It Makes You Dream of Jubilee (Eyes On the Prize)

One of my most favorite artists, Sara Groves, has a new album out - Invisible Empires!
This just might be near the top of my Christmas wishlist!
But first I entered the giveaway at Molly Piper's blog!
Here's a song from her new album...
Let's just say I've already played it a million times!

When you see a family free
It makes you dream of Jubilee
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on


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Planning For Christmas

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent.
As always, I'm procrastinator extraordinaire!
Tonight, I am finally taking the time to get my Christmas-y act together!
Not that I haven't been thinking about what I plan to do with the kids over the holiday season!
It's my favorite time of year!
And I love the challenge of implementing Christ centered activities into our learning.
In the culture we live in, it can sometimes be difficult to point our childrens' minds and hearts (and ours!) to the real reason for the season.
But I truly believe it is our responsibility as parents to direct their focus (and change ours)!
Anyhow, without rambling on too much more, I'll simply share with you some of the things we'll being doing this December.
I'm super excited about ALL of it!

We've made it a tradition in our family to celebrate Advent.
This is taking time in the weeks leading up to Christmas to anticipate the coming of Christ.
As per usual, we will be lighting our Advent candles at supper each night.
But instead of doing our usual Advent devotion, we are going to make our first attempt at constructing a Jesse Tree.

(What is a Jesse Tree? The Jesse tree is the family tree of Jesus. It goes back to the very beginning, to Creation, and traces His family through the Old Testament, and it ends when He is born on Christmas day.


A Jesse tree is a little like an advent calendar, except that it emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Like any advent countdown, the Jesse tree has one ornament per day. Unlike a calendar, though, the Jesse tree tradition focuses on a Biblestory, a character, a devotion each day. ~from How To Celebrate Advent With A Jesse Tree)


This is something I've wanted to do for a while but was unsure of how to go about it with young children.
Then I came across a free e-book: How To Celebrate Advent With A Jesse Tree at Feels Like Home.
The devotions for each day are geared to younger kids and it includes printables to use for the ornaments!
Once I have our tree constructed and started I'll share more with you!

(We'll be using this book, The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, as well!)

Secondly, I wanted something related to Advent to go along with our school time.
I was at a bit of a loss though because I wanted to do some different things from what we did last year but really did not have the time or energy to come up with all new crafts related to the different themes of Advent.
Thankfully, a new e-book by Amanda at Impress Your Kids was released: Truth in the Tinsel.


It is simply amazing!
I always worry when I order an e-book that its going to be full of ideas I've already done or come across online.
But  I was not disappointed with this purchase!
Each day focuses on a different aspect of the Christmas story and includes a Bible passage to read, a craft to make, discussion ideas and a related activity.
There are also printables for creating a paper chain or calendar with a clue for your child about each day's topic!
I can hardly wait to get started! 

Finally, we need some sweets!
And frankly, I'm fed up with the lack of quality in the store bought advent calendars - so we're making our own!
Using a mini muffin tin, some magnets, printable numbers and a variety of treats from the bulk barn, I'm putting together an advent calendar like this:



On the backside of each number magnet I'll be adding the clue for the day's topic from Truth in the Tinsel!

Well, that's that for our plans for the month ahead!
Now I better get moving as I still need to cut out ornaments and build a tree!
I'll keep you posted on how all these projects turn out but I hope these ideas get you creative juices flowing for teaching your children about the true meaning of the coming season, too!

Related links:


Additionally, if you have older children, I highly recommend The Jesse Tree Journey , a free e-book by Ann Voskamp! I love the printable ornaments provided!

I also highly recommend Hubbard's Cupboard's advent activities for those with young children! This is what we used last year and it was wonderful!




















The Food Is So Delightful (The Weather Outside Is Frightful)


The cold weather arriving leads to warm, yummy food being baked and devoured, right?







Also, Pinterest is a dangerous, dangerous thing!

What new things are YOU baking these days?


Follow Me on Pinterest

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The Human Body

For a few weeks now we have been focusing our learning on different aspects of the human body.
Originally, I had planned it as our unit study leading up to Halloween.
I figured it would be helpful to learn about what's inside their body since much of it is displayed at Halloween as being scary!
It certainly was helpful in that regard!
In fact, we've ended up spending about 3 weeks on this theme because of Piper's interest and enthusiasm!
I often forget that information like this is brand new to them!

