In keeping with my resolution to be more thoughtful and organized when it comes to celebrating the seasons... here are some plans and random thoughts for February - a month that can be a bit hard to love, yet has so many fun things to look forward to!
Special Dates to Celebrate
*February 2nd ~ Groundhog's Day/Candlemas *
At some point we pop over to Punxsatawney Phil's official website to see if he saw his shadow or not (or we find a video on You Tube). Someone always points out that even if he does see his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter, that that would still be an early spring around these parts! We often have a fun Groundhog's Day dessert that night, like these little pudding cups.
Historically, according to Mrs. Sharp, Candlemas Day was the day that the household would make an inventory of the household candles and replenish them as necessary. We take this day as an excuse to light a lot of candles at dinner. We light candles most nights for dinner, but on Candlemas we like to go all out and light every single candle we can find in the house. It makes quite an impressive display. Then, we eat by candlelight.
*February 7th ~ The Superbowl*
We aren't big football fans in our house, but we always watch the Superbowl and make an evening of it. Everyone picks a team to root for and we make a lot of fun food - nachos, sliders, 7-layer dip, a veggie tray, and boneless chicken wings. We watch the game while we eat. For dessert we often do a "football field" cake - just a rectangular chocolate cake with green frosting "grass". I have the kids print out little clipart team flags to decorate it with. And yes, we do stay up late to watch the whole game, no matter how long it goes on for....always past my bedtime!
*February 8th ~ Chinese New Year*
We celebrate this day mostly to have an excuse to eat Chinese food. Sometimes we get takeout, sometimes we make a couple of simple recipes at home. One thing we always do is make fortune cookies. The kids enjoy coming up with whacky fortunes to put in them. I try to have a craft or two on hand if the kids want to do one, this year is the Year of the Monkey, so a monkey craft is in order.
*February 12th & 22nd ~ Lincoln's & Washington's Birthdays*
I know President's Day is for celebrating all the presidents together, but we like to do something a little special for Lincoln and Washington on their special days. So we make a Lincoln's Log (a jelly roll) for Lincoln's birthday, and a cherry pie for George Washington. Or we purchase either or both, again, it all comes down to what else is going on that day.
*February 12th -15th ~ Great Backyard Birdcount*
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual event that we participate in whenever possible. I try to get at least three of the four days of counting in. We count birds in our own backyard, which means we don't usually see anything too exciting, but it is time well spent to find out who is visiting our yard each year.
*February 14th ~ Valentine's Day*
We start our Valentine's Day celebration the weekend before by making valentines for each other, plus a few to mail to some special people. The ones made for our family go into an old hat box until the big day, along with any cards we may receive in the mail. On Valentine's Day we have waffles (frozen or homemade) with strawberries and whipped cream. Everyone gets a small cup of pretty candy at their place that morning, and we all look at our cards. Then, the kids compete to see who can make the highest conversation heart tower. This is a tradition they invented on their own, and I buy an extra bag of candy each year for them to use. I try to make something just a bit fancier for dinner, and dessert is always a heart-shaped cake.
*February 29th ~ Leap Day*
We have never done anything special to celebrate Leap Day before, but this year I want to do something to mark the occasion. I saw an idea to create a time capsule to be opened on the next Leap Day, and I think we may try that. The kids can each pick something (or make something) to include in it.
Things to Notice & Do This Month
- Hope for snow - we've had hardly any!
- The days getting longer...slowly but surely
- Those wonderful days when the sun starts feeling warm again
- Songs of the chickadees
- The Full Snow Moon on February 22nd
- Tap our maple trees towards month's end
- Decorate for Valentine's Day and make a craft or two
- Put away all lingering Christmas decorations
- Buy flowers - primroses lined up on a window are so cheery this time of year
- Buy a box of chocolates to share
- Make homemade candy
- Try out some new board games
- Continue planning for spring and summer fun - daytrips, hikes, camping trips, etc.
- The National Mythology Exam
- Preparations for the National Latin Exam to be taken next month
- Finish up and enter our Six Flags reading logs
Now I am sure we will not get to everything on this list; we'll see what we can fit in!