I can not believe today is our first baby's 13th birthday! She is such a beautiful person, both inside and out. I always tell everyone that God gave me my "little bean" first for a reason- she is such a wonderful helper, and a great big sister. She is so smart and talented, and many times we forget she is "only 13" because she presents herself with such maturity and kindness towards others. Happy 13th birthday, sweetheart. You are such a blessing to us and we love you!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Yesterday, our homeschool group H.E.A.R.T. celebrated "Christmas Around The World". What we decided to do this year was a progressive celebration. In case you have never heard of this before, I will explain what it is! There are five families in our support group. Each family was given 45 minutes to share their country project and serve a food item at their home. Then, everyone piles into their cars and we travel to the next family's house, where they do their project. This continues on until we have visited all 5 homes!
We began at our house and the country we chose to represent was Mexico. Our children have been working on this project since November and it was so exciting to see it all come together. Our journey to Mexico began in our front yard, where our oldest explained the tradition of Las Posadas, the nine days of re-enacting the story of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Our other 2 children played Mary and Joseph and found the inn where they would stay.
Then, we all went inside where my oldest played Silent Night on the piano while my younger daughter sang it in Spanish. It was so beautiful! Next, each of our children presented a project about Mexico. They also had several craft samples on display that they worked on, as well as some authentic Mexican items such as dolls, money, and blankets.
Once completed, we all sat down to a delicious meal of beef enchiladas.
Soon, it was time to depart to our next destination- Japan! In Japan, we were treated to a meal of chicken and rice, soup, and dessert sushi.
Next came Italy, where we were treated to a scrumptious bowl of Irish stew and soda bread, as well as cookies.
Our 4th destination was Germany. We learned all about the Christmas Markets, played a guessing game about famous German inventors, and ate potatoes, sauerkraut, and pork. Saint Nicholas even visited before we arrived and left all of the children special treats.
Last but not least was Italy. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera in the car and so I have no pictures of our visit there, but it was just as wonderful as the four previous presentations. The children presented their projects and then we ate meatballs, baked ziti, pizza, and bread. Yummy!!! This truly was such a fantastic experience for both the children and the parents. What a neat treat to see how each family did their projects differently and gave their own personal touches to it. I can not wait until next year's progressive Christmas Around The World. My kids enjoyed this activity so much, they are already discussing what country we should choose for next year!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Last night, our family traveled to the "North Pole". We began our journey just before dark and the kids were SO excited to be going on the Polar Express.
This was my nephew Little T's first visit to the North Pole and he was thrilled to be going with his cousins!
Of course, the first thing my kids wanted to do when we arrived was see Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas.
There were crafts for the children to make, a toyshop for them to play with all kinds of trains and toys, and a stand where they could make their own bag of reindeer food to sprinkle in the yard on Christmas Eve.
We all enjoyed making s'mores by the fire and drinking hot chocolate.
This was a special field trip that our children will remember for years to come!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
We have been ever so busy with all the fun activities and crafts that we enjoy during Christmas. My oldest participated in a gingerbread house decorating contest this week with kids from our local support group. This was her very first attempt at decorating a gingerbread house and I must say, I am quite impressed! All contestants won a prize and hers was for "best snowscape".
Our kids went to visit Santa this week as well. When he asked them what school they went to and they answered that they were homeschooled, Santa told them "they were so lucky to be homeschooled because it is the best education you can have, and that they should thank their mom and dad each day for allowing them to be homeschooled." It was so funny because at first I think my kids were a bit in shock and thought perhaps I had set them up or something. Well my husband and I were as surprised as they were! It was really neat...
We have also taken the kids to see several different Christmas light displays in our area.
One of our favorites was this display with a giant sized nativity scene. We have many more activities in store. The kids are participating in a living nativity this next week, our homeschool support group is doing a progressive Christmas Around The World activity, and we are going on a field trip on the North Pole Express Train Ride. I just love seeing the wonder and amazement in my kids' eyes as they enjoy this wonderful time of year.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I discovered this Advent Calendar idea several years ago in a magazine. It is such a simple yet adorable idea! I went out and purchased several pair of baby socks in different colors and sizes. Then I clipped them to a string using mini clothes pins and wrote a number on each pin, one for every day leading up to Christmas. I fill each tiny sock with a slip of paper that has some activity written on it. I even place little candies in them. The kids just love it and take turns reading what the special note for the day says. I include things such as "make cookies" , "go to see Christmas lights", "make ornaments", etc... Lots of fun and cute too!
I know it is a week late but I forgot to post this during Thanksgiving. It's just too darn cute to forget though. I discovered this website called Bakerella.com and they had the most adorable mini pumpkin pie recipe. So, my girls and I decided to try it this year. I have to say, they are the easiest dessert to make and by far the most precious little pies. Go to their website for tons of other tiny creations.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Well, I guess it's safe to say the holidays are upon us and in full swing. My kids are looking forward to a break from school work this week, even though they will still be working on various projects, craft activities, and reading assignments. They have really been excited about our Christmas in Mexico project and are busy completing some clay "tree of life" candle holders and ornaments.