To begin with, I filled their workboxes with activities such as -



a magnetic puzzle (from Learning About My Body) which required assembling the outer body


Then adding the inside parts to the correct locations,



a bone search (drawing a line from the bone to where it is located in the body)


and a q-tip skeleton craft!



Then there were some various activites we did together to better understand the functions of the different body systems we studied.

For the digestive system, I set up the blender and added to it the same things they were eating for snack that day. As they ate I turned it on and then gave them each a chance to see what happened to the food!


Piper thought it smelled good!
She enjoyed this little experiment so much she asked to do it again!

Taitum liked looking at it but wanted little else to do with it!
Haha!
Can't say I blame her!


On another day, Daddy brought home a model of a heart from school!
The girls thought this was so cool!
(Yes, Taitum is kissing the heart! Silly girl!)




They spent lots of time exploring it, taking it apart and putting it back together.
It pays to have a science teacher for a Daddy!


Another fun activity we did was to make a cardboard finger in order to demonstrate how muscles work!
I assembled it since it was a tad too difficult of a project for a 4 or 2 year old!
But Piper especially had a blast playing with it and causing the finger to move by pulling the attached string!
She ended up coloring it and now has it on display in her room!



There were tons of coloring pages and cut and paste pages that the girls did, too!
They were all from this book: Learning About My Body.
This resource was really great in that it really simplified things - perfect for little ones!



And, of course, we read many related books!
Our favorites were:

(Simple yet informative and especially alluring because of it's interactive aspects.)


(As with all Cat in the Hat books, this one was super fun to read but gave loads of information. The girls LOVED this one!)


(Taitum's personal favorite. Again, very simple but easy to follow.)



Finally, we learned the Bone Bounce song!
I even learned some new vocabulary from this song!

"The Bone Bounce"
(Tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It")

Lucy Jensen


Put your fingers on your cranium, on your cranium.
Put your fingers on your clavicle, on your clavicle.
Put your right hand on your sternum,
Put your left hand on your sternum,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hand on a humerus, on a humerus.
Put your hand on a radius, on a radius.
Put your right hand on an ulna,
Put your left hand on an ulna,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hands on your ribs, on your ribs.
Put your hands on your hips, on your hips.
Put your right hand on a femur,
Put your left hand on a femur,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hand on a fibula, on a fibula,
Put your hand on a tibia, on a tibia,
Put your phalanges on your phalanges,*
Put your phalanges on your phalanges,
Find your bones; find your bones, find your bones.



Now that this unit study is done, I'm considering taking a break from unit studies for the next couple of weeks.
My energy levels are progressively decreasing the closer I get to my due date and I feel it would be wise to concentrate on our daily subjects.
(And focus on moving these girlies in together. AND preparing the nursery!)
As well, I feel I'd be better prepared for all our upcoming Christmas activities (which I am So very excited about!) if I make some spare time to concentrate on them!
So off we go towards Christmas!



Helpful human body related links:






A Day In the Life

For us, everyday is different.
We have a routine but not a schedule.
I thought I'd share a typical day with you though.
Mostly because I need to see it for the beauty that it is.
Less and less seems to be getting accomplished as my body gradually slows down.
Some days I focus more fully on housework, other days on school and quality time with the girls.
I can get frustrated though.
I don't like to be stopped from my usual pace.
So it takes a lot of getting used to.
My goal for this final trimester is to keep my patience with the kids.
Savouring the moments of each day helps with that.
Here is our day:

Piper makes the pancakes.
Its kinda her thing now.


Tait indulges in some early morning colouring while breakfast cooks.



Shoulder to shoulder these two must sit.
Peace and harmony.
No fights...yet.


These girls devour their pancakes.
I'm talking 4 pancakes each!
So good that syrupy marker drools tell the tale.



Next, there's a party in the bathroom.
I don't intervene.
Finally some interest in the potty thanks to big sister.
They'll figure out the diaper removal eventually!




That over with, they leave the bathroom to find Mama's make shift bed to which she crawled at 4:30am, seeking relief for an ever sore back.
Tent construction follows and I slip off to get dressed and make beds while they are happily occupied!



