Hey, It's Jade!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Countdown to Christmas - Names of Jesus Chain

Image from SpellOutLoud.com
I saw this post over at Spell Out Loud and fell in love with the Names of Jesus Advent Chain.  Last year, counting down to Christmas, we did the Jesse Tree from A Holy Experience and it was a neat experience, but Preston was too young to really get all the information, I think.  He lost interest just a little ways into it.  I want to do something simpler this year, and when I saw the name chain... I knew it would be perfect.  Nothing that required too much work, but gave us a moment to pause and focus on Jesus!  I have printed out the chain links, will be cutting them out and linking them together in a long chain and putting them up somewhere near our "classroom" (aka kitchen table) tomorrow.  Every day in December we'll take a link off so that the chain is getting smaller as we get closer to Christmas. I like that on each of the links there is a Bible verse to go with the name, so we can look it up and read about it!  In addition to the chain, as suggested by Spell Out Loud, I have printed out these Names of Jesus Ornaments.  I did the Black & White versions so Preston can color them and make them his own!  We'll be putting these UP as the chain links come DOWN!  All in anticipation of Jesus' Birthday!

I checked out and purchased the Truth in Tinsel eBook that I saw all of my bloggy friends raving about.  See Mama Jenn's post and printables for it here.  It is adorable and I am really looking forward to going through it with my boys at some point.  However, I don't think it's right for us this year.  I want something super simple and that doesn't require a lot of extra time or materials.  I think I will wait to do it next year when Callen is a bit older and will be able to take part in some of it.  After looking through it, though, I wish I was able to do it this year 'cause it looks SO fun!  I'm sure it will be equally as fun next year.  You can't do everything at the same time, right?

I'm pretty excited for December 1st to arrive so we can start our countdown and name study.  I love using this time to focus on Jesus, the real Reason for the Season.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Callenism on Telling the Truth...

Me: Are you stinky pants?
Callen: No.
Me: Are you sure? You smell stinky to me! Did you go potty?
Callen: Noooo!
Me: Are you lying?
Callen:  :::GRRROOOWLLLL!:::
Me: What? Why?  Oh, no... not LION, lying!
Callen: :::GRROOWWLLL!!!:::

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Nativity is Up!

I know, right?  You're probably saying, "But, Jade... I KNOW how your husband feels about putting Christmas decor up this early!"  Well, yes, you're correct... he isn't a big fan (and don't even THINK about putting it up BEFORE Thanksgiving!).  We always wait until after Preston's birthday, which is December 4th.  Down come the birthday party decorations and up go the Christmas decor!  But, this year I was sent an awesome Holy Night Nativity Set from OutdoorNativitySets.com for review.  So I convinced him that putting up this one thing a week early would not kill him.  

I had an idea of what the nativity scene would look like, but I thought it was going to be made of wood.  The box arrived, and it was light and very compact, so I was quite surprised.  It's made of "marine grade plastic."
The box can be used to store it for next year!
There was a brochure and letter attached that explained about the company.  I found it really neat that this particular company in Florida spends the rest of the year building parts for the marine industry, but since that business dies down in the Fall they are able to keep their workers busy building nativity sets for Christmas!  Yay, small business!

Once I opened the box, it literally took 10 minutes to build the entire nativity set.  It is soooooo easy, and it doesn't even require tools!  
Well packaged, ready to assemble!
Just because I wanted to be extra sure the nativity would stay in place and not get blown away, I did the extra mounting for the large stakes so it did require a screwdriver, but not really much extra effort (and had I not done the extra mounts, it would have taken even less time!)!  I did it all by myself while Preston and Michael stood nearby watching.  You can view just how simple it is to assemble in this video.  The part that took the longest of the entire thing, was trying to figure out exactly where in the yard we should put it!  Once we figured that out and got it in place, we staked it down, put the lighting in front of it.  And boom... we had a lovely, white nativity scene!
Looks wonderful in the day time!
I love that it's so simple, and elegant really.  Preston asked if we could paint it, but I like that it's just white... just a pure, clean silhouette of Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the stable and two sweet, little sheep.  It looks great in the daytime and lit up at night.  I was a little worried that since it's such light weight material, it'd easily fall over or get blown down.  However, with the extra long poles included for staking, the entire set up is very sturdy.  We had quite a windy day today, and it is still standing strong! 
Looks wonderful lit up at night too!
The company also offers add-ons, if you'd like a large scene.  They have a 2-piece Angel set, Three Wise Men, Shepherd with Sheep, a donkey, camel and calf available.  You can buy them separately or as a complete add-on set.  OutdoorNativitySets.com has some other indoor and outdoor decorations available as well!  You can find them at Facebook, at www.facebook.com/OutdoorNativitySets.
Perfect size for our small front yard!

