2011 Advent Calendar

I made a super easy advent calendar this week. There's a countdown at the top of my decorated clipboard and on the back of each number is something to do for that day related to the Christmas holiday.
Days Until Christmas Activities: 
24: Color Christmas pictures and make a Christmas placemat. (Talk about who we celebrate at Christmas.) (decorated house, nativity characters, sponge painted Christmas lights)
23: Decorate outside for Christmas and go look at Christmas lights. (Jesus is the light of the world.)
22: Mail Christmas cards. (Make a treat for our mail lady.)
21: Pray for our Christmas season, for those who might feel alone, and that we would shine Jesus to our family over the holidays.
20: Get Christmas tree and decorate our house for Christmas. Talk about our Christmas traditions and why we have an angel on the top of our tree. (kids decorating idea here)
17: Shortest to longest Christmas tree and make a felt Christmas tree/ornaments (could make shortest to longest into an ornament like here).
16: Talk about Christmas with our friends (HGO) and do special Christmas projects together (story books, candy cane minibook, nativity gingerbread house).
15: Make a footprint Christmas tree art (as a gift for someone). (candy cane dot to dot)
14: Read Christmas books together as a family.
13: Pick out a Christmas gift for brothers (Christmas pancakes).
12: Christmas tree shapes worksheet, fine motor skills wreath, and make poinsettias to give as a gift.
11: Make fingerprint reindeer and playdough Christmas cookies (thumbprint Christmas lights).
10: Talk about Santa (read stories, sing songs, …). Make Santa grahams. (elf making toys coloring page)
9: Talk about reindeer, sing reindeer songs, watch a reindeer/Santa movie, and make special reindeer food (reindeer hat).
8: Make Christmas cookies and bring to our neighbors.
7: Go look at Christmas lights, (invite a friend or neighbor?).
6: Go to the snow and make a snowman. Make a snowman doughnut breakfast, snowman sandwich lunch and snowman pizza for dinner. (another fun snow activity here)
5: Make popsicle ornaments to give to someone as a gift.
4: Special Christmas movie night. Make a special Christmas treat.
3: Sing Christmas songs together (jam session, dance party).
2: Read and act out the Christmas story (good resource here for talking about the nativity).
1: HAPPY birthday Jesus (minibook, cake, celebration!) Talk about how Jesus got three gifts.



Added a yellow scoop to our ice cream, and a yellow circle to our caterpillar. We also did a common yellow things worksheet, yellow banana from our fruit book/corn from veggie book (had play food out while coloring that looked just like picture), yellow paint splash (planning on using this book for sight words in the future), and traced the word yellow in yellow marker. Almost all of our projects from our LOTW were in yellow as well!


Thanksgiving "HGO"

This is our Thanksgiving Homeschool Group Outing (HGO). I wish I had better pictures, but my kids got the camera that morning and messed up the focus!!! Ahhhh!!! The goal was to focus on "thanks" and "giving". We started off with a review.
The kids were sooo crazy after being sick and the time change and the weather change...so we had to bust out the snack already! I think they all had a granola bar and like 4 packets of fruit snacks.  Then we colored a picture that I laminated so we could use it as a placemat for Thanksgiving.  Alison had written down some things to talk about for being thankful, but the kids were being nutty so we only got to pray. I found this really cool thankfulness study though.  
The kids were not even wanting to color...so it was game time! Alison did Red Light/Green Light and held up a red or green piece of construction paper to help them know when to go and they ran after her (totally preggo too!)  

Then we enticed them back to the tables with a movie. I had downloaded onto my touchpad a short clip of kids receiving Operation Christmas Child boxes. This is a project where people fill shoe boxes with new toys, candy, and toiletries for other kids around the world who don't have much of anything. When they receive a box, it is a gift of love and gives an opportunity to share Christ's love to them as well. We wrapped our shoe boxes and filled the boxes with items we had bought from the store earlier in the week. The kids barely participated and mostly the moms ended up doing this part, but I think we all talked to the kids beforehand about what the boxes were for so no biggie! 

Lastly, we tried to squeeze out of the kids something they are thankful for and write it down on little leaf cut-outs and hang them on the adorable 'Thankful Trees' Alison made. Elijah (2) just kept telling me he was thankful for food (because we say thanks and pray when we eat food I'm guessing?) and Nehemiah (3) could only think of stuff that was right in front of him. He would say he was thankful for whoever was walking by and he kept insisting that he was thankful for the table (the park table)...I'm like that's so cool we get to go to a park and play with our friends and sit at this table...that's great to be thankful for, but what about maybe the table at our house and be thankful you have a house or daddy...he's like--no! I am just thankful for this table! haha. ok. At the end we did duck-duck-goose and Alison brought this apple peeler that will take off the peel of an apple and turn it into a slinky apple as you turn the crank. And that was it---the moment when we had all the kids attention. :)

I am thankful for these moms! Don't be jealous cuz I got mad video camera skills...


Number 8 (is great!)

Sticker Book with Heart stickers to go along with letter Hh this week, circle groups of 8 worksheet, 8 writing practice worksheet #1 and #2, worksheet for #7/8 practice (drawing either 7 or 8 bees and writing practice), and number counting with Humpty Dumpty to also go along with LOTW.


