Before Five in a Row: I Am an Artist

We made it!  This was our last official week of school!  To cap off a great year we read I Am an Artist by Pat Lowery Collins. It was the perfect book to get outside and explore beauty in nature while relishing in the sunshine.

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We did many activities from our Ivy Kids box which included Don Freeman’s A Rainbow of my Own.  They worked beautifully together and made for a delightful week!

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We can be artists when we imagined to hear ocean in seashells and examined various shades within each shell.

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We identified the shells using our Nature Anatomy  book by Julia Rothman.

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We can be artists when we created our own lovely beach sunset with watercolors.

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We can be artists when we observed the light dance around our dining table…

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And sparkle in the window.

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We can be artists when we created wind with a straw to magically grow fingers in our painting.

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We can be artists when we watched our world in burst in to rainbow colors with our diffraction glasses— this was truly magical!

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We can be artists when we studied  little water droplets sprinkling down from the air.

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We can be artists when we gazed upon graceful clouds floating through the sky — finding chimneys and candles along the way.

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We can be artists when we marveled at the mysterious chemical reaction of adding dye to a cup of water.

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We can be artists when we experimented with mixing rainbow colors…

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To discover it became a dark gray/brow.

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We can be artists when we witnessed capillary action at work.  We started with three empty cups and only primary colors…

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Watched the water climb…

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And finished off with a perfectly beautiful rainbow!

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We can be artists during teatime while we designed our own rainbow cookies.

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Yum… looks so appetizing!

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Also this week we finally finish our Bible!  It has taken us the entire year and they were so exited to finish.  This is has been the number one book this year that leaves them begging for “just one more”!

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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 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!

Valentine’s Day

Instead of Five in a Row this week, we enjoyed crafting and read many stories about love and Valentine’s Day.

We did watercolor crayon resist paintings to add to the calendars we’ve been working on.

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We made gluey yarn hearts.  Benjamin had zero interest in this, but Clara enjoyed it and loved hanging them when they dried.

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We conducted a failed science experiment.  I placed white mums in colored water to demonstrate how the stem drinks the water, but we had no luck in changing the color of the petals.  After almost two weeks, we could barely see a few spots in the flowers in the green and blue water.  Yellow and red were just as white as they started. Nevertheless, we still had fun inspecting them each day.

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This is how they looked in the beginning
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This was about 12 days later 

We worked on a mailbox for each family member and spent a lot of time creating valentines.  They had much more fun with this than I had expected.  I did nothing other than provide art supplies and they went to work.  I am ashamed to admit that I have not yet mailed out the valentines they worked so hard on.  I must get to it!

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Still loves making snowflakes!

 

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our mailboxes

Benjamin decided he’d rather have an actual box, so he got to work.  It was an evolving project.  It began with two coffee filters taped together with a hole in the top.

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The view from the top 

Then he cut a hole in a box and added the filters to the top.

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The next addition was a money dropper.  He discovered that if you put money into the tube and tipped the box, coins would come out like a “money machine”.  He loved making “change” and at one point required a credit card in order to give him a valentine.  Haha!

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They made their own “George Washington” money

We got ready for the homeschool Valentine’s party and they practiced writing their names.

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Teatime this week consisted of valentine sprinkle cookies and sparkling pink lemonade.

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Other things we did this week:

Benjamin is working hard on reading and is progressing quickly.  I’m still impressed with his cursive though he refuses to use it at any other time.

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Clara is working on her cutting skills.  She has a difficult time holding the scissors properly.  I read straws are a great way to work on scissor skills because they are stiff. Benjamin couldn’t resist when he witnessed how the straws soared up into the air with each snip.

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We joined the homeschool group for a trip to the science museum in town.  All of the kids were completely enamored with this phone.  I must say, I have very fond childhood memories of playing with my grandmother’s dial phone.

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We had fun crafting this week, but the weather was terrible.  We were stuck in the house way more than we like to be.  It even snowed!  Although it’s not much, I have never seen this much snow in our town.

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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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We made kangaroos.LRG_DSC02764

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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: 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.