Welcome February ~ Time to mix it Up

Right around now is the time of winter when our days at home together seem more claustrophobic than cozy. I know you all know what I'm talking about.

I like that I've worked this homemaking gig long enough to recognize what this season brings and to make adjustments instead of sticking to the schedule with a (barely) grin-and-bear it mentality.

In years past February would kind of sneak up on me. January would be a great month of post holiday cleaning, organization and home making projects and I'd expect February to follow suit. But February never did as I expected.

My enthusiasm for what worked in January would wane as the days dragged to March.

It's the same with homeschooling.

We start fresh in January after almost a month off for crafting and celebrating - Thanksgiving, birthdays and Christmas. I'm usually jazzed about something new in our weekly learning routine and think this energy will carry me right on through till Spring. Silly me.

What I've learned is that sticking to my schedule doesn't carry me through the doldrums of February but mixing it up a bit does.

morning planning session

In anticipation of this we're planning a few things to help us enjoy and appreciate this month, not just get through it.

  • Winter backpacking & camping - Last year was the first time we did this and we loved it! You can read more about that experience here and here.
  • Field trips - I don't usually organize or do too much of these but I have a couple in the works for February and one for March. Places we want to visit? The local museum which we've never been to and a fiber farm to see animals, buy rovings and make something soft and felted.
  • Lunch at the library - Our library has a new cafe. Others have come and gone, maybe this one will stick around. We don't eat out for lunch hardly ever but February calls for a little treat for one of our weekly library visits.
  • 2 walks per week with the kids - This one is a bit harder for me to do since I am actually giving up some writing time and shifting other commitments to make it happen. But my body needs this! This is the time of year I notice the absence of gardening and summer activity. I'm active every weekend with my family but I need more exercise during the week, both for physical and mental health. I think we'll all be happier with this extra exertion.

(The beautiful mosaic artwork in this post is by Carrie Bracker. The kids and I ohhed and ahhed over her work on a trip we made this week to our favorite glass art gallery.)

I have a few other ideas floating around my noggin but nothing in the schedule yet. So they may or may not happen. And I just remembered my folks are visiting after going winter camping with us so that will mix it up a bit also.

What about you? Do you have anything different planned for February?

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  • nicola@which name?

    nicola@which name? on Feb. 1, 2010, 5:54 a.m.

    wise, wise woman you are, renee. i feel like it has taken all of january to get my groove on. i am a slow learner or things are still quick to change around here! i admit, i think being in the climate we are in, we probably don't get as claustrophobic. we spent the day at the beach today, with much time spent by all, carefully inspecting pebble after pebble of beautiful rocky beach sand. we have had a lot of rain lately, so the outing was perfect. warmly, nicola http://whichname.blogspot.com


  • Francesca

    Francesca on Feb. 1, 2010, 12:03 p.m.

    Lunch at the library sounds wonderful, and so the rest of your plan for February. My older kids need to to be active outdoors daily, but thankfully, at their age I just open the door and off they go. I do need to take my 3 year old out for walks (when I can't delegate it to her brothers), and we appreciate the brighter light and the slightly longer days in February. March, however, is my least favorite month, it's the time of year when I become claustrophobic and have no more patience for closed windows, dark evenings, cold days, gray skies, wooly socks, bare woods. PS I've never seen such an intricate word verifier ... just looking at it makes me feel very little human:)!


  • 5orangepotatoes

    5orangepotatoes on Feb. 1, 2010, 3:44 p.m.

    What a neat library. We would probably never leave the library if good food was also included! Walks with the kids is a must here too, I'm such a baby when it comes to the cold weather though. Seems to get harder to tolerate each year. Oh well, need to set a good exampley for the girls. They love playing outside in the cold, I need to also! lisa


  • Renee Tougas

    Renee Tougas on Feb. 1, 2010, 5:17 p.m.

    testing how hard this captcha is. Doesn't look too hard. Wondering why people complain about it sometimes? Maybe it's the browsers people use. Every time I try it here, it's not difficult at all to read (must be why we still get so much spam).


  • Kika

    Kika on Feb. 1, 2010, 5:56 p.m.

    You may not appreciate this, but every February we go into Edmonton for Teacher's Convention, stay at the Fantasy Land Hotel and enjoy family time - shopping (end of season deals), eating, movie and glow-in-the-dark golf for the kids. We also use this time to stock up at Planet Organic, hit book and comic stores and maybe see some family. We save $ in advance for this trip and love that it gets us away from computers, basketball, normal routines. Not outdoorsy at all but a well-appreciated break in the middle of winter.


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 1, 2010, 6:33 p.m.

      Well then you would appreciate this: one of our family's highlights from our trip to AB 1.5 yrs ago was the day we spent at WEM's waterpark. LOVED it. I don't like shopping and other stuff at the mall but we did love swimming and sliding. Our kids have not forgotten that day and have asked when we can go back. Time away from normal routine is a good thing in Feb.


  • Spring

    Spring on Feb. 2, 2010, 3:16 a.m.

    Well, we just finally launched our homemade skating rink, which we are spending hours a day on. That has been a WONDERFUL mix-it-up thing! But the kids and I have been reminiscing about the trip we did to MA last winter, and I am thinking we need to look at a little trip away from home. I am enjoying the brighter days, the sun during my quiet time in the morning, and slightly longer afternoons. But a chance to get away from home, and see different things, and hang with special people, might help break up the remaining months of winter we have left here in ME.


  • Hillary

    Hillary on Feb. 2, 2010, 4:22 a.m.

    I hear you!

    A few years back we were lucky enough to spend the entire month of February out in California visiting dh's sister and family. We decided that mixing up February did wonders for the winter blues. February is definitely the month to mix it up. Or if you're crazy like our family and are launching two businesses it's a good time to get down and dirty, too ;)


  • Toni Turbeville

    Toni Turbeville on Feb. 2, 2010, 5:02 p.m.

    Love the sound of your February. We're planning to take our eight-month-old, Jackson, to storytime at our library this weekend. A friend and I have signed up for FREE cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. We have a chili and cheesecake night planned for the grandparents. And we're going to try to go to Francis Marion Living History Days in Summerton to learn all about colonial life!


  • debbie

    debbie on Feb. 2, 2010, 10:08 p.m.

    Ha ha! The girls and I just made plans for a "pajama" day, taking our sleeping bags to our local library to cozy up with some books, stop by the library, maybe have a friend over for a pajama and popcorn movie date...we must be feeling the same squirrelings over here!


  • Mel

    Mel on Feb. 2, 2010, 10:43 p.m.

    Two words: hot springs! While not an option for everyone, getting into a hot springs pool is perfect in winter. There is something about getting into a swimsuit and floating around that makes everything better. I'm guessing that a regular heated pool would be almost as good.


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 3, 2010, 1:30 a.m.

      Um... a hot pool sounds wonderful. Not doable around here but in years past we have taken the kids to a nearby hotel with a pool to spend the night and enjoy swimming. The kids have LOVED doing that and talk about it often.


  • kyndale

    kyndale on Feb. 3, 2010, 1:56 a.m.

    Mixing it up is what I do whenever I feel stuck. Usually leaving the house mixes things up rather nicely. The great thing is, we moms can read our kids needs pretty well, don't we? Your post reminds me that I would like to go to our Art Museum here in Reno. Or maybe the historical society. We have gone to the hot springs a few times this winter. Although, I'd really like Jonathan to go with us sometime.


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