Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

However you celebrate, here's hoping you have a wonderful day!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Have glue gun, will travel.

I bought this gingerbread house kit from Costco. I piped the frosting and the kids added the candies. The royal icing was not doing a great job at keeping everything together as you can see from the photo above.

Enter the best glue gun in the world.
House is back together and has stayed that way. The kids are lamenting that they cannot eat the house now. I keep telling them that gingerbread houses aren't really for eating. I think next year we'll make them from scratch so they can eat some of it. I did that a couple of years ago-we made a train, but it was very labor intensive and I didn't have a 10 month old needing my attention.

Friday, December 19, 2008

RSV

Life with five children is never dull-unless you are sitting in the hospital with one of them. Kate came down with RSV a week or so ago. By Sunday she was so sick she could hardly breathe. We had a very scary ride to the doctor and then another fun experience in the ER. They finally admitted Kate, as her blood oxygen level was 89%. Her pulse was a very high 180-200. She was very sick. This picture was taken Tuesday night and we were able to come home late Wednesday afternoon.

All I could do was hold her, which was difficult due to all the wires and tubes. I slept (if you could call it sleep) with her in the crib, since there wasn't really anywhere else to sleep. I lived for meals and when Trent was able to come and visit as that was the most exciting thing that happened all day. Eleanor was ornery to our neighbors who helped us out by watching the others so Trent could come and visit. They'll think twice before volunteering again I'm sure!

Trent did an amazing job taking care of the kids, but everything that needed to be done has not been done, because I wasn't able to get much done even before the hospital stay because Kate had been sick. Oh well. At least Kate is well. We are very blessed.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

More bible class ideas

This post is for those of you who were interested in more ideas to use when teaching bible class to young children.

The first thing we do when starting a class is talk about who is in class and who is not. Some people like to use an attendance chart. I don't. At least not with the younger (ages 2-4) children. The reason is because I want to make it very clear who is there and who isn't. This way we can pray for those who are missing. I like to use pictures of the children for this activity. They love to see themselves and they recognize their friends as well. I have done this activity many different ways.
Above are two examples. The flower on the left was what I did one spring quarter. I had a metal bulletin board (made from metal sheets I found at Home Depot) and put grass on the bottom and the words on top "We're growing in God's Word". Then each child that was present, would place their flower on the board. We would count the flowers that were on the board and then we would count the flowers that I still had and would then talk about who was missing, why and that we would pray for them during prayer time. Another time I put their heads in little car windows and they would "drive" their cars from their house (a house on one side of the board) to the building (on the other side of the board). On the picture with Macy, it also had their memory verse for the quarter and when I would hold up each child's picture, they would say their verse before placing their picture on the board. I always have blanks for those who are visiting.

After we see who is in class, who is not, who came to worship with the kids, etc. we have a time for prayer. The first thing I do is ask "When we pray, who are we talking to?" and the children say "God!" Then we talk about how when we pray we can ask God for things and we can thank God for our blessings. I then remind them about who is gone from class, who we know is sick from the congregation, etc. and say something like, "Let's remember to ask God to help ______ get better." or "Let's ask God to make sure _____ has a safe trip while they are on vacation."

Then I tell the children that God has given us many blessings. This is can be a hard concept for children to grasp. So what I did was cut out pictures of things the children have or can thank God for-clothes, food, the world, animals, their car, their friends, their families, etc. Depending on the size of the class, I will let the children pick out one or two pictures to show what they are thankful for. The children can then hold them during our prayer to remind them what to say thank you for or they can put them up on one of our bulletin boards that I have labeled "I am thankful for . . ." If you look in the picture below, you will see the picture on the top has magnet tape on the back for this very purpose. We haven't always worshiped where we had access to a magnet board, so I used a cookie sheet instead. With older children, you could write these things down to give them ideas.

The next (and final activity for this post) activity we do is talk about The Bible. The first thing we do is ask "What is the Bible?" and the kids say "God's word". Of course if they are really young, we say it for them until they can do it their selves. Then we ask "How do you spell Bible?" and at this point I have a sign with the letters B-I-B-L-E on it or I pass out these and each child points to each letter and we say them out loud. Then we sing the B-I-B-L-E. Sounds boring, it is boring, but the kids love it. The littlest ones get really antsy and hold out their fingers because I will hold their finger and help them tap each letter as we spell it.
The Bible above is not a "real" bible, but one I made. You can make individual bibles like this or you can make a larger set of cards to hold up for this next activity.
The next thing we do is talk about how God's word is very special. We talk about how we should take care of our bibles and read them everyday to learn about God and Jesus. Then I have the children open the Bibles and we look at the pages. There are four examples of something that the children should not do their bibles-cut, rip, fold the pages or scribble.
We go through each page and I'll say "Oh dear, look at this. Someone has cut this page of the bible." or "Oh no! Someone was not treating this bible gently and this page has been torn or bent." or "Look at this! Someone has been scribbling in this Bible. Is that how we treat our Bibles?"
Then on the last page I have a heart and when we turn to that page I say, "What should we do with our Bibles/God's Word?" and they point to the heart and we say "We should love our Bibles/God's word." If you aren't comfortable cutting up an old Bible, you can just type up some words on a piece of paper and use those or you can draw a picture of a Bible with a pair of scissors, crayon, etc. around it and put a frown face or something to show it's not okay. I make sure not to say, "We never write/color in our Bibles" because many of us in fact do write notes or highlight certain passages.

