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December 30, 2008

Pregnancy Update...

Our latest update is....I'm still pregnant! :-)

Today I had a follow up ultrasound and it looks like the little girl's head is right on top of the cervix and her weight is about 6 1/2 pounds right now. Considering that her brothers were 6.3 pounds and 6.11 pounds when born AND they went to 41 weeks...we can confidently say this will be my biggest baby so far. She seems to be developing very well and has continued to be active even if she has very little space left to move.

The nursery is coming along now that Abuela has arrived from Puerto Rico to help with it. We are having a lot of fun sorting through all the PINK clothes. :-)

I am very tired these days and my prayer is she will come sooner than later...but we'll see...

Back to blogging soon...

December 22, 2008

Christmas Crafts

Our Christmas crafts here have been simple, easy and fun. Here's some things we've made with everyday supplies (construction paper, glue, tape, scissors, markers, etc.). These were ideas I got from The Crafty Crow.

We made these simple trees and snowflakes to display in our school room window.


Cut circles... ...and fold in half...



...fold in half again... ....then cut, cut, cut little pieces...



...open up and there's your pretty snowflake!!



Fold paper in half and cut triangle...then cut little pieces out...and open up again to see your tree!



We also made these simple "trees" by tracing our hands and gluing little color dots (from hole punches) for ornaments. And yes, we completely forgot about the tree trunk...oh well!




Caleb practiced drawing a reindeer. We wrote just "deer" on the page since he thought reindeer was a very long word. :)



They also made these silly gingerbread boys using all kinds of leftover crafts (buttons, pom poms, ribbon, star stickers and markers).


December 19, 2008

Kindergarten Update- we are halfway done!

Starting Monday we will officially be on a school break until after the baby comes. So I thought of posting an update on how Caleb is doing (mostly for our family) in Kindergarten.
Bible:
We have so much fun doing school and I am very proud of what the boys are learning but to us there's just no greater satisfaction that seeing our little ones hiding God's Word in their hearts and learning how to apply it to their lives.

And even when I don't get to post much about it here in our blog (maybe I should), this year the boys have learned LOTS of verses with the help of mom and especially dad.

So...tomorrow I will post a separate post about what they've learned and what we've learned in the process as well. ;-)


Reading:
We are more than halfway done with Reading Made Easy and he is doing very, very well. He is reading sentences like: "The crow said, " I can bring the corn to your home. I can pick it up in my beak". I've added a few "bingo" games in addition to the ones given in the manual to review blends and we do these between lessons.

We've also finished our first Sight Word Worm (or caterpillar...you decide...) and started our second one!

Overall, I am very pleased with RME. He enjoys it and it's at a pace that we can both enjoy. Noah sits down next to us during the stories part and it's neat to see Caleb call him: "Come Noah, I will read you a story"....I just LOVE that!

For our break time we will use "Bob Books" to review what we've learned so far.


Handwriting:
We just finished today all of the capital letters and numbers!!! So after the break we will begin the lowercase letters. Another big thumbs up for Handwriting Without Tears. Once again, the approach is so gentle and although his writing is probably not his strength, for a five year old boy he is doing very well and is very proud of knowing how to write all the "big letters".


Math:
This is by far Caleb's favorite subject. We are almost done with book one of Horizons Math K (just few lessons left). The manual suggest we do one lessons per day but many days Caleb begs for more so we are doing one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some of what he's learned so far...

  • Numbers 1-100's, counting and recognizing
  • Writing numbers 1-30
  • Adding single digit up to 40's family
  • Shapes, sizes, colors, directions
  • Cardinal numbers
  • Number after, before, in between
  • Counting by 10's
  • Counting by 5's
  • Money recognition and simple adding (pennies, nickel, dime & dollar)
  • Time reading by hour only
  • A little bit of place value
  • Measuring with inches (intro to find perimeter)
  • Calendar reading (days of the week, months)
  • tally marks counting
  • Bar Graphs

Just writing this list seems like so much work for 4 months of school!! But the spiral approach of Horizons works great for Caleb and keeps him very interested in what is coming next. The concepts are introduced and then constantly reviewed. I am also adding many manipulative to review the material so that he is not always stuck to a workbook (although he doesn't seem to mind at all).

Social Studies:

We've read and talk about people all over the world, what a city/town is, what a president is, jobs people do, etc.

Science and Geography:

We've combined these subjects some hands-on stuff and using many books. Some of the areas we've discussed and learned about..

