Before Five in Row: Caps for Sale

“Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!”  We had fun with this 1940’s classic by Esphyr Slodbodkina this week. “A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business”.  I remember loving this story when I was little and it’s always fun to revisit a childhood favorite.

We’ve probably read this story a hundred times already and the kids already knew it quite well.  We began the week with some acting.   We practiced walking “slowly, slowly, so as not to upset his caps”.  We also talked about how having good posture helps us with balance.  Something I clearly need to work on for myself because when I demonstrated the meaning of  good posture, both kids burst out laughing! Haha!

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We fell asleep under a “tree” with our caps on…

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When we awoke… little monkeys had swiped our caps! LRG_DSC03401

We took turns being peddlers.  Isn’t this the cutest little peddler you’ve ever seen?!LRG_DSC03393LRG_DSC03391

They both preferred to be monkeys, so I spent most of the time peddling my wares.

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“You monkeys, you, … you give me back my caps!”

For Bible we learned Proverbs 29:11.  Umm… yeah… I had A LOT of conviction, confessing, and owning up to do with this one.  In fact, it was just a week later that I had one of the finest moments of my life when I shattered my phone in an angry rage — in front of my kids!   And they are not letting me forget it and are real quick to tell everyone about their “foolish mom”.  This is proof that I do not have it all together, nor do I care to pretend that I do.  But… this is why I love Jesus! Only He can take an outburst like that… and somehow work it for good.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man holds it in check.

Proverbs 29:11

We made salt dough peddlers and stacked caps on his head.  Clara helped knead the dough and it was great for those little hands!

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The peddlers… I thought they were so cute.

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A monkey peddler! 

We read about coins and sorted them into like piles .

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We observed many ways in which we could make fifty cents.  This was way over their head, but exposure nonetheless. Benjamin was a bit more interested.

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Teatime was fun this week!  We sang variations of Five Little Monkeys, played Monkey see, Monkey do, ate chocolate covered bananas, and slurped root beer — a favorite for all of us.

On a side note, we read No Monkeys, No Chocolate,  and learned that monkeys have been the only way in which the cocoa bean was spread because they were the only thing in the rainforest able to crack the shell containing the seed. God is good!  His design never ceases to amaze me!
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This was a great week and I’ll be back to wrap it up… at “Monkey Mountain” in Austria!  This was the whole reason I chose to officially “row” this book.  Because… how often do you have access to real live mimicking monkeys running freely around their environment???  Stay tuned!

Before Five in a Row: The Big Green Pocket Book

This week we combined The Big Green Pocketbook, our Five in a Row selection, with When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins from an Ivy Kids box.  They went well together since there were many shapes to find in both stories.   

The Big Green Pocketbook  is about a little girl who spends the morning running errands with her mother while collecting special items for her pocketbook along the way. In the end, the girls loses her pocketbook and someone kindly returns it to her.

Throughout the story, there are many acts of kindness.  We read about kindness and manners and searched the pages for examples.  We also recalled a time when we have lost something and how we felt.  Benjamin remembered losing a sticker at the grocery store and Clara remembered losing ponies (don’t tell… but I’m pretty sure I lost them for her).

We studied shades of green and tried our hand at mixing our own colors.  I put out  every shade of blue and yellow I could find and let them mix away.

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We also colored coffee filters with yellow and blue, misted them with water, and examined the blending magic!

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We created animals with our tangram puzzles.

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We used clay and toothpicks to make shapes and structures.

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They pyramid was a little frustrating
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Benny made a house

We ate strawberries and whipped cream for teatime.  The kids weren’t too thrilled with  fruit for a treat, but I topped it with a few chocolate chips and that did the trick!

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We finished off the week by running our own errands.  Clara brought her pocketbook and I gave them each two lollipops… one for now, and one for later. Just like the story.

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Before Five in a Row: The ABC Bunny

This week we read The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gag.  It follows a little bunny’s adventure as he makes his way through the letters of the alphabet.  The rhyme was published in 1933 and is actually set to a song.

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We studied the musical notes on the pages and learned that we can also read music just like we can read books.  We watched the song on YouTube, but they hated it  (I won’t lie, I didn’t enjoy it either) so we danced to this one instead.  Much jazzier!

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I was originally going to skip this book as well, but we’re finally finishing up Foundations A  Logic of English with Benjamin so I thought it would a fun book to do since we’ve learned all of the alphabet now.  He’s made so much progress!

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Nothing more satisfying than an empty workbook!

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We didn’t spend much time on this story, but played letter games all week. We made alphabet soup.  They dipped up bowls and had to read the letter sounds. They look so sleepy!