Of course during each of these activities, we sing one or more songs that relate to that topic. Depending on the age of the children, I will go into greater detail about the bible, it's parts, the books, etc. On Wednesday nights we practice saying the books from memory. Even the youngest can do many without help! On Sunday morning I mainly focus on the book that our study comes from for that class.

Hope this gives you some more ideas. Depending on the size of your class, you have already filled up 15-20 minutes of class (or more!). These are 15-20 minutes that you don't need to plan out every week because the process is the same each week.

Playdough Cookies

After we came home from the Secret Shop, the fun wasn't over yet. We decided to make Playdough Cookies. I got the idea from a post at the Crafty Crow. The idea is a simple one. Take four different colors of sugar cookie dough. Place them together and roll them into a snake. Coil that into a disk, place on a cookie sheet and bake. You can make your own dough, but I had some crayola dough that I purchased through a school fundraiser that worked quite well.

Here Eleanor demonstrates how to roll the dough into a snake.

Macy has taken her snake and coiled it into a cookie.
These little lovelies are waiting to be baked in the oven. I know, they do look delicious don't they? After baking, some of the cookies looked like this:
While others looked like this:
Overall the experience was only half as frustrating as our usual cookie making sessions. Here is what we had left after I ate at least ten, maybe more.
You don't believe that I ate ten? Here's my blue tongue to prove it:
I gave a cookie to Kate. This is what she thought about it:

video

(Translation: There is no way I am going to eat something that looks like this.)

Secret Shop

Today we went to Macy's old preschool for their annual Secret Shop. This is the fourth year we have taken the kids to do their holiday shopping. They LOVE it. They get a present for Trent, me and each of their siblings. This is the first year Ben and Macy used their own money (it's amazing how frugal they can be when Mom isn't writing the check). This was the first year Claire was old enough to participate. (She went way over budget!)

In addition to family presents, the kids are allowed to get one present for themselves. Most of the items are either gently used, new-but previously owned, hand crafted (and there are varying levels of talent represented believe me) and what I will call "other". Items cost anywhere from .50 to 17.00. I usually give the kids a budget of 10.00.
Here are Eleanor and Claire with their gifts to themselves. You are wishing you were getting these lovely items for yourself aren't you? Let's take a closer look.

Here we have a lovely little Christmas tree. Not only is the tree decorated, but it comes in a lovely ceramic Santa boot. I know this will surprise you, but it only cost $2.00. Eleanor just wanted you to know that. She feels it was a steal and thinks she may have may the best purchase of the day. Lucky her. I wish I had a small decorated Christmas tree tucked in a ceramic Santa boot. She is quite the shopper.

Claire purchased a tin full of candy for herself. Remember I said some of the presents were hand crafted or "other"? Well apparently the people who put on the Secret Shop get together about once a week for a couple of months and during this time they put together the hand crafted gifts and "other". Claire's tin falls in the "other" category. Apparently they get these empty tins and they fill them with candy and sell them at the secret shop. Here is what was in Claire's tin:

That's right for the amazing price of $1.00, Claire bought a tin filled with one small bag of Curious George fruit bites, one largish Tootsie Roll and about 10 of the mints shown at the bottom of the picture. I know, you are speechless. I must ask though, why the fruit bites and the tootsie roll? Why not just the mints? I guess it's the little extra surprises that make it special. You would expect mints in a tin, but not a little bag of Curious George fruit bites and a Tootsie Roll. I could take a lesson or two from those creative workers who put together gifts for the Secret Shop.

The kids have already pinched and poked and are dying for everyone to open their presents. We'll do that on December 24th. They'll be making things for each other between now and then too, but it wouldn't be the holidays without a trip to the secret shop. I can hardly wait to see what they've picked out for me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who came to worship God with you today?

Nothing fairworthy to report about today, but I did want to share something I've been working on for the 2 & 3 year old bible class where I worship.

