Christmas FUN!

After Thanksgiving, I put together a list of fun Christmas activities and thought I’d link what we’ll be doing here in case anyone else is looking for some things to do. 🙂

  • We did a Santa beard a couple years ago and the boys LOVED it so I thought we’d do another this year.  Found a free printable HERE.

  • I made an Activity Advent Calendar, using ideas from Activity Mom’s Advent post and filled in with some of my own. Some of these are a little young for all of my boys, though.  Fun stuff for a toddler or preschooler!! I don’t have a list of 24 simply because we won’t get in one activity every day. Weekends are busy, illness happens, unexpected things come up, AND I want to leave room for spontaneity.  Whatever we don’t get to this year can go on next year’s list.  Also I don’t have them listed in any kind of order. I’ll just pick one that fits our day.  The only dated activities are the movie nights {ABC Family channel}, the party, and the reindeer food activity. Here is our list of activities: {those marked with an * are from Activity Mom’s blog…the printables can be found there}
    • M&M wreath *
    • tree maze
    • Bow Painting *
    • Elf Movie Night-dinner of pancakes, syrup, pasta, coke, and marshmallows (thankfully my boys don’t react to sugar like some. Give them some artificial sweetener and they go bonkers. Sugar? Nothing!)
    • Glue Snowflakes *
    • Cinnamon dough ornaments
    • Christmas Party for the Kiddos!!! {details below}
    • Christmas Tree Fork Painting *
    • Peppermint Candy Craft *
    • Polar Express Movie Night {using these fun ideas!}
    • Ice Cream Cone Trees *
    • Pop Up Christmas Tree craft *
    • Make Gingerbread houses
    • Egg Carton Snowmen*
    • Finger Print Candy Cane*
    • Rip and Glue Christmas Tree*
    • Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt {using this printable}
    • Paper Bag Reindeer Puppet*
    • Grinch Movie Night {we may change this one as the boys just watched it after I printed out our activity schedule…}
    • Ride the Christmas train at a local park
    • Make Reindeer Food*

  • Elf on the Shelf. This is SO fun!! Google ideas, check out Pinterest, or read about our elf here!

  • Christmas Party for the Kiddos!!  We’re going to watch Charlie Brown Christmas while eating popcorn and drinking cocoa with friends. Also there will be a cookie decorating station and two craft stations. I’m thinking of having one of the crafts be card-making, and then taking all of the handmade cards to a local nursing home.

  • We picked up some chocolate Advent calendars for $1 each at Aldi. Who doesn’t love a little chocolate first thing in the morning?

  • And of course there will be baking. Lots and lots of yummy Christmas baking.

There are just TOO many Christmas ideas out there! I really had to limit myself so we don’t over do it. We’ve had so much fun already and it’s only December 4th! I’ll share pictures of our fun in the coming weeks.  Hope you all are having some fun this holiday season as well!!

Merry Christmas!

    2012-2013 School Year Planning

    It’s a little early for this, isn’t it?  Sure does feel like it to me, but guess what I’ll be doing during my usual yearly planning time…….taking care of a NEWBORN. 🙂  So I guess it isn’t early, it’s just in time.

    After reading and rereading parts of The Well Trained Mind, I’ve decided that is THE route we need to take for much of our curriculum.  I fell in love with the WTM years ago, and the book is one of my favorites.  BUT I’ve never really implemented much. I’ve always found things I thought I’d like better (some that I actually do like better but it isn’t getting done) but I’ve always gone back to that book when I realized something isn’t working.  I feel that the WTM way for most of our curriculum is exactly what we need to make more AND better qualitly progress. 

    The focus of our 2012-2012 school year is books, books and more books. We haven’t read near as many books this year I had planned.  It wasn’t necessarily a bad year but not one of the good ones either. Although our spring semester is going much better than the fall, I’m looking forward to starting fresh with a brand new school year and a different plan in place.

    Here is what we’ll be using:

    Nathan 9th grade (HIGH SCHOOL!!!)
    • Saxon Algebra and Life of Fred
    • R&S English
    • Elements of Style (LA)
    • Either Wordly Wise OR Megawords OR Vocabulary From the Classical Roots series
    • Great Books for lit and history
    • History spine is undecided at this point
    • Apologia Physical Science
    • Spanish (haven’t settled on a curriculum yet but Rosetta Stone is the front-runner)
    • Computer Science (the name of the program escapes me but he is super excited about it….he wants to be just like his oldest (adult) brother who graduated from college this past December!)