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We used our animal classification cards from Homeschool Creations to search the illustrations for different kinds of animals.  I’m always surprised at how much they delight in hunting for animals on the page. We even have to take turns because there is too much fighting about who gets to find them!

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Logic of English is a bit different in that it doesn’t teach the order of the alphabet or letter names until the second book.  We practiced lining them up in order, reading the sounds, and then found objects beginning with each phonogram.

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On a side note, we  (mostly) had fun making bird houses for teatime.  Clara had fun, but Benjamin clearly had grander visions for his structure and quickly became frustrated when the frosting was to too thin.  In the end he was happy with how it turned out and I loved the addition of a ramp!  I would’ve been intrigued to see what he was actually envisioning.

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We visited a local farm, Agroturismo Gelindo, hoping to see bunnies.  Again, we had no luck, but we did get to see pigs and horses and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect! I cannot believe I didn’t get a picture of Clara with the horse!

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Before Five in a Row: The Runaway Bunny

The Runaway Bunny, a 1942 classic by Margaret Wise Brown, is a delightful tale of a mother’s steadfast love for her baby bunny.  The little bunny threatens to run away and his mother assures him, “If you run away, I will run after you”.

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We had a lot of fun with this story.  I was so close to skipping it thinking it was too babyish, but I’m glad I didn’t because it has been one of our favorites so far this year.  We spent time studying the illustrations and comparing them to Goodnight Moon as they are both illustrated by Clement Hurd.  They loved finding similarities and even found an illustration from The Runaway Bunny in Goodnight moon.  They also enjoyed hunting for the bunny in his hiding place on every page.

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The painting on the wall in Goodnight Moon is an illustration in The Runaway Bunny. 

We made up our own “if you, then I” statements.  I wish I would’ve written them down because they had thought of some really cute ones.

“If you become a sailboat and sail away from me,” said his mother,  “I will become the wind and blow you where I want you to go”.

We blew cotton bunnies just where we wanted them to go.

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“If you go flying on a flying trapeze,” said his mother, “I will be a tightrope walker, and I will walk across the air to you.”

We had a blast walking on our own tight rope!  Clara dressed up just like the mother bunny…

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And of course needed a costume change.

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Benjamin kicked it up a notch with all kinds of tricks.

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For his Lego challenge, he made a fishing pole and then a tight rope!

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I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3


For Bible, we related the mother’s endless love for her son to Jeremiah 31:3.  We likened this to God’s love for us and though we may try to run away and hide from Him, He is relentless in pursuing our hearts and will always be with us.

We were blessed with the most beautiful weather for teatime! Being one of the first days we could actually feel heat radiating from the sun, we had to spend it outside.  It was glorious!  We ate bunny pudding cups, sipped some chilled juice, and soaked in the sunshine.

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We finished up teatime with a  quick lesson on round shapes.  We examined the differences between circles, discs, and spheres.

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We had a great week, though I can feel a strong dose of spring fever headed our way!

Before Five in a Row: The Little Rabbit

This week we read The Little Rabbit by Judy Dunn.  It captures a little a little girl’s adventure with her pet rabbit named Buttercup.  We didn’t spend a lot of time on this story, but had a nice relaxed week nonetheless.

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This story was a bit unique as it has been the only Five in a Row book done with photographs.  We spent a lot of time comparing illustrated bunnies with the photographed bunnies.  I’m amazed at how many children’s books use bunnies and bears as the main characters.

Since we were learning about photographs, I let them use my camera to do a photo shoot with their animals.  We may need a little work on composition! I’m particularly fond of the junky backdrops! Haha!

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We tried our hand at color matching and matched crayons to different shades of colors found in the story.  They enjoyed this much more than I thought they would.  It then spurred them to make their own version of the book.  I loved how they turned out!

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Benjamin’s version
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I love the buttercups!
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Clara’s book, though I don’t know what prompted the droppings!

For Bible this week, we talked about Proverbs 12:10.  We discussed all of the things animals need when we take them as pets.  We also listed all of the ways Sarah, the girl in the story, took care of her bunny and her babies.

The righteous care for the needs of their animals.

Proverbs 12:10

Since buttercup has babies in the book, we read a little about animal babies.  Clara matched animal babies to the mamas while Benjamin did math.  Notice the first to be completed was the horse!

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From the Five in a Row Facebook group, someone had the brilliant idea of incorporating a  Lego challenge with each book. I had to do this since Legos are about the only thing that motivate Benjamin!  He made a bunny hutch and I thought it was just darling!

