Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent, Montessori and St. Nicholas Day!

We've been busy this week. Montessori is rockin' along and MJ is reading! I'll post more on the reading tomorrow.


Advent started this past Sunday. We put up our advent wreath as well as our "advent calendar".

Advent Wreath
We basically light the first candle each night and say a few advent prayers after dinner.

"Advent Calendar" (ok not really a calendar)
So this is how we are counting down our advent season. I just got all their little people that consisted of the nativity set and more sheep and goats from other Little People sets that we have. I wrapped up all the people and animals and we open one each night that will ultimately be a complete nativity scene on Christmas. Of course baby Jesus will be the last one to open :).


This week I was able to do a few things with Tes. 

Knobbed Cylinders or Cylinder Blocks
She can do 2 at a time now and is ready for 3. There are 2 purposes to this exercise. As with all Montessori materials, there is a direct and an indirect purpose. The direct purpose is to sharpen a child's visual discrimination with size. The indirect purpose is to prepare her grip for handwriting by using a pincer grasp to handle each cylinder.

Color Box 2 
Lately she has been matching random items she finds to other items of the same color. This particular morning we were awake very early, before Cat and MJ, and Tes was telling me that her Squirt (the green turtle) matched the green plant on her shirt. So I picked up on my Montessori-inspied  observation of my child and recognized that she is hungry for some color matching! Color Box 2 it was! Let me tell you that we have tried this only one other time about a month ago. After I initially presented the box to her and she watched me match all the colors, she then proceeded to just play with the tablets as if they were little people. She had no interest in matching them up. BUT THIS TIME....I only got to match up 3 of the colors before she started taking them out of my hand to do it herself. Montessori was right and I was not observing my child properly the first time. I remember specifically thinking that she was probably not ready but I just wanted to get her going on some "school stuff"' already. Funny how they actually *get it* when they are ready for it. They just absorb it...just like Montessori says. You'd think I'd listen to the lady by now instead of trying to do things in my own time instead of the child's time. 

 So here Tes is putting her color tablets away happily. Children will actually clean up after themselves because they crave order. We just have to nurture it in them and they start doing it in other areas of their lives as well. Thank you

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

I bought this book for the kids so we can read it tonight before bed. I meant for us to read it today but they had so much fun playing outside I didn't want to interrupt.

I put gold covered chocolate coins in their shoes so they'd find them in the morning when we came down stairs.

Showing us their gifts!

We also had some hot cocoa this morning! With marshmallows!

And for pretty much the rest of the day, this is what they did! I raked all the leaves into one pile and then they pretty much scattered them all across the yard by jumping in them and throwing them. They put the leaves in boxes and dumped them on each other and rolled around in them. Ahh to be little again. I wanted to join in but figured I'd look like a lunatic rolling around in leaves in my front yard! 

I'll elaborate on MJ's reading progress tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy Birthday MJ!!

MJ turned 6 on Saturday. He had an airplane themed birthday party. It turned out great! Here is a rundown of everything that went on.

First were the decorations.

These are clouds to hang on the ceiling with fishing line and tape. I used fake snow from Hobby Lobby. I got the idea here and of course found it on Pinterest. 

Birthday Banner!
I made this with a bunch of cardstock and scrapbook paper that I collect as I find them on clearance at Hobby Lobby. You gotta love Hobby Lobby. I get packs of regular priced $19.99 scrapbook paper on clearance for $4! And no, I don't do any I just like the paper and know I can put it to good use for crafts and decorating. If I ever decide to scrapbook though, I'll be set.

Then came the activities.

We have the party setup as a Flight Academy. The kids got a name badge, a training log and a pilot's license once they complete their training (play the games). I got the idea from this post. So I'm basically a big copy cat and love my Pinterest!

The last activity was to eat the cake and then they completed the course!

Thanks to all our friends and family who celebrated this wonderful day with us. It was very special for MJ! 

Here is his finished present!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Mushy Stuff" and Montessori

So I recently found this floating around Pinterest:

MJ had been asking me for this stuff ever since we attended our parish's Halloween party. One of the little prizes was a tiny little tub of this stuff...I don't know what it is officially called. Anyway, he's been asking for "mushy stuff" since then. It was very easy to make. I found the recipe here from the Pinterest picture.

Here is the process: mix borax and water

Then mix glue, water and food coloring in another bowl and combine the two bowls.

You drain out the excess water and then knead until it resembles something that came out of your nose during the flu season. Good thing we didn't color this stuff green.

Tes was amused for about 3 seconds and then moved on to water play. She is putting a bubble beard on her face.

