Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Children's Christmas Books

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I was so excited to start a new Christmas tradition with the girls! Reading one Christmas story every night leading up to Christmas. Here is a sampling of those we read and enjoyed. 
A Firefighter's Night Before Christmas by Kimbra Cutlip
My girls love this book because it says "firefighter." They love all things firefighter, especially Daddy. Any firefighter family would enjoy the humor and holiday spin of this story.

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
Beautiful illustrations. Sweet captivating story of hospitality and love. Held Adalyn's (2 yrs old) attention.

The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden
This sweet story was a tad too long for one evening, so we broke it up into two readings. Marin enjoyed this magical story about making wishes. It did NOT hold Adalyn's attention. Lovely illustrations.
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
A story that causes self examination. Good lesson in kindness.

The First Night by B.G. Hennessy
This simple book held Coralee's (11 month old) attention. Smooth words, paired with pleasant illustrations. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hand Print Tree Christmas Cards

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This was our Christmas card for 2012 and what FUN we had creating it! One afternoon we skipped naps to make hand print Christmas trees and another afternoon we splattered a canvas in red and green paint taking pictures with reindeer antlers. That canvas hung on the wall of our family room for a week afterward (ha), but it was worth the effort.

Getting a shot of all three girls at once is an almost impossible feat, so we opted for individual shots of them displaying their age in paint covered fingers. Baby Coralee often holds out her pointer finger as a greeting. We call it her "ET Phone Home" and I was really hoping that she would cooperate, but I ended up having to just chose a photo showing just how beautiful she is (grin).

We did have ONE almost winner photo with all three girls. What's even more funny is to imagine the crazy, silly, chaos happening behind the camera to get these beautiful smiles.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kindergarten {Our Second Six Weeks}

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Kindergarten ReCap (Our Second Six Weeks)
October 29 – December 14, 2012

We took a week off for the Thanksgiving Holiday. This blog post covers the activities we did during our time off.

Read aloud to the girls: Thanksgiving on Thursday and a Christmas book each day of December.

Completed the second Sing Spell Read and Write kindergarten book “On Track” completing the kindergarten program which included six multi page readers and a variety of reading comprehension evaluations. As well as five “my little story books” each based on a short vowel sound. She’s reading with confidence and her penmanship has improved.

Completed lessons 46 through 57 of “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.” The focus was primarily on two-consonant blends adding the letter “s” to words, sight word “of”, and hyphens. Also introduced consonant digraphs. Marin, often reads our bed time stories and is hungry to learn to read.

We completed Lessons 15 through 24 in “First Language Lessons.” Marin memorized the poem “Work” by M.A. Stodart. We covered proper Nouns and Places (common nouns) such as city, state. Performed exercises in story and picture narration.

Completed Lessons 16 through 27 of the Math.U.See Primer book. We lack only three lessons to complete the Primer book. Marin worked on addition plus one and memorization of addition with doubles (1+1 through 5+5). She learned to skip count by 2s, 5s and 10s. Added to the tens and hundreds place. Solved for the unknown. Learned to convert tally marks to numbers and write numbers using tally marks. Introduced addition to 10 and telling time. We supplemented these new concepts with fun dot to dot and skip counting activities.

Finished the Homes and Houses section of “The Usborne book of Living Long Ago.” While reading from this section of the book we built a four poster bed and a model teepee. We were given a paper castle to play with for a week to reiterate the areas of a castle and Marin was able to identify what types of people lived in the structures we read about.
Chose a new Science book for this six weeks. “Usborne Starting Point Science” Volume 1. We covered the first three sections: What makes rain? What makes a flower grown? And Where does electricity come from. The format of this book is similar to the History book and was more specific to Marin’s interests in the world around her.

In her Calendar note book Marin made daily notations on a calendar and learned to write the date with numbers. We are still drilling month/number association. She kept track of the number of days of school numerically and with tally marks. Everyday she practiced writing the Month and charted the weather. She practiced dialing her home phone number and wrote and addressed letters to friends four days a week. We also did a short unit on Veterans day.
We also introduced piano lessons at a very relaxed pace using “Music for Little Mozarts.” We covered the first few lessons introducing terms such a Piano and Forte. As well as covering up and down the piano. Marin learned to play We Three Kings after practicing numbering her fingers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Painting or Naps?

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I posted this photo on Facebook with the caption "We skipped naps today to paint. I hope I don't regret this decision!" And I can positively say that I don't regret it at all because the adorable tree below was the result of that decision and became the theme for our family Christmas Card. I love the photo above because it captures (beautifully) an average day during the holidays. The girls busy with an activity surrounded by the sparkling glow of Christmas lights. Even Coralee is joining in the fun from her post under the table.