 

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The bunny hutch from The Little Rabbit

This is Benjamin’s Lego bunny hutch.  He was beyond thrilled when I gave him the challenge and constructed it in about 10 minutes.

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This is Clara’s bunny hutch

We watched an Art Hub for Kids video here on how to draw a realistic bunny.  They both LOVED  these videos and wanted to keep working on them.  We drew bunnies, chicks, and easter baskets!   They turned out really cute.  I’m grateful for YouTube because I desperately need the artistic help!  And yet my brother manages to sell paintings for thousands! How different we all are…

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Notice how mine on the bottom is on the same level as Benjamin’s!

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I love the carrots!

We had some Easter fun by decorating foil eggs.  I drew some sample patterns and they went to work! I guess I forgot to get a picture of the final product.

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We had an Easter egg coloring party!  We invited Sofia and Samuel over to decorate eggs.  They were quite proud of their creations.  Though coloring eggs is not huge tradition in Italy, it is gaining popularity.  lrg_dsc02978.jpeg

We went to a local pet story in an attempt to find bunnies… but had no luck and had to settle for fish.

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On a random note, nothing like pancake faces for dinner!  I made the pancakes and they made the faces.  One perk of Dad working nights!

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Clara looked so beautiful in her Easter dress!  Benjamin was a handsome little hunk, but would NOT cooperate for a picture.  The day couldn’t have been more lovely! He is risen indeed!

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Next week we’ll be back for more fun with bunnies while we read The Runaway Bunny!

 

 

Before Five in a Row: Ask Mr. Bear

Ask Mr. Bear, first published in 1932, is a sweet tale about a boy trying to find the perfect birthday present for his mother.  He seeks advice from all of the animals only to find that his mother already has the items suggested.  In the end, the animals advised him to ask Mr. Bear who happened to have the best idea… a great big bear hug.

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Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7


We talked about ways we could be cheerful givers and thoughtful of others.  Clara said we can give toys; Benjamin thought of love and help — all good ideas I thought.  In the story, Danny seeks advice from the animals.  We discussed what it means to seek advice and you can either choose to take it or leave it, but it’s a wise thing to do.

We spent a lot of time re-enacting and retelling the story with our Usborne Press-Out Paper Farm.  They both loved this and spent a lot of time lost in play.  It is really cute.

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We sampled goat cheese, cream, and eggs… as suggested by the goat, cow, and hen.

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We studied a goose feather pulled from one of our coats… the idea from the goose.

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Cozied up in a wool blanket…  advice from the sheep.

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And of course spent lots of time doling out great big bear hugs.

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We practiced moving like the animals from the story.  We skipped, trotted, galloped, and hopped all while making our best animal impersonations.

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We ate a “farm fresh” lunch one day.  Eggs, goat cheese, bacon, milk, and apples. Clara loved the feta – Benjamin did not.

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We had a very merry un-birthday party which was SO much fun!  We watched the scene from Alice and Wonderland and talked about what makes a birthday special.  We baked an un-birthday cake, wore party hats, and made some noise!

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Since the story is about gift giving, we practiced our thoughtfulness by finding things around the house to wrap up.  I also let them each choose a small token for each other from the store.  We role played how to open gifts — both graciously and rudely — great hilarity ensued!

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We had a bunch of lemons sitting around after making the lemon cake, so they got to work juicing.  I had no idea juicing could be so much fun.  I think they spent at least an hour juicing lemons which was just enough to make freshly squeezed lemonade!

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Other fun things this week: 

Benjamin enjoyed writing with the quick drying tempura paint sticks.  They are a lot of fun to color with and they don’t smear.

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We had some fun for St. Patrick’s Day.  We read about leprechauns, stamped shamrocks with marshmallows, and painted a leprechaun.

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Clara’s
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Benjamin’s

We had so much fun this week!  It is amazing to me how much you can pull from such a simple and sweet story.

 

Before Five in a Row: The Red Carpet

The Red Carpet by Rex Parkin was our pick for Five in a Row this week.  What a delightful story!  It is currently out of print and I’m glad I tracked it down at a reasonable price.  I absolutely loved the rhyme and rhythm of this story and never tired of reading it.  The Red Carpet is a tale of the Hotel Bellevue’s runaway red carpet which wildly whirled through the town wreaking havoc.

We read about policeman from Usborne’s Things People Do.  Both of the kids love this book.  We also talked about detectives and how they use fingerprints to help track down suspects in a crime.

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While we examined our own fingerprints, we marveled at our Creator’s infinite creativity and His amazing, intricate, and unique design for each and every one of us.   IMG_8741


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well

Psalm 139: 13-14

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  

Matthew 10: 29-31


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We created our own version of La Salle Avenue.

