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.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Fun

I had so much fun putting together our Easter Trays when my parents were here, and I couldn't wait to show them to Naomi. Her reaction was all I had hoped for!! She gasped, jumped up and down, and couldn't decide what to do first. She loves our "school" time, and it's creating some really special memories for both of us. The fact that there's a whole lot of learning going on, doesn't hurt anything either! In an effort to keep my post to a reasonable length this week, I am only sharing our Easter related things. We did our usual language, math, and Bible activities, and started something new that I will share another week! I've had lots of people ask me recently where I get my ideas. The two main places I go are 1+1+1=1 and Homeschool Creations (which hosts Preschool Corner). They both host a blog carnival each week that others link up to, and share what they've been doing with their kids. I love surfing through the various blogs and this is where I get my inspiration. The links above will take you to their main blogs, and I will link to both spots again at the bottom, which will take you to their specific posts and blog carnival for this week. On to the trays!

Here is a look at some of the Easter books we've been reading this week.

Easter puzzle from COAH. I put magnets on the back and then put it on this cookie tray to make it easier for Naomi. Plus, I may as well use the cookie sheet for school since it's not like I'm going to be using it for making cookies! You can buy cookies in the store you know. ;)

Egg matching. The eggs I cut out fit perfectly into this cute, oval, container I got at the Dollar Tree awhile back. I love making things cute! This was from COAH too.

Egg transferring tray inspired by this.

Numbered eggs! I got the basis of my idea from Playing House, and have expanded on it. I'm really excited about this tray as there are MULTIPLE ways we are going to use it.

Easter card making tray. I got the stickers and foam pieces from the Dollar Tree too. I've got to say, the dollar stores have become my best friend for tacky, seasonal stuff!

Egg numbers from COAH. We are going to use these in a variety of ways.

Sound eggs! It seems every blog I went to was doing these, so I can't cite any particular one. There are 5 pairs of eggs. I filled them with rice, beans, coins, mini marshmallows, a small rock, pasta, and then super glued them together.

Egg puzzle from the Dollar Tree.

Naomi really loved this tray and chose to do it first. She was especially excited by the fact that the she got to use these ice cream dishes. "These are breakable Mommy, but I'll be careful!" she proudly exclaimed.

Working on the egg puzzle. She liked it but it was tricky so I had to help her in the end.

A short video of Naomi using our numbered eggs in the tray. She counts really well but it threw her a bit when she got to the new row, which was egg #7.

Proud that she got all the numbered eggs in order!

Putting the egg numbers in order. I introduced 11 and 12 this week! She can count past that, but we haven't done number recognition past 10 up to this point.

Here she clipped the correct number of clothespins to each egg number.

Nathan joined in on the fun with this tray! He thought it was hilarious to rip the clothespins off the cards once Naomi was done with them. I showed him how to put the clothespins back in the container too. He did really well with it!

Nathan enjoyed exploring our sound eggs too!

Using her spin art.

Once the paint dried we cut the paper into egg shapes to make fancy Easter Eggs! And a star - why? Because she is three and wanted a star! :-) I got the idea for these here.

Sorting jellybeans by color. This girl loves sorting things!

We put our number eggs in order again, but this time counted out the correct number of items for each egg. I had some cute little erasers that were perfect for this.

Finishing the magnet puzzle.

Naomi really likes things that are magnetic! She liked using our magnetic pom-poms to make this picture. We also painted it with our Do-a-dot paints the next day.

For science we made some observations about jellybeans using our 5 senses. I got this sheet to record our observations from 2 Teaching Mommies.

The next day we graphed the sorted jellybeans. This graph was from 2 Teaching Mommies as well. This was our first time doing a graph and it went really well.

Naomi doing our egg matching tray from COAH (link above). This one was tricky!!

This was a fun, Easter themed, cutting sheet, from Musings of Me. The Easter Unit from this site has tons of great activities in it! 

Nathan and I have been playing lots with his stacking rings. He needs help with the order, but can put them on all by himself now!

I still want to do a post to show off our new basement, but here is a sneak peek at Nathan's reading corner! He has really been into books lately and I'm so thrilled!! He drags books over for me to read to him many times throughout the day. Big thanks to my friend Michelle for this adorable little chair that reads and sings. Nathan LOVES it!!

My goal this week was to use things I printed or made in more than one way. We use each tray multiple times throughout the week, but I wanted to think of different ways to use each item to keep it fresh and exciting. The more we use something that I've put time into, the better! We will be using the same trays next week, and I've got lots of fun adaptations planned for them, in addition to some other Easter/spring themed activities. Check out what others are doing at 1+1+1=1 and Preschool Corner!


Monday, April 18, 2011

My Mommy and Daddy Visit!

My parents flew in from Canada on April 5th and stayed through the 12th. It was SOOOOOOO good to have them here! I miss them terribly, and love it when they come visit. The kids are crazy about them, and have so much fun too. It was especially fun this time because Nathan can do so much now. We saw them last at Christmas, and although Nathan was adorable, it's so much fun now that he is mobile.  Here are some highlights from the week.

