Monday, November 26, 2012

The Pumpkin Farm

Before we completely say good by to fall and usher in Christmas and winter, I wanted to post our trip to the Pumpkin Farm.  Bishop's Pumpkin Farm is about 2 hours from our home and it is one of the highlights of our year.  Our visit is often our last chance to soak  up the warm sun rays before we put on our winter coats.

 The Hayride:

The Perfect Pumpkin:

A Train Ride:

Panning for Marbles:

Digging for Hours:

A Little Treat Before We Go:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Books

I have so many posts swirling around in my head but this seemed the easiest and quickest to get out, considering our Christmas book box is sitting in the mudroom.  When we started our family I remember reading of others' traditions to buy a book a year, so as our children grew we would create a beloved Christmas Library.  Over the years we have been given books and I have bought books at thrift stores, garage sales and on Amazon,  Our collection is getting quite sizeable and I love nothing better than an early winter's evening with all of us on the couch reading our books.  Last year I wrapped all of our books and used them to count down the days to the big event.  The children had so much fun keeping me on track--"mom, you forgot to read today, again."  Yes, I am not perfect so some days we had to play catch-up and read 2 or 3 books.  So here is a smattering of our favorites:

One Wintery Night by Ruth Bell Graham

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell & Jason Cockroft

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

Hubs gave me this book when we were engaged.  The story tells of 3 trees with big dreams but those dreams turn out to be better than they ever imagined as the trees are cut down and fashioned into the image of our Lord.

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

'Twas the Night, The Nativity Story by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

I love the pictures in this book, especially the one at the end where Mr. Toomey is throwing his head back in joyous laughter.  This is a touching story of overcoming loss and opening one's heart to what God brings to your door.

My First Little House Books Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck & Felicia Bond

Saint Nicholas, The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett

Just a fun book to read because of all the associated activities and lessons.  This year I am looking here for some educational activities and here for some baking inspiration for gingerbread bark.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

When hubs first moved to Truckee he spent many nights with good friends reading this book, so it isn't just for kids. This particular family would cuddle up and take turns reading the story chapter by chapter.  The story is about the misadventures of one rebellious, undesirable family's infiltration into a church's Christmas pageant.  I have laughed so hard that tears have rolled down my face.

Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide

We take the Ytreeide books in small chunks the month before Christmas. These books are full of adventure and suspense wrapped in unpredicatable turns all leading to a little stable in Bethlehem.

Bartholomew's Passage by Arnold Ytreeide

Tabitha's Travels by Arnold Ytreeide

Christmas Stories for the Heart Complied by Alice Gray

I am sure the children would enjoy these short stories but this one is for the mommies.  Go hide in your room with a good cup of afternoon tea.

I am busy putting pen to paper for Christmas plans, from gifts to lessons this is a busy  time.  I beg the Lord's grace to myself and all of you as we decorate, shop, bake and wrap.  I strive to remember, it will all get done in His time, so don't loose sleep and stop to savor the little once a year moments that make up Christmas.

I am linking up with Montessori Monday.

Have a great week!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Learning with Centers and File Folder Games

I have been a long time fan of File Folder Games and Take It To Your Seat Centers and over the years I have made and collected quite a number of books, folder sets and websites.  Yet, I found myself not being able to fit them into our schedule but this year I decided to dedicate one morning a week to these great learning tools.  I think Centers and Folders are great tools for learning both new material and reviewing old lessons.

The children know that Wednesday mornings are folder and center mornings.  Each child has their own box full of appropriate materials to work on.  The children are required to pick one folder or center from each of these subject areas: Language Arts, Math, Geography and Science.  They are to complete their selections and call me over to check them before they clean-up.  At this point, all the children have to do is complete the folders but in our winter term I am going to ask them to also record in their learning journals what they have worked on.  For Example, in this picture E is working on a Science Layers of the Earth Folder and I would ask her to make a  notebook page for her journal.

I also think having a folders and centers morning breaks up our week, so we don't get bored or run down in our daily lesson routine.  The folders and centers also meets my goal for providing as many hands on learning experiences as possible and cultivates independent learning.

Here are a couple Math examples of folders:

Martian Multiplication

Turkey Feather Addition with an added number line. (It has been so long but I think both this folder and the one above are from File Folder Fun, a site full of free folder games.)

And a couple of Geography Examples:

World Continents from Take it To your Seat Geography Centers.

Land Forms--also from Take It To You Seat Geography Centers.

Here are a few of the Take it to Your Seat Centers we use:

Take it to Your Seat Phonics Centers
Take it to Your Seat Science Centers
Take it to Your Seat Geography Centers
Take it to Your Seat Math Centers
Take it to Your Seat Writing Centers

The Take it to Your Seats come in many grade levels so I did not include them all so be sure to look for the level that is appropriate for you child.

