Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up for the Week of December 14

And another busy week . . .

Before Lexie knew about making the cookies to pass out after church, she had promised Little Bit that they could make gingerbread men, so that was one of this week's projects. It took all day, and made a huge mess, but Little Bit had fun, and the cookies are actually pretty yummy.
As a convenient bonus, they are relatively healthy too . . . whole wheat flour, natural sweeteners, etc. We used this recipe.

This week was also when we FINALLY decorated for Hanukkah and Christmas. I tried to convince them that since it took us so long, we should skip the tree this year, but they had it all planned out and would have been soo disappointed if they didn't get to carry out their plan, so we went with it. Little Bit got to decorate the small pink tree in the girls' bedroom, AND the small purple tree in the school room.

The big girls took charge of the bigger tree in the living room. They had decided to combine the 2 holidays that we celebrate in December, and decorate the tree with Hanukkah colors, so after Christmas last year we found silver and blue balls on clearance, and the girls borrowed some more blue and silver balls from Mama when they helped decorate her tree a few weeks ago. They spent as long deciding on a specific "pattern" (don't ask me what it is) as they did actually decorating the tree, but they had fun with it, so whatever works . . .

The final result was nice, and there wasn't TOOO much arguing involved!

Hanukkah started Tuesday night. The first night's gift was a menorah of their own for each of the girls. In addition to being pretty to have more candles lit, it solved the whole "it's my turn to light the menorah!" argument. Now they each have one to light!

We had music lessons on Wednesday this week, because Thursday was otherwise occupied.

Thursday was super busy, but super fun too! My friend, Amy, is a part of a homeschool co-op group that was going to Fulton Theatre to see a performance of the Nutcracker, and asked if we wanted to come too. It was a performance just for school groups, so geared toward kids, and was great! It was a "play" rather than the "ballet" (which we watched on DVD last year, but was really hard to follow the storyline, the play was much more kid-friendly). The actors encouraged the kids to clap along, and such, and then, at the end, came out and answered questions.

As we were driving back from the Theatre, and eating our lunches, Little Bit took a bite of her sandwich, and her (extremely loose) front tooth fell out! She was very excited! Her sisters are now telling her that she should work extra hard to get her other (also loose) front tooth out before Christmas so she can actualy say "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"

On our way home from the play, we stopped by Amy's house for the afternoon. Lexie is playing violin with Amy's daughter, and another little girl for church next weekend, so they all practiced, and the kids played all afternoon, including putting on their own version of the Nutcracker, which was awesome! So fun to see which parts of the show made the biggest impression on the various kids.

With the coming of Hanukkah, our "Hanukkah Fairies" came to visit as well. They've been doing many of the "normal" things, like bringing donuts and such, but this year they had a special surprise just for Little Bit! After watching the movie, Frozen, last month, she is totally obsessed. AND ever since last summer when we made sensory "ice cream" (flour and baby oil) for her to play with, she's been asking when we can make it again. So Thursday night while the girls were sleeping, the fairies made up a batch of the sensory stuff (but called it snow), and the characters of Frozen came to play in the snow with the fairies, and Little Bit. She still likes the "ice cream" aspect of the sensory dough, so she got out the ice cream scoop too. She's spent HOURS playing with that stuff! I suspect we'll be using it alot this winter while cold temperatures keep us inside more.

And finally, we wrapped up our week, with Lexie and Ashlyn teaching in Little Bit's class at church. The story was the shepherds visiting baby Jesus, so the girls had all the kids dress up (Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels . . .) and act out the story with Ashlyn "directing" and Lexie "narrating". It was adorable to watch :)

Weekly Wrap-Up - The Week of December 7

Whew! Life's been hectic this month! Let me see if I can re-cap.  I'm going to go ahead and break things out by week, like normal, despite being a full week late, posting this one, so that the post isn't too horrendously long!

