Deuteronomy 16:15

Deuteronomy 16:15
For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advent Activities: Day 11 to 15

As you can see, I clearly failed in my goal to post our Advent activities each day on my blog, but to be honest, I don't feel bad about it. The more important goal that I HAVE stuck to, is to actually DO the readings, discussions and craft each day from Truth in the Tinsel, and that we've done! I wasn't feeling well over the weekend, and got behind on uploading pictures. However, I got them all up today, so here is an abbreviated look at what we did each day.

Day 11: We discussed and read about the different names for Jesus and what they mean. I had to adapt this craft to what we had at home but it turned out nice!

Day 12: We read about why Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem, and the meaning of the word census. This craft was supposed to represent how there were many people in Bethlehem at the time. The red and green mini bells represent Mary and Joseph in the crowd.

Day 13: We read more about Bethlehem, and talked about what it might have been like there at that time. It was so neat we got to go to "A night in Bethlehem" at the church last weekend. How real that made it for Naomi! These are supposed to be little buildings in Bethlehem.

Day 14: We read how Jesus was born in the stable, and had lots of discussion about what it might have been like in the stable. This is, of course, the stable! ;)

Day 15: We read again from Luke about baby Jesus being born in a stable and placed in a manger. There was much discussion about the difference between a stable and a manger. This craft was a TON of work, but Naomi really enjoyed the process. It was made out of salt dough so we had to make the dough, form the manger, Jesus, and the straw, then bake it. After we baked it we had to paint it. Shew! I'll admit this one pushed this non crafty person to my craft limits by the time it was done, but I'm glad Naomi had fun. We made some other salt dough ornaments so Nathan could get in on the molding and painting fun.

There you have it! A quick look at what we've been up to. I will try to get back to updating daily until Christmas Eve, although it probably won't happen over the weekend. We are booked solid this weekend but it should be fun! Until next time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not Me Monday!

For the first time, I am joining in on the blog carnival started by MckMamma. It is called "Not Me Monday" and she says "It is being brutally honest and living to tell about it!" This is where you can share some things that you would "never" do. Here we go!

This past week, when Jim was gone on an overnight business trip, the kids and I certainly did NOT stay in our pajamas until after afternoon naps. Nope, not us! We are always dressed and groomed first thing in the morning, regardless of the day! That same night, I did NOT allow the kids to stay up until I was ready for bed, then just tuck all of us into my bed and pass out. Nope, not me! I believe in the importance of schedules, and never, ever stray from them.

This past weekend we took the kids to a live nativity that I thought was outside. I definitely did NOT dress them like we were going on an Arctic expedition. When we arrived, and it turned out that the activities were all inside, the kids and I certainly did NOT sweat bullets in the VERY warm gymnasium of the church.

I decided to make homemade playdoh with the kids for the first time. When the recipe said you could add glitter of your choice, I did NOT add green glitter that you would use on cookies. I know way too much about cooking/baking to do something like that, and I NEVER get so distracted by my two little ones that I forget to think things through. The green cookie glitter certainly did not dissolve when were were cooking the playdoh, turning our pretty red, with green sprinkles, playdoh, into a color that looked like raw meat. Nope! That did NOT happen to us!

And finally, when returning a pair of jeans I didn't like to Old Navy (all the while swearing I wasn't going to buy ANYTHING) I certainly did NOT sprint to the pajama section when I saw a pair of pink, snowman pajama pants on the mannequin. I did not immediately buy said pink, snowman pajama pants for myself, while internally squealing for joy, because I LOVE pink and snowmen. Nope, not me!! I'm MUCH too mature to get excited over something like pink, snowman pajama pants.

There you have some of the things I did NOT do this week! I hope you laughed, and thought of the funny things you "didn't" do too! ;-)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Activities: Day 9

Today we read in Matthew about Joseph, and how an angel came to him in a dream and told him that he should marry Mary, and name her baby Jesus. Naomi said she wished angels came and told her things in her dreams. Too cute. ;)

The big thing we did today though was take a trip to Bethlehem! One of the local churches set up a huge event where you could tour "Bethlehem". It was excellent. They had tents set up like it was a market, and activities for the children to do at each one. All the helpers were dressed up, and they even had donkeys for the kids to pet! Needless to say, it was a hit. The kids got to meet Mary and Joseph, which Naomi thought was cool. I'm so glad we went because it went along perfectly with everything we have been learning about.

Naomi working on her Joseph. She has really gotten into making these ornaments. I hope I'm not setting an expectation for crafts every day in the new year!! Shew!

