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Advent Plans

Well it is advent and in the mist of all the Christmas fun that is flooding the world right now, it is time to prepare. Prepare for the real celebration of Christmas. So what are we doing this year? We are doing the tried and true Jesse Tree. For those of you who don’t know what that is, let me explain. Starting with the story of creation, we follow the plan of God right up to the birth of Jesus. Kinda like a great lesson of salvation history! It is called a Jesse tree because Jesse was the father of King David, the family the savior came from. It is a beautiful way to prepare for the season of Christmas and the girls are really excited about it. Traditionally there is a symbol for each story to hang on a tree. I didn’t do a tree, but I made a board with tags that had the number of days. The I used a free printable for the ornaments. Instead of printing them and cutting them into circles, I cut out the pictures and mod podged them onto some natural wooden circles that I had. They turned out really pretty and it is a simple daily plan! All we do is read the story and hang the ornament! Want to see what it looks like? Here is it is:

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What do you think? I think it looks pretty good. To make the board I glued tow pieces of foam core board together and then covered it with burlap (using hot glue). Hot glued ribbon on it to make it pretty and tacked on the tags with the numbers using tacks and it was all done! See easy! There are lots of ideas for making a Jesse Tree on my advent board over at pintrest! Be sure to stop by there! So now it is your turn. What are your favorite traditions and ways to get ready for the holidays? I would love to hear them! Leave a comment! Happy Advent!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know that this is a day late, but I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Our holiday was really great. Lots of Family, Lots of Food, and Lots of Fun! I am so thankful this year for my amazing, beautiful girls, my awesome, supportive, sexy hubbie, great family, and the best friends a girl can wish for! I am also thankful for you my dear readers! It always makes my day when I get to read comments and thoughts from you. All in all, it has been an amazing year full of challenges and blessing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. God really does bless us, even in the hard times! Now I wish I could say that I took a bunch of pictures yesterday, but I didn’t. Somehow I never remember to take them on thanksgiving! But here are some of the kids decorating turkey cookies!

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 Today, instead of shopping with the crowds, I cleaned my house and shopped online. I dont know about you but that makes things a wee bit more simple! However this is not all we did! My hubbie decided to blow up some leftover pumpkins up and then surprised us with some fireworks! Yes,,,,I am serious! My whole family came and brought hot chocolate (it is really cold here), and I found some Chinese lanterns in our basement!  I have to say that it was alot of fun and I think it may be a new thing! So here are some pictures of the first annual Bright Friday! Who doesnt love fireworks!

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So there you have it! Traditions new and old! Now we are on to Christmas! It is  looking like there will be lots of handmade wonderfulness here! So I will do my best to show off what we make! Plus I have a party to plan for the 6th of Dec. So there is LOTS going on here! I hope you had a great day today and yesterday! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Project

Since thanksgiving is just around the corner, my mom and I thought it called for a fun Thanksgiving craft! This one was simple, pretty, and easy! What’s not to love about that? The kids cut a cornucopia, fruit, and veggies our of different colors of tissue paper. Then, after wetting the paper down with starch, they laied the pieces of the paper where they wanted them, Then the picture was covered with another layer of starch. After letting it dry, we outlined the pieces with crayon! Perfectly simple and fun! Here is what we did!

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So there you have it! The girls LOVED this project and they are now proudly hanging in the frames on the school room walls! Pup made the blue cornucopia (Andy Warhol style), and Bunny stuck to the traditional colors! Both are super fun and super easy! Try it sometime! What is your favorite Thanksgiving craft? Happy Crafting!

Thankfulness and Generosity

Thankfulness and generosity seem like they should go hand in hand. What do you think? The more you realize what gifts you have, the more likely you are to share with the world around you. I for one am really thankful here! Sunday we had a tornado go through the area. I know people who were hit, and while no one was hurt and it wasn’t as bad as the ones in other states, this is still the closest I would ever want to get! I really feel blessed that my home and my family is safe and sound. That being said, sometimes at this time of year it is really easy to forget how much we have while we are making lists and checking them twice! I mean, I don’t know about you, but my pintrest boards are starting to fill up with amazing things to make, good things to eat, and pretty gift to give. While I look and plan I can already feel the stress building and it isn’t even thanksgiving yet. So last week, we spent the whole week purging the house of things that we don’t need. It took a lot of work, and a few tears, but the house feels lighter, I feel lighter, and I cant think of a single thing that I need! We are just so blessed! Another thing that we got to do last week was our annual Stone Soup Party with our homeschool group! The concept is simple, we all bring something for the soup pot, read the story together and make soup as we go! The story helps us to see that when we all bring a little bit, we can really make something amazing!

