I have come to love January. It's such a quiet, contemplative time, after the rush and busyness of the holidays. It also feels like the perfect month to spend some extra time on the couch reading. I particularly love to make myself a nice hot tea after dinner (Chris bought me an expensive Thermos mug so my tea can always be hot like I like it) and sit a spell with a good book.
Can I share my current reads?
With Owen I'm reading Little House in the Big Woods at bedtime. Although most of the time he reads it to me. I think I must have read this book at least 6 ot 7 times by now in my life, but it never tires me. The details of the Ingalls's pioneer life in the Wisconsin woods are so fascinating, and often quite entertaining, too. We just finished reading the chapter where in the dark, Ma thinks the bear in their corral is their cow, and gives it a good smack! And meanwhile Pa, who is making his way home through the dark woods, thinks a dead tree is a bear, and gives it a good smack! Ha ha.
We have also been reading a book we got through interlibrary loan - Ingri D'Aulaire's 1946 picture book Pochantas. It's lovely, much better than the overly sentimental and romantic Disney version of the story.
For fun, light reading for myself, I've picked up The Story Girl by LM Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. I have read virtually all of her books. Although sometimes I cringe at the sheer cheesiness of her writing (she often described it herself as "purple prose"), I love it all the same. I really enjoy the trip to a simpler time and a beautiful place - rural Prince Edward Island in the early 1900s.
I'm also slowly moving through my new cookbook, The Art of Simple Food. This is a wonderful book. The first part has easy to read lessons on every aspect of cooking good, simple food - making your own salad dressing and sauces, roasting meat, baking bread, etc. The second part is recipes. All through the book Ms. Walker gives the simplest possible recipe, then afterward a list of possible variations you could do. She encourages creativity in the kitchen, which is an approach I like. I know this is a cook book I will refer to many times over the years.
Also in the instructional sphere, I'm leafing through a book which is reissued from wartime Britain - Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps. A lot of the information is outdated, but it's entertaining if nothing else, and I can tell there is some good common sense advice in there as well, since when it was written (in 1941) people were very concerned with not wasting anything, and doing the best you could with what you had. Which is always good.
I'm happy to say that I'm starting to feel more up to extra activities where homeschooling is concerned. For a long time I was pregnant or caring for a newborn, and I just didn't have the energy. But lately I have been able to organize some of the "other" activities that make homeschooling fun - frequent art projects and regular nature walks, to name two. To give me inspiration for our nature study, I have been leafing through The Handbook of Nature Study, which is a classic often used by homeschoolers, originally published in 1911. I also have been reading Discover Nature in Winter, which has lots of wonderful ideas, and Your Backyard Wildlife Year, which is full of ideas for attracting wild creatures to your back yard.