Christmas Break Projects

Well, Honey Creek hosted the flu for Christmas, so we weren’t as holly jolly as the majority, but it didn’t stop us from doing our usual–building fires, watching football, making music, acting like the true hermits we are–rinse and repeat.

There’s always a familiar sense of dread when cleaning the kids’ bathroom, knowing you will likely pick up the pukies they spread so generously near the toilet. I made some croissant dough before I started feeling truly bad. We all want to look forward to something that smells tasty on Christmas morning, right? So I did my duty and rolled it out a thousand times, laminating till I felt too ill to care about flaky layers. Then we did some front porch pickin‘ and put the kids to bed.
(The rolls turned out fine, even though none of us had any appetite to eat them. Instead of cinnamon, I used up the marzipan I’d saved for cookie platters that never materialized. (Marzipan=ground almonds, almond flavoring, sugar, egg white) It looked and smelled delicious while we nibbled on crackers and sipped ginger ale.

The kids returned to school just in time–right before I felt like bedgrudging them for being children and having too much free time on their hands. To tell the truth, I always discover something neat about those kids when they’re home for longer periods of time. I downloaded the Simply Piano app, which was better than any other present under the tree. They beg to play it, so I make them do chores and give them piano practice as a reward. Ha! Mom wins! Parenting is the trickiest little buggar, but once in a while you hack the system you feel like you’ve won a million bucks.

Another win–I used E6000 to glue a bunch of barn treasure onto a metal doily hoop (also found in the barn) and called it a wreath. When inspiration hits, you better know where that super strength adhesive is. My mom and I decided we could definitely sell these at a craft fair for twenty-five bucks and somebody would think it is the cleverest thing around.

The tiny jello molds are my favorite. I did make jello with them once–they were too old and the jello seeped out 😦
Rookie mistake (though isn’t every cookie cutter wreath a rookie mistake?): I did a trial gluing with hot glue instead of going for it with the E6000, so I’m still picking of globs of it in random places.

Usually I get a second or third wind right at the end of a school break, so in the final hours I made the kids sit down and do an afternoon of “Art Museum”. Surely you’ve seen the miniature Lego-guy exhibits and building challenges. Actually, side story: in the spring of the pandemic (2020) when we were crawling to the finish line of remote learning, the kids’ school issued a Lego building challenge every day. Build a roller coaster. Build a zoo. Build a candy machine. Et cetera. It was an entire month of you-have-got-to-be-kidding me brainlessness.

No. The idea here was to make miniature art for a miniature museum where miniature people could come and pay miniature money to see it. I pulled up images of Starry Night on the laptop and gave them oil pastels and four minutes to make their own tiny Van Gogh. Then I gave them eight minutes to draw a portrait in pen. Fifteen minutes to watercolor a season like Monet.
It was a good half hour of fun for the boys and hours of fun for my little girl–this seems to be the case in every “homeschool” subject. She loaded up her lego RV with the whole Star Wars gang and they toured the whole museum.

Favorite art installation: Tower of Jingle Bells

A bonus to the art museum is that when naming the halls, I remembered Franky Valli and the Four Seasons. So of course we blasted some music. I feel like my Christmas break work here is done.
There’s nothing like introducing the kids to 60s falsetto! What a joy.

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