One of our the girls' big projects this week was baking 10 dozen (ish) cookies! My only contribution was making sure they were using recipes that I knew worked, and had all the needed ingredients (and a large part of the clean-up). They did all the actual baking! At church the previous Sabbath the pastor had asked people to bring cookies to pass out downtown on the 13th. Lexie was happy to volunteer and got a package of 40 bags to fill (each bag got 2 cookies, the rest that they baked went in the freezer for Christmas). The girls made snickerdoodles and chocolate, candycane, cookies, and put one of each in the bags.

Sight and Sound:
One of this year's Hanukkah gifts for all 3 girls, was to go see Moses at Sight and Sound. Originally we planned to give them the promise that we'd go see it sometime in January, but then a friend sent me a coupon code for 50% off the price of weekday tickets if we bought our tickets by a certain date, and went to a show in early December, so we went ahead and bought the tickets, and the girls got their gift a week early :)

Little Bit didn't really remember going to see Noah last year, so it was a new experience, all over again, for her. A lovely advantage, in addition to the discounted price, of going on a weekday in December, was that the theater was almost empty! Despite only buying the tickets a week ahead of the show, we were able to sit in our favorite section (middle, about 5 rows back), and there was nobody right beside us. If there was anyone ahead of us they weren't tall enough to block our views, even the kids'.  The one thing I didn't think through well, was that we went to an 11:00 show, which meant we were all STARVING by the time we left, around 1:30. I noticed a group near us eating sandwiches during intermission. If we decide to go to an 11:00 show in the future, I'll look into doing that (I assume, since they sell food in the theater, that food's allowed, but will need to confirm that OUTSIDE food can be brought in). It worked out ok though, because we were already planning to stop at Costco before heading home. DH took the girls to get pizza as soon as we got to Costco, and I did my shopping (without "help", woo-hoo!) while they got the pizza and started eating.

We headed home just in time to beat the beginnings of snow flurries.

The next day we woke up to snow. It snowed ALL DAY!! At the time that we would have needed to leave for music lessons, the road was snow covered and it was still coming down hard, so I contacted the girls' music teacher and arranged to shift their lessons to Friday. However, while it continued to snow, it also warmed up, so by late morning, the snow that HAD stuck, was completely melted, and never did accumulate enough to be real snow. That evening, I met some friends for dinner out. While WE didn't have any snow, people 5 minutes away DID, and people half an hour got several inches! So obviously elevation and such had a huge impact on how the weather played out that day.

Friday was more hectic than usual, with music lessons added into the mix.

Sabbath was "Jeans Sabbath". After church, we ate at the church and then a large group of us headed downtown where we passed out hot chocolate, cookies, clothes, and balloon animals. It's always nice to see people made happy by our little gifts.

So ended that week . . . and we took a deep breath before diving into another busy week!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up for the Week of Nov 30

This is going to be a short update.
The girls were all at my parents' house until Wed afternoon so I don't have any pictures or much detail from that half of the week.

I know they decorated my parents' house, inside and out and went to Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park and loved it as always.

Meanwhile, Rodney and I enjoyed a quiet, relaxing Sunday, just us including dinner at The Melting Pot. I had great plans to get all kinds of cleaning and organizing done without any interruptions on Monday to Wednesday. Instead I had a stomach bug if some kind that wiped me or the whole time. I got lots of knitting done and lots of TV watched and that's about it, sigh.  I did manage to clean our and organize our kitchen freezer and the kitchen drawers, but that was the extent of my productivity.
Thankfully I was feeling better by the time the girls came home.
Thursday we had music lessons, errands and then primping for the office Christmas party.

Friday we enjoyed a play date with friends.

Sabbath was potluck and then we came home and crashed. . .
And to wrap things up, my laptop died that afternoon so I'm learning to use the blogger app on my tablet until we can replace my laptop.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Daddy's Office Christmas Party

Thursday night was Rodney's Office Christmas Party.

The girls spent most of the afternoon primping. Even Little Bit for into it, having Lexie paint her nails and asking me to French breaks her hair to one side "like Elsa." Yes, we did recently watch Frozen!

