Month: November 2011

Preschool: K is for King

I feel so behind in everything!  It’s almost December and I’m floundering to get our Advent calendar ready; I’ve been scouring Pinterest, gathering ideas so I don’t have to come up with a list from scratch like I did last year.  I’ve also been meaning to write about our recent camping adventures, but it’s just not high on the priority list.  And when I get my camera back from my parents – they accidentally brought it home after the kiddos’ birthday party – I’ll post some pictures of their train-themed celebration.

Last week was a busy one, what with Gwen and Josiah‘s birthdays in quick succession followed by Thanksgiving a few days later.  It was a huge relief to find out that I didn’t have to plan any new material since it was a review week, though I did have grand ambitions to fill it chock full of Thanksgiving-y things.  Ah, good intentions. 

So, without further ado, here’s what we did two weeks ago!    

For the life of me, I could not find any crafts that had to do with the story of Hannah praying for a baby.  I finally found one on another blog… only to discover there was no credit given as to whether she came up with this on her own or found it somewhere else.  Fine, I don’t have to have a craft for every Bible story – it just makes it more fun. 

Since the kids have a young cousin named Samuel, it was easy to make the story personal and bring it down to their level.  The Bible verse for the week was I Thessalonions 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.  Short and sweet, and went along beautifully with the Prayer Pail I had just made for our dinnertime ritual.    

Gwen is BIG on princesses these days.  And I’m not talking about Disney princesses – although she likes Ariel (because of the red hair) and Cinderella (because it’s her aunt’s favorite) – I just mean getting dressed up, frilly and foofy, calling herself a princess.  I decided to tie this, er, obsession into our lessons and make the theme about royalty. 

One day she woke up on the proverbial Wrong Side of the Bed, getting all upset because I wouldn’t let her keep changing her outfit into something a princess would wear; her bratty, entitled attitude really discouraged me.  I did my best to tell her that she is a beautiful girl no matter what she’s wearing and God calls us his princesses no matter what we look like.

That being said, she did enjoy some of the princess-related activities I came up with for her.  I used a few elements from 1+1+1=1’s Princess Preschool Pack and Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Princess Preschool Activities.  There were pre-writing tracing sheets…

find which item is different pictures (Gwen loves those)…

matching pictures to their corresponding words (think wands and tiaras)…

and a color-by-number princess and color-by-shape castle.

On Sunday night I stayed up late, watching “Mannequin 2: On the Move” (so cheesey, but gotta love 80’s movies) while figuring out how to make a medieval princess cone hat for Gwen.  I finalled fudged it with a piece of thick scrapbook paper, some staples, leftover ribbon and tulle from her mermaid tutu, a couple other embellishments and a glue gun. 

She was thrilled when she saw it; she wore it for a little while, and now it hangs upside down on her bed, acting as a little container for hiding whatever she fancies (she had been storing her flashlight in there until it broke a couple nights ago). 

Obviously, Gwen played quite a bit of dress-up and spent more time than usual playing with her magnetic dress-up dolls

Maybe I should have saved the whole princess thing for the letter P, since much of the week revolved around that theme.  But I did manage to work in a few K for king crafts.  We talked about how Jesus is the ultimate King, and Gwen wore her princess hat while she and Josiah made Christ is King crowns


I searched for a bunch of crown templates and probably should have gone with one that didn’t have a seam in the middle, but who cares – it’s a kids’ craft! 


I also found a letter craft that went nicely with our theme and word of the week.  Josiah and Gwen both made King Ks!


We did the letter poster with kisses (a rubber stamp), making a smooching noise each time we stamped – it’s amazing what will entertain kids.

And then we had a smattering of the usual worksheets – letter hunt page…

Do-A-Dot page…

playdough mat (with popsicle sticks – Gwen came up with that on her own)…

and a slew of dry-erase workbooks, which she likes.  We also did the Starfall letter activity on the computer. 

I had gotten some princess and castle stickers a while ago, planning on using them this week, so Gwen picked out ten of them to decorate her number poster.

We also did her number index card for the week; she has to write the number and then put the correct amount of stickers.

The clip counting cards from the princess-themed pack was a bit more challenging than the usual clip cards.  Instead of counting pictures to find the correct number she had to read the word, so it got a bit frustrating. 

I was able to help her sound out some of the simpler ones – six, seven, ten – but trying to explain why the word “one” has a “w” sound or why “two” is pronounced like “too” or why “eight” sounds the way it does can be maddening.  I end up saying things like “the letter E is silent because it just is.”  Great Mom, that explains a lot.     

How handy that the shape tracing cards in the princess-packs had stars in them, because that was our shape for the week. 

We decorated the shape poster with star stickers…

and cut star shapes from playdough.


I had a different rhyme planned for the week, but when printing out some of the princess-themed elements I found there was a poem included, so I went with that.  The tune was easy, sung to the song of “I’m a Little Teapot,” and starts off “I’m a little princess God loves me…”   

We’ve been rather lax with the weather watching jars; I’ll have to think of some way to bump this up a notch.  Josiah loves doing the “ja-jars,” or however he pronounces them, but they’re not really doing anything for Gwendolyn anymore. 

I hate to admit it, but we’ve also been lax with the chore chart. *sigh*  I feel like I yell at and referee the kids all the time as it is, nevermind checking Gwen’s chart to make sure she’s on top of it.

We have been doing the Prayer Pail most evenings, usually when Daddy’s home and we can do it as a family.