I am currently the teacher coordinator for the 2&3's classes. All this means is when someone volunteers to teach this age group, I am there to help them get materials, supplies, etc. to make their job easier and maybe even less intimidating. The hardest thing about getting people to teach these little ones is getting them over their fear that it will be hard. Yes, it can be hard if you go in there afraid and unprepared. I shutter at the thought of some of the bible classes I have taught with children of that age, but now with experience and the helpful hints given to me by many who have gone before me (Thanks Debbie! Thanks Susan!) I feel this age can be not only fun, but easy too!

The key to a successful 45 minute class is repetition. Too many times new teachers feel like they need to do everything different each time. Children this age on the other hand prefer to know what to expect. Even if you are bored out of your mind, they will love singing the same songs and having a predictable routine week after week.

So one of the regular activities I encourage teachers to do (and I do myself) is what I like to call "Who came to worship God with you today?" After I have greeted all the children and we have discussed which of the children are present and which are absent, I go around the table and ask each child "Who came to worship God with you today?" Notice I don't ask "Who came to church with you today?" The reason for this is I don't want the children to think of the Church as the building we are in, but rather the group that has come together to worship God. Since we have come to the building to worship God, it makes sense to ask "Who came to worship God with you today?" This activity is also nice because we can find out if anyone in the family is sick so that we might pray for them during our prayer which usually follows this activity.

This is how I run the activity:
I take some Playmobil 1-2-3 people that I have and place them before me on the table. I then ask the child "Who came to worship God with you today?" When we first start out, they may be shy or non-verbal, so I will give suggestions like, "Did your Daddy come to worship God today?" and if they say yes, then I will put out a Daddy doll. Then a mommy, brother, sister, and so forth. Then after their family is out, we then count how many people came to worship with them. We make a big deal out of the number whether it is 2 or 10. The children love it and squirm with anticipation in their seats while waiting for their turn. If I have a large class (as we do currently) I will pick out the people, but if it's small (4 or less) then I will let them pick out the people.

So why am I boring you with this information? Well maybe it will give you an idea of what to do with a bible class of youngsters (I've done this with children up to age four) and I wanted to share how I solved a problem that I've encountered with this activity.

Meet some of the people I use for this activity:

If you aren't familiar with them, they are made by Playmobil and they are their 1-2-3 series. They are for younger children. They are wonderful, sturdy and perfect for this activity. I even use them for retelling bible lessons too. They're very versatile. My problem is that I don't like to share. I don't like to share because people don't believe me when I tell them they are very expensive and some are irreplaceable.

See this box below? I spent probably close to $150.00 for this small amount of playmobil 1-2-3 people. I haunted ebay auctions and found some at teacher stores to get the amount that I have. I would be very sad to lose any of them. While some people have been very careful, others have left them lying around or let the children just play with them to keep them occupied and I have almost lost a few.
So, still wanting to encourage the activity, but not wanting to lose my batch (and to provide some that will stay in the classroom permanently), I knew that I could probably make something similar, but for a lot less money. Meet part of the newbies that cost less than $13.00 to make:
I got the idea from seeing spool dolls from this site. She has some super cute ones. I'm not as talented as what she has to show, but I'm pretty pleased with what I've produced so far.
I need to add some dolls that are a little more multi-ethnic (I have no stain at the moment) and maybe a few redheads. Here is how our family would look during this activity:
The hair colors don't match us perfectly, but the kids never seem to care that much. These are pretty small, so if I had a lot of students who put things in their mouth, I wouldn't let them handle them, but usually by the time they start our class, they've stopped doing that. I need to seal them and then they'll be done.
My children couldn't stop playing with them and accidentally knocked this one in some paint I had by the finished dolls. I couldn't get the paint off. I don't know too many babies with green hair. Ben thought it looked like she was wearing a Davy Crockett hat.

Well that's it. Thanks for letting me share. Kate's crying so I'm off to get her back to sleep and clean up the kitchen!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Macy!!


At 7:25 pm, eight years ago today, Macy came into this world and it's been a sweeter place ever since! She was my first baby to be born at a birthing center and her birth was wonderful. The best part was calling everyone just three hours later on our way home to tell them we had had the baby! One of my friends on the west coast thought we were calling to tell her it was a false alarm, not to tell her we had already had the baby and were coming home!
We had a great day with a fun party and lots of yummy cake! Can't believe Macy is already 8. Time flies!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ben's costume

I wanted to do a quick write up about Ben's costume. He wanted to be a Ninja for Halloween. I bought a long sleeved black t-shirt from the boy's section at Target and some long black leggings from the girl's section. Ben wanted a hood, so I foundMcCalls 2940 and it had a ninja costume with a hood. I bought a men's black t-shirt from target (so the fabric would match and made the hood from that. The hood was meant for wovens, so it's a bit stretchy and the pattern was an adult pattern, but it worked well since Ben has a big head.
Ben then decided he wanted a dragon. I bought a short sleeved boys t-shirt from Target and found this dragon image on-line. Printed it out on iron-on paper and cut it out and ironed it on the t-shirt. Ben will be able to wear it this summer. I could have ironed it on the long sleeved shirt, but Ben would more likely wear something like this on a short sleeved shirt than a long sleeved one. Don't ask me why, that's just how he is.