Letter Hh

 Nehemiah has 2 h's in it so we did name practice. HULA/HAWAII dancing.  H for 'Honey Horse' (zoo phonics). H for HUMPTY DUMPTY (read the story, did a painting worksheet, and colored a ton of small ones that we then put on the correct matching number wall). H for HOCKEY (color/cut/paste), HOCKEY SKATE (lacing as a fine motor skill), and H for HERMIT CRAB (did a dot-to-dot and visited pet store--trying to pump up the kids about them since they might find one under the Christmas tree!) 
H for HOUSE and HEART (painted our large H and a dot house with heart sponges). We also did a matching heart game. It was challenging my 3 yr old to get the concepts of same/different, smallest/biggest, before/after! Yes! 
 My kids basically didn't eat ANYTHING for a week...we had a cold, then flu...here Nehemiah is telling how he threw up last night...
 H for HALLOWEEN. It was right before so we did a ABC dot-to-dot (N really likes them).
 For my 2 year old who is a major scatter brain still, I talked to him about H for HAMMER and tried to get him to tell me which were the hammers from his tool set.
 Also, H  for HORSE (NEIGHHHHH!!)
Links to other worksheets we did: H for HELICOPTER, trace words that begin with H, H for HIPPO, circle H words by listening, circle H's in story, Big H and little h tracers (no lines), H words and tracer, H words mini book, and a cooool Hh worksheet with different concepts.

Like I said---we did a lot this week because Nehemiah has two h's in his name and he was really struggling to write it well!



 Glued pasta to our rectangle, did some dino shapes (coloring rectangles, making our own rectangles, shape match-up..) and a color by shape worksheet.


Number 7

 Practicing our 7s outside while brother potty trains...
 Finish drawing fruit so you have 7 (I had to help with drawing here)...
Sticker book and writing practice:


Letter Gg

 G is for Glasses!
 We did a lot of schoolwork outside as my 2 year old was also potty training...
 I found some things we printed, colored, laminated and hung on our homeschool wall...
 A train with the number by tens (10-100) and alphabet letters in the shape of an animal to go with our zoo phonics animals song (I didn't buy the program so I had to make up my own)...
 Here's Gg for "Gordo Gorilla (guh guh)":
 Most of the letters I found here, and the rest I searched the internet for a coloring picture related to the zoo phonics animal.
 Lots of letter tracing, a crossword, coloring the g objects, circle the g's in the story and g for grapes worksheet. We also had done our homeschool friends outing enforcing the LOTW.
  More letter tracing G and g!
 G for GLITTER! 
 The first time I had ever done glitter with the kids...needless to say---DISASTER everywhere. :)


First "Homeschooling Friends" Outing

 My friend Amber and I decided somewhat recently to homeschool our kids, but it's hard homeschooling alone, so we started thinking that it would be really cool to have a little support group! This was our first little educational outing with our group and we went to the pumpkin patch. Eventually, I would love to have these small group outings once a month and then once a month have a big park day with anyone we know who has kids in our age range and is homeschooling too.
 I think overall at the end of the day I felt like we really poured into our kids all our energy and excitement for them to learn and grow in character. I love my job as a mommy, but I often feel like I fail these little ones. I know those failures can help me point my babies to their need for a Savior, but I rejoice on days like this one where I could let my Savior shine through me! 
 Nehemiah (my three year old) went away from the day struck with the thought that he is not the only kid who does school at his house. He kept saying "Joel does school at his house too? Like I do school at myyyy house?" He loved that other kids he knows does homeschool too like him. 
 We have two age groups--there's the 2 year olds and the 3/4 year olds.  For the younger group, Amber had prepared a goose shaped G to color (we were on the letter G this week). The older kids had a worksheet to trace the letter Gg and color objects that started with G including a "goose" and "goat"--both were at the petting zoo at the pumpkin patch.
 We had G for grapes and G for goldfish for a snack.
 A little immunity building and a little sharing! :)
 The kids start to lose it, so we pack up the markers and head over to the guh-guh-garden where things guh-guh-grow.
 We stop by the guh-guh-goldmine (and throw rocks into the water---sorry).
 Then we go see the piGs! Sometimes our letters aren't just at the beginning of a word--so pig ends with our lotw G! Haha--we were making this up on the fly...
 Piggy starts to bite so we move on...
 Time to count pumpkins! We change the number of pumpkins on top of a hay barrel and have the kids practice counting them. The younger kids just repeat us saying the numbers.
 For the older kid group Amber made a number line taped up with the number 1-10. After we count the number of pumpkins, they would write the number on little chalk boards.
 Nehemiah started explaining what he was doing to his little buddy Joel! So cute.
 Gracie (only one) wanted in on the fun too! She's going to be a little smarty...
 Isaiah (my 7 mo old) chills in the stroller this whole time--he's awesome. Brittny also has a baby who does super good hanging out. 
 The kids start to lose it and really need a pumpkin throwing--hay tossing break...
 This works out so while they play Amber glues some little shapes onto pumpkins. 
Then there's papers that have the same shapes on a printed picture and the kids have to run around and find the matching pumpkin. 
 We talked about the different shapes as we looked at the pumpkins.
 Alison shows the kids circles, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, ovals, and a new shape for my kids--crescent. 
 Then we rounded up the kids to get a little group picture!
 Ok--finally got em rounded up...from left we have Mommy Alison (preggo with baby #2), Joel (2), Gracie (1, in stroller), Avery (2), Joel (4), Nehemiah (3), Elijah (2), Mommy Amber, Chase (9 mos), Jake (2), Isaiah (7 mos in stroller), Mommy Brittny, and Mommy Melissa (behind camera).
 We take a quick peek at the goats and goose before we head to a much needed McDonalds slide ride and lunch...


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