There is still plenty of time left to order your Holy Night Nativity Set, and show off the real reason for the season this year!

[Disclaimer: I was provided a free Holy Night Nativity Set from OutdoorNativitySets.com through Buzz Plant in exchange for my honest opinion, stated here.]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am Thankful For...

01) My Lord and Savior
02) My husband, Michael
03) Preston James
04) Callen Levi
05) My mom and dad
06) My mother-in-law and father-in-law
07) My brother-in-law
08) All of the "Great Grandmas!"
09) My home
10) My husband's job(s)
11) Usborne, Power FM and random things I get to do to help bring in income
12) Our vehicle
13) The freedom to homeschool
14) Our church
15) My friends
16) Fall (the season)
17) Coffee
18) Chocolate
19) The United States of America
20) Texas
21) Facebook
22) Blogs
23) Snoopy
24) Foooooooood!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Nov 23rd (Wk 11)

I pray you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

In my life this week...
On Saturday, my mom, dad, the boys and I went to a family Thanksgiving dinner out in the country - a 2 hours drive (when I was thinking it'd be 30mins, oops!).  The boys had a wonderful time getting dirty and playing with second cousins.  On the way back, we had a half-hour detour, needed 3 gas station stops and then a wreck happened right in front of us.  It was ridiculous!  Thankfully, we made it home safely... once our hearts stopped beating so fast!  Geez.  On Sunday, Michael, the boys and I had church and then later that evening we had a church Thanksgiving gathering.  It was fun and the food was delicious!  Monday I had an Usborne booth event, and finally Tuesday and today have been somewhat "normal."  Whew.
Playing with cousins!

A picture to share...
Center of attention!
At the church Thanksgiving dinner, we looked over and found that Callen was apparently the star of the show... all the kids were gathered around him and doting on him like crazy.  So funny!

In our homeschool this week...
I squeezed 5 days of work into 2.5 so that we could stay on track with our curriculum.  Thankfully it was pretty easy stuff and I scooted it around so it wasn't too much for Preston to handle.  I had a list of Thanksgiving activities I wanted to get to, and we just didn't find a way to work them in unfortunately.  Oh well, there's always next year!  Lol.

Tot School:  Callen has been a complete mess this week!  He is purposely throwing things, spilling his brother's drinks and just generally being a toddler-monster.  It's a good thing he's so darn cute!

Bible: Proverbs 14:30 "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."  We also talked about Day 4 and 5 of Creation - Preston added moon and stars to the night side of his Bible Notebook page, and then fish and birds to the day time side.  Learned several more of the Books of the Bible.  I think he officially remembers the first 7 correctly most of the time!
Reading/Writing: Worked on the "ch" and "sh" sounds. Nothing too exciting there.

Math: Continued adding and subtracting work in The Complete Book of Math.  Also did some more Pumpkin Poke and a Roll The Dice Graphing Activity.
Science: Our theme this week was Sun & Moon.  We read lots of books about the sun and the moon including the Usborne book called First Guide to the Universe.  Love that one!

Music/Art:  We didn't do a new hymn this week, nor did we do the musical instruments or look at art.  But, we did work in the Drawing with Children and did a drawing of a carousel horse.  We... uh... didn't do so well, to be honest... but it was a Level 3 drawing, so I don't feel so bad.  Lol!

Spanish:  We went over some more animals in Spanish.  He's remembering them better than last week, yay!

