St. Nicholas Day was today. We put shoes out last night and by morning they were filled with a variety of gifts.
We had waffles with bananas and strawberries for breakfast. (The comfort bags for children with cancer are in the background. We still need to make a few more fleece blankets before we can bring them to Children's Hospital.)
Eenie wants some of Sophia's waffles. He's been interested in people food recently which is unusual.
He's about 15 years old now and has issues with his liver. He's supposed to be eating special food and taking medicine, but he refuses to take the medicine and isn't eating as much as he should. So, we're supplementing it with meat and some other food to keep his weight up.
For dinner, we had "Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches" - a new recipe that we all liked. We used thicker Italian bread and a combination of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese along with some mayonnaise and garlic powder for the filling. Probably not the healthiest meal. However, it tasted good for a special treat.
Today was the third day of Chalica. The focus was on the freedom to learn together. So, we chose to learn to make a new dinner (the sandwiches).
In the evening, we were going to watch “Monsters University," but Sophia had a 1 1/2 hour dress rehearsal for a children's play that she's the piano and harp accompanist for that evening. By the time we got home, it was close to 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Besides the routine things of the day - like bringing Meenie and Lucy to the vet, having Frontier come out to upgrade our internet service for a higher speed, helping the girls with homeschooling, and taking Olivia to gymnastics and Sophia to the Y, there wasn't much time for anything else.
For the fourth day of Chalica, the intention was to look at how various religions have different traditions through their food and the celebration of holidays. I was going to choose one religion and explore its winter holiday (Las Posadas) through food. I was thinking of going to El Burrito Mercado like we have in the past. In the evening, we were going to watch “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Perhaps next year we can do this instead.
For dinner we had Chinese dumplings which were good.
Friday, December 8, 2017
Again...routine things for part of the day: speech therapy for Olivia, Orkin came out for a monthly visit, went to the post office, and Sophia had a harp lesson in the afternoon in preparation for a few holiday performances she has coming up in the next couple of weeks.
A highlight of the day was Sophia playing the harp at Northwoods while Olivia and I pet the dogs waiting to be adopted. We saw Winnie again. She's been there for three months now which is a long time. She's such a sweet dog. I don't know why in the world she hasn't been adopted.
There was Prescott - an 8 month old puppy who was intrigued with the harp. He reminded us a lot of Aspen. They have the same general appearance and coloring; and some of the same behaviors.
The third dog we spent time was with Brutus who must have weighed all of three pounds. He's 9 years old and there because his owner died. If we didn't have four dogs already, I think some of these dogs might have gone home with us.
We went to the bank's annual open house which was nice. They had cookies and cider as well as a variety of calendars and gifts. We chose the pizza cutter since the one we had from them many years ago does a great job. If it ever breaks, then we have a replacement.
I get a calendar and pen from them each year. I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have a physical calendar to keep track of what needs to get done each day.
For the fifth day of Chalica, the focus is on all people having a voice. So, we held an informal vote on what we would have for dinner. Earlier in the week, the girls originally outvoted me by wanting Spam. (Why they like Spam is beyond me.)
However, by the time Friday rolled around, we decided to each have what we wanted rather than have the same thing. In the evening, the plan was to watch “Brave.” Like the rest of this past week, we didn't watch the movie.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
We went to the free community breakfast at the community center around 9:00 a.m. The Lions Club asked that people bring a donation to the food shelf, so we did. The Boy Scouts were collecting the food and looked like they had quite a few donations.
The Lions served a hearty breakfast: eggs, potatoes, sausages, cinnamon roll, and fruit cup. There was orange and coffee for beverages.
Afterwards, the girls visited Santa. Santa helped with installing all the barn quilts that Olivia oversaw, so it was nice seeing him again.
We went to Community Homestead afterwards to get cookies and handmade items.
Since we were in the area, the girls wanted to go to Mr. Deals. We found a few items that were inexpensive...and good deals.
I put batteries in the candle holders and put them in some of the windows; and hung the Christmas stockings by the wood stove.
For a couple of hours, I laid out six quilts that my Mom had started but never completed before she died. Some of the squares were already cut out, and some of them were sewn together. My goal is to get them sewn by Christmas so that I can give them to the girls, my sister, and brother.
For the sixth day of Chalica, the focus is on volunteering. We did that yesterday, so we didn't do that today. In the evening, we were going to watch “A Bug’s Life,” but I wasn't feeling well.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Spent almost three hours at church this morning. Sophia played the harp and piano for the children's choir's annual holiday play. They raised over $2,000 to purchase farm animals for people in need overseas.
She played the piano by herself as well as part of two different ensembles (piano/violin and piano/organ).
At the end of the service, there was the annual St. Lucia procession, song, and story. St. Lucia and her court are that year's graduating seniors. We've known these families now since their teens were in preschool. Hard to believe that they will be graduating in May.
Next year (December 2018), Sophia will be in that group and then in December 2020 Olivia will be there. Again, hard to believe that this time has come. The years went by so quickly, yet I feel like they were full of memories and very good times spent together.
In the afternoon, I helped Sophia with her PSEO final projects by editing them. She had all the information for her final paper and PowerPoint presentation for American Government and Social Entrepreneurship respectively. I just needed to point out if she had any errors in either the paper or presentation. She's done very well in both classes this semester. It was the right choice to have her start with college courses in her junior year of high school.
On the seventh day of Chalica, the original intention was to make a vegetarian or vegan meal. Ended up having honey-glazed BBQ spareribs (the complete opposite of a vegetarian meal) since it needed a longer time period to cook. It was a new recipe that turned okay - nothing special. I baked the ribs in the oven rather than cooking them in the slow cooker and then finishing them in the oven so they weren't as tender as what we're used to eating.
The other goal of the day was to recycle or reuse something that we would have thrown away or recycled. I decided to let go of a project that I was in my Mom's things as I was cleaning out her craft room.
It was a Christmas tree skirt that had been started, but not completed. However, all the pattern pieces were missing, so it would have been more work for me to make than I wanted to invest the time in doing. For someone crafty, it would be easy to create the pattern pieces and complete the tree skirt, so I'm passing it along to the thrift shop.
In terms of recycling, I'm continuing to add to our bags of recycling in the mudroom. Have two bags of items that can be added to the recycling can on Monday.
There was a movie recommended for the seventh day of Chalica - The Lorax. However, we didn't watch it.
Sophia saw a fox in the pasture as she was going out to feed the horses around dusk. She came upstairs and said to look out the window. Sure enough, there was a fox out there. It was rather big and had a long tail that was sticking out behind it. It was getting dark, so it wasn't the best lighting to see the fox.
We have coyotes, but we've never had one in the horse pasture. We have had fox in the pasture before, so it seemed the most likely animal.
Visual comparison of a dog (Aspen's size), wolf, coyote, and fox.
So, Olivia, Sophia, and I went out with flashlights to see if we could find it. Walking in the dark with a small flashlight or iPod flashlight knowing there is a fox around was a bit unnerving.
We saw lots of tracks that would belong to a fox as well as rabbits. Looks like the fox was trying to find dinner.
Example of fox tracks.
I walked under the pine trees in the pasture looking for the fox. "Hey, Mom. Did you know that a fox can climb a tree?" Olivia asked.
Um...no. No, I didn't. A mental image of a rabid fox jumping out of the pine tree and landing on me was enough to re-direct me to an open area of the pasture.
So, we didn't see the fox. However, there was plenty of evidence in the snow of old and new tracks. So, clearly it has been spending time at the farm and making its home here. Who knows...we may see a litter of fox pups this spring!