my undies
Craig: Why did you do that?
Jonah: I wanted to be nakey!
Perfectly logical toddler reasoning.


Beyond A Christmas Carol: 3 Christmas Reads Adults will Enjoy

I love Christmas picture books and we have a ton we own and even more we check out from the library every year but this year I've found a couple enjoyable Christmas reads for adults too.

 Yes, Grown-ups can read Christmas stories too and there is more out there than just A Christmas Carol. Not that A Christmas Carol isn't good, it's a classic for a reason and in fact, I'm reading it right now but there are more options. And they are all pretty short so you still have plenty of time to complete them before the season is over.

The Gifts of the Child Christ by George MacDonald (find it free here and here) - A short story. Somewhat sad but also sweet and very thought provoking.

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie - This book contains several short stories, the first is the only Christmas one but I really enjoy it (as wel as the others, despite their un-festiveness).

The Story of the Other Wise Man (another freebie!) - I actually got this from my library for Lucy when it came up in a search only to discover it isn't really a kid's book. It isn't inappropriate for kids, I just don't think they'd enjoy it. I think my library has it in the jf section because its short? It's really more of a short story than a full book. And it a simple story but I still liked it.

Two Bonuses: Okay, I'm cheating. These aren't really written for adults but they are just as engaging for me when we read and I wouldn't hesitate to read them to myself if didn't have a kid handy.

A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy - I did an ILL library request for this last year and Lucy listed to it but was really a bit too young but I loved it. Now I see our library has its own copy. Yay!

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden - Technically a picture book (with wonderful illustrations by Barbara Cooney), its long so Lucy and I treated it like a chapter book. I really wanted to cheat and read ahead but I didn't. Aren't you proud of me? I've heard more than one adult say they cried while reading it.


Adventures in Advent: Week 2

Another fun week, not quite as full as the one before but we still managed to finish the Letter J by making some Jingle bell bracelets

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 (yes, the rest of the day I was wondering what I had been thinking while simultaneously begging for some peace and quiet. oh, well!)

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, finish up our study of Hansel and Gretel by making a gingerbread house  which meant Lucy and I decorate a gingerbread house while Craig tried to stop Jonah from eating everything.

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We even had to time make crowns and prepare for St. Lucia's day. We ended up making St. Lucia gluten free coffee cake instead of rolls which isn't exactly traditional but she did have an actual white dress this year so I think those cancel each other out.

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On to week 3!


Books for 2015

I sometimes wonder if the impression I give on the blog is that all my free time is spent reading Charlotte Mason and watching k-dramas online. I hope y'all know that's not entirely true. I actually read other books too - a lot of them in fact. So far this year I've read 115 books. That is much more than I typically do but I made it a priority this year and it shows in those numbers. And while I did pick fairly decent books (stay tuned for some top 10 lists) and have surprisingly few regrets, next year I want to make more of a effort to pre-plan what I read.

This year, in addition to making reading goals, I also spread out my reading more. While I'd normally have 2 or maybe 3 books going at a time, I expanded that to 5-7, trying to make sure I had a variety of depths and topics covered at any given moment. It really worked. I hope having several choices in each category will keep my inspire - and help me get those ILL ins. The * means I don't own it and our library. So this list contains a lot of books I've wanted to read for a while but haven't gotten around to requesting plus a bunch I found in the basement while organizing and put aside because they looked good. Which probably isn't the typical way book lists are made but what can I say, I'm unique.
It's a work in progress and I reserve the right to add or subtract books when I want but here is what I've got so far.

- Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature*
-The Inn of 6th Happiness*
-The Hiding Place
-Only a Novel: The Double Life of Jane Austen

-Norms and Nobility -Finally bought it during the Amazon 30% of any book sale. It was still pricey but I'm glad I'm going to have the time to read it slowly. I've actually already started and am almost finished with the prologue!

-The Living Page - A re-read. I bought it and devoured it while focusing on notebooks for myself but this time I want to slow down and focus on Lucy's upcoming first grade year (Ack! First grade! How? But by the end of 2015, I'll be gearing up for "real school")

-Charlotte Mason Volumes 2 (finish), 4 and 5 - Reading with the Ambleside Online Forum

-Consider This* - If I finish all those, I will reward myself with this one.

-Protecting the Gift - I don't want to read this one but I know I need to
-Something about intense/gifted parenting - have a suggestion?
-Something marriage related. Maybe Sacred Marriage?

Other Non-fiction

-When Athens Met Jerusalem*

-Laura Ingalls Wild, Farm Journalist: Writings from the Ozarks

-The Deadliest Monster

Classics and Harder Fiction
-Something by Dickens - I'm reading A Christmas Carol right now (which I can't believe I've never actually read yet although I was in a play version in high school) but can't remember ever reading any other Dickens. Surely I have? If not, I must remedy this. I'm not sure what to start with so I'm open to any suggestions.

