It's hard to believe that Christmas is so close, and I've still so much to do -- though to be fair, most of it is for local folks. I've the stuff for mailing just about ready to go, minus the baking (which I'm trying to finish up today and tomorrow). I'm pretty darn' happy that I've not bought "things" for people but have, instead, put time, effort, and a whole lot of love into making gifts by hand. There is something deeply satisfying about gifting from one's talents -- I'm left feeling that I've truely given a gift from the heart.
That said, the gifts for kids do have a little something "bought" to go along with the gift I made -- nothing big, mind you.
Today I'm baking war cake -- a wartime cake recipe that uses only 2 tbsp of butter and no eggs -- and at least one batch of biscotti. If I get my act together, I may bake a second batch as well, or I might walk the kids down to the Market to pick out our Christmas tree. I'll make my decision based on how my oldest behaves on the walk home from school this afternoon. He has been rather challenging lately and I'm loathe to set him (and myself) up for failure by taking him out in public when he's having difficulty controlling himself.
On a related note, his required school reading was recently changed to allow him to read books from home as he's the top reader in his class. What a change in attitude for him! Being able to pick something from home has made reading fun again and he takes great pride in finding a book that will really challenge him. We finished the last few chapters of Stuart Little and I suggested we try reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as I have a great 1940's copy with coloured plates in it and larger text.
He has jumped to the challenge and has been experimenting with dynamic reading (making "long" loooooooooong, etc) and not shying away from the somewhat antiquated phrasing in the book (it was written in 1900, after all). He's very interested in the differences with the film and has enjoyed pointing out plot devices such as the Scarecrow doing all the thinking despite the lack of a brain. He reads a chapter aloud to me every night and I follow it by reading the next chapter. The best part of all of this was when he told me one night that he wanted me to read another chapter because he "already had a picture painted in [his] mind and wanted to *see* what would happen next". This is pretty big for him, as he has always had difficulty with envisioning the action in the past.
He'll be so excited when he opens the Ralph S. Mouse trilogy we've gotten him for Christmas. :)