Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Christmas Tree

 I like decorating the Christmas tree. This year we had some hick-ups with our tree. First we didn't have one. We left our old tree in Edmonton when we moved back to Ontario, because of lack of space in the trailer. So, we had to go and get a new one, which didn't happen until about two weeks before Christmas. Secondly we had a very grumpy little girl who was starting to get sick. This made for a negative tone in the air while decorating. We also thought we had no lights and bought lights. Then we thought that we needed more and ran into the city to get more. The next day we found our lights from last year. Sigh... 

 What I love about the Christmas tree is that it's a Pegan activity. I guess some might see me as a bit of a rebel, but I like the idea of eventually creating traditions that are a mix of beliefs. The Christmas tree however, as I have read, isn't a Christian activity and was kept by the early Christians as a tradition, because it was an activity that they didn't want to part with. I even looked up the scripture in the Bible about the Christmas tree and it says that Christians should not have one because it's Pegan. 

I think I'd like to incorporate the Hanukkah Dreidel into our traditions of the Holidays. It looks like a fun game! We learn about all of the Holidays, but it seems that the only way for the kids to remember something about each is to have at least one activity for each. This is something I'd like to look at doing in the next couple of years.

Poor kid. You can see by her eyes that she is getting sick. She ended up in bed for three days after this with a cough and a fever.

Christmas Tree Decorations

 We made some simple decorations with pipe cleaners, glue and glitter. 

I tried to make some string decorations. The balloons didn't hold out for me. I think that if you are going to attempt this craft, be sure to purchase some really good quality balloons. They didn't turn out so well. HERE is a website to explain how to make them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Letter to Santa

This year we sent a letter to Santa on the computer. I think it's great that they have this. It takes at least a year or two in a house to get use to how things will go this time of year. All of the little things like having a Christmas tree, figuring out where in the house it works best, purging our things to make space for new items, knowing where things are stored, and just getting organized all end up taking time when you move into a new house. The ebb and flow of the year needs to run it's course at least once or twice before these little things flow easily. So, with the business of trying to figure out how to have Christmas in this house for the first time, Santa's letter ended up on the back burner. Luckily with the easy-to-use website we were able to send a letter and got a letter back quickly.

Austyn knows about Santa this year, but Zoe is a believer and loved this. We also do the Santa Video each year for both of them.

HERE is the website to email a letter and HERE is the website for the video.

Christmas Activities Early

We started doing Christmas activities right after Halloween. We purchased some cookies to decorate. The kids loved to decorate them, but they just were not as good as fresh baked. Too bad I can't bake well.

We started to read Christmas books as soon as our library had them available on the shelf. It was nice to get a head start on them, because other years we miss some of the classics due to other people checking them out.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Teddy Bear Toss!

 Our local hockey team holds a yearly Teddy Bear Toss before Christmas. Stuffed animals in excellent condition or new stuffed animals are tossed on the ice when the home team scores the first goal of the game. These toys are given to kids who need them more then we do. My kids went through their toys and found some perfectly good stuffed animals. We also purchased one teddy bear at the game. The proceeds went to a local charity. 

It was kind of emotional to see an almost full house of fans throw stuffed animals of all sizes onto the ice all at the same time. It was amazing!

The camera came in handy after the teddy bear toss. Zoe asked me to use the camera to take pictures of the rest of the game. They both love to use my camera and sometimes they get creative.

Project Feeder Watch

We have signed up for Project Feeder Watch. We've not been good at reporting the birds we see. We can do it when we want to but it needs to be two consecutive days each week when we do decide to report it. It's still not too late to sign up. HERE is the website. 

It's another great way to learn about birds through observation and helping scientists to monitor bird numbers.

There is another online activity we may do in February. It's called Great Backyard Bird Watch and the website for that is found HERE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Journey North Tulip Test Garden

 This fall we planted a Test Garden for the first time. The test garden is a garden that citizens watch and report on a website when the tulips show themselves in the spring. This helps scientists to determine how climate changes affect plant life. Many schools and homeschooling families sign up for this and keep track. If you are interested in getting involved in this the website is found HERE.

 There are strict guidelines on what bulbs to use and how to plant it. The location, depth and distance apart are all important factors in ensuring that each test garden is planted in the exact same way. This will prevent inconsistencies in the results.

 We planted on one of the last warm days of this year. It was a great day to plant.

 Because our soil is clay it took a long time to do. When the kids got bored they occupied themselves with other things. Austyn played hockey on the street and Zoe rolled down the driveway on a skateboard. I couldn't resist getting a picture of her.

K'nex

 I don't think Austyn will ever get tired of building. K'nex is always a perfect gift for him. This is a roller coaster.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sewing

Zoe has been into crafts and sewing lately. This is an easy child's sewing kit. She is making a teddy bear.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Real Life Math!

Okay... so the title is a lie! This is pretend real life math. Usually when we do math it turns into something else. I let her lead the lesson into something she wants to do. Here she is pretending to be a grocery store clerk and selling food to me with pretend money. She is using her cash register to check that all of the prices are added together correctly to give me a total. I pay her and she checks my money to be sure that I've paid her the right amount.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Make-Up Art!

 What do your art projects look like? Zoe's looks like this!

 She loves to do her make-up and paints elaborate designs all over her face.

This is one that her cousin drew on her face and the next morning she altered it and added.

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