Thanksgiving/Seasonal activity: We'll complete our Thankful Tree tomorrow with it's last leaf!  Preston listed 24 things he was thankful, I wrote them on paper leaves and we add one each day to our branch.  We also did a Thanksgiving Timeline - I had him tell ME the story of Thanksgiving.  We read a book called Give Thanks to the Lord, along with still reading stories from The Harvest Feast.

Books we used in addition to our curriculum this week...

We are using My Father's World First Grade. See our curriculum here.

Blog Hoppin' with:
MFW Blog Roll The Homeschool Mother's Journal Hip Homeschool Hop Button Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Photobucket

Friday, November 18, 2011

Homeschool Recap: Nov 18th

Quick side note: Preston is in the Kid to Kid Model Search contest, you can vote once through Nov 20th.  Please take a few minutes and vote for him!  Thanks!  Click here to vote (works through facebook).

In my life this week...
Seriously lacking motivation in the 31 Days to Clean department, however I got into the boys' rooms and tidied up, rearranged, etc... that counts for something, right?  Meh.  I had a successful and busy Usborne weekend last weekend, it was a lot of fun! I could certainly use more like that (maybe more successful, less busy... is that possible? Lol.). This coming weekend we'll be having two Thanksgiving gathers!  One with my dad's side of the family, we haven't visited in WAY too long.  And then with our church family.  Mmm, turkey!!!

A quote to share...
Preston: "Genesis, Exodus....  Hey, look!  :::walks out of the kitchen:::  I have exodused the kitchen!"

My favorite thing this week...
I already posted about it, but it deserves another mention.  Receiving an awesome package in the mail from my amazing friend, Regina.  Seriously made my... month!  Lol. We enjoyed some Mocha Cappuccino Hot Cocoa with Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows!  Yum!

I'm cooking...
Thanksgiving is next week!  Eep!  And yes, we're having two Thanksgiving dinners THIS weekend.  I'll be doing green bean casserole, a veggie tray and desserts this weekend.  Aren't desserts the most exciting part?  It's not just me, right?  I just finished up a batch of Pumpkin Dump Cake, and it smells divine.  Sad that we can't eat it till tomorrow evening.  Boo!  Tomorrow or Sunday I'll be making some little pies that have a crazy long name, but sounds absolutely breathtaking, see here.

In our homeschool this week...
Tot School:  Callen did a lot this week.  He was just really interested in coloring with crayons, markers and colored pencils.  He still ends up throwing them a lot, but he is creating some beautiful works of art as well.  =)  He's also using blocks, figured out Preston's TAG Reader pen, and just generally playing well.  Yay!
He does tend to STAB at the book, but good enough.
Bible: Our scripture this week was Proverbs13:1, "A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke."  This was a tough one because it contained several unfamiliar words.  Preston gets it, though.  And boy could I work this one in to our normal conversation.  Many, many times a day.  Grr.  Preston read from his Bible Reader and we continued illustrating Creation with Day 2 and Day 3.  We're also starting to learn the names of the Books of the Bible in order.  We've done the first 5 - the Pentateuch!

Reading/Writing: Worked on "y" sounds like "ee" and the "ch" sound.

Math:  Adding & subtracting more this week. Preston is getting quicker at this, at least when he focuses.  Worked on 'fact families' and how they work together.

Science: Last week was seashore, breach and waves, and this week was under the sea.  Read lots of great stories of under sea animals and information.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT read Waiting For the Whales as suggested in the MFW book list, holy heck...I couldn't finish the last page because my voice was breaking from the tears that built up.  I wouldn't recommend that for a kid, or at least not for an emotional Mommy, geez.  The rest were neat.  We read Down, Down, Down from Steve Jenkins... VERY cool book and helps get a grasp on how deep the ocean is and what sea life is located where!  Preston painted an under water scene with watercolors and we did a water pressure experiment with a plastic bottle.  The boys also spent some time with dad looking at interesting creatures that were recently discovered in Papua New Guinea.
So cute together!!!
Music/Art: Still working on "This Is My Father's World." He has the first verse of this one down pretty well.  It's definitely one of my faves so far.  I find myself humming it absentmindedly.  Which I don't mind at all!  We talked about the tambourine and triangle.  Looked at a portrait in our art book. And used Drawing with Children to draw a tropical bird!  Preston said the bird has an extra-extendable robotic arm.  Lol!
Squawk!! Squawk!!!
Spanish:  Worked on Spanish words for animals.This has been more difficult than any of the others and I'm not sure why... just not focusing, I guess?  I even read him an "under the sea" book in Spanish called Nadarin.  Actually, I wanted the English book, but it was checked out and when I saw that they had it in Spanish, decided to use it both ways!  I had to translate a bit of it, but he recognized a lot of the words and used the pictures to figure out the story.  Fun!