It's a sunny day so out we go!
I find the gumption to take them to the park down the road.
Off they trot with baby's in tow!



We stop to investigate a new discovery: frost!
They touch it and smell it and lick it, of course!



So pretty and cool!
I appreciate it a lot more now that I don't have to get up and scrape it off the car in the mornings!



They love the park!
I smile.
This will be a nice, restful morning.
As they play, I'll sit back in my cozy new maternity winter coat and read.
But then I hear, "NO, TAIT!!!"
Suddenly, Piper is running towards me...
"Tait stepped in DOG POOP!"
And did she ever.
I clean it up on the wet grass, but, well, that smell lingers.
Home we go...


Once again inside, the girls get right to work on a tea party.
Amid discarded tents and unfolded laundry.
Regardless, the scene still warms my heart.


I sit down to assemble a cardboard finger for the school lesson.
All in an attempt to demonstrate how muscles work.
Something about the process is soothing.
Especially surrounded by the offerings brought by little girls sharing their tea party joy!



We settle into school.
Prayers and songs and calendars and books.
They sway to the rhythm of it all.
Class on a livingroom couch with beloved babies and a best friend.
Does it get much better?


We transition to the table to color and paint the letter of the day.
But not without a marker war first....
This picture just kills me.
The marker poised just so, the defaced arm, froggy watch and ribbons hanging from long blond hair.
Treasure.



I get the stink eye lots from this one.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise - 2 is terrible.
But I love it.
I love her.


Lunch complete.
She officially has syrup, applesauce and yogurt in her hair.
And is moving on to clothes change #4...


Then they so graciously nap and have a quiet time.
Quiet.
No pictures.
I'm done!
Nap for me too!
They awake to bathtime.
Followed by hair de-knotting.
A process if there ever was one!
Favorite distraction?
YouTube Elmo clips.
Yessir!
I've found a way to eliminate the tears and conditioning had very little to do with it!


Then a whirlwind of activity.
They play Starfall while I'll throw supper together.
(Easy peasy spaghetti!)
Matt walks in and takes over food distribution so I can finally grab that shower I traded this morning for 15 more minutes of sleep!
And we're off and running to church for the Wednesday night kids program!

Upon returning and settling the kids into bed (which includes loads of hugs and kisses and at least one meltdown), I do the left behind dishes.
I read the 10+ Helps For Really Busy Moms like I usually do.



This one stands out tonight:

5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace.
Co-laboring over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege.
Never forget.















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Remembrance Day

We took time this past week to learn about Remembrance Day.
It's always difficult to find many resources for young children so I thought I'd share the little bit I've come across!
There are oodles of poppy crafts (which we never got around to doing) but books and such that simply convey why we observe Remembrance Day are scarce!

Thankfully, I came across this printable workbook: "Take Time To Remember".
It contained several activities and a printable of the poem "In Flanders' Fields".
Piper really enjoyed working though it and talking about the different illustrations she was coloring in!


We also read though a book I made several years ago about Remembrance Day.
I was disappointed by the lack of selection of books relating to this day so I put together a children's book using pictures I took of Piper's first Remembrance Day!
I gave it to my Dad as a Christmas gift that year since it was he who instilled in me the importance to take time each year to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
The girls were especially attentive when they saw that the book contained pictures of people they knew!





One book I am very fond of is "A Poppy Is to Remember".
It is very simple, beautifully illustrated and perfect for younger children!
As we read it, Piper asked questions such as why some of the men didn't return to their families.
When I explained that they had died protecting our country, her eyes watered up as she continued to ask questions.
I was amazed at how much the book affected her this year!



Finally, of course, we attended the ceremony at the Cenotaph.
Both girls were extremely interested in all the things involved.
Again, there were a ton of questions from Piper!
But I love how curious she is about all this and that I have the opportunity to teach her about this important day!


 


Our hearts are filled with thankfulness for those who served and continue to serve our country!

(Do you have any great Remembrance Day resources appropriate for preschoolers? Please share!)

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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.

Motherhood=Adventure

Worth more than rubies.


“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson







My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.

Piper

Piper
She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!

Taitum

Taitum
She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!

Renly

Renly
She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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