For the first month of our family Calendar of Virtue our virtue is Novelty. January is usually a month for making resolutions which themselves are often new but often don't have the same appeal. So, for this month our family motto was: Try something new.
It has been a good month for trying new things. Here are a few of the things we have done.
1. Cooking new dishes. A couple of years ago my wife got me a wonderful book called Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. The book contains a wide variety of soups each very simple to make and containing just a few ingredients. So, I resolved to try one new soup each month this year. January's new soup is Saint Anthony Soup which is a barley soup with carrots and leeks.
This novelty experiment went over so well with the family that I have made a few other new soups including a chick pea and spinach soup. Other favorite soups in our house from the book include Brussels Sprout Soup, Spicy English Parsnip Soup, and Cream of Mushroom Soup. There's nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter's day!
2. Learning Tai Chi. I've been wanting to learn tai chi for several years now and this seemed like the perfect month to start. As I was doing some elementary stretches, my daughter Teagie asked to join me so we are both going to learn some tai chi.
3. Integrating ritual into everyday life. An important part of my family life growing up was always family dinner. I wanted to insure that our family had the same sort of daily rituals. Like most young kids, Teagie enjoys the regularity of daily rituals and we already have quite a few in place related to waking up and bed time. This month we are working on adding some ritual elements to family dinner time and we have successfully added one very important and enjoyable ritual to our afternoons: tea time.
4. Learning the Japanese tea ceremony. Like tai chi I've been interested in learning about the Japanese tea ceremony for some time. I've always loved the minimalist aesthetic and precision associated with this ritual. It encourages mindfulness, relaxation, and an appreciation of the simple pleasures of life.
So, the year is off to a good start. In addition to these new ventures I think I'm going to re-work my blog to focus more on education and unschooling with an emphasis on the activities we get up to.