Friday, October 28, 2011

Ideas for November

November is right around the corner...hard to believe!  Here are a few ideas for personal growth and gratitude during the month of November. 

gratitude journalMotherhood Your Way has a Printable Gratitude Journal and several ideas on how to use it during November.  I plan on printing this out and working on having a grateful attitude.  If I can look for the things I am thankful for instead of frustrated with, then everyone in my household will be happier!  Maybe after 30 days, this will become a new habit. 

ICanTeachMyChild.comI Can Teach My Child is hosting 30 Days of Intentional Acts of Kindness With your Kids.  It is a take off the Acts of Random Kindness and, as the title states, tries to become more intentional and purposeful.  I like that these Acts of Intentional Kindness should include your children because it teaches them about how to treat others.  I hope Buddy and Sweetpea already see Jon and I being intentionally kind to others but for the 30 days of November, they will be involved as well.  Plus it will tag right back into a review of the Fruit of the Spirit for Buddy.

Since November 1st is Tuesday, I thought I would post these ideas early so that if you and your family are interested, you have a little time to prepare and plan.  Happy Early November!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Letter Recognition

Sweetpea and I are currently working on her letter recognition skills through several different activities.  The most simple and her favorite is our letter wall.  I typed up the alphabet in a pattern of colors, four letters to a sheet.  After they were printed and cut, I covered them in contact paper to hopefully make them more durable.  Sweetpea helped to hang them in our classroom area as I told her each letter. 
Today we sang the Alphabet Song several times while pointing to each letter as we sang.  Then Sweetpea pushed my hand away and proceeded to point on her own. 

 For the most part, she would point to the right letter as I sang fairly slowly.  But she was so proud of herself when we finished.

Here is a picture of our ABC wall.  It is underneath Buddy's sight words because Sweetpea has loved to pull his words off the wall in the past.  This caused lots of fussing in our household so having her own letters on the wall has actually kept her from touching Buddy's words as much. 

Our ABC wall may be simple but it is effective.  I'm confident that this will help Sweetpea begin to recognize letters quickly.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I recently made pumpkin bread with the leftover pumpkin puree from the pumpkin scones.  I love how this bread tastes and so do Buddy and Sweetpea.  Since the pumpkin bread isn't covered in icing like the scones, I wasn't sure if they would enjoy it but they ate the slice I gave and promptly asked for more!
 I only made a half a batch of the recipe but it still made six mini loaves.  We brought some to my parents and I put the rest in the freezer to enjoy with Buddy and Sweetpea in the next few weeks. 

This recipe was given to me by a friend and I am so glad she shared it with us.  I hope you enjoy too!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Almost Christian

I recently finished reading Almost Christian:  What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church.  I picked up this book on a whim while in our church library and then was drawn into the break down and reflection of the National Study of Youth and Religion.  Kenda Creasy Dean is the author of this book and she expounds upon the finding of the NSYR.  Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is rampant in our churches and is affecting how teenagers are growing, or rather, not growing in their faith.  Almost Christian shows us that according to this national study, our teenagers are very positive about faith in general but very apathetic when it comes to growing their own personal faith.  Dean makes the argument that this apathy is the result of the American church and the self absorbed spirituality that is rampant. 
Almost Christian contains several interesting and several very scary excerpts from the NSYR's interviews with teens.  These interviews are scary in the fact that the students interviewed can articulate their views on political and cultural issues but are very inarticulate when it comes to matters of their spiritual beliefs.  Dean lists four main traits of devoted Christian teens and they are as follows:  1) they have a personal and powerful God-story that they can articulate; (2) they belong to a community of faith; (3) they have a sense of call to live for a larger purpose; and (4) they have hope for the future promised by their faith.
This book was a very good read and a reminder to make sure that as Jon and I work with our youth that we are helping them grow and become more articulate about what they believe and why.  In the end, it is up to each student to transform their faith into a solid and growing life giving relationship with Jesus Christ.  I found Appendix B to be most interesting as this is a summary of the findings from the Nations Study of Youth and Religion.  Number Six was "The single most important influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents."  So if you are raising a teenager or plan on raising a teenager solid in their faith, take a look at your own relationship with God and challenge yourself to grow!  I hope to see more parents diving into God's Word and deeper into their relationship with Christ and see how this changes the future teenagers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ABC Coloring Sheets

Sweetpea and I are currently focusing on letter recognition in our times while Buddy is at preschool.  Since she has a shorter attention span, I've been looking for various alphabet activities and came across Pondered in My Heart's Alphabet Coloring Pages

While the virtue words are above Sweetpea's head, she loves to color and I thought these would be perfect.  I love that the pictures focus in on a virtue and give a concrete example of how to live out that virtue.  Both Buddy and Sweetpea are coloring these pages and I plan to put them together into a construction paper book for each of them for letter review. 
I think even older children will enjoy these coloring pages and it is a great way to introduce vocabulary about various virtuous character traits.  I hope y'all enjoy these as much as we will! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

ABC Scripture Memory Cards

I Can Teach My Child has created an ABC Printable Scripture Memory Cards set.  I printed out ours this week and love it.

