Friday, December 16, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up Homeschool Journal Dec. 10-16

Extracurricular This Week:
Big moment! My 6 year old had his first piano recital!

He's so handsome and charming (and looked so little!), and he played his piece (Jolly Old Saint Nicholas) perfectly. Complete with a bow.

In Our Homeschool This Week:
Homeschooling this week has only consisted of reading time and holiday activities.
I wrote about our Charlie Brown Christmas activity here. It has been one of their favorite holiday activities, so far.

I always kind of wanted The Elf on the Shelf (because everyone makes it look so fun), but I could never bring myself to splurge the $29.99. I found this book at Hastings for $4, and we've been having fun with it, instead.

Every day (for the 12 days leading up to Christmas), I take out a new cardboard elf and hide it (along with the previous elves because one is never enough to find) according to the clue in the book. Then we read the poem clue, and they look for it. I just hide the other elves in random places, and they also take turns hiding them/searching after that. I like that the elves' backs are printed on the other side making them more realistic.

In My Life This Week:
The kids have slept together a few times lately. (Tornado started opening his eyes when I turned on the lights and took the picture.) They all have their own nice, cozy beds, but I guess they prefer being together. It's sweet. Sissy doesn't think it's fair that she's the only one who has to go to sleep in a room by herself, and well...I understand. That makes sense. I get to cuddle with Ryan, and the boys get to whisper to one another until they fall asleep in their bunk beds. Not fair, indeed, Sis.

In My Pregnancy This Week:
I actually tried to call the doctor today because my leg and feet swelling is so over the top. I am a little concerned that one is slightly bigger than the other, which according to the internet could be an issue. The office isn't open on Friday's, though, so I'm trying to decide what to do. Worrying about having a blood clot is not good for my hypochondriatic self. I think I convince myself I'm having trouble breathing when I'm probably just panicking.

I've been feeling FINE up until now. I never had extreme morning sickness. I have never felt particularly tired or achey. My blood pressure is perfect. ETC. The past week or two I have went dramatically downhill. This week I officially hit a weight I've never reached before in my other pregnancies (and I still have a bit to go!). I started crying today because I was worried about my feet after reading things on the computer about it. I was trying to stay off of them, but I have so much to do! So much I want to do! Clean for company this weekend. Wrap presents. Bake desserts for our holiday body is failing me when I don't even feel tired, and I think this must be a hint of what it feels like to grow old. I walk up the stairs so slowly, and I'm totally out of breath when I reach the top.

Anyway, today I burst into tears, and Sissy ran downstairs to get her brothers. I could hear her saying, "Come on! Mommy's crying!" I don't like to lose it in front of them, and I tried to explain that I'm fine, I'm just disappointed that I'm not feeling well enough to do what I need and want to do. I think they understand. They gave me a foot and leg massage with lotion as they pretended like they were playing "spa," and I was a customer. Sissy was talking all fancy and prissy as she explained what they were doing and how they were helping me. It was cute. (And felt great!)

A Peek at Sissy in Preschool This Week:
Pajama Day at school this week

She had her Christmas program this week, too. It included sitting on Santa's lap and receiving a newly wrapped book, the kids singing a few songs (which included her wearing a Santa's hat, lots of hand motions, and ringing jingle bells during one song) for everyone in the sanctuary, and a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" party back in the classroom.

What We're Playing This Week:
We were using cotton balls for a snowman craft, and these two decided to have a snowball fight with them. I actually thought it was a really fun idea, and I was just relieved that they were finally throwing something in the house that wouldn't hurt anything. I am, however, still finding cotton balls in random places many days later.

Daddy played Scrabble: Junior Edition with them one night.

What We're Looking Forward To This Week:
The boys were excited when we went to Googie & Papaw's one day and saw all of their Christmas decorations were set out. They love my dad's Snow Village creations, complete with a train. I'm sure this will get a lot of viewing time this weekend as my whole family will be together to celebrate the holiday. We are looking forward to hanging out with everyone.

Quotes to Share:
Sis was helping me clean her room. I asked her to do something apparently while she was still completing another task. She said, "Wait a second. I only have two hands, not three." She said it very serious, which is funny because she apparently she picked up that from me; I am always telling them something like that.

Linkin' Up:

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weekly wrap-up

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Stories + "Art"

One of our latest Advent Garland days was the gift of A Charlie Brown Christmas. I also included with the book some flashy garland in a bag, and we also stopped by Dollar Tree to pick out some $1 shatter-proof balls and holly garland.

