Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tomorrow is December first! 

I love this season and all that it holds. I love that we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and that my kids know just as much (hopefully even more) about the birth of Christ and what He has done for us than they do about Santa Claus.

Deciding what and how to celebrate when they were younger was a challenging decision for us. We weren't sure we even wanted to acknowledge Santa at all. Not that it isn't a fun and magical part of Christmas, we just didn't want the focus of Christmas to be on a jolly fat man that brings presents. Christmas should not be all about me, me, me. Although, Santa has made his way into our home I think we've done well to remind our children that Christmas isn't all about getting, but it's also about giving and being grateful for what we do receive.

 We've already trimmed the tree and decked the halls. We've partaken of SEVERAL mugs of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and have devoured lots of Christmas baking (we call these trial runs).  So I guess you could say that we've been in full swing here for the past few weeks. 

Tomorrow we kick it up another notch! We’ll be breaking out the cheap chocolates in our household as each of the little ones will partake of opening a new door each day to see which chocolate awaits. I loved having advent calendars as a kid. Certainly a fun way for us to countdown to Chirstmas! We only buy the ones that have 24 days because I think it's more exciting to count down to Christmas than it is New Years Day. 
It is after all an 'advent' calendar :) 
I also planned to break out the gingerbread house kit tomorrow. They've been so excited about this. Question: do you let your kids eat the house or is it merely decorative? if they eat it is it before Christmas, on Christmas, what do you think? This was never a huge tradition with us and I don't really remember what we did so suggestions are welcome.

I've started addressing Christmas cards and I need to begin baking round two of our holiday cookies. We cheated a little this year and bought a gigantic pumpkin pie from Costco that is nestled nicely in our freezer. I don't think it's even possible to make a pie that size for $6!!

We've planned to try something new this year for Christmas breakfast. The plan is to not have to do any cooking for breaky...just heating up. So the menu is....wait for it.....PIE!
Yup, pie. Pumpkin, blueberry, deep-dish apple and at the request of my dad and brother Aaron we will also make quiche. Plus an assortment of fresh fruit, of course. This way we can have them ready in advance and just have them heating in the oven as everyone drags themselves out of bed (Aaron and Marshall) to open their stockings. 
I think it's a fabulous idea but we'll see how it goes. After all a slice of pumpkin pie is actually a serving of fruit. I don't know about you, but after turkey dinner I can hardly find room for pie (I usually tuck it in there anyway :s) but, if I have it for breakfast maybe I won't be so inclined to have it after turkey dinner and then I won't be so stuffed. Ahem, we'll see.

Shopping is done, wrapping has begun and there are still other project in progress. It's nice to get most of this out of the way before I become the size of a house! I guess that's another blog for another day. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today in Homeschooling

Today I thought I would share with you some of the things we do in our kitchen on weekdays.
We usually start our days off with Abeka math. Grades 1 and 3.

Our language programs are from First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. These books are new to us this year as we've made several changes. We are all enjoying this and I must admit that I am learning so much more about grammar than I have ever know before! These can also be found on amazon.ca which I have linked further down the page.

With Winter we have been working on Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (also found at amazon). She also does colouring and printable pages. We don't use an actual curriculum so far. Since she is at the JK level I don't find it necessary when there is so much at your fingertips that is free.

I usually print off extra cursive worksheets for Dane and Addie as well as a new letter for Winter from crayola.com
This site has so many different things you can print off for free! Love it.

I also printed off some pages from colourcanada Colour Canada of Niagara Falls and Canada Geese.

We have been working through Donna Ward's Canada My Country. I was able to listen to Donna speak at a homeschool conference in Barrie in the spring. She is a homeschooling mom that loved history and geography so much and didn't find what she really wanted that she created her own curriculum. Her website is: Donna Ward
Since we are studying Canada one of Dane's readers is from the Scholastic series of Canadian Provinces and Territories. He's currently reading Nova Scotia. scholastic.ca
Today Dane finished Third-Grade Detectives #2. Books 1 and 2 are in the same volume, just flip over the book to read the other one. He told me that he really enjoys this series. We borrowed a bunch of readers from a friend but I'm going to see if our library has any more from this series.

Addie is still a budding reader so today she read The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss. I've been trying to find our copy of Green Eggs and Ham because a friend of mine mentioned it but it appears to have grown legs.
We will continue the search later.

I almost forgot spelling! Another new addition to this year's curriculum is from the Spelling Workout series.amazon.ca
We definitely like these better than last year, but I'm still on the lookout for other options.

This is our base so far this year. We also enjoy crafting and have several Usborne volumes. Since I'm a consultant I like to have lots on hand. We also have  the Usborne book of Science Experiments and do other print-offs. We like to incorporate what is going on currently for example, the last couple of weeks were focused on Remembrance Day with a trip to our local Cenotaph to join in the ceremony on the 11th.

So this is a little glimpse of what we do. I am often on the web looking for ideas of things we can try and I like to check out other blogs to see what other homeschoolers are up to.
I really want to try lapbooking with my youngsters and have checked out several but have yet to print one off and get started. I think I'm a little intimidated! Maybe we'll do some for Christmas that I'll be able to post. You can find LOTS of free lapbooks and unit studies at Homeschool Share . I hope you find this somewhat interesting and have a better understanding of what we do. Check out the homeschool share and try a lapbook or print off some activities from Crayola.
Have fun!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It has been a busy yet pleasantly productive weekend!

Saturday morning was spent in the assembly of bunk beds for A and W (not the root beer).
Much thanks goes out to Mom and Ikea for providing said beds. 

In the afternoon we put up and decorated our Christmas tree to the sounds of Boney M belting out Feliz Navidad - ask Elsa to sing it for you sometime - as well as some of our other favourite Chirstmas tunes.

Today at church we honoured our veterans and service personnel during the service. I'm so very grateful to live in a country where I am free to worship thanks to the sacrifices of many.

Later in the day we visited with my parents and my brothers and had a wonderful afternoon.

I've wrapped up my evening with finishing my homework for our ladies Bible study that will meet here tomorrow. We just began "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World." I am loving this already and find that I am not being challenged to 'do'. It is so very freeing. My call is to worship. Sit at my masters feet and learn.
When we begin by seeking intimacy with Christ our 'work' all the things we think we need to accomplish for Him cease being something we feel a pressing need to get done and become part of the serving. He doesn't ask us to burden ourselves for Him. He ask us to come, listen, learn, rest and receive.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
This is my verse to memorize and meditate upon.
It is so nice to know that when we are feeling weary and overwhelmed, even with the small seemingly insignificant things, we have open arms welcoming us so that we can come and be refreshed.

ps I tried to post some pics but I kept getting errors. Perhaps I can figure it out another time.

Friday, November 12, 2010


So here I am jumping on this wagon. Why? Good question!

I guess maybe I'm thinking that I will be able to organize myself and my thoughts a little better and write down some of the sweet and sometimes hilarious things my little ones say.

Well, it's going to be a short one because hubby is at work, the oven is warming for supper, we're heading out for kids curling shortly after and the table needs to be cleared off...which includes one 21 month old who is currently colouring.

I plan to be back soon and share our little adventures.