Little Changes…

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Goodbye October, Hello November… November, you are my least favorite month of the year, because you drag me, kicking and screaming, into the winter season. By the time this month is over, all the leaves will be off the trees, we’ll have seen our first snowfall, and it will be cold enough to warrant a coat and hat each time we leave the house. But here you are, November, so let’s get used to each other. Happy thoughts, right?

Our family life has been very full. Homeschooling is in full swing with lessons and assignments every day, punctuated by many field trips. I am having a lot of fun with the girls this year, and I think they are enjoying it too. Now that they’re in the 2nd and 4th grades, the type of work they can undertake has changed and increased. I expect a lot more from both of them and they don’t disappoint me. Here’s a flavor of the work they are involved in:

They begin every day by watching the NBC newscast from the night before – it gives them a glimpse of the major headlines and helps them to be well-informed students;

We are all reading The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis and will have a series of discussions when we finish the book;

The girls love history and geography, so we are cruising through the geography of the United States, complete with mapping projects, and they are learning about the history of New York State;

Next week we start our Project Feederwatch citizen science project, where we will spend 2 days each week observing and counting the birds at our feeders until next spring.

These are just some of the exciting things that are happening at our homeschool this fall.

While school life rolls along at a good clip, I am finding my inner personal life to be in a state of transition. I stopped working at the farmers market for the time being, and I am still adjusting to losing that part of my identity. In the past, when I left a job, I usually had a plan for what lay ahead. This time I’m not moving toward anything in particular. What I have gained by not working, though, is priceless and much needed: down time with my family. We are so busy during the week – all of us – and weekends have become a time for us to be together and relax in each other’s company. I’m welcoming some additional little changes in my life this fall: I’m picking up my first pair of BIFOCALS {gasp!} next week; I’ve stopped drinking wine {completely – another gasp!}; and I’ve been busy selling honey and herbal tinctures from my garden. I’m taking a class on herbal medicine through the Herbal Academy of New England and I have learned so much about how herbs work in the body. I am lucky to have a garden full of medicinal herbs, and I’ve spent the summer and fall harvesting, then tincturing or drying them. I can’t wait to experiment with even more mixtures this winter.

One of my favorite garden herbs is catnip. Yes, the same catnip that makes cats go crazy! I grow a few plants in the garden and it is wonderful in a hot tea blend when you want to relax and sleep well. It’s the best herb I’ve ever used for soothing upset stomachs and minimizing gas pain. It works beautifully for both children and adults… we drink a lot of catnip tea at our house! Grace enjoys catnip too, of course.

Speaking of Grace, she turned 15 a few weeks ago and she’s definitely showing her age. Here she is relaxing on ‘H’s drawings…

Hello November!

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