Snow People

Ever wonder what to do with those harvest pumpkins that you get each year?  Well I have a craft for you that will use those pumpkins all the way through January.

You will need 3 baby pumpkins of varying sizes.  White, black orange, and pink acrylic paint some buttons, an old shirt or cloth, and a hot glue gun.

I started by breaking off the pumpkin stems, and painting the pumpkins white.  I did half at a time and let them dry well between coats. 

To assemble, I hot glued the pumpkins together, and fashioned a hat out of a piece of cloth. I just cut a strip of cloth for the scarf.  Glue on the buttons, paint the face and you have a cute pumpkin snow person that will make you smile all Christmas and into January.

I keep mine on a small paper plate. That way if they do begin to mold they won’t mar the furniture.

Have fun with this great easy craft!

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Holiday Studies

We are closing in quickly on Christmas.  My tree isn’t up.  I haven’t wrapped a thing….I HAVE baked up a bazillion cookies…..I told you that Thursdays sneak up on me… and this one snuck right past me.  I could share with you the list of reasons why… but they might sound like complaints…. and really you don’t need to know why have bought stock in Ocean Spray.

I am neck deep in Sheep for Sunday’s Christmas Pageant….and my couch is covered in laundry.  clean laundry… Pretty normal for this time of year. 

Hopefully you are doing better in the decoration and laundry department than I am.

We are plugging along for the month of December… still working on Beethoven. I know it seems like forever we have been studying him, but I want the process to be thoughtful and not just whizzed through to say we have covered this composer.  I want there to be a lasting impression, an identification of who these men are and the lives the lived in a time far removed from our own.

Today is actually Beethoven’s Birthday.  Maybe that is why the post is a day late?  So I could share that with you on the actual day. ( ok… I am reaching…lol)

We studied this week about how Beethoven met Mozart. Mozart felt Beethoven a wee bit passé until he dazzled him with his improvisation skills.  That is what caused Mozart to take notice of this young musician.  Beethoven, he didn’t care much for Mozart either.  Thought that he played a bit “choppy”.   Maybe both of these boys needed a Midol the day they met.  The book made them sound like cranky teenage girls that couldn’t get along.

Beethoven rushed home from Vienna to tend to his dying mother. After she passed, then his littlest sister did as well.  The boughts of depression that plagued Beethoven began after this time in his life.  He was 17.  We left our studies this week as  Beethoven was the figurative head of the family.  He now needed to find a way to support his father and siblings.  Music would have to be the way.

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I love Christmas Cards

Dainty Bliss Christmas Cards

Or rather the IDEA of Christmas Cards.  Especially the picture ones…..

Swirly Plates Christmas Cards

These two sided puppies from Tiny Prints?  I am in L-O-V-E….

 Christmas Cards Folksy Delight - Front : Cranberry

I love getting Christmas cards each year.  I even save them.  I Hang them on the wall in our house to display for the year.  I pray for a new family each day, that God will be with them….

 

But I don’t SEND Christmas Cards.  Is I because I am too grouchy or lazy?  Probably because I am too cheap.

These ones from Tiny Prints might send me over the edge….. 

What about you?  Do you send them?  Do you save them?

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just a regular Monday night

Yesterday on our Advent Calendar….  under the square…. hid a little slip of paper.  It read:  Choose a movie.  Monday nights around here are family nights and we try to spend time playing a game, watching a favorite show or movie with the kids. This paper meant the boys could choose the show we would watch.  ….Always an adventure.

As we narrowed down our ‘yes pile’ of DVD’s to the eventual choice of Elf, with Will Farrell, I found myself very much looking forward to snuggling on the couch with my husband.  We got a blanket and huddled together to keep warm. At one point I glanced over at him.  His arm was around my shoulders, he was wearing a baseball cap, and his smile was sweet and youthful. I told him he looked real cute and he did his best not to remind I wasn’t wearing my glasses….. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine us in the movie theater as teenagers.  In my head I heard my mother’s voice, “Hands above the blankets, please.”  It was almost like a real date.

I hope you are taking the time to enjoy your family during this season.  It isn’t all about the presents or the endless hours shopping the sales. I hope for your family it is more about the connections, the relationships, the Hope you have in Jesus.