Fun Stuff
Most of the our day doesn’t involve any kind of schoolwork – the kids get so creative in their own, imaginative play!  When I have a moment I’ll grab the camera and take a few shots in-between cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry.

This week the kiddos’ decided to break out the blocks.  Josiah’s choice of container cracks me up (he did this with all the markers one day, too).

Gwen also helped me make their birthday cupcakes.  Some friends that were supposed to come to their party have a sensitivity to eggs and dairy so I looked for vegan recipes on Pinterest and tried my hand at chocolate avocado cake and vegan coconut cream frosting using powdered rapadura sugar.

Bulletin Board

Book Basket
Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?
Tea for Ruby
The Princess Knight
Princess Peepers
The Three Gifts of Christmas
King Midas and the Golden Touch
Winter King, Summer Queen

Knuffle Bunny
Kiss Kiss
Kiss Kiss!
My “k” Book
Kate and the Beanstalk

Ten Little Ladybugs
Ten Terrible Dinosaurs

Draw Me a Star
FancyNancy Sees Stars
A Star In MyOrange

Veggie Tales – Esther, the girl who became queen

Linking Up…

Tot School

Gwen is 4 years old (48 months) and Josiah is 2 (24 months).



We have a ritual – every night at dinnertime or bedtime, I ask everyone what his or her favorite part of the day was.  Gwen usually thinks about it and gives me a thoughtful answer.  Josiah goes, “Hm… tractor.”  More often than not, Phil will say “Spending time with my family.”  And while I’m usually looking for something more – a specific part of the day – I have to agree with his sentiment.

Whenever I think about those things for which I am grateful, it always comes down to people.  Family.  Friends who are family.  Special moments comprised of spending time with loved ones, sharing love and life and laughter, creating memories.   

I am so thankful for him:

And these two things:

I could go on and list some of the more material things I’m glad to have – like my new washer, the fabulous cowboy boots I got for my birthday, the talents God has given me so I can knit and craft… but there’s nothing in the world I’d rather have more than my family.

Looking forward to spending the day with family tomorrow (or, rather, today – eeek, is it that late?).  Remembering those who aren’t with us and thanking God for his blessings and provision.  And now I need to get my butt in bed so I’ll be able to handle family. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 100:4b
“Be thankful to Him and bless His name.  For the Lord is good, oh the Lord is good.”

Psalm 107:1
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

Finished: Fingerless Mittens for Gwen

It felt so good to pick up the needles again and finish the pillow for my sister that I decided to immediately embark upon another project.  Last year I made a couple sets of fingerless mittens – one for Nikki’s little boy Elijah and another for Gwendolyn.  It was my first project in-the-round and I was thrilled to have completed it; the pattern was a pretty easy knit once I got the hang of handling the small, double-pointed needles.  Since Gwen’s first pair got passed down to Josiah I decided to knit her another pair.


I had a cotton blend yarn in a pretty red-orangey color, but it was a bit too thin so I double-stranded it with a gorgeous rainbow-y sock yarn. 

To make them slightly larger for Gwen’s four-year-old hands I added a few rows into the cuff ribbing, knit stitches and finger ribbing.  If and when I make more pairs, I think I’d like to make the cuff even longer to keep the lower arms warm and be able to tuck them into sleeves or jackets.

Hm… what should I knit next?

Happy Birthday Josiah!

I can’t believe it’s been two years

Josiah was born three weeks early, two days after his big sister’s second birthday.  Both of my children were born the week of Thanksgiving; they are truly my Thanksgiving babies and I’m so thankful God placed them into my arms.  I get a little emotional around this time of year! 

Where did my babies go?  As time has passed, as I’ve been counting down the days to Josiah’s second birthday, I’ve been amazed that he’s continued to nurse this long.  Gwen self-weaned sometime after one year – sixteen, perhaps eighteen months?  I don’t remember offhand; I’d have to get out her calendar where I wrote everything down {insert self-deprecating smile}.  Converting his crib into a big-boy bed, taking away the paci, listening as his vocabulary has taken off, they’re all reminders that he’s growing up.  But nursing is one of the last vestiges of his babyhood. 

I was reacquanting myself with some of the benefits of toddler nursing and came upon this quote by Former Surgeon General, Dr. Antonia Novello: “It’s the lucky baby, I feel, who continues to nurse until he’s two.”  I smiled.  I have a lucky baby.

And I’m lucky to have him. 

I will admit, I don’t always feel lucky that I’ve been “blessed with quotes” (“blessed”) – as my husband and I often joke – when my children aren’t the little angels they should be.  And today, Josiah peed in his pants twice, had a huge hissy fit and refused to nap then pooped in his pants and got it on the bathroom rug (need I go on?)… but I try to keep it all in perspective.  Key word: try

I’m behind in posting about last week’s preschool so we’ll see if I get around to their birthdays, but I did take advantage of some of the tips I found on Pinterest.  I put balloons on their bedroom floor during the night and taped crepe paper streamers across their doorways; I thought for sure they’d bust through it but instead they crawled underneath!  Each of them got a birthday banner on his or her chair with a present on the table (and Gwen got wings on her chair, too) with another little gift at night. 

Take a gander at my pinterest board for other party ideas; I’m cooking up some ideas for their family birthday party the day after Thanksgiving.  When will I have time to make the cake?

Okay… just one more look…


Happy Birthday Gwendolyn!

Four years ago I became a Mommy when our precious little Gwendolyn came into the world.  She has blessed us immensely, bringing love and laughter (and lots of tears and frustration) into our lives. 

Thanking God for the blessing of children – especially our big little girl – on this wonderful day.