Weekly Wrap-Up # 25: Seven Quick Takes that Are Late on Purpose

This week's post is purposely a day late - so I could be sure to include yesterday's activities. But more on that in a minute, after sharing some of our other "quick takes" for the week:

1. We took a break from pretty much all our academic studies for Thanksgiving week, a well-earned and much appreciated hiatus. I did read aloud a number of enjoyable Thanksgiving-related books each day - some about the Pilgrims and Indians, some about contemporary celebrations, and one about how Thanksgiving came to be an official U.S. holiday - and we watched our Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD, as well as one about William Bradford, and did some coloring and one craft. But, otherwise, all the girls loved the free time, filling it with dress up, all sorts of imagination-stretching play, and dancing - lots of dancing.

Our craft, Thankful Handprint Trees, was fun. We brainstormed things about which the girls were thankful, writing them on leaf and pumpkin cut-outs. Then each child used his or her handprint and arm to make an autumn "thankful tree," attached the cut-outs, and personalized their pictures. Baby H. didn't really understand what I was glopping onto his little hand and, of course, I helped him with his finished product, but now we can officially say that he's joined in on his very first craft with us!

2. The girls' friend Hallie, for whom I babysat for a year when she was five, didn't have school on Wednesday, so she came for a playdate. Though everyone is, of course, older - Anna and N. were babies when Hallie came every day! - it almost seemed like old times.

3. For months, we have all (yes, even Jeff!) been anticipating the opening of the new Rapunzel-inspired movie, Tangled - for which you may read a review here. We went on Wednesday, the day it opened, and were not disappointed! It was really excellent - hilarious, touching, action-packed, clean...one we may see in the theater again and which is most definitely on our "must own" list when it comes out on DVD. As an added bonus, our excursion even counts as an academic field trip since we'd just been studying Germany and the Brothers Grimm, who wrote the original Rapunzel story!

4. We were not able to get together with my brother and his family for Thanksgiving, and the Hollenbeck gathering happened on Saturday...so Thursday and Friday were very laid-back, relaxing days around here. Jeff helped the girls begin a Germany-related castle project (which will take quite a bit of time to complete) and then the three of them baked pies - one apple and one pumpkin - to take to the Hollenbeck celebration...along with an extra pumpkin to keep here. Jeff's done our Thanksgiving baking since before the girls were born - since the year when I was still teaching in the public schools and was too overwhelmed with grading papers to do it myself - and now it's fun that they do it together.

5. And then on Saturday the three of them headed to Jeff's parents' house. Unfortunately, I missed it (for probably the first time ever) due to a scheduling glitch - I was scheduled to sing on worship team for our church's Saturday and Sunday services, but my sister-in-law forgot that and arranged the family gathering for Saturday with everyone else. But I'm glad Jeff and the girls got to go...and I will see everyone, including Jeff's brother and his family from Ohio, in early January for a belated Hollenbeck Christmas celebration.

Besides traditional Thanksgiving festivities, Grandma apparently pulled out a bunch of old clothes - including one of Jeff's grandma's shifts and her own wedding dress - and encouraged all the girls to have a little fashion show. Wow, I don't want to think of Abigail in wedding dress yet...though she's beautiful, isn't she? And Rachel is adorable, too.

6. Since I had a bit more free time than usual, I got rather busy with writing, posting four pieces, which I hope you'll peruse now if you missed them when they originally posted:

7. As we enter the Advent season, Rachel and Abigail will take a break from their world geography course until just after the new year. Instead, we'll start tomorrow on a Christmas unit study about which I'm very excited. We'll also continue with math, language, music, and reading - both are currently working on very creative book projects again - for a couple more weeks, but I'm very keen on making sure we are not too busy to enjoy and appreciate our preparations for our celebration of Jesus' birthday. As for Anna and N., we'll do two more units in their curriculum and then spend the last week and a half before their vacation focusing on Christmas, too.

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