“So....Mom, I was just wondering... Will we have a party for St. Valentine’s Day?” My children invariably pose this question as we approach a holiday, whether it be President’s Day or St. Patrick’s. And most recently, it has been: “Mom, are we going to have a snow day tomorrow?”* One of the challenges I have as a homeschooling mother is that my older children have not always been homeschooled. They remember class parties and school “holidays.” They sense, somehow, when the public schools are not in session. And since I want to make homeschooling fun, I try to oblige.
So, for this Valentine’s Day, I have decided to have a few fun yet meaningful activities. The first is to compose a neatly written and illustrated love note to their father in which they tell him how much they love him and refer to at least one activity they enjoy doing with him. The second is to make Love Knots.
You can find the recipe for these delicious treats on page 232 of A Continual Feast. (To the basic recipe we added a little twist: we brushed the tops of the Love Knots with a thin mixture of vanilla extract, sugar, and a little bit of water.) This is a very easy recipe and the children really enjoy forming the dough into the "lemniscate," or sidewise-8, shapes. The making of the love knots segues nicely into a lesson and discussion on infinity. We talk about the idea of infinity. We begin with love: God loves us without bounds! Nothing can contain God! I remind them of Buzz Lightyear and his famous line: “To infinity and beyond!” Not even infinity can contain God or God’s love and mercy. Interestingly, this the children understand easily, maybe even intuitively. Then we talk about numbers and “space” in very simple terms. This is a bit harder--for all of us! Numbers just keep on going: you can always add a bit more; inversely, you can always take a bit away.
After they have formed a few love knots, they all draw the lemniscate for each of their siblings and write inside a few of the reasons they think God loves them and made them. (This can be kind of a challenge!)
The third activity is the baking and decoration of heart-shaped Sugar Cookies, from A Continual Feast, p. 95. Ordinarily, when we bake cookies there is a good deal of fighting
over whose cookie was whose, so for this Valentine’s Day no one got to keep the cookies they decorated. Each child made 7 cookies: 1 for each of their siblings and parents. At first there were groans and complaints, but when they were presented with (mostly!) delectable-looking treats from their brothers and sisters, their excitement grew. I “heart” you infinity style!
* During the massive snow storm this past week, we copied the Ingalls: we scooped up some fresh, clean snow from the backyard and ate it up with some really good maple syrup. Yum! It was like eating maple sorbet!