Today is the tenth of January and our days are just now slowing down to a steady calm rhythm. The kids and I have been reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe each morning when we wake up. It is still dark outside so we have a strand of Christmas lights in a window still and a hanging star that add a warm glowing light to the room. We snuggle on the couch with a blanket over us, and while sipping my wake up cup of tea, we all enjoy a visit to Narnia. This week we returned to our morning lesson schedule after our Holiday break.
We are having a warm winter so far. The last couple weeks have been above zero, most days around twenty degrees. So we've been enjoying getting out together. I do farm chores first, and sometimes the kids help milk goats and sometimes they go off and play in the snow. Sometimes they ski while I do chores and some days we all ski together after I've finished chores. I should clarify that by "ski" I mean that Noah hikes to the top of the hill, puts his cross country skis down and plummets down the hill in helmet requiring fashion. Whereas Avery cautiously and hesitantly, slowly shuffles along on the flat stretch of our driveway while I hold her hand. If I'm lucky she lets me skis circles around her after we've made a couple laps.
We had a lovely time over the Holidays. It was a little crazy before hand. The kids and I were crafting every day together and then Dustin and I were crafting at night after the kids went to bed. But we got it all done. Dustin made a light saber and a wood battle shield for that I have yet to take pictures of but both look really impressive. He also made an open air fairy house for Avery, made out of Birch rounds. It has a few levels with stairs and laders, a swing and a small table and chairs. I made Noah Moccasins out of our own goat hide.
Friends of mine tanned it using eggs, and it turned out soft and supple. I needle felted some hanging angels for gifts and some small dolls for Avery, as well as a small fairy for her house.
We tried to make most of our gifts with a few exceptions. We budgeted a hundred dollars for gifts for each of the kids which we put towards games, instruments, art supplies and little stocking things. We put one hundred dollars aside for supplies to make gifts with. I spent most of it on yarn that I used to knit three soft Purl B Bandana cowls for the men in the family, and for raw wool roving for wet felting and needle felting. The kids and I needle felted fruit and vegetables for their cousins.
The kids made rolled beeswax candles, folded transparent paper stars, wool felted soap (soap that we'd made from goat milk, lard and honey last year), and Paracord bracelets (think survival man stuff) for the men.
We had a photographer friend come up and take family pictures in exchange for farm products. Love bartering!
On Christmas we had a family brunch followed by gift giving. For dinner we had a traditional Christmas Goose followed by a very impressive flaming Plum Pudding.
Usually after Christmas we enjoy some mellow time, but this year we promptly switched gears and cleaned the house for house sitters, packed our bags and headed off on a road trip to Anchorage to visit my in-laws. We spent the week of New Years in the city. The weather was in the thirties all week and we enjoyed the warmer sea air daily. On New Years day we walked to a nearby groomed pond and joined many other Anchoragites ice skating. The following day we took the kids to an indoor water park. We shopped and ate out and then packed our bags and were happy to head home to where "normal" Alaskans live. (Ha!)
Today I'm still feeling a little behind but I'm making time to write and then I'm going to look at cookbooks and menu plan, and then hopefully I'll fit in some banjo playing, or if my time is up by then I'll play Catan Jr. or read more Narnia to the kids before heating up leftovers...or cooking something simple.
This weekend we are hopefully tackling some unpleasant chores that have been postponed since early December. There are roosters that have needed butchered (the hens need them to be butchered). The chicken coop needs cleaned out while the bedding is still thawed. I need to spend a good day getting prepared and planning for the next month of lessons, making some new games and learning some new activities. And I, for one am ready to start enjoying the slow days of January - because that is how they are supposed to be! Dreamy days, slow mornings filled with comfort foods and hot chocolate, afternoons surrounded by seed catalogs, music making, crafts without deadlines, guiltless reading, pots of stew and elaborate breads and evenings spent around the coffee table playing games with the kids.
I wish us all cozy, peaceful, warm dreamy days punctuated with moments of clarity and inspiration.