Thursday, November 27, 2008

Friday Show and Tell ~ Christmas Books Revisited

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had a very nice one.  To see more Show and Tells, go see Canadagirl.

Back in October, I decided to do an Advent Christmas book activity this year.  I asked you all for advice and got a great list of ideas from all of you.  I put many of the books on my Amazon Wish List for future years and bought a few to add to what I already own.  Here is the final list for this year:

The Christmas Story~Carol Heyer

Gingerbread Baby

The Wind and the Willow Christmas

Animals' Christmas Carol

The Legend of the Candy Cane

Ellis Island Christmas

Silver Packages

The Dog Who Found Christmas~Linda Jennings

The Steadfast Tin Soldier~Hans Christian Andersen

The Christmas Day Kitten~James Herriot

The First Christmas According To Luke

A Winter's Night Tale

Woodland Christmas~Frances Tyrrell

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey~Susan Wojciehowski

The Chanukkah Guest~Eric A. Kimmel

The Gift of the Magi~O. Henry

The Legend of the Poinsettia~Tomie dePaola

The Crippled Lamb~Max Lucado

Grandfather's Christmas Camp~Marc McCutcheon

Christmas in the Trenches

The Christmas Candle~Richard Paul Evans

The Biggest Snowman Ever~Steven Kroll

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona~Tomie dePaola

Jingle the Christmas Clown~Tomie dePaola

The books are all wrapped and numbered in accordance with our calendar.  I picked short books for our busy days and longer books for the weekends.  I hope to do some activities around some of the books, too.  It should be fun and a great way to count down the days to Christmas.

We also went to the Grove Park Inn after Thanksgiving dinner to try to take our Christmas photo for our Christmas card.  My poor Mother had to take a lot of pictures of her wiggling subjects to get this shot.  However, we are glad that we got it on our first attempt.  I had to dress the kids up 4 times last year before I got an acceptable one!  Here is  our 2008 picture.

Here is a cute shot of just the kiddos...

Blessings, Dawn

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ask If You Dare

I got this great interview from Denise.  I had to try it with my three youngest.  I was amazed by how correct some of their answers were.  I have to work on measurement, though ... hee hee hee.

Here are Little Red Ridinghood's (5) answers:

1. What is something Mom always says to you? do the dishes

2. What makes Mom happy? kisses and hugs
3. What makes Mom sad? when the computer is being difficult
4. How does Mom make you laugh? when Mom makes funny faces
5. What was Mom like as a child? a girl
6. When is Mom's birthday? Can you give me a clue on this one?
7. How tall is Mom? 17 inches

8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do? cook
9. What does Mom do when you're not around? sleep
10. If your Mom becomes famous, what will it be for? racing around

11. What is Mom really good at? cooking
12. What is Mom not very good at? catching and throwing (so true)
13. What does Mom do for a job? be a Mom (lots of giggles about my silly question)

14. What is Mom's favorite food? salad

15. What makes you proud of Mom? she gives great hugs
16. If Mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Martha the dog on "Martha Speaks"
17. What do you and Mom do together? cook
18. How are you and Mom alike?  our hair

19. How are you and Mom different? I wear dresses all the time.
20. How do you know Mommy loves you? She is nice to me.
Here are Goldilocks' (7) answers:

1. What is something Mom always says to you? in a minute...
2.  What makes Mom happy?  when I am being good
3. What makes Mom sad? when I get hurt
4. How does Mom make you laugh? by tickling me
5. What was Mom like as a child? She was like grandma. (!)
6. When is Mom's birthday? Hmm. I don't know.
7. How tall is Mom? 10 inches tall
8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do? play with her kids

9. What does Mom do when you are not around? clean the house
10. If your Mom becomes famous, what will it be for? for loving her children
11. What is Mom really good at? giving hugs
12. What is Mom not very good at? putting on her snow pants

