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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lovely Loved Ones Garland & Valentine Archives

  When a holiday comes around, one of the first things I think is "What crafty thing am I going to make?"  With Valentine's Day in mind, I began contemplating what to do with my fireplace mantel and perused my archives for crafty goodness and found some oldies but goodies. (Click on the photo to see more.)
as well as Beeswax Hearts,
heart shaped Surprise Soap
& heart Watercolor Garland

as well as Valentine Beeswax Candles
& an Inspiration Garland

Can I leave it at that? Nooooo.  More craftiness must be done. So...

Today we made People We Love Garland

The supplies are easy to find: photos, ribbon, scissors, exacto knife, and a heart template.  We used cookie cutters.

If you want to do more than your immediate family but cannot find
photos of the ones you love, try facebook, where you can usually
find photos of distant family and friends.

Simply trace & cut out hearts around your loves face then cut a slightly larger heart out of construction paper or scrapbook paper.  To glue it on, I used a water/glue mix & applied it with a paintbrush so there would not be any goopy bumps.  Cut a slit at the edge of each heart with your exacto knife then thread the ribbon through.  (I found it easiest to use a plastic cross-stitch needle.)

This one is a gift to a family member far away. Each person will sign
their name on the back of their heart sending love and well wishes.

There you have it. 

A garland of Lovely Loved Ones.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Reading and Copywork

In the last week, it has become bitter cold here in central PA.  With the oncoming cold weather we pulled out some of our favorite winter books and continue to read learning books. (Click on the title to learn more.)

books we use year round
Skip Around the Year by Eileen Fisher - lovely collection of holiday poems
Around the Year by Elsa Beskow - beautifully illustrated monthly picture book
Around the Year by Tasha Tudor - monthly picture book & must have for her fans

artist and composer study
Claude Monet - timeline history of Monet's life
Monet - wonderful for elementary children, a lot of pictures and easy to read
Lives of the Musicians - brief, interesting biographies of 19 composers from Mozart to Woody Guthrie.  Excellent for narration.
Play, Mozart, Play - delightful picture book for the very young

independent reading

Problems in Plymouth - book 6 of the historical fiction series "Imagination Station"
Popelton in Winter - easy reader about a funny pig and his unique adventures

for the little one

Waldorf Alphabet Book - vibrant illustrations and so much fun for little ones
The Snowy Day - follow young Peter as he has fun in the snow
First Picture Nature - Usborne book for when you need bright and cheery on a dreary day

favorite winter picture books
 The Tomten and the Fox - one of our favorite stories about a kind little Tomten
Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening - delightful illustrations capture the essence of this famous Robert Frost poem
The Big Snow - sweet story about how animals prepare for winter

more favorite winter picture books

The Snowman Storybook - an enchanting story about a boy and his snowman
Where Did Bunny Go? - charming picture book about animal friends
Tom and Pippo Go for a Walk - one in a series of simple story books about a boy and his toy monkey

mom and child narration books

Kids Make History - stories of boys and girls throughout American history (1607-2001)
Tales of Mr. Pengachoosa - a little girl is entertained by her pet hamster who tells her stories about his adventurous grandfather

As I look at the book list it seems that we have an lot of reading going on. (Of course, to me there can never be too much reading.)  And while we do try to fit in outdoor time to get a full sense of the season, Aidan's copywork poem for this week certainly expresses our sentiment for how we treasure books in the winter.


Picture Books In Winter
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Summer fading, winter comes—  
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs  
Window robins, winter rooks,  
And the picture story-books.  
Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;  
Still we find the flowing brooks  
In the picture story-books.  
All the pretty things put by,  
Wait upon the children's eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,  
In the picture story-books.  
We may see how all things are,  
Seas and cities, near and far,  
And the flying fairies' looks,
In the pictyure story-books.  
How am I to sing your praise,  
Happy chimney-corner days,  
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,  
Reading picture story-books?

