Wolfenoote, Baking, and Christmas Homeschool

Wolfenoote! A totally 100% made up holiday, dreamed up by a child in New Zealand, and whose parents in a random online story shared that dream. And of course, people like me read it and were like, I’m in! Wolfenoote ” is about celebrating our pack – human and animal – helping where we can, and making the world a better, kinder place.” I love that! It is suggested that to celebrate, you enjoy roast meat, a cake hat looks like a full moon, and if you have a dog, give that dog a present! Human pack members can also receive a gift, but we haven’t done that part as of yet.

We spent the week in our homeschool reading stories that exemplified kindness, we talked about kindness and ways we could show our families and friends and communities kindness. Then on the evening of the 23rd we had roast beef and blue cheese sandwiches on toasted bread, and meatballs. Billy had that brilliant idea, and I love him for it. Thanksgiving was just a few days out and it seemed a little crazy to have two big meals in one week like that. And it was perfect. We had a picnic (inside) since wolves do not sit at tables, ate our sandwiches and meatballs, then it was time for cake! And frankly, that cake was awesome. I am not a baker so I just made a box cake (Aldi yellow) but it was delicious! It had to be that Wolfenoot magic. I also stuck a little wolf silhouette in it. We followed up dinner with some wolfy and nature readings, and voted whether we were going to symbolically adopt a wolf from the Wolf Conservation Center or donate to a local animal shelter. We decided since we usually do the wolf thing for the wolf moon in January, that this time we would donate to an animal shelter. After making this big decision, we listened to Wyatt’s favorite Okee Dokee Brother’s song, Howl. Twice. Loudly. With howling. And then it was time for little wolf cubs to get a bath and go to bed. It was a good Wolfnoote.

For not being a baker, I have been doing a lot of it! The cake on Wolfnoote, and then a Cranberry Pie for Thanksgiving. This is hands down my favorite pie to make. It is fast and easy, and tastes delicious.

I probably could have taken a photo of it after it was finished, and the lid top was on. I blame that wine for this bad photo decision.

Then it was December before I knew it! One thing I love about homeschooling is taking the month of December and trying to theme a lot of our month around Christmas type themes. I mean, I can’t with all of it, but I can quite a bit. It’s a little more work since I go off road from our curriculum and pull it all together myself (my weekends have hours filled with planning) but it is all worth it.

This week was all about gingerbread! We read multiple versions of the gingerbread man story, created gingerbread men from paper, and finished up with a “Gingerbread Cafe” and made our own gingerbread! Well, I did. I lost my helper quickly. Gingerbread takes a long time! He did resurface for the eating of it. As did my husband who was working from home. The gingerbread was a big hit. I didn’t think I liked gingerbread, but it turns out, I do. A lot! I used a recipe from @ofbeeandbear on Instagram, subbing out the spelt flour with just regular flour, and they are delicious.

We made gingerbread girls, boys, and of course, foxes. I need to make sure to copy this recipe down, as it is a winner and will be made every Christmas from here on out.

I feel like our Christmas homeschool is off to a fun (and tasty) start!

Have you done any baking yet? Do you like to bake? Gingerbread – yay or nay?

Getting cozy

The weather is finally turning here after having almost summer like temperatures persisting well past their season. The mornings are colder, the evenings have a bite, and it all makes me want to get all snuggly and cozy in my home, like some little squirrel. I see our neighborhood squirrels hopping and digging and searching out their food stores, getting ready to snug down for the winter. And I am getting us all ready too, maybe not quite for winter yet, but definitely for autumn coziness.

Drinking: My husband remarked the other night as we were settling down for the evening that it was getting to be tea season, and he is totally right. Our iced teas become hot teas this time of year, and I usually start placing our tea orders to have a ready supply on hand for these chilly nights. I will pick stuff up when I am at the store of course, but we have some favorites that I like to keep around. I love the Breakfast in Paris tea with its lavender notes and the refreshing mint of Moroccan Mint from Stash, while Billy is all about the Earl Greyer from Republic of Tea. I think Wyatt is going to try tea this year too. My grandma used to give my cousin and I weak tea heaped with milk and sugar and I felt so special. Maybe I will try that too with him this year, just a little taste of tea. If we are out and about on the weekends, we like to treat ourselves to London Fog Lattes at Starbucks. So worth keeping as a treat! We splurged last weekend and picked two up before we went to the bat festival.

Wearing: Sweaters of course!! I usually hit up the thrift stores looking for their softest, most comfortable looking sweaters to lounge about in, but Target has a cardigan that looks super comfy that I plan on picking up on one of my next Target runs (embarrassingly I usually hit up Target once a week..) and Modcloth has a fox sweater that I absolutely need.. Although I do need help with leggings – I don’t really own any and maybe I need to get a pair? Any suggestions?

Using: Blankets! I have had to pull all of our extra blankets out of storage and get them ready to throw on when needed. We have our heirloom quilts that my great-grandmother and my friend’s great-grandmother made, in our bedroom for those afternoon naps, and a few random throw blankets we have picked up as the years have passed. We are such throw blanket people though that we are thinking of splurging on a blanket from Sackcloth and Ashes – although we are undecided between Camp Forest and Camp Lake. We still have our quilt that we use as a picnic blanket but I am thinking about getting one that is more all weather since the ground is a bit colder and I want to continue with some picnics into fall. We are also burning candles again. I don’t usually burn candles in spring and summer, but fall and winter call for candles. The glow of their light is as warming as the heat from the flame, and add to the ambiance of coziness. (and so very hygge, remember hygge? I still swear by its principles) I don’t have any particular brands that I stick with, I just pick them up as we are shopping (probably at Target! lol) but I go for woodsy or apple, cinnamon, or pumpkin scented ones. Yum! Wyatt loves to help me pick them and smells them all, wrinkling his little nose so cutely.

