Skiing in Sappada

We went skiing in Sappada over the weekend.  Sappada is a cute little ski town in the Dolomites about 2 hours from us.  We always stay at the Hotel Haus Michaela.  The owner is so kind and helpful and the kids love her.  She  always gives them a bag of candy when we check-out and will customize their gelato order.  That is service!

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This was last year’s ski trip.  They’ve grown a lot!

Sappada has a perfect ski hill for kids.  I’m not sure if Clara will ever really take to it, but Benjamin is really flying now.  Wish I had pictures of him in action.

We also enjoyed Nevelandia – which translates to snow land.  It’s just a big snowy play land.  They have bounce houses, an ice skating rink, sledding and tubing, trampolines, and a lot of room for snow angels.  I wish I had taken more pictures, but picture taking with cold weather gear on is no small feat!

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Finally a legit snow angel!

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I went to look for Clara at one point and found her in this little cave.

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We were lucky and got about 4 inches of fresh snow the night we got there.

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I love the little alpine huts!

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This was Clara’s favorite ride ever!  I think she went around in this tube for 45 minutes. I thought she was going to sleep!

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We even got to play in a real igloo!

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We picked up this hand carved wooden mask at a local shop.  These masks are used for Carnevale and are typical of this area.

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I love this mask! The carver had even burned his name and date into the interior.

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We just happened to be in Sappada for Carnevale last year.  This is the full costume and a sample of more typical wooden masks.

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The Arctic and The Three Snow Bears

This week we learned about the Arctic and read The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett.  This story came from an Ivy Kids box and was perfect with our Arctic theme.  The story is a variation on Goldiocks and the Three Bears.  Both of the kids loved this story and we read it many times during the week.

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We read many books about polar bears and were supposed to make bears out of clay, but  they were more interested in making and drilling teeth with Clara’s dentist play-doh toy.

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We made cozy dens for our bears.

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We  did an experiment with Crisco to see how blubber keeps animals warm.  We dipped our hands in ice water and then wrapped our hands in Crisco.  It really worked!

When we were getting ready to leave the house a few days later, Clara says to me: “I have lot of blubber, so I don’t need a coat”.  Nice try!

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We did a paining of the “northern lights” with ice.

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We read Over and Under – a fun way to learn about what is happening under the snow during the winter.  We learned about animals that hibernate and animals that must continue foraging for food in the winter.

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I made them forage for their own lunch that day.  They loved this and begged me to keep hiding their lunch.

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We made igloos.

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Clara got so sad when she realized she didn’t have enough pieces for a roof.  She was fine until she saw how her brothers had turned out.  Benjamin was so sweet afterwards and gave his to her and said to her “I made this for you”.

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Look at that sad face! 

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Then they ran off to build an Eskimo village.

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We enjoyed playing in the Arctic ocean.  Wished we would have had more icebergs, but freezer space is a major issue right now.

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We did retellings of the story with character cards.  I was amazed at how many details Benjamin included in his retelling!

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We finished off the week by making bear dens with graham crackers.  They turned out cute!

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We also met the homeschool group at the gym for fun and games!

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I guess we had a couple of pajama days this week.  I wasn’t feeling great and had some bad nights so I’m amazed we accomplished as much as we did.

Before Five in a Row: The Snowy Day

This week we enjoyed an Ezra Jack Keats classic: The Snowy Day.  A story where a boy discovers and enjoys the wonders of a snowy day.

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We read a lot about snowflakes this week.  The Story of Snow was a great one!  It talks about the uniqueness of each snowflake, how they are formed, and has wonderful close up photos and illustrations of snow crystals.  The kids loved this!

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We made our own snowflakes with coffee filters.  We had so much fun and they thought it was absolutely magical!  LRG_DSC02558

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His snowflakes were getting cooler than mine!

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In this snowflake of Benjamin’s, he commented that it looked like Peter’s (the boy’s name in the story) snowsuit.  He was right!  I love when they make those observations – I never would’ve noticed.

