Friday, December 30, 2011

January Menu Plan

So here it is . . . January's Menu Plan.

I made some adjustments this time.  First, I added a week in order to finish the month.  This menu plan will take you from January 1 through February 4.  Every 3rd month will have 5 weeks instead of 4, so I can stay on track with the months. 

Also, I limited my meals to 5 each week.  We were having too many leftovers with 6 meals each week - therefore throwing out too much food.  And throwing out food, means money over-spent at the grocery store.  So, we are going to try 5 meals a week - and hopefully we can eat up those leftovers!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Liebster Award

I was awarded the Liebster Blog award last week by Jessica at Preserving Life's Moments. Thanks Jessica!  That was so sweet of you!

You ask what is the Liebster Blog Award? It's basically like a chain letter, but for blogs. The idea is to spread the love from one small blog (under 200 followers) to other small blogs. This helps to build community and readership. And really....who doesn't love winning an award?!?

The origins of the award are hard to find. But I did find out that "liebster" in German means "dearest". As part of the Liebster award tradition, I am going to award 5 small blogs that are near and dear to my heart this award as well.

The rules are quite simple:
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who nominated you by linking back to their blog
2. Nominate five other happy little blogs by posting a comment on their blogs.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Now you get to stop by and see what these up and coming blogs have to offer.

And the award goes to:
The Kindle Crew - Jennifer's blog has been a huge encouragement to me!  She is so honest and transparent, which is a welcomed relief from all the "perfect" pictures of homeschooling that we see out there.  And her love for the Lord just shines through her blog. 

The Iowa Farmer's Wife - Not only are the farm pictures on this blog absolutely amazing - it is filled with wonderful creative ideas.

The Purposeful Mom - Jenn's blog is full of great ideas.  I can't tell you how many practical ideas I've gotten from following her blog.  I love it! 

2 Ladybugs and a Lizard - I started following Kattie's blog not just because of the adorable title, but who can resist it!  She is actually using the same curriculum as I am - My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.  And while she is quite a bit ahead of us (it's been a slow year for us so far), it's fun to see what's to come and reap some wonderfully creative ideas from her.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Activities

I put together some Christmas Fun Packs for my kiddos to do these past few days.  (You can see that post here - including a couple of free downloads!) 

As I was organizing all of these activities into their Christmas Fun Folders, I decided to organize them by themes.  By the time I prepared all of this, I was down to about 8 weekdays before Christmas.  So, I did 8 themes.  Next year I am hoping to start a little sooner and add to it to make 12 days of Christmas activities. 

My 8 days of Christmas activities were:
1. Christmas Books
2. Christmas Words
3. Christmas Cookies
4. Christmas Gifts (for others)
5. Christmas Trees
6. Christmas Counting
7. Christmas Symbols
8. Christmas Nativity

 We started with all smiles, but . . .
. . .then I asked, "Do you want to keep helping me with cookies or do you want to watch a Christmas movie?"  And the smiles returned - there was even some cheering!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rudolph, the Rootbeer Reindeer!

Check out these adorable gifts that we made up for our neighbors!

I can't take credit for the idea, though.  I got it from Jenn, The Purposeful Mom (thanks, Jenn!), who got the idea from Kim, Life of a Modern Mom

All you need is: Root beer bottles, brown chenille stems, wiggly eyes, and red pom-poms (I used 1/2 inch size pom-poms).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gifts for the Mailman, Etc.

Each Christmas I like to give a gift to the mailman, garbage man, and recycling man.  This year we decide to for-go the sweets and give the gift of warmth - with a pair of thick warm socks for each of them.
And what better way to wrap them, than to create a beautiful box from scrapbook paper!  I found this idea years ago on a craft show (back when I had time to watch craft shows - and sorry, I can't remember which one).

The directions are fairly easy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Punch Card Incentives

Chores are not very appealing to me.  So it should be no surprise to me that my children would try to avoid them, as well.  There is always something better to do - even if that "something better" is nothing at all!  So as an added incentive, we like to use punch cards for our children's chores. 

They have certain chores / tasks that we ask them to do daily - mostly on their own.  And we like to reward them for helping out.  I started using punch cards as a tracking system.    Several tasks we have included were: getting dressed, brushing teeth, making beds, picking up toys, taking care of dirty laundry, etc - not big tasks.  But having them do most of this on their own (except my 3 year old), really helps me out! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gingerbread Boys and Girls

I found these great Gingerbread cutouts in my old teacher stash.  And of course, 'tis the season to decorate!  So, I grabbed my bin full of sequins, wiggly eyes, pompoms, buttons, etc.  and I laid it all out for them. 
I encouraged them to be creative and do their own Gingerbread their own way.  Here, my Little Squirt is giggling like crazy because he used a holly leaf for the mouth of his Gingerbread Boy!

I am so, so, so impressed with their creativeness.  Just look at these!  Curly Girlie made hers a "Cookie Baking Gingerbread Girl".  Little Buddy made his a "Caroling Gingerbread Boy w/ a candle in hand (I love the singing mouth).  And Little Squirt wanted his to wear a scarf and hold a candy cane . . . and of course, his silly holly leaf mouth. 

It was a fun time of creating!  I had a ball working with each of them and watching their ideas spark!

The Polar Express

We went last weekend to our local Barnes and Noble for "The Polar Express" Night!  I found some great printable "Mini-Van Express" Tickets at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We had the kids get dressed in their pj's and when they came down

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Fun

Well, I haven't posted in awhile, but I have been busy creating!  And preparing for our Christmas Fun Weeks.  (Not to mention internet trouble . . . I'm currently connected to the wall, which is not my favorite way to spend my computer time.)

For the rest of December I am planning setting the workbooks aside and focusing on Christmas.  I have a desire to work on some family dynamics during that time, as well. :)  What better time is there to set aside our regular schedule and do activities to draw us closer to each other and hopefully closer to our Lord and Savior!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

3 Turtle Doves...?

Okay, I know, I know, it's 2 Turtle Doves. 
But 3 is the key here!  And we are making Turtles!
The simplest, yummiest Christmas treat, that your kiddos can practically do themselves!

Just remember 3
3 ingredients
300 degree oven
3 minutes

Here's the 3 ingredients - round pretzels, Rolo candies, & pecans.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tree Treats

So far this is a favorite for the season!  We made Christmas Tree Treats.  These are great because you not only get to design, but you also get to devour!  As you can see in this adorable photo, my Little Squirt wasted no time in the devouring part.

These are very fun and simple to make.  All you need is sugar cones (for ice cream),

Friday, December 2, 2011

Check Out the Newest Addition to Our Schoolroom!

One of our local schools was moving into a new building, so they had a sale of some items that they weren't taking with them. 
I was able to snag this great sensory table (with lid) for $10 !

Can you believe that my Little Squirt played at this table for 1-1/2 hours this morning?!!  Pretty amazing for 3 year old !