Reading: I am such a seasonal reader. It is so hard for me to read a book that doesn’t fit my mood or the season. So this time of year I read cozy mysteries like Barbara Michaels and the one I just read by Eva Gates, thrillers and scary books, non-fiction that feels like autumn to me. I also turn to comfort reads, like the Little House series and Harry Potter. I read to Wyatt Halloween and fall books, we talk about the leaves and pumpkins and animals and how they get cozy just like us, all snug in a bug and safe and sound.

Because isn’t that how cozy feels? Safe and sound and like being wrapped in a hug.

Saying goodbye to Summertime Snippets…

As summer is ending and falling into fall, school is back in session, and the easy breezy summer days are no more for this year. And that is ok, there is a season for everything. I can see the change of seasons in my photos, as summer images give way to autumn.

Late summer meant trips to the aquarium, summer music class, visits to Greenfield Village with grandparents. ..

Family nature hikes, surrounded by a canopy of green, the last of the water lilies dotting the water (they were gone the very next week!), Sandhill Cranes before they leave for warmer climates..even a woolly bear caterpillar spotted on a little leaf. Don’t worry though if you are not a fan of snow, this woolly bear says we are in for a mild winter!

Playing in the dirt everyday all day, ice cream on the lawn, ground cherries that we found growing in our back garden, and spontaneous hugs from my kiddo.. (those aren’t seasonal though!)

This week we are getting ready for the harvest moon! I feel we have officially reached fall!

Hello, August!

Hello August

Goodbye July, hello August!

We are heading into our final month of summer already! I have really been enjoying having my kiddo home everyday with me, it has been so much fun! Even though I can’t get very much done, like cleaning or reading or blogging, hanging out with him is better than all that, hands down. We have little adventures all the time. One thing we have been doing this summer is breakfasting outside in the morning, and it has become my favorite part of the day. I spread out the blanket, take some books and toys and our food, and just sit there until the heat and sun drive us inside. It is a very nice start to our day, one the just works for us. Once the sun starts beating down on us too hard, we go in and go about our business of the day – for me at least.

I am not ready to let go of summer yet, although fall is my favorite season of the year.  We have so much planned still for this month, bonfires and bike rides and birthday parties; we are planning on a “late night” outside too, to observe the night sky and just the nighttime itself. One thing I want to start this month too, is a family art night every Thursday if possible. We will work on art projects together, and some individually too. Next week is our first attempt, and we are all going to paint our version of the night sky. It will be interesting – I am not an artist and my husband is! But, that is not the point really anyway. It is about doing it together. I don’t want Wyatt to not try things or do things because he doesn’t think he is good at them. I remember reading a long time ago, in a Robert Fulghum book, that when we are kids we love to sing, and draw and color and dance, and when we become adults, we are too self-conscious or judgmental of our selves to do it anymore. That is so sad to me! Let’s live, and remember to play. That’s been my whole goal this summer anyway, to let go and have fun, and play with my son and my husband. And it has been a great summer so far!

August feels so abundant, wild, overflowing – gardens are full, blooms on flowers are bursting from their beds. The sun is shining high in the sky, and the world is so lush and full. Our apple tree is heavy with fruit, the weight pulling the branches down so far you would think they would snap, but they don’t. Trees can teach us a lesson in flexibility – strongly rooted, but able to bend as needed. The apples on our tree are starting to show a little red, and will be ready in the next month or two. I love how our whole neighborhood enjoys them – it is an apple summer here! Next month we will all begin to harvest, to get ready for the fall and winter, but for now, we can all just enjoy the fruits of the summer.

 

Little Things

My mornings begin with a tiny gesture, a small offering left on the table outside our bedroom: a mug of hot coffee.
This sounds weird, I know.
Lately, my mornings have been beginning earlier than I would have ever contemplated. I’m not an early bird by any stretch. Too early, I even feel slightly ill. But I have learned to take my opportunities where I can these days, and early mornings can belong to me. Before little man, I would get up, not too early mind you, and wake up slowly, reading the interwebs, all the blogs, news, while slowly sipping my coffee and rejoining the world again. I haven’t had that for a while. Quite a while. And I kind of miss a little morning time to myself. So, when my husband gets up for work, I get up too. Kind of, since I don’t actually get out of bed.
That makes me sound lazy, that I stay there. But W. has usually wormed his way in by that point, snugged down between us. I know there are many opinions on this, but for us, it works. He wakes often, trapped against the side of his crib, unable to turn over to the left due to his weaknesses on one side of his body. It has to be scary, to awaken in the dark, alone, unable to move. During the day, he compensates for this. He’s like an acrobat really, for all his limited mobility. He has ingeniously devised his own system of movement, graceful and effective. But, eventually, he winds up with us. Sleep is important, any way that you can get it. Yet that means in the mornings I am tethered, as I have not managed to move him back to his bed without waking him. He always knows.
So I use this time instead, that I am awake and he is asleep. The room slowly grows brighter and sunnier, following that pre-dawn grayness, tinged with pinks and yellows. There is usually some book or another next to me.  I hear a slight clink as my husband sets a coffee down on the table outside our room. Sometimes I hear him quietly making his way down the hall, before the clink. Other times I hear nothing until I hear the sound of the front door closing as he leaves. Those mornings I slip out from under the covers, bare feet on the cool wooden floors, everything cool now really, these early spring mornings, and open the door just a crack and spot my gift right there, waiting for me. I tiptoe back, making sure not to wake W. and plan and read and dream and yes, read the internet too, while I wait for him to wake.
It’s kind of like a secret, but not.