 Then we headed upstairs for some school work. I haven't gotten into the hang of blogging yet so I kept forgetting to take pictures of things. But I did capture a few things before they put their work away.

MJ is working on his Object Box for reading. In the initial presentation of this material, I showed him 8 objects and then proceeded to write down one of them on a strip of paper. He had to sound out the word and choose the object from the box. I did this with all 8 objects and then put the box on the shelf where it is now available to him anytime he wants to practice reading. We have over 80 objects that I did this with and we rotate them in the box every few days. He is getting faster and he is getting more confident!

Here Cat is matching her colors and naming them to me using Color Box 2. This is actually work for a 2.5year old but I hadn't done it with Cat in a while and wasn't sure if she knew the color grey. Plus she gets pink and purple confused sometimes, so I wanted to get it straight before moving on to Color Box 3 where she has to grade the shades of each color. We also did grading with Color Box 3 but of course I forgot to take a 

We also played some sound games so Cat can start recognizing the ending sounds of words. She has beginning sounds down pretty good now. Once she can recognize ending sounds, we'll move onto the middle syllables of words. I also presented 3 more Sand Paper Letters to her today. She learned "d", "o" and "w". 

 I wanted to do some sensorial and practical life work with Tes but I'm so behind with MJ and Cat that I have been giving lots of presentations instead of letting them chose their work. Once they are caught up, they will be able to work with more materials on their own and I can concentrate on Tes. She at least already knows her colors and how to stack the Pink Tower and the Broad Stair. Hopefully I'll get pics of her tomorrow.

We have lots of party stuff coming up so Momo is coming over tomorrow for much needed help and then Gma C is coming on Friday to help decorate, or at least entertain the kids so I can Have a good day!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upcoming Birthday and Advent Plans

MJ's Party Plans

This weekend is MJ's birthday so we have been getting things ready all week. I'm trying to get more organized and things are coming together slowly but surely. This year I actually planned the party about a month ahead of time. I gathered all my ideas on paper and then it sat there for another 3 That was still better than last year. Anyway, this past weekend I started creating things based on my ideas. 

And we built his present. Here it is before it was finished.

It now has a  middle shelf and pegboard on the top frame. I'm working on a sign to put on top that has his name. Hopefully he'll be as excited to receive it as we were to build it. And in case you have no idea what it is, it's a child-sized workbench.

Next year if I could just get this stuff done a week earlier, I'll be all set and not running around like a chicken with my head cut off the week of. You live and learn I guess, but the learning is definitely a s-l-o-w process. 

I'll be posting pictures of the party after this weekend.

Planning for Advent

So this weekend also starts off the Advent season! This year I have a few good ideas we will be putting into practice. I've never actually planned a liturgical season yet so this year should be fun. These are a few things that inspired me.

Advent Calendar:
This one

and this is my absolute favorite

I can't actually find this on the site anymore to show you the front of it. I had bookmarked this and didn't realize I saved the picture of the back!   I'd actually like a *true* advent calendar that allows you to adjust the days for the current year since advent doesn't necessarily start on December 1st each year.  So I'm thinking we are going to make one using these as my inspiration. I have a few ideas already but I have to decide and then draw up some plans! That's the fun part!

O Antiphons:

I also want to lead up to Christmas by celebrating the last seven days with the O Antiphons. I have never done this before and only read about them once. This is a short and sweet description of what they are:
"December 17 marks the beginning of the "O" Antiphons, the seven jewels of our liturgy, dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve. These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ. The Church recalls the variety of the ills of man before the coming of the Redeemer."

This was my original inspiration

This is from the Shower of Roses blog. She is one of the Catholic blogs that I follow and her ideas are just lovely!

Anyway, the Messianic titles are in latin as follows: 

O Sapientia - O Wisdom
O Adonai - O Lord and Ruler
O Raddix Jesse - O Root of Jesse
O Clavis David - O Key of David
O Oriens - O Rising Dawn
O Rex Gentium - O King of the Gentiles
O Emmanuel (meaning God with us) - O Emmanuel

Each day starting on December 17th, we recognize these titles and the last title lands on Christmas Eve. When you take the first letter of each title starting with Christmas Eve (Emmanuel), it spells out ERO CRAS. This means "Tomorrow, I will come". Each O Antiphon also makes up one verse of the song O Come O Come Emmanuel.  Just beautiful! 

That sums up my first *real* post. Tomorrow I'll post some of our Montessori work. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Once upon a time...

...there was a girl and her husband who had 3 children. The girl wanted to be able to share her family's journey in faith, homeschooling and just family life in general. So she created this blog. I hope you find our days interesting and inspiring. Enjoy!