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Monday, February 2, 2015

fair february

Lemon Blueberry Scones. When baked, we put a lemon glaze on them. They were good. Ummm... diet? Ya.. that's another story for another day. 

I am happy to see January come to an end. 

The past month was a hard one, for many reasons. I am happy to be turning the page on our calendar and turning over a new leaf in my mind space. 
A few things made January hard. Cold cold temps, the end of the holiday season, worrying about loved ones, the tragic death of Cst. Wynn, ongoing dysfunction at the community club (I have since resigned from my position on the Board) and seasonal depression. 
Depression is hard, because no matter how many people tell you to, "look on the sunny side" or "get out of the house, go for a walk, or do some exercise", it doesn't matter. Seasonal depression stops me in my tracks and being isolated does't help me. I can honestly tell you, I got through the last month by letting the kids watch a lot of TV and talking on the phone daily to friends and family, who helped me get through it. Just being honest. 
But now the light is returning, and even though it is still bitterly cold (-30 to -40 temps) we are feeling like we are moving forwards in the season, and we have many things to look forward to. 
February is promising to be a month of adventures and opportunities, for myself and the whole family. A birthday celebration for the man of the house (Winslow), a photography assignment with my bestie Sarah, Valentines Day (the kids care more about this than Winslow and I do), and last but not least, a much anticipated vacation to Maui with our neighbours Chrissie and James. Thank goodness for things on the horizon.
The past few weeks in homeschooling have been hard for me. The kids were enthusiastic enough, but with my seasonal depression, I found it so hard to find the motivation and energy to want to do it. 
I felt so guilty about it and was in a rut. 
The first  week of January we did a unit on Hibernation and Winter animals, we also read/re-enacted the story of The Mitten. It went well and we all enjoyed it. 
The second week of January was all about Winter. We played educational winter themed games, read winter stories, and started some early Valentine crafts (to send in the mail to family). 
The last few weeks of January homeschooling were tough for me. Like I said, the motivation as not there and I had to completely bi-pass it a few times. It was very cold here and we were housebound for many of the days. I also had some envy of those homeschoolers who live in bigger towns and centers. It was hard to hear about all the dance classes, art classes and other places to go, when I was essentially housebound with the children. I know, envy is not a good attribute to have... but we are human and it is a normal emotion to have. 
Some of the activities that got us through those weeks were crafts and baking. I had the children decorate ziplock bags and fill them with homemade cookies to give to the teachers and helpers in the community. It was easy for me and something that the children got a lot of joy out of. Baking is such a comforting activity to do with kids. 
Now that we are into the month of February (and will be in Hawaii for half of it), we are excited and happy to move on in our homeschool adventures. 
In an attempt to shake things up a bit, I decided to designate some special "writing" stations for the kids to use. Each area comes already set up with "writing" tools such as pencils, markers, alphabet stamps, alphabet stickers, and othe do-dads. For Noah's area, I wrote out a few key words that he may recognize and gave him a postcard template to look at (he has blank postcards to write on). 
And even though Katia is too young to be writing, I think that it is good to encourage her to express herself through different mediums, and I can scribe for her if she wants something written out. 
One thing that was neat, I found her scribbling (from LEFT to RIGHT) and she told me she was writing- looks like a good start to me! 
I have also been trying to include a song or poem each week into our homeschool units. 
We had a poem for our Hibernating unit, and we did 5 Little Snowmen (with stick puppets) for our Winter Unit. This week, I am playing the ukulele and we are singing You Are My Sunshine. I find bringing song and poems into our units, helps the idea to stay in our mind, and it is a joyful was to express ourselves. 
One more addition to our homeschool days are some clapping games and beanbag games. I sewed up these simple beanbags and looked up some games to do with them. We do balancing games and tossing games. It is a good way to get the kids to focus and zone in on homeschooling. The clapping game we play is where the leader claps a simple rhythm and the others have to listen, then they copy the rhythm. It is good for concentration, pattern recognition and working on listening skills ;) 
The last two weeks of homeschool will be all about the ocean, beach and sea turtles. We will be in Hawaii and I plan to sneak in some very "hands on" homeschooling with the kids. No worksheets- no way! Just exploration, books, and lots of adventures!
So there we go. A little re-cap of our past few weeks. 
I hope the February brings a fresh start to anyone who is seeking it. 
Love and peace. 


  1. It sounds like you are more than ready to get away. Don't be hard on yourself. Being a mom is tough. Being the wife of an officer is tough. Your environment is tough. Wishing you bright sunshine and lots of lovely family time on your holiday.

  2. January is my least favorite month too. My hubby gets hit hard with SAD, but over the years in the north he seems to have finally found a good combination of medications, vitamins, lamps, and activities to make it bearable for him. I think Cavan is following in his footsteps because he has been one miserable kid for the last month.
    Sorry to hear about your resignation from the community club. I understand fully the dysfunction that can happen in small community groups. Gah. I am sure it happens in large centres too, but it is really miserable in small places.
    I hope your holiday is absolutely fantastic!

    1. thank you for the kind words Kara. xo

  3. Depression is pretty heavy over in our world these days, too, Jo. I feel your pain and send you thoughts of love all the time. Hope you can feel them. It's so nice to get this little window into your world. Sounds like you have some good strategies in place to fight the greyness but I know some days it is easier to implement those supports than others. Wishing you so much gentleness and light. xo julia


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