We are finally healthy, just in time to celebrate Christmas!!
Trent is on vacation for the next 2 weeks so we are enjoying our family time. We are having a very short week of academics, spending time with family and friends, celebrating some old and new traditions, and just trying to relax and spend time with one another.
Charlie worked on a few Science lessons this week. We learned about plants, what they need to grow, the different parts of the plant etc. Charlie made a sunflower and really took time carefully cutting out each piece and then gluing them to the "stem". He graphed different types of beans and did a few computer games about plants through his K12 online curriculum.
We also revisited our Kidney Bean plant that we planted a few months back. The plant was doing great until it collided with some clean dishes and the stem broke :( So, it was perfect timing to harvest our 3 beans.
That is all the school we did. The rest of the week we have been finishing up all the errands we needed to wrap up before the holiday. The presents are all wrapped, the Christmas work party attended, turkey is defrosted, laundry is almost done, last trip to the grocery store has been run. We are preparing for Country Lights and then it is off to Nie Nie and Papa's house in the morning.
This was by far our favorite Christmas craft to make and one I will cherish always. It was so simple and yet, I think it captures exactly what we need to focus on at Christmas time.
I had bought some vinyl Nativity scenes last year. I had no idea what I would do with them but I loved them the minute I saw them.
I had the boys take small pieces of tissue paper and lay them down on contact paper to give a stained glass effect. We covered that piece with another piece of contact paper and then laid the vinyl Nativity on top of that. Then I attached some simple ribbon we had in our craft drawers to hang the ornament from the tree or in the window.
I just love them! and the kids really enjoy making the stained glass.
The last 2 weeks we have all been kind of "off". It all started with a migraine for me, followed by nasty head colds for all the kids and I, ear infection for Charlie and tummy bug for Trent :( There was a lot more fighting and whining going on and far less patience on my part. LOTS of prayers were said :)
So, some days we simply have been in survival mode and others have been better and more productive. We did manage get a lot of school done and do some fun projects along the way. I did scale back our Christmas curriculum that I had planned and I am thankful that I have not tried to push things and get it "all" done. Instead we have been able to spend a lot of quality family time together focused on the true meaning of Christmas!
Charlie is starting to work on graphing in his math and he LOVES it! We did a bunch of graphing last year so he has a good idea of the process and is doing more complicated problems.
He also continues to plow through his phonics and is doing really well. He is spelling words and reading up a storm! I do need to set aside time each day for him to do more independent reading. I also need to find more beginner readers for him to work through.
(Charlie making words)
We are also working on following instructions and listening carefully. He sometimes has a hard time focusing on things if it isn't something he 100% wants to do or isn't something that he choose to do. If it was his idea to do it then he has NO problem giving all of his attention to it. I am sure that this is something that we will continue to work on for a.long.time. with all the children! :) (Thanks Aunt Susie for the advice and encouragement! It helped us a lot and he is doing SOOO much better!!) It is obvious that he is really trying. (Learning about muscles, the brain and your heart)
We did a really cool science project (despite my migraine) and managed to have fun doing it too! We reviewed about bones and joints and learned about muscles in our body. We made a neat model of an arm with a paper towel role, deflated balloons and tape. The balloons represented our muscles and how they work to make our arms move. Charlie enjoyed this project and even added veins and drew bones on the paper towel roll.
Charlie showing me how his "arm" bends with the "muscles"
We also learned about our teeth and the boys watched a video about Molly Molar on the computer.
The boys made some homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They were super yummy and no one even noticed that I used whole wheat flour :) Charlie made his cookies "mystery" cookies and hide chocolate chips in the middle.
Then we started working on our Christmas crafts. The boys made pine cone glitter ornaments and Christmas trees out of pine cones that Grandma Candace brought from Whidbey Island.
We also assembled our Gingerbread Train. Trent hot glued the cookie pieces together and the boys and I decorated with royal icing and lots of candy. It was really nice to work together and a fun activity for all of us.
Tommy worked on counting and number recognition using one of our Leap Frog games.
And despite all the sickness, we still managed to have some fun.
Honestly, I am really looking forward to next week. I pray that we will all be healthy and getting back into our new groove!
I love taking pictures of the kids hands and toes, their sweet little feet and their precious faces. I know that all too soon this precious little baby will be chasing her brothers around and these tiny feet will no longer be so small.
