Our girls have gone above and beyond these past 6 months making every small holiday into a giant, well planned celebration. Valentine’s Day was never a holiday I cared for much but the girls made it quite special for us this year. We also finished up our history lesson on the Hopi people so we had another special school celebration as well.

For Valentine’s Day we tried to steer the meaning to focusing on how much we love each other. We took the day off of school and made our day revolve around spending time together. The girls made beautiful elaborate Valentine’s Day cards and gifts (delivered on a hand-made cart), left sweet love notes throughout the house and made a piñata for us! The piñata was filled with tasty treats like dried blueberries, nuts, miso, chocolate and cheese. We whacked the piñata with a shoe! It was a hoot!

The girls and I ended up snuggling on the living room couch in front of the fire and reading for about 4 hours. It was glorious! The girls also made all the meals throughout the day. The food was beautifully presented and so tasty! The girls are getting so good about helping out around and making meals is not only really fun for them but also very appreciated.

With every big history section we do in school I like to make it a whole shebang with as much involvement as I can from the girls. Being a part of each little piece of the history and experiencing it first hand, I think, helps the girls remember it more and relate to what it might have been like to live within the shoes of various people of our past. This time we were studying the Hopi people. One of the important ingredients in many Hopi celebrations is juniper ash. It turns out you can buy Juniper Ash online but not only was it very expensive but the delivery date was a month out and I only thought to order it 2 weeks prior to our celebration date. So, I figured we could attempt to make it ourselves. After all, the Hopi people used Juniper Ash in their ceremonial food in part because they had a lot of ash laying around from the juniper they burned at ceremonies and in every day life. Keeping with that thinking I bought some juniper for us and then burned it down into ashes. It was a bit of a challenge to keep the juniper lit but we ended up getting a small bowl of ashes which was just what we needed for our Piki Bread.

Basket weaving was also a big part of the Hopi lifestyle so the girls wove a basket of reeds. It was a lot of fun and we still use that basket every day to collect duck eggs each morning from our little quackers. The girls researched Kachina Dolls, picked their favorites then sculpted them out of clay and after it was baked, painted them in accordance to the Hopi Kachina dolls. The girls made models of Hopi homes and a diagram of their maze verses our corn.

The meal was delicious and we ate it on the floor in semi-traditional clothing (it was a bit chilly for the actual clothing as we were trying to replicate a summer meal scene. It was fun and I think the girls learned a lot! I hope history remains one of their favorite subjects for a while to come. I always despised history because it seemed like just memorizing a bunch of dates and titles of random battles and events that had no context. I’m really trying hard to re-write how history is taught and have the emphasis be on the story history tells rather than a focus on the dates and specific names. I feel like if I tell the story successfully, the dates and names will follow. Time will tell.