Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankfulness

This past week with Little Saints we learned all about Thanksgiving, from the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims to today's holiday celebration with family, food and gratitude.

Books We Read
Some of these books would be better for older children, so we shortened the stories and talked about the pictures instead of reading it all word for word.
Arts & Crafts
We had intended to make Pinecone Turkeys (as in the link except with paper feathers), but I forgot to buy the pinecones from the craft store, so we figured we would just get some from the ample supply in our backyard courtesy of all our pine trees. We brought a couple pinceones in and even though they weren't perfect because they were still a little closed up, we started gluing paper feathers onto them. Luckily they were sitting on white paper plates and not our dark countertops or we may not have noticed all the little bugs that started crawling out of them. We ditched the idea of pinecone turkeys (along with ditching the actual bug infested pinecones back into our yard) and decided to create a version of hand traced-turkeys instead. We glued on construction paper feathers, orange foam triangles for the feet and the beak, red foam circles for the wattle and a googly eye to create our turkey.
We also made this cute Indian Corn craft coloring marshmallows with markers in red, orange, yellow and brown and placing thme in glue Pumpkin put on the paper staying inside the corn lines. Of course he had to have a few as a treat after the craft too.
We also colored this Cornucopia coloring page.
Yummy Treats
I think I saw these Oreo Candy Corn Turkeys in Parenting or Family Fun magazine, but I can't remember which one. It was such a hit, we actually made them three different times this past week. Good thing I was able to find one more bag of candy corns left over from Halloween, next year I'll remember to save a bag.
Other Activities
Of course we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, but I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful table and spread at Pumpkin's Granny's house.
We also finished plucking all the feathers from our Thanksgiving Countdown Turkey. The kids had so much fun doing this activity. Pumpkin really began to understand what being thankful meant as each day as I would write what he told me he was thankful for on the feather and store it in a turkey candle holder I placed a mason jar into to hold the feathers. He was grateful for everything from his family, to various trucks, treats to a little friend's upcoming birthday party. we will definitely be repeating this cute craft and tradition next year.

Of course we watched lots of football this week too.

Music Appreciation

We listened to Haydn's "The Heavens are Telling" The Creation. Listening to classical pieces each week is actually starting to have an effect I think, as the other day Pumpkin asked to listen to Mozart!!