Now, off with you… go make some cookies, drink some cider or hot chocolate, snuggle under a blanket with a good book or a movie, and make some wonderful holiday memories.

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My head was the stage….

Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I was awakened by Jeremiah who couldn’t sleep.  He tried to crawl in bed with us but we were too hot, then he was suddenly “choking to death” by having to sleep on my arm, and he needed a pillow.  I told him to go get one.  He came back with a stuffed animal, that he proceeded to play with on. my. head. at 2:40 in the morning.  Needless to say, I was not pleased.  After explaining to him that it is not cool, not even remotely cool…. to play with stuffed animals on your mother’s head at 3 in the morning…. he went and got his blanket and chilled on the floor, where he eventually fell back asleep and I nearly tripped on him when I got out of bed a few hours later.

The kids coming into the bed with us, usually in the middle of the night, is not an uncommon occurrence.  Especially when they are younger.  When I tell folks this, the conversation eventually leads to co-sleeping, and co-sleeping is one of those crazy subjects people love to fight about. I don’t want to fight about it, that isn’t the point of this post….  The point of it was to tell you the ridiculous thing that Jeremiah did at 3 a.m., not to start a war about co-sleeping.

I don’t think I would classify myself as a co-sleeping parent of the militant variety.  You know the ones that say it is the only way to go… the ones that make people feel like they have sinned against nature by placing their child in a crib. I would classify myself as a co-sleeping parent who does it for much more practical reasons, like….. sleep. 

Reason 1:  It is pickin’ cold when you get up at 3 am to feed a baby.  If the baby is with you, there is no need to freeze for either you or the baby.

Reason 2:I value my sleep.  Getting up in the middle of the night is not my idea of fun.  At. All. … As my children get older, if they come and climb in bed with me, I don’t have to get out of bed to shush them back to sleep.  It is a win, win.  They are comforted, I get to stay in bed.

That pretty much sums it up.  I like sleep.  If sleeping with my kids helps them and me sleep.  I vote YES for it. 

Now all I need to figure out is how to keep them from having puppet shows on my skull at 3 a.m.

*****

this article was written as a part of The Christian Home.  If you are interested in writing for this blog carnival, please visit The Legacy of Home to find out how to submit your post.  For more great articles this week please visit Day by Day in Our World.

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Beethoven helps us be thankful

Happy Thursday!  Thursdays sort of sneak up on me.  I realize there is one in every week, but we have such full days on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, Thursday’s are a calm after the storm sort of day. One of those days I would love to stay in bed for longer…..  But alas….that never seems to happen.

I guess I should stop blathering, and get back to what we have been doing in our study of Beethoven.  We are beginning to leave the tragedy of his early years and progress on to a time in his life where he began to perform out side of the home.  At the ripe old age of 10 he was composing.  He was writing music his hands were too small to play, yet he knew he would grow and play them later. 

He was beginning to astound people with his ability to read and play the most difficult of musical scores at first sight. At 14 his father’s voice, the chief source of income for the family was gone.  The responsibility now fell to Beethoven to earn a living for his family. 

At 14?  Times are so different now, any given 14 year old now, in affluent western culture, would be hard pressed to earn a living for their family.  As we studied this week we compared and contrasted Beethoven’s childhood with Hunters.  Very few similarities seemed to be found.  It gave Hunter an opportunity to list a few differences that he was thankful for.

This picture is courtesy of the SJSU website, Beethoven is preforming for his friends in an intimate setting.  Everyone looks so pensive and thoughtful.  Listen to this:  Violin Concerto in D Major Opus 61 by Beethoven.  See if you think it “feels” pensive and thoughtful. As if you could sit on the edge of the ocean, staring into the horizon as the sun sets, and review the tides of emotion in your day, your month, your year, perhaps even your life.

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draw, draw, and draw some more

Artistic Pursuits Logo

 

We have an artsy sort of family…  My Husband was accepted to art college and joined the military instead. (long story… I will spare you the details.)  I am a crafty gal…  cards, ornaments, entire rooms covered in paper vines…..  (an equally long story).  I have one that makes jewelry, one that sings and writes music.  Hunter likes to draw, I just don’t know how to teach it.  Or, didn’t rather, until Artistic Pursuits came along.

