Ora et labora
~St. Benedict

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Themes & Calendar Days for Jan. 2011

There are tons of things to study and have fun with in the month of January!  It is Eye Care, Hot Tea, National Blood Donor, National Braille Literacy, National Hobby, National Soup, National Staying Healthy, National Thank You, and Oatmeal Month.

The boys and I may not be able to recognize all of these days, but I am sure we will get creative with a few:

1-1    New Year's Day; Paul Revere's Birthday (1735)
1-2    Boo Boo Bear's Birthday
1-3    J.R.R. Tolkien's Birthday
1-4    Isaac Newton's Birthday; Jakob Grimm's Birthday; Trivia Day
1-5    National Bird Day
1-6    Epiphany; Cuddle Up Day; Bean Day; Sherlock Holme's Birthday
1-9    Static Electricity Day
1-11  Milk Day; Secret Pal Day
1-14  National Dress Your Pet Day
1-17  MLK Day; Ben Franklin's Birthday
1-18  Winnie the Pooh's Birthday
1-19  Popcorn Day
1-20  Cheese Day; Penguin Awareness Day
1-21  Hat Day
1-23  Handwriting Day
1-24  Compliment Day; Gold Discovered in CA at Stutter's Mill 1848
1-25  Opposite Day
1-26  Australia Day
1-28  Ernie's Birthday from Sesame Street
1-29  National Puzzle Day
1-30  Franklin Roosevelt's Birthday
1-31  Backward's Day

Monday, December 27, 2010

Big T's Book Picks for December 2010

Sometimes it is a little difficult to keep up with my voracious reader.  It is not that he complains when he runs out of new books though.  As a matter of fact, he will go back and read all of his books over again.  I love his spirit and attitude about reading too, he is always excited to share tidbits about what he has read.  And my heart just melts when he decides to place his precious book aside in order to find me in the house, so he can include me in all the good parts.

Many of the books this month are light reads for Big T, but nevertheless, he enjoys them just the same.  The first book listed is something we stumbled upon by chance.  I was shopping in a small town and the author happened to be at the shop we visited.  She was a very sweet woman and kind enough to sign his book.

In no particular order:  Bo and the Christmas Bandit by Lynn Sheffield Simmons, Brer Rabbit collected stories by Joel Chandler Harris, Christmas Stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Christmas in Camelot by Mary Pope Osborne, The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School by Candace Fleming, The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, and The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Christmas Stories and Brer Rabbit were great read "out louds" for Little T as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Putting on a production

TnT got parts in the "Our Lady of Guadalupe" play and loved every minute of it. Big T played the Bishop and Little T landed the part of a precious flower.

                                                           Our Bishop (in red) at prayer.

                                                         The Bishop and San Juan Diego talking.

                                                          Little T is facing the camera & has quite a look on his face.

We act out our history lessons at home, and I'm glad they got a chance to be in a play with other homeschoolers.  This was right up their alley and they had two showings in one weekend....bravo! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Artful Pinecones

The boys had so much fun today decorating pinecones with craft paint, glitter, bird seed, and shiny gold ribbon.

The only thing I helped with was affixing the curling ribbon on the pinecone branches.  This project was well suited for 2-10 year olds.  We keep a precious toddler during the week and Little B got right in there and busied himself just like TnT.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis the Season

Teaching compassion to children is so very important and one of the best ways to do so is caring for others that are less fortunate.  When you see a homeless person on the side of the road, what action do you take?  Do you give money or ignore them?  Perhaps you are not sure what can remedy the situation in the first place. 

I have talked to TnT at length about the homeless people we see quite often.  I explain that they are children of God just like we are and that they need extra special prayers.

We also make care bags to give out, and I was delighted to take the boys down to the Hancock Recreation Center where a group of homeschoolers were putting together 75 care bags for Mary House.

We have made our own care bags for several years now, but it was such a treat being with other children making personalized Christmas cards and filling the bags.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Feast of Saint Nicholas

TnT learned about the Bishop of Myra, also known as St. Nicholas.  I love coming across pictures or figurines of St. Nicholas on his knees and praying to Jesus, just warms the heart.  His great compassion and devotion to Christ is what I want the boys to remember.  In giving to children and the needy, Christ's message of love prevails.