Immaculate Conception Novena & Candle

I love this idea I saw on Elizabeth's blog last year of making an Immaculate Conception candle to light when saying the Immaculate Conception Novena. We did it last year and will do it again this year. This is our candle for this year above. Light the candle every day before saying the below novena from November 30th to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. On December 8th reveal the baby Jesus in the "womb" of Mary. The baby remains covered in the "womb" until the night of Christmas Eve when Jesus is born. We will continue to light the candle each night of Advent as we say our Advent Wreath prayers and our Jesse Tree readings.
Use a plain white pillar candle and with a butter knife to hollow out a "cave" at its base. Inside the cave, place a small baby Jesus made out of wax or use the small plastic dolls you can get at a craft store. Cover the hollowed out area with layers of white fabric pinned into place. Embellish with white flowers or lace.
Immaculate Conception Novena
Opening Prayer God, Our Father, you have given us Mary whom we honor as the Immaculate Conception. You have favored her with holiness and purity, freeing her from the stain of sin, to be chosen as the Mother of Jesus. Through her intercession and protection, may we live our lives in holiness and in complete trust of your loving plan for us. Amen. Day 1 O Blessed Virgin Mary, from the beginning of time God chose you, sinless and full of grace, to be the Mother of Jesus. Because of your unselfish “fiat,” you are for us the example of perfect faith and obedience to what God is calling us to do.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, help us to be open to the Word of God in our daily lives. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 2 O Mary, Mother of God, we honor you for your submission to the unfolding mystery of salvation history. From Bethlehem to Calvary, you were present to Jesus as faithful mother and courageous disciple, sharing in the mysteries of his life.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we be for others a living presence of God’s joy and compassion. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 3 O Mary of Nazareth, you were filled with the light of the Holy Spirit as you prepared for the birth of Jesus. You became the Mother of God and the Mother of the Redeemer, our mother and intercessor for the People of God, his Church.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we wait in hopeful expectation this Advent for the coming of the Lord Jesus in our hearts. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 4 O Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, you were in a sense the first tabernacle for Jesus. In your womb his Sacred Heart beat under your Immaculate Heart. You are the Vessel of Honor, the Ark of the Covenant, and Gate of Heaven. Filled with grace, you give Jesus to us that we may bring him to others.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we have a deep and reverent lovefor Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Hail Mary, full of grace…
Day 5 O Mary, Mother of Sorrows, your heart was pierced with a sword as you stood on Calvary beneath the cross of your Son. Only a mother could experience such deep pain and anguish to see her only son die such a death.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may we acknowledge that suffering can become for us redemptive and truly identifies us as one with Jesus. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 6 O Mary, our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope, from age to age you are called blessed among all women. You, above all others, have a deep communion with God. You are the model of virtue, prayer and discipleship.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, lead us into a prayerful and deeply authentic relationship with Jesus so that we may be holy and reflect his goodness to others. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 7 O Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, your holiness and obedience changed the course of history through the redemptive power of your Son. You give us the example of discipleship and what it means to witness to the Way, the Truth and the Life—Jesus.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, we pray for holiness, especially as lived through the priesthood and consecrated life. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 8 O Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, you intercede for us and lead us to your Son. Jesus said to John, “Behold, your Mother.” You are our spiritual mother, who draws us ever closer to your Son.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may our devotion to you increase our love for Jesus. Hail Mary, full of grace… Day 9 O Mary, Seat of Wisdom, you gave Jesus, the Eternal Word made flesh, to the world. What a privilege was yours—to bring him forth into the world so that all peoples and nations may be drawn to him, Incarnate Wisdom.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, may the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reach the farthest ends of the earth. Help us to grow in knowledge and love of the Blessed Trinity. Hail Mary, full of grace. Concluding Prayer Mary, we honor you as the Mother of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, we delight in your singular privilege of being born with the fullness of grace, completely preserved from the stain of original sin. Blessed among all women, you are especially favored by God. Confident in that honor we place before you our needs and intentions (name the intention). Through your intercession, may it be brought to fulfillment. In gratitude for your motherly concern, O Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States of America, we pray:
You are all beautiful, O Mary. The original stain is not in thee. You are the glory of Jerusalem, The joy of Israel, The great honor of our race, The advocate of sinners. Virgin most prudent, pray for us. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent Wreath

This is our Advent Wreath and Immaculate Conception candle (a little oops...notice the bowing of the candles, I bought an extra set last year and stored it in the Christmas bins in the attic, well the Summer heat must have bent them at some point because now they are all a little crooked.)I love these prayers I saw on Jessica's blog last year to say as you light your Advent Wreath candles each night. We will light the Advent Wreath and say the appropriate prayer below each night of Advent following our Jesse Tree readings and ornament hanging. Then we will let each child open a window on their Advent calendar and get a piece of chocolate.

The First Week
Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we pray Thee and come; That, defended by Thee, we may deserve rescue from approaching dangers brought on by our sins, and being set free by Thee, obtain our salvation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.
The Second Week
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Thine only-begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve Thee with purified minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.
The Third Week
Incline Thine ear to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech Thee; and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.
The Fourth Week
Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we beseech Thee, and come; and with great power come to our aid, that, by the help of Thy grace, that sins may be hastened by Thy merciful forgiveness. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jesse Tree

The Jesse tree is a symbol of Jesus' family tree. It is based on the below verse from the book of Isaiah, and is a way of teaching the Old Testament background for the coming of the Messiah, which is the first long "Advent."

"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots" - Isaiah 11:1
Last year we used a big branch that Pumpkin picked out spray painted gold and and printed these pictures and cut them out as ornaments. We also colored coordinating coloring pages. This year I ordered this kit (pictured above) for making felt ornaments. A couple friends came over the other night, and we cut ornaments out, getting about half way through in one evening as they are pretty intricate. These are our ornaments so far. Each night after lighting our Advent wreath, we will hang the ornament for that day on the Jesse tree.

