Friday, December 21, 2012

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

Please help the students of Sandy Hook have a winter wonderland when they return to their new school. 

Send your snowflakes to:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

by Jan. 12, 2013

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Highlights in Our Homeschool This Week...

Chris is still writing his prequel to "The Daisy and Max series" and he started writing a character synopsis "book" for the series.

Katie is writing a Christmas story which she hopes to read to us on Christmas.

Chelsea is studying "geology" on her own.  She saw something on Webkins world and asked me for all of our books about rocks.  This morning she is on the floor surrounded by books and sticky notes.

We watched three Christmas shows.

We made and decorated salt-dough ornaments (from a recipe I found on-line years ago.)

                                            Salt-Dough Ornament Recipe

2 cups water
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Mix salt and flour.  Add in half of the water, then gradually add remaining water.  Knead until dough is smooth, this can take up to 10 minutes.

We use our Christmas cookie cutters to make the ornaments and use a straw to make the hole to hang the ornaments.

Bake at 325 F until hard.  This varies depending upon the thickness of the ornaments.  Ours took about 30 minutes.

Let cool and paint.  We used tempera paint and acrylic paint.

We're Reading...

Chris read #3,4,5,6, and is reading #7 in The Alex Rider series.  He is still reading Johnny Tremain.

Katie read The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, M&M and the Santa Secrets, Oliver and Amanda's Christmas, and is reading Amos Fortune Free Man.

Chelsea read The Courage of Sarah Noble, The Cricket in Times Square, and The Boxcar Children #23.

Chelsea is reading Harry Potter #1 to Katie.

Daddy is reading A Christmas Carol to all of us.

I read A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson by Barbara Dana and am reading The Crystal Cave: Book One of The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart.

Places We're Going...

ballet, watercolor class, and driving around looking at Christmas lights

My Favorite Thing This Week...

Piling in the car listening to Christmas music, getting hot chocolate and Christmas star doughnuts at DD, and driving around looking at Christmas lights.

I'm Baking:
cranberry bread and apricot-filled rolled cookies

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Moment...

Someone let the water in the Christmas tree dry up (no names) and our beautiful Christmas tree started to wilt.  We went on-line and determined that we had to re-cut the bottom of the tree.  So there I am holding the very heavy bulky tall sticky tree while my dear husband attempts to handsaw the bottom of the tree while ornaments drop down around us.  Can you see it ?
Remember the scene in Christmas Vacation when Clark (after getting his very sappy Christmas tree)  is reading a magazine and turning the pages and the pages are adhered to his fingers... That was me :0)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wednesday's Weekly Wonderful World of Words... on Thursday : Our Favorite Christmas Books

If any of you are out there, :0)... you may notice that I have been a bit behind on my only excuse- "We were making rather merry sir..." which leads me to one of my all- time favorite Christmas books: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  We have three different editions: one from my beloved late father-in-law which has a copy of Dicken's handwritten original manuscript side -by-side with the text (it's fascinating to see all of the cross-outs and revisions, and good for the kids to see that authors don't always get it right the first time), another copy that has beautiful illustrations, and a third small picture book based on the Disney movie. 
We have lots of favorite Christmas books collected over the years.  Here are some of our favorites:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (in my opinion, everyone should own this book)

The Perfect Present Michael Hague

Jolly Old Santa Claus George Hinke

This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten

Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve ? by Jan Brett

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

The Three Bear's Christmas by Kathy Duval

Sing and Read Storybooks: Jingle Bells, Silent Night illustrated by Darcy May

The Story of Christmas by Vivian French

Clifford's Christmas by Norman Bridwell

Merry Christmas, Curious George by Margaret and H.A. Rey

Merry Christmas Maisy by Lucy Cousins ( a- lift- the- flap board book)

M &M and the Santa Secrets by Pat Ross ( a beginning chapter book)

Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (another must-have)

A Little House: Holiday Stories from the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

These "pop-up" books are works of art :

The 12 Days of Christmas by Robert Sabuda

The Night Before Christmas pop-up by Robert Sabuda

 What are some of your favorite Christmas books ?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up

Highlights In Our Homeschool These Past Two Weeks...

We celebrated the girls' 9th birthday, had a lovely Thanksgiving, and kicked off the holiday season the day after Thanksgiving.  We put up all of our decorations and Christmas trees ( we have three: a family tree, a kid tree, and a "grown-up" tree). We strung popcorn for the kids' tree (I wanted to string it for the family tree too, but there's Bentley (1 year old Golden Retriever)...
The kids wrote books chronicling our Christmas Family Traditions.  Chris wrote an expository essay about our Christmas traditions.
The girls have been making ornaments using a variety of materials.
For the rest of the Christmas season we do not always do our traditional schoolwork.  We read lots of Christmas books, bake, watch Christmas shows, make lots of crafts and presents, and play.

What We Are Reading...

Chris finished reading #4 in The Inheritance series.  He read the first book in the new series by Erin Hunter: Survivors (this one is about dogs), and he read #1 and #2 in The Alex Rider Series and he is reading Johnny Tremain.

Katie finished reading #2 in The Warriors series and is reading #3.  She also read Barbie Safe and Sound,A Special Ballerina, and Clawman's Warning.  She is also reading Dragonbreath and Amos Fortune: Freeman.

Chelsea finished reading Indian Captive and is reading Harry Potter #1 to Katie.

I read Criss-Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins and Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee.

I finished reading The Hobbit to everyone for our book club.

The kids started reading our next book club selection The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.

Daddy started reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to us (one of my favorite holiday traditions.)

My Favorite Thing These Past Two Weeks...

Watching "The Polar Express" while stringing popcorn

What I'm Working On...

Everything Christmas

Places We're Going...

"The Three Wise Men of Spider Creek" play, Book Club - The Hobbit, Christmas tree farm, and ballet class.