A couple weeks ago one of the ladies from the social committee at Rodney's office asked if the girls would provide some of the evening's entertainment. Ashlyn doesn't like being in the spotlight (takes after her mommy) but Lexie jumped at the chance to play violin. Changing violins so recently was an added challenge but she stepped up to the challenge and did great. 

And I can't close without including a picture of Ashlyn too.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up for the Week of November 23

Whew! It was a busy (and CRAZY WEATHER) Thanksgiving week. The girls and I spent the week at my parents' house.

Monday's weather was AMAZING. We spent as much time as possible outside.

Tuesday we spent the day with friends. Again, lots of outside time soaking up the weather. And, oddly enough (considering how much I dislike chickens) playing with chickens. And ducks. And turkeys. And guinea fowl. But mostly the chickens because they're the friendliest, I guess. 

 Tuesday evening Rodney joined us at my parents house, just in time for the weather to do an abrupt about face and went from gorgeous and warm(ish) to snow and sleet and . . . wow I'm glad none of us have to go anywhere, today!

We ordered new tablets for the big girls because we found a good deal and Ashlyn's iPod had died, leading to her borrowing my tablet and discovering how superior Android is to Apple. Much to their excitement, the tablets, that we expected to arrive while we were gone, arrived before Daddy left home, so he brought them with him.

 I had to laugh at the sight that greeted me the next morning, Daddy and his girls, playing on their devices :)

The girls spent a large part of Wednesday making Thanksgiving decorations.

They made enough pinecone turkeys to have one at each place for Thanksgiving dinner.

And they made construction paper pumpkins.

Needless to say, Lexie has been doing lots of practicing with her new size of violin, and I finally remembered to snap a picture of her practicing.
Thursday for Thanksgiving, My dad and the big girls went to pick my grandmother up from the Assisted Living Center while Rodney went and picked up his mom and her house. His sister and her husband stopped by for awhile too. 

I showed Lexie a picture of a Turkey Veggie Tray that I saw online, and she decided she could do that, or better, and set to work.

The finished product:

My brother and his girlfriend came to dinner too. And after he went through line, the turkey veggie tray looked abit different. It gave Lexie some good insight into what it's like to have a brother LOL.

Thursday evening was quieter than usual, with Rodney was taking his mom home and my Dad and the big girls were taking Grandma back, so it was just Lina, Mama and me.

Friday afternoon friends came over and we made homemade pizza. After it was too late to make for Thanksgiving Dinner, I had seen ANOTHER picture online of a turkey made out of rice krispy treats and M&Ms, so that was Lexie and Ashlyn's Friday project, to have for dessert after pizza.

The lighting is horrible but it's proof that once in awhile Lexie and Ashyn actually work together happily on a project.

Once the turkey was all shaped, Little Bit got to "stuff" the turkey with M&Ms.

 And, after we'd all stuffed ourselves with tons of yummy homemade pizza, we dug into our turkey, didn't it turn out great?

And that was our Thanksgiving.

Saturday morning Rodney and I headed home, leaving the girls to be well-spoiled by the grandparents for a few days, so I can't tell you much about their Saturday. I hear they spent the afternoon earning their Junior Ranger badges at Catoctin National Park, and looking at Christmas lights.

How Do I Meet the State's Requirements?

I'm blogging today on the SDA Homeschool Blog about complying with state regulations when you're a relaxed homeschooler.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up for the Week of November 16

Such crazy weather, but we've been having fun! 

Hands-on school is always the most fun, and this week it was tasty too. The girls worked together to make a catapult (that would be for medieval history class) out of bamboo skewers, marshmallows, a plastic spoon, tape & a rubber band. It was rather . . .  rickety . . . and the marshmallows holding it together had to be replaced rather frequently (but that may have been a plot . . . since the smooshed ones HAD to be eaten, so as not to be "wasteful"). But they had great fun shooting mini marshmallows across the room at each other (and, of course, eating the ammunition that was shot at them). Even Little Bit, who has, up to this point, been not so sure about all this history stuff that we are obsessed with, decided that history is fun, and yummy! To add to her change of heart, we've been listening to Jim Weiss's fairy tale CDs in the car (because, fairy tales are set in the middle ages, so it all ties together nicely . . . and we need every excuse we can find to listen to Jim Weiss stories!) and she's been enjoying those too. 

