::Outside my window...Still cold. No new snow, but some of the snow from two weeks ago is still there (it hasn't yet gotten warm enough for it to melt). But it doesn't look pretty anymore. The novelty of winter is starting to wear off for us...
::Listening to.... Michelle and James arguing over who speaks better French. Which is funny because neither of them do, at least not more than a handful of words and a couple of folk songs.
::Giving thanks for... a relaxing weekend after an intense week.
::Pondering.... In some ways, going to a French church is frustrating. You strain to try to understand the sermon, and if you're lucky you catch a snippet or two. People come to chat with you, and you have to ask them to repeat their questions, and then stumble through your answers only to think of exactly what you should have said 5 minutes too late. But one thing that I really enjoy, even now in this early stage of our langauge learning experience, is singing worship songs in French. Many of the songs are French translations of songs we sing in the States - this morning they included "Blessed be Your Name" and "Here I am to Worship" - which helps in figuring out new vocabulary. And because I am trying to figure out new vocabulary, I find I am truly thinking about what I am singing and not just going into to autopilot mode the way it is easy to do when singing familiar songs in English. Even though I may not be catching much of the sermon, I still find my spirit refreshed just by pondering the words of these worship songs.
::Living the educational life... We are two weeks in to our first 4-week "mini-term" for our homeschool, and it is going well (but you can read all about that here.) We are one week into our French classes which is going well, but feels pretty intense at the moment. Dan and I tested into two different classes, which is helpful because our schedules don't clash and we can both attend every day. But it makes for very full days. I do feel like I am learning however, and was pleased with myself that I was able to use one of the grammar points brought up in class while making a market purchase yesterday morning. The bad part is finding time to do homework...one teacher in particular seems to rather like assigning it. When I'm home with the kids I like to be all there with them, and this is hard to do when trying to find time for homework....
::Preparing in the kitchen... Meet my new best friend:
This little baby came in the mail on Friday. I've already used it twice. And I'm planning to use it again tomorrow. It is going to save our sanity this year.
In other kitchen news, we now have a source for real (raw) milk for only pennies more per litre than the UHT milk primarly sold in the supermarkets. So, I attempted to make yogurt yesterday. I've successfully made yogurt from milk powder for years, but this was my first attempt starting with fresh milk. Came out pretty runny, but definetely cultured. Still needs some tweaking...
::Creating by hand... Um, does it make me a really bad mom that I still haven't started that sewing project with Michelle? Cuz, we still haven't. This week, we will. If you are reading this, pop me a message and remind me that I am promising to do this with her this week, okay?
::Following these links... This article totally made my day. I am such not a super-crafty-hands-on-projects kind of homeschooling mama either (we like simple around here), and I was so encouraged by the reminder that that's OK.
::Turning pages... Just making my way slowly through the couple of back issues of World magazine that finally caught up with us, and what I'm reading with the kiddos. Balancing school with being available for my family has sucked up much of my reading time. I'm thinking that I need to do something about that. I don't last long without at least a wee bit of reading time.
::Finding rhythm... Slowly getting there. While part of me doesn't like being gone half of the day everyday, the other part of me is finding it much easier to be available and present with the kids when I am here - I want to soak up that time rather than taking it for granted. I'm also finding it much easier not to waste so much time on the computer when my time at home is so limited....
::Keeping house... One of my intentions for the year was to more regularly have the kids help out in the kitchen. This has sort of happened here in the last couple of weeks without much direct effort from me. We don't have any countertops in our kitchen, which means all our food prep happens on the kitchen table....which happens to be just the right height for little helpers to come join in. We sort of started alternating nights and voila, one of my goals has become reality with very little effort. I love having that time with them.
::Kiddos this week...aren't liking it so much that Mama is gone for half of the day. Nope, they aren't liking it much at all. While they are home with Papa when Mama is gone, and not in a daycare situation, they don't really like the fact that Papa doesn't do things the same way as Mama does.
::Praying...that the kids will get used to this new routine, and learn to genuinely enjoy the extra time they get to spend with Papa while Mama is at school....even if he doesn't do things exactly the same way that I do.
::Planning the week ahead...besides all the normal language school, homeschool, and homekeeping tasks....we are hoping to visit our local French library this week and see what kind of resources we can find there to assist in our language learning endeavors. And possibly inviting over some of our missionary colleagues to be able to get to know them on a more personal level. (We're not quite ambitious enough to ask over any French-speaking folks yet...but we'll get there!)
::Capturing a few moments... Valentine's crafts...plucked from the $1 section at Target before we left: