Monday, December 15, 2014

More Elf Fun....Days 8-14

 Day 8 found Rudy in the mood for a little fishing.  Goldfish fishing, that is!

By Day 9 Rudy needed to relax and unwind a bit.

Here's a fun update to day 7, when Rudy left Emma a message in M&Ms.  We planted them in a bowl of sugar like directed and look what sprouted!

December 10th was Emma's seventh birthday!!!  Rudy surprised her by leading her on a little scavenger hunt, which ended in the bathtub.  Rudy was waiting for her with a special greeting, a party hat, and her gifts.  She was delighted!  (We had a wonderful day and I can hardly believe the baby of our family is SEVEN!)

The eleventh of December and Rudy, like the rest of us southerners, is ready for some winter weather!  Here's to wishful thinking!!!

December 12th.....the day we have been waiting for all semester!  Sissy and her roommate come home for a visit!!!!  My son Hayden took care of this entirely on his own.  I was completely exhausted and engrossed in a  difficult computer project, so he stayed up super late and put this together to bless me.  It mean the world to me!  Didn't he do a great job??

Day 13....GASP!  He tried to frame our (sweet, adorable, perfect) dog!!!  No one here believed that Penny could do such a terrible thing.

Day 14, and Rudy was feeling rather bright.

We are certainly finding out that having an elf in the house is a tricky task.....we certainly never know what we will find when we wake up!  Rudy has kept things lively and interesting around here.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Truth In Tinsel: Our Advent Tree and Ornaments 1-7

We are really enjoying our advent study, Truth in Tinsel.  Today we completed Day Seven.  I completely lucked out at Target the day before Thanksgiving.  I found a super slim, inexpensive tree on display, but there were no more in stock.  I found the nicest lady to help me.  She sold me the floor model at a discount.  I don't have to put it together AND it's cheaper???  YAY!!!!!  Pinch me!

I had $25 worth of Target gift cards that I earned from special bonus buys over the past few weeks, so I cashed those in and my little tree ended up costing me $3.  It fits perfectly in our entryway, and it is now one of my very favorite Christmas decorations!!!  Penny wanted to model the tree for you....

I looked at several Advent options and WOW, there are some wonderful ones to choose from.  I liked the Jesse Tree idea, so I knew I wanted something along those lines.  When I found Truth in Tinsel I knew it would be a great place for us to start.  I feel Emma is on the upper end age-wise, but still very appropriate.  There is a lot of flexibility in how you use this program.  When you purchase the download you get 24 daily devotionals leading up to Christmas, and each study has a corresponding ornament.  There are paper ornaments available to color and cut out, and also suggestions for simple craft ornaments if you prefer.  Naturally, we chose the crafts.  ;-)

I am using some of the suggestions given in Truth in Tinsel for our ornaments.  I also browsed Pinterest as well as the isles of Hobby Lobby to come up with a few of our own ideas.  (Out of respect for copyright, I will not share specific stories, scriptures, or instructions for the ornaments that come directly from Truth in Tinsel.)  I spent quite a bit of time over Thanksgiving break assembling little ornament kits. I  knew without a doubt that in order for this to work on a daily basis during December, all the work would need to be done in advance.  It also proved quicker and easier to have one big, messy blowout day when I got ALL the craft supplies out at once and divided everything up.  I put all the necessary pieces AND supplies for each ornament in a brown paper sack, and tied them up with twine and little labels.  READY!  Each day we read a portion of Scripture, discuss the story, and then open our bag to see what we get to make.  So far she is LOVING it, and so am I!

So, without further ado, on to the fun part!

Day One:  Candlelight

Day Two:  A Crown

Day Three:  Zechariah

It was HARD to come up with an idea for this one.  I found a cardboard disk ornament and that was the only thing I put in the sack for day three.  I told her she could use whatever supplies she wanted to make a Zechariah (who couldn't speak).  She chose to draw a simple face with puffy paint.

Day Four:  Angel

Day Five:  Mary

Perhaps we should have taken it a little easy with the colored Sharpies.  Mary looks a tad.....bright.
She is a wooden peg doll.  Her face is painted with a flesh colored craft acrylic.  Her body is wrapped in variegated yarn.  Her (very blonde) hair is also yarn.  (Wish I had brown yarn in my stash!)  Head covering is a small scrap of fabric.  Face.......that's an original design.  ;-)

These ornaments are NOT PERFECT.  It is super important to me that Emma get to make them, or participate in making them as much as possible.  To me part of the charm and sentiment is that these look like a first grader did them.

Case in point.....Miss Mary.

Day Six:  Mary and Elizabeth

I found this burlap covered heart ornament and cut out felt shapes to glue on it.  I embroidered the hair faces ahead of time.  Emma glued the shapes together following a pattern I drew, and then tied the ribbon.  (A little crafting tip:  Aleene's tacky glue is great for crafts with ribbon, sequins, gems, fabric, or felt.  Hot glue is excellent, but not very kid friendly.  Elmer's is NOT good on felt.)

Day Seven:  Song

I found this clear plastic ball ornament "for a song" (no pun intended) at Hobby Lobby.  (I think they were 3 for a dollar.)  I printed an image of antiqued sheet music and cut it into narrow strips.  We rolled each strip snugly and dropped it into the ball.  Then, we tied with baby ric-rac and added a little embellishment.  I really like this one.

Our little tree at the end of week one.  A lovely start!!

Elf on the Shelf: Days 6 & 7

I'll admit it, I'm having fun with Rudy.

Even though the last thing I need around here is another thing to clean up after.  ;-)

His messes are somehow cuter than everyone else's.  ha!

There's something about walking by him and catching sight of his impish grin that just tickles me.  It's the little things, I guess....

