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!