1. Start working on and continue hobbies:
- Try at least one new recipe per week.
During the first two weeks of January, I have been trying to use up what is on hand in the refrigerator, cupboards, and freezer. My goal is to gradually transition to a real foods/whole foods diet this year using the Get Real weekly plan.
One of the recipes I tried this week as a way to use up what was on hand was oven-baked fish from my Betty Crocker cookbook. The fish fillets were covered with an equal mixture of cornmeal and crushed corn flakes; and seasoned with salt, pepper, onion flakes, and dill weed. They were baked in a 500 degree oven for 15 minutes. Everyone liked the recipe.
- Write in my nature journal at least once a week.
After a long break of not writing in my nature journal, I started again on January 4th. I wrote about what I saw and felt on a walk with Sophia, Olivia, and the dogs (Montague and Gretel).
I will be writing again on January 12th since January 11th we spent the majority of the day at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (see below for more information).
- Continue keeping some form of a daily/weekly journal.
Since January 1st, I have been writing two pages each morning in my journal like I use to when I did The Artist's Way in 2003 or 2004. I plan to re-read The Artist's Way and follow the weekly activities that the author recommends.
- Grow African violets. Get first one on the anniversary of Dad’s death.
On January 5th, Sophia and I picked out three African violets in memory of my Dad. We picked out two ruffle-edge African violets and one that has plain edges.
Three African violet plants on the kitchen window sill.
When I was a child, my Dad had quite a few African violets that were either growing under lights in the basement when we lived in Minneapolis, or in the east-facing windows when we moved to Plymouth. I remember the care he took in making sure that no water touched the soft leaves of the African violets (otherwise they would get brown spots).
I like having the bright color in the kitchen on the window sill; and seeing them each time I'm preparing meals, washing dishes, or coming in and out of the door leading outside.
2. Do 4 interesting and/or memorable homeschooling activities this month that aren't part of the core curriculum.
=> See the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
On January 11th, Sophia, Olivia, and I went to see the Terracotta Warriors - the special exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Unfortunately, pictures couldn't be taken in the exhibit - only outside where there were a few replicas or smaller versions of what was found in the emperor's tomb.
Olivia standing by four horses and chariot.
It is a smaller version of what was found in China's first emperor's burial tomb.
Replica of one of the warriors.
His tomb was an elaborate subterranean palace, a parallel world that would enable his rule after his death.
This was another set of horses with a chariot.
We spent the majority of our time in the Asian/Eastern Hemisphere section of the museum. Because Sophia is studying the Eastern Hemisphere this year, the art that we were seeing complemented what we had been reading.
One of the pieces that we were all fascinated by was the Yamantaka Mandala created by Tibetan Buddhist monks. It was created to honor the 1.2 million Tibetans who have lost their lives to political/religious persecution during this century.
Sophia looking at a mandala made by Buddhist monks.
Normally the sand mandalas aren't preserved, but this one was thanks to a special process and materials used.
In a book that we just started reading (Daughter of the Mountains), there were mentions about a prayer wheel that Buddhists use.
As we were looking around at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, sure enough - there was a prayer wheel. It was interesting to see an example of one close up and bring to life an aspect of the book that we had been reading.
Buddhist prayer wheel.
After our visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, we headed over to United Noodles which is in a different part of Minneapolis. It is the largest Asian grocery store in the Midwest.
Sophia and Olivia at UniDeli - the deli at United Noodles.
California rolls from UniDeli.
This year I picked 12 movies to watch from the list, starting at #1 and moving my way down the list. I thought it may be fun for Sophia and Olivia to watch these as well so that when someone references them, they know what they are talking about and can comment about the movie as well.
So, Some Like It Hot is the first movie on the list that I've never watched. It has Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis in it; and was released in 1959. I checked it out of the library and have it at home. We'll be watching it this weekend.
=> Watch one movie that has received an Academy Award for Best Picture.
This list goes back to 1928 and has quite a few movies that I haven't seen yet. The first one is called Wings and received an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1928.
The story is about two young men who fall in love with the same same girl. After the United States enters WWI, both join the Air Corps and become aces. They remain friends, but the relation to the girl threatens their friendship.
Since I have never watched this movie, I'm not sure if it is appropriate for them. The IMDb (Internet Movie Database) gave Wings a PG-13 rating because of violence. I don't let Sophia and Olivia watch PG-13 movies, so I'm not sure yet that this one would be appropriate. (Though it probably pales in comparison to what is out there these days on PG-13 movies.)
The Best Picture category is considered the most important of the Academy Awards, because it represents all the directing, acting, music composing, writing, editing and other efforts put forth into a film. For this reason, I am hoping that Wings is one that the girls can watch. I'm still waiting to receive the movie from another library in the MN-LINK system (it is coming from another library out of the county that I live in).
=> Visit the ice castle at Mall of America.
Olivia wants to see the ice castle that was created at the Mall of America. There has been rain this week which has been unusual for January - so we will see the condition of the ice castle next week when we go there. Hopefully, it will still be as impressive as it looks in pictures.
3. Volunteer with seniors twice during January.
The girls and I attended a volunteer training session at a local care center at the end of December. We have looked over the scheduled activities as well as thought of ones that we would be interested in doing (e.g., painting, cooking/baking, gardening, bird watching/caring for the wild birds).
Our next step is to contact the Volunteer Coordinator and let her know what days we would like to volunteer and what we will be doing. During January, we are thinking of doing a session with painting and doing an indoor picnic.