Friday, January 18, 2013


A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Can you remember the last time you wrote a hand-written letter?  In a day when email, facebook, and phone texts make it easy to send and receive instant communication, it seems that we are less willing to actually write a letter.  Perhaps we will buy and send cards, but often little more is included in our own had than our name.

I grew up in a family where we were expected to write letters, and now that expectation, is moving to the next generation in the form of thank you letters.  In fact, it was fun to see how the boys would express their thanks for Christmas gifts. 

 As we began, Aidan, who is seven, was rather reluctant to stop his play, but seemed a bit more interested when he saw that I brought out the fancy thank you notes.
Thanking an Uncle and Aunt for great gifts.

Shane, who is four, was glad to write his thanks in pictures.

He included a few words for me to translate.

With practice, the boys will learn good letter writing form, and hopefully, with the knowledge of the pleasure it brings the recipient, will learn to enjoy the lost art of letter writing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Simple Winter Chalkboard Drawing

Here is a little peak at our current chalkboard drawing.  It's not much, but it sets the tone for the season.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Winter Nature Table

 In my post about our late autumn nature table, I wrote about how our nature table reflects what we are doing in homeschool lessons as well as the change of the seasons.  In December, our nature table began to change once again. The bear went into hibernation, the autumn leaves blew away and we looked toward the light as the daylight shrank from the longer nights.
During the holidays, our nature table reflected our reverence for the Christ child.

As we moved into January, Jack Frost froze the land and snow came.  Our table now reflects some of the literature we are reading, including The Tomten and the Fox, Owl Moon, and Night Tree.

The Tomten, the fox, and the owl have come for a visit.

As the season move toward spring, the table will be filled with found treasures that once filled little boys' pockets, mostly twigs and pebbles, until Mrs. Thaw comes and snowdrops bloom inviting a nature table overflowing with little flowers.

As I was surfing blogland...

During one of those wonderful moments when my eldest is focused on his reading and my youngest is quietly playing, I stumbled upon One Artsy Mama - how could I resist a look around a blog with that name!?  The first post to come up was Growing Together.  After a look around, I thought, "Why not?"  While I have participated in the occasional link-up, I have never really tried to make my blog grow, but now I can feel a pull to shift the direction a tad as I delve deeper into homeschooling yet retain our bit of nature-love and crafty-fun on the blog, and I look forward to sharing some of my ideas and learning from others.  I also am hoping to include more National Park Service related posts.  After all, being a National Park Ranger is an awesome job and I would like to share more about what the NPS has to offer families.

So that's it.  I'm in.  For those who have been so kind to follow my blog and leave encouraging comments:  Thank You.  Stay tuned, I have some great things planned for this new year here at How the Sun Rose.

Want to join? Register here

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Purposeful word of the year...

Last year I began a new tradition to pick a purposeful word to focus on throughout the year.  The word for 2012 was "Embrace."  Little did I know that around the bend were days of joy and delight, and sadness and grief to be embraced.  Of course, the days of joy and delight were easy to take in and own as mine to embrace, the days of sadness and grief, not so much.  But I did it with a faith that was at times blind to what lay ahead.  My mother and sister made me a wonderful collage to remind me to daily embrace my life.

For 2013, my focus word is "Simplicity".

Why simplicity?  In a world that is often chaotic, simplicity is what I want to find in my own life.  I thought about "simplify" but once I had simplified my life, then what?  I do not want another thing to do but another way to live life.  With simplicity as my goal, I will be mindful of what I have, what I let into my sphere of influence, and how I do what I do as a wife, parent, homeschool teacher, park ranger, friend, etc. To me, simplicity does not mean that I have to live a boring lifestyle. Simplicity will  free me from spinning my wheels trying to deal with complexity and chaos, and in turn, open more time and energy for me to be truly present and delight in life.  In the long run, simplicity will bring me to a lifestyle with more intentional behavior and clarity that in itself is fulfilling and enjoyable.

Surely, in time, this effort for simplicity will spread out to my family and our bonds will strengthen and wonderful memories will be made and cherished.  That really makes me look forward to 2013!

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