13. What does Mom do for a job? take care of us
14. What is Mom's favorite food? tea
15. What makes you proud of Mom? She is really good at hugging.
16. If Mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? a mommy on TV
17. What do you and Mom do together? do the dishes
18. How are you and Mom alike? We have long hair and wear bows.
19. How are you and Mom different? I don't wear glasses.
20. How do you know Mommy loves you? She takes care of me.
And last but not least, Tom Sawyer's answers:

1. What is something Mom always says to you? take your dishes to the sink
2. What makes Mom happy? helping her clean
3. What makes Mom sad? not helping her
4. How does Mom make you laugh? by tickling me

5. What was Mom like as a child? a kid
6. When is Mom's birthday? I don't know
7. How tall is Mom? 10 feet
8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do? do art projects
9. What does Mom do when you are not around? clean
10. If your Mom becomes famous, what will it be for? making furniture (!)
11. What is Mom really good at? reading
12. What is Mom not very good at? being Martha Stewart
13. What does Mom do for a job? teach Sunday school
14.  What is Mom's favorite food? tea
15. What makes you proud of Mom? she helps us
16. If Mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Helen's mother on "Martha Speaks"
17. What do you and Mom do together? doing reading lessons
18. How are you and Mom alike? We both like tea a lot.
19. How are you and Mom different? I have blond hair and she doesn't.
20. How do you know Mommy loves you? She does nice things for me and changes my bed in the middle of the night when I wet.

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, November 21, 2008

Show and Tell Hunger Banquet

Last night we attended our church's Hunger Banquet.  Every year, our church youth group puts on a Hunger Banquet and invites the community to raise awareness of hunger around the world.  They divide the room up into First World (America, Europe, Japan, etc.), Second World (countries like Mexico), and Third World (such as most African nations).   When you arrive, you purchase a ticket and reach into a bowl to get the piece of paper which tells to which world you have been assigned.  The slips of paper are in proportion to the population of those who live in these world divisions, so there are many more Third World pieces of paper.  Our entire family got Third World this year.  In Third World, all of the women and girls have to wear head coverings.  We sat on the floor in a very crowded mass of people.

Each family in the Third World was given a baby doll to represent all of the starving babies around the world.  Every minute 12 children die from hunger and hunger-related diseases around the world.  To our dismay, our baby doll was taken by a boy dressed up as death about 30 minutes later, after the "baby" had starved to death!

The girls were excited about our "new baby".  However, when I explained how the people sitting at tables with china were not where we were going to be eating and showed them the mats on the floor where we were headed, they became hesitant about this whole event!  While we were waiting for First World and Second World to be served food, we were growled at questioned by the guards/soliders about possible trouble we might be causing, and some men in our section were dragged off to jail.  Our oldest son was the head guard, so we got treated a bit better than others.

When it was time for the Third World to eat, we lined up with our bowl and cup (empty yogurt containers) to get our rations.  Our children were sent to the back of the line, since children eat last in the Third World.  We chose to join them.  When we did get food, it was a serving of one small spoonful of nasty, partially cooked rice and 1 ounce of water and a 1 ounce piece of bread.

My youngest son ate the rice, but both my daughters picked at it and did not eat much.  Occasionally, someone would stop by our area and try to sell us food from the black market, but we did not buy anything.  We figured most in the Third World could not afford to buy it.  Sometimes food would be thrown into our Third World group by "relief workers", and people would scramble for it.  If you could get the food and hide it before  the guards got it, you had a bit more to eat.  We were fortunate to get two snack size bags of chips and a candy bar.  However, the guards stole our candy bar.  We managed to hide the chips and eat them secretly.  The whole time there was a slide show running with pictures of starving children and hunger statistics.  I must say, that made us feel guilty even eating in the Third World seating.  My son, who was the guard, took pictures of the First World and Second World.

Second World had more comfortable seating and were served tasty rice and beans.  They also had as much water as they wanted, plus seconds on beans and rice.

First World had chairs and ate off of china.  They had a catered pork meal with all the trimmings.

