Thursday, February 4, 2010

winter parenting

papa helps

bundle, unbundle

he's very good at getting the clothes off

bundle. unbundle. repeat.

Andy's family down in Maryland is getting hit over and over with more snow that they have seen in decades and up here I can see grass in parts of my yard. They are quite grumpy about it but we are jealous! Snow makes winter worthwhile. Snow is why we have winter. If not for snow, winter would only be naked trees, frigid winds and frozen ground. No romance there. Snow, on the other hand, makes everything seem quiet, tastes good with maple syrup, and convinces hobbit-mama that there is a good reason to bundle the children in layer upon layer of wool knowing full well that she will undo all that work soon enough. (full disclosure here - Miryam puts all her winter clothes on herself though I still help with the zipper)

Thankfully we are expecting a storm coming our way later this afternoon and the schools have closed in anticipation - that is always a good sign. We're off to the art store to stock up on some supplies - some people stock up on toilet paper a milk before a storm - we do an emergency run for paints, glue and stamp-carving pads...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

starting February on the right foot

beeswax candles

It seems that most people are pretty down on February but I have to say that I quite like the month.

My birthday starts it out on the 1st, which doesn't hurt, and this year Miryam made me a necklace and wrapped it in her own decorated paper and Andy and I were able to sneak away for some Indian food. A great day.

As well as being my birthday the first, or second, of February is the Irish festival of Imbolg. We consider this the very very beginning of spring - optimistic I know - and try to find activities that remind us of the warm weather to come and to tell the sun how much we want it to return to us. We've been looking at seed catalogs and talking about what we learned from our garden last year and what we want to do differently this year. We also make candles to remind us of the sun's light and warmth.

rolling beeswax candles

Our local garden shop sells sheets of pressed wax and wicks to roll your own beeswax candles. Miryam was a bit frustrated with the first one - getting them going is tough - but after a couple with my help she was able to the rest on her own while I gave √Čamonn his nap. We've been using them for our dinner candles and they are burning quite well. You really have to roll them tightly - too much air in the middle and they'll burn too quickly. You also want the wick to be nice and taught so we start by pushing the wick straight down into the wax and then folding the wax over the wick and pushing that down before the rolling begins.

We also bought one-pound blocks of beeswax from the apiary a few towns over but I think we'll wait until a day when we have papa around before we do anything that includes hot wax!

oatcakes with marmalade

Of course, candle-making is hungry work so we made some oatcakes and ate them with marmalade. Not a bad start to the month, I'd say.