Joseph! Naomi said, "I'm glad I'm making a Joseph. I think Mary was getting a little lonely."

Mr. Cuteness.

Naomi at the market in Bethlehem. At this station she made a pillow.

Here they got to pet the donkeys. This was a major highlight!

Nathan LOVED the donkeys, and wanted to pet them so badly, but just couldn't work up the courage.

Here we were doing a mosaic together. Nathan doesn't last long at the crafts but he wants to join in and do everything big sister does.

We have been thoroughly enjoying our Truth in the Tinsel study. I'm so glad we're doing it. Tonight was the perfect way to top off a great week of activities.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent Activities: Day 8

I am sooooooooo tired. Seriously, I can hardly see to type. This morning we finally made it to the post office, then, since my philosophy is that getting out the door is 1/2 the work, we ran to Old Navy, Target, and Wal Mart. I don't know how the rest of the world feels, but for me, 4 stops is a lot with two small kids. Then home, naps (very short, short, naps), more outdoor play in the snow, school time, get dinner in, we made our first batch of homemade playdoh (which I will share more about later!), treatments, baths, and finally, thankfully, bedtime! Now it's 8:30 and I'm ready for bed. Is that sad?? Oh well! We had a good day, but it's early to bed for me tonight.

Today we finished reading in Luke, Chapter 1. We read how Jesus was coming to bring light to those who were in darkness. The section we read today was a little beyond Naomi so we didn't have much discussion about it. That's fine, I feel exposure is still important!

Naomi making a sun ornament today to signify that Jesus is the light.

It has become Naomi's favorite part of the day to show Daddy her ornament when he gets home, and then hang it in the foyer. I will see her often during the day, just standing in the foyer and admiring her ornaments. I love it!

No post is really complete without a picture of my sweet boy. I love how cute he looks in his long underwear after playing outside in the snow.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent Activities: Day 7 and the First Snow!

Today we read in Luke how Mary was so filled with thankfulness to God, that she sang praises to Him. We talked about how it pleases God when we sing to Him too. Naomi was excited because she loves to sing. She said, "That's great Mommy because I like to sing AND I like to make God happy!".

Today's ornament was decorating a CD to remind us of Mary's song. Naomi really enjoyed this because everything was shiny!

Naomi worked on this for a LONG time, gluing, and placing the the decorative jewels and stones where she wanted them. She was so excited when she was done that she picked it up by the ribbon to show  me, not understanding that things that heavy take a long time to dry. Almost everything slid off. Needless to say, she was heartbroken. I sat down with her though and we were quickly able to get things back to where she wanted them with my help. I think it turned out really pretty!

We have had very warm weather lately, and woke up this morning to the pouring rain. However, as the kids were napping, the rain turned to snow. What a fun surprise for them to wake up to a winter wonderland! They were psyched and we quickly cut the tags off their new snowsuits/boots, and headed outside. They had a BLAST! We all got soaking wet since the yard was all sloppy, but it was great. I was so proud of how well Nathan did too! This is his first winter walking in the snow and he was a trooper. It's hard to walk with all those clothes on but he did really well. He didn't even cry when he tripped, and face planted in the snow multiple times. I have to say he's a wee bit tougher than his big sister Naomi, who cried her first winter walking, when the snow touched her new boots. She's a child after my own heart. ;) We were all very proud of our snowman too!

I wasn't joking when I said Nathan LOVED the snow! Here they were scooping the clean snow into their bowls for a special snow snack! I poured some maple syrup over the snow and they ate it with spoons. It was a hit!

That's all for today! My major mission for tomorrow is to go to the post office, but sadly that has been my mission every day this week. We have just been having too much fun at home to get around to it! If you don't get your Christmas card from us until AFTER Christmas, now you know why. ;)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Activities: Day 6

Today we read about Mary visiting Elizabeth. Naomi liked the idea of them both having babies in their tummies, and wanted to know when I would have a baby in my tummy again. She said she's ready to help  me take care of another baby, and she had lots of practice helping take care of Nathan. Oh, and by the way, would Nathan still be a little brother, or a big brother when we have an new baby..... and on and on went the baby talk! lol That is one of the things I'm really enjoying about our daily reading, and crafts, is all the good discussion that comes out of it. The craft really helps us focus in on one part of the story.

Naomi GREATLY enjoyed making these ornaments. We painted with watercolors, and she really took her time, and did a good job. In fact she took so much time painting that I got a little bored and went and played diggers with Nathan. I was  happy she enjoyed it though!! If you can't tell from the picture the pregnant bellies actually stick out. She loved that!