Another activity my oldest daughter especially enjoys is all the baking during this wonderful time of year. Here she is baking some delicious banana bread with her little brother. My little guy has really taken an interest in baking lately and so any opportunity he gets, he is right there ready to assist.
I am thankful for so many things this year. I am thankful for God, for my wonderful family, for the freedom to homeschool our children, and for living in this great country. This Thanksgiving and throughout the year, think about the many ways God has blessed you. "Be thankful unto Him and bless His name." Psalm 100:4. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Every year, my kids get a TON of candy. When I say a ton, that is no exaggeration. Each of their buckets was completely overflowing with chocolate, gum, Skittles, M & M's and just about every other type of candy you could imagine. So, always looking for a teaching opportunity, I decided to have my children do some math and science activities with their load, secretly praying it would all somehow disappear before they ate too much. First, I had them sort all the candy by brand. Then, they sorted the candy by type- chocolate, chewy, gum, hard candy, etc... The fun part came next. We did lots of experiments using various candies-melting time, water/oil experiments, etc... They really enjoyed this activity and little by little, the giant sugar mountain started to disappear. I don't even think they really cared about eating the candy as much as they were curious to see how long it would take a chocolate bar to explode in the microwave. Fun times...
We've been learning about Mexico as part of our Galloping the Globe studies and the kids had fun making Ojos de Dios (God's Eyes) this week. Much more about Mexico will be seen here, as we chose Mexico as our Christmas Around The World country.
I know I've mentioned this before, but I will say it again- I just LOVE Starfall Kindergarten. It is so thorough and full of all sorts of colorful, high quality manipulatives and products. My little guy has been working hard at sounding out words and so I decided to make 3 different colored circles and laminated them. Then, I wrote the words "beginning" "middle" and "ending" and placed one above each circle. I say a word out loud and give him a handful of magnetic letters. His job is to break up the word into separate sounds and then find the correct letters and place them in the appropriate spot. For example, I say the word "bed" and he repeats it and then says what each letter sounds like b-e-d. Then, he finds the letters in his pile and sets them in the correct order. He really enjoys this activity and I am amazed at how well he is learning to distinguish beginning/ending sounds as well as vowels.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
This weekend, we participated in the annual International Folk Fair in our area. It is such a neat event because it has so many educational opportunities. There are dozens of countries represented and each country has a booth set up with cultural displays, crafts, and food items. Most countries also perform dances or sing on the stage. Children can get a passport and have it stamped as they "travel" to each country. This year's theme was "Our World's Waterways" and so as you visited each nation, you were supposed to find out information regarding that country's main rivers, lakes, etc... My children really enjoyed seeing all the different displays and sampling all the delicious foods. But their favorite thing was when they performed on stage with the folk dancing group. Actually, this was my little guy's very first show and he did great! If you ever have the chance to go to a multicultural event such as this, don't miss out- it is like traveling the world without leaving home!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
My girls have recently taken an interest in sewing, which I am absolutely thrilled about! I myself would LOVE to learn how to sew better and I am determined to make time for it in the near future. My younger daughter takes a hand sewing class at our homeschool co-op each week but my oldest has never taken any formal sewing class. This didn't stop her ambition though. What a sweet surprise when she presented me with this adorable fall pillow she made all by herself! I was really impressed with it and amazed she didn't ask for one bit of help. I am even more determined now to get out that sewing machine and start some creating with my girls.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Then the kids had fun with some "spooky" activities. They got to put their hands in the mystery boxes and try to guess what was inside. By the looks of their faces, some of them weren't too sure about touching anything they couldn't see!
They had a blast with a team building activity involving LOTS of toilet paper and two unsuspecting "victims", the oldest girls in our group. The little ones squealed with delight as they wrapped up the girls in paper and turned them into mummies.
It's hard to believe October is almost over. We have many exciting activities and events planned in the next coming months. I can't wait!
Monday, October 25, 2010
The kids have been enjoying all the fun fall activities, even though it still feels like summer here! This past weekend, our oldest entered her dog in a costume contest at Petsmart and won 1st place! She worked really hard with Daddy on the pirate ship. Isn't it cute???
I've been trying to do lots of "fun" fall lessons with the children. We did some cinquain poetry as well as fall sponge painting.
We also did a really neat Christian Pumpkin activity which I was able to print off from the wonderful blog 1 + 1+ 1 = 1. I just loved this craft and the kids seemed to enjoy the poem too that came along with it.
I absolutely love this time of year!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
This morning we went on a tour of the Working Cow Ice Cream Factory. We stepped inside the freezers filled with huge containers of ice cream in every flavor imaginable! Notice the temperature on the thermometer? -20 degrees! Brrrrr!
By far though, the highlight of the tour was when they gave each of us our own dish of vanilla ice cream, fresh out of the machine! It was absolutely divine... I honestly believe that was the best ice cream I have ever tasted.
After we got home, my little guy did some fun ice cream activities I printed off of http://www.makinglearningfun.com/ He had to build an ice cream tower with sight words and he also did a fun clipping game with ice cream cones and color words.
It really was a fun tour and I know the kids as well as the grown-ups enjoyed it!