Christmas Sweets Fun

For each weekend in December I made different batches of Christmas cookies. A few weekends ago the girls joined me to decorate spritz cookies. Lily didn’t take much of a nap so she joined in on the fun. This was Lily’s first Christmas cookie decorating experience. Her favorite part was probably munching on colored sugar while the cookies were baking.

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My Mom made gingerbread houses this year for us to decorate. I just didn’t want to deal with them this year, so I was happy she made them! We supplied the sugary sweets to decorate with. Sarah and Abigail were pretty serious about their decorating. Lily joined in too, helping Abigail decorate her sides, but then she quickly lost interest and skipped the decorating step completely-moving the candy from the bowls to her mouth.

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Kindergarten Corner – Dinosaur Unit

The girls loved learning about dinosaurs for our eighth unit in My Father’s World. The curriculum suggests reading the book What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs? by John Morris and Ken Ham. We didn’t buy this as part of the curriculum, so instead I referred to an article by the same name by Ken Ham.

Growing up in public school I learned about dinosaurs living millions of years ago. I also learned about how they possibly were made extinct. I sang different songs about the different types of dinosaurs and so on. This time around I taught the girls about how God created the dinosaurs along with other land animals on day 6 of creation. We also talked about how many of the dinosaurs died off (like other animals) during the flood. I did mention also that some people believe that dinosaurs came about millions of years ago and we talked a teeny bit about evolution-but we have plenty of time to dig into that when they are a bit older.

We didn’t end up doing a number of the crafty dinosaur activities for this unit. Instead I found some dot-to-dot dinosaur pages from education.com and also puzzles from 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.

One of our more entertaining activities was making our own fossils. I found a recipe on Pinterest that used coffee grounds, salt, flour, and cold coffee.

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The girls are getting used to using the blend ladder and are starting to write and read basic words (and have been since unit six). It is really exciting to see them sound out words and recognize words we’ve gone over in the past.

Nesting Nearly Complete

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Papa came up from Virginia to visit and drop off a bed for Lily. Where would we put a whole twin bed living in a 2-bedroom apartment you may wonder? In the master bedroom. Two months ago we ended up switching rooms with the girls. It made more sense to have four human beings in the large bedroom and two in the smaller one. Our new room is a little tight, but really, we don’t spend too much time in there. The girls and their future baby brother have plenty of room to sleep and play.

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I also managed to make our little guy a blanket in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. We also picked out our take-home outfit:

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We have a good inventory of neutral and boy newborn to 3 months clothes and already purchased our first big box of size one diapers. I’ve also packed a bag to go with the girls when we head to the hospital. All I really have left to do is pack my hospital bag and wait. Thirty-eight weeks and 3 days down, 1 week and 4-ish days to go!

Kindergarten Corner – Us Unit

Our seventh unit covered the letter U and “us”. We had a lot of fun exploring our five senses.

The girls had a lot of fun with the activities for each sense. Most of them included blindfolds.

For touch we happened to be at Nonna’s house. I collected different objects from home and put them in a pillowcase. The girls took turns feeling inside, selecting an item, and guessing what it was. Sarah tried sneaking peeks before guessing. We also later made a gift for Grandma with Nonna that went well with the lesson plan – Christmas-scented sugar scrubs. After mixing up a warm vanilla scrub and a peppermint scrub the girls were able to try them out.

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For hearing I blindfolded the girls and made different sounds and they guessed what they were. Some sounds I made included crumbling paper, shaking change, zipping a zipper, biting a pretzel stick, and bouncing a ball.

For smell we once again used blindfolds and smelled different things like soap, cinnamon, garlic, a candle, and peanut butter.

For sight we tried drawing a person with blindfolds and then without. As with all of our blindfolded activities, Sarah liked to peek a bit. But we still had fun with this activitie as well as the others.

I think our tasting activity was probably the most entertaining. We first talked about how we can taste salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. Then I blindfolded them to have them blind-taste the different types of “flavors” for salty I used salt, sugar for sweet, lemon for sour (and an orange to contrast with it), and cocoa powder for bitter.

The girls are doing really well with our school routine. Hopefully the arrival of our son in early January won’t throw things off too much.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

This past weekend we made a day of seeking out and cutting down our Christmas tree. We wanted to head north, but weren’t sure exactly where to go. Thanks to social media and a photo post to Facebook we decided to check out Holmes Tree Farm in Kennebunk, Maine after we saw that friends had gone there too.

Our drive only took about an hour and a half. Lily wasn’t too keen on a road trip at the beginning, but she soon fell asleep for a much needed nap. Once we got there the girls were anxious to find the perfect tree. Abigail pretty much chose the first tree she saw-which wasn’t even in the “cut-your-own-tree field”. Needless to say she was on a mission.

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After wandering through trees of different shapes and sizes we settled on one. Jonathan cut it down with ease strapped it to the van with Grandma.

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The girls had fun decorating our tree. After making a few adjustments (mainly moving copious amounts of ornaments from the bottom of the tree and spreading it throughout the top) Jonathan topped off our tree with a new homemade angel topper and I wrapped our new tree skirt around it (both courtesy of Grandma).

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A Handmade Christmas

Every year my immediate family draws names for a “Secret Santa” of sorts. Instead of buying a gift for the person we pick, we make a gift. My family has had this tradition since my 30 year old “baby” brother was in Kindergarten. Now my husband, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law have joined in on the fun. When the girls are a little older, they’ll be able to draw names too. This is just one of the many traditions I love at Christmastime.

This year I drew my brother’s name. When he was younger he was a fan of Ninja Turtles. I figured they still had a special place in his heart, so I decided to make him a hat and scarf featuring his current favorite turtle, Raphael. He loved it. And, of course, I have to thank Pinterest for the hat idea. I used the same stripe and eyes on a scarf.

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Jonathan painted a daisy for Dawn, my sister-in-law.

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I didn’t want the girls to feel left out so I made them each a “Lego sack”. I had been searching Pinterest for a Lego storage solution because lately cleaning up Lego’s has been like pulling teeth. The girls get so into playing with them that they end up everywhere and they have no interest in cleaning them up. I thought about storage where you could separate Legos by color/shape/etc but realized that they might stay organized for a day tops. Instead I found instructions for a Lego sack. Basically it is a mat you can use to play with any small toy on and when you are done you simply pull on draw strings and the mat becomes a sack.

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The girls also made a gift for their Grandma, who was visiting from South Carolina. My Mom found a recipe for sugar scrub. The girls made warm vanilla sugar scrub with brown sugar and a peppermint scrub with white sugar.

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Here are more pictures of gifts exchanged on Thanksgiving (the only time we would all be in one place for Christmastime).

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