We had a great Thanksgiving in Ashland with my family. We got to see my brothers new home, and spend time with my parents. We went on a nice hike and the kids got to play in the snow. My mom sells her own soaps (made with our goat milk!) and body care products at the farmer's market down there, so she had lots of local foods for our Thanksgiving feast. Yum!
A good friend took great care of our critters, even milking my goats! I feel really fortunate I have someone I can count on to help us when we are out of town. Thanks Danielle!
Our home schooling is going really well. I feel like our seven year old has made a major shift in his ability to do "school" for longer stretches. Before, he could only sit there for about 15 minutes at a time, and then need like 45 minutes to run around and play. I know this is normal, especially for boys, but it was taking all day just to get a few things done, and my days are already pretty busy. In the last few months though he is really able to focus more: so he is reading for blocks at a time, then we do science and history (which he loves), then some language arts, then math (which he also enjoys and has a real aptitude for), with some art projects, read aloud time, and special topics thrown in here and there. Then he is done for the day, and can play with his little brother. During his school time our 4 year old often sits with us, doing his own "reading and writing"and then runs around the house reciting the definition of a noun. He has also been known to ask random people questions like "Do you know who Genghis Khan is?" He is learning a lot just be being around his siblings. During this time our 5th grader does her independent work, and then after lunch while the boys play I work one-on-one with her on the harder subjects. Of course at least once a week we attend various clubs or playgroups with other home schoolers, so we keep busy.
We're just about finished with getting the kids' Christmas presents. We try to keep things pretty simple. I think too many things can be overwhelming, hard to keep clean, and the kids end up not playing with them anyway, so we try to keep gift giving under control. It is hard because we obviously want our children to have fun, nice things. We give our kids mainly books, home school items and art supplies. This sounds boring, but our kids devour books, the home school items are fun things like tangram sets or really interesting history or science projects, and my kids constantly are creating art. For their stocking we will get some more "fun" items: a few toys like Legos, some hair stuff for our 10 year old, useful things like socks and gloves, and even some traditional holiday oranges. It should be lots of fun, and we also get to see both Brian's family and my side as well. Brian and I don't exchange gifts; if one of us needs something, we get it.
This week has been really cold. I'm having to haul water for the animals every morning and need to get out the hats and gloves. I love that now that the ground is frozen there is no mud, but the pigs have trouble running across the hard, frozen ground in their tilled up areas. The kids get so excited about the ice coating everything, and our four year old goes on and on about the beautiful "frosting" outside. He can't catch on that the correct word is "frost"! Our ten year old is in the Willamette Ballet Academy's Nutcracker, and I help out with costumes; so I have been sewing lots of lace and sequins in the evenings.
We are now shifting into planning for next year, ordering seeds, and getting our planting calendar figured out. Now that we have a better idea on what our customers want, we are excited to start a new year of seed starting and planting!