I really dislike nap time as I often feel like a prisoner to the routine. Don't get me wrong, I love the quite time that comes with resting children, but most days the work involved in getting them to nap and the lure of the outside world makes me dread the deed. So, some days we skip. Wish I could say that it always results in inspirational Christmas art, but that's just not reality.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Felt Christmas Tree

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I saw a felt Christmas tree on Pinterest and knew I had to create one for Adalyn. I decided to make it reversible because everything in a house full of girls must be PINK, but I also wanted the option of a traditional green tree. I also designed it to hang on a ribbon that I slipped over a door top wreath hanger, so that it could be moved from room to room. I used brown packing paper to create a template for the tree design. Working with the paper to get a shape I liked before cutting the tree from 72" wide green (and pink) felt. 
All three of the girls enjoy the tree, even baby Coralee. Below, is a free template I created so that you can make your own felt Christmas tree ornaments. The ornaments were embellished using the Martha Stewart craft rick rack sticker borders. Happy felting!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

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I snapped this photo of Coralee and Grandma Posey on Thanksgiving day. It embodies the happiness in our family and the blessing of love we all share with each other.

We took the week off from homeschooling and I focused my attention on doing crafts, stories and activities focused around the Thanksgiving holiday with the girls. I wanted to use the time to teach Marin about the first Thanksgiving and so we spent the week working on projects like these.
Thank you Lord for...Pumpkin Pocket courtesy of Christian Preschool Printables. The three items in the foreground made me smile. She wrote "LaLaloopsy" first, then "Bunny" and "me" came later in the lineup, but I found it humorous that she thanked God for herself. These foam activities I picked up at Michael's.
Other activities we enjoyed were:
Turkey Skittles Sorting Mat - Making Learning Fun
How To Draw A Turkey and a Color By Number Turkey - I can read. I will succeed.
Thanksgiving Dominoes Game - DLTK
Made Paper Pilgrim Hats - Martha Stewart
I read aloud a Magic Tree House book "Thanksgiving on Thursday" by Mary Pope Osborne and
"The Story of The First Thanksgiving" by Elaine Raphael and Don Bolognese. And of course we watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pinup Lingerie Shower Invitation

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My sister hosted an adorable pinup themed lingerie shower for our friend Sarah. I designed this invitation for the party. We created about 25 and I'm glad there weren't more as cutting out the tiny aprons and placing them on the doll was tedious! We thought a dress up doll was perfect for the 1950s housewife theme and everyone dressed up and wore an apron. Katy Keene is the diva on the invitation and we selected her because she embodied the attitude we were going for in the design. Fun, flirty, fifties.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Tooth Fairy Stage

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It's happened. My first born lost her first tooth. I'm having such a hard time dealing with my feelings about this stage.
Excitement for her and for instituting new family traditions
Sadness because she's growing up so fast and I'm worried I'll blink and she'll be finishing college.
Shock that I'm old enough to have a child loosing teeth.
Pressure to come up with the worlds greatest, most fun, meaningful tooth fairy traditions.
Love because I have a sweet little one who is growing into a beautiful little lady who believes wholeheartedly in fairies, princesses and the color pink. 

So, here you have it folks a tiny, magical, pink, glittered letter from the tooth fairy and two gold dollars. Let's hope it sparks her imagination and carries us all down a road full of magical tooth fairy filled years.

Vintage Inspired Wedding Invitation

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These two love birds are getting married on Saturday. Can't wait to dance the night away at their vintage inspired wedding celebration. I can't claim to have designed this invitation. It would be more accurate to say I put it together for them. Their idea. Shane Rhoden's photograph. You get the picture, but I was happy to be involved and think the end result was super fun and I'm excited to attend!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Three Little Kittens {Halloween 2012}

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The girls love the nursery rhyme "The Three Little Kittens Who Lost their Mittens" so when I was brainstorming costume ideas that would include all three girls, it was immediate choice. I used this "Quick and Easy Cat Ears" tutorial from Tally's Treasury to create their ears. The tails were cut from the same felt and I attached them to elastic bands so that they could use them for dress up all year long (and I wouldn't be tying on tails every day)!
Poor baby Coralee was running a fever on Halloween day, so she stayed home with Daddy while the other two girls and I went trick-or-treating.
During her five year old birthday interview, I asked Marin what her favorite holiday was. Expecting her to say Christmas, I was humored when she actually said Halloween. Makes sense I guess. Who doesn't love dressing up and eating FREE candy?!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kindergarten {Our First Six Weeks}

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While this probably isn't of much interest to most readers, I want to post these recaps as an archive of our Kindergarten year. Posting these will keep me accountable and help when planning school for Adalyn in the future. 

Kindergarten Recap (Our First Six Weeks)
September 3 - October 12, 2012

Read aloud to the girls: Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie, both by Laura Ingles Wilder.

Completed the Sing Spell Read and Write book “All Aboard” the first of the two books that make up the Kindergarten program. Marin can now confidently write all of the upper and lower case letters and her full name. She learned songs to memorize letter sounds, vowel sounds and the Ferris Wheel song that teaches beginning letter blends.

Completed lessons 27 through 45 of “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.” Introduced various punctuation marks (period, commas, exclamation marks, question mark) memorized sight words (I, yes, the and A).

Marin, read sets one and two of the Bob Book Series (12 books in all).

