Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Giveaway: The Last Christian

I am excited to share a book giveaway that I found out about through a link in the Suspense/Thriller reading challenge I am currently involved in.  This book sounds really interesting.  Just go to A Few More Pages to see the description and review, and to sign up for the giveaway.
I have been trying to find good Christian Suspense books and this one sounds quite intriguing.  I like the sci-fi twist that I read about in the review.

We finished our Creation Lapbook!!

Well, we have been working on this creation lapbook for a few weeks and today we finally put the finishing touches on it, so I wanted to share.  We started out our Creation Bible times several weeks ago, following the schedule in my Little Folk Visuals parent guide.  Here are some pictures of the children using the felts:







I had a felt piece of the earth from a different set that I used to show the girls that the earth has water and land.  They used this as a pattern to color in their "Whole World in His Hands" pop up.



Tabitha decided to place the felt on her paper (not a bad fit, huh?)


Then I decided to add a section right under this pop up (the printable included the song).  So I made sure the girls know He's got Tabitha/Amelia in His hands!  I added a picture of each girl in their own lapbook and we glued on hearts showing how much God loves them both that he made them each special and unique.  We went into the bathroom to look in the mirror so they could discover their eye color and hair color, which we added to two of the hearts.





I found an activity sheet on which the girls were to match creatures with the homes God has made for them.  I thought it was from dltk-bible.com but I can't find it now.  I had followed a link to it, but now I can't find it at their site.  If I find it I will post the link.



(Amelia did get a little help drawing the lines)

Then we made a mini book I designed (which is what was holding up this lapbook because I didn't have everything I wanted to use for this craft, then I just decided to dig and improvise and make do.  I took several pieces of cardstock and cut them in half lengthwise, ending up with a 4 1/4 inch width.  Each page was then cut out.  I started out at 3 inch height and worked my way up to 10 inches, with 1 inch intervals.  Each page was devoted to one day of creation.  The girls were able to trace dots to write the days of the week.  They got to glue on different things or use stickers for each day.





Here is the completed lapbook:

I put our memory verse on the cover and had the girls color 
Tabitha made a happy face (you can't see it really well but it is by the end of the word beginning)

This is the view after opening the two flaps:

Our minibook:



View after opening the middle flap downward.  This is the memory match game.  
I made a pocket for the picture cards representing each day.



The habitat match activity:

All about me



I found printables for this lapbook at a couple of different sites.  

Lapbooklessons.com had the "whole world" pop up and the "all about me" printables.  I turned part of it into a "My favorite things" book.  And from their sister site: Christian Preschool Printables I printed out the Creation Memory Match cards.

For other cool activities being done by preschoolers and toddlers, head on over to Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1

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Friday, May 21, 2010

A Somewhat productive week


I am thinking back on this week, trying to remember what we did.  I actually started out the week on a positive note, lots of optimism that I was getting back on a schedule.  Hahaha, did I say schedule...with a 1 month old?!?!?!?

We have been keeping track of the vegetables the girls are eating.  We are trying to eat a wide variety of vegetables, so we went vegetable shopping (and bought some other food too).  Didn't think to take a picture of us choosing our veges at the store.  We have paper "plates" on the wall to which we tape pictures of the veges the girls eat at each meal, but they have to have actually eaten them somewhat.  I mean, they don't have to clean their plates, but they need to have made a good attempt of eating them.





At the end of the week I put them on a different piece of paper, making a chart.



We are going to compare how many vegetables they eat from week to week and which are the more popular vegetables in any given week.  So far carrots and beets are winning.

I believe this was the only thing we did that was V related.  I had some cute plans, but I guess they will wait til next week.  We have been watching our vegetables grow. I was so excited when I realized I recognized what was growing where.  I thought I would remember, but I didn't at first.  We marked the rows with rocks and sticks so we could find them, but I couldn't remember which veges were planted in each row. The other day I recognized the green beans, the opposite side of the peas than I thought we had planted them.  At first, the only plants I recognized were the peas.  Then I realized that another two rows had leaves that looked familiar.  I was seeing teeny tiny spinach leaves!  I had to call the children out and show them what I was seeing.  As I mentioned in the last post, I get really excited over growing things.

The productive part of our garden:

Our peas:


And our teeny spinach (with a few weeds we haven't weeded yet)






We have been working on our Creation Lapbook.  We colored an earth paper.  We worked on our Days of Creation week minibook.  They did a worksheet based on the homes God has given different creatures to live in.  I started organizing the lapbook.  I hope to finish it this weekend and have a post with pictures for everyone.