Anyway, Friday night Rudy opened the mint M&M's that were hiding in the cabinet.  They actually belong to my Mom.  She brought them to a dinner party and we didn't end up using them, so I put them in my cabinet and told her we would break them out at the next social gathering.  I was really proud of myself for leaving them alone for so long.  I told her Rudy opened them and sent her this picture.....

She wrote me back and said at least he went in head first so everyone else could still enjoy some!  :-)

He left Emma a little message.

And also a suggestion.

We completely forgot to do this last night, and tonight Emma went to bed early not feeling too well.  We'll have to remember to plant our M&Ms tomorrow and see what happens.

This was last night....

Ahhh Rudy.  You're really something!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Turkey Talk

Seems a little after the fact to post about Thanksgiving, but there were a few fun projects that I wanted to record here for memory's sake.

First, my Mom celebrated her birthday in November, so I took to Pinterest to find a project that Emma could make for her.  I found these adorable tissue boxes, and I think they turned out great!  I covered the boxes with brown craft paper, then drew patterns for Emma and gave her a stack of scrapbook paper.  She traced and cut all the pattern pieces, then glued the turkeys together.  She was pretty precise!  Don't the google eyes just slay you?  Eyelids and eyelashes?  Hilarious!  We had so much paper left over that we made a second turkey to keep.  He's still sitting on my counter with all the Christmas decor.  I can't seem to throw him away!

I also took some inspiration from a blog called Creekside Learning.  She had this super clever idea to fashion pilgrims and indians out of cardboard tubes, so we took that and ran with it.  These were addictive to make!

They graced our Thanksgiving table as the centerpiece.  (I clearly took it easy this year!)

Jeff and I went out with our supper club the night Emma and I worked on these.  She gathered several of the scraps while we were out and surprised me by making this horse for the indians.  PERFECT.  He is by far my favorite piece of the entire setting.  She is a craft genius!  :-)

We took a day during Thanksgiving week to meet some friends at the arboretum and play in the pumpkins.  The thing about play dates is that I think they quite often bless the moms more than the kids!  It is so nice to fellowship with other homeschooling moms who are in my same boat.  I love swapping stories and just indulging in some girl time.  This day was food for my soul!

My oldest did not come home for Thanksgiving.  She had good reasons for staying in Tennessee, but still, I missed her terribly.  So, it was nice to have extra teens in the house to love on and feed over the holidays.  I love LOVE having a house full of kids....makes my heart GRATEFUL.

Jeff was off the entire week of Thanksgiving, which was such a treat.  Sunday night, we ran an errand on the other side of town, just the two of us.  On the way home, we stopped by this big light display that was synchronized to music.  It was really well done and super festive.  I absolutely LOVE Christmas light displays, so this was a very sweet gesture on Jeff's part, and it was the perfect, quiet ending to a busy, blessed week.

FIAR: The Story of Ping

Our last official row of the semester was The Story of Ping.  We worked on this book the weeks of November 3rd and 10th.  Now, I can't say it was a disappointment because we always manage to have fun and accomplish a lot of hands on learning with our Five In A Row titles.  However, I have extremely fond and sentimental memories of this book from my own childhood, but Emma did not share my enthusiasm for the story.  At all.  Not a favorite of hers.  I don't really know why?  She hated that Ping got "spanked" and lost from his family.  Nothing appealed to her about the book, so we did not end up reading it every day.  That's okay.  It still served as a springboard for other things.

We did a fun math sheet with Bingo markers to calculate how many members are in Ping's family.  We also used some downloads from Homeschool Share and a FIAR Fold and Learn to make some pages for our scrapbook.  I accidentally erased some pictures from my memory card from this row, so I don't have much to actually show.

Since ducks are buoyant, we conducted a "sink or float" science experiment.  We gathered assorted household items and predicted if they would sink or float.  Then, we tested our theories and graphed the actual results.  The graphing exercise was great practice.  We also then categorized our items into various categories....those that sink, those that float, those we guessed correctly, those we guessed incorrectly, etc.  She really enjoyed this.

Ducks are also waterproof, thanks to a special oil glad that secretes an oil they distribute when they preen their feathers.  We demonstrated this theory by painting a card stock duck with oil, then spraying it with water.  Waterproof!

The one redeeming thing about this book was our in depth study of ducks.  She LOVES animals, and was endlessly interested in the duck theme.  We found TONS of non-fiction books at the library to read, as well as a basket of fun literature....Happy Birthday Dear Duck, Daisy Comes Home, and many more.  We will continue to study ducks when we row Make Way For Ducklings this spring.  I thought I would have to wait several months to space these two books apart, but she has already asked a few times when we are going to do the next duck book, so that's great!

Our library had several early elementary level books about China.  It was quite interesting to learn about the culture and traditions of little girls in China.  We also prayed for the spread of the Gospel there and had some sweet heart to heart talks about what freedom of religion looks like in the US.  I'm often humbled by the sweetness and innocence of children and their viewpoints.  Some of the questions she asked and prayers she offered were really memorable.

There were a few things that fell by the wayside....we never went out for Chinese food and we didn't make our own egg rolls.  I also had some cute Chinese crafts that we did not do.  We had out of town company during the first week of this row, and a field trip day during the second.  Since there were a few things we did not get to, I thought about extending our study by a few extra days, but she was ready to move on, and due to her lack of interest I felt okay about closing the book on this one.  I wish she would have been more excited about the story, but we still managed to have a good time and learn some valuable things.

I can't believe we finished our first semester already. So far we have rowed:

Night of the Moonjellies
Harold and the Purple Crayon
How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World
Johnny Appleseed
Papa Piccolo
The Rag Coat
The Story of Ping
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

I'm excited about the progress we have made, and have BIG plans for more titles this spring!