Happy Saturday! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week! For my American subscribers, I hope you’ve had a lovely Thanksgiving as well.
In this weekend edition of The Grace-Filled Life, you’ll find Christmas inspiration, great books and homeschool adventures.
This Week on TGFL
Here’s what’s been happening on The Grace-Filled Life this week:
- Christmas Gift Ideas: Five Inspiring Books for Homeschool Moms – Looking for a Christmas gift idea for yourself or a fellow home educator? What could be better than a book that breathes hope? Packed with wisdom from women who’ve walked this road, these five books are must-reads for every homeschool mom.
- What Can I Give to the King? Some thoughts on giving back this Christmas – Our Savior, come to earth, the greatest gift of all. The wisemen brought him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The shepherds brought him their gift – the gift of wonder. This year and every year, I have to ask, “What can I give to the King?”
This Week in the Outdoors
It’s early. Too early to be this cold and snowy. Despite the November weather, we’ve spent several afternoons outside this week, exploring for hours. Our boots crunch on the icy snow and our cheeks sting with the cold air. Fingers and toes are numb, yet hearts are full of joy. When we come inside, we ward off the lingering chill with steaming mugs of hot chocolate. The white chocolate flavour is our favourite. It promises to be a long winter; we may as well make the best of it.
This Week in Books
This time of year, there’s nothing better than snuggling up with a good book. Between the five of us, here’s what we’ve been reading:
Picture Books and Readers
- The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle – I read this book with my youngest this week as part of her preschool curriculum. She loved it!
- The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder – One of our favourite books!
- D.L. Moody: Bringing Souls to Christ by Janet and Geoff Benge – My eldest requested a book on Dwight L. Moody, so I ordered this one from christianbook.com.
- Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley – I’m still working through this massive book on Church History.
- Home Education by Charlotte Mason – I’m continuing to read this volume on home education for a book club that I attend.
This Week in Homeschool
What a delightful week! We’ve gone on several field trips and learned so many amazing things this week.
Piling on a school bus with several other homeschool families, we toured a landfill site this week. We learned about steaming piles of decomposing yard waste, and how they will catch on fire if they are not turned regularly. We learned about methane gas, and how they pipe it from the bottom of the landfill and convert it to electricity. We learned about how they hire a falconer to come with his birds of prey to keep the seagulls at bay. It was quite a fascinating trip and I’m glad we went.
After visiting the waste management site, we still had a few hours before we needed to pick up my husband from work. After a relaxing lunch at a nearby coffee shop, the girls and I headed over to Crawford Lake, a reconstructed Iroquoian village, hoping to tour the longhouses. Unfortunately, they were all booked with school trips, so we only peeked around a little before heading off on a hike around the rare meromictic lake that gives the site its name. The sun shone with cold, yellow light and the soft branches of the cedar trees were coated with fresh snow. It was Narnia in winter, dreaming of Aslan.
It was beautiful.
From there, we headed to Mountsberg Conservation Area to visit with the bison, horses and birds of prey. In winter, park staff feed the bison hay. If you come at just the right time, you can catch a glimpse of them feeding. How fortuitous that we came at just the right time!
Snug in a warm barn, Mountsberg also has goats, sheep, chickens and rabbits. My eldest, an animal lover, was in her glory. We spent a little bit of time in the large play barn as well. Mountsberg is one of our favourite places, although we don’t visit often.
In our outdoor science class this week, we learned about birds. The kids made a feeder out of an orange and watched the chickadees and nuthatches enjoy their treats. They were also able to hand feed some of the birds, including a downy woodpecker. A red-tailed hawk swooped low overhead, providing an unusually close view. And a blue heron flew quite close as well. Apparently, some blue herons live in southern Canada year-round.
Although we were there to learn about birds, we were excited to see that the marsh was dotted with muskrat lodges. What an interesting sight! Legend has it that the thicker the walls, the colder the winter.
“Laura put her hand on the wall of their house. The coarse plaster was hot in the hot wind and sunshine, but inside the thick mud walls, in the dark, the air must be cool. She liked to think of the muskrats sleeping there. Pa was shaking his head, “We’re going to have a hard winter,” he said, not liking the prospect. “Why, how do you know?” Laura asked in surprise. “The colder the winter will be, the thicker the muskrats build the walls of their houses,” Pa told her. “I never saw a heavier built muskrat’s house than that one.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter
Here’s hoping Pa was wrong.
Snippets from Around the Web
- Christmas Learning Activities to Finish Your Semester Strong
- When You Want to Quit Homeschooling: 10 Things to Do Instead
- The Hospitality of Broken Things
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