Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cuteness

Yesterday was our church's Christmas Eve Eve service and the children's church did a little play called "One Silent Night". Buzz was a wise man and Boo was a sheep. Buzz told a friend of mine last week that he was worried about remembering all the words to "Angels We Have Heard On High", so she told him to mouth the word watermelon over and over again. He definitely utilized that tip ;) Enjoy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Traditions: Christmas

Our family is big on traditions and Christmas is full of fun traditions for us. Throughout the year we save all of our spare change in a jar. At the beginning of December we talk and pray as a family about where the money should go. This year we felt God was leading us to bless a sweet couple from church who are saving to adopt internationally.

Every year we spent Christmas Eve at home as a family (our church does a Christmas Eve Eve service). We bake cookies (although this year Boo suggested we make Jesus a birthday cake) and the kids open their present from Mommy and Daddy, new jammies all washed and ready to wear. We wear our jammies while we watch The Polar Express. After the movie we read Luke 2, leave out milk and cookies for Santa, and the kids head to bed. In the morning we eat cinnamon rolls before opening gifts.

I hope that our Christmas traditions lead to wonderful memories for our children as they grow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas School

We have been taking a break from our Five in a Row studies to do Christmas school for two weeks. We are using printables from 1+1+1=1, Confessions of a Homeschooler, and Musings of Me. I laminated a lot of the pages to be used again by Bean when she is older. Laminating the pages means that Boo gets to use dry-erase markers on them, which is one of her great joys in life.
Buzz went nuts for the Christmas pattern block patterns. He even broke them out again after dinner for Daddy to enjoy.

On Friday we went to our homeschool group's holiday party(yes, holiday, it's a secular group). The kids decorated gingerbread men, played dreidel, made ornaments, played bingo and ate a lot of sweets. Boo spent most of her time at the craft table.

Buzz played game after game of bingo(that's him in the greenish shirt laying on his belly)

Our book basket was filled with Christmas books:

The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden
Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate
Who was Born This Special Day? by Eve Bunting
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston

Buzz's favorite book was The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree and Boo loved The Story of Holly & Ivy (though I should warn you that it is a bit long to read in one sitting).

Buzz and Boo also spent some time working on their homemade nativity by adding shepherds and wise men.

We had a great week!

Muffin Tin Monday: A Cowboy Christmas

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This is week two of the holiday theme, I based our tin on a book from this week's book basket: A Cowboy Christmas by Audrey Wood.
Top row: Christmas tree brownie with powdered sugar snow and bananas with cowboy pick (Buzz made all the picks)
Middle row: mixed veggies with horse pick and mozzarella cheese cowboy boots
Bottom row: peanut butter sandwich cowboy hats and pretzel stick fire wood

Happy Muffin Tin Monday!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homemade Nativity

I am NOT a crafty mom. I would love to be creative and crafty and make tons of fun projects with my kids, but that's just not me. Thankfully there are lots of creative mamas who blog about the fun projects they do with their kids so that no-so creative mamas like me can borrow their ideas. I saw this nativity on Pink and Green Mama and I knew my kids would love to make their own. I was right! I gave some direction, but they did most of it on their own and they had a great time. Buzz set it proudly on our entryway table for daddy to see as soon as he got home.
Buzz made Joseph and baby Jesus. Boo made Mary and the angel. They both rounded out the scene with some critter counters serving as the livestock. We had a great time working on it together and it turned out much cuter than anything you can buy at the store :)

Grandfather's Journey

Last week we rowed Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say. It is about the author's grandfather's journey from his homeland in Japan to America. Buzz and Boo enjoyed the story but they enjoyed the go-along book Tea with Milk (also by Allen Say) even more. It is the story of Say's mother, who was raised in America, trying to adjust to life in Japan when she relocates there with her parents after graduating high school.

The kids both enjoyed making a few lapbook components to go along with our study. Their favorite was a seven continents layer book.

I feel like we've finally hit our stride with Five in a Row. The first few weeks I was trying to do so many go-alongs and additional lessons they I felt rushed to fit it all in. I've discovered that Buzz and Boo both learn very well by just doing the lessons from the manual conversationally. I throw in a few go-along books and maybe a lapbook component or two, and we've got a great week of learning!

One of the things that I love about Five in a Row is that we can just touch on subjects now and go more in depth when we re-row these titles in the coming years.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday: Christmas Traditions

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

The theme for the next three weeks of Muffin Tin Monday is holidays, any variation. We usually do muffin tin lunches, but we had a lunch time playdate to go to today, so I made a breakfast tin. I decided to focus on some of our family's Christmas traditions:
Top row: cookies (we bake cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve) and milk
Middle row: pears, train shaped toast with Nutella (we always watch The Polar Express on Christmas Eve)
Bottom row: cinnamon rolls (our traditional Christmas morning breakfast) and bananas

Obviously this breakfast is in no way a healthy, balanced meal, but the kids enjoyed it. And I threw in some fruit so that's got to count for something, right?

Happy Muffin Tin Monday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town?

One topic of conversation that seems to come up at this time a year among Christian moms is: will Santa be visiting your house? I have some friends who feel that making Santa a part of Christmas takes away from the true meaning and other friends who make a big deal out of Santa visiting their children. Our family falls in the middle. Yes, we "do" Santa. Ruben and I discussed it a lot when Buzz was a baby and we decided that there isn't any harm in letting our kids believe in Santa while they're little. It's part of the innocence and magic of childhood. To me it seems the same as letting your child believe that the characters at Disney World are real (which we also do, again it's that whole magic of childhood thing).
In our house Christmas isn't about Santa, he's just a small part of the way we celebrate. We don't even really mention Santa until Christmas Eve when part of our family tradition is baking cookies together to leave for him. Whether they get presents or not does not depend on whether they've been good or bad and you won't hear us telling our kids "Santa knows if you're naughty or nice". I don't want to imply to them that Santa is omnipotent or in any way on the same level as Jesus. We've told our children that Santa is just a kind old man who brings children gifts to help remind them of what a gift God gave us by sending Jesus. Of course the kids love finding a few presents under the tree on Christmas morning (what kid doesn't love presents?) but we try very hard to focus on the true reason for the season: celebrating the birth of our Savior.