After we read the book (which I love, especially when Charlie Brown exclaims, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" and Linus goes on to explain the real meaning of Christmas), we took a walk around our property to pick out a tree that maybe wanted to feel like a special Christmas tree this year.

The tree ended up very fancy, and I'm pretty sure all of its Christmas tree dreams have now came true.

We had some extra decorations, and the kids felt very certain they wanted to decorate this old tree, too. It was one that we had used as a Christmas tree years ago in a pot, then transferred outside. I think it has finally succumbed to the Arkansas heat, etc., although there is a bit of green hiding in there.

Another Advent activity we've done so far was reading Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett.

I mentioned on my Weekly Journal Friday that we had made gingerbread house pancakes.

I have a gingerbread house pancake mold I've had for years (and I've seen them online). We also had a little success using a large gingerbread boy cookie cutter (with plenty of cooking spray) as a pancake mold.

I filled our dishes with fruits, nuts, cereal, chocolate chips and let the kids decorate their houses, along with syrup, melted fruit spread and dairy-free whipping cream.

This was our supper, and the boys ended up making more than one each.

My 4 year old was actually in the middle of her own Gingerbread Unit at preschool last week. Here are a few of her art projects.

Linking Up:
stART at A Mommy's Adventures
Read, Explore, Learn at JDaniel4's Mom
Preschool Corner at Homeschool Creations

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekly Homeschool Journal Dec. 2-9

In Our Homeschool This Week:We were really "off schedule" this week because of a 3 day weekend trip we took. We didn't get all of our schoolwork finished, but that's okay because our co-op has a month-long Christmas break (YAY!!!), so we'll have time to catch up. I assigned the boys plenty of time on Time4Learning, etc. while I did laundry, etc. Dash practiced piano a lot. Tornado is always 100% engaged in some writing or art project. We've also spent more time celebrating the holidays at home this week, which is a nice thing.

They also enjoyed several episodes of Liberty's Kids. I got the idea of watching it on Netflix Streaming from another blogger. (And they have a website with games and info, as well.) I had forgotten about that show (years ago, I always thought it would be great for when they got older), and the kids had never watched it. They love it now, though, and it goes along perfectly with what the boys are both studying in history right now. (Tornado does Abeka American History.) These are two of their journal entries at home this week.

I can't, for the life of me, get my 11 year old to write small with lower case letters when applicable (or in straight lines, for that matter). I have to constantly refocus him to do it. (His teachers during his 2 years at public school - and his occupational therapists for the past 8 years - have had no more luck with this than I do.) This type of stop/go writing paper seems to work well for him - at least for the size issue. It actually causes my 6 year old to write worse, though, I discovered. We purchased a notebook from Office Depot, but here are pages you can print off.

I, myself, learned something on the Liberty's Kids episode today. Paul Revere didn't say, "The British are coming!" The phrase that many people called out from horseback that night was actually, "The Regulars are coming!" Where have I been? We looked online to read more about the real facts surrounding Paul Revere.

Places We're Going and People We're Seeing:
my kids, along with Cousin K

We spent a 3-day weekend in Branson. My husband's family met up to celebrate Christmas together. We were meeting early this year because I might not be able to travel much longer as I near my due date. We stayed in four different condo/cabin type accomodations near one another. The kids (above) were running around Branson Landing, a waterfront shopping/dining, etc. area in downtown Branson on Lake Taneycomo.

It started sprinkling on us at the Landing, and it rained on us most of our time at Silver Dollar City. SDC is such a fun place to visit at Christmastime. The lights are pretty and magical. We carried our umbrellas, though, and got out of the rain occasionally, walking through shops and a singing show. You would think it would have been desserted in the rainy weather, but I've never seen the place more crowded in all of my 36 years.

The kids enjoyed the weekend, though, with their grandparents, 2 uncles, 2 aunts, and 2 cousins. And they found plenty of ways to entertain themselves, as Tornado is doing above. If you look closely, you can make out my "fun-sized" figure in the t.v.

This weekend, we also went to see my grandparents in the nursing home. This was our first time to visit them there, as they have only recently moved out of their house. I was happy that Sissy loved on Grandpa a lot.

Our next stop was my niece's 10th birthday party. Tornado always buddies up very well with his little cousins. He and Cousin P had a good time finding ways to entertain themselves.

I hate that I didn't get any more pictures of the birthday girl herself. She is growing into such a special young lady, so smart and so talented. I say this all of the time, but I adore my nieces and nephews!