Much as we all love our planned school stuff, my favorites are always the things the kids come up with completely on their own. I have a big plastic drawer in the school room that is just random odds & ends that can be used for crafts. When I clean the school room bits of yarn, random (unused) stickers, etc get tossed in that drawer. If we make an art project and have some specific thing left over, I toss those in that drawer too. At some point I needed a kitchen sponge for some project, and tossed the rest of the package into that drawer.  One day this week, Little Bit noticed them, and, completely on her own created a pretend "lollypop"!!! She stuck stickers to the sponge and then taped it onto a popsicle stick and ta-da! It's a "lollypop" (or perhaps an ice cream bar, but she can call it whatever she likes, she created it, hee hee!).  An added benefit of this kind of completely independent creativity, is seeing how proud of herself she is when she creates something that everyone is genuinely impressed with.

As is typical of many, if not most, homeschool families, we tend to make lots of trips to the local library. I love that our county has it set up so that I can go onto the website, and search the entire county, and have the books I need delivered to our local library where I just have to go to the desk and pick them up. While I am doing that, Little Bit loves to play in the children's area. Often she plays a Dora game on the computer there, but this week when I went to find her and Lexie, they weren't by the computers, instead, I found them at the puppet theater, where they put on a "play" in which 2 girls fought over . . . whatever that little blue thing was supposed to be, and finally the 3rd girl suggested they share it, which they did, and then everyone was happy again. It was pretty cute, though at some point someone needs to work with Little Bit on the concept of having the puppets face forward, not down LOL. But it was pretty cute. And anything, especially something spontaneous and not Mommy-prompted, that encourages/re-emphasizes sharing and getting along is great in my book!

Lexie's excitement this week was moving up a size in her violin. Her teacher had mentioned a few weeks ago that she was ready to move from a half size to a 3/4 size violin, and I'd called the rental place to arrange to trade them out. I finally heard back from them this week and Thursday afternoon we went to pick up her new (rental) violin. She's super excited, but was abit sad to  be saying goodbye to "Vinnie" her first violin, so, at her request, I took a picture of her having her last lesson with "Vinnie".  I didn't think to take a picture of her testing out her new violin later that day. The man who owns the shop where we rent from is talkative and interested in ancient instruments so we ended up spending about an hour with him answering their questions, which raised more questions which he also happily answered. 
We wrapped up our week with a Christmas parade . . . walking in it, that is!  Our church had a float in the city's Christmas parade (you may remember I mentioned a couple weeks ago, that we got candy canes ready for a parade, this was that parade). The float was a simple live nativity, and the younger kids had the option to dress as farm animals and walk along with the float (and the rest of us) passing out candycanes. Doesn't Little Bit make a perfect curly haired sheep?  The big girls and I walked in it too, passing out candy canes (we didn't dress up though, just wore our red, t-shirts and jeans). I wasn't sure how Little Bit would do walking so far, she's never been as interested in walking (she LIKED her stroller, the twins hated being in a stroller, so that prompted them to learn to walk long distances pretty young. She'd still happily ride in the stroller if I let her, and often coerces her sisters into pushing her around the yard in it just for fun). But we talked about it ahead of time and she really wanted to do it, and she did great. No complaining at all until we were walking the last couple blocks from the end of the parade route to where Daddy was waiting with the car to pick us up. She also did excellent with our long wait for our turn to actually walk in the parade. We had to be lined up, ready to go (relatively speaking) by 9am, but, being approximately in the middle of the parade, didn't actually start moving until around 10am.

Lexie and Ashlyn did great too, but I would expect no less from them :) And they had a blast doing it! They're already talking about doing it again next year!