Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Handmade Thanksgiving Decorations

Turkey hand print cards

Coffee filter autumn leaf garland

Our thankful tree

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dirt + Water = Mud!

We had such a lovely Thanksgiving and a fun filled Nutcracker weekend. I have so many pictures to share from last week but until then here is a post of Jack that I had ready a few weeks ago but never posted. Right now we are in the middle of decorating for Christmas, preparing for all that Christmas brings, and getting ready to celebrate TWO big birthdays very soon! In the midst of all of the busyness, I hope to return tomorrow with some new pictures.

One day towards the middle of the month we had warmer temperatures so I asked Jack if he wanted to get some of his trucks together to "work" in the mud. Jack's little feet ran so fast to gather some of his construction trucks and he was so excited to get right to work!

I gave Jack a bowl and he filled it with some dirt from our garden area. Jack added some water to his dirt and made the perfect mud mixture. For those of you who know Jack, working with mud and trucks is very serious business! He went right to work on his "construction site."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I will be back next week with pictures. Wishing everyone a beautiful Thanksgiving and weekend until then!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making Thanksgiving Retelling Bead Necklaces

One of our favorite Thanksgiving activities from last year was making necklaces and bracelets using colored beads to tell the story of the very first Thanksgiving. Both Grace and Jack remembered making the necklaces and bracelets last year and they were both able to retell the events leading up to the first Thanksgiving too! Last week we made necklaces for everyone in our family to wear on Thanksgiving.

Each bead on the necklace represents a piece of the first Thanksgiving:
  • 1 tan bead to represent the Pilgrims leaving England
  • 1 white bead to represent the sails on the Mayflower
  • 3 blue beads to represent the Pilgrims long trip across the ocean (66 days)
  • 1 green bead to represent the Pilgrims spying land
  • 3 white beads to represent the snow that the Pilgrims enduring during their first winter
  • 1 green bead to represent the arrival of spring
  • 1 tan bead to represent Squanto and the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims
  • 4 colored beads to represent all of the harvest foods served at the very first Thanksgiving: red for cranberries, yellow for corn, tan for turkey and orange for squash and pumpkins
This year we discussed the events leading up to the first Thanksgiving in much more detail. A large part of Grace and Jack's pretend play over the past few weeks has been recreating the first Thanksgiving. Grace and Jack love taking turns being Pilgrims and Squanto!

Baby Eve was so excited to receive a beaded necklace from Grace and Jack. This will be Eve's first Thanksgiving and we are all so thankful for her!

Grace and Jack have their Thanksgiving necklaces hanging on the back of our dining room chairs. We will all be wearing them on Thursday while giving thanks for our many blessings.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Painting our Thankful Tree

It is so important to reinforce the concept of what it means to be thankful and ways to express how much we have to be thankful for. Every year around Thanksgiving time we make our own thankful project as a means to concretely see our thankful wishes. In years past we have made thankful boxes and thankful leaves which allowed us the opportunity to write and draw what we are thankful for. This year we are making a thankful tree. Jack painted the tree yesterday morning while Grace was at school and when Eve was napping. We will cut out Jack's painting into the shape of a tree and place it on our wall. Tiny scraps of yellow, orange and red pieces of paper will be placed near the tree so that Grace and Jack can write or draw what that they are thankful for. This year I will write what makes Eve smile or laugh and place that on the tree for her first Thanksgiving. We will tape the pieces of paper directly on our tree so that our thankful wishes resemble autumn leaves. I'll post a picture of our thankful tree next week for Thanksgiving.

Update: We finished our Thankful Tree this morning and hung it in our dining room wall. It warms my heart to see how much Grace and Jack are thankful for and how much they are enjoying this activity. Our tree is already bursting with so many beautiful thankful leaves! I'll share them all with you next week.

"Being thankful opens us up to receiving all kinds of wonderful blessings. When in a state of gratefulness, we acknowledge our true selves & radiate this energy to others." ~Unknown

Our Lantern Walk

Last Thursday evening a lantern walk was scheduled at Grace's school. Every November Grace's Waldorf school has a lantern walk -- a festival of inner light in the outer darkness of the approaching winter. The lantern walk begins by hearing stories and singing songs. As darkness falls the children venture out into the night with their lanterns. They walk along a lit path with glowing luminaries while carrying their lanterns in a mood of quiet reverence. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily the night the lantern walk was scheduled so it was cancelled. Grace brought her lantern home earlier this week and we had our own lantern walk around our house!

This picture of Grace holding her lantern was taken just before she led us outside.

Grace led us all around our house carrying her lantern all while sweetly singing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Playdough!

Here is a picture of Eve playing with the pumpkin spice playdough that Grace made. We added some gold glitter for an extra special touch! In a few days we will be using this playdough to make turkeys to decorate our Thanksgiving table!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coffee Filter Autumn Leaves

Jack made beautiful coffee filter autumn leaves yesterday. Jack used red, yellow and orange markers and marker dots to color coffee filters. Once he was finished coloring, Jack placed the filters on our driveway and sprayed them with water until the colors blended together. Once the filters dried I cut out maple leaf shapes. We will be making a leaf garland with the leaves to decorate our home for Thanksgiving. I'll be sure to post pictures of the finished garland.

Sensory Bean Bin

Over the years I have made many sensory bins for my children. I LOVE them! I think sensory bins are an amazing (and a fun) educational tool. We made this simple bean bin for Halloween a few weeks ago. We filled it with black beans and colored navy beans orange and green. Eve loves sensory play and she has been enjoying exploring and playing in this bean bin. This activity engages a variety of senses in learning and it targets fine motor and language development in such a fun way!

Eve's tiny fingers worked so hard to grasp the beans using her pincer grasp.

Eve loves the way the beans feel on her toes. I always make sure she is barefoot in the bin so she can also feel the texture on her feet as well as her hands.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Dough

Grace made a homemade batch of pumpkin spice dough for us yesterday. Our home smelled just like pumpkin pie when it was finished cooking. Here is Grace's recipe:

2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
6 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of oil
red & yellow food coloring

Grace combined the dry ingredients in a saucepan and then added the water and oil. Grace mixed the ingredients together and then helped me cook it over medium heat until the dough formed. Once the pumpkin spice dough cooled Grace, Jack and Eve kneaded it until it was soft. Thank you, Grace!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Got Gracie, Jack & Eve?