For awhile, my husband taught an “art” class one night a week to the kids and their cousins.  It was pretty cool.  They loved it.  Since then we have just muddled through art.  Usually, our 4th grade art is comprised of drawing elaborate battle scenes, bullets whizzing, helicopters flying, and blood oozing from anything that was unfortunate to meet with said whizzing metal objects.  It seems to me that Sunday Service , and the desire to do anything but sit still, is the time of utmost creativity among 9 year old boys. I realize that this time is not the most ideal time to teach art….  I can’t really stop him and remind him to use contrast, line and shape properly…. so, I just let him go.  Half the battle in teaching Art is getting them to just let stuff flow onto the paper.

Since things have changed and we don’t really have an available day for the hubster to be the art teacher, I have been looking at various curriculums to teach with.  Artistic Pursuits stumbled onto my radar when I was asked to review their product for 4th to 6th Graders (Book One)  The Elements of Art and Composition

When I first flipped through it, it reminded me of the projects I had seen happily hanging on the walls of the art studios of my youth.  Texture, value, contrast, line, form, shading, balance, depth…..  each lesson giving much room for creativity, while providing well drawn examples of the concept.  Not just teacher drawn examples, but ones from fellow students.  I was inspired… I wanted to get my sketch pad out and go through this book.  Hunter loved this program.  I should have installed a meter in is mouth to count how many times he asked me if it was art day…. can I do art….  where is my art book.   Smile

I liked how the supply list was easy…  pencils, a vinyl eraser, sketch pad, scissors, glue sticks, a couple of graphic markers…  Nearly everything on the list we already had here at the house.  Each unit was easy to follow and took about 2 weeks to complete.  We did 2 lessons a week, meaning we use the book twice a week, the drawing happened almost every day.  Hunter was eager to practice the new skills he was learning.  You know how I knew he was learning?  His Sunday morning battle scenes began to change.  They had smoother lines, more texture, depth was being created with the use of shading….  I will admit it.  It was cool.

I will also admit that I am a wee bit excited to move on to Book Two next year.  It is about Color….. messy, wonderful, color…. Smile

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Each of the books produced by Artistic Pursuits, are non-consumable, that means you buy each book once and be able to use them year after year with child after child.  Priced at $42.95 the book we used was comprehensive and I feel it was affordable for a year long art class.  Each book contains more than just lessons on technique there are pages with Art History and mini bio’s of the artists. 

The people at Artistic Pursuits have created lessons for the whole family from Pre-K up through the High School years.  If you are an adult wanting to learn to draw follow along with the kids, I am sure you will enjoy the lessons like I have.  Visit www.artisticpursuits.com to find out more about all the great products they offer.

TOS Crew members reviewed a wide variety of products by Artistic Pursuits visit the Crew Blog to read about the curriculum nearest to your child’s grade level.

***Disclaimer***  I received a copy of Grades 4-6 Book One The Elements of Art and Composition free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received.  All of the opinions expressed above belong to the family  members who were involved with reviewing this product.

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what we have been up to

We have been B-U-S-Y!

Around here there is a sudden rush of activity just after Thanksgiving.  There are Christmas performances to prepare for, skits to learn, songs to practice…. all of which entail time and energy. Some days I think we forget how to relax.

Two of my favorite things happen the first weekend of December.  One is our Ladies Fellowship Christmas Brunch.  Every January we pick out a name from a basket and spend the year praying for that woman, praying for her family, and if we can afford it, spoiling her just a wee bit with little gifts through out the year.  December Brunch is where we reveal who we had all year.  My secret sister is such an amazing lady….  she blessed me all year long with little gifts, but most importantly, I coveted her prayer through the year.  She slaved over the cutest cross stitched ornaments for us….  I was so blessed by them.

Then later the same night…. the Youth Group puts on a great dinner and a show for us.  They are our servers, the skits are always funny, and the singing beautiful.  It is a great evening of fellowship.

Along with all of this we have been trying to keep up with school and the house.  Family from CA is coming for Christmas….  I am on a bent to be more organized and have begun making a job journal for my 9 year old to use.  He is great if he has a list to follow, so I am going to make him one in a notebook that he can follow for all his school and chores.  Maybe it will keep him from sneaking away from the table any time I run over to change a load of laundry…..  maybe.  I can hope right?