“Shine up the doorknobs, and sweep up the floor, then roll out the carpet right through the front door!”

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Our Hotel Bellevue

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In the story, pretzels soared through the air when the red carpet plowed into a street vendor.  Our town had lego pizzas take flight!

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It didn’t take long before it took over the house!

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We rolled out the red carpet when Dad came home and surprised hime with “red carpet treatment”.  The kids worked so hard.  Benjamin presented a wrapped box of conversation hearts on a structure he had built.  Clara wrapped up a doll brush from around the house and made a valentine.  We also offered him a snack and a provided a selection of beverages.

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Clara’s gift

Clara worked on posing for the red carpet event.

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I’ll have to keep these tablecloths in mind.  It is impossible to get butcher paper here.  This was handy.  Afterward, they did some large drawings.

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We hunted for street signs within the book’s illustrations and then ventured out on a neighborhood walk to see what kind of street signs we could find.  We practiced turning left and right — just like the red carpet.

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The town was still decorated from carnevale

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We continued on a nature walk through the woods.

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We even found signs of spring!

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We like to imagine what little critters may call this home. Benjamin voted for a mole; Clara guessed lizards and rats.

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In other news this week:

We got our new math curriculum – Math-U-See.  The kids had a blast exploring the new manipulatives.

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We had so much fun at our library’s Fort Night!  They opened the library after hours and allowed us to build a fort between the aisles.  We read books in the dark with a flashlight.  I’m surprised they are holding another one because there were a few kids in there emptying entire shelves!  They even provided cookies, juice, and a lollipop for the road.  It was a hit!

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They found their favorite poetry books!

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What a fun and busy week it was!

Before Five in a Row: Katy No-Pocket

This week we rowed Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne. Illustrated by H. A. Rey,  the kids immediately recognized the illustrations and thought it was Curious George.  We talked about the difference between authors and illustrators and compared our Curious George illustrations to this one.

 

images-7This is a story about a kangaroo without a pouch looking for a solution so she could carry her joey.  She finds a kind, generous man in the city wearing an apron full of pockets.  He kindly remedied her problem by cheerfully giving his apron to her.

We discussed Deuteronomy 15:8 and Timothy 6:18 and learned what it means to be generous.  I didn’t think they were listening at all, but a few days later we were in the car and Benjamin announced that he had helped Clara get what she needed (he was referring to a balloon she had been looking for).


Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need.

Deuteronomy 15:8

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

Timothy 6:18


 

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We combined this story with Over in Australia from an Ivy Kids box.  It worked out perfectly since our library didn’t have much on Australia or its wildlife.

Katy No-Pocket features many animals throughout. We matched, sorted, and tallied up what we found.

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Benjamin’s kangaroo is running.

We read about boomerangs and had fun throwing them. Boomerangs are an old hunting tool and are designed to return to you when thrown correctly. Benjamin got his to curve back (ever so slightly) once!

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We created our own Aboriginal art.  This kept them busy for quite a while.

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I had given them this kangaroo print out, but after viewing some samples of real Aboriginal art online, Benjamin immediately wanted to start fresh with his own design.

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We designed our own pouch — just like Katy!

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They had a great time playing with these!  I caught them at almost 9:00 one night playing with these.

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We talked about different animals in the story and how zoos give us chance to see unique animals from all over the world.  We don’t have access to a zoo around here, so we created our own.

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Benjamin worked so hard on this swing!

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We read that kangaroos can jump 25 – 30 feet.  We measured what that looks like.  We were finally able to get outside.  It’s been terribly foggy and rainy for the past week.

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We compared our own jumps to the length of the kangaroo.

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I was really pathetic!

We counted how many steps, jumps, and one-legged hops it took us to get 25 feet.

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Benjamin got the table ready for teatime.  He decorated with his coins!

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Shel Silverstein continues to be the favorite

We sampled Fairy Bread – supposedly an Australian treat enjoyed at birthday parties and holidays.  It is nothing more than amply buttered white bread with sprinkles and was strangely delicious.  They both loved it and licked every sprinkle off of every plate.

Some other things we did this week: 

Benjamin was introduced to place value.

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I let him choose a number to make.  He just had to pick “a 9 and a 7”!  It took a while but he did it! And then of course I showed him what happens when we add 3 more.

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Clara worked on counting as well.

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The kids randomly disappeared upstairs and built the town of Pordenone.

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This hasn’t been my favorite story.  I don’t know if it was because our library had zero books on Australia or kangaroos… or if it was raining and we were a bit cooped up inside the house.  The kids enjoyed it nonetheless and we read it many times throughout the week.

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.