It isn't really for Buddy or Sweetpea at this point but for me.  Currently, Buddy has his own list of scriptures to memorize and when he finishes those, we'll begin this set.  I love how cute the cards are and how easy it is to place in my kitchen.  By placing them in sight, I know that I'll walk past often and stop and work on my personal memorization. 
Stop by I Can Teach My Child and print your own set of ABC Scripture Cards for your family today!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Scones

Today Buddy, Sweetpea, and I made a new recipe of pumpkin scones.  I've eyed this recipe for a week and finally took the time to make them.  I mixed together the dough during naptime and, while the scones were baking, Buddy and Sweetpea helped me make the two icings.  Yes, you read correctly, two icings! 

I gave them both a plate and they began to "paint" the scones.  Buddy enjoyed this part even though the icing wasn't green, his favorite color.

Sweetpea had a blast working by herself and she sampled every bit that landed on her hands.

I helped them drizzle the spiced icing since I made it a little too runny and these are the finished products.
Look at that happy face!

We each enjoyed a scone as dessert after supper.  I plan to make another batch and freeze the scones for easy breakfasts.  If you are looking for a yummy fall recipe, try out The Shoebox Kitchen's pumpkin scones!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Lesson on Germs

Jon and I have been trying to teach Buddy how to properly wash his hands, especially with cold and flu season arriving soon.  The hardest line to refute is, "I don't see any germs on my hands" and Buddy often rushes washing.  Totally Tots had a great idea today of how to teach children how to properly wash their hands.  I'm looking forward to trying it out this week with Buddy!  Check out Healthy Habits from Totally Tots!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fun with Bean Bags

I recently used some of the leftover fabric that I had to make a few bean bags for Sweetpea and Buddy.  My children loved them and I hope to make a few more soon, although to be honest, they were surprisingly frustrating to make!

We played a rousing game of laundry basket bean bag toss...Buddy and Sweetpea really enjoyed this!

Look at that face!

Sweetpea did really well with this.

I challenged Buddy to walk across our living room with the bean bag on his head.  He concentrated very hard as he tried to keep his head still. 

Sweetpea, of course, had to join in and took her own initiative to keep the bean bag on her head.

All in all, these bean bags are a great hit and a fun way to work on motor skills for Buddy and Sweetpea. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cookie Sheet Letters

One of the newest items in our classroom is an old cookie sheet and the refrigerator letter magnets.  I was tired of tripping over those small letters in our kitchen so I moved them in here.  An old cookie sheet serves as a fun magnetic surface.  

Sweetpea loves putting the letters on and carrying the tray around the room. 

I love how these letters can be used for color recognition as well.  Buddy has fun today spelling his sight words.  I would call out a sight word and he would find it on the wall and spell it out.  We have two sets so we can spell more words.  He kept refusing to take a picture but I hope to have one in the future.  Buddy did such a great job with the spelling and I know this will be a go-to thing for us from now on.  The best part is that two such simple things like a cookie sheet and magnetic letters could keep my children learning and entertained?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Our Clean Classroom

This weekend, I finally got our office/classroom completely organized and set up!  Our calendar came in and we began to use it on the 1st of October and Buddy really loved it.  My plan is to be able to help reinforce his knowledge of the days of the week and how a calendar works.  I've added a cookie sheet by Sweetpea's things to work with letter recognition.  Our weekly memory verse is in sight for a reminder for me and for Buddy and of course, we still have our sight word wall. 
 All of our craft supplies are organized and labeled so there is no more guessing on my part when we want to have craft time.  I had thought I would have Jon hang up the mirror until I saw Sweetpea looking at herself in the mirror.  I decided to leave it where she can more easily see and I'm sure I'll find other uses for learning with it.
All in all, I was very happy to have it organized and ready to go.  We really enjoyed our classroom time this morning with less clutter and mess!