Christmas decorations are all cleaned up.  School started back last week for both my homeschoolers and my public school orchestra students.  So I'm taking a few quiet moments this afternoon to look back at how we invested our time and energy during our Christmas break.  

Every year (especially when we have a library nearby!), we discover new picture books to augment our collection.  This year we finally bought a springerle mold and made yummy cookies like the family in "The Gift of the Christmas Cookie"



We also discovered the lovely book "They Followed a Bright Star".  I'll let the notes on the inside of the book jacket tell the story: 

"Joan Alavedra wrote a poem in Barcelona in 1943 for his five-year-old daughter when she asked for a poem from the point of view of each of the figures in the crèche.  Since the work was composed in an atmostphere of war, he ended it with a hymn to peace and love.  Later the cellist Pablo Casals set the poem to music and it became the oratorio El Pessebre (The Manger)."

My favorite non-fiction find for the Christmas season was "Christmas Farm", a sweet book full of information about farming Christmas trees woven around a young boy and his grandmotherly neighbor.

For Epiphany, Sarah decided to make a non-traditional German chocolate cake, and Katherine found the hidden ceramic baby Jesus.  We watched "Amahl and the Night Visitors" and sang along.  I admit, I cry every time the mama and Amahl sing the goodbye duet at the end.



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