We went to playgroup on Tues, to the girls' delight.  The week before we could only stay for a half an hour because I had an appointment.  And since Hannah has been born we had only gone one other time.  So I think we are getting back into our routine slowly.

We didn't get anything done Wednesday because Hannah had a hearing screening.  (I'm pleased to share that her hearing is just fine).  It doesn't matter what time of day appointments are, they get me off schedule and we don't get much done.

Yesterday we also worked on our creation lapbook.  If we CAN get that finished today or tomorrow we will devote next week to finishing up V.  I love doing these lapbooks, but they sure take up a lot of planning and prep time.  I am not sure what our next Bible story is.  When I figure that out we will see if I am going to do another lapbook so soon after this one.

So this week our Bible verse was
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Tabitha shocked me the one day when, after only going over it 2 times on previous days, she recited it perfectly after I said the reference.

Oh, and the girls have also been able to watch the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD, which should actually be watched before the Talking Words Factory DVD I recommended last week.  I also recommend this one.  Here you get introduced to every letter and their sound.  You get to see the cute way that the letters are "trained" to say their specific sound.  Tabitha actually requested to watch the Letter one over the Word one this week.

And of course, we watched a signing time DVD, the episode about "My Day."  I am enjoying learning signs right along with the girls.  And Tabitha does a good job explaining how the signs are supposed to be formed.

To see what others are doing with their preschoolers and toddlers head on over to Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Surprising nature discovery

I have mentioned how I enjoy checking out nature with the girls.  There is just something so awesome about God's creation that seems to fascinate me, even though bugs still gross me out.  At times I get so excited, and I really can't explain it, when I discover something new, or see something start to grow.  It just stirs something up in me and I need to share it with the girls and the rest of the family.  That is one reason I enjoy trying to grow a garden.  The joy and awe when I see the evidence of new life sprouting from the earth from what seemed to be a dead seed is such a witness of God's amazing creativeness and power.

Today's discovery was just as awesome and quite unexpected.


If you are not sure what this is, here is hint: What critters dig complex networks of tunnels underground, carrying the dirt up to the top and make hills.  If you said ants you are correct.  These ant hills were discovered in a surprising place by my son this afternoon.  


He moved the basketball hoop and they were underneath!

It had been sitting in the same spot for over a year.  We were shocked to see the paths the ants had made on the surface of the ground. 


The ants didn't appreciate being disturbed.

We took the girls out to see the ant world when they woke up



We used a stick to try to cut the hill in half.  There were no ants in the two mounds themselves, but we were able to view a few ants scurrying around as we poked and prodded.  Poor ants...

Oh, why didn't we notice this when we were doing U lessons.  Oh well, it was still really interesting and now we are tempted to get an ant farm.

(Cool, I just noticed I can click on the pictures and they are able to be viewed larger.  I have seen this on other people's blogs, but mine weren't doing that.  If you can click on these pictures you can get a much better look at the details)



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back on track with Montessori

Well, I had completely gotten off track with introducing Montessori activities the last couple of months.  And the few things I had on the shelf were completely ignored by the girls.  So today I revamped a couple of activities and reintroduced them, letting the girls know they can get them off the shelf if they would like to work with them. I still think they are not understanding they can get them off the shelf on their own.  Of course, with Amelia, she prefers to get into the stuff and play with it, losing it or making a huge mess.  So right now we have the spooning on the shelf with elbow macaroni in it.  And Amelia still prefers using her hands, but she persevered longer than usual using the spoon.

I changed from pony beads to the foam beads in the bead threading onto a pipe cleaner activity.  At first I thought Amelia would have a difficult time with it because the holes are smaller, but she did great.




Our pattern bead activity started out as a threading onto a string activity as well.  Unfortunately, the plastic needle that came with it has been lost (wouldn't surprise me if it was down the heater vent that is right next to the stand) so it has just become a pattern matching activity.  Tabitha did a great job with the pattern cards, but soon decided it would be more fun to stack them and make them into a "hamburger."





I'm looking forward to being more on track from now on, but with the baby, who knows.  

Head on over to One Hook Wonder to see what others are doing with Montessori.


