Friday, December 20, 2013

December Daybook

I am wearing: 
Sweats and my new sparkling gold sweatshirt. Everyone in my family thinks it looks like and old lady but I think they don't know fashion.

 What I am listening to:

 A lot of Christmas on Pandora. I especially like the Nutcracker station. I also hear children talking together as they play a game on the Kindle and other noises coming from the tub in my bathroom.

 In the Kitchen:

Lots and lots of treats around here:


Candy Cane Cookies

I actually put myself on a "no treats fast" for the day.  Tonight's dinner is a yummie wheat berry pilaf. 
I am looking forward to some Christmas cinnamon rolls, homemade butternut squash ravioli, rosemary bread and tiramisu. 

Around the House: 

The halls are decked and yes our huge tree is the centerpiece. Maybe when hubs is 70 we'll get a modest size tree.

Enjoying God's Creation:

I am so blessed by our little mountain town and its wintery snow.  Our home is an all-seasons destination--beach, camping and hiking in the summer and skiing, skating and sledding in the winter.  I heart it!!

In the Learning Loft:

Despite the hustle and bustle of the season we have faithfully maintained our lesson schedule and wrapped it up this morning with a movie.  This month we have focused on reading, spelling, fractions, decimals, multiplication, letters and the symbols of Christmas.

Montessori Multiplication Board

Spelling test
 And a bit of driedel too!

Celebrating the Season:

As you can see we have had many celebratory activities but 2 have been new to us this year.  First, the children all drew one another's names as secret buddies to buy, from their own money, a Christmas gift.  It has been comical to see how they cannot keep a secret. Helping each child think of and purchase a special gift has been so fun. Secondly, I signed up to ring the Salvation Army bell.  I have been wanting to be a bell ringer for years but was always apprehensive about participating but this year I put that aside and joined.  I did 2 different time slots and the girls accompanied me.  It was a wonderful opportunity to greet our community with Christmas cheer.

In the Gym: 

We finished T25 in November and are now wrapping up the year with selected workouts from our favorite programs--INSANITY, ASYLUM and P90Xplus.  We are Beacbbody coaches and offer free fitness and nutrition consulting to those in need.  If you need help improving your health, we can help.

From the Library:

I am reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  I have never been a Scrooge fan but felt lead to pick it up this season and I am so glad I did.  It challenges my reading abilities because it is such an old writing and has given me much to think about.  Here is a quote from the book when the ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge are talking about his former apprenticeship and boss--"He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words or looks; in things so slight and insignificant this it is impossible to add and count 'em up:"  I have been pondering that in regards to my own apprentices.  Isn't that what our children are?  Apprentices, in our care to learn the skills of life.  As their mother, I  can make them happpy or unhappy, burdened or light, or use my words and looks to build up or tear down.  The children look at me day in and day out, what do they see? If I am honest, much of the time a, a stern face.  I want to SMILE.  Pray for me in this area.

I also finished my 5 year read through the Bible. Yes, it was a long time.

Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cranberry Thanksgiving

Cranberry Thanksgiving is one of our all time favorite books.  I don't know if it is because it was one of the first successful unit studies our family did , if it is because of the yummie treat the reading of the story always demands or if it is just the signaling of the changing seasons we enjoy most.  Whatever it is, this story is here to stay and a family classic in our home.

This season I decided to share the story with our homeschool co-op class.  This class was for k and 1st graders.  We started out by identifying the New England States on our maps and coloring them.  I used a printable from Homeschool Shares Unit Study found here.

Then we watched a video from You Tube of the cranberry harvest:

From Bog to Table

I think the children really love seeing all the equipment used to bring cranberries to our table.

After all the background information it was time to read out story:

And of course, we followed it with a tasting of Cranberry Bread:

Here is a good recipe to try from Ocean Spray. I don't have a picture of it but we also cut the berries in half and used them to stamp a decorative border on a copy of the recipe to take home and try.  I really loved how the stamping turned out and gave so much detail of the berry's insides.

After our snack and a bit of play we strung cranberries and popcorn to take home and hang on a tree or bush to feed the birds, chipmunks and squirrels.

That's it.  A quick study for Thanksgiving.  Thanks for stopping by and I am linking up with Montessori Monday.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Leaf Day

A few weeks ago, as we wrapped up our summer/early fall term my oldest declared it leaf day.  What is leaf day you ask?  It was a day to celebrate fall and take a break from our regular studies to enjoy art, baking and a bit of science.

Leaf Day was a day of art with different media.  We started by following this idea for painting a fall tree with q-tips.  As you can see, each child is different and put their own spin on their project.

Then we moved on to some fun with markers from Kathy Barbro. Kathy's site is great fun, with projects for all ages, abilities and intensities.

The last project was also from Kathy's site and a bit challenging for even me. It was a complete the leaf, copy its details and colors activity.


Between art projects we also pulled out our fall cookie cutters for some sugar cookie making.  Have you ever added autumn spices to your dough or glaze, try it, you will probably like it. Think ginger, nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon.  I love the way the sugar sparkles on the icing.

Science/Nature Study
Finally, we collected all of our Fall books for some reading and learning why leaves change colors.

Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Look What I Did with a Leaf
Fall Leaves Fall !
Fall Is Here I Love It!
Leaf Man

I f you still have leaves on your trees take some time to enjoy there beauty and make it a special day with the children.