Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Fun and Home Improvements

We had such a wonderful Christmas! The kids are so funny! They just totally make Christmas fun! Bug was SOOOOOO excited Christmas Eve- he couldn't sleep! 11:00 when we checked on him- he was still WIDE awake. "Come on bug- go to sleep- Santa can't come until you are asleep!" Somehow he ended up in our bed around 2:30- so yes- that means VERY little sleep for him! Luckily Santa managed to sneak into our house during those few hours when Bug was sleeping! Roo on the other hand was so sound asleep he wet the bed- and we had to strip down his bed at 11:00 and change the sheets (and wash the new jammies so he's have them to wear for Christmas morning)

We have the Tradition on Christmas Eve for the boys to each open 1 package- it's always PJ's and a book. Bug got Tales of Beetle the Bard by JK Rowling Doodle got Nate the Great, and Roo got The Jet Alphabet Book (for my airplane pilot in training). Here's the 3 kiddos in their new Christmas Pajamas. Notice the way Roo looks up to his big brothers- this pic is SO true to life- as he really does look up to them and always wants to be where the big boys are.
Santa was SO good to us- and brought us Tile for our Kitchen floor (thanks to a Christmas Bonus that Ben got!)- sorry- I forgot to take the "before" picture- just think ugly dirty linoleum that doesn't come clean- and compare it to this: (still a few more spots we need to take out the spacers and put in the grout.

Earlier this fall- we laid the laminate wood flooring down in the dining room (see this blog post- you can Kind of see the ugly kitchen floor)- and we finished the tile and the laminate on an angle on one side of the island.- I really like the way it turned out! Thanks SOOO much Ben for all your hard work improving our home!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Traditions- The Nativity Set

As we celebrate Christmas- I feel it's vital to teach children while they are young what Christmas is all about, and why we celebrate. One way've found to do this- is that each child has their own Nativity Set. Not long after we were married my parents bought me This Nativity Set- It's displayed on top of the piano where kids can see it- but not touch! (One bonus to having their own sets is they are content to leave mine alone!)
The first year we opened our Christmas Box Bug received a Piece of his Nativity set in many of the doors. His is displayed on a log table in the living room.Last Christmas we Doodle got pieces of his Nativity set in the Christmas Box. His is displayed on the Chess table in the living room. He's so funny- Doodle gets so upset that "someone" has been moving his pieces around- and he is constantly rearranging them to how he wants.
And here's Roo's Set (a simple one we found at the Thrift store- and maybe in a few years we'll get him a nicer one and put the pieces in the Christmas box for him) Roo loves playing with his pieces. One day as Joseph was "flying" around the room, Roo accidently dropped him, and the Head fell off. Luckily- "Dad can fix anything" So he has a repaired head- and there wasn't an angel in the set when we bought it from DI- so it's angelless- but still the same- he loves it. I've always wanted a "Little People" Nativity Set But we've never bought one yet- and now my boys seem to be outgrowing Little People- darn! I love those cute little guys!
This year- I found a FUN craft activity for a Gingerbread Nativity. Yesterday we went to Ben's Aunt's house, and made some. We used Gumdrops for the people's bodies- a snickers bar and some tootsie rolls for the donkey- marshmallows and licorice for the sheep. Here's Bug "building" the sheep
And Doodle putting the finishing touches on an Angel

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Recital

Bug had his Christmas Piano Recital last week. He has a wonderful young lady in our ward as his piano teacher. She does a great job- and they had a fun recital, with all the kids playing a Christmas Song

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fun Field Trip

I've mentioned before what a great Homeschool community we have. Today we had a Field trip to a Local Veterinarian's office. They showed us around the office- the exam rooms, X-ray room, the place where the do surgery on animals, the Boarding Kennel area, grooming salon. It was a neat field trip. Roo especially love the Cats. The Vet. gave them each hats and masks like he wears when he does surgery on animals.

