Christmas 2014!

I am so behind on posting! Needless to say things have been busy here.

It was so special spending our first Christmas in our very own home. This was also Levi’s first Christmas, so that made it even more special!

We started the day off checking out our stockings and opening presents. After that we had breakfast, played with our new toys, and got ready to go to Nonna and Papa’s house.

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It is hard to believe that not even two months ago on Christmas Day the temperatures reached the low 50’s. Right now in Lowell it is a balmy 7 degrees! I’m getting off track here. Like always, Christmas at Nonna and Papa’s house was a crazy messy blast. We had a great day spent with family.

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Thanksgiving

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our new home. We had my parents, my sister and her two kids, and my brother and his wife over for a day of food and fun.

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Because we were all together we decided to exchange a few gifts. We’ve had the same tradition since my brother was in Kindergarten: we pick names and give a homemade gift rather than a purchased one.

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My sister Laura picked my sister-in-law Dawn’s name and made her these cute trays with chalkboard paint.

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Jonathan picked my sister and made her a hand sewn photo book.
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I picked my Dad’s name and made him this cute photo holder (thanks to Pinterest!)

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My Mom made Jonathan fruitcake

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My sister made shirts for my Mom with some of her favorite quotes on them.

Meeting Riley

My nephew Riley was born on October 20. I didn’t get the chance to visit him in the hospital, so I was very antsy waiting until he went home with my sister four days later.

He is such a tiny peanut! I always forget how little newborns are. He is so adorable. The girls and I loved meeting him and holding him. I’m looking forward to watching him and Levi grow up together!

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Papa’s Concert

Every summer for the past four years my Dad has performed with his bluegrass band during a local town’s concert on the common series. We missed last year due to illness and were very excited we could make it this year.

This was Levi’s first concert. He seemed to enjoy himself-and the grass.

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The girls had a blast dancing, blowing bubbles, and running around.

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Did you know that my Dad is the World’s Okayest Bassist? You do now!

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We are already looking forward to next year’s concert!

Kindergarten Corner-Catching Up!

Needless to say it has been quite some time since I’ve posted about our Kindergarten adventures. I thought I’d do a quick catching up post summing up any particularly fun or additional things we did for each of the following units:

Unit 14 – Horse
We pretty much stuck to the program for this unit. One thing I was looking forward to though was our biblical concept: I obey right away (hard to see why, right?). Here is a small peek into a few activities:

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Unit 15 – Elephant
Our only deviation from the curriculum for this unit was on Day 4. Instead of making elephant masks, we made art work with the girls’ hand prints. Then we added our biblical concept: I will remember what God has done for me.

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Abigail’s

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Sarah’s

Unit 16 – Penguin
I enjoyed this unit. I loved telling the girls all about Emperor Penguins and how they care for their young. Plus we read nice stories to go along with the biblical concept: I show love to everyone, especially my family. The girls had fun pretending to be penguins waddling with hardboiled eggs on top of their large feet (Daddy’s slippers).

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I also couldn’t resist making these chocolate covered bananas resembling penguins.

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We also did two crafts involving construction paper. Both were Pinterest finds.

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Unit 17 – Kangaroo
I love how even in Kindergarten I can learn new things. I know about marsupials-how these animals carry their young in a protective pouch. But did you know that a little joey is born at the size of a jelly bean, then makes its way up to his mother’s pouch before settling in for much more growth and development? Oh, you did? Never mind. Seriously, though, God made some pretty awesome animals. Oh, and some kangaroos can travel 25 FEET in one single hop. And, they can’t really “walk”. Their feet can’t move separately.

I replaced the suggested pencil holder craft with a very fun aboriginal style dot art. I found this to be so relaxing. So much so that I didn’t blink an eye when Lily proceeded to paint herself. I printed the kangaroo, traced it on card stock, and painted it brown. That way it was dry ahead of time and the girls could just do the dots. I’ll be honest here, I found it relaxing, but Sarah got frustrated when hers didn’t turn out just the way she wanted hers to. So she opted out of this activity. I’m trying to help her enjoy this sort of thing more instead of being a perfectionist.

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Unit 18 – Zebra
We really didn’t deviate in this unit. But the girls’ cousin and Lily joined us in making Zebra masks.

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Kindergarten Corner – Cow Unit

This unit marked the halfway point in our curriculum. We talked about the letter C, cows, and how God’s word helps us grow.

The highlight of our unit was making our own butter. We had school at my Mom’s so she and my niece Bridget could join in on the fun. Plus, we had a butter churn on hand (one my grandmother had for decoration) so we could talk about how butter was made a while ago. All you need is a few containers that close tightly, heavy cream, and salt at the end (optional).

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We all took turns shaking our containers. At first we wondered if it would work out. The more we shook, the less room in the container there seemed to be for the cream to move around. The cream turned into a whipped cream consistency. Then, it got pretty thick before, almost suddenly, you could hear a solid mass sloshing around in liquid. At this point you get a solid-type butter that looks mealy. We separated the buttermilk out and kept shaking to remove all the liquid. Then we were each left with creamy butter and a decent amount of buttermilk.

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Nonna being the awesome grandma she is, decided to use the buttermilk to make biscuits-the perfect medium for trying our butter.

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We pretty much followed the rest of the curriculum as it was laid out.

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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