Don't grow up too fast Penelope Jane. But even if you do, you will always be our last "baby".
The germs were still lingering but we managed to get A LOT of school done. Charlie is flying through his phonics and is doing great! He is reading new words everyday, spelling words and eager to read books. We still need to get caught up on our Science lessons, but I am not concerned. I know that once the holidays are over we will be able to start our new schedule and will quickly get caught up.
Tommy under the dining room table playing with beans and cars and asking me for "sum pivacy pease, Mama."
Tom tracing letters.
Tom doing the magnetic ABC puzzle.
I spent more time this past week working with Tommy on his ABC's and number recognition. We had fun working on his ABC puzzle, recognizing letters and placing them in their correct spot, talking about different words that start with letters etc. He is READY to start a full on school curriculum. I had backed away from a curriculum that I had planned because I thought it was too advanced and not that engaging. Come January though I will have a new curriculum for him so that he can "really" do school right along with us.
We started our Christmas study activities last week. We brought out our Nativity and let each boy take turns unwrapping each figure and placing them in the stable. They LOVED doing this and it is something we will make a yearly tradition. Then we read our new Christmas book, I like to buy a new one each year. This year I found a great little book at Michaels that is simple enough to keep both boys interested in the story, and yet nicely tells the story of Jesus' birth.
We have also been doing a lot of fun activities.
The boys decorated ice cream cones with green frosting and different candies to make Christmas trees.
We had a fun Christmas themed tea party.
I made the boys Candy Cane play dough with silver and red glitter in it. They had great fun playing with it. This is the second time we made homemade scented play dough (the first being our pumpkin spice for Thanksgiving). We all really enjoy the fun scents and glitter in it!
The boys had fun painting a Christmas picture with water paints and q-tips. I remember doing this type of thing at my Granny's and loved it. They did too until the paper started tearing from the water.
The boys also made wreath ornaments to give as presents.
I am praying that we are at the end of our sickness and that we can all be healthy before Christmas. Trent is on vacation for 2 weeks and I hope to do some fun projects with him around and really focus on the true meaning of Christmas :)
One of the easiest and our favorite craft for this time of year was the Give Thanks banner we made from a variety of beans, glue, yarn and construction paper. I wrote out the letters on the construction paper, the boys and I covered the letters with glue and the boys went to town placing the beans on the letters. We will definitely do this again next year.
The boys and I went shopping for our Operation Christmas Child boxes a few weeks back...and Penny went to. That is going to take some getting use to, I am so accustomed to saying just the "boys" :) The boys picked out some toy trucks, stickers, harmonicas etc as well as some fun toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap etc. We did this last year and Charlie really remembered the meaning behind what we were doing and was excited to pick out the different things to send to his "friend".
We had a lot of fun last week and did a BUNCH of school work and lots of fun activities gearing up for Thanksgiving.
There was also a lot of loving going on. Both boys are still smitten with their little sister :)
Tommy had fun playing playdough.
Charlie concentrated on Math and Phonics again this week. His teacher gave us permission to skip through a lot of the lesson since most of them are review for him at this point. I am carefully going through the lessons to make sure that we aren't overlooking any concepts that he does not know. I am excited to see him be a bit more challenged!
Both boys had fun with our Fall sensory bin. I added plastic gourds, paper leaves, crystal pumpkins, pine cones from Grandma Candace and a few trucks. I gave the boys some measuring cups, spoons and containers and let them go to town. They really enjoy these sensory bins and it really holds their attention.
We had fun making these Turkey hand print cookies. The boys helped with the entire process and had just as much fun eating them as they did decorating them ;)
They also completed some foam Turkeys that I picked up either at the art store or at the dollar store.
I also made a Cornucopia out of dough for our table centerpiece. It turned out ok, but I have bigger and better plans to do it again next year.
We read a few books about Thanksgiving and why we celebrate. I had wanted to make a Mayflower ship with Charlie but we didn't get to it...maybe next year.
We have so much to be thankful for! It was a great week!
Life seems to be flying by, especially since having the guys! Everyday they say or do something that just tugs at our heart, amazes us or even brings us(me) to tears! We want to remember it all!! We want to remember all the fun we had, all the messy fingers, and yes, even the hard times! God has truly blessed us with a wonderful family, amazing children, and each other! How grateful are we!? So here goes trying "remember"!