Pic of the Vet with all the kids.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Traditions- Musical Chairs and Temple Square

We had our Family Christmas Party on Saturday. A Family Christmas party without Musical Chairs just isn't a party. One time Bug and I were doing a Five in a Row unit study based on The Hickory Chair. In the study- there was a little section on Musical Chairs- and how it's a fun game to play with young kids. Bug and I LAUGHED and thought that was Hillarious!- "with young kids".... Every year at our Family Christmas Party- we have a game of Musical chairs- and NO- it's not a game for the kids. It is an aggressive game for the adults. We of course- have a game for the little kids, but only to keep them from getting smashed. The kids game-
The Adults game- So far everyone seems to be smiles- though we've had broken chairs, and people landing on the floor before- I can't recall any blood or broken bones- but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened- lol.
Another Family Christmas Tradition we have is going to Temple Square in Salt Lake City to see the Christmas Lights and Nativity scenes.
This year, since the new Commuter Rail FrontRunner is up and going- we only drove as far as Ogden, then hopped on a train. The kids waving out the window of the train.
Roo and I on the Train ride- Roo was SOO excited- he could hardly wait for the train to start moving!We had a wonderful time for Family Night. The Lights were beautiful, and the feeling on Temple square is just amazing! The sights at Temple Square:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Traditions- Christmas School

One of the things I enjoy most about Homeschooling is Christmas time! Every year we take the month of December off from "school" I put that in quotes because school is such a part of life- it's hard to separate it out and call it that- but I guess what that means is we take a break from tablework. Every year I try and do something fun for the month. Some years we've done fun unit studies on different picture books, other years we've studied a bit out other countries and Christmas around the world. Some years we simply pick a book each day and do something fun to go with that book.

This year as I was pondering what to do for Christmas School, I thought about what kind of memories I want my children to have of Christmas in our Family, and I decided there were 4 main "categories" (for lack of a better word) of Memories. Memories of Crafts, Memories of Baking and Food, Memories of Service, and Memories of Fun.

On Monday as we started our Christmas studies this year- there was a WONDERFUL page in this month's Friend Magazine that has Scritpures to read each day of the Month of December. It was a perfect addition to our devotionals over breakfast. After breakfast we read as many Christmas books as we want, then make some memories.

Monday was Craft day- so we spent time making ornaments for Our Christmas Tree- Snowflakes and Reindeer. They were cute and simple- and used up craft sticks.

To make the Snowflakes- glue 3 or 4 snowflakes together. When the glue is dry paint them with white paint. While the paint is still wet- sprinkle with glitter. Drill a hole in the top (we used Ben's Whitney punch- a sheet metal tool that works wonders for punching holes in wood, leather- and I suppose sheet metal) Then put a hook through the hole, and hang it on the tree.
The Reindeer turned out really cute as well. Glue the 3 sticks together in an "A" shape- When the glue is dry- paint with brown paint. Glue on googley eyes and a pompom nose. Punch the hole in the top, and hang on tree.
Wednesday was Baking Day- yum! Christmas reminds me of Banana bread! So Roo and I made a loaf of Banana Bread. Doodle helped me make a loaf of Cranberry Bread, and Bug made some Rhubarb Bread. They were delicious!

Wednesday was Service Day- so we found someone to help. Sorry- no more info. than that- we were helpful.

Thursday was Fun Day- Or as the kids called it- Movie Day. We watched two movies and had popcorn. The Little Drummer Boy (after reading the book and learning the song) and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Traditions- The Christmas Box

We have lots of fun Family Christmas Traditions. One of the kids' favorite is the Christmas Box. It's a fun wooden box that my mom and dad gave us for Christmas one year- It has 24 doors on it. Starting on December 1, each day the kids get to open up the doors and there is a small toy, or gift for each of them (usually just candy- but they love it!) This helps them count down the days. Roo was SO excited on Monday- all day he kept asking if we could "play that game in the living room" I coudln't figure out what he was talking about- finally Bug told me- he means the Christmas Box. I told them they could open it when Dad got home. The minute Ben walked in the door- Roo was ready to go "play that game"

Here's what the Christmas Box looks like:
A picture to show all the little doors on the boxes.
Doodle opening the first box on Monday- what was in it? Some chocolate Santa candies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The 20 foot Tree

For Family Night last night we decorated our Christmas tree. Ok- somewhat- the kids still need to make a TON more ornaments- it's takes a lot of ornaments to decorate a 20 foot tree! The best pic I can get- it's too tall to fit in the camera!
Santa Roo decorating the Tree.Bug decorating the tree
Doodle's job was the top of the tree- He got to climb on the railing in the loft to hang his ornaments. oops= shoulda fixed that red eye!

Another shot of the whole tree
And our own Santa Elk. The kids fight over the hat- so every year the elk gets to wear it instead.