Thanksgiving/Seasonal activity: We've been reading a neat, old book called The Harvest Feast... it's a collection of stories about Thanksgiving... from the pilgrims to "modern" tales... It was originally published in 1938, so modern is relative.  We've really enjoyed it so far!  And here's what our Thankful Tree looks like after 18 days of thankfulness!  Preston listed 24 things he was thankful, I wrote them on paper leaves and we add one each day to our branch.



Books we used in addition to our curriculum this week...

We are using My Father's World First Grade. See our curriculum here.

Blog Hoppin' with:
MFW Blog Roll The Homeschool Mother's Journal Hip Homeschool Hop Button Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Photobucket

[This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through a link clicked here, I do receive a small compensation, and I want you to know I greatly appreciate it!]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday: Nov 17th

Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope Is the Word  is a fun weekly meme to showcase the books you are reading aloud to your children.  It is so important to continue reading to your kids, even after they've learned to read themselves!  Read to them until they move out if you can!  I read to my 20-month old at naptime and bedtime and to my 5 1/2 year a chapter from a book every nite at bedtime, and read to both of them all throughout the day.  Sometimes my older reads to my little, which always blesses my heart!  I also use this opportunity to highlight some of the great Usborne Books & More titles I have to offer.

My little one has been demanding more and more books lately.  And the other day he literally dragged a large book over to me, crawled up in my lap, opened it up to the first page, pointed and said, "Book!"  Ok, ok!  Lol.  He had brought me a soft-covered book called Sweet Dreams, My Little One: A Treasury of Stories for Bedtime.  So, it wasn't bedtime.  Oh well.  This book actually contains four stories: "Can't You Sleep, Dotty?" by Tim Warnes (about a puppy who just can't fall asleep); "Little Bunny's Bathtime!" by Jane Johnson (one little bunny gets out of taking a bath, or so he thinks!); "Time to Sleep, Alfie Bear!" by Catherine Walters (Alfie wants to be like all the other animals that don't have to go to bed!); and "Two Hungry Bears" by Linda Cornwell (a big bear and a little bear each go to buy food for the other, then end up eating it all... and for a good reason!).  Each story offers adorable illustrations and sweet characters.  Our favorite was "Two Hungry Bears," which also happens to be illustrated by Jane Chapman who does all those other Bear Books that we love around my house!  It's a funny, little story and just perfect for bedtime.  Callen has really enjoyed all of the stories in this book... he likes to point out all the animals scattered throughout the drawings.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I went to the library to pick up a few stories for us to read this week and next.  Nearly all the Thanksgiving storybooks were checked out already, but I tracked down this really neat booked called The Harvest Feast: Stories of Thanksgiving Yesterday and Today, compiled by Wilhelmina Harper.  The book was originally published in 1938, with this revised version from 1965.  There aren't many illustrations, so I was wondering if my littles would be interested in sitting for so long to listen to a story.  Callen wasn't, but Preston was completely enthralled!  The first story we read from the book was called "Indians for Thanksgiving" by Dorothy Heiderstadt.  A sweet tale of pilgrim children being kind to little, lost indian boy who turns out to be son of the chief that was leading his warriors to wipe out the colony!  But, since they were kind and helped the lost boy, the chief made peace with the village instead.  I can't wait to read more of this intriguing book out loud with my family as we draw near to Thanksgiving.  This collection offers historical writings, poems, fables and "contemporary" (for 1938!) stories.