At the end, we all stood in a circle and talked about our experience and what we could do to help with world hunger.  The people in the First World talked about how embarrassed they were to be eating so well while looking over at the rest of us.  However, in the beginning while people were sitting down, I actually saw a woman leave our Third World group and sneak over to the First World and took a seat as if she belonged there!  My children said they could eat what was put in front of them without complaint.  That would be a nice change.  We will be following up on this by studying how we can help children in Haiti and taking some food to our local food bank.  My Mother asked that she get no Christmas gift this year but for us to just donate money for starving children. The kids are already talking about going next year and hoping we get to Second World. 

To see more Show and Tells, go to Mary at Canadagirl.

Blessings, Dawn

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Question...

I spent some time this morning putting a line up of Christmas movies on my Blockbuster account.  I am hoping that we will get two Christmas movies to watch each week of December.  I feel like I am missing some great movies, though.  What is your favorite Christmas family movie or favorite kid Christmas movie?  I don't mind a movie here or there that includes Santa but I want wholesome.  (We really do not do Santa and the kids understand that he is pretend, but they have seen Santa movies before.)  They loved the Santa Claus last year.  We are planning to continue keeping Christmas simple around here, but I thought having a movie night each week would be fun for the holidays.

Please leave me a comment with your suggestions.

Blessings, Dawn

Monday, November 17, 2008

Unplugged Project~Donate

The theme at Unplug Your Kids this week is sort and donate.

This one was right up my alley.  My house has been a bit overwhelming to me recently, and I knew with the holidays coming it was time for a sort and donate.  Out with the old to make room for the new....  So I handed everyone bags and we went about weeding out the unwanted.  My big teen managed to find two big bags of stuff to donate (mostly clothes he had grown out of years ago).  We worked on cleaning up the basement, too.  When we had everything gathered, we decided to weigh it.  We were shocked to find that we had 94 pounds to donate!!  Hurray! That is 94 pounds that I will never have to clean up again.  The kids made a graph of the weight of each bag, so it counted for math, too.

Blessings, Dawn

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Show and Tell Friday ~ Our week

A week mostly at home with our normal schedule has done me so much good.  We had a nice homeschooling week with the 3 R's covered, and we got to another chapter of SOTW.  This week we concentrated on Ancient Africa and stories about Anansi the Spider.  We read several stories about Anansi and made spiders and ate yams in different ways.  Sorry, no pictures of all that activity.

The big teen is really getting into chemistry.  Thanks to another blogger (sorry, I don't remember who you are), we found this site  It goes through all the elements of the Periodic Table in video form.  Some of the videos are very explosive!  So if you are studying chemistry, go check this

Lastly, we made our Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes this week.  They are due next week for collection.  If you are interested in doing this activity, you still have time.  I think this is the kids' favorite Christmas charity.  We decided that this year all of our charities will be hands-on so the kids can really be involved.  We are hoping to do a hands-on charity each week of December.  I will list our schedule later.  We started collecting our loot for the boxes in August with the back to school sales and finished up at the dollar store this week.  We ended up with 5 boxes this year.  The kids included little notes in each box.

Yeah! There were no tears this year about saying goodbye to something that one of them wanted.  I am happy to see their hearts growing in charity.  It is so much more of a blessing to give than to receive.  I really want them to get that concept as early as possible.

To see more great Show and Tells, go see Canadagirl.