  • Birds
  • Trees, plants, flowers (we finished the Usborne's "Science with Plants" book)
  • Wild Animals (world habitats, life cycles, food chains, behavior,etc.)
  • Animal Classification
  • Deserts
  • Jungles
  • Mountains
  • Identify continents and ocean in world map

For the animal classification we used the pockets and animal cards from homeschoolshare and made this simple file folder where they can add more animals throughout the year.


I am looking to start a nature journal (Charlotte Mason style) after the break since Caleb is now able to write on his own and I can help Noah and he can dictate.

Art:

We finished A Child's Book of Art. And continue to practice drawing with the "I can Draw People" and "I can Draw Animals" books. I am looking to start artists/painting studies (Charlotte Mason style) after the break, probably using the ambleside online schedule.

Music:

Here's another area that I don't ever blog about but that is so big in my life and my family's life (if you know me...you know this is my life!!). And yet this comes so natural to me that I have no need for planning it or getting curriculum, etc. We regularly listen to all types of music (classical, worship, modern, jazz, latin). I usually let them hear and learn what I like and enjoy. When there's a classical piece being played I usually name the composer and ask them to identify some of the instruments they hear. Little things like these can develop a good musical ear on little ones without having to get into formal music training yet.

We also regularly sing children's songs and hymns at the piano and with CDs. Another place where I always have classical music is in the car. If we are driving somewhere far (and dad is not going with us) I play classical music for them. I started doing this when Caleb was 18 months and by now he can identify so many famous composers' works. He knows what Beethoven symphony sounds like or a Mozart piano sonata or Saint Saenz and many others. To me, is all about exposure to the music. As they get older and show interest we will move into theory and instrument instruction.

December 18, 2008

FIAR Christmas Ornaments Exchange 2008

Here's our little Christmas tree with all the ornaments we received! How fun it was to get these in the mail and see the creativity of all families.

Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy ours and we can't wait to do this again next year!!!
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Go Gators!

Soccer season is over now. We are very proud of Caleb finishing his first soccer season. Here's a shot of him with his very first trophy. :-)

See that smile?? He never stopped smiling during soccer...every week...every practice...every game. Even the coach mentioned it when he gave him the trophy. Can't wait to do it all over again in the Spring!

December 16, 2008

Pregnancy Update: 35 1/2 weeks

There you have it...me and my belly these days. Things have continued well with the baby and me. I do continue to have lower back, legs and hips but just trying to hang in there...just one more month to go!!

My emotions are still running very high...especially now during the holidays. But Brad and the boys are giving me a lot of grace these days and helping a lot in the house.

I can't wait for our little girl to be born!! The nursery is still not done but hope to start working on it soon and in the meantime trying not to get anxious about it. My mom will be here in 2 weeks so will be able to help with that.

My doctor wants me to have another ultrasound in a week so it looks like we will have one last peek of the baby before she's here!
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December 12, 2008

If Jesus came to my house

Ok, so I know this is not a Christmas story but since this holiday it's all about JESUS, I just had to pull this book out during this time. We've been enjoying If Jesus Came To My House by Joan Gale Thomas on and off for a few weeks now. We own the older version that's mostly black, red and white. There's a new edition out with new illustrations but we have not seen it yet at our library.

Christmas is a season of giving and in our home we are not big on giving lots of gifts to each other but we always make sure to do some type of local and international "giving" project and so I used this as a tie-in with the story on how Jesus calls us to care for those in need and how doing unto others is doing unto Him.

We will also be welcoming friends and family into our home the next months and this book is a great way to talk about hospitality and the golden rule.

So...if you have not read this book yet to your little ones....you could do it this Christmas!! It's such a beautiful story! My prayer is that my little boys will learn also to bless others and show the love of Jesus by being kind and good.

December 11, 2008

Is that snow falling outside??

Yep...it sure was...and here in Houston!! Yesterday was a very cold day with temperatures below normal for this time of year. The boys were taking a nap in the afternoon when most of the flurries fell. It was not enough for it to stick to the grown but thankfully we had our trampoline and swing that served as "nets" to collect a thin sheet of snow for them to play with.
The pictures are not great shots because it was very dark and cold outside.

