Tuesday, December 29, 2015

January Memory Making

 In keeping with my resolution to be more thoughtful and organized when it comes to celebrating the seasons... here are some plans and random thoughts for January - a month that often looks like this around here...cold and snowy!

Special Dates to Remember

*January 1 ~ New Year's Day *

The kids each receive a wrapped calendar at the breakfast table. We order them together in December, but I hide them until the New Year. I wrap up one for myself, too, and fill it in with events, birthdays, classes, appointments and such that very day. I do love a new calendar! We have a traditional New Year dinner of red beans and rice (rice is supposed to bring health), black-eyed pea salsa (black-eyed peas for luck), and collard greens (for prosperity).

*January 6th ~ 12th Night *

A few years ago we began celebrating 12th Night Mrs. Sharp-style. It's such a lovely way to wrap up the Christmas season, and I love that it makes Christmas last longer in our home. Our celebration is pretty simple. Everyone chooses some sort of act to perform, as simple or complex as they like.  My older three have put on a puppet show the past three years. Rose usually shows off some of her gymnast skills.  Sometimes someone plays a piano song they learned or does a magic trick. Anything goes, really.  My husband and I often put on little plays using the Masterpuppet Theater,  which comes with finger puppets and scripts for Shakespeare scenes. It requires zero prep work from us, other than choosing which scene to do and finding the right puppets, but the kids enjoy it.

After the acts, we have a 12th Night cake (a frosted bundt cake with festive sprinkles) in which we hide a foil-wrapped coin. Whoever gets the coin in their piece is the King or Queen of 12th Night, and they wear a paper crown for the rest of the evening. Silly, but fun. We also give the kids three very small gifts this night, representing the gifts given by the Magi. We put these under the Christmas tree for the kids to open. If we have time, we may work on taking down the tree that night, but more likely we will put it off for a day or two.

We also celebrate Christopher's birthday this month - he turns 13!

Things to Notice & Do Outdoors

  • Sled & snowshoe, as often as possible.
  • Keep the bird feeders stocked, especially when storms are predicted.
  •  Catch snowflakes on black felt to study them.
  •  Look for animal tracks in the snow...who's been here?
  • Check for the full Wolf moon on January 23rd

Around the House 

  • Pack away all of the Christmas decorations. I start the process around New Year's Eve and aim to have it all finished shortly after 12th Night. We wait to get our tree until mid-December so we can keep it up through 12th Night without too much shedding.
  • Jot down a few notes for Christmas next year. What do we need and not need? It's a huge help to have this written down when the season comes again. This year, I will note that we do not need gift bags, but we do need boxes, and that we need to replace some of our tree lights.
  • Deep clean the dining area. I have trouble fitting in deep cleaning and decluttering, so I have decided to try focusing on just one room per month. 
  • Try to spend a few minutes each day decluttering the house in general. I am going to try Fly Lady's 27 Fling Boogie, though I doubt I'll get to it every day. I find January a particularly good time to declutter: gifts have come in, stuff must go out.
  • Light candles in the dark mornings - there is something so nice about a candle at breakfast. 
  • Work on garden planning.  I am going to have a much smaller garden this year, but I will still have a bit of planning and seed ordering to do. 
  • Shop for Valentine making supplies for next month; plan a few crafts and fun things to do.

Food & Fun

  • Make paper snowflakes and hang them in windows throughout the house. 
  • Make snow ice cream during a deep snowfall ~ Mix 1 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until frothy, then add clean snow until it reaches the texture you like. 
  • Play lots of board games.  I plan on adding some new ones to our collection this year. We often spend Sunday afternoons playing games. 
  • Eat lots of citrus and root vegetables - we tend to eat a lot of oranges, clementines, and grapefruit in January, and our winter farm share is full of carrots, beets, rutabaga, and the like. 
  •  Plan our Superbowl menu - the Superbowl is a major food event around here. 
  • Make gingerbread with whipped cream.
  • Plan vacations, weekends away, camping trips, and the like. I love to have a trip or two, no matter how short, to look forward to. 

Homeschooling and Learning

  •  Get back into a homeschooling routine after three weeks off - not an easy feat! Our "classes" will start up again January 5th.
  • Prepare for the National Mythology Exam, to be taken in February. My older two will be taking the exam in 2016; they will take part of each school day to study for it.
  •  Have the kids take time to write (or email) thank-you notes for gifts given.

So those are just a few thoughts and ramblings for January. It is my hope to make a list like this for each month; something to look back at each year and add to and update as our needs change.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll be back soon.


  1. I love it! I so admire how organized you are. Thinking hard about my social media participation in 2016 . . .surely I'd have a little more time on my hands if I let that go, right?

  2. Well I'm organized on paper anyway:). Doesn't always feel that way in real life! Yes, pretty much giving up social media freed up a lot of my time - and energy too. I didn't realize how energy sapping FB was for me until I gave it up (I'm probably weird though).

  3. No, not weird at all. I think it's inspiring! (But then, I'm just old.) ;-)


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