Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Christmas Paintings and our Advent Calendar

I wanted to share with yall our Christmas pictures we made yesterday and the advent calendar I have put together for the kids!  I am so excited about all the fun December activities I have planned!

Christmas Paintings
Remember from the Thanksgiving posts our Fall Trees that we dot painted and put on the wall above the buffet?  Well I liked those pictures up on that wall so much that I have decided to make that our "child masterpiece" wall.  I have been trying to figure out a way to display my children's artwork and I feel that is my solution!  :-)  I am going to change it out each season (or every couple of months or so) with different pictures that they have made.

Since my big nativity scene sits on the buffet at Christmas time I decided I would get them to paint pictures that went with that to display through December.  So I printed off coloring pages of angels and stars and had the kids dot paint them (since they love that so much).  Seth also drew a picture of the entire nativity scene - that I put in in the middle. 

Here is a picture of the wall with the nativity scene on the buffet.

Here is a close up of Seth's nativity drawing - complete with 7 wise men (he has decided that there were more than 3...which he could be never said there were 3...just that they brought 3 gifts)

Here is Alyssa's beautiful angel :-)

Aaron's pretty dot painted star!

Seth also did a small star.

I was working on a small angel - and, of course, Alyssa helped.  (and I removed that picture hook to the left of the picture after I took this picture - LOL!)

Yesterday afternoon we had friends over for a play date!!  :-)  While the kids played, Angela and I played as well :-)  We made advent calendars for the month of December!

I decided to use my red pocket chart for my calendar.  We won't be using it for school this month so it worked out perfect.  I went to Target and got some cute cookie bags in the dollar spot, along with some cute ribbon and a 24 piece puzzle!

We cut out 24 green squares and wrote the numbers 1 to 24 on them and placed them in the chart.  And then I cut the bags to smaller sizes.  I took red pieces of paper and wrote activities for each day.  I folded up the piece of paper and put it in the middle of the bag cut out with a piece of the puzzle.  I then gathered up the bag and tied a piece of ribbon around it and stuck it next to one of the numbers in the pocket chart.

Here is a picture of the calendar on the wall with the puzzle board.

And a more close up of the advent calendar.

Here is the puzzle board.  This is a Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer puzzle.  When I saw that it had 24 pieces I thought how perfect!  Each piece is numbered and has a numbered spot on the board (you can see that I messed up my numbering - oh well).  Each day the kids will glue the next piece in place.

I have carefully planned out the activities, because I want us to actually stick to this and do it every day!  I have even covered our bases for times when I know that we will be busy or out of town (like on day 10 I put "Go to a Christmas Concert" because we will be at my parents going to see Denver and the Mile High Orchestra or the activity of "Doing something special with Daddy and PaPa" on the day that I will be hosting a Christmas party for my ladies bible study group at my house So Daddy and PaPa will be babysitting :-).

I have also made a print out of what activities I have on what day because there will be a little bit of planning that will be needed for certain activities, such as making sure I have the ingredients for baking cookies, or planning the treasure hunt (the prize will be a $1 for each child to go spend at Dollar Tree the next day when we go out for a Christmas treat).  

Also having a print out of the activities will be helpful if "life" happens and I need to do a bit of rearranging to make sure we can still do all the activities (for example the day I have for us to go look at Christmas lights...if something comes up and we can't go that day we can switch things around to make sure we don't miss that activity, and we are not left with a day without an activity).

It is going to be so fun!!  I will keep you updated, of course, with pictures :-)

Oh and one activity that I love doing as many days as possible - reading Christmas novels with a nice cup of coffee while the kids nap!  I started this tradition last year and loved it so much that I am doing it again this year!  I have one "real" book I am reading and I have several on my kindle as well!

I so love December!

Until next time,

Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's Focus on Thanksgiving - The Final Wrap Up

Well today we have started our "December School" -- even though December doesn't start until Thursday,  we were too excited!!  It was a very fun day (kids are actually still watching their Christmas movie for the day, singing along having a grand time)!!  But more on that later :-)  (I promise to have at least weekly updates, if not more)...

but not today...

Today I need to finish up telling you about our WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!!  Actually make that TWO WONDERFUL Thanksgivings!!!  This had to be the best Thanksgiving holiday ever!

So on with the details...

