Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016: The Year of Rhythm

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul...You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  Deuteronomy 11:18,19
Recently I've been thinking and reading a lot about family life, family discipleship and homeschooling. Brian and I have been discussing and processing our own upbringings/educations and deciding together what influences and values will make up the culture of our own family.

I'm inspired by the idea of a rhythmic life, small daily habits and rituals that give anchor points throughout the day and build up over a lifetime. We are feeling more and more clear about what our goals are for the life of our family and now is the time to solidify habits and rhythms so that we can begin to work toward those goals. To that end, it seems like the perfect word to direct our year would be "rhythm". 

The following are some daily rhythms we'd like to continue and commit to in the coming year:

- Morning Basket with the kids at breakfast (this includes Bible, prayer, memory work, hymns, poetry, nature, art study etc.)

- Have my personal devotions right after Morning Time (ideally I would do this before they wake up, but it is not the season of life for that)

- Read alouds scattered throughout the day. Afternoon poetry tea times, when we can.

- As much time spent outside as possible.

- Family worship after dinner; a passage of scripture read aloud by Brian, prayer and singing of a hymn or worship song (with instruments!).

- Books and a blessing for the kids(Numbers 6:24-26) before bed.

- Brian and I read aloud a chapter or two of a book before bed (currently it's Pride and Prejudice).

We hope these daily rhythms will help us be intentional about our days as we disciple our kids and encourage truth, goodness and beauty in our family culture. It's already been a huge blessing to carve out these intentional pockets of time and we've seen the fruit of these habits for ourselves and our children. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Winter List and Preparing for Deep Winter

I've always been inspired by the changing of the seasons and I love embracing the special parts of each time of year. Despite my love for the seasons, I also kind of dread our long New England winters. For years I called my seasonal winter bucket list my "winter survival list", but this year I'm taking the "survival" out and just trying to embrace winter and the parts of the season to look forward to. This year, I won't just survive, I'm going to live it to the full!

Evidenced by our Christmas gifts this year, I'm inspired by the Danish concept of "Hygge" and I want to bring the warm, cozy, communal nature of winter to our home as much as possible. I look forward to constant candles burning, string lights and lanterns, warm drinks, piles of blankets, baked goods, good books, crock pot meals and plenty of communal gatherings to share it with friends and family. 

We'll see how I'm feeling come March when the snow is still knee-deep, but at the moment, I'm feeling rather excited for the deep winter setting in and all the good and beauty it has in store for us.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Christmas Project: Hygge Kits

This year, I did less Christmas crafting than usual, but we did come up with a fun concept for our gift giving.  Brian and I have recently read some articles about the Danish word "Hygge" and we were inspired to create kits for encouraging hygge in our family's lives this winter. What is hygge, you ask? Brian wrote the following explanation for our kit:

"Denmark is a land of darkness and frost this time of year. At the peak of it, Winter Solstice, they only get about seven hours of daylight. Like us, they face temperatures in the teens, along with the weight of snow and frost. But the Danes have a secret weapon.

It’s called Hygge (pronounced “Hyoogah”). Popular myth credits Hygge for making Danes some of the happiest people in the world. Hygge seems to indicate a feeling of comfort, cheer, and familiarity (the word cannot be succinctly translated into English). It’s a sense of home, and a sense of casual festivity. 

Though Danes use the word for gatherings and settings throughout the year, winter is considered high season for Hygge. They surround themselves with warm, low lights, comfy socks and sweaters, and treats like cake and mulled wine to stave off the bitter twilight framed in every window pane. They create an intimate day, an inner-light, and they share it. 

So enjoy your Hygge kits. Though Hygge could never be contained in a jar, each item can add to the atmosphere ripe for true Hygge happiness. And as you enjoy the light and warmth in the cold dark, let it be a reminder of our Savior’s incomparable, conquering radiance as well:

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them a light has shown.

Isaiah 9:2" 

Our kits included items such as candles, tea, hot chocolate, mason jars to house flowers or candles, comfy socks, twinkle lights, hand cream, lip balm, a good book, hand warmers and chocolates; all things that we hoped would encourage a warm and happy winter. 

Here's to a hygge season for us all!

Levi's Christmas Project: Beaded Snowflakes

Levi worked very hard this year to make his own Christmas presents for family members. These beaded snowflake ornaments took quite a few sessions to complete (we made quite a few!), but they were worth the effort and it was a very do-able gift for an energetic little 4 year old to make. I'm proud of him for sticking it out and I only had to bribe him a couple of times with a hershey kiss or two. ;)

To make these, I took 3 silver pipe cleaners (cut in half) and twisted them together in the center to create the 6 parts of the snowflake. Next, Levi slid metallic beads onto each of the pipe cleaners, leaving about a half an inch at the end for me to fold and twist so the beads stay in place. A simple ring of wire was added for hanging.