We also use a variety of folder games from Lakeshore Learning:

Science File Folder Fun
Fractions, Decimals and Percents Elementary Folder Games
Puzzle Fun Math Cards

Again, a lot of these folder kits come in a variety of age and subject areas, so be sure to take some time and see if what you are looking for is available.

It is Monday so I am linking up with Montessori Monday.

Have a great week!

Monday, November 5, 2012

First Grade

Good morning everyone!  Today is Montessori Monday and I am linking up again.  Montessori Monday is a weekly link-up focusing on incorporating Montessori education at home.  It has always been a goal of mine to provide our children with as much hands on interactive experiences in their education as possible which makes Montessori a great fit for us.  We follow Montessori Methods in math, grammar and word study.

K just turned 6 and is in first grade here is a look at what is keeping her busy these days:

 Birthday Celebration--The day started with Daddy's homemade cinnamon rolls followed by a trip to Circus Circus.  Circus Circus was a quick burn through our pockets but brought delight to all of the children because of the shows and prizes.  Then it was home again for some playtime and dinner with her friends.  Daddy was on deck again with homemade pasta and tiramisu.

Tiramisu with the much wanted  Strawberry Shortcake on top.  Not much to look at but I heard it was oh so tasty ( I say heard because if you have been following along hubs and I have been doing a reset.)

Skates--K's last minute request and her most favorite gift.

The family at Circus Circus--not much has changed since I was a child.

Language Art

I made up this little vowel-consonant sort for her, I think she finally has is down.

Montessori Pink Series--Reading and spelling with our version of the moveable alphabet.  I got the pink cards for free from Montessori Materials.

Tracing work.

Putting together word puzzles from "You Can Read" printables.

Math: I'm realizing that I said we use Montessori for math and we do, but these recent activities are not representative of that.  K has been working with money a lot, it is amazing how fun something so simple  can be.  I also think she can identify any number and read it.

Leap Frog Money Match. I got this at a consignment store a few years ago and it does not appear to be available on Amazon any longer.

The money exchange game from The Education of Ours. We play to 50 cents for the sake of time.
Identifying numbers on the hundred chart.
Enjoying Fall Outside: We have been blessed with such a beautiful fall and from drawing roads all over the driveway, to helping stack wood we have been praising the Lord for the warm weather, winter is a comin'.

Down by the river--exploring and throwing rocks.

Playing at the park.

And......more park.
Thanks for visiting have a great week.  I hope to scrap in my "free time."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Ultimate Reset: Week 3

We completed BeachBody's Ultimate Reset 10 days ago and before I blog some of our post-reset meals and thoughts I want to share a few more meals from week 3 but first some thoughts:
  1. When I looked at the menu for week 3 I thought "this is going to be tough" and surprisingly, it was not that rough  In week 3 grains are optional but not encouraged.  I wanted to do the program as close to perscribed so grains were out.  Yes, I was hungry but it passed and I felt great the whole week.
  2. I had a huge textural issue this week.  I really like spinach, it is my salad green of choice but this week, I could not stand the feel of it in my mouth but I made it.  I think my issue was that I just needed some variety.
  3. I also felt ready to choose my own foods.  Now, don't mistake that with "eat whatever I want."  It was just that I wanted some different flavors and types of foods, especially things like beans, lentils and potatos.  On the Reset there were only 2 meals that were an absolute thumbs down but everything was very Asian in nature and I prefer more mediterranean/ California flavors to my meals.
The Meals:

Every breakfast of week 3 is a huge bowl of fruit.  We ate apples, pears, grapes,cantaloupe , strawberries and raspberries.  The reset guide says no tropical fruits or else I would have wanted some mangos and pineapples.

Jay and I both like miso soup.  The soup was a struggle at first but once we learned the correct miso to buy (mellow white) and the correct ratio it was great.  For the soup the ratio should be 2 TBS. of miso to 1 cup of water.  We mix the soup in the blender and add in a green onion.  Serve the miso in a big mug and drink it like tea. Also pictured is Asian Slaw.

This Curry Cauliflower was the 2nd worse meal of the Reset.  Both the texture, baked in the oven, and the flavor was horrible.  I could hardly get this down.  The kale on the plate, I like.  The best place to buy kale was at Winco.  It was $1.18 a bunch when I was there last.

A big salad and a carrot medley.  I absolutely love the big salads.  I will be keeping this Reset idea.  The Reset guide book has some great salad dressings, not to mention what adding 1/3 cup of toasted almonds does--so good.  The best place for slivered almonds is also Winco, buy them in the bulk section and toast them in a small pan when you make your salad.  

If anyone is interested in learning more about the Ultimate Reset go to here to the BeachBody website or leave me a comment on this post with your email and I would be happy to talk with you.  We have a new group on resetters starting the Monday after Thanksgiving, it's not to late to join.