Remember the surprise that I said the kids were working on that I couldn't tell you about until afterwards??  Well the kids made Thank You cards for our family members!

I went to the library and got die cuts of leaves and turkeys.  I glued them to rectangle pieces of cardstock and gave each child a tube of glitter glue (each one had a different color - pack of 3 from the dollar store and they worked GREAT).  They sqeezed pretty squiggly lines of glitter all over the leaves or turkeys.

I then printed, using pretty font, the words "We Are Thankful For"  for each card.  We glued those on the middle of the picture.

I had Seth write each family member's name and then I scanned his writings into the computer so that I could decrease the size and make them fit on the card.  I cut out them out using scalloped scissors.

Then I took another rectangle for each card, same size as the first, and had each kid sign their name.  Aaron wrote an A for his name on each one :-), Seth of course wrote his name and Alyssa made pretty scribbles.

I stapled the second rectangle to the back of the first to finish the card!

I displayed them on the buffet around our Thankful Tree.  (it of course was very pretty when they were all up there...but for our Thanksgiving with the Watson's there were only three you will see in a bit that I did something else for the buffet for that Thanksgiving and just put the cards at their place at the table).

Of course all of the family loved them!!  :-)

So on with the rest of the Thanksgiving highlights!

As mentioned before, my parents, sister and her two kids came up the weekend before Thanksgiving for an early Thanksgiving celebration!  I decided I would spoil them for the whole weekend :-).  When they got there Friday night I had pinto beans that had been cooking in the crock pot all day, with sausage, rice, fried okra and cornbread for supper - YUMMY!!

For breakfast I made a Blueberry Breakfast Cake and a Sticky Bun ring!  Didn't it turn out pretty?!?!  And it tasted just as good!

Here is the table all decorated and ready!!  You should notice the tablecloth, napkin rings, place cards and the turkey bread basket with the turkey napkin inside it!  Didn't it come together nicely?!?!

Here we are sitting at the table FULL of food!!  I just noticed that no one was smiling though - gees!  Look happy people!!  LOL!!  For food we had a grilled pork loin, sweet potatoes with streusel topping, homemade creamed corn, boiled to death green beans, creamy cranberry salad, and yeast rolls!  YUMMY!!  For dessert we had a spice cake pumpkin trifle (that I forgot to get a picture of!)  We were all so stuffed when we were done!  But it was a good good dinner!

For our Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday with Daniel's parents and brother we decided to brine our turkey!  Here is a picture of our 18 lb turkey resting in it's brine!  We had to get a 32 quart rubbermaid to fit it in and completely rearrange the fridge - but it fit!!

Here it is off the grill!  YUM!!!  It may look burn but I assure you it was not burned at all!!  (the brown sugar in the brine combined with the olive oil rub on the turkey on the grill made the skin very dark looking - but it was VERY GOOD flavor when you ate it!)  This was the juiciest turkey I have ever had!

Here is a picture of my apple-raisin stuffing (VERY good) and my homemade cranberry relish!!

Remember earlier in the post I mentioned I did something different with the buffet for the 2nd celebration - it was transformed into our dessert table!! YUM!!

Here is a picture of my pumpkin bars and my caramel apple trifle!

Here is a picture of the banana pudding and pecan pie that my brother-in-law made!  YUM!

And here is this family picture (Uncle James made it as well!!  :-) )  At least everyone smiled in this picture!

Here is my plate stuffed full of food - ready to dig in!!  YUM!!    You can also see on my plate my sweet potato casserole (BEST I have ever done!!!) and the bacon wrapped green beans that my brother-in-law did!  We just stuck with easy crescent rolls for this gathering. :-)

Ok I seriously need to go on a major diet now - LOL!!

But this will seriously be a Thanksgiving holiday that will be remembered for years to come!!

Until next time,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let's Focus On Thanksgiving - Our Turkey Place Cards

For our focus on Thanksgiving today we made our turkey place cards.  Of course, I got the original idea from Pinterest, but ours ended up being a lot different than the one on there.  To start with I realized I didn't have any good color ink pads to do the fingerprints.  I could have done it with paint, but my kids get really finicky about their fingers getting dirty, so I just didn't want to chance it.