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Another tradition is that each family makes some shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Some of us make them up some bring stuff to make them there, but we always seem to share items and make the boxes the best we can. For those of you who don’t know what Operation Christmas Child is, it is a ministry that collect shoe boxes filled with gifts for the less fortunate children around the world. My girls LOVE trying to see what they can fit into the box and what they think that the child is going to need! This year I asked them what they though a child would want if they had nothing at all. They told me a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and the Good Shepherd! So their boxes were packed with all of those things plus crayons, coloring books, ponytail holders, balls, tops, an handmade dolls! Plus Bunny was able to share some stuffed animals that we purged out of her closet (they were brand new still). The kids drew pictures and wrote notes to add to boxes for the kids that receive them! It was a lot of fun for everyone! After that it was time to eat our yummy soup!

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I love this get together because it is a great way to kick off the holiday season with a real look at where our focus should be, on others! So we start it off by working together, giving to others, and spending time with great friends! Do you have any good tradtions with family or friends that allow you focus on the bigger picture?

Montessori on the move!

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With all the craziness of the past few weeks, I have been looking for creative ways to take Montessori learning on the road with Pup. Bunny is using more books, so it has been easy to pack up her backpack and head out. But with Pup we cant just pack up the whole classroom! 🙂 So we needed to think about it differently! After all we are homeschoolers! Sometimes we just have places to go and things to do! So what do we do? Well here are a few solutions that we have found useful!

First off, pinpoint those things that your child is really interested in. If she is loving her sandpaper letters, then make sure that you have something that works with that! Is she loving her sensory bins, then keep that on the list! Once you have pinpointed your kiddos interest, then figure out how to pack it up! Remember, you are going for simple, easy, and light. After, you are going to need to pack it! Plus, think about what you are going to have time for. If you are visiting grandma, and you want something that your child can do on their own, then don’t pack something new. If you are going to be somewhere a while and know that you will have time and space, pack something new! If you are on the road, then you need small that can be done in your lap! There are a lot of things to think about, but really it can work and be simple! So what can you take?

Sandapaper letters/ numbers~ Take some new one that you are still learning! They are easy to pack and a great way to learn. Want something even more portable, there is a sandpaper letter and number book from Montessori Services! Love it!

Math Beads~ So simple and fun! The bead stair can be used a million ways and is easy to take with you! Add some number cards and you got it made. They can count the bead bars and match it to the number card, learn bigger number, make patterns, do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You could even make pictures using the beads! There are a lot of fun activities if you just think outside the box. Plus these works can be done in a doctors office or anywhere else!

Tracing~ I love to take 4×6″ pieces of tracing paper with me and I usually have a small clip board too! Then, take some simple pictures with you to compliment whatever you are studying! This is an awesome way to include those three part cards or even the cards from the geometry cabinet! They can trace pretty much anywhere and if you have some colored pencils, they can color too!

Sensory Box~ What?!? Yes, you can make some mini sensory boxes to take with you when you are going to be out! All you need is a plastic pencil box that snaps shut! They just pick out some elements from your big box or make a small one as a surprise! Kids love it and it really isn’t too hard! If you child is older, take some legos, or blocks, or even some sewing! Whatever your child is into!

Practical Life~ Well now this is harder, but still I think that you could do it! If you are planning on heading to Grandma’s for the holidays or to visit, take the pitcher they can pour from or their rolling pin for making cookies. Plus don’t forget that there are lots of learning opportunities right where you are going be! There is a new bathroom with a different way of washing hands, or plenty of chance to meet and greet people! It may take you a moment to think through where the teaching moments will be, but the new experiences will be an amazing way to learn something new!