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We talked about Psalms 90:12 and how only God knows how many days we have here on earth, so we must make the most out of each day, enjoy the wonderful gifts He has provided, and live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalms 90:12

We made forts and had an indoor snowball fight with socks.

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I made snow dough and we made our own tracks in the snow with Legos, animals, and sticks.

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Down fell the snow — plop! — on top of Peter’s head. 

Benjamin had the idea of getting his Lego figure ice cubes to use as snowmen.

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When the ice melted the snow got a little slimy, so he began creating avalanches instead.

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poor Lego guys!

We discussed how Peter handled his situation when he couldn’t participate in a snowball fight with the big boys.  We all agreed that Peter made the right decision when he found other exciting things to do instead of pouting and complaining about not participating in the snowball fight.

At the end of the story, Peter is shown telling his mother all about his day in the snow.  We discussed memories and how much of the fun of going on adventures is being able to remember them later.  I shared some of my favorite childhood memories — a  few hours later during lunch, Benjamin asked if I would tell him more about my “adventures at Gan’s house when I was little”.  I thought it was so sweet of him.

We went to up to Piancavallo for our own fun in the snow.  We had fun sledding, making tracks, and attempting snow angels.  Clara has been desperate to make snow angels for a long time.  It wasn’t quite the right snow for that but we tried anyway.

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cioccolato caldo… yum!

We worked on story sequencing cards and created our own snowy scenes with puffy paint.

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The finished product turned out cute!

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We made a snowflake/snowman snack with pretzels and marshmallows.

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In other news this week:

Benny lost his first tooth! He was bursting with excitement and wanted to call everybody.

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We went to Boy Scouts this week and the boys learned about teamwork and building each other up.  They had to work as a team to build a tower without using any hands.  This was very challenging for them.

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We’re still plugging away with Logic of English.  We practiced writing in “snow” and Benny shot phonograms with his nerf gun.

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They loved this little story and have made many references to Peter and are still interested in hearing memories.

 

 

Before Five in a Row: If Jesus Came to My House

We started this story when we were at my Mom’s for the holidays.  I thought we’d do a lot more school while we were visiting but alas, we only managed to squeeze in one day.  We finally got around to finishing the book about a month later — it took us a long time to recover from jet lag and Christmas.

This was a very sweet story with a beautiful message… We can show our love for Jesus by serving others and treating them with love and kindness.

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We began by learning about the Golden Rule.  We made watercolor hearts.  They loved watching how the watercolors spread on the paper.  I even let them use my fancy Japanese watercolors which made it that much more exciting.  I didn’t get a picture of the final product, but we cut them into heart shapes and wrote the golden rule on it.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

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We talked about the power of music and how it can make you feel certain emotions. We listened and danced to classical music selections from Play Kids Music and they explained how it made them feel and why.  They were definitely partial to the fast, loud, and exciting pieces.  We also discovered how music can make unpleasant tasks a lot more fun…  so we blasted music and tidied up the house.

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So do not fear, for I am with you

Isaiah 41:10

In the story the little boy is frightened by the shadows on his wall at night.  We discussed different kinds of fears we all face in life. Apparently Benjamin has no fear, but Clara stated she is afraid when she is outside in the dark without her mom or dad.  We read Isaiah 41:10 and reviewed that we shouldn’t be afraid because Jesus is always with us.

“Although I cannot see him, I still can feel him near to understand and hold my hand and drive away my fear.”

Since the boy in the story mentions shadows, we had lots of fun reading about how shadows are made.

We did a shadow puppet show.

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We traced, raced, and chased our shadows at the park…

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We watched our shadows swing.

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We combined teatime this week for The Snowy Day and If Jesus Came to My House. Benjamin decided we should serve snowball cookies, so we got baking.  I have to say this Tupperware chopper was amazing for chopping all of those pecans!

