Paint Your Windows!

I thought that this idea to paint your windows for Valentine’s Day was too adorable to pass up! Of course, the kids love it when they can paint anything, but when you tell them they get to paint something that would normally be off limits they enjoy it that much more.

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I cut out some simple little paper hearts from the scrap paper pile and attached them to the window with double-sided tape. We used red and yellow paint with a bit of dish soap mixed in. The soap is supposed to make it a little bit easier when it comes time to remove the paint. We will see how it goes.

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Once we pulled the hearts from the window to show the cutouts, I couldn’t just let the hearts go to waste so we made these little dangles to hang from the light above the table. I have been adding in the valentines that the kids have received from their homeschool valentine exchange. They have really enjoyed getting something in the mail each day!

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Valentine’s Day Book Basket

Are you ready for snuggling up with your kids on Valentine’s Day? Here are some great books to fill your Valentine’s Book Basket. Head to the library quickly – or they will all be gone!

The Story of St. Valentine ~ by Voice of the Martyrs

Saint Valentine ~ by Robert Sabuda

The Night Before Valentine’s Day ~ Natasha Wing

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch ~ Eileen Spinelli

The Valentine Bears ~ by Eve Bunting

Cranberry Valentine ~ Wende Devlin

New Year’s Eve Countdown

New Year’s Eve has never been intended to be a celebration for young children.  So, while you may have been able to stay up until the wee hours of the morning before you had kids, now it is almost an impossibility right? Up until this year I thought that might just be the case. With a 5 and 2 year old I just couldn’t see any way, or reason for that matter, to try and keep them up to see the clock strike twelve.

This year I am going to try something new. One of the homeschooling forums happened to mention New Year’s Eve bags. Hmmmm? What’s this you say? Well, the suggestion is to have a paper lunch bag filled with celebration goodies for each hour of the evening, counting down to midnight.

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You can fill these up with just about anything that might tickle your kid’s fancy. Here is our countdown list of suprises. (Shhhhh….don’t let the kids know).

– 4:00 – Balloons and confetti. We are going to blow up balloons to decorate the house. With the confetti we will be making contact paper art. Simply cut a piece of contact paper. Tape the corners to the table and add confetti designs! I will precut the numbers 2009 to put in the middle of the paper. When the designs are finished we will cover with another layer of contact paper and use them as placemats.

– 5:00 – Time to make pizza! I put a pizza cutter, pepperoni (doesn’t need refridgeration) and sauce packets in the bag. The kids adore making homemade pizza anytime.

– 6:00 – Silly string. I just popped two cans of silly string in their favorite colors in the bag. We will head outside for some super silly fun before it gets too dark. Plus tonight we are suppose to be able to see three of the planets line up with the moon, just after sunset. So, why not squeeze in a little educational time into the evening too!

– 7:00 – Noisemakers! In the bag are TP tubes and pop corn kernels. We are going to make our own noisemakers by rubberbanding plastic wrap on the ends. Decorate with foil and stickers.

– 8:00 – Hungry Hippos. This is a new game for us! I put one of the hippos in the bag. Perfect for our age group, but you can choose a game based on your family ages and interests. I think that this may become a family tradition to add a new fun family game each New Year’s Eve.

– 8:30 – Chex mix. We ran out of this way to early this holiday season, so it’s time for another round. Very easy for the kids to make and enjoy during the rest of our countdown.

– 9:00 – Pop -its! While they are still to young for fireworks, pop-it are a great way to get in on the noise making fun!

– 10:00 – Movie time. The bag holds a new movie for little eyes. As they begin to show signs of tiredness, we will take a break and watch a movie and munch on our Chex Mix.

– 11:30 – Cocoa – The bag holds yummy hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, and Peppermint sticks. Yummy!! I also put a few glow sticks in there that I have been saving for a fun evening. When they cocoa is ready we will put on our glowsticks, get out our noisemakers, and watch the ball drop!

Here are some wonderful ideas from other ladies – much more creative than myself. Please check them out:

My Blessings from Above

Sir Galahad Academy

My 3 Little Lights 2007

My 3 Little Lights 2008

Joyful Mother of 6 Children

Even if they don’t make it all the way through, we will have a wonderful time!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Christmas Decorations

Here are a few of the things that are decorating our house this Christmas Season!

Our tree was lovingly decorated by the hands of small children…

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The family table has a Christmas Carousel – powered by candles of course! And behind it you can see the Jesse tree that shows the path to the birth of Jesus Christ.

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The front foyer shows a snow theme.

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Precious ornaments from Christmas past hold a special place.

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and the stockings are hung on the banister with care. . .

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Merry Christmas!

Welcome Winter!

Yesterday started out a sunny 78 degrees. Around noontime we had some strange weather roll through. The clouds blew in and the winds picked up quite a bit. Our small lake in the back was looking more like an angry ocean cove than a calm quiet lakefront. We had a ten minute shower and suddenly……COLD. I believe it must have dropped 20 degrees in a matter of minutes. What a way to bring in the new season!

Hailey took great joy in changing the ornament that our seasonal angel holds from a fall leaf to the snowflake.

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Our pumpkin is returning to the earth.

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Lots of snuggles and napping…..

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With Christmas only days away we will be working on Gingerbread houses today. In seasons past I have gone a bit overboard with gingerbread decorations. This year I am pledging to be calm, cool, and simple in decorating the gingerbread houses with the kids!

Hope that you have a wonderful Christmas week!

Advent Tree

We started this last year after my futile search for an appropriate advent calendar. I had two wishes for our advent calendar – It should focused on the nativity and it should not break the bank! As I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for I went in search for other ideas.

Last year I ran in to these adorable little pockets and decided that they would be perfect for holding small nativity scene characters. So I ran to Target and got some extra plastic animals to include in the pockets.

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Each night we took one pocket down, placed the figure enclosed under the tree in the nativity scene, and placed the pocket into a basket on the side.

Unfortunately my cutie little advent pockets had milk spilled all over them before I put them away for the year. So, this year I decided to go with a simple little buckets that I picked up last year after Christmas.

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They were about $ 0.25 each in the clearance section of Hobby Lobby and they are only about an inch and a half tall, perfect for the little tree. When we aren’t using them during the Christmas season I keep  them in craft drawer to hold little odds and ends.

Our Jesse Tree

So, this year is the first year that I had ever heard of a Jesse Tree. What a wonderful way to weave the meaning of Christmas into the busy holiday season! By placing a new ornament with a meaningful symbol on our tree each day we are sure to take the time to reflect on what is really important.

I am going to use the same tree that we started using as our advent calendar tree last year. So we will have our advent pocket ornaments covering the tree to begin with and replace them with the Jesse Tree ornaments as the season progresses.

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Many folks take the time to make their own ornaments using sculpey or by finding items that fit the theme from around the house. Of course, I am going to go the simple route this year or it might remain one of those things that we had every intention of doing, but just couldn’t find the time. I found some free printable ornaments here. They also have a sample sheet of reflections to use through the month, or you can change it to suit your family needs.

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I laminated the sheets with my very addicting new laminating machine that I got from Walmart,  cut each ornament out, and punched a hole in the top for a piece of ribbon to hang from the tree.

I love that we are going to be able to do a wonderful review of the Old Testament in preparation for the birth of baby Jesus.