Since we moved here Caleb has been sad about the fact that he will not have a snow-full winter like in Chicago. This was such a pleasant surprise for him that he shouted: "Thank you God for the pretty snow!!" Thankfully the weather is now returning to it's normal and tomorrow we are expected to go back to 70 degrees!! Now if this is all the snow we get down here I wouldn't mind one or two more days like these this winter. :-)

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December 10, 2008

Our tree is up!!

Thanks to Walmart for the GREAT DEAL on this pre-lit Christmas tree!! The boys were so excited to help me decorate it. Our ornaments theme for this year is Christmas Treats. Some ornaments we ordered from Oriental Trading and some I got at Dollar Tree store. I am still waiting for these ornaments to arrive.
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More Christmas stories...

Here's some more Christmas/Winter stories that we will be enjoying this year just for fun. They are all great read aloud stories recommended by other homeschool moms and I was able to find them at our local library!!
  • Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
  • Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell
  • The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans
  • The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene
  • If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (BFIAR title)
  • The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

December 08, 2008

Gingerbread Baby Fun

We cannot have Christmas season pass by without reading "The Gingerbread Baby" by Jan Brett. And did you know there's a sequel to the story that just came out?? It's called "The Gingerbread Friends". We got a chance to preview and read the book and it's very, very good. A great companion to the first story.
There's just so much you can do with the gingerbread theme but I'm all about keeping things simple and these days so here's what we did..

Homeschoolshare has a free lapbook components and lesson plan for this book. Noah is very much into memory games right now so we used this one after reading the story.

We also played this simple board game from Jan Brett's website.

Back in October I bought these very cute and simple gingerbread kids ornaments from Oriental Trading and the boys LOVED making them. They are going to look so cute in our Christmas tree (...if I get to put it up! LOL!).







The boys also worked on their very first gingerbread house!! This house might not win a contest but they were so proud of their hard work and were able to resist eating it right away so that dad could see it in the afternoon. :-)


December 06, 2008

In the mood for some Christmas music...

This will be the first time in many years that I will not be singing during Christmas with a choir or solo or leading worship at church.

But...I might go caroling door to door for the very first time with some friends from church! (Apparently, that it's still ok to do during Christmas here in Texas. LOL!)

To make up for that I am in a serious mood for Christmas music being played at home..all day...(sorry Brad!)...and my blog of course will be no exception to that so starting today thru January 6 (that's when Christmas really ends) I'll have Christmas music on my player. I moved it to the top of the sidebar...in case you need to pause it...

Hope you enjoy listening to some old and some new tunes. Did you know you can click on the player where it says "pop out player" and it will open this playlist on a different window? This is great if you want to navigate out of the blog and still enjoy the music.

I love all the Christmas classics and hymns but also love to learn new ones every year. So I'll be adding more tunes every week. After all...the Bible says to sing a new song to the Lord, right?? ;-)

December 04, 2008

Spritz Cookies

This week we joined a group of local homeschoolers for a Winter Fest and Cookie Exchange party. We made these very simple but fun butter cookies with our Pampered Chef cookie press in the shape of Christmas Trees. In return, we received LOTS of different types of homemade cookies and with the recipes attached to them!! Yummm! We will be making these again this holiday season to share with neighbors and new friends here in Houston.

The recipe is from AllRecipes.com. This website is so good!! I have never been disappointed with a recipe I get from here. You can also open a free account and keep all your recipes in one database online.
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Advent Activity

We've started our Advent countdown this week. We are opening a little gift everday till December 25 to remind us of the greatest gift of all...JESUS!

I purchased a packet of little gift bags at the dollar store and fill them up with small treats and toys and also a Bible verse to read together. Each little 'gift' has something to do with the verse. This was so easy and inexpensive to put together and the boys are looking forward to it every morning.
This will definitely become a new Christmas tradition in our home.

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December 02, 2008

What to do with all those moving boxes??

What about a puppet theater??!!
The boys have been asking for one so I finally got them a very inexpensive one!! We are planning to decorate it some time this month...or next. ;-)

I've added some clips of their first puppet show to our Video Bar to the right.
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December 01, 2008

"The Months" pockets-pt. 3

Here are the last four months of our year-long project on learning the months of the year. Click on the links below to read about this unit and see the rest of the months.
September: Apple Paint Stamps


October: Coloring Page with little pieces of orange construction paper for "fall leaves". Printout from First-School.


November: Stars stickers and chalk planets on black construction paper


December: finger painted mittens (we used Q-tip for the white paint dots). Pattern from DLTK-Kids.


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