Today was a delightful one when the boys placed their shoes by the fireplace and waited for a small treat from good ol' St. Nick.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Journal gifts for my boys

When my first son was born, I remember being filled with such overwhelming emotions. I would literally stare at him in amazement and pure awe for hours. I just could not believe that he came out of my womb and I would often cry. I was no longer a girl, but a woman with a baby...how gloriously strange. Never wanting to lose this monumental moment in our lives, I wrote a long letter to my dear infant son. It is tucked away in his baby box, but every once in a while I read it out loud. Oh and those emotions surge right back to the surface, like if it were yesterday.

I am always so grateful after reading the letter, because there is no way that I would remember that moment in time so fully.

The letter sparked a desire to pen my thoughts and feelings about both of my sons' lives. So, a couple of years ago, I went out and bought a journal for each of them to record how their mama sees them through her loving eyes.

I continue to journal and just made an entry tonight. One day I would like to present the journals as gifts to my boys when they are big men.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Push My Buttons

Enjoy my button collection and explore!  I like to trade buttons too; grab mine from the side bar!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Stone Soup

Last year we checked out a Marcia Brown book called Stone Soup and found it to be a very simple, but telling story.  The boys are ready to read it again and are most excited about making the soup itself. 

Yes, we've gone to the garden and selected our stone.  It's been washed and boiled and now it's all ready for use in our lip smacking story soup of our own.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall wind you can touch.

Okay, so we live in Texas and sometimes we don't have definite seasons.  Our Fall lesson today focused on wind and TnT used tissue paper as a tactile respresentation.

This is a very simple project & it provided us with 45 minutes of additional creative play too. Items you'll need: tissue paper, glue stick, scissors, tape, plastic leaves, berries, and twigs.

1. Gather some tissue paper (any color) & select 1st piece.  Scrunch a portion of the paper and tape to make handle.  The handles come in handy with smaller children, as they can run around the room with it & pretend to be the wind.  You can skip this step if you prefer or just make some with handles.

2.  Lay everthing out on a table & have your children decorate his/her wind piece.  Side note, this would make great gift wrapping too.

3.  Let your children get creative! Ours decided to cut some of the edges.

The more wind pieces that are made, the more FUN!

We ran around the house with our wind and made breezes, released them from a stair case, and the boys' favorite activity was using the box fans to create high speed wind.

Here is a video of TnT having fun with their creations:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Little T makes dinner.

The boys are always in the kitchen with me, so I got them involved in cooking and baking before they could even walk.  They are in charge of setting the table and sometimes they like to prepare entire meals, and other times they assist in a couple of tasks before they are onto something else.

Usually it's Big T that lingers longest in the kitchen, but Little T decided he wanted to help and make a full meal.  We set up stations on three separate counters so he could have a clear work station. 

First, we started with cracking open the eggs...a favorite of both boys & they are quite proficient at it now.

Then he seasoned the meat.

Next he dipped the meat in egg and flour.

Last, he opened up the gravy packet, measured out the water, and mixed it up.

He ended up saving me lots of time, since he was able to work mostly on his own.  I was able to fry up the meat in no time.  Team work got dinner out faster, which the whole family enjoyed.

Big T's Book Picks for November 2010

He's 10 years old and loves to read!  He'll read his books over and over, and get something new out of them each time.  Classics seem to be a favorite and his top three are Sherlock Holmes, The Swiss Family Robinson, and The Red Badge of Courage.  Other books that have made the list are: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Pinocchio, Guliver's Travels, Huckleberry Finn, The Time Machine, Moby Dick, Oliver Twist, Tom SawyerTreasure Island, and (not a classic) The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.   

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TnT got to meet Diary of a Wimpy Kid actors.

We woke up early last Tuesday and stood in line to buy the new book, The Ugly Truth.  It was a great bonus to get the books signed by Jeff Kinney and meet the leading actors from the movie.