So we decided to do dot painting :-)  Of course, Aaron was beyond thrilled!!  (and actually did the best job of us all!)  I cut our place cards to size and folded them.  I made three curved lines with a pencil (looked like a rainbow) and gave them q-tips and orange, purple and blue paint.  I told them to make dots on each line - one color per line.  (for some reason Seth was the one having a problem following this direction LOL - oh well, they were still cute).  Then when they were done we squirted some orange glitter glue on them to make the body and since it was glue we were able to put the google eyes and triangle beak right on top of that!  :-)

I then used a fine point marker to make the feet and then a colored sharpie to right everyone's name on them.

I think they turned out really cute, even if they were a bit different than what I had envisioned!

Here are the pics!
 Aaron told me the whole time how much he loved dot painting!

 Alyssa was not cooperating very well and was not letting me help her so I just gave her some pain, q-tip and scrap paper and she had fun just painting :-)
Here they all are drying.

And here is our finished product!

Other Posts on our Focus on Thanksgiving:
The Mantle
Our Fall Trees
The Tablecloth
Our Pilgrim and Indian
Our Thankful Tree
Our Turkey Bread Basket
Our Napkin Rings

My family is due in sometime tomorrow late afternoon/early evening!  We are so excited to show off everything we have done!!

Until next time,

MFW 1st Grade - Week 13 and 14 In Review

Here I am once again having to play catch up on my reviews.  But if you are a normal follower of my blog then you know that we have been busy focusing on Thanksgiving!  :-)

So I am catching up with what we did last week and this week.  Despite all the fun Thanksgiving stuff we have been doing we have also managed to have two full weeks of school :-) Go Us!!  To reward ourselves we are taking next week, the week of Thanksgiving, off!!  YAY!!  On Monday and Tuesday I am planning on having us come out to the school house because I want to do some planning for school for the month of December (which will be all review of what we have already learned - no "new school" happening that month) but the kids will be able to just play puzzles or watch videos while I work on planning!

But I will post more about all that later - on to our review!

The past two weeks we have gone through days 49-58 of the teacher's manual of MFW (skipping days 50 and 55 due to the fact that there is no reading on those days - we really are not doing exploration days at all). We have finished the first story of the reader on creation and read the second story this week!  Seth is doing very well in reading.  He is doing better than I would have expected retaining the phonics rules.  I am excited about the month of December - when we will have a chance to cement the retention without worrying about adding another rule almost every day!

I do want to make a note about day 57 when the focus was long vowel e spelled ea - I did things a bit different than the TM stated.  I introduced the rule to Seth of "When two vowels go walking the first one does the talking."  I even made this illustration (picture below) on the board, which Seth really liked (he loves for me to do things like that).  To me I think he will retain this rule better this way than the way that they were having you explain it in the TM.  :-)  He is ready to see other vowels "go walking". LOL!

In Pathways we are really moving right along!  We read 4 new stories in the past two weeks and he is doing REALLY REALLY WELL!!  I can't say enough how much I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!  I have been so impressed with it so far!  He doesn't moan and groan about having to do the worksheets and he reads the stories very well!  YAY!!

He is also still enjoying Explode the Code.  He does his pages as his napwork (that's what we call homework).

We continued our work on addition and subtraction the past two weeks.  He has gotten really good with the addition and does it now using his fingers only to help him.  With subtraction he is still using his counting bears or cubes but is doing well with it.  He has also grasped the + and - sign and know what each one means!

We didn't read as many books on math the past two weeks but here are the books that we did read:
The Smushy Bus by Leslie Helakoski
The Action of Subtraction by Brian Cleary
Subtraction Fun by Betsy Franco
Panda Math: learning about subtraction from Hua Mei and Mei Sheng by Ann Whitehead Nagda

Our focus in science the past two weeks was 'Under the Sea' and 'Sun & Moon'.  As I have stated before all that we are really doing for science is just reading lots of books on the subject we are focusing on.  We will talk about the subject as we read and we also watch some videos as well.  But this is really been the extent of our science focus right now.  Seth is just getting familiar with the subjects, learning the basics through fun stories.