 

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Secret of the Old Clock review

Well, I finished my first book for the Nancy Drew reading challenge.  The Secret of the Old Clock is a quick read, as I figure all the books in the series will be.  Nancy finds herself drawn in to a search for a will when she becomes acquainted with two elderly sisters who are the guardians of a little girl Nancy witnesses almost being run over by a moving truck.  Along the way, as she searches, Nancy discovers others who are acquainted with or related to the gentleman who has passed away.  They are all in need of some financial help of which the gentleman has promised them they would receive.  But his last will and testament leaves everything to another family.  Is there a later will?  That is what Nancy sets out to discover.
Out of 5 stars I would rate this book a 3.  The way the story moved along it seemed there were too many coincidences, where the information Nancy needed just seemed to fall into her lap.  There were scenes of minor conflict that seemed to be resolved way too quickly.  At times a scene would just be introduced and next thing I knew that part of the story was over with out a lot of detail.  Toward the end of the book we finally were introduced to some suspense that helped to move the book to its conclusion.  Definitely could tell this book was not written recently.  So proper and polite.  Though it would be great if kids these days were as respectful to there parents as Nancy is to her dad and to others she meets.  All in all I would recommend this book, especially if you are looking for a quick read.  It is a great introduction to Nancy Drew and if you are looking for something for your children to read you won't have to worry about foul language, etc.

Head on over to my other blog, Me, Myself, I Read, to see what other challenges I am involved in.  Come join me on my adventure!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

U lessons concluded


I am going to see if I can get a decent blog post out before the baby decides it is time to eat again.  We finished the letter U last week and I started introducing V this week.  I have yet to do anything crafty with the girls this week though.  I feel so unproductive, but little Miss Hannah doesn't let me get a lot done.  Most of the things we do get done are spontaneous and have nothing to do with our letter of the week seeing as I don't have time to prepare our activities.  Here is what we did get accomplished last week:

We made Upside-down pineapple cake.  My first time ever and it was delicious.  I am not patting myself on the back.  I found a great recipe at www.allrecipes.com.  This is actually the first cake I ever made from scratch.  The girls really enjoyed helping.
Getting ready:

Cutting cherries:


Adding cherries walnuts and brown sugar to melted margarine:




Adding and eating pineapple:


Sifting flour with baking soda and salt:


Enjoying the privileges of helping bake:





Not the best looking, but it was delicious:


Speaking of "upside down," we also made an upside down picture.  I wracked my brain for quite a while trying to see what would work.  

They cut fringes for grass (I love her look of concentration)

Amelia posing for a picture (I couldn't resist posting this)


Amelia attempting to use scissors (at least she let me show her how to hold them properly this time!)


They glued the grass and clouds on.
I know I know... it doesn't look upside down yet.


Then they glued on the tree trunk.


They painted the tree leaves green


Did you know, if trees turned upside down the eggs would fall right out of the nests?  Lol


And that was our upside down project.

It was while I was over at Mozi Esme that I thought of finding something to do with "upside down."

We also got outside a few times last week.  Daddy helped us fly a kite Up in the sky.  



I picked on daddy because he is flying a Dora kite.  I know, it's not nice to pick.




They didn't have much success as there wasn't much wind, but the girls had fun.

On a different day we spent some time just looking up at the sky, at the clouds.  Tabitha kept telling me what various clouds looked like, I just don't remember which cloud was the alligator or the hippo.  Maybe you can tell?










I think that is all we did that was letter U related.  The girls did request to play Candyland several times recently.  In fact, I fell asleep while I was supposed to be playing the one time.  I just fell asleep sitting up!










Amelia can say blue (I think it is the only color she can say), but she was able to find a matching color on the board each time, usually not the space she needed to move to, but we helped her move.

One video I would recommend is Leap Frog Talking Words Factory.  Tabitha loves to watch it and I like the way they explain how to blend the sounds.  Adorable letters with their own individual personalities to compliment their sounds are brought together by different machines at the factory as the children help the professor make words for the talking words dictionary.  Since she began watching this (we take it out from the library a lot) if we give her a simple phonetic word, like cat, she will say she is spelling it.  She will say the word, say the first sound /k/, then move to the next sound say /a/ and move on to /t/.  Most of the time she will use the sign for the letter, so we know she is comprehending that the letter corresponds to the sound.  Daddy told me she sounded out her own name to write it on my mother's day card, only having trouble with the "th."  

Besides these activities the children have mostly played with Legos, loved their sister to pieces (poor Hannah) and watched signing videos.  I was amazed to see Amelia actually signing along with the video.  I know she knows signs, but I never saw her interacting with the video before.  We enjoy the Signing Time DVD's and one called I Want to Learn to Sign.  Unfortunately our library system only has Vol 1.  In order to get Vol 2 I would have to request it and three other people would have to request it.  Grrrrrr.

And yes, we are working on our Creation Lapbook, but I will have to ask you to stay tuned once again for a post about it.

To see what others are doing with their preschoolers and tots, head on over to Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1.



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