Archive for December, 2017

Christmas School 2017 (The Final Countdown)

December 23, 2017

Before we got sick, one of the lessons I had planned on doing was reading the November/December issue of Science in the News. One of the projects was to make a bar graph of the fastest bullet trains from around the world. This week we were able to complete the lesson.


We watched the video of How to Draw a Bar Graph by Dan Calder on YouTube.

The girls had the last homeschool gym of this year.

We read book 3 of the Kirsten from the American Girl series about St. Lucia.

We watched Melissa Wiley reads Hannah’s Christmas and Santa Lucia Christmas on YouTube.

We also watched a member of Silver Strings (MI) perform In the Bleak Midwinter on an instrument called a Scandinavian Psalmodicon on YouTube.

The girls learned about Fika,


and they made Swedish almond cake.

We decided to make a “Swedish” meal (the best way a non-Swedish American can) to add to the meal plan page in The Thinking Tree journal.

So, we made Swedish pancakes for breakfast.


I didn’t realize how thin these would be. To me, they are more like crepes than pancakes. Though I guess technically, any kind of batter cooked in a pan could be called a “pancake” The girls didn’t really care much for them.

For dinner, the girls made Baked Salmon, dilled potatoes, and roasted red cabbage wedges.


This was a huge hit and has been asked to be added to our regular menu rotation.


Continuing with our Christmas baking, the girls made peanut butter blossoms and peanut butter and chocolate fudge.


All that is left is making our traditional pretzels (and I guess we aren’t the only ones because they were out of pretzels at the store).

The girls copied the poem Little Snowflake by Hannah More Kahaus in cursive.


We made Borax crystal candy canes from Go Science Girls


and Snow Slime from No Time For Flashcards.


I couldn’t find snowflake confetti, so I purchased sequins instead. The gold stars were too sharp to add to the slime. Thank goodness someone was nice enough to comment, letting us know on Little Sis’s slime account.

We also made glitter unicorn and


fox ornaments.


Wishing everyone Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Peace for the journey.


Christmas School (Sweden)

December 17, 2017

Week two of Christmas school consisted of homeschool gym, crafts, and sleepovers. We circled back around to finish our study of Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle from last winter, learning about Sweden this week.


We read the first two books in the American Girl: Kirsten series. We watched Rick Steves’ Stockholm episode and the poem: Only the Tomten is Awake on YouTube.  We also watched the Ted-Ed video: Why Do We Kiss Under the Mistletoe?

We made our version of an Elf on a Shelf orTomten/gnome from the book All Year Round.




(There is an awesome tutorial from Living HandMade on Youtube as well.)


We are counting down the days to Christmas by reading The Twelve Terrors of Christmas by John Updike and Edward Gorey. This has been a fun little read, but it’s the drawings that have taken center stage.

The first, of lots, of baking, started with the girls making gingerbread cookies.


We made paper snowflakes


and a snowstorm in a jar.


One of Little Sis’s slime videos was showcased on the Instagram Explore page and has received over 4,000 views (so far). She has been experimenting with lighting and backgrounds and is getting rather good. She is wanting to invest in a microphone for better sound.

The Christmas music and movies are still in rotation.

I have been keeping busy reading and listening to podcasts.

I am pushing through: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt.


It is an interpretation of the Lizzy Borden murders. It is okay, I found a documentary on the History channel a bit more informative. The author did a great job incorporating the facts into the story. I just am having trouble getting past all the descriptions of smells. If I read one more version of how someone smells, I am going to scream.  It is beginning to feel like I am reading olfactory porn.

I don’t like the whole flashback and flash forwarding pacing of the story either. I think it would have been much better to start the story from the few days leading up to the murders and continuing it from there. So, interesting enough to finish, but it’s not going to be added to my favorites list anytime soon.

I did listen to two great podcasts from Alanis Morrisette.


She is unschooling her children and interviewed Howard Gardner about his theory of multiple intelligences. I loved her interview with Dr. Elaine Aron about highly sensitive people too.

I am trying my damnedest to keep our holidays positive with all the current events swirling around us lately. I am beginning to hate turning on any media at all. In fact, this last week before Christmas, I just might keep it off. Sky has compared it to a surreal painting or waking up in Wonderland. I think she may be right.

Peace for the journey.

Christmas School (Sick Days)

December 8, 2017

Well, so much for wrapping up lessons before Christmas school. During Thanksgiving weekend, we all came down with some kind of viral infection that lasted for several days. I think we are all finally past the worst of it.

So instead of lessons, I brought out the Christmas movies, books, and puzzles. There was also a lot of Wii play and Sky watched too many YouTube documentaries to even list (thank goodness for the film section of her portfolio).



Before Papa got sick, we both managed to celebrate our anniversary with our usual Christmas shopping/ lunch date. The girls were able to fill out their wishlists in the nick of time and with shopping done, I can enjoy the rest of the holiday season.



I was able to get back into my reading groove, kind of stuck after Sleeping Beauties,  with some pretty powerful and triggering reads.

It started with the reading of Colleen Hoover’s new book Without Merit which then lead to The Way I Used to Be and Faking Normal. Not exactly the best holiday reads if you are already stuck in the Bell Jar during this time of year. However, I found them to be quite healing and perfect timing for the current events surrounding us at the moment.


Last night was Little Sis’s awards night for the fall cheer season. I was approached by the elite team’s coach (she was there scouting) that she would like Little Sis to join her team. Little Sis is beyond excited. This is what she has been working so hard toward.

It means contracts, more traveling, and 4-hour practices but she is ready. I am so proud of her.

Sky has been working on a little goal of her own that involves California. I can’t believe she will be 18 next fall. It feels like just yesterday I journeyed down the homeschooling path; best decision I have ever made (besides marrying Papa 😉 ). Both girls are determined and focused on their future goals.

Well, that about brings us up to date. Happy Holidays,

and peace for the journey.