And on that note, it's time for a spotlight on an Usborne book we looked at this week: Then and Now! This isn't really a story book, exactly, but it's a lot of fun to read anyway!  It features an example of life from back "then" and compares it to "now."  For example, a school room from "then" featured wooden benches and pens that had to be dipped in ink.  Meanwhile, a school room from "now" features tables, chairs, brightly colored posters and fish tanks.  Each page also has discussion starting questions, like "Can you find the teacher? What is she doing?"  These questions are designed to get your child thinking about how things have changed in the world.  It's very interesting for young kids to learn that things were not always like they are now.  The book also includes scenes from a railway station, the seaside and several rooms in a home, plus much more.  It is a thin, paperback book... but something a child will most likely want to look at again and again.  There is a lot of action in each picture, and lots of things to discover throughout!  See an example of what the pages are like: click here.  (Please note: The description of the book on the Usborne website is incorrect.  This book does not address fashion, nor does it have fold-out pages.  Oops!)

[This post does contain affiliate links.  If you purchase a product through a link clicked here, I do receive a small compensation, and I want you to know I greatly appreciate it!]

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkins, Chocolate & Moo Cows, Oh My!

Ok, so it all started when a friend of mine, Regina, mentioned something about sending me a package in the mail for my birthday (which is still a month away...). Then, on Saturday, I received this pix message:
And sure enough, Monday afternoon, the mail carrier lady stops at our box, and when I go out to check this mail:
And actually, there are two boxes in there. One is from BzzAgent, and it contains Chocolate Chip Cookies. Um... yay!  But, I quickly find out that those cookies have NOTHING on what's to come in the box from Regina:

What in the world is in this box? Let me tell you!
We've got Chocolate stuff:
Swiss Miss Mocha Cappuccino Hot Cocoa mix, Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate bars (3-pack), and a Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Bar Caramel with Black Sea Salt. :::drool:::

We've got Pumpkin stuff:
Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice coffee, Paula Deen Pumpkin candle (in a little skillet!), Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows (squee!), Pumpkin Harvest Fabreze room spray, Pumpkin Spice Chai Twinings of London (tea), Pumpkin Spice Jell-o Pudding, Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix, Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter (ZOMG!), Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pancake & Waffle Mix, and Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix.

We've got Cow stuff:
Adorable Thanksgiving greeting card with a Turkey saying "Moo moo." And, a hilarious little packet of "Cow Seeds." The pack says "Herd Starter Kit. Directions: 1.) Start your own herd. 2.) Plant seeds in warm spot right side up. Cow will grow upside down if planted wrong. 3.) Be patient, it takes a long time to start your own herd. 4.) For best results, moo softly while watering." BAHAHAHAHAH!

I don't know what I ever did to deserve such a lovely birthday present (a month early!) and such a wonderful friend, who apparently knows me very, very, very well.  Lol!  But...wow.  Thank you, Regina!!!!!!  And thank you to her husband, Kevin, for allowing her to bless me with such a gift!   You guys are the best, and we miss you sooooooooooooo much!!!

Moo, Rarr, Rarr!!!

Christmas Angel Giveaway!

I've team up with couponspice.com and several other bloggers to do a giveaway benefiting the Christmas Angel program. Prizes include $130 in Target gift cards, $80 in Amazon codes, $50 paypal cash and more. I included an Usborne Movie Stars Sticker Dolly Dressing book! Click on over to the giveaway, it's easy to enter!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Nov 11 (Wk 9)

Quick side note: Preston is in the Kid to Kid Model Search contest, you can vote once through Nov 20th.  Please take a few minutes and vote for him!  Thanks!  Click here to vote (works through facebook).

Quick side note #2: Don't forget to enter the giveaway over on my Usborne Books Blog for an Advent Calendar to Color.  Contest ends 11/16.