Since every year the number of days in Advent is different, I tweaked last years reading list for this year. I also changed it to better match this particular ornament kit, which meant deleting some significant Old Testament stories. So next year, I think I will make a few extra ornaments on my own to match those stories. There are various symbols for each story that will coordinate with multiple different ornaments. Here is a link to a calendar with additional daily activities for the Jesse Tree. Below each reading and symbols is a link to a coloring page that corresponds to the story (I have a coloring page for each day except I could not find one for Tobiah's Journey, please let me know if you do).
November 29
Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4
Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
November 30
Adam & Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24
Symbol: Man & Woman, tree
December 1
Fall of Man/Original sin: Gen. 3:1-24
Symbol: Serpent, tree, apple
December 2
Noah: Gen. 6:5-22; 7, 8, 9:1-17 Symbol: Ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 3
Abraham: Gen. 12:1-9, 15:1-6
Symbol: Stars, torch, sword, mountain
December 4
Jacob: Gen. 28:10-22
Symbols: Ladder, kettle
December 5
Joseph & his brothers: Gen. 37
Symbol: Multi-Colored Coat, bucket, well, silver coins
December 6
Joseph's Greatness: Gen. 41
Symbol: shock of wheat
December 7
Moses as Prince & Burning Bush: Ex. 1,2,3
Symbol: basket, baby in basket, river and rushes, burning bush
Baby Moses and Moses burning bush coloring pages
December 8
Moses - Plagues & Parting Sea: Ex. 5-12:1-36
Symbol: frog, parted sea
December 9
Moses receiving Ten Commandments: Exodus 19, 20, 24:12-18
Symbol: stone tablets
December 10
Moses water from the rock: Exodus 17:1-7
Symbol: staff
December 11
Samuel: 1 Sam. 3
Symbols: Oil lamp, candle lamp, temple
December 12
David Chosen King: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Symbol: sheep
David chosen king or Star of David coloring pages
December 13
David & Goliath: 1 Samuel: 17
Symbol: slingshot
December 14
Solomon's Wisdom: 1 Kings 2:1-6, 3:4-28
Symbol: Scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword, crown
December 15
Elijah's Contest: 1 Kings 18:3,21-39
Symbol: burning rock
December 16
Jonah: Jonah 2:1-2, 11 or entire book of Jonah
Symbol: Whale
December 17
Tobiah's Journey: Tobit 5, 6:1-9, 10:1-6, 11:1-15
Symbol: fish
December 18
Daniel and the Lion's Den: Daniel 6:1-29
Symbol: Lions
December 19
John the Baptist: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Symbol: sandal, Shell with water, river
December 20
Annunciation: Luke 1:26-38
Symbol: Angel
December 21
Visitation: Luke 1:39-56
Symbol: Mary
December 22
Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25
Symbols: Joseph, Carpenter's Saw, hammer, chisel, angle
December 23
Journey to Bethlehem: Luke 2:1-6
Symbols: manger
December 24
Jesus is Born: Luke 2:6-20
Symbols: baby Jesus
Epiphany - January 6
Visit of the Magi: Matthew 2:1-12
Symbol: shining star

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you. God bless you and your family.
Thanksgiving Table Prayer
O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.

Supermarkets & Food

Last week with Little Saints we learned all about food, food groups and grocery shopping. What an appropriate theme the week before Thanksgiving.

Books We Read
Yummy Treats
Pumpkin made honey tarts as described in Little Saints as an activity for this week by mashing biscuits with his hand (you know he loved this) and then spreading butter and honey on them and then we baked them.
Activities
Pumpkin sorted mixed dry beans (we had quite the adventure finding these at the grocery store, as they had a big loading cart in front of the beans and we kept walking past it and couldn't figure out why they were not in the aisle they should be). It was a good opportunity to discuss grocery aisles and what is in what section and the lists of items and the numbers on the aisles. Pumpkin learned all about food groups and the food pyramid and played games sorting food into groups withing the food pyramid using game print-outs from File Folder Fun.
We played grocery store in the playroom, which really is an almost daily activity with our stock of food (we got a huge box from Target in their $10 section at Christmas) and cash register.
We also played a cut out game in Little Saints with pie halves and quarters, introducing the concept of a half and a quarter of a whole.
We also talked about these foods and what food group they were in and had fun cutting them into halves and quarters. My kids love, love, love this toy.
Music Appreciation
We listened to Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Feasts of St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland

In honor of the feasts of St. Margaret on November 16th and St. Andrew on November 30th who are both patron saints of Scotland, we will be having a dinner feast celebrating our family's Scottish heritage on Sunday, November 29th. This is the second year of this annual family tradition, but we will be missing our relatives from Scotland who were able to celebrate with us last year.
St. Margaret of Scotland was an exemplary Catholic wife, mother and queen. With her husband Malcolm, St. Margaret transformed Scotland "from a remote and barbaric outpost to a beacon of Christian culture. Her charity to the poor, particularly to children and the elderly, was unparalleled. (Not only did she feed and clothe the many beggars who presented themselves, but she and Malcolm personally washed the feet of these impoverished visitors.)" from Women for Faith and Family
PRAYER TO ST. MARGARET OF SCOTLAND
O Heavenly Patron of Scotland, and my patron saint in whose name whom I glory, pray ever to God for me; strengthen me in my faith; establish me in virtue; guard me in the conflict; at my end be steadfast at my side and plead for me with Christ, my Judge and Savior, that I may vanquish the foe malign and attain to glory everlasting to behold one day thy beautiful countenance. Amen.
Saint Andrew - El Greco1606 - Oil on Canvas

St. Andrew was the first of the apostles of Jesus. Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist, he recognized Jesus as the Messiah. He brought his brother, Simon (Peter), to Jesus.

"As he was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, 'Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’
At once they left their nets and followed him"
- Matthew 4:18-20
Like Jesus, St. Andrew was crucified, but on a cross the shape of an "X" at Patras in southern Greece on November 30th. This type of cross has long been known as "St. Andrew's cross." The flag of Scotland features an X-shaped cross in commemoration of the shape of St. Andrew's cross.
PRAYER TO ST. ANDREW
O Glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend St. John you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother St. Peter to Christ, and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him, and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.
Scottish Feast Foods
Like last years Scottish feast on the Feast of St. Andrew, we will use traditional Scottish recipes given to me by my great aunt Mary who lives in Scotland and is usually here with my great uncle Jimmy this time of year with us, but can not be this year. We will have a dinner of steak pie, mashed potatoes, and peas and then shortbread for dessert. We also made scones and tea for breakfast. The recipes and other activities for celebrating the day are below. These are all family recipes.
Scottish Steak Pie (sorry for the poor pictures, these are from last year and I forgot to take pictures until after people started serving themselves) 1 lb. cubed beef stew meat, cut into smaller chunks if prefer 1 tbsp olive oil 1/2 c. flour, seasoned with salt and pepper 1 cup water 1 beef bouillon cube 1 onion, chopped 4 to 5 carrots, cut into 6 to 8 pieces Pie crust, enough for 1 (9-inch) crust 1 egg 1 tbsp water Heat oil in skillet and brown stew meat in skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in chopped in onions and cook until soft. Add 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup water and beef bouillon cube and stir until gravy thickened. Add more flour if necessary. Add carrots. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour meat and gravy mixture into pie dish. Lay pie crust on top of meat and press edges onto the rim of the dish to seal. Cut vent slits into crust. Make egg wash with egg and 1 tbsp water and brush top of of pie crust. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until pie crust golden brown.
Scottish Shortbread 2 to 2.5 cups flour (depends on preference) 1/2 cup rice flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 egg 1/2 lb. unsalted soft butter 1/8 tsp. salt or a pinch 1/8 tsp. baking powder Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat in egg. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture gradually until well combined finishing by hand or using bread kneader attachment. Place in buttered cake pan. Pierce the dough with fork halfway down in rows. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until light with barely golden edges. Remove from oven and cut right away into rectangles. Cool in pan. Scottish Scones 4 cups flour 1 stick unsalted butter 1 cups sugar 2 tsp cream of tartar 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1-2 cups currants, raisins or blueberries (use amount you desire) 10 oz milk (sometimes may need 11 ounces & better with whole milk) Mix flour, margarine, sugar, cram of tartar, backing soda with pastry blender. Add raisins, currants or blueberries. Add the milk with a spoon until blended. Place in triangle shaped dollops on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and butter glaze if desired. Bake at 350 for about 18-25 minutes until golden brown. Don't over bake or they will be dry.
Scottish Feast Activities
- As St. Andrew was a fisherman before being a "fisher of me" as an apostle of Jesus, he is also the patron saint of fisherman. His feast day is an appropriate time to teach children how the "fish is a symbol of the Christian faith because the letters of the Greek word for fish, "ichthys" form an acronym for the Greek phrase, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior". Early Christians, during the time of persecutions when it was not safe to be a known as a Christian, drew a fish in the ground in order to secretly identify themselves to other believers. Even today one sees this fish symbol, often containing the Greek letters spelling "fish", on religious articles and even on bumper stickers." from Women for Faith and Family
- Find Scotland on a world map and color a map of Scotland or the Scottish flag.
- As the feast of St. Andrew on November 30th also marks the beginning of the season of Advent so put up Christmas decorations, start Advent wreath prayer and Jesse Tree readings.
- Another way to celebrate Saint Andrew's feast day and Advent is to say the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, as it is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
You can make chaplets out of 15 beads and a St. Andrew medal to help you count your prayers each day.
- Listen to traditional Scottish bagpipe music.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

