Inspired Christmas

Inspired Christmas, Blurred Christmas Lights, Joy

I’ve been fighting the crazy Christmas machine this week.  Not the one that jumps out of advertisements.  The one that lives inside my head.  It tells me that I’ll never ever get away from being in bondage to the Christmas frenzy, no matter what I do. There are two current lines of thought in my brain about choosing to not do presents this year, neither of them helpful. First one: Your children are going to hate you one day for this…just give in.  Why is everyone is asking what they want Santa to bring them, even the dental hygienist, for … Continue reading

read to me

the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. from a report by the commission on reading, as quoted by jim trelease in the read-aloud handbook i think i have talked before about how much i love to read aloud to my kids, how it calms everyone (including me) down at the end of long day. most of our days are so harried. right now, with soccer season upon us, there are games and practices. there is always somewhere someone has to be. but eventually…after the dishes are piled, … Continue reading

ready or not, here i come

my sister and her kids have been in town for a short visit this week. they leave in the morning so we had our last afternoon and evening all together before they shove off. these nonholiday visits have the effect of making normal days feel a little bit like christmas or thanksgiving. just the sheer volume of people around the table, the hanging around my parents’ house like we have no where to be or nothing we have to do (oh the things i must do tomorrow!), the cousins spending the night together (we had seven at our house last … Continue reading

a week at our table, part two

A hallmark of the Western diet is food that is fast, cheap, and easy. Americans spend less than 10 percent of their income on food; they also spend less than a half hour a day preparing meals and little more than an hour enjoying them. for most people for most of history, gathering and preparing food has been an occupation at the very heart of daily life. Traditionally people have allocated a far greater proportion of their income to food–as they still do in several of the countries where people eat better than we do and as a consequence are … Continue reading

a week at our table, breakfast and lunch edition

a diet based on quantity rather than quality has ushered a new creature onto the world stage: the human being who manages to be both overfed and undernourished, two characteristics seldom found in the same body in the long natural history of our species. …doctors report seeing overweight children suffering from old-time deficiency diseases such as rickets, long thought to have been consigned to history’s dustheap in the developed world. But when children subsist on fast food rather than fresh fruits and vegetables and drink more soda than milk, the old deficiency diseases return–now even in the obese. in defense … Continue reading

Lessons from Lemony

One of the many great joys of reading The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is the cleverly disguised vocabulary lessons throughout the entire series. The oft repeated phrase, a word which here means,  followed by a definition of the word just used, introduces a word or phrase that might be unfamiliar to the child reading the story. The author doesn’t just define words. He also explains common expressions and phrases. For example, here is an explanation of the phrase “feet of clay.” “Feet of clay” is an expression which refers to a person who appears to be honest … Continue reading

bookish discoveries

i have book-y sorts of things to share. i know you’re shocked and amazed but i cannot keep exciting book news to myself. i am about-to-pop-excited about a new penderwicks book coming out this spring. how ever will we stand the wait? and taido’s sister and mother both gave me new books to curl up with as the winter weather drones on. and one of them is by the same author as tender at the bone. can you even stand it? also, i have discovered this marvelous publication (and website) that is put out by independent booksellers from all over. … Continue reading

Raspberry Bran Muffins + Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Back to school after Christmas break this morning. I got up at 5:30 because I so wanted our first morning back to school to be a smooth one. It’s just so brutal if we end our break with a rushed morning and everyone yelling. So, I made raspberry bran muffins, a new recipe from my sister. And hot cocoa. I haven’t packed away the snowman cups just yet. Then I woke everyone up and told them that they could come put marshmallows in their hot chocolate as soon as they were dressed for school. Including the homeschooler, who was a … Continue reading

i might even wear my new apron and pass out cookies

i’m going to get up with taido tomorrow at church and this is what i am going to say. at least, i hope it is. i experience joy at christmas through children. there is a verse at the end of malachi that says, he will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents i have always loved that verse. i envision this time when we see the children around us. when we can hear their hearts. when we have made room for them in our day. i think at christmas … Continue reading

we don’t throw food

Simon and I spent an hour today learning not to throw our food. Of course I already know how to not throw food, except for maybe the occasional flinging from vigorous stirring. But simon. He throws food at every meal. So we sat down to lunch (whole wheat angel hair with grilled salmon, feta, tomatoes and pesto) and Simon immediately wanted full access to his bowl of pasta. So he could throw it. Oh no, Simon. Mama is going to feed you the pasta. I loaded his fork and started to feed him. Gimme that fork! he said. In not … Continue reading