Thanksgiving… Thursday, Nov 24 2016 

I almost feel sorry for the nine or ten months of the year that fall on the calendar after December. My favorite seasons are autumn and winter. I think I have an affinity for autumn because not only does my birthday  month “fall” in there (haha), but also the birthdays of my husband and my only biological son. Not to mention the changing of the leaves, the brisk breezes, that particular scent of autumn that invokes a cozy feeling in my heart, memories of the gloaming in the days where the sun was starting toward its rest a little sooner than usual. I also love winter, because it usually brings a chance to slow down from the hustle of the year. The crisp whiteness of the snow reminds me that there is hope for new life…that the world is resting in a peace and calm that will yield to the rich promise of spring. And we celebrate the adoptions of our oldest son as well as the sibling group of three girls and a boy. It’s all mostly just joyous and busy around here from October through December as we reunite with distant family and with friends we don’t get to see often.

I absolutely adore the holiday season. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, as it reminds us to live a life of gratitude. It certainly should not be relegated to one day, but it is a great reminder that we have been blessed beyond measure. I particularly enjoy my family gathering together to give thanks to the Lord for His faithful care of us, and for His generous provision. I have SO MUCH (!!!) to be thankful for, most of which cannot be measured by material wealth and possessions. I have good health, a family whom I love immensely, a church family that keeps me grounded and pointed toward living constantly as a disciple of Christ, and friends who continually bless me in ways they may not even realize.

I now have three children over 18 who still come, with significant others or friends in tow, on our annual tree excursion the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and who still try to find time to sit in on our Advent readings, fight over who gets to pull the wishbone or search for the Christmas pickle on our tree come December 25th. This year will be the second year we have a grandchild to enjoy – and spoil – at Christmas as well, and you can bet I will include each and every one of my children that I can get to indulge me in the Christmas morning stairway pajama picture. These little things — the things we have “always” done — are the traditions that melt and touch my heart. I hope each of you have taken time to cultivate ways to make memories with your loved ones that sustain you through the year!

I will be baking up a storm shortly, and I promise to try to post recipes and pictures when I can, in between all the busyness. God bless and love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Now — go play in your kitchen!!!

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Speedwell Forge Lake, Lititz PA

Love,

~Mary

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Cooking Class for Sammy, coming soon! Wednesday, Nov 23 2016 

One of the things I love — LOVE!!! — about homeschooling is the ability to tailor the curriculum to each child. Not everyone learns in the same manner, so my kinesthetic learner is not going to excel if the lesson is geared toward my visual or auditory learner. Of course, it’s helpful when a student can learn via a combination – but as I said, every child is different. This year one of my main goals is to pull up some lessons as I revert back to my own memories of days languishing in the heat of a brick-and-mortar school that definitely didn’t provide air conditioning for anyone who didn’t work in the office!

Ah, I can still vividly recall the permeating scent of cafeteria food (gross!). One of the most favorite hallways to stroll through though – if you can even say such a thing about school – was the hall where home ec was taught. Yes, the smell of fabrics from sewing class and fresh wood shavings from wood shop were part of that. But the best smells came from the room where we had cooking class! I still remember when some boys in our class added salt in place of sugar for a simple pancake recipe! But cooking was – and is – such an important life skill that our school included it in the curricula. Unfortunately, I know of many schools where lack of funding prohibits things like a good art, music or home ec program, Not so in this school setting!!!

As we delve into lessons about various cultures around the world for history, I have brainstormed ways to make some of these lessons sink in a little more solidly with some of my children. The visual learner may well remember facts read from the pages of the book, but the kinesthetic learner needs just a bit more to really grasp the differences of time periods, cultures and such. So – on to culinary lessons!!! Sammy will be starting a more formal course this coming January that starts with the basics of making eggs and moves up through breads, meats, fruits and veggies and even includes lessons on meal planning. And if he wants more, well — thank goodness the boy has a mama who loves to play in her kitchen!!! So — if any of y’all have some ideas for (shhhh!) Christmas gifts for a new young chef, please let me know. Thanks much! Meanwhile, I will be busy with some great things I’m planning to make for Thanksgiving!

Go play in YOUR kitchen! Love,

~Mary