We're on a break from "school" right now - we were taking it pretty easy and doing a storybook Advent (inspired by Elizabeth Foss) which I loved - this one was John Paul building a block replica of a story we read. Then he was allowed to take a picture and post it on instagram himself which was VERY exciting and basically what he's always, always wanted to do.
Would you believe that's the most high-tech our homeschooling has gotten? It's awesome.
We're just living. And adding in our low-key traditions that have been in place for years, traditions that become so much more fun as the kids get older!
We tried making some snowflakes to decorate the windows today - I always think it takes about 5 or 6 snowflakes before I really hit my stride, but Peter was fussy so I only got a few cut out before my little brother (who is staying with us right now) took over. I think we'll try making more on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - they're such a fun, low-key activity :)
Plus they *really* brighten up the windows when it's gray outside!
The Advent wreath has gradually been accumulating more and more accessories... Pine cones, pig nuts, sticks, bark, acorns, a random necklace Cecilia found in the dirt and washed off... It's perfect.
Meanwhile we've been forced to slow down by a nasty cold that has brought on ear infections and pinkeye (yuck!)... Thankfully a little homemade garlic oil has eliminated any ear infections before they got bad (seriously, it's magic - HOW???) but everybody's feeling pretty awful, especially me :( So it was a TV afternoon for everybody while I made some chicken soup.
Thankfully a sweet friend brought over lunch, and I didn't protest *too* much (it was especially welcome because my mom is out of town at my uncle's funeral - say a prayer for his soul?) - I think I have a natural inclination to refuse any help and try to do everything on my own. Which is stupid, because I like helping other people, so why shouldn't they also like helping me? So I'm trying to be better at accepting help, and trying to be freer with giving help as well. I think that's a goal we can probably all get behind, right?
And John Paul kept asking me when I would make elderberry syrup... Well, when everybody falls ill, the answer is TODAY! Although it never seems to resemble syrup, no matter which directions I follow... Just a concentrated juice. Is that normal? Anyway, I'm hoping this + bone broth stave off any other illnesses - I was hoping the Thieves Oil Haley sent would work well, but then somebody knocked it off the shelf and it shattered all over the stone floor. So. I guess this year is NOT our year for essential oils!
I'm pretty thankful I had 6 cups of bone broth in the freezer so that I could make a pot of soup with a ton of garlic in it! Way to be industrious, 2-weeks-ago-me!
Presents are slowly getting wrapped - we actually have a ton of gift bags that I prefer using for Christmas Eve wrapping frenzies, but those don't exactly deter peeking... And since this year we took John Paul and Cecilia to the dollar store to procure gifts for everybody from them, we have a lot of extra gifts to wrap! And now they're more excited for their dollar store presents than for their actual presents. Of course.
The Amazon box pile on top of the piano is slowly transforming into a present pile... Although most of those will be saved for Epiphany - partially because Jesus and partially because we like to spread out the gift-giving to give each present a little more attention :)
Our tree is still bound and sitting outside while we solidify our final plans for it - I think we're going to try fitting it in a big cooler, putting the cooler in the wagon, wheeling it inside on Christmas Eve, decorating it, and then undecorating it and taking it back outside to plant a few days later. And next year if we do a live tree, we're getting a 3-footer. This thing weighs like, 300 pounds! But Rabia showed me a picture of their Christmas tree from 12 years ago that they planted, and I *love* that they have that story to go along with their tree - how fun is that? So this will be the 27th tree we plant this year :)
I hope your hearts and homes are getting prepared and I'm really looking forward to seeing how you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas! I think there's been such a resurgence of the tradition of keeping Christmas going in the past few years, and it really makes me happy :)
The grocery stores might tell you Christmas is over once they clear out the seasonal aisle and replace it all with Valentine's goodies, but we know the truth! And we get our candy on clearance while it's still liturgically appropriate ;)