Of course there were presents.
And more presents!

And dancing too! Mom got Naomi these pretty dancing ribbons to twirl as she dances. They were both dancing away when Mimi (mom) turned around to see Naomi using her silk, dancing ribbon as a duster! Mom asked her what she was doing and Naomi answered "Dusting! Come dust with me Mimi!". During this time Mom turned to see what Nathan was up to......

and there he was, vacuuming away with his toy vacuum! Now Mom is convinced that I've brainwashed my children to be clean/neat freaks like Jim and I. ;-)

We had some beautiful days during the visit. This was a nice break for Mom and Dad from all the snow they still have in Canada!

Playing with the new blocks they got for Nathan's birthday.

We went for some nice walks! Grandpa and Nathan were cute in their matching Mountaineers colors.

We had fun going out to eat.

Nathan got his first haircut when they were here. He held so still and didn't even fuss once!

We spent lots of time in our newly finished basement. Dad and Naomi were listening to an online book. Mom and Naomi also spent tons of time on our beanbag chairs, listening to the Disney Read Aloud books they brought. I'm SO SAD I didn't get a picture of this!! Naomi LOVES these books. They came with the book, and a CD that tells the story. She and Mom had so much fun listening to these together, and now Naomi can do them by herself. I set up a cute reading/listening corner in her room that I will have to post a picture of.

Mimi, Naomi, and Grandpa Daryl

Mimi, Nathan, and Grandpa Daryl

My Mommy and I

Me and my Daddy!

We had a great visit and it went by way too fast. I enjoy having my parents here so much, that the week after is always hard because I miss them terribly. It was great though. We had lots of good visits, and I even got a bit of time to myself while they played with the kids. I worked hard on Nathan's Shutterfly book, got a pedicure, and did a LOT of planning and prepping for Tot School! I'm excited to show what we have been doing for our Easter activities, and to do all of our upcoming units. Mom ordered us all the books we will need for our units until the fall, and I am pumped! I've got lots of fun things in the works! 

I am very blessed to have the parents that I do. When I was growing up they always played with us, read to us, took us on cool trips, instilled a love of learning through homeschooling, coached my basketball teams, the list could go on an on, but you get the idea! Most importantly, they taught my siblings and I about God, and made sure we had a personal relationship with Him. In addition, they not only told us that we were brilliant and could do anything we wanted in life, but drilled that in to the point that I still really believe it. Because of them, I believe I can do anything I set my mind to. Confidence and self-esteem have never been an issue for me. I can't imagine growing up any other way, and I thank them for that. I only hope I can instill those values, and confidence, in my own children. So thanks Mom and Dad, thank you for providing such an awesome example of how to be fabulous parents. I love you!


Friday, April 15, 2011

New Reading Era

I love to read, and have as long as I can remember. It seems that there are very few adults who love to read. There is so much knowledge and pleasure to be gained from reading. I find it so sad when someone tells me that they don't enjoy reading. What a wonderful world they are missing out on!! It is so important to me to share my love of reading with my children. I desperately want for them to grow up with a love of books. The key to this is simple in my opinion. You read to them!! Not just any books, but rich, "living" books, that capture their interest and spark their imagination. While this was simple to do with Naomi, it has proven a bit more challenging with Nathan. First, I'm just that much busier with two kids. Second, Nathan is such an active baby, that it can be hard to get him to hold still long enough to get through more than a couple pages. I make a point to read to him when he first wakes up, as he is calm and cuddly. Up to this point he doesn't seem to mind my reading efforts, but he hasn't sought it out either. Until yesterday. And today. We have had a breakthrough!!

His favorite books are the Spot Books because he loves to lift the flaps. His favorite book by far is "Where is Spot?". Yesterday he picked up that book and squealed. I looked, trying to figure out what he wanted. To my great joy, he wanted me to read to him!! We read the book three times in a row!! This morning he went to the shelf where I keep his books, and pulled them off until he found "Where is Spot". He managed to drag it across the room to me, (no small feat when you are only crawling) and held it squealing until I read to him again! I couldn't be more thrilled!

Sorry for the terrible quality of this photo. I had Naomi read the book to him again this morning while I grabbed my phone to snap a quick picture. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a new era of reading for Nathan!!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Creation Study - Week 2

What was supposed to be a two week unit actually took us 4 weeks to complete. Last week's post was of things we did the week before we went to DC. I just forgot to mention that in my post. After we did week #1 on Creation, we left for our whirlwind trip to DC. The week we got back we all took turns with the flu, so didn't do any school that week. Survival, not school, was at the forefront of my mind that week. If you ever need tips on mess management with very sick kids, I'm the girl to ask! After that week I got LOTS of experience. *sigh* Anyways, we were finally back on track last week, and were able finish our "two" week unit on Creation! The upside to it taking us so long to do, is that even on the weeks we weren't doing activities centered around Creation, we still talked about it a lot, and practiced singing our song. The song is great and really helped Naomi remember what was created on each day!