In my life this week...
I re-started 31 Days to Clean at the beginning of the month and have been sadly unmotivated at it this time around.  I've done most of the Martha Challenges thus far, but half-heartedly at best.  Oh well, better than nothing, I suppose!  I am having a Shutterfly House Party this evening and really looking forward to having some ladies over! Perhaps this afternoon I will get into cleaning mode since I have the added motivation of knowing people are coming over and will SEE this place!  I have a busy Usborne weekend ahead, too.  An all-day booth in Waxahachie tomorrow and then a home party on Sunday evening.  Hoping for some good business!

My favorite thing this week...
Michael and I took Preston and his friend, Ephraim, to Medieval Times on Wednesday evening.  There was already a post on this yesterday, but I can tell you right now that we all had a wonderful time, were well fed and highly entertained!  And last weekend we went to the Dr Pepper Museum in Dublin, Texas... that was a blast as well.

In our homeschool this week...
Tot School:  Callen enjoyed more time with his little Autumn Fun book and wipe-off markers.  He was using his left hand a lot to do the "writing."  Could he be a lefty?  Or was it just the hand he happened to grab the pen in?  We'll have to wait and see, I guess!  We've also been trying to teach him to say "please," "thank you," and "I'm sorry."  Since he always tells us "No!" when we tell him to say those things, I decided to try to get him to sign them... and he does, most of the time.  He caught on to the signs really quickly, so that's awesome.
Bible: Our scripture this week was Proverbs 12:22 "The Lord detest lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful."  We started our MFW Bible Reader, Notebook and Timeline this week.  So that's pretty exciting.  Preston got to read a very short part of the Creation story, I read more details and he illustrated the difference between light and darkness in the Notebook.  Getting the Timeline up on the kitchen wall was interesting.  I actually did it last week when we were off so I could spend some time figuring it out.  I used thumb tacks, yarn and have clothespins up there for adding the different items as we go.  I believe that will work.  Lol.  Right now it only has the Beginning (written in Hebrew!), 2000 (with a picture of Preston nearby to represent his birth and now) and then "The New Heaven & The New Earth" at the end with a question mark, since we obviously don't know when that'll come.  Pretty exciting!

Reading/Writing: Did some more in the workbook on various grammar rules, like "igh" and "y" at the end of a word sound like "i."  We're supposed be learning some "sight words" and certain words that we'll run across in the Bible Reader, but so far...it's nothing that he hasn't read before, so no sweat.  In fact, he looked at me crazy when I wrote the words on his white board and asked hi to read them.  "Too easy, Mom!"  Lol.  Preston also did a lot of independent reading of some new books he received.

Math:  Adding & subtracting more this week.  More work in the Complete Book of Math, plus some hands-on activities with dice, candy and flashcards.  We found some old funky spinning flashcards in my mother-in-law's stash... they're pretty sweet.  Preston likes 'em 'cause they're robots and spaceships!  When he's focused, he does really well with adding and subtracting.  Then he'll blank on easy ones at times, so... he's still learning and getting the concept down that when I ask him 2+3, it's the same as 3+2, or that 5-3 is connected to 3+2.  We're getting there, though!

Science: Seashore, the beach and waves were the themes this week.  Lots of ocean and beach books for us!  We also created an ocean diorama, like this. And did a little Shell Fact Book from here. Talked about waves and used a rope to make our own.

Music/Art: Our new hymn was "This Is My Father's World."  We also talked about snare drums and cymbals - watching youtube videos of the instruments.  We drew "Leo the Lion" from the Drawing with Children book.  And looked at Starry Night from Van Gogh in our Landscape book.  One of my faves!

Spanish:  We are still working on food words, adding more to our vocabulary.  Preston surprised me by remembering ALL the previous food words we learned (two week ago!) without any prompting!  Yay!  We have been trying to use them in regular conversation, and he's doing well!

Thanksgiving/Seasonal activity: Here's what our Thankful Tree looks like after 11 days of thankfulness!  Preston listed 24 things he was thankful, I wrote them on paper leaves and we add one each day to our branch.



Books we used in addition to our curriculum this week...

We are using My Father's World First Grade. See our curriculum here.

Blog Hoppin' with:
MFW Blog Roll The Homeschool Mother's Journal Hip Homeschool Hop Button Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Photobucket