Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Handmade Christmas ~ Week 7

I know this certainly is not the seventh week I've posted on Handmade Christmas! I had every intention of participating weekly to help me stay on top of things and because it's fun! Oh well, No looking back - just looking forward :) Here's what I worked on this past Thanksgiving week:

Bookmark: I made this bookmark for my mom. Purple & horses are her favorite. I'm going to purchase a book for her and put the bookmark in it. I'm thinking of The Shack but not sure yet.

Fingerprint Ornaments: I made one for each set of parents. I got the idea from Girl and a Glue Gun and just turned it into a Christmas idea. :) I used Sculpey clay and play doh cutters the boys had. I also used my new Shimmerz Spritz! I wrote our names and year on the back of each with a Sharpie. It was pretty easy and I liked how they turned out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I finally received my Shimmerz order Saturday. I have wanted to try out Shimmerz forever it feels and then it took about two weeks to receive so it's been a long wait. :)

I am enjoying my little paints so far and will be posting on them soon! Tomorrow I will be linking up to A Handmade Christmas in one of my present crafts I used Shimmerz!
Happy Crafting to me!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lesson 10 & 11 - Water & Insects

I realized that the whole month of November almost went by without any MFW posts! I'm combining these two because they are short posts. I will also be combining lessons 12 - 14 because they are all about farm animals and posting on them the first week of December.

Lesson 10 - Water
*We just followed the lesson plan exact for water with no extras. He created a chart for liquids, solids, and gases in his observation journal. We didn't check out any extra books that week.

Lesson 11 - Insects
*We have the ant hill but I totally failed on having the ants by this time. We will probably order them in the spring because the pamphlet said its not a good idea to order in the winter.
*I found a early reader book in his stage nonfiction about ladybugs! Which I thought was great that he was able to completely read about them on his own. I wished I could find at least one book like that for all the lessons! We did check out at least one book about each of the suggests insects: ants, bees, and ladybugs. Unfortunately, I did not write them down and I can't find them on the library's site.
*Awesome enough there is a lap book for the Ants and the Grasshopper and the moral matches the Biblical Concept MFW gives for that week! Here is the front of Chris' completed lap book - He does this without any help so it takes a lot of his mental energy. He is not required to do anything else but math and play on a lap book day. The lap book covers reading, arts, crafts, moral lesson, vocabulary words, and science.
*We went into the backyard and I had him find three insects and draw them along with observations about them in his observation journal. Him & his brother had fun chasing the bugs around. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Nice Morning

I've had a nice leisurely morning. I made & mailed out some Thanksgiving cards. I even enjoyed my walk to the mailbox. The trees were bright and crisp, the clouds big and fluffy w/a tint of grey and a nippy breeze. Then printed out some recipes for December and made some shopping lists. One is for our Christmas Adventure project we are doing as a family. I can't wait to post on it. The other list is for the homemade gifts I'll be making soon! I just love and relish every bit of this season!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Links

Just wanted to share some Thanksgiving/Fall links that I am enjoying:




Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mommy, Teach Me!