There was a lot of love going on between these two, as well. I'm glad that Sissy's love spreading didn't also spread the germs she unknowingly was harboring at the time. She threw up a couple of times on the way home (and JUST HAPPENED to have my favorite bed pillow in her lap, sigh...) and continued to be sick all night and the next morning. Fortunately, she was the only one who got it at our house.

Speaking of vomit...I forgot to post this picture last month. The kids (each on a different day that week) got a bout of 24 hour vomiting. But I liked this picture because my 6 year old son brought her everything in the picture - books, the little cars, water, a coloring book, and crayons. He was really taking care of her. Hopefully, they are getting stomach bug now and NOT later when the baby comes.

What We're Cleaning and What We're Playing:
What we're cleaning lately is everything. I'm so desperate to have a clean home before the baby gets here, and I seem to be spinning my wheels. I'll get one room almost clean, it apparently becomes so exciting then for the kids, I turn my back, and before I know it they've pulled out a bunch of stuff again.

Anyway, we did spend a day recently cleaning up outside, organizing the outdoor toybin, and getting rid of some stuff - all of which made me feel much better. The kids seem to breathe easier when the yard it clean, too. Just like inside, they play outside even better when it's cleaned up.

Advent Fun This Week:
Gingerbread House pancakes! I wrote more about these on my food blog.

hot chocolate, made with almond milk, Mimic Creme, and crushed organic candy canes

They drank this after playing in the snow. Yes, it snowed in Arkansas already! Most of it was melted off by noon, but still! The bad thing was that it took my husband 2 1/2 hours to drive 30 minutes to work, and it took me an 1 hour 15 minutes to drive the same to my doctor.

We got a lot of great ideas from Family Fun magazine this month. We made these ornaments with broken toothpicks and glitter glue.

We used this idea from Family Fun, as well. (Top two: Dash, "B is for Bean" would be from my silly Tornado, the next one is mine, and the last one is Sissy's.) We cut out circles from cereal boxes, covered pieces of cereal box with foil for the top and taped paper clips on the back.

The boys also wanted to make extra large ornaments. The one on the left is Dash's, and Tornado made the one on the right. I started out trying to convince him to please make it look like a Christmas ornament, but...I don't know why I even wanted to do that. THIS ornament is way more him than anything with gemstones and ribbon.

Sissy had to decorate the red paper ornament to take back to school for hanging on the tree in their lobby. It is also very "Sissy" (pink and shiny). She went on to make this "purse" on her own.

She remarked, "I'm getting into this project cuz I'm making a lot of stuff."

We hung their ornaments on their "homemade ornament tree," where they also have hung the wooden ornaments my mom got them to color.

The kids are loving the Advent Garland. As soon as they wake up, they rush downstairs. One day, the boys unclipped the next number and read it without Sissy. She let 'em have it! She told me to "get them in trouble" and made it clear that was not to happen again. They are so easily impressed, too. One day, there were two clues - one was about watching Olive the Other Reindeer (so I just wrote the words of the Rudolph song highlighting "all of the other reindeers"), which I had recorded, and the other was about watching the Elf on a Shelf cartoon. That one said, "Rhymes with 'telf on a melf.' " (I couldn't think of anything else!) It was as if it was the funniest thing they've ever heard.

At Our Homeschool Co-Op This Week:
As did most classes, we took a break from our regular curriculum (I teach My Father's World K-4.) and focused on holiday fun. I had printed off several crafts and themed worksheets for the kids, and we read Christmas stories. This was one of them.

They also put colored, cut out, and put together this snowman. I also offered cotton balls, and I liked how one kid rolled up pieces into little balls...

and others left them large."

More Christmas Fun This Week:
Friday, the kids' Advent Garland card promised a trip to Bethlehem Revisited held every year at a church in Arkansas. It's really cool. Groups are led (by a Roman soldier) on a little walk where different period-dressed speakers narrate part of the Christmas story in first person. Then the soldier leads you into the walled city where you experience life in the days of Jesus. You are also given shekkels to spend in the market. They especially enjoyed spending some at the "toy" store.

They stopped at the Story Telling booth to hear about Noah's ark.

They also got their names written in Greek. (There was also a Hebrew option.) There were open fires and farm animals, bread and olives, etc. for sale, and all different sorts of experiences at Bethlehem Revisited. The finale is exiting the walls of the city and listening to the final part of the "story," in front of "Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus." "Baby Jesus" was really cute and cooing, so the kids enjoyed that.

candle making

These are the candles they dipped. And apparently now I will be off to wipe all of the fingerprints off our door. This picture really brought 'em out for you to see.

Linkin' Up:

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Have a good week, everyone!