Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks!

Things have been pretty quiet around here lately. We, unfortunately spent another week sick so we didn't get much accomplished. Well, I guess that is relative, we accomplished a lot of snuggling and tea drinking and reading books, we just didn't accomplish what I had planned.
Even when we were finally feeling better and we got to play with Hannah, everyone kept a mask on just to be safe. We can't wait for Hannah to be back here for good after her vacation! We miss her so much. We miss Nova and Mika too! They are on vacation too. I wasn't kidding when I said it has been quiet around here.

Despite missing some of our favorite people we have continued on with our work. We have been studying plant life since September and right now we are focusing on flowers. The kids made these adorable flower models. It emphasized the parts of a flower and we even put a little cornmeal on our stamen for pollen. They were fun to make and cute to display.

I went to a baby shower for a friend and made these little rattle cupcakes. They were so easy and I think they came out pretty cute. If you are a copy cat like myself, maybe you'll give them a try for your next shower.

Last week we had our friends over for book club. We read the book Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas. We had a great discussion about the book, did some writing activities, made a cute Indian Corn craft and wrote some Thanksgiving words from A-Z!

After we completed a short week of fun Thanksgiving schooling, the kids and I took off to my mom's to help prepare for the holiday meal! Kimmy came with her beautiful dog Roxy to help too. Ian and Roxy got in some snuggle time.
Everyone helped make the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing! We have to stale the bread...
and grind it up with celery and onions...
Ian worked the hardest. He did most of the grinding since his super powers make him so strong and he rarely gets tired out.
Even little Annika opened her sleepy eyes for a bit to help out. It is one of my favorite traditions.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. So much fun, in fact, that I didn't even take the camera out once that day! Oops. We enjoyed a wonderful meal with Jason's family. It was so great to see everyone! Later we went back to my mom's to see a few more cousins and then finally home to relax with our overfull tummies.

Now the count down to Christmas has begun! We put up or decorations (minus the tree) and have already started Christmas crafting. Christmas shopping on the other hand, we haven't even begun to think of. It's such a bummer that all the stores want money. If I could trade baked goods and crafts for the presents I need from the store I would be all set. Let's start a movement to go back to the trading and bartering days. Think the CEOs would go for it? I doubt it lol!

Good thing Christmas isn't about the gifts! (All of you who are expecting a gift from us keep that in mind hahaha) My holiday cheer meter (as my friend Jen put it) is off the charts this year regardless.
I am so glad that God sent Jesus to us as a little tiny baby. I love to look at my lights and think of Jesus as the Light of the World. I love to hear the beautiful Christmas songs that worship the Babe in the Manger. I love to give gifts in remembrance of the greatest Gift God ever gave. I love to be with family and thank God for how special each person is in my life. I love sharing the joy with my children as we celebrate the birthday of our Savior. I love reflecting on past Christmas memories and making new ones. It is just such a wonderful time of year!
But, in case you were wondering, NO, I am not dreaming of a white Christmas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On with the fall traditions! We of course raked up a big pile of leaves to jump in. I can't believe it was almost a month ago that we did that! We still have a lot more to rake now that they have all finished falling. Good thing the snow and cold has held off to give me a little more time...we'll see if I get to it. You all know what a procrastinator I am :)
At the end of October we had our annual Creation Celebration night at the church. We come together to celebrate God and the amazing things He has created. We dress up like something or someone He created, play games and do crafts. Its such a fun night! Isabella dressed up as a girl from the Revolutionary War period. She has been working on sewing herself an outfit with a our friend Nancy. The skirt she and Nancy made but she hasn't finished the rest of the outfit so she borrowed the costume that Nancy had made for herself when she used to do historical reenactments. She looked so cute! She didn't love that bonnet and she is grateful that she doesn't have to wear one everyday!
Ian dressed up as David from the Bible. He was ready to slay the giant Goliath with his sling and his 5 smooth stones.
Isaac was king Josiah from the Bible. He became king at only 8 years old and during his reign he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord despite the fact that many kings before and after him did not. Isaac thought that was pretty admirable when we learned about it in Sunday School a few weeks back and decided that he wanted to be King Josiah. He makes a great looking king doesn't he?!
For crafts the kids got to make things out of clay and little magnets out of foam pieces.
They played lots of games and had a scavenger hunt. The donut eating contest is always a favorite.
Overall it was a really good time but it was sad too because we missed our little Hannah that night. While we were there, she was in the hospital, in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, recovering from a very serious virus that, combined with severe asthma, nearly took her life. I won't go into great detail because basically if you don't already know them, you don't really need to. Suffice it to say that God is good and her recovery has been amazing. We missed her for a few weeks of school but we were so blessed to have her back last week. If you pray, please keep her in your prayers because any little illness can present great challenges for her and there is still a long winter ahead.