Blessings, Dawn

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Just Can't Seem to Catch My Breath ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           a WARNING ... a little rant and whine ahead.  If you are looking for my usual cheerful entries, check back in a day or two.                                                       
Do you ever feel like you just don't have any time between events?  Even though many of the events have been fun in the last few weeks, I am just ready for a break.  However, this does not seem likely.  In the last month, we went to Nashville for a week, returned to visiting Dad and Step-mother for a week, one week to sorta catch up/recover, and then off to Duke Medical Center to discover even more things wrong with my big teen's heart.  Last night we returned from Duke and Ronald McDonald House.  We have the next two weeks of our normal schedule, which is busy enough, and then Thanksgiving.  Then it is the month of December with a 10 day loop of Tomatis, my FASD dd's birthday (which is always traumatic for her), and Christmas.  Did I mention a 10 day loop of Tomatis?    Ugh!!  I am keeping up well with the big teen's schooling, but the little one's schooling is basically down to reading and math daily and SOTW, tea time chapter book reading, and FIAR when I can squeeze it in.  As for the other subjects, like Spanish and science ... PLEASE.  I don't mind homeschooling being a little crazy now and again, but a month of craziness is just getting to be too much ... and let's not even talk about the house.  It seems to be under control about one day a week ~ the day we are not home in it.  Just from where I'm sitting, I can see 20 Legos, several hair bows, a Barbie, a still packed suitcase, two overflowing laundry baskets waiting for folding and numerous papers everywhere.  Additionally, there are just worries ... a mounting To Do List, the big teen facing the loss of health insurance in a few months because of pre-existing conditions, and threat of services being cut for my FASD/RAD dd's one-on-one respite care provider.  The mental health programs in this state right now stink ... OK!  So I need to focus and list off a few things that I am thankful for ...
  1. We are home safe from Duke.
  2. Our big teen had a pretty good check up for his heart and pacemaker, although they found a new heart defect.  I do not know yet what this means for him, but pooling blood does not sound good.
  3. I have faith that his doctors have his best interest at heart.  No pun intended.
  4. My mother was healthy enough to be able to go along and help out, when at times she has not been up to it.  She was able to stay with my younger son at Ronald McDonald House while we were at the hospital all day.  He would have had a real hard time with all of the required transitions from room to room while getting various tests in the hospital.
  5. My two girls breezed through the 7 hours in hospital waiting rooms and doctors' offices.
  6. My big teen completed his out-of-the-home world history class and world religion classes.  He is not so happy about this, because he loved taking them, but I am happy to have one less place I have to get him to every week.
  7. While we were at Duke, we were able to go to the NC Museum of Art and had a lovely time.  I loved it when my 6 year old son recognized a Monet from across the room.
  8. I have the next two weeks mostly at home to hopefully catch my breath and refresh my school plans for the next two months.
  9. I really do love the holidays and look forward to our old traditions and starting a few new ones.
  10. My refrigerator is well stocked for the next few weeks.
  11. Homeschooling is flexible and rolls with the bumps of life.
  12. We have a family filled with love and faith.
Blessings, Dawn

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Historic Day

These are amazing times that we are living in.  No matter how you voted yesterday, today is a day to be remembered.  Yesterday the American people spoke and, by a sweeping majority, moved the first African-American into the White House.  So, putting politics aside, this is a historic day.  It is a day that I hope shows that the color lines in this country are being broken down.  That we are all Americans moving forward, together.  I hope that this country can put its differences aside and work together to be the great nation we are meant to be.  I have seen so much fear, hate, and anger spread around in the past few months.  It has saddened me to see our country seeming to shatter and struggle with basic respect for different viewpoints.  Is this not the backbone that the United States of America is built on?  So, today I celebrate history being made, and  I pray for the unity of my nation and rebirth of love and kindness between each other. 

I thought of these quotes....

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other..." Mother Teresea

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..." Jesus

"God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech Benjamin Franklin

This poem came to my mind this morning....

I, Too, Sing America  
by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen 

When company comes, 

But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong.  

Tomorrow, I'll be at the table When company comes. 

Nobody'll dare Say to me, "Eat in the kitchen," Then.  

Besides,  They'll see how beautiful I am 

And be ashamed--  I, too, am America.

Blessings, Dawn

Monday, November 3, 2008

Unplug your kids~Flags

The last day before Election Day!  Hurray!!  I really am tired of this stage of the process.  My kids are really obsessed with following the news and campaign.  I don't know if it is because my oldest is voting this time or because this campaign has been so historic, but my kids are really interested -- from the 5 year old on up.  When I saw that unplug your kids was doing a flag theme this week, I knew my kids would love to do a flag craft.

First we used star cookie cutters in tempera paint to make star pictures.

Then we made folk art torn paper American Flags.  The kids liked tearing the paper instead of using scissors. 

To see more great unplugged projects go here.

Blessings, Dawn