Chaos Reined In!

Well, last night I might of lost my cool just a bit. I walked into what was supposed to be the family room, but rather resembled a disaster area. The kids love to take the pillows off of all the couches and chairs and toss them around the room. Actually, they say that they are building forts, or towers, but to me it just looks like a giant mess.

So, I usually don’t put up much of a fuss over a few pillows, but when numerous toys have emerged from who-knows-where to cover the floor, the books have been scattered about, and the pictures on the wall are askew – I kind of just lose it!

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The punishment? Chore Day! The kids have had to follow me around all day assisting in doing each chore I have to accomplish in the day. Laundry, folding,  ironing, emptying the dishwasher, making meals, sweeping, tidying up. This really turned out to be much better than I thought.  Typically, I get whining when I ask them to clean their rooms or tidy their toys, but they really enjoyed being able to help out so much, and I didn’t have to worry about making sure they were occupied while I was busy. Granted, everything wasn’t done perfectly, but it did all get done – and quickly too!

We finished up early and took a nature walk. So the punishment actually turned into a blessing for everyone.

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January Book Basket

As you can see our January Book Basket is chock full of books. The majority of the books were borrowed from the library, but some are pulled from our own shelves. I love getting new books, but I try to keep the number down since we move so often.

Here is a condensed list for when you head to the library. I did group them by call number so that you aren’t running all over the place like I am trying to keep track of which books you already have!

  • Red Fox Running ~ Y PICTURE BUNTING, E.
  • Albert the Bear ~ Y PICTURE BUTTERWORTH, N.
  • It Feels Like Snow ~ Y PICTURE COTE, N.
  • Elmer in the Snow ~ Y PICTURE MCKEE, D.
  • The Jacket I Wear in the Snow ~ Y PICTURE NEITZEL, S.
  • The Snow Princess ~ Y PICTURE SANDERSON, R.
  • Now It Is Winter ~ Y PICTURE SPINELLI, E
  • Winter on the Farm (My First Little House) ~ Y PICTURE WINTER
  • Tracks in the Snow ~ Y PICTURE YEE, W.
  • Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep ~ Y PICTURE YOLEN, J.
  • Manatee Winter (Smithsonian Oceanic)~ Y PICTURE ZOEHFELD, K.
  • The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter SolsticeY 394.261 PFEFFER
  • Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars! ~Y394.26952 REYNOLDS
  • Explore Winter: 25 Great Ways to Learn About Winter (Explore Your World series) ~ Y508.2 ANDERSON
  • Snow (Ganeri, Anita, Weather Around You.) ~ Y551.5784 GANERI
  • Penguin Chick (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science) ~ Y 598.47 TATHAM

Plans for Inauguration Day

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Honestly, I didn’t intend to do much for Inauguration Day. I planned maybe, and that’s a big maybe, watching it on TV with the kids. But then FIAR came out with an Inauguration Day Fold and Learn. Perfect!

It has a short biography of Barack Obama, the inaugural schedule from January 18th through Inauguration Day, some fun facts about the history of inauguration, and Barack Obama’s favorite dessert!

We are going to have a fun time re-reading If I Ran For President, which I purchased during the election. At the same time I also bought the other book by Catherine Stier,  If I Were President. These two books are really perfect at explaining the topic of the Presidency for a child. With eye-catching illustrations and wording that not only accurately explains a difficult topic, but makes it fun and exciting, these books are perfect for early elementary ages.

If you are looking for more ideas, Shauna over at Treasure Seekers has put together a wonderful list of resources to make your Inauguration Day educational and fun!

Back to School

After the holidays its always difficult to get back into your regular routine.  We took pretty much the whole month of December off. It not that we weren’t doing anything. We certainly managed to keep busy! Lots of holiday books and snuggles, family baking time, and focusing on the meaning of the season filled the hours each day.

On Monday we started back to our school routine. Hailey had actually started begging to start school several days before. There is nothing like an excited student to get you moving! The first day was a little rough, but that was certainly to be expected. No tears were shed and thus, my goal was achieved.

Tuesday was so absolutely gorgeous. Who knew that we would be experiencing a 80+ degree sunny day in early January! So, we took the lessons out- of-doors for the day.

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The dog enjoyed the fresh air too.

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Alas, it was not to last. This morning we awoke to some extremely windy and stormy weather. The cold will be returning tonight.

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.

new-years-bags

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!