I finally bought an x-large boys red t-shirt and cut it into strips. I basted them to the sleeves, waist and ankles at the seam lines and then we wrapped and tied them around his arms, waist and legs.

I could have purchased a store bought costume for a little less than I payed for all the pieces for this one. It would have been worn twice (once to school, once for trick-or-treating). It would have been made out of horrible polyester fabric. Now Ben will have two t-shirts to wear. We'll save the black pants for the girls for when they get bigger. He'll probably wear the hood a lot around the house. He likes to pretend we don't know who he is when he wears it.

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pilot jackets and a costume preview.

I made these pilot jackets for Macy's class when she was in Kindergarten because they were doing an airport/airplane unit. Eleanor has the same teacher, so I made some for the other two classes so they would all have some. I just took a ready to wear sweatshirt and cut it up the middle, removed the neck, wrist, and waist bands. Turned under the edges, added gold braid and buttons.
I used iron-on paper for my printer to make the crest and the wings.

They are machine washable and sturdy. Just right for kindergarten!
Here's what Claire may be wearing for Halloween. She keeps changing her mind so stay tuned.
I made this snow white dress for Macy using the same pattern as the dress for Claire. In fact they are the same size. I made the dress for Macy's 5th birthday and she's just now decided she wants to wear it for Halloween. It's a bit small, but it should work. I finished the cape last night using a different pattern.
And here we have Eleanor as Erika in Barbie's The Princess and the Pauper. (Don't you love the wig?) I used McCalls 5731 and made a few changes. It looks more like the gown in the actual movie. Eleanor was very pleased. I just need to hem it. I was hoping it would be fairworthy, but unfortunately this happened:
I used Organdy ribbon for the ruffle, didn't use a press cloth and melted the ribbon. At least it's in the back. I told Eleanor this makes the dress more authentic since Erika is a pauper after all.

Ben is going to be a ninja-almost done, but Kate is pretty sick with a cold so no sewing tonight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rehoboth

We went to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware this past weekend. It's become an annual tradition. The schools are always closed this particular Friday for a statewide teacher's conference and so it makes for a nice little weekend trip. The beach is not crowded and the hotel rooms are cheap!
The only downside is that it's often chilly. On Friday it was fairly windy too.
The water felt warm to the kids though, so they played in the surf most of the morning and afternoon. I always bring dry clothes for them to change into. Eleanor was soaked!
Kate wasn't sure what to think about all of this fun! She couldn't eat the sand and she didn't like the wind.
This is what I look like after a night without sleep. I didn't get any sleep either night. I was tired.Our favorite thing to do is dig holes and build sandcastles!

Ben is looking for two of his Eddies. Have you seen them? They look like this:
As you might recall a few posts ago, the kids have been playing a lot with their Little People. They decided to take them to the beach. Ben decided to bury two of the Eddies in the sand. He marked their spots with Eleanor's croc type shoes, but it was very windy.
Macy's helping look for the Eddies. We never found them.
On Saturday it was even windier and colder than Friday. So much so that the water was up to the boardwalk and we were unable to play on the beach. We were disappointed, but that happens sometimes. We did get to eat at Five Guys though. Claire likes to eat the peanuts. She is ignoring that hot dog on the left that we bought her. That $3.00 hot dog. She would rather eat the peanuts that are free.
Eleanor and Macy are explaining to Sonya Lee and Maggie (or is it Mark?) what has happened to Eddie. It was a somber lunch.
Claire is still not eating her $3.00 hot dog. She is still eating peanuts that she dips in ketchup.
My children love ketchup. Especially Ben. He did eat his $3.00 hot dog, plus some peanuts and now he's finishing off his ketchup. Ketchup counts as a vegetable right?
My children's favorite way to eat ketchup is to dip their fingers in it and then lick it off.
We didn't just eat ketchup and $3.00 hot dogs, we bought some fudge and caramel corn at Dolles. The fudge was $10.00 and you know what? It wasn't even very good. It's never very good, but every year we still buy some thinking it will be good. I'm not going to buy any next year. Please remind me I said that.