Dickens at Christmastime

Charles Dickens and his enduringly popular tales really remind me of Christmastime and have become a part of our homeschooling schedule, for this time of year.  The obvious connection here would be with Dickens’ story, A Christmas Carol.  This year another movie adaptation of the story has been released, by Disney – the story lives on and is relevant for people in our modern age, just as it was for people during the Victorian Era. ...more

Sisters and Aunts and Daughters and Nieces and Holidays

Thanksgiving always makes me think of the people who are missing.  By now that's almost an entire generation: my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  We all came together at our house.  As the oldest cousin, I got to help in the kitchen and set the table. Sounds lame but it felt very grownup.  Not that that lasted for long.  Over the years we went from three to six to nine cousins, producing plays to perform after dinner, playing Sardines and Murder, telling secrets and wreaking civilized havoc.  ...more

The Dancer

I went to see a wonderful dance performance yesterday. My sister's - but that is irrelevant.She trained in one of the old classical dance forms of our country with the legendary Master of that discipline. From the time when we were very young she wanted to be a dancer. It was instinctive. She was absolutely driven. Nothing else had priority. Tough choices had to be made, but she always knew which way to roll the dice. As she matured as a dancer she brought the same intensity to the pieces that she then began to choreograph....more

Live from Quebec: Experiencing the Annual Sugaring Off

"We can smell the maple syrup as soon as we step out of the car. I can see smoke rising up out of the trees and the sun warms my face. ... We've all come for one thing: sugaring off. During these warm days and cool nights, the sap is running in Lynn and Marc's 25 acre 'sugar bush'. The maple trees are tapped, and the collecting of the precious sap has begun." ~ Excerpt from Under the High Chair ...more

I visited a sugar bush once during the winter I spent in the Ottawa valley. It was such fun! ...more

Happy Eastoverversary!

This is a weird week, for several reasons. First of all, after a very mild winter with very little snow (much to my snow-day-driven children’s dismay), I sit here on my computer watching the freakishly large snowflakes drive in whirls and swirls past my window - and around a large black dog roaming through the wooded area next to the house. This is strange for two reasons 1) we own a yellow lab and a miniature dachshund - neither of which are black and b) it’s APRIL! ...more

Martenitsa - Happy 1st of March!

I want to greet you all with the 1st of March! "Chestita Baba Marta!" - this is one of the most loved Bulgarian ancient traditions: on March 1, people in Bulgaria celebrate Baba Marta's day through the symbolic exchange of martenitsi. They are always made of red and white threads as symbols of health and happiness.  Baba Marta brings the end of cold winter and the beginning of spring. ...more

From Dr. Pat: Making Christmas Anew


Our Festival of Lights

This week it is time to dig out our menorah, dreidels and get ready for the Festival of Lights. ...more

Santa: Is He or Isn't He? What Do You Tell Your Kids?

I have always been a great believer in pretend and imagination. As my husband and I have raised our kids I've relished my role as Head Elf, Resident Leprechaun, Tooth Fairy, Easter Rabbit, Great Pumpkin, and any other imaginary, gift-bearing being. ...more
We don't plan on it. Actually, we just broke it to my parents... I thought it was a small thing, ...more