Each day we read this mini book and the part of this story that pertained to the day we were focusing on.

We used these as sequencing cards. Each day Naomi traced the letters, and put the cards in order. This was a nice way to review the previous days. I would recommend printing these out on card stock.

We also worked in her Kumon Number book. She LOVES this book and it has helped a ton with her number recognition, and writing her numbers.

On Day 4 God created the sun, moon, and stars. I printed this off from here and put it on one of our trays with several choices of glitter glue.

Naomi decorated it with the glitter glue and thought this was great. I had to grab a cue-tip to help her spread around the glitter evenly. You have to have something sparkly to represent the sun, moon, and stars!

We also practiced making shapes using our Magneatos. We haven't had our Magneatos for very long, but we are in love with them! Both Naomi and Nathan enjoy them. I like the fact that they are a toy that both kids can play with in different ways. Jim loves to build with them too!

On Day 5 God created the fish and the birds. We drew fish and birds with crayons and then painted over them with watercolors. It worked well for the birds and sky, but the blue paint was too dark and it covered up all our fish. Thankfully I had some fish stickers that we stuck on to show the fish!

On Day 6 God created the animals and man. Naomi liked using these foam stickers to represent the animals.

Naomi also drew Adam, Eve, and God. Naomi explained her drawings by saying "God is sideways because he's up in the air in heaven. Eve is little because she is very new. Adam is a man and he has a big nose." SO CUTE! I had to try so hard not to giggle because she was so serious in her explanation.

I wanted to do some kind of animal activity to go along with day 6. I found this fun animal sorting game at Homeschool Creations. Naomi had to sort the little animal cards into three groups: farm, zoo, and ocean. It wasn't hard for her, but it got her thinking and went along nicely with our day 6 activities.

Here Naomi is playing on her Leapster Explorer that her wonderful, Canadian, aunt and uncles got her for Christmas. She needed help using it when she first got it, but can do it completely independently now! I've been very happy with it and feel that the games we've tried are very educational. Her favorite game by far is the Tangled one. It has lots of pre-reading skills that I thought would be way too hard for her, but she has blown me away with her ability to do it!

Putting all her sequence cards in order.

Playing Creation Memory Match using this and this

We made a Creation Wheel.

We did an online Creation Create a Scene. It was really cool! We also did a online quiz too that was fun.

Here is a picture of our create a scene.

Finally assembling our lapbook!

The cover of our lapbook. I got the type of folder that you could add pages to so I could include all the art projects we did.

Under each day on the left you can lift the flap like a little book, and see what God created that day. I used the cards from our Memory Match that I linked to above. On the right was our art project for Day 1 (dark/light). I got the ideas for all our creation art projects from this blog. We didn't do everything exactly like they did, but I loved the ideas, and modified them to work for us.

This could have been a mini book, but we cut them apart and used them as sequencing cards. Naomi traced the words each day.

Day 2 - skies and seas
Day 3- land, plants and trees

Day 4 - sun, moon and stars
Day 5 - fish and birds

Day 6 - animals and man
Day 7 - God rested from his works

The creation worksheet we did and the wheel we made. In the pocket I put in the mini book we used, and a copy of the song we learned. All the links are above.

On the back of our lapbook I pasted the story we used.

I couldn't end this post without some pictures of Mr. Cuteness. He got his first black eye this past week. Baby gate meet eye....

This is down in our newly finished basement. I'm excited to do a post and show how I'm setting it all up down there, but I need to finish a few things first! Anyway, I set up our ball house that had been packed away for months and Nathan was THRILLED. Crawling through the tunnel was his favorite part.

Riding on sister's Power Wheels Quad was a big hit too.

Remember this little cabinet that he loved to sit and open? Now that he pulls up on everything, he loves to stand and play. I set up toys for him on the shelf and he has so much fun playing with them, and throwing them down on the ground.

Nathan really likes this rocker I got at a garage sale last summer for $2. He also loves playing in his room, which makes me happy since I had so much fun setting it up for him when I was pregnant.

So there you have it! It has been busy but I'm thrilled with our completed Creation Unit. Next week my parents are visiting so we probably won't be doing much school, but there will be lots of playing, games, and FUN! I've also decided I'm going to have to make these posts shorter, because this took me way too long to do, especially with all the links. When I started this blog, my goal was not to do any posts that took me longer than one or two breathing treatments sessions. The problem is that I love sharing all the fun things we do! :) For the rest of April we will be doing Easter themed activities that I'm really excited about. I have lots of fun plans, and am looking forward to getting all that stuff ready while I have the extra help. Have a great week and be sure to check out what others are doing at 1+1+1=1 and Homeschool Creations!