Our holidays don't seem to be as restful as we'd like. It's just with a big family and many friends - all great blessings in our lives - there is a lot of entertaining and being entertained. It is nice to catch up with old friends though, so I'll take it.
After the holidays were through, we settled into a more relaxed rhythm. Everyone helping around the home, doing a little academic work together (mostly math and writing), and some excursions to round things out. The kids did a lot of baking with me, including those cheese pies. Come to think of it, I don't think I did much besides the prep work. They pretty much put them together and I stuck trays into the oven. Done. It's actually a wonderful feeling to have helpers in the kitchen. It's taken a few years of "training", lots of messes, plenty of patience and encouragement, but they seem to be well on their way to self-sufficiency in this area.
J is working on math now. She is a playful monkey, so it's tough to stay on track usually. I have to keep reminding myself that the work she's doing doesn't matter nearly as much as our time together and how we connect. Not easy. She is chugging along however and has mastered the collective exercises for addition. We are working on carry-overs now. She and Michael partner up for this, and I am the happiest mom watching them work together. I think J likes it because we make a big deal whenever someone says "ten" as they count beads. :)
I have to say that most of our work is done in 10-15 minute increments. It's very manageable. In fact, many times the kids move on to a second round of work, or else they do a little extra, I like that aspect immensely about Montessori. It doesn't take much. The trick is to do it as often as possible - if not daily then at least 2-3 times a week. This repetition helps to cement concepts in a profound way. I find that even if a child does not grasp every single aspect or angle of whatever the lesson is, they still understand the concept.
This little munchkin is growing like a weed! She is past one and walking. Climbing is more like it. She climbs everything. We've had to be creative with this one, she just can't help it. She loves to by a part of whatever's going on, which usually means getting up onto the dining room table, or climbing all over the sofas and side tables. She's so happy and so full of zest as she goes exploring, we can't help but kiss those cheeks!
When evening arrives, the best way to calm down rowdy kiddies is to read with them. I was so glad when D captured this moment. I don't think we have any recent shots of us reading together. Here we are reading "The Quiet Little Woman" by L.M. Montgomery. The kids love it, especially the older two.
There is always work to be done in the kitchen. As per usual. I don't think we've been terribly creative on that front, but I have had more spurts of energy, so we have had less sandwiches and more hearty fare. I am trying to stay away from cold cuts, which is difficult because a) it's convenient for lunches, and b) the kids love it. I've made them steak sandwiches, pulled beef and turkey (from leftover turkey) that I've stashed in the freezer. I think that's going to be my new system. Once we have something like a roast or turkey, I will freeze a certain amount to use for lunch meat. Finally got this down!
I painted this icon years ago, but the gold starting peeling off thanks to a bad metal size I used. (Of course!) Thankfully, we found an experience iconographer to fix it. I will never use that size again. Yeesh. Thankfully, all's well that ends well.