Reading~ Books can make any place a happy place in my opinion! Plus, if you have a budding reader, waiting rooms and quite places are a great place to practice! I love taking pink series reading cards with us! Pup can sound out the cards, and then find the matching picture. And it really is easy to pack. And there is nothing like a good story in a moment when tempers run high and everyone needs a break! So we never go far without a few books!

These are just a few ideas we have used to keep some learning going on while we are away from home! Another way that a lot of people Montessori while out and about is using apps on their tablets! There are a million great ones out there and it can be a good way to keep learning. We don’t use them much, but when we do the girls love it! So these are my thoughts, but I want to know what are yours? How to you take Montessori out when you have places to go? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

 

 

Happy Halloween (a little late)!

Today was trick or treating here! So technically it was our Halloween! It was postponed until today because of the strong winds and yucky rain. It turned out to be a pretty good evening, chilly but good! We had some friends over for dinner before hand, then we dressed and headed out! Bunny was a rag doll and we worked really hard on her costume. Pup was Ariel from the Little Mermaid. She was so excited about it and that was all she wanted to be! My friend made her little boys Minions from Dispicable Me! Oh my were they cute!

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We also carved pumpkins earlier this week! The girls loved that too! Bunny wanted to carve her own all by herself and she did! Pup wanted a mouse pumpkin. She thought I did it just right ( I maythink it is a little weird! lol).

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Since all of our Halloween fun was postponed, we did have a fun lunch at my moms on Halloween to celebrate a little bit! We made bagle pizzas using orange cheese and the toppings to make faces! The kids had a great time and a yummy lunch!

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So there you have it! I have finally finished the post for Halloween! The girls had a great time ( I am pretty sure) and our day today was filled with pleas to eat more candy and with a little bit of sleepiness from staying up late partying! 🙂 Now we are on to getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas! After, handmade gifts don’t make themselves! I hope you had a happy Halloween too!

What Really Matters

I have been floundering a bit with the direction of this blog and about even keeping it going. I just feel like we are not doing anything interesting or “blog worthy” and that makes it hard to write posts. I mean, do you want to see the little stuff that is going on here or do you just want to see school stuff? The school stuff is happening, but really sporatically and honestly with so much book work happening here it seems silly to show too many school days posts. After all they all start to look the same! So today I thought that with all the busyness and lack of projects, the grils needed some fun with mom (and I needed a blog post)! I have seem montester cookies all over Pintrest and I just knew that this simple Halloween snack was going to be a hit! 🙂 The recipe that I saw used cake mix (which I didn’t have). So I just made a chocolate chip cookie recipe with out the chocolate chips!  It worked out really well! The girls loved it and we made green and purple monsters!

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After making cookies it was off to bed. While Bunny was getting into bed, she told me that she was just so happy. Happy that we got to make cookies. Hmmmm….she was so happy that we got to make cookies! She got me thinking that this was a really simple, little thing. Honestly it only took a few minutes of time with them, but the impact was much bigger then I realized. She was happy about the cookies. I didn’t need to go anywhere special, or do anything big, just something little. After all that is what we remember most about life. When it all comes down to it, our most treasured memories are simple. A look, a moment, a hug, a walk….all simple things that mean the world to us. The same is true for our families. Why do we torture ourselves to create a perfect moment for our kids, filled with projects, learning opportunities, and a million things? I am slowly learning that kids are going to learn, play, and grow no matter what I plan out for them. So long as they have access to things that allow them to grow, and can come to me with questions, they will learn and be happy. I don’t see each thing that happens, but I do know that things are being thought about. I have been trying to make sure that I am taking more pictures of their daily moments, but I don’t always remember to. That make it hard to share. So how does this connect with my blog thoughts? Well, I don’t feel like I am doing things here that you are going to be interested in reading. I am not making awesome themes, we aren’t taking trips out and about too much, and we have done a lot of crafting or projects. So what is there to share with you? Not much….unless you want to see pictures of kids playing outside, building blocks, or other unrelated things. So while I am not doing anything note worthy by internet standards, we are doing simple things that are going to make memories for my girls. So I am going as you all to send some prayer and good thoughts to little ol’ me while I am working out how the simple things translate into my blog.

 

Our week….or two!