    Kaleb 3rd grade
    • Spelling Workuot
    • Continuing cursive with A Reason for Handwriting
    • R&S English
    • WTM writing suggestion
    • Math Mammoth with CSPM supplements
    • Story of the World & WTM reading list
    • WTM science suggestion
    • Spanish (pretty light…mostly using Usborne materials)

    Gabriel 1st grade
    • OPGTR
    • WTM writing suggestion
    • Spelling Workout A
    • First Language Lessons
    • A Reason for Handwriting
    • Math Mammoth with CSPM supplements
    • WTM science suggestion (with Kaleb)
    • Story of the World & WTM reading list (with Kaleb)
    • Spanish (with Kaleb)

    Drake preschool
    • Letter of the Week
    • WTM Reading, Writing, & Math suggestions
    • history, Spanish, & science with K and G as interested
    • LeapFrog videos

    Together-Not including our bible study, Nathan’s level of participation will not be to the same extent as the littles.  He needs a little geography, but he probably won’t participate in the activities. I have a few other materials for him to use in Art/Music Appreciation. He won’t be asked to join in morning calendar time or arts and crafts which I’m sure he will appreciate. 🙂
    • Apologia What We Believe series as well as individual bible time.
    • Art Appreciation (probably also from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
    • Music Appreciation (from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
    • Galloping the Globe (we’ve pretty much abandoned this but Kaleb REALLY wants to do it so I just need to make it happen. Ha!)
    • State Study (again from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
    • Morning calendar time
    • Seasonal/holiday/history/literature/science arts and crafts
    • Many, many hours per week spent with our noses in BOOKS!  Nathan and Kaleb will have plenty of history and lit books to keep them occupied (mostly I’ll read the lit books to Kaleb and Gabriel).  Everyone will have plenty of *fun* books to read every week, and I will be reading many history, science etc books to whomever will listen, mostly the three littles (well I guess by then it will be the FOUR littles!!!), throughout the day.

    I still have a few more decisions to make as far as logic and a couple other smaller issues, and I feel like I’m forgetting something.  However for the most part, this is what our new school year will look like!

    I am MOST excited about the WTM history and science. I think this is the PERFECT fit for our family.  I do hate to give up on Apologia’s elementary science series but to be honest, we just don’t get it done.  I think the little boys will enjoy all of the books and experiements that will come from the WTM suggestions.

    Now comes the part I LOVE about planning……..the purchasing, printing and organizing!  The GOAL is to have it all done before the baby arrives so we can just kick back, and enjoy him and the summer before starting back in August.  I’m in the process of getting my plan written out so I don’t forget anything.  Eeeek! I’m excited!!!

    Tell me what you think about our plan.  If you see any holes, let me know.  I still have the feeling I’m forgetting something….. 🙂

    My new tickler file.

    Just typing that makes me giggle…..tickler file. 🙂

    I had never heard of such a thing until I ran across Amy’s blog which I am LOVING by the way….an AWESOME blog!  As soon as I read her post about it, I knew this was exactly what I needed.  I’m already finding myself a bit overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork a new business brings in.  Between homeschooling, children’s ministry, and now a business along with the everyday demands of family life….I need all of the organizing help I can get.  I went THAT DAY and picked up the necessary supplies.

    I totally agree with her suggestion to make it pretty and so I found the cutest file folders at Hobby Lobby.  AND they match an expandable file holder I received as a gift a few months ago. Bonus! 

    Four packs of 12 gave me enough file folders for the 12 months, 31 days, 4 action files, and a few extra.  I also picked up the pretty wicker basket and a couple smaller matching baskets for my desk, one for my pens, pencils, etc and another for my note cards.  All 1/2 price!  I LOVE Hobby Lobby sales!

    My action files are:

     File (I’m terrible about just setting down on my desk something that needs to be filed…and then losing it)
    Copy (I always find things that I want/need to copy but don’t always have time at that moment…these also end up missing)
    Read (magazine articles, blog posts, letters, etc that I’d love to read during my spare time but always forget about)
    WW paperwork (various children’s ministry papers I would like to have in ONE place)

    I’m excited about having a few extra file folders just in case I find I need another action file after getting started.  I’m following the same approach as Amy with the months and days folders.  I think this will totally help me stay organized.