32 Weeks...8 to go

This is me and my little pea in the pod last week at 32 weeks along!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shapes

This past week with Little Saints we learned about shapes. It was an abbreviated week since my husband and I left Thursday for a trip to Bermuda. But here it what we did do in the couple mornings we had this week.

Books We Read
Yummy Treats
We made shape sugar cookies. Pumpkin and Peaches had fun using various shape cookie cutters and making shapes with the cookie dough. We baked them and had yummy shape treats, and plenty enough to share with friends we saw this week.
Other Activities
Pumpkin & Peaches did this shape puzzle.
Pumpkin sorted foam shapes by shape and color.
We talked about shapes of things we saw throughout our day.
We did not have time for any music or art appreciation this week due to our trip.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bermuda

In case anyone noticed I had not posted in a while, the reason is because I was in Bermuda this past week!!!
My husband and I just got back. He had a work conference there and his firm asked me to come along too. He had to spend some time at the conference, but we got a good amount of time together also. It was gorgeous and relaxing. Here are some pictures I thought I would share. The beaches were beautiful pink sand beacheswith rocky outcroppings that created so many romantic coves, which made me think of the movie From Here to Eternity. We climbed up one of the rocky cliffs and got some amazing views of the beaches. The sun was so bright so we are squinting in these pictures. This was the sunset view from our hotel room balcony.
The weather was wonderful while we were there, very mild. I was expecting rain the whole time but it was clear until our last afternoon there. After getting caught in a little downpour walking back to our hotel from a little shopping and sightseeing, we relaxed in our room watching the storm pass by and the beautiful rainbows that followed.
It was a very relaxing and gorgeous trip and just long enough to enjoy ourselves, but on the last day we were so excited to go home and see our kids. We missed them so much.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sunset Mountain Hike

This past weekend we hiked up a small mountain in a nearby state park. We got up just in time to see the sun setting. This picture captures the beautiful colors of the sky. However, when it was brighter before this picture was taken, the colors of the surrounding countryside with the autumn leaves changing colors was beautiful. I was too busy taking it all in and making sure the kids didn't get near the edge to get a picture of that while is was still bright enough. We love taking little hikes as a family. We carried them some but they did very well. What a wonderful afternoon and this picture makes me smile.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Safety Friends

