Countdown to Christmas

After searching pinterest for Advent calendar ideas, I finally settled on an idea that I loved!! I wanted something that could be part of our Christmas decor, but didn’t take up a ton of space. While my mom was here at the beginning of the week, she and I got started on it and I finished it up yesterday. I love how it turned out and the girls are so excited for December 1! I have a feeling I will have a reader in my house who will be peaking at the tags, but that is okay with me. I love that they are excited countdown to Jesus birthday!!

Inside each pocket is a little card with a Christmas activity (mostly things we will do as a family – a couple that the girls and I will do during the day without Kevin) on one side,

and a clue from Truth in the Tinsel on the other side. Our plan is to start our day at breakfast reading the Bible passage that goes along with each clue. Then as Kevin heads out the door for work, the girls and I will work on the ornaments and chat about all that we are learning.
There is so much chaos this time of year and so much emphasis on presents and Santa. We want our girls to know without a doubt that we wouldn’t have Christmas if it wasn’t for God sending His son to Earth. I know creating an Advent calendar can be time consuming so check out this one that my friend, Nicole, has in her etsy store. Adorable!!

Truth in the Tinsel

My plan for school for December is to take the month off from some of our normal activities and spend time really focusing on the meaning of Christmas!! I had hoped to have my plans written out by now but the craziness that is our lives has kept me from getting anything done. I don’t want my plans to be so grand that I can’t actually get everything accomplished. Enter Truth in the Tinsel. This e-book is so great and this totally covers our Bible and craft part of our day! I am so excited about this book. It is so well put together that anyone can use it!

Today ONLY the book is $2.99! Check it out and trust me it is worth way more than $2.99!!

Random Pics

Since I haven’t posted much I decided to just post some random pictures. So, here they are in no particular order.

This is a normal scene at our house most afternoons (this particular day was a pajama day)

Are you ready for some football?

Some girl time with my mom and grandma
Posted by PicasaDaphne couldn’t get enough of the Christmas tree!! She started out very gentle – not so much by the time Christmas was over.

Christmas. . . . .Finally!

We spent Christmas in Indy with Kevin’s family. The girls enjoyed spending time with time with their grandparents, cousins and aunt and uncle. Norah thought it would be better to wear their red “fancy” dresses to church on Christmas Eve.

We celebrated Christmas with my family over New Year’s weekend.

Doesn’t Contessa look so overwhelmed?

My dad likes to plan a Wii tournament while we are all there – complete with prizes (good prizes too – gift cards!!)
Kevin and I won highest total score bowling! Woot! Woot!
Canoeing on Wii Resort was so fun. Crazy, but fun. My shoulders and arms hurt for about 3 days!

What a Week!

I have been a little out of touch over the last week because life has been crazy – some planned events and some unexpected activities! I think the best way to review the week is with bullet points.

  • Monday – We hosted a Christmas cookies exchange with some mom’s and their little girls (one little brother tagged along because his dad had to work late – he didn’t seem to mind being the only boy). We ended up with about 8 different kinds of Christmas cookies – that is the way to make the perfect plate of Christmas cookies without having to bake them all!!
  • Tuesday – We had a wonderful, lengthy playdate with a friend who is the sister of our babysitters. She is in 4th grade and the girls had a BLAST playing with her and I really enjoyed my visit with her mom who is a dear friend of mine. Tuesday night, Kevin had a client event so he had to work extremely late. The girls and I had an early dinner and the girls hit the sack by 7.
  • Wednesday (here is where we took a detour in our plans) – We were going to have an easy day at home getting school work done and playing, but little Daphne Jane had other plans. She woke up with a fever. . . AGAIN. . . and I took her to the doctor just thinking her ears were not clearing up from the previous ear infection. By the time we got to the doctor, her fever was 103.3. The doctor checked her ears – while she thought they looked clear, she didn’t seem totally confident. She kept saying, “I think they look okay.” They did a flu culture, strep culture, and took a urine sample, but of which came back negative. The doctor asked another doctor to come in to look in Daphne’s ears to confirm and that doctor also said, “the right one looks great and I think the left one is okay.” They were concerned, though, that she had such a high fever when she was still on her antibiotic from the earlier ear infection. They sent us to the hospital to get some blood work done. About an hour later, the doctor’s office called telling me to take Daphne to the hospital immediately – her white blood cell count was really high. I dropped the girls off at my friend, Cherie’s house (thank you Cherie – you are a God-send!) and drove Daphne to the ER at Progress West. Kevin met me there (my sister came later to check in and then picked up the girls to take them home and put them in bed). After attempting 4 times to get her blood, the nurses finally got a sample to send away for a blood culture. They gave her a 24 hour antibiotic and sent us home about 6 hours later. She still had a high fever – 104.4, but the doctor thought we could manage the fever ourselves with motrin. No one slept much that night – Daphne was awake and crying about every hour and a half.
  • Thursday – I already had plans to take Norah and Lucy to see the Nutcracker performed by the St. Louis Ballet. Kevin really thought we should go ahead and go and he would take Daphne back to the doctor (they wanted to see her first thing in the morning). The girls had a blast at the Nutcracker – although, Lucy started to get antsy after about an hour. It was an excellent production! Daphne ended up having another ear infection – not sure if it was missed but the 3 doctors the day before or if it just came on all of the sudden. She is now on a new antibiotic – hopefully this one works. My sister and I took my mom and grandma to see White Christmas at the Fox. We went to dinner first and then to the show – it was wonderful and we had a great time. We didn’t get home until almost midnight and then Daphne was awake again. . .A LOT, so we didn’t get much sleep that night either.
  • Friday – We hung out with my grandma and mom in the morning. They headed out after lunch and we cleaned and cooked like crazy (well, I did. The girls just played and rested). We had our new pastor and his family over for dinner. We had a really great time. They have 3 girls, too, right around our girls’ ages!
  • Saturday – Kevin and Lucy did some Christmas shopping then Norah and I did some. I baked and wrapped presents then we headed out to another Christmas party with the Goods, the Bohlmanns, and the Biggers.
  • Today – Church, of course. The girls’ classes had birthday parties for Jesus – complete with cupcakes! We are headed to yet another Christmas party this evening.
Whew! I’m exhausted after reliving all of that! I should add – Daphne woke up from her nap on Friday a totally different baby. She was happy and playful and HUNGRY!!
Now we are prepping for another crazy week!
Are you ready for Christmas?

