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December | 2015 | Atomic Bee Ranch

Monthly Archives: December 2015

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Advent Reflections: Week 4

I am busy updating a few things on the blog and you can now see my new categories as showcased by the buttons on the sidebar. I also cleaned up my blogroll to reflect more accurately the blogs I read on a daily basis. 

As far as how often I will be posting I think it’s going to be two posts a week. One an activity that set up for Cam (an invitation to play) and another in one of the five other categories. 

Keep your eyes open for a new About Me page. Have a wonderful and safe holiday if you celebrate Christmas and a wonderful New Year’s Eve and Day. Until 2016.

Advent Reflections: Week 3

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction I want to take this blog. I haven’t blogged a lot this year and I really want to be doing more here. It’s very interesting for me to go back and look at what I’ve written over the years and how it documents my thinking, what I’ve learned, and what I’ve done with Cam and I don’t want to lose that.

We are also going to be starting unschooling this year- which is a funny thing to say because you don’t really start unschooling. My hope, really, is to be more intentional in setting up provocations and activities for Cam and making sure I see how she responds to them and just generally being more in tune and more present in that aspect of her learning. 

Between my feeling lost at the end of this year, starting back at work, and getting a dog I feel like our home life has fallen apart (it hasn’t really, but it feels that way) and I want to go forward with more intentionality. 

So what I’ve thought of so far is that I want posts that fall into six categories: activities, sharing updates on our animals (bees, chickens, etc) and our garden, books, food, reflections, and connections (mostly on connecting with kids). I would like to bring in some of my professional life as it informs what I do here at home, but I’ll see how that works. 

I have yet to decide how often I will be posting or if I want to give myself some parameters for the blog posts so that they actually get done and don’t overwhelm me. I’ll share more next week in my final Advent reflections post as I work it out. I will be taking off the 12 days of Christmas, of the liturgical Christmas season and will return with the new blog on January 6th, Epiphany. 

Advent Reflections: Week 2

This week I wanted to share our family Advent tradition. It has four components to it that are based on my upbringing in the Episcopal church and as a German. 

Advent Calendar: I always had one of those chocolate calendars as a kid and I loved them. I’m not opposed to them, but I wanted to get back to the German roots of the tradition more. The Germans make so stunningly beautiful Advent calendars that each window reveals a tiny picture, but that feels like something Cam will appreciate more when she is a bit older (tween and teen years). I love the idea of a tiny gift each day, but decided I wanted to get away from Cam getting so much stuff. So I took the religious Advent wreath and made one for our table. Each Sunday of Advent we light a candle in it and each day there is a jar in the middle with an activity. Some are about giving (take groceries to the food bank) and others are something to make the season festive (make an ornament for the tree). 

St. Nicholas Day & Christkindlmarkt: Instead of opening presents on Christmas morning we put out Cam’s shoes on St. Nicholas Night and she gets her presents the next morning. We tried some other traditions, but I am trying to get as far away from the hype that Christmas morning presents brings. In the German tradition that weekend there is a Christkindlmarkt which is like a craft and food fair. Our local German society club puts one on and we go to pick out an ornament and buy some traditional cookies and sausages. 

Yearly Ornament: At the Christkindlmarkt we let Cam pick out an ornament from the blown-glass ornament vendor. This way when she leaves home she’ll have a small collection of ornaments to take with her. For the time being, they are put on our tree.  

Nativity Scene: I have a Nativity set that I remember very fondly from my childhood. Cam and I set it up each year together and she is allowed to play with the figures. Per what I think is a religious tradition and may also be German the Christ child does not arrive until Christmas morning and Mary and Joseph don’t arrive until Christmas Eve. Mary and Joseph also travel around the house during Advent on their journey to Bethlehem. I find this to be a lot more meaningful and way less creepy than that Elf on the Shelf. 

Now I will say Cam does get presents on Christmas. She has seven grandparents so they have her covered (although we limit them to one or two with no pressure to do any). I loved Christmas as a child, but I think it’s gotten a lot more commercial and a lot more intense and I don’t want that for our family. We have all we need and much much more. Cam doesn’t need lots of new toys each year nor does she need the hype of begging things she doesn’t really want. So I’ve tried to tie the season to religious and cultural traditions to tone it all down and make it more meaningful and special. 


Advent Reflections: Week 1

So, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking since my last downer of a post. I’m trying hard to let things go and be more proactive and outspoken when I see and experience things I don’t like or think aren’t right. This thinking has led me to a new direction I want to try with this blog and I thought Advent would be a good time to work out a plan and start sharing those plans, as it’s a season of expectation.

I love mommy blogs that share bajillions of activities and pictures and the like, but that’s not me. What I love to write about are a mix of things, but more big picture stuff. I do like to write about things I’m doing with Cam. I also love to use the blog as a way to keep me honest and keep me engaged with doing things with her. I also love to share book recommendations, particularly my Diverse Bookshelf. So I’ll be keeping those things.

I’m going to introduce a new format- so far I’m thinking limiting myself to about 350 words a post. I’m also going to have a schedule that I want to stick with. You might see my categories change and I desperately need to update my About Me page that I wrote three years ago! Some things may look a little different on the blog itself too, but by and large I like the clean format/layout I have going now. I’m letting other stuff go in my life so I can do this and I have to identify what’s going to give. I’m going to spend Advent (i.e. the rest of the year) planning more throughly and thoughtfully.