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rolling “snowballs”

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We looked for all of the ways in the story the little boy shows hospitality to Jesus and decided to invite some special visitors for teatime.

We greeted them at the door and invited them in…

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welcomed them to our table…

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and offered them something to eat…

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The kids did all of the decorating for teatime today.  I loved the snowflakes as coasters.  We enjoyed the snowball cookies and root beer and of course began teatime with My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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“And with my bricks I’d build for him a palace of his own, and he would be the little king and sit upon the throne”.

We made palaces for our guests.

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This one looked a bit more like a prison cell!

I was glad I went ahead and finished this story.  I wanted to make it more service centered, but living in a foreign country makes it difficult to find opportunities.  I also wanted them to find toys to donate, but since it ends up sitting on our train table it didn’t seem too effective in getting the point across.  Hopefully we can do more service projects after we move.

Prayer for a Child

We had a lighter week this week as we were getting ready to go home for Thanksgiving and had much to do.  Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field was the perfect book — a lovely illustrated prayer of rhyming couplets.

We talked a lot this week about what it means to be content — to be happy with what we have instead of always wanting more.  I thought this lesson went totally lost as both of their Christmas lists continued to grow, but it as it turns out, they are quick to point out when I  am not satisfied with what I have.   Now I am constantly reminded about being content when I want to buy new pens.  And truth be told, I am beginning to accumulate an astonishing number of pens.  Alas, I suppose we’re all hypocrites at heart!

We made praying hands to think of things in our own lives for which we could pray and be grateful.  Clara loved hers so much and had me read it to her many times throughout the week.  She even packed it in her suitcase for our trip back to the states.

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I was glad to see  “better attitude” on Benjamin’s.  And cactus juice??? Where did that come from?

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We learned the song Jesus Loves the Little Children and watched it on YouTube.  I loved hearing their voices caroling throughout the house all week.

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We read Children Just Like Me.  A story that spotlights the lives of children all over the world.  Although we discovered many differences —  types of shelter, languages, clothing, and traditions — we also found many similarities.  We learned that kids all over the world go to school and like to play with toys.  In countries where toys are scarce, the kids create their own.  We invented our own toys just like the kids in the book.  Benjamin made a sword out of a stick and his praying hands, and together, we made a ball out of old grocery bags.  We had fun playing games of tennis and soccer with our ball.

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In the story the girl spends some time gazing at the stars.  We read a few books on stars and learned about the big dipper.  We worked on making pinhole constellations.  We never had time to stargaze through a flashlight as intended, but they enjoyed poking holes in the paper anyway and I was happy because it was great for fine motor skills!

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And then Benny decided to make the Big Dipper with his bread.

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The prayer begins with ‘bless this milk and bless this bread.’  We watched a little video about dairy farming and wheat harvesting.  We also read Little Red Hen.  I didn’t even need to talk about the moral of story because that spoke for itself.   We baked some bread to practice being cheerful helpers.

Benny measured the flour while Clara made a tally mark for each cup.

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We learned how to knead the dough.  Clara tired quickly, so Benjamin did most of the kneading.  Clara got to grease the bowl for the dough.

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Ready to watch it rise!

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They loved working with the dough so much that they continued to “bake bread” with the play-doh.

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They loved checking in on the dough and watching it rise.  Purely magical!

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The finished product was excellent! We enjoyed the fruits of our labor all week!

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I love this sweet little face!

We had a special teatime for Thanksgiving this week and Dad could even join us because it fell on a Sunday!  We slurped hot apple cider, licked the frosting off of pumpkin spice cupcakes, and read stories about Thanksgiving.

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Our Thanksgiving tree is complete!  Though I regret not recording what they had said each day, I love how it turned out in the end!  One of my favorites from Benjamin was “turkeys in all of the land”.  I hope to make this a family tradition and will look forward to it every year.

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That pretty much sums up the week!  Now we are looking forward to a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving and holiday season with family in Utah and California.