I better get off of here and get to work.  Today there is new tires for the truck, a trip to Wally World piano lessons, a review to write, one to finish building…cookies to bake, photos to edit, and some stuff to proof.  Just writing all that made me tired.

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Learning a language at any age

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This year we were on the hunt for a Spanish program for Evan.  It is his last year in school and all he really “needs” to graduate is a Foreign Language Credit.  Understandably I was very excited to be chosen to review The Easy Spanish Level I and use it for our Spanish Curriculum this year.

I remember my own High School Spanish class as being a bunch of exercises and sentences, conjugation of verbs that I could never remember, and a whole lot of “what did she say?”  Never learning to think in the language, I only learned to spit back the information for tests….  and as a result I never felt like I retained very much.

Fast forward 20+ years… and I was in the middle of Mexico City, Mexico….  Immersed in the language, and very quickly I began to learn…. as it was a matter of survival.  That experience cemented the importance of immersion for me.  I knew if I wanted my children to learn a language they needed to be able to think in this new language.  Just spitting back facts wasn’t going to cut it.

Great Commission Languages - Spanish Level 1

For our review, we primarily used The Easy Spanish! Level I with Evan, a High School senior and very independent learner.  I would make copies of the work text for him to carry in a three ring binder, and he would work on his Spanish before his Radio Broadcasting Class.  I chose to do this because I want to use the book again with my other three children, and I didn’t really want it traveling around the countryside in a teenage boy’s backpack Smile.  I also copied and laminated the flashcards from the back of the book to make them more durable to use with 4 children.

In the beginning he thought the first few parts of the lesson were “a bit young” but as he progressed, and worked through the Independent Learner and Charlotte Mason Activities, he began to see were the real work was.  This course is designed to be used at any grade level.  There are lesson plans for younger children Grades 3-6, for Middle School, as well as for the High School child or adult wishing to learn a new language.  The curriculum is geared to help you begin to think in another language.

For example, you are not given a list of sentences already written in Spanish to copy and learn.  With The Easy Spanish! curriculum you are given a small amount of information such as a verb and a condition, and told to write sentences to describe them.  Your brain has to think in Spanish to come up with them.  The Independent Learner section encourages you to begin a journal, even if it is only a few sentences.  Evan said that this was hard, but it helped him learn the words better.

Each lesson starts by listening to a dialogue on CD. It is recommended that this be done daily.  It is important to be able to hear the language pronounced correctly, especially when a parent does not have the experience of a native speaker.  The text provides

It was great to have a learning template or lesson plan already scheduled for us.  My son could easily look at it and know what portion of the lesson that he needed to work on for that week.

If you teach with Charlotte Mason methods, or even with a more Classical approach, this curriculum would be the one to choose.  You will find none of the rote methods of filling in the blanks here.  Great Commission Languages seeks immerse you in the language so you can embrace it.

The Easy Spanish! is available for $139.95.  This includes a workbook and 2 CD’s.  One of the CD’s is enhanced and when placed in your computer allows you to print out additional copies of some of the templates in the book, as well as notebooking pages for each lesson.  Overall, I found The Easy Spanish! easy to use as a parent,  my son found it easy to use and was able to work at his own pace.  I am excited to start it with my younger two children, and my daughter is itching to start on it next week. Smile  I would say that it is a hit with this family and our learning styles.

Great Commission Languages also has a Junior Spanish, The Easy French! and many more products to help you learn available at their website.  Please take the time to visit them.

TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed both the Spanish and French language programs produced by Great Commission Languages.  Please visit the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog to see what other families experiences with these products.

***disclaimer*** We were giving a copy of The Easy Spanish! Level I for free for the sole purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the opinions above are those of the family members that participated in this review.

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Recovering from a Turkey Coma

Good Morning!!…  At least it is still morning here on my sliver of globe. 

How was everyones Thanksgiving?  I hope it was enjoyable.  We hosted 17 people, it was a great time of eating and talking and eating some more!

I have lots of errands to run this morning, so I will be back to edit this post and share with you more about our Beethoven Study later this afternoon.  But for now, I wanted to get the link up for those of you who are already ready and on the ball!

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