    I also love that my planner fits right behind the file folders.  No more piling books on top of my planner and forgetting to check it.  I will be reminded every morning when I check my file folder for the day.  I have just enough room in the front to put my to-do list notebook (another new 2012 idea and my January new habit) as well but I haven’t decided if that is the best place for it yet.

    2012 is going to be my year for organization!  Between my to-do list notebook and my new tickler system, I’m already more organized than I was in 2011. I look forward to implementing a couple more organizational ideas in the  near future.  Next up is a system for our children’s ministry curriculum at church and another system for organizing school/art/craft supplies in the school closet.

    Because it’s all about the workboxes right now….

    I am working on getting the workboxes ready for the first day of school in two weeks. Today I let the boys decorate their workbox grids. I helped Gabriel and Daddy helped Drake because I wanted to make sure the grid and name showed enough to use. I let the boys rummage through my sticker stash and then I laminated them with my new Scotch laminator (which I LOVE!!!). I think they turned out GREAT and a little more fun than just a bunch plain-looking grids.

    has a great listing of pre-k links on her blog. I LOVE all of them!! Some wonderful printables and game ideas.

    school and workbox excitement!!

    First I just have to share my 5 year old’s new *hobby*. He is writing a book! I don’t know how far he plans on taking this but so far he has this:::the title page and a couple illustrations. The title is “Alien Boy Goes to Earth.” It is very important to him that everyone knows the E’s are made like that on purpose….aliens are strange so of course the E’s must be too!

    Now I must apologize for the lack of quality in these pictures. I forgot my camera at the inlaws house so I am using my phone camera.

    Also I still have to finish cutting all these out and laminating them. I was just too excited to wait!! =)

    Tracing cards.

    These will be lacing cards once they are laminated and hole-punched.
    The first visual of our workboxes. Still working on putting it all together, but the ideas for using them are flowing!! So excited to get started!!
    Several cvc flash cards.
    Dominoes….let’s see, I printed colors, shapes, dots, and numbers. FUN!!
    Astronomy flash cards. My husband suggested I print a second set so the boys can play Memory.

    August 3rd (our back to school date) cannot get here fast enough!!! Actually, I do have quite a bit more to finish so July can hang around for a while longer. 😉

    Circle Time

    I have been reading a wonderful blog lately. It has motivated me to get working on my circle time plans. I LOVE circle time. It was my favorite part of the day when I was teaching at a local preschool. I’ve tried several times to have a circle time with my kiddos but it just never worked out. I think because I didn’t plan it as well. Why is it sometimes easier to teach other’s children? lol

    Thanks to Preschoolers and Peace, I have been working on putting together our circle time schedule and materials for the upcoming school year. I have tons of materials and have had a blast going through them all….some that I haven’t even touch since buying.

    Our circle time theme this year is the alphabet (letter of the week). I will have a kindergartener who needs practice writing his letters and a preschooler who is currently learning his letters and their sounds. My oldest will join us for bible lesson and read-aloud before moving on to his independent work. He will also have a separate, more age appropriate bible time for himself.

    I am using a book I bought and mentioned several weeks ago…Hands-On Phonics Activities for Children. We started the book but never really got into it. I’m just going to start over with it when school starts again. Also I am using ABC, I Believe for bible lessons, handwriting for K, simple art projects and math lessons, and fun games. Also we will use our morning board.

    I have some other things I would like to add to our circle time. I just haven’t gotten to them yet to see how they will fit in. I would like to keep the time around one hour. I think it we move at a good consistant pace, my three year old will be able to hang in there with us for the duration.

    By having circle time first thing in the morning, it will help my feelings of guilt toward the littles on the days when Nathan’s school work commands the majority of my time and attention. Plus I know all of my boys will LOVE it!

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    I ordered some cool books on ancient Egypt yesterday evening from HS Library Builder.

    Most of the books I ordered have a little craft kit included. The boys will LOVE it!!

    I LOVE history, but never got a chance to study ancient history when I was in school. I am so looking forward to next school year!!