This week was Safety Friends with Little Saints, studying firemen and fire trucks, policeman and police cars and ambulances. Obviously this week was a hit with a 3 year old boy. In addition to below we sang lots of songs, read poems, did finger plays and other things for the week during Circle time that are in the Little Saints book.
Books We Read
A couple of these books were good, specifically Fire Engines by Anne Rockwell, but I was not impressed by the other titles. There were some on the Little Saints list that were not available at our library that may have been better.
Yummy Treats
We made this fire truck snack with graham crackers, icing with red food coloring, tootsie roll, red m&m's, pretzels and crackers. I found the idea here and tweaked it a little. Very cute and easy
Crafts & Activities
Pumpkin made a shapes fire truck. We learned to always look both ways and hold your mom or dad's hand when crossing a street. We made this hand print cut-out of mine and Pumpkin's hand, holding hands with a bible verse in the heart saying:
"O Lord...thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
Psalm 39: 1,10
We played a lot of games pretending to be a fireman putting out fires or a policeman rescuing people. We learned to always pull over to the side of the road when an emergency vehicle with its sirens on is driving near us and to say a little prayer for their safety. We colored pictures of fire trucks and ambulances. There are so many emergency vehicle and worker coloring pages to be found from a Google search. We learned all about calling 911 if there is an emergency or a fire. We practiced calling 911 on a play phone. We also learned all about STOP, DROP & ROLL if there is a fire. Lots of silliness with practicing that.
Interesting Adventures
This wasn't a planned activity, but one afternoon after coming home from a run through the neighborhood with the kids in the jogging stroller, we went straight to the back yard to play. We didn't go inside and turn off the alarm. I left my little bag with my cell phone in the garage while I played with the kids outside. My neighbor from across the street came over and told me the police were at my house out front, and my husband was trying to call me repeatedly and finally had called him to go check on me. The alarm company was calling all our phones including my husband's at work because the alarm was going off inside. I didn't hear my cell phone ringing to know to tell them it was a false alarm. I assume one of the kids jostled the back door when they were playing on the deck and that set off the alarm. So we walked out to the front driveway and sure enough there was a police car there, then another one arrived. After I showed them my i.d. and explained what happened, everything was fine. The kids loved it because they got to see a police car with its lights on. It was also interesting since we were just learning about policeman. I learned my lesson to keep my cell phone a little handier or at least within audible range. I did feel bad that my false alarm took of the police's time.
Music Appreciation
We listened to Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 here.

Not surprisingly, I couldn't find any classical artwork that depicted fire trucks or police cars. The closest I came was some Norman Rockwell prints but they weren't really that appropriate.

I had hoped to take the kids to a fire station, but we just did not have time. Hopefully, the police cars at our house were enough life size action.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Turkey Day Thankful Countdown

This turkey is a cute craft we made today that I saw here for counting down to Thanksgiving, while every day writing something you are thankful for as a family. You make enough feathers as there days left until Thanksgiving, and every day you tear off a feather and write on it something you're thankful for. Save each feather and then read them all on Thanksgiving Day.
From Make & Takes (tweaked a little):
Supplies:
Brown paper – cardstock or construction paper for the turkey’s body and head. Colored paper – cut into strips, as many as days until Thanksgiving Black crayon or 2 googly eyes (optional) gluestick and glue
Directions:
Draw and cut a large circle out of the brown paper, as big as it can go. Then cut a smaller circle, but with a square neck at the bottom. Bend the square part of the small circle back and glue it to the middle of the big circle, it’s for a 3D head. Now draw eyes on the head or glue on two googly eyes with glue, glue on a beak, and glue on a snood – the red thing hanging over the beak! Cut your colored paper into feather strips and glue them to the back of the turkey body. Write what you’re thankful for when you pluck the feather each day. Now it’s ready for Plucking! Everyday you get to remove a colored feather strip, getting you closer to Thanksgiving. save each feather with written thankful note and read them all together on Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our House Is a Home

This past week with Little Saints we learned all about Homes and Houses and neighborhoods. It was a very busy week with Halloween festivities, but we managed to do a couple mornings of school activities.

Books we Read
Arts & Crafts
Pumpkin made houses on a street out of shapes and then he decorated his street with pets and cars.

We learned the concept of phone and address numbers and made a phone number glitter touch'n'feel. He traced the numbers of his phone number once the glue dried.

I helped Pumpkin write a letter to his Daddy and put it in an envelope. I wrote our address on the front, and Pumpkin put a stamp on it and put it in the mailbox. We should be receiving it in the mail today.

Yummy Treats

Does door to door trick-or-treating count!?! I think so.
Music & Art Appreciation
We listened to Mozart's Marriage of Figaro here.

We looked and and talked about one of favorite paintings of all time, Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. We related it to the small house out in the country form another all time favorite, the book The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Silly Stuff
We watched Disney's Three Little Pigs here and talked about how houses are built out of different things and some building materials are stronger than others.

Activities
We looked at pictures of houses in different parts of the world made of different materials, including a brick house, adobe house, igloo, stick house, tree house (more whimsical then real), log house, mud house, and a church which is the house of God (this is the log chapel at Notre Dame). We looked at the street view on Google maps of our street, and saw our house and our neighbors' houses. We took some nice walks and runs around the neighborhood, talking about the houses, pointing out their mailboxes and house numbers. Of course we did door to door trick-or-treating around the neighborhood too.

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