She is always so proud to hang them up in the foyer. It's turned out to be the perfect place for them because we look at each one, and talk about them in sequential order almost every time we walk up the stairs. What great review without even trying!

I'm off to bed. Goodnight!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Activities: Day 5 and Sensory Bin

Today we reread the same passage as yesterday in Luke, but this time our discussion focused on Mary.

Our ornament today was to make a clothespin Mary.

It kind of bugged Naomi that she was abstract, and didn't have arms. I can't say that I blame her. However she quickly got over it when she heard she could decorate her dress with glitter glue. I mean, doesn't glitter glue solve all your problems in an instant?? ;)

I also wanted to share today our Christmas sensory bin! I had been saving our sensory bin for today because I knew Jim would be gone for a business trip, and it would be a fun way to fill the time. Boy did it ever! The kids were THRILLED when they saw the new bin sitting out, and played with it the ENTIRE morning! Naomi didn't even get dressed! I dressed Nathan, and he promptly took both his socks and shirt off. Why? Because that's how he rolls these days. ;)

Digging into the Christmas bin. Naomi went right for the little Nativity set, and Nathan immediately started gather the small jingle bells.

Nathan gathered and dumped the jingle bells about a thousand times.

Naomi set to work welcoming the people from the Nativity, and promptly moved them into one of our Little People houses.

Still gathering jingle bells.

Nathan found the mini paint tray I'd added to the bin, and I showed him the spoon. He instantly started spooning the bells into the tray. He was extremely proud of himself!

He moved from that to spooning the bells from the tray, into the small container, and stirring them up. These bells were definitely choking hazards, so I watched him like a hawk, but he didn't even try to put them in his mouth!

When Naomi caught sight of the tray she decided it was time to feed baby Jesus and his entourage a nice meal.

What could be more fitting for a king than a meal of bells?? ;)  (I had to run into the kitchen and get another spoon as to avoid sharing issues.)

Nathan eventually tired of the bells and got out his trusty diggers. This little digger and ramps are hands down his favorite toy. I made a soft pile of "snow" for him to slide his digger into.

Then there was a terrible blizzard and Nathan had to work hard at plowing his roads, and pushing the "snow" into his pile. He did this for an HOUR!

Naomi wanted her own road/slide, so we made a big one for her. She let Nathan help her slide the Nativity people down it.

Making patterns with the jingle bells.

Sensory bin bliss. The kids LOVE them, Daddy (Mr. Neat Freak), not so much. We find it is best to explore them when he is gone, and that works for all of us. ;-)

There you have it for today. Don't expect such a long post tomorrow! Until then!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Activities: Day 4

Today we read in the Bible from Luke. We read about how the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to have a baby. Naomi and I compared Mary's reaction to Zachariah's reaction from our reading the day before. We talked about what Naomi thought she would do and say if she saw an angel.

Of course our ornament today was an angel! I did a different angel than the one they suggested in "The Truth in the Tinsel" (what we're basing our activities off of) because I had the supplies for this one readily available. I cut it out but Naomi drew the face and did all the decorating.

Naomi hanging up her angel. She was very proud of it!

Here is a quick peek at our December sensory bin. The base is cotton balls, and as you can see, we have a wide assortment of Christmas themed items thanks to Grandma Canon!!

There are cookie cutters, mini puzzles in the boxes, a sweet, little nativity set, large and small jingle bells in various colors, mini erasers, a wind up snowman and penguin, and some little containers. I added the paint tray, spoon and tongs so they could use those for sorting and transferring items. Thank you soooo much to Grandma Canon for getting all this fun stuff!

The bin set up and ready to go! The kids like it best when all the items are hidden in the base. I have it set out in the family room for them to explore first thing tomorrow morning. I know they will be thrilled! Daddy will be thrilled that this one isn't quite as messy as November's sensory bin. ;)

There you have our Day 4 Advent activities. Until tomorrow, goodnight!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Activity Trays

I wanted to share with you a peek at our Christmas trays for next week! Naomi saw me putting them together today, and we are both excited to try them out. Most of  these printable (unless otherwise stated) are from Walking By the Way's Kindergarten Winter Games Packs. Even though I made these trays with Naomi (4 yrs old) in mind, I have thought of modifications for Nathan (19 months) too.

Here is a look at the trays all set up and ready to go!

We are learning about tally marks. Using the Dry Erase crayons (which I like SO much better than dry erase markers), Naomi will decorate the snowman family with eyes, hats, noses, etc. Then we will count up each item, and record our tally marks on the recording sheet you see on the left. She's been very into drawing/coloring lately, which is a first, so I think she'll love this!
Nathan Modification: draw on the snowmen, with me. We can both draw and I will have him find the body parts like eyes, nose, feet, etc.