TFT: Santa

This idea was spurred on by a discussion with some friends last week:

Do your kids believe in Santa? Why or why not?
Do you talk about Santa coming into your house and delivering presents or that Santa has a list of good little girls and boys?
If not, have you actually sat them down and told them that Santa is not real?
Just curious!!

Our Christmas Lesson Plans

I love, love, love the Christmas season! I love that we have a month to reinforce everything we try to teach the girls throughout the whole year. There are so MANY fun things we can do together as a family! I love teaching the kids about why God sent his son and what that means for us!!

I started this post on November 8th, but I wanted to have all my plans complete before posting. So, here are our lessons for the month of December – not necessarily in order.

We are going to spend some time talking about several different Christmas symbols: advent wreath, trees, angels, the star, candy canes, and gifts (with an emphasis on giving gifts and God’s “gift” to us). I hope to spend a couple of days on each symbol.

On Sunday November 29, we are going to introduce the Advent to the girls. Each Sunday as a family, we will light the appropriate candles in our Advent wreath and read the corresponding scripture.

(The following activities are in addition to several things that we do everyday, including phonics lesson, calendar time, Bible verse practice, sight word review, etc.)

Some of our crafts include:
Advent wreath – My objective for this activity is that the girls will be able to tell me what each different color candle represents.

Handprint/footprint angels – although instead of the poem that is suggested, Norah will write “Glory to God in the Highest” Luke 2:14.

Paper plate angel – Lucy loves any craft that involves cutting!

Some of our math activites include:
Paper chain – instead of using the bell and poem suggested here, we are going to use this star

Pattern bead wreath – using green and white beads on a pipe cleaner, Norah will create an AAB pattern and Lucy will copy an AB pattern

Decorate the Christmas tree – Norah will use addition facts to figure out how many ornament stickers to put on her paper tree. Lucy will identify numbers and put the corresponding number of stickers on her tree.

Compare weights of various Christmas objects.

Measure and compare different sizes of candy canes

Venn diagram with our big Christmas tree and the girls little Christmas tree.

M&M Christmas counting book for Lucy and this M&M activity for Norah – using Christmas M&M’s

Bead candy canes – The girls will put 10 beads (red and white) on pipe cleaners. We will work on 10’s and 1’s.

Practice counting money – Christmas shopping – I am going to set up the shelves in the basement with toys and books so the girls can pretend they are going Christmas shopping.

Some of our copywork will include:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. Isaiah 9:6

She gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. Luke 2:7

O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect Light. (We Three Kings)

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8

Other language arts activities include:
Acrostic – Christmas

Dictate a Christmas story using some of these prompts.

Sequence Christmas events – After listening to a story, Norah will put sentence strips in the order they happened in the story.

12 Days of Christmas – After listening to the song, the girls will make their own version.

For science we are going to try to make our own candy canes!! We’ll see how that goes!!

Much of our read aloud time will come from The Adventure of Christmas. We will also read a different Christmas book every night at bedtime.
We also hope to spend a significant amount of time teaching the girls the importance of helping those in need. We filled a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child (funny thing: I thought Norah would want to fill a box for a little girl in the 4-6 age bracket. Oh no, she wanted to fill a box for a 14 year old girl. I explained the age bracket is 10-14. She wanted to circle the number 14 where it said 10-14. Let me just tell you that I have NO idea what to buy a 14 year old girl. We managed, though, and ended up filling our box rather quickly) and we will send cards and goodies to the girls we sponsor through Compassion.
Obviously, all our plans are subject to change and I always like to have plenty of things to choose from – even if we don’t get to them all!!