Christmas brought some new discoveries our way. None of them were things I had even heard of, but it’s going to be fun to figure them out. I think they will enrich our lives in various ways.
My sister got the girls these amazing Perplexus puzzles. The one with purple and orange is the original puzzle; the one with the blue and white is more difficult. Both involve guiding a marble from the beginning to the end of a complex maze. Both are highly addictive!
Toys like this are educational without pretending to be. For fostering continuous focus, these are at the top of the list. I loved the sight of both girls seated next to each other on Christmas day, amidst a flurry of family activity, carefully turning and tilting their puzzles with expressions of deep concentration.
Another gift I consider educational is Legos. I still laugh when I remember my older daughter coming into the bathroom one morning a few years ago while I was in the shower, and reporting that a Lego airplane she had constructed with her dad a year earlier had a mistake in it. She was perusing the manual for fun. Of course she didn’t rest till she’d disassembled and reassembled it correctly.
This year she got a Technics Cruiser to put together; Younger Daughter got some items from the Lego Friends collection. Both are perfectly adapted to their interests, and both require sequential and spatial thinking. They had their projects completed by Christmas afternoon. I’m sure other parents of Lego fans have Christmas stories too! The Lego project we got for their dad (on the right) will take a bit longer as the three work on it together.
Speaking of educational gifts, my mother-in-law gave us some cool things. This NutriBullet is kind of a food processor, I guess, but the purpose is to make shakes involving both greens and fruits. We tried it out this morning with a 50% spinach, 50% red grape/banana mix. Aside from the daunting green color of our mixture, it tasted like a fruit shake. We’re excited about incorporating some of the recipes into our morning meals and upping our produce intake that way.
She also gave us a rice cooker and an insulated coffee mug for the car that plugs into the cigarette lighter to keep your coffee hot. This is much appreciated! I used to drive the 12 hours from Kentucky to New York in one shot several times a year, but now I can’t drive an hour without nearly falling asleep. I have to bring a thermos of coffee. My mother-in-law knows this!
There were a number of handmade/homemade gifts given and received too. My brother made my dad a beautiful tiger maple walking stick, and wood-burned Christmas ornaments for all of us. I made calendars that featured my nature photography. (My sister-in-law immediately announced that this would need to be a yearly tradition, so I guess they were a success!) My mother-in-law made me a fleece robe for these Northeastern mornings. To me the holiday was a really rich time with family, full of good conversation and music. I came away with some ideas for creative projects and some good food for the soul as a bonus.
My heart goes out to those whose Christmas was incomplete because of the loss of loved ones. Perhaps because our hearts are all tender after the Connecticut crime, but also because I’m conscious that we will not always have everyone together and well, I was especially grateful for the intangible gifts of family and shared history this year.
- Books Read in 2012
- Hardy Winter Citizens