Here are some of the fun things we have been up to during "school time."

We had some sloppy joe bun buggies for lunch.
We're moving on to shapes and color for our art lessons. This was during art but they didn't realize they were having a math lesson too!

The day that Hannah came back to school we had Pajama Day! I love pajama day. It's so funny to see the kids playing outside in their pajama's. They kept talking about how weird it felt to be in their PJ's. They were all so happy to have Hannah back. It was a very special day.
Here is Ian doing a little math work...
while the older girls work on spelling and Isaac did some silent reading.
The older girls are loving their Tuesday cooking time. Last week they made Peanut Butter Banana Bread. It usually has chocolate chips in it but I didn't have any so they decided to add cocoa to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread. It was delicious!
You might think in viewing the next picture that these two cuties are showing you bite size pieces of their banana bread BUT, they are actually showing you their banana bread molded into Wombat poop. Ironically the same day that we made the bread we learned that Wombats poop in the shape of a cube. After they realized they could shape the snack into Wombat poop it was all over. We had scat models of all shapes and sizes, puppies, dear, coyote, rabbits, humans. I was surprised they knew so much about animal poop! It was pretty funny.
In the middle of the week my beautiful sister and her beautiful daughters came up for a visit. It was Annika's first trip to Auntie Missy's house. She is sooooo cute. They came up to drop Madi off so she could sleep over for a night. It was so much fun!

Since Madi slept over on a school night we had the privilege of having her at school the next day! Mika was so excited to have a little friend to play with. Mika and Madi had met last year and had hit it off. They were so excited to see each other and it was so cute to watch them play together all day. Ian took the role of guiding every one's play (that is a nice way of saying he was bossy) and they had a great day together.

We did a fun craft that afternoon too. I don't know what I was thinking when I planned tacos for lunch for 8 kids and then a messy craft!! Lots of clean up required but it was worth it. We made these little turkey pictures with spices and dried food from the pantry (well cupboard really, I don't have a pantry but I like that word better and dried foods should come from a pantry. If I had one that is where I would keep them). I found the idea online and thought it would be a good craft for my multi-age group and it was. Everyone worked very hard and we had 8 beautiful turkeys and lots of rice, coffee grounds, beans, and spices on the floor when we were done.

I finally figured out how to publish some videos on my blog. Below is a video of Isabella doing the backstroke at her swim practice. She swam in her first swim meet this month. She did very good. She placed 6th for Freestyle in her age group and 5th for Backstroke. I am so proud of her. She works really hard at practice. One day she swam nearly 50 laps in an hour! She will be doing a swim-a-lap fund raiser in a few weeks to raise money for her team. She will try to swim 30 laps in an hour. If you would like to sponsor her by pledging to donate per lap or by giving a small donation please let me know.

This other video is of the kids having music class last Monday. It was such a nice day out we couldn't sit inside. Days that warm in November are a gift and I certainly wanted to take advantage of it! For music this year we are learning about classical music and composers. This weeks selection was "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky. Usually we listen and discuss the music while we do our penmanship but since we had to be outside I decided to have the children act out what they felt was happening in the music. They had to do it without talking. They did a great job. I took about 15 videos, this is my favorite. Ian steals the stage at the end and it's soooo funny. It was on pajama day in case you forgot we had one and were wondering why everyone is in their pajamas.

We are continuing to study Australia and had a fun time learning some Australian words today. They particularly liked that they call something that is genuine "dinky di" and that children are referred to as "ankle biters." We are also, of course, doing some Thanksgiving studies. I am trying to catch up to my lesson plans but either way we are getting lots done and having lots of fun. It's such a blessing to be able to work at the pace that works for them and maximizes their learning experiences. My plans will all still be there if finally catch up to them.

Hooroo! (that means see you later in Australia)