Homeschooling

Conquering a Mountain

 

“You can never conquer the mountain. You can only conquer yourself.” – James Whittaker {mountaineer}

My to-do list is growing and growing.  There’s something about the beginning of the year, isn’t there?  I mentioned some of the things I had to do here.  And I started pondering some of the other things I want to accomplish this year:

Learn to speak French

Learn how to take better photographs {I’m so serious about documenting our life.  I am pretty sure that I need a new lens.}

Get some more curriculum written.  It may be my grandchildren who use it, but there we are…

– Get through all of the recipes in Mrs. Beeton.  {no, seriously}

– Design and sew some clothes for the family.  I’m so weary of trying to find things that fit both our bodies, and that are my notion of good-looking and practical.

On the Farm: Design our veggies gardens and feed crop fields, schedule tapping for the birches, and decide what to make the remaining trees into.

– Try to come to some conclusion about changes to one of our businesses.

Schedule some workshops, talks, and classes at the farm {cooking, sewing/handcrafts, kids’ classes…}

– Put together an apprenticeship/intern program on the farm with the Office of Youth Ministry.

– Decide how much (if any) wedding business I want to pursue this year.

– Make it all pretty and practical.

– Have myself duplicated, or call on  {a LOT of} help from my friends…or lower my expectations and accept this as more of a wish list than a to-do list…

What’s on your wish list for 2012? 

 

{A is for Ambrose}

 

Long ago, in the land of Gaul, was nestled the beautiful town of Trier.  The hillsides were covered, and still are today, in vines, which – every summer – grow heavy with grapes.  And in one lovely house, on one of those hillsides, lived the family of Aurelius Ambrosius – his very wise and pius wife, his daughter Marcellina, and son Satyrus.  The house was blessed once more with the birth of a baby – another son, whom they named Ambrose.

Ambrose was a very special child.

One day, when his mother placed him in out in the garden in his cradle for a midday nap, a swarm of bees entered from the vineyard and began to dance around the infant’s downy head.  Round and round they flew, buzzing merrily, as his parents gazed on in amazement.  Not a single bee offered to sting their tiny boy.  And just as suddenly as they had appeared, the bees gathered themselves and flitted away back to their hives, leaving on the child’s lips

 

a single drop of honey.

 

“Surely this is a sign that the boy will grow in wisdom, and eloquence, and sweetness!” cried his father.

And he was right.

Ambrose grew to manhood and became a lawyer, then a governor, and was later elected the Bishop of Milan in Italy.  He was known far and wide for his wisdom, his elegant turn of phrase, and his sweetness – especially to the poor.

 

St. Ambrose Day is celebrated on 7th December, during the season of Advent.

 

Picking up Stitches

Christmastide is winding down and real life is waiting patiently on the doorstep.  After Epiphany, we will take the denuded tree out to the woods to compost and turn our attention back to the busy-ness of life.  And there is a growing to-do list.  Life keeps on going, despite our festal suspension of time.

Diaconate classes have resumed, and there are assignments to be completed.  And an ordination celebration to begin planning.

The farmhouse is ready for kitchen and bathroom fixtures to be installed – just as soon as the new floors are in.

Before Christmas, I began designing each of the rooms to maximise space and natural light, and collecting some inspiration.  There will be considerable thrifting and building and painting and curtain sewing to be done.

Goats to be bred.  Pigs to go to the processor.  Seeds to be ordered.

A perpetually neglected workbasket to be seen to.

EZ style longies back on the needles. I love those vintage colours. And say, there's that calico I'd been looking for. Isn't it pretty?

Curriculum to be compiled or written from scratch from notes jotted hastily on handy bits of paper and filed not-so-carefully in a crate.

New work projects to give time to, some that have been waiting for their time to come for several years.  For them, it would appear, the time is now.

How is it, then, that we’ve managed to find the time to be planning space in our bedroom for the bassinet?

A basket full of {washable} merino being knit into a receiving blanket. Just right for the arrival of autumn babies.

Tutorial: Paper Ornaments

Another little tute for you to try with your children while pies and cookies are baking.  Our midwife, Sue, posted this craft on her Facebook page to make with last year’s cards (or leftover ones if you have them).  We had neither, so I pulled out our trusty scrapbook paper stack – the same stack we have used for three years running.

This one is a little more challenging than the Vintage Christmas Lights, and should provide some joy for the maths enthusiast in your family, too.  Alternately, have the kids do piles of different sized circles and have them figure up the inscribed triangles and call Maths done for the day. 🙂

You need:

Scrapbook paper or cards

A large paper punch or compass

Scissors

Cardstock or scrap of cardboard (for triangle template)

Ruler

Glue

Paintbrush

Micropunch, awl, or sharp yarn needle

Stringing cord

This is my huge lever punch, which makes a super big 2.5" circle. I LOVE it. Find out why below.

 

Gather your materials. If you're anything like me, this will take half the day because we have too much {stuff} and not enough {space}.

 

Punch out circles from your cards or paper. If you haven't a punch, use a compass to scribe a 2.5" circle onto a piece of cardstock to use as a template. Then cut out a whole bunch of circles.

 

ABout 300 circles done in short order with my punch. Did I mention how much I LOVE this punch? {Save your scraps, this paper is spendy.!}

 

On the wrong side of your circles, make a nice, even triangle or...

 

create a template for an inscribed equilateral triangle. Lots of fun for the engineer in the family. The formula is:: a=3R/√3, where "R" is the radius of the circle. That literally made me lightheaded, but Brian had tons of fun.

 

That formula again::  a=3R/√3

Cut your triangle template out of cardstock. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Remember to cut it out INSIDE the lines so that it trims out neatly inside the circles.

 

On the wrong side of your circles, score around the template using your scissor blade.

 

Fold all three flaps toward the right side of each circle.

 

You'll need FOUR folded circles for each ornament.

 

Using thinned glue and a paintbrush, glue only the flaps of the circles.

 

Stick flap of the second circle to the first...

 

More glue and the third and fourth circles.

 

Gather the children and have them finish up the rest of the circles. They'll love it!

 

Set your ornaments aside to dry.  You could add glue and glitter around the edges, too.  This hides any mismatched edges, if you’re concerned about that sort of thing.  I like the imperfection – but I also love anything that sparkles! 🙂  When everything is dried, punch a wee hole in one flap of each ornament and thread some cord through for hanging.

About that punch…

It’s a “Recollections” lever punch, available at Michael’s stores.  I bought a 2.5″ circle as well a gift tag cutter.  Why do I LOVE it so much?  I have pretty bad arthritis all over, but the inflammation in my hands can make crafting really difficult and not much fun.  Cutting with scissors takes me extra long and hurts after only a short time.  This lever punch allows me to use my whole palm for pressure, which relieves my fingers enormously.  I punched more than 300 circles really quickly.  I call that a brilliant invention.  Well worth the $16 I paid!

*I don’t get paid by Michael’s, this is my own opinion of a great product I wanted to share with you.

Precious Time

Childhood is a short season.  ~Helen Hayes

Where does the time go?  Somewhere.  And too quickly.  When did our little boy grow into a man?  A man who will take the time to colour and imagine a beautiful world with his little brother.

 

Oh the joy of being able to drop everything because there is an imaginary world that demands to be brought to life from the mind of a small child, with the help of an older brother.

 

Working... hands and hearts together.

 

Mirror:: what his hands were, and what his hands will become.

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