I've checked out a few Montessori books from the library and this book is the best preschool montessori book in my opinion. My library didn't have this one. I picked up at the homeschool convention. It was the first book I read out of everything we bought there. The picture is linked to Amazon and you can view inside the book there.
Summary of Book: Barbara Curtis starts out telling you her story, which is wonderful. She explains why your preschooler can thrive at home, how your the best teacher ever, and why the home is the best "classroom". She then shows you how to "release your teaching ability" and how to "release your child's learning ability". I found these two chapters extremely helpful and filled with points and ideas I've never thought about. Chapter 4 is filled with "exercises" that are all pretty much practical living skills. Then the rest of the book gives ideas on how to teach these subjects: Manipulatives, Imaginative Play, Beginning Math, Science, Geography, Fine Arts, and Spiritual Life. I probably will not try all of the ideas but there are definitely a lot of good ones I want to do. We have done almost all the exercises in Chapter 4. I figured these were the most important to learn since they are all practical living skills and are a base skill for something else.
What Meant the Most to Me:
  • Encouragement in my choice to teach at home was refreshing. (chapters 1 & 2)
  • the "take extra time" paragraph on page 40 was convicting. She is so right about when I'm in a hurry I find myself doing things for my boys that they can do for themselves. She suggests adding on 15 minutes to give your child time to get ready in whatever ways he has mastered.
  • "From the earliest days, give your child choices whenever you possibly can: 'Do you want to wear this red shirt or the blue one'?" ~ yeah I so did not do that whenever I first read this book. I am slowly working on that and getting much better at it!
  • She suggest to demonstrate things in slow detailed movements when first teaching your child a skill. I got an absolute kick out of picturing one of us walking painfully slow to bring a bowl of cereal to the table!
  • She had an interesting take on why we should make child size spaces for our toddlers/preschoolers that I enjoyed.
  • One of her suggestions for developing concentration is coloring books. Many "mason advocates" blogs and writings I've read have scorned against these. However, Curtis brings up some points worth thinking about such as we are created in the image of a Creator - it would take more than a mountain of coloring books to stifle the creative impulse of a young child. They also help develop fine motor skills. My own personal opinion on coloring books is - if your child likes them and you have a great art curriculum you are doing who cares if he/she colors in their free time. Seriously, there are worse things!

Most of our trays have come from Chapters 4 and 5 in this book. I plan on doing some of the activities in the Geography chapter as well as the Fine Arts chapter. Chapters 6 - 8 & 11 I didn't find that great. However, I think the foundation of what is taught in this book as well as there are many great activities will make it worth your time and/or money!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November Trays

Silver Polishing: practical living skills, eye-hand coordination, fine motor control, and development of concentration (both)

Sewing Cards: eye-hand coordination, fine motor control, and development of concentration (both)

Folding Napkins: pincer grasp, precise movement, development of concentration. I'm starting them out with washcloths then working up to napkins. (both)

Matching Cards: visual discrimination (Zack)

Song Play: The Wheels on the Bus (Zack)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Winter Wonder

As fall's breeze gets chillier my thoughts wonder to winter ... winter preparation. Some have more elaborate winter preparation lists than others. Mine is fairly simple. We have always rented and lived in apartments so all I have to do is make a phone call for house winter prep and maintenance does the job for my hunny! Here is what I do:

  • Read this article for inspiration.
  • Take out fall & winter clothes and put up summer clothes. During this time I take a mental note of everything we have and make a list of what everyone needs. We shop sales off season so one child may have winter boots and another doesn't based on what was available or able to be handed down. I put the list in my wallet (because I go back and forth between purses, bible study bags, library bags, diaper bags ... you get LoL). No matter what bag I'm using - I have my wallet with me so when I see a good deal/clearance/sale I can pull out my list, not double buy, and purchase with confidence.
  • I better plan my routines, outings, and cleaning schedules. I do this more in the winter because that's when your inside more. So cleaning matters more to us. Some may find it as important year round. In the summer we just keep the home de-cluttered and picked up, there's no dusting and deep cleaning. However, when your inside all the time and it's too cold to open your windows cleanliness matters. :) I adapt FlyLady's ideas to fit our family during this time. She is awesome! I refresh my FlyLady memory and create new routines and schedules.
  • I create a two week menu plan and shopping list so that when I know the weather is going to be rough for awhile I just pull out my two week shopping list and am ready to go!
  • I print out my Holiday Control Journal. I used a Holiday Control Journal for the past 4 years and I think I will do so for a long time! It works perfect. I even created extra pages adjusted to our family to add.
  • I keep all my papers divided and organized in a Control Journal. Here is an awesome post on building a home planner!
  • Check our medicine stock. This is different for everyone as well. I'm big on trying/using the natural remedy first before using something man made. Whatever you choose for your family when a member "comes down" with something it can be costly if not prepared! I make a list of what's needed and buy one to two items once a week until our cabinet is restocked. I feel this makes it as easy on our budget as possible.

These are my basics that I find the most helpful and make sure I do every year. Hopefully something has helped you as well or at least inspired you in caring for your family. :)