Books we read over the past two weeks on these subjects:
Across the Wide Ocean by Karen Romano Young
Gentle Giant Octopus by Karen Wallace (note on this book - we LOVE this book!  We read this as part of the kindergarten curriculum and were excited to read it again this year.  Octopuses are FASCINATING!)
Peg and the Whale by Kenneth Oppel
Yummy, Yummy! Food for my Tummy! by Sam Lloyd (very cute silly book that the boys loved)
Big Blue by Shelley Gill
Bright Stanley by Matt Bukingham
Waiting for the Whales by Sheryl McFarlane
Follow Me! by Bethany Roberts
Baby Beluga by Raffi
Little Honey Bear and the Smiley Moon by Gillian Lobel
I'll See You When The Moon is Full by Susi Gregg Fowler
Grandpa Takes Me To the Moon by Timothy R Gaffney
I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis
Catching the Moon by Myla Goldberg
Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant
Little Wolf and the Moon by Marjorie Dennis Murray
When the Moon Forgot by Jimmy Liao (Seth LOVED this book)
Full Moon Barnyard Dance by Carole Lexa Schaefer
Little Rabbit Couldn't Sleep by Beth Shoshan
The Moon Might Be Milk by Lisa Shulman
Little Moon Dog by Helen Ward

Videos we watched:
Happy Birthday Moon
Moon Man
A closer look at space: the moon

We got Proverbs 14:30 memorized last week.  Here is the video of him reciting that. (click here if you are viewing this post from email to see the video on the blog)

We didn't get a proverb memorized this week :-(  (just so much going on I just didn't do a good job getting to that).  But Seth has memorized the first 16 books of the bible now!!  Here is a video of him reciting them!  (once again click here if you are viewing this from email to see the video on the blog)

We also finished our study on creation and we did the story of the Garden of Eden and The First Sin.  I used the stories in the TM but used the stick figures from Grapevine Studies to tell the story with!  Aaron participates in this with us.  Both boys have a notebook to make their drawings in and then after we have completed the lesson both boys have to go up to the blackboard and retell me the story using the pictures on the board!  I am happy with both boys retention but I am so impressed with Aaron's retention!  He is doing so well.  Below are pictures of the boys at the board retelling the story of the Garden of Eden.

And here is a shot of my teacher's manual with my little stick figures drawn in where I want to put them in the story!

Aaron And Alyssa
They are doing better and better about learning how to quietly play during school time.  Aaron loves playing his games on the ipad or playing computer cool school.  And of course having him more involved with Seth now that the bible lessons are more involved has been a good thing as well :-)

Aaron is doing well at his speech therapy sessions.  This week his therapist gave us a homework page of three syllable words to work on saying (working on getting all the sounds in).  Since Seth has recently been introduced to learning syllables I figured out a way to do an exercise that would help both!  I put all the words on a paper (with pictures) and then put three circles beside them.  Aaron has to dot paint or stamp each circle as he says each part of the word (like he did in his session and LOVED) and Seth has to dot paint or stamp each circle when he says each syllable!  They enjoyed doing this!  I think Aaron really liked the fact that he Seth was the doing the same thing he was :-).  Aaron's therapist wants him to be fluent in the words by next week and I think by doing this we will be able to accomplish that!

 Of course Seth had to stamp his hand - LOL!

Of course Alyssa and Aaron also love story time and love watching the videos as well.

And our mascot loves to come in and snuggle during video time as well :-)  Such a spoiled little puppy!

I think Seth is excited about his week off next week!  :-)  He has worked so hard - he deserves it!!

We will have one more "normal" week after next week and then we are going to be in our FUN December school!!!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let's Focus on Thanksgiving - Our Napkin Rings

We had another FUN FUN project for our focus on Thanksgiving today - our napkin rings.  Guess where I got the idea???  Of course if you answered PINTEREST you were right! LOL!!  I just love that site!!

Anyways - I cut out all the pieces ahead of time so all we had to do today is glue our pieces together - like little puzzles.  The kids had a ball doing this, of course, because they always love working with glue :-)  Even Alyssa was doing her own glue!

Here are the pictures!  I think they turned out adorable!

We had to give them time to dry 

And here is a napkin ring holding a napkin sitting on our cute plates that I found (they are heavy duty paper plates but aren't they cute?!?!) on the tablecloth!  I think it all looks so pretty together!  So excited!!

Other Posts on our Focus on Thanksgiving:
The Mantle
Our Fall Trees
The Tablecloth
Our Pilgrim and Indian
Our Thankful Tree
Our Turkey Bread Basket

Until next time,