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Abacus: Mountain – Creative Curriculum List for January

Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.

And, here is a sweet pinterest board I put together with lots of project ideas and inspiration

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“Mountain”

Movies:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Sound of Music

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Mountains from Planet Earth

 

Music:

In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg

Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

America the Beautiful

Crescendos

Yodeling

 

Sciences:

Rock Collecting/ identifying rock-types

Making Egg Geodes

Breaking Geodes

Volcano Making

Elevation Maps

Examining rocks under a microscope- sugar vs salt, etc.

 

Art & Craft:

Plastic wrap and tape mountain paintings

Build Mountain Shelves

Mountain Pillow Sewing

Painting mountains

Torn Paper mountain Range Stencils

Carving rock stamps

 

In the Kitchen:

Haystack cookies (we’ll call them Mountain cookies!)

Books:

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Online:

Listen to our Mountain spotify mix

Download our January desktop wallpaper

Writing:

Mountain Shaped Poems

Journal Keeping/Adventure Logs

 

Here is a printable pdf of our little chart we made for ourselves: 

Mountain list

Table Altar for Thanks: The Tree of Life

Artist and “space creator” Gregg Nordin was commissioned for our Almanac this month to provide directions on making a “Thanksgiving altar”!

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Thankfulness is a tricky one. Often we wait for moments of joy in order to have something to be thankful for. When things work in our favor, or when we get something we have been longing for. Some promotion, some purchase. We experience a momentary spike in joy and we are grateful. But all to soon the feeling can fade.

The truth is, gratitude and the practice of thanksgiving is what produces joy. Not the other way around. Thankfulness acts like new glasses that allow us to see the joy that is currently in our lives. Especially gratitude in the small things, the details; “Golden light of the morning sun,” “The feel of new socks.” “Warm Cookies”, “Harmony of birdsong outside my window.’

Thanksgiving slows us down and enables us to see. And when we can see… we no longer try to hustle for what we already have.

Purpose

The purpose of this interactive centerpiece is to provide a single gathering place for all the amazing things that bring our life to life. This exercise will not only remind us of the best parts of our existence but also allow us to share them with those around us.

Items needed

  • Colored Paper (preferably heavier weight like card stock)
  • Sticks / Branches 
  • Markers
  • Box or vase for base (fill with rocks or gravel for stability)
  • Small paper clips or clothes pins   

(You may want to assemble this interactive centerpiece early on in the month so you can daily add to it in preparation for Thanksgiving.)

The first part of assembly will require a short walk amongst some trees. Search for some fell branches that will work well with your table size and bring them home. Next you will need a base for the branches to rest in. Fill with rocks or sand to provide stability. Next take the your colored paper and with scissors cut out pieces shaped like leaves. Cut enough that everyone participating can use at least 2-3 per day. 

Every day take a moment or two to pause and think of the things you are grateful for. Everything from the big things like family and health. To the small things like the pools of melted butter on hot pancakes. Take those things and write them on a leaf. Give the leaf a small fold down the middle and then attach it to the tree. 

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Watch over the coming days as the centerpiece of dead branches comes to life. You may just notice a similar change in yourself as you become aware of all the things that fill you with joy.  Gratitude brings things to life.

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Gregg Nordin

Life_Spaces@icloud.com

The Smell of Each Season

Betony and I have a strange tradition that we
haven’t yet shared here in the Almanac.

With the turn of each season we go and buy
scented candles.

For fall we will perhaps get an apple smell, pumpkin, or maybe cloves. Then for winter we almost always get one of those Christmas tree ones, and maybe a cinnamon/spice fragrance. Come spring we’ve found “cut grass” and various flowers while summer this year took us to “Margarita-vile”.

I know it seems superfluous and a bit silly, but we look forward to doing this each fall, winter, spring, and summer.

They say that the sense most connected with memory is that of smell. So it would make great sense that when the weather changes and we find ourselves in a new place in the year yet again, we would want to recall the past.

In doing so we bring to mind all the good we remember from the last year and let that color our coming days.

And by purchasing candles, sometimes revisiting the exact same smells, sometimes finding new perfumes to add change and variety,
we anchor our joy in taking on each new season.
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