-Middlemarch - Can you believe I've never read this? For some reason it really intimidates me but I'm also sure I'll love it once I get into it. If I don't read anything else on this list, I really want to make sure I complete this.

-Plutarch - 1-2 lives. I loved the first one I read but got stuck on the second more because of the format I was having to read it in than the work itself. Will try again!

-Kristin Lavransdatter*


Medium Weight Fiction
-The Housekeeper and the Professor*
-China Court: Hours of a Country House*

Fluffy Fiction
-Three Men in a Boat
-Hillsboro People
-More Lord Peter Books* - whatever I can get my hands on for cheap/free
-Lady Audley's Secret
-Rest of the Thursday Next series - only 3 to go?
-Hannah Fowler*
-Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good

Pre-Reading (Ambleside)
-Understood Betsy
-Daughter of Time (With AO Forum)
-Watership Down (With AO Forum)
-Idylls of the King (With AO Forum)
-Start Pre-reading AO Year 1 as I buy them

To Finish
-Once and Future King - was enjoying it but it got put aside and lost. I need to find it, then finish it
-The Princess and the Goblin

Whew, so that's about 30. Which isn't really a lot, numbers wise. But I'm still pretty intimidated by this list. I do think its realistic for me though and I'm excited about it. Anything you are looking forward to reading in this upcoming year? I've probably got room to squeeze another on here if you can convince me. To 2015!


Advent Adventures - Week 1

I really dialed back our fun activity crafty time this fall. I'm still torn about it. On the one hand, less stuff going on means less stuff I have to worry about getting done. But I miss doing those things with the kids and I've finding that that is really what gives me energy. I'm too introverted to go out during the day more than once or maybe twice a week (out being a playdate with friends or a visit to a museum, park, etc) so those fill time nicely - a day at home with the kids playing and nagging me seems really long. And Lucy really loves this type of thing (Jonah happily tags along but he makes his own fun no matter what). So I guess I'm glad I cut stuff to make life manageable, I just think I cut the wrong stuff. But I'm not sure what else I can cut. I mean, we still need to eat and wear clean laundry, right? It's a conundrum.

While I ponder away at that, I decided to really go whole hog with the fun cutesy stuff for Christmas and see how it goes. This week we did J is for Jesus (and then I'm taking a break from Alphabet Path until the New Year but J for Jesus just fit too well!) before moving on to St. Nicholas. And of course we read tons of Christmas books (check out the newly updated Christmas section of Lucy's book page for some of them)

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We made some simply candy cane ornaments, read The Legend of the Candy Cane and talked about the symbolism. Lucy spontaneously decided to try some different patterns. I prefer the 2-2 but she liked 3 of each color best. The next day we saw something else with a candy cane and she told me all about what the shape and colors meant.

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We've never done the "Santa thing" and don't plan to but this year she started asking about him. So we talked and read about the real St. Nicholas, watched the Veggie Tales' St. Nicholas video, and got ready for our St. Nicholas themed tea time.

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We made our St. Nicholas miter hats and put together St. Nicholas bingo sheets, talking about each picture and why it went with St. Nicholas.


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Then we made our tea time snack. Jonah kept calling it dog food then Lucy would correct him, "No, Jonah, it's funny puppy!" which he eventually caught on to so I think we'll have to declare it a family tradition to call it funny puppy now.


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For tea time, we did double duty, starting with our regular tea time pile and the Letter J. We looked at some Jewelry art and listening to Jabberwocky (Thank you Benedict Cumberbatch) while I made tea.

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 Then we moved to St. Nicholas. We looked at several depictions of him over time as he went from St. Nicholas the giver to St. Nicholas the saint and then to Santa Claus before finishing with a riveting game of Bingo.

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Jonah's hat looks a little off because he accidentally ripped it and I tried multi-tasking its repair while also making tea so it ended up sideways, Lucy and I had a hard time controlling our laughter but he hasn't noticed anything amiss so I'm not about to tell him. 

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The tea was on Friday and by Friday evening, I could tell the sickness storm was a brewing. Lucy fell asleep before dinner then woke up with a fever of 101+ and by the next morning, Jonah was sick as well. I was a little sad because this was our first year actually celebrating St. Nicholas day itself but despite the ickiness the kids perked up at the sight of their stockings with chocolate coins,  pajamas and new christmas books. I didn't get any pictures but I've got some good memories. My favorite was when Lucy noticed my stocking was empty. She told me to cover my eyes and ran and found her toys to fill up, making sure I knew they were mine to keep not just borrow. When I gave her a hug and told her she was sweet she started up with a mini-sermon about how important it is to give and how St. Nicholas was a giver and he could love others because he had God's love in him. If I was the grinch, my heart would probably have grow 3 sized I think.