We completed Lessons one through 14 in “First Language Lessons.” Marin learned the definition of a noun and the difference between a common and proper noun and why we capitalize a proper noun. We also worked on picture and story narrations and memorized “The Caterpillar” by Christian G. Rosetti

Completed Lessons one through 15 of the Math.U.See Primer book. Marin can count to 100 and write her numbers 0-20 with confidence. Understands place value to 100 and addition plus one and memorization of addition with doubles (1+1 through 5+5).

Finished the Clothing and Fashion section of “The Usborne book of Living Long Ago.” This history book was wonderful and Marin enjoyed it so much. We covered things like the first clothing, Vikings, Romans, European fashion, North American Indians etc.

Covered the “Our World” section of “The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia.” It was amazing to watch Marin’s curiosity when learning about hurricanes and tsunamis.

In her Calendar note book Marin made daily notations on a calendar where we learned the days of the week and the months of the year. She kept track of the number of days of school numerically and with tally marks. Every day she practiced writing the Month and charted the weather. She learned to say (memorize) and dial her home phone number and mailing address. 

Plus we had lots of play time and crafts and artwork. Like this:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Retro Wedding Shower Invitation

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Created an invitation design for a 1950s retro inspired wedding shower. The final cards were printed as 4x6 prints and mailed in these rainbow colored envelopes. The wedding is going to be so colorful and fun!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Busy Bags {For Adalyn}

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One of the biggest challenges I've faced this first month of Homeschooling is keeping my middle daughter Adalyn, the two year old, entertained while I instruct Marin. Cutting paper, gluing paper to paper and playing with stickers only held her attention for a brief little while. I began saving empty plastic containers and filling them with buttons for her to sort between and dump from one container to another. Once I discovered how hands on she was I began looking for "busy bag" ideas to keep her entertained. Here's what I came up with after researching so many great ideas. (See source list at the end of this post.)
Color Trees: Separate felt triangles from the color coordinating clothes pins and have the child find the matching pieces and place them together. 
Pom Pom Magnets: Child sorts colored, magnetic pom poms on to color coordinating popsicle sticks covered in magnetic tape. You might also create a unique pattern on one stick and ask your child to mimic the pattern on another stick.
Button Snake: When I saw this idea, I was excited to recreate my own version. Using rainbow colored felt I cut hearts with slits large enough for this plastic button to slide through. Simple to create with items I already had.
Number Cards with Jewels: In a "girl house" you can never have too much bling. I created these number cards with circles just the right size for jazzing up with these sparkly princess jewels. I laminated the cards and give just one to Adalyn at a time (right now). Once she fills in the circles, we count them together.
 Above is how I store each of these activities. In a three, ring pencil holder. These slide into a 3" binder.
Princess Matching Game: On one side are permanent patterns. On the other side the child must find the objects that match the left side and recreate it on the right. I just bought a big bag of foam shapes and letter half size foam cards. Unfortunately  more often that not, Adalyn just wants peel the backing from the foam pieces and stick them to her hands.
Clothesline: This is hands down Marin's favorite activity. The pattern is free on Money Saving Mom and was super easy to make.
More Busy Bag Resources:
Motherhood on a Dime
Money Saving Mom
Second Story Window
Play At Home Mom

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Party 2012 {The Invitation}

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Waiting for these beauties to arrive in the mail. Gotta get them sent out to friends and family soon!

My sister-n-law, Beth Evans, created the acrylic painting that is the base for years' Pumpkin Carving Party invitation. I love the slightly spooky, yet glowing shiny feel it has. This is the fourth years we've used original art for the invitations and the ninth year we've hosted this event at our home.

Come on cooler weather, apple cider, chrysanthemums, costumes, hay rides and PUMPKINS. I'm ready for you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our First Day of Homeschool

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We began our first day of homeschool on Monday, September 3. These photos were from our first day of school. Today, marks our 10th day of this new routine. Marin began Kindergarten and we follow a four day week. The photo above is our "to do" list. I say our, but really it's Marin's. She has a visual representation of what's expected of her each day (made into magnets) and it's a positive way to teach her time management and goal setting. Plus I can see at a glance what we have complete and what's left to be accomplished.
First on the list is breakfast...
Then Bible study.
Next she makes her bed and gets dressed for the day.
She feeds the cat.
And brushes her teeth.
It's a family tradition to begin the first day of school with a TREASURE HUNT! My five siblings and I were all home schooled and this was the highlight of our year. It only seemed right to continue the tradition with Marin. Steven and I created five simple clues. This was the first one that Marin received.
One clue lead to the mail box where she received the next clue and her new subscription to High Five
Each clue was printed on the outside of an envelope. Inside the each envelope were various craft items.
At the end, she had everything we'd need to make popsicle stick bookmarks for her text books. 
Here she is, hard at work.
And below is the final product.
Then the real work began, starting with her calendar notebook and "about me" pages. 
At just 10 days, I'm amazed at what this little girl has already learned. She's enthusiastic and excited about learning and we're having fun.  


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