Friday, December 21, 2012

Little Keepers Christmas Cookie Exchange

Last year we had a Christmas Tea Party.  This year the girls are working on a Cookie Baking pin so we decided to have a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party.  Each girl brought a dozen and a half of their cookie along with the recipe. The rule was taste one, take one home, tell us about your recipe/baking experience and just have fun!

Before the tasting and collecting of cookies began, I had the girls create a little cookie recipe pouch.  You know me and pretty paper so I had the girls pick out a pretty sheet of Christmas paper cut it to 10x12, fold in half, used my binding machine to make holes on both ends, and then had the girls weave in red yarn.  The final touch was a pretty stick on label.

We had a few girls that tried every cookie but most took a nice full bag of cookies home ;D

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December Tide Pools

We spent yesterday with friends at the Leo Carrillo Tide Pools.  It was a gorgeous clear 70 degree day : D  We took along our Pacific Intertidal Life guide.  It came in very handy and we spotted quiet a few specimens listed in it.

California Mussells - Mytilus californianus

Starbusrt Anemone - Anthopleura sola

Purple Sea Urchin - Strongylocentrotus purpuratus

California Sea Lion - Zalophus californianus

Ochre Sea Star - Pisaster ochraceus
Sea Grass and Sea Weed

We couldn't leave before sitting on some rocks; drawing in our journals and exploring a few caves ; )

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Saint Nicholas Morning Tea

We had such a good time celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas last year that the kids had been waiting and talking about it.  So off to bed they went last night, but not before chopping some carrots and putting their shoes outside the door.  I hear that the tradition in some countries is to leave one shoe out.  My kiddies prefer to leave two; just in case.  They woke to find a purse of chocolate gold coins, candy cane and clementine for each.  (the sugar rush started early today!!)

Instead of having a simple yogurt breakfast this time we decided to have a try at making some Scepuloos cookies.  I used the recipe from the St. Nicholas Center.   I carved a miter on them : ) They are definitely for dunking; they were a bit hard. Of course, this wasn't a problem because they had plenty of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green tea to sip.  After seeing the huge sugar consumption this morning I decided they would only have the tea, but for myself I did try a concoction the teller at TJ's shared with me:  make a cup of their Sipping Hot Chocolate and then steep a bag of the Candy Cane tea.  This was delicious!

Our story today was The Secret Gift Bearer from Saintly Tales and Legends by Lois Rock.  Our morning poem came from The Young Oxford Book of Christmas Poems :

December- Prayer to Saint Nicholas
by John Heath-Stubbs
Patron of all those who do good by stealth-
Slipping three bags of gold in through the window
To save three desperate girls, restoring
Dead boys to life out of the pickling tub
Of an Anatolian Sweeney Todd-
Teach us to give with simplicity, and not with an eye
To the main chance: it's less than
Three weeks' shopping time to Christmas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent & Winter Term 2012

We tend to start school in mid August and by Thanksgiving have finished a first term.  I've enjoyed this very much.  It gives us about five weeks to shift our CM education towards preparing for the Christmas season.  We don't stop school and our style doesn't change; materials just get replaced a bit.  The month is filled with activities and to do lists outside our home; that I really noticed a sense of rush rather than the calm that should be.  So for the last several years I've felt that letting the kids enjoy the time filled with great books, handicrafts, poetry, music, nature study/science, art and good thoughts about the coming of our Savior in our home was important. 

All our regular school book baskets are put away and filled with lots of Christmas and winter type books.  This year the kids and I will be enjoying the following:

Religion/Faith:  Destination Bethlehem by Sharon Altman and Christine Winkelman

Geography: Christmas Stories 'Round the World edited by Lois Johnson

Music/Composer Study:  All About Christmas by Maymie R. Krythe (the last four chapters on carols)

Poetry: The Young Oxford Book of Christmas Poems

Art Study(&Religion): A King James Christmas edited by Catherine Schuon & Michael Fitzgerald

Nature Study/Science:  And Everything Nice: The Story of Sugar, Spice and Flavoring by Elizabeth Cooper (this ties in great with the Marco Polo year we're having too) and  Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed (not scientific, but a cute story that gives us some thoughts to research)

The kids also each have independent reading time.  They have lots of books to choose from and I've not been keeping up with my new purchases so I've had to make a few trips to the library to get some new titles for them.  Besides their chapter books; we have on our schedule a picture book daily (which we read as a family).  On the schedule is also a craft or baking/cooking.  They really enjoy this (I'll post next on how this has turned out great with our Spices books).  This gives us lots of time to enjoy our days, but daylight is shorter.  What are they to do?  Well, I've noticed they ended up indoors more this time of year and this gives them time to create or make handmade gifts for people.  One of my girls is on her third set of crochet items she'll be gifting; don't want to spoil what it is in case the grandmas' & aunties are reading ; )

Our math continues as usual (not so creative here, sorry).  I do, however, create a notebook for them to keep all their copy work or written narrations/pictures for the season; a spot for our language arts you might say.  Another instance when I just love my binding machines, pretty paper and my StartWrite program:

This is our second week on this schedule and already I feel like we've slowed down and are enjoying each other.  I can't wait to share with you what's on our nature study table and the cute things the boys are enjoying in that little nook. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Advent Countdown Calendar

Even though we had a full week after Thanksgiving before Advent began I have to admit there wasn't much I did to get ready.  Any time we can spend with Dad we absolutely do! Luckily, I had ordered my candles several weeks ago and, of course, our Advent/Winter term was ready before Thanksgiving.  The kids enjoyed their first week already. But over the weekend I realized I hadn't purchased or put up an Advent countdown calendar.  The kids always enjoy the treat but really I'm not enjoying having six of them around anymore (maybe that was my procrastination).  ; D

What to find in my craft drawers that I could turn into just one calendar?  ... board, push pins, rubber stamps, garland and candy!!!  With the help of the kids this is what I came up with:

We took a pin board; decorated it with a garland and stamped some pocket pillows from the craft store.  These were on a clearance bin over the summer and I couldn't resist the price.  I'm glad I've found use for them.  Each pillow is filled with six treats the kids get to enjoy:

I'm having the kids replace the candy with a piece of paper.  They can write a word or more about something good they've done or seen that particular day.  A sort of good deeds/things collection spot. There it is a quick put together Advent countdown calendar for our family. 

I'll be back later to share our Advent/Winter term books and nature study table ; )