We have been crazy busy this week! My brother broke his ankle and needed some surgery. My other brother broke his foot (I am not kidding, it has been interesting)! So between helping my mom shuttle people to the doctor, making dinners, and doing some school work, we have been all over the place. However, we have made some discoveries, and really had some fun despite everything! So here are some of the things we have been up to this week!

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DSCN6732The girls are really into playing with their dollhouse. I got it out last week for the first time in a while and they were so excited!

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DSCN6739Pup is discovering double diget numbers! She told me some of the numbers on calendar and she did a great job!

photoHere is my bro prepping for surgery. Poor guy. Pup has decided though that his lap is still a great place to sit.
After all, he cant go anywhere and he can still read! 😉

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DSCN6759I found a recipe for homemade Frappuccino! Life changing! I literally made three of these this week!

photo 1We also made apple nachos! Ummmm…..also amazing!

IMG_3073There was also some random crafty fun!

All in all it was great week despite the craziness! We still had fun and learned a lot! This week is going to be just as crazy, but I hope just as fun! I hope you all had a great week too! What were some of the happy moments of your week?

Fabulous Fall Party

Today was party time for our homeschool group! We wanted to have a fun harvest/fall party for the kids filled with traditional games, a hayride, and just plain fun! The kids were so excited….esspecailly about the hay ride! Want to see all our fun? Here are some pictures:

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DSCN6886We played some games to start the day. I went for some traditional fun: Doughnut eating races, pumpkin rolling relay, and pumpkin ring toss!

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DSCN6836Next we loaded up for hay rides! My darling hubbie was there to drive the tractor around the road. The kids LOVED it! I think it may have been one of the highlights of the party! I was so glad that he was able to come by and drive them all around!
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DSCN6863After hay rides, the kids made some scarecrows while we made lunch. They were so creative with the materials to make these and they turned out so adorable!

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So there you have it! It was an awesome fall harvest party for the kids! We all had such a good time playing, talking, and spending some great time together! What do you do to celebrate the autumn season? Happy Harvest!

North America Discovery!

This past month we have been working on learening a bit about North America! We have talked about the animals, the climate, the landmarks, the countries, and the food of various places all over the continent! We have made things, eaten things, and mapped things. So many things were learned and we had a lot of fun. The one thing that really opened the study up was our continent boxes. We love them, but we have never really used them. However, with a monthly continent study, we have been able to use then a base for research. Our plan  so far has been revolving around maps and lots of them! The first week we talked about the different countries and drew different landmarks on a map we colored with contries. The second week we talked about the animals fromd different contiennts and we talked about the climate of the different parts of the continent. Finally we made some food from a couple of countries in the continent. Plus our homechool group had a get together all about the continent! So I am sure that you want to see some amazing picutres! So sit back, grab a drink, and get comfy….this is going to be a long one! 🙂

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DSCN5927The girls also made their own landmarks after exploring the continent boxes. Pup made an igloo out of sugar cubes, and Bunny made the Golden Gate Bridge. It took her a few tries, but she finally got it! She did a great job!

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DSCN5566Our homeschool group had a North America Day and talked about some things that have come from the United States. We learned about pop art and Andy Warhol which originated in America. We also talked about the basic history of United States and ate some very American lunch. Who knew that Brownies, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Potato chips are all food that really originated in the United States. Most everything else has its base in other countries! We also had some fun with continent twister!

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DSCN5634We also learned about animals in North America. The girls drew pictures of some animals and they both painted a map with the climate zones for the continent. We talked about how weather and temperature determine where different animals live. We also went to the zoo and found lots of animals that are from our continent. Bunny looked through the continent box and found a picture of Jack rabbit. We did some research and then she made one our of pompoms!

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DSCN5821Finally we made some food from Guatemala. Since we ate American food at our homeschool day, I thought we would try something really different! We made some pineapple chicken and baked bananas. Bunny made the chicken and Pup made the bananas. I all honesty the bananas weren’t great  and the chicken was ok. It was fun to try and the girls loved making!

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So there you have what our North American discovery looked like! The girls and I had fun with it and we are now on to South America! Lots of fun birds, interesting foods, and Rain Forests! There is lots to explore! Stop back soon to see our fun! Happy Schooling Everyone!

mccaine.lelia