Lucia Morning in Belleville

I’m always excited when Santa Lucia Day comes around. I had everything ready to go last night:

The girls were very excited to dress up and serve breakfast this morning…Chickadee got to carry the lussekattes for the first time, and she did a great job!

Happy Santa Lucia Day!

Gardenland Express

It’s train show time at the Missouri Botanical Garden!

This is the third year we’ve visited Gardenland Express, and I love that each show has been very different from the last. Different buildings come out each time, and different decorations. This year has a Mexican theme, which is obvious, even beyond the expected poinsettias.

Of course, it’s not just a train show…it’s also a flower show. It’s so nice to see so many colorful varieties at this time of year!

There are other lovely decorations, too, including a poinsettia-covered Christmas tree!

This is such a fun part of the Christmas activities at the Garden, and you could spend a whole afternoon just searching for all the little details hidden away in the scenes!

Holiday Trimmings at the Kemper Center

It’s “gourdament” time at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Kemper Center!

They’re all so amazingly creative, but I actually didn’t have a difficult time choosing a favorite this year…this one immediately caught my eye, and I love it!

In addition to the gourdaments, there are other natural decorations on the tree, as well. The bows are made out of very velvety leaves!

The children love finding the hidden “Henry Shaw” in the tree, and the prizes are always adorable!

Part of its beauty is in its uniqueness…you’re not going to find many Christmas trees like this one!

There is also a cute display outside the Kemper Center. If you walk all the way around the central planter, you’ll see several different woodland creatures hidden among the flora:

I love all the different ways the Missouri Botanical Garden finds to decorate for Christmas every year!

Christmas Traditions 2017

Yesterday was that most magical day of the year when we went to St. Charles, MO, for the Christmas Traditions festival. I think this was one of our coldest visits to the event…some years, we’ve barely needed sweatshirts, but yesterday, we were wearing winter coats, hats and gloves! We braved the cold to see all of our favorite characters and collect their cards along the way…We ended up with 32 of 45 cards, which isn’t too bad! Every year, I hope that maybe¬†this is the year we get them all, but I kind of doubt that will ever happen. Plus, there are Wednesday night bonus cards, so we really couldn’t ever collect all of them, since we can only make the journey to St. Charles once a year, and we would rather go during the day on the weekend.

We visited the Gingerbread Village, where, as always, I was impressed by the talent and creativity on display. I especially liked the gingerbread TARDIS!

Part of the fun is seeding the old buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and beautiful Christmas decorations:

By the time the parade rolled around, a few of us were too cold to watch, and had to head back to the car. Those that stayed enjoyed seeing ALL the characters, and taking part in the camaraderie of the crowd:

No matter how I feel about Santa, I always enjoy seeing the Santas of the world carrying in their country’s’ flags:

We didn’t take a lot of pictures with the characters, but we got the ones that mattered most, including a group shot with my favorite Santa (Frontier Santa, who I am pretty sure is exactly who Mr. Edwards met in Little House on the Prairie), and a photo with Bunny and Jack Frost, her Christmas Traditions hero:

And of course a family picture on the steps of the gazebo!

It always goes by too fast, but we’re already thinking about the fun we’ll have next year!

2017-18 School Year–Week Fifteen

As is usually the case in December, this has been a crazy week!

In addition to our regular religion studies this week (everyone is still in the Old Testament, although Chickadee is getting close to the New Testament, which is very appropriate for Advent!), we spent some time learning about Nicholas of Myra and Ambrose of Milan, since we observed both of their commemoration days this week. The fact that they lived around the same time, and dealt with the same heresies in the church, makes them very interesting to study together!

In math, Turkey and Bunny found the volume of rectangular prisms and cylinders. They are both continuing to excel in this area of math! Ladybug has been working more with time, in addition to always practicing her long division skills. Chickadee has been practicing her addition skills!

Science was a little overwhelming. Turkey and Bunny learned about aerobic cellular respiration, which left me wanting a nap! Ladybug finished learning about rodents, and rodent-like animals, which included the platypus and echidna, which are always fun to study!

In history, Ladybug learned about some of the things Turkey and Bunny were studying last week…Homer, the Greek alphabet, and the ancient Olympic Games. Turkey and Bunny moved on to Assyria and Babylon, where they studied Tiglath-Pileser III, or as they call him, “TP3.”

In addition to Beowulf and Heidi, we added in our annual December literature study of A Christmas Carol. I always look forward to reading that book with the children! We’re also nearing the end of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I hadn’t intended to read that whole series out loud this year, but it certainly has gone by fast…just a few more books after this one!

We also had our annual “Nutcracker Day” this week, which is a fairly recent re-addition to our December school days. Once we had more than two productions to watch, I used to stretch our Nutcracker watching out for a week or more (we’re up to six different versions from ballet companies all over the world!), but in recent years, with how busy we’ve been, I’ve needed a weekday in December to bake cookies for our church’s cookie walk. So, after a few easy subjects yesterday morning, we went back to the way we used to do it…we read a few Nutcracker tales, including my favorite picture book edition, The Nutcracker Comes to America, and The Day Before Christmas, and then settled in to watch the ballet, and take notes on the differences between the various productions. We only made it through three, which surprised me, but at least we saw our three favorites: The San Francisco Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, and the Royal Ballet performances. Hopefully we’ll find time in the next month or so to watch the rest of them!

Just one full week of school left (hopefully) before our Christmas break…I hope I make it!