We have been doing lots with reading three letter words. For this tray I will say a word like "pig". Naomi will have to listen, figure out what the middle letter is in the word I say, and then flip the "cookie" with the matching letter. This is great practice for those middle letter sounds, which are always trickier for them.
Nathan Modification: I'm going to try to have him practice colors by finding the red stocking, yellow bell, etc, but most likely he will flip the cookies, toss the cookies, and be done. ;)

On this (cookie) tray the kids will use our magnetic pom-poms to make the picture. For whatever reason both kids LOVE this. You can find this printable here.

Find the Cookie (think Battleship). There are two copies of the grid. I will hide the cookie cutouts on my grid and Naomi will have to call out different squares to find the cookies (ie. C4) and mark off the squares that have nothing on them. Note the gummy treats on the left. This tray may be a bit hard for her because we've never done anything like this before, so I thought I might start off by hiding gummy treats instead of the paper cookies, and let her eat each one as she finds it. Nothing like a little bribery incentive!
Nathan Modification: "Nathan, go play with your trains".

Craft tray: On this tray I've been putting our supplies for our daily Advent ornament craft so they are ready to go. Sometimes both kids make an ornament, and sometimes just Naomi.

Smash the snowman! We will do this on our little picnic table over our vinyl flooring. I'll put down globs of shaving cream, and put the snowman word cards on top. As I call out the words Naomi has to find and read the word, then smash the snowman! I laminated the snowmen and wrote on them with dry erase makers so I can easily switch up the words.
Nathan Modification: I am going to erase the words and draw on shapes or colors and have him do the same thing!

Christmas themed pattern block mats. There is several sheets to choose from and I found them here. Both kids can do this tray in their own way.

There you have it! Our Christmas trays for this coming week! I will leave these trays out as long as they are interested in them, and then slowly rotate them out with new things. If you are looking for more Christmas theme ideas, checkout all the fun stuff I've found on my Christmas Pinterest Board or see what others are doing at Preschool Corner and 1+1+1=1.

Have a great week!

Advent Activities: Day 1, 2 and 3

Hello! This has been a crazy fall for us, and I haven't had the time to post the way I wanted to. We've been doing lots during our school time, I just haven't had time to take pictures or post about it! However, a dear friend of mine posted things she is thankful for every day in November on her blog, and inspired me! My goal for the month of December is to do a small post each day about our daily Advent activities.

We have been following The Truth in the Tinsel ebook, and it  has been wonderful! I thought by doing a post each day it would inspire me to keep up with our daily reading and craft, and share some of what we've been up to. I just thought of it today, so I will share what we've done the first three days in December! For each day we read a passage in the Bible covering one aspect of the Christmas story, and then make a craft that goes along with it.

Day 1: We read from Isaiah, how there will come a Christ, that is the light of the world. The candle represents the Light. :)

Day 2: We read from Isaiah again, this time how a king is coming to save the world. Of course we had to make a crown for a king!

Day 3: Hanging up her ornament for the day.

For day three we read the story in Luke about the angel telling Zechariah that he and Elizabeth were going to have a baby. Zechariah didn't believe the angle, and so God caused him not to be able to speak until John was born. You can't see it in the photo but we have a big bubble from a piece of bubble wrap for his mouth, to represent that Zechariah couldn't speak. Naomi thought that this was pretty funny.

Being that each craft is an ornament, I think they were meant to be hung on the tree. This wasn't going to work for us. Nathan is 18 months old, and doing a FANTASTIC job not bothering the tree, because he understands that it is NEVER to be touched. I thought hanging something on the tree each day would confuse him. Therefore, we are hanging our ornaments on the garland going up our stairs. You can see the ornaments we've made in between the stockings, and my cool boot stocking too (best stocking EVER!). ;)

Speaking of Nathan, I couldn't resist adding this picture of Mr. Handsome himself, eating dinner off of his Santa plate.

The kids' Great Grandma Shirley gave them these adorable stockings to use to count down to Christmas. I put our Advent word clue of the day in each stocking and we are using them on our calendar this month. The kids LOVE it!

So there you have some of what we've been doing for the first three days! We have been doing a lot of other things behind the scenes, but we'll see if I get around to sharing our other stuff or not! Come back and see what we're doing each day for our Advent activities though! I am also linking up with Preschool Corner and Tot School over at 1+1+1=1.