Our Gang

Our Gang
Jason, Deacon, Kennedy, & Me ~ March 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

J is for Jesus!!!

With Christmas nearly here, I thought there would be no better way to introduce the letter "J" than with a J is for Jesus theme.  The crazies have jumped right into the Christmas story all while learning "J", Jesus, & other fun things with candy canes.  We used the candy canes to show the letter J & have made plenty of crafts tied back to them.  Deacon has been working on some Christmas math while Kennedy has been perfecting tracing & coloring her shapes.  We spent our day in the kitchen making candy came cookies & we practiced patterns by making candy canes with our thumbprints.  It has been a fun way to kick off Christmas with the crazies all while teaching the real reason for this season!!

J is for Jesus!!

One of our many books that tell the real reason for the season

 D's holiday themed math

K got some new Minnie stickers that she was excited to use for shape & sticker time!

 We colored candy canes, turned them into a J, & glues baby Jesus in it on some straw.

Candy canes were our go-to treat for cooperation during learning!

The candy cane cookies pre-baking... they did so good twisting the dough

Yumminess with drizzle & peppermint on top

K staying busy... she is sooo good at her busy bags

 D doing some addition

All the supplies you need for a little candy cane pattern action

D & K got busy laying down red, white, red, white, red, white... you get the idea!

Look MOM!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Peppermint Bark

We have been doing a J is for Jesus week here with the crazies & using lots of candy canes for the "J". Little did I know how MUCH my crazies love candy canes... every time we would use one they would eat one, or two, or three.  I had no idea they liked them so much.  So, it seemed fitting that I make one of my favorite holiday treats with them -- Peppermint Bark.  It is easy peasy & only requires 3 ingredients.  The hardest part is getting the plastic off of the candy cane.  Seriously.  So, the crazies followed me to the kitchen & I put them to work.

Here are your 3 ingredients: 12 candy canes, a bag of white chocolate morsels, & 1 tsp. peppermint oil.

Unwrap the candy canes & place them in a ziploc bag -- K was my unwrapper & D placed them in the bag.

Use a heavy spoon to crush the candy canes into tiny pieces... this was their favorite part!

While crushing, let the microwave work for you to melt the morsels.  Melt in 30 second intervals.  I can melt the bag in 3-30 second intervals stirring in between.

Take the crushed candy canes & pour into the melted chocolate.  Add the 1 tsp. peppermint oil & stir.

 Spread the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper covering about a 9x13 area.  If you like yours thicker, spread it thicker.  I prefer mine thin.

Let it sit & harden.  Usually about an hour.  Break into pieces & enjoy.  An easy holiday treat... & the crazies loved it just like I thought they would!

Monday, November 26, 2012

O' Christmas Tree

We got our tree!!!  We had a wrestling match with our tree trunk, & then our tree stand, but after 3 rounds, a chainsaw, & a new stand we won!  And a week later the tree is still standing!!
We spent Sunday evening decorating it & had so much fun.  For me, it is always a walk down memory lane.  We have the usual "Baby's First Christmas" ones & a set of "Marriage Tree" ones I was given at a wedding shower, but really our tree is made up of 3 categories of ornaments.
We have a family picture ornament every year since we have been married.  I usually have to lay them all out in order to make sure I am not missing one & it is so fun to see how we have grown & changed & even aged over the years.  It is bittersweet for me.  Hopefully one day years from now we will have 50 picture ornaments documenting our family from day 1 through the years.
We have an ornament for all of the places we travel.  Traveling is our big hobby.  We will forgo presents to each other at birthdays & Christmas just to say "let's call Tahoe Christmas" or "count San Diego as our anniversary".  We have "ornament" rules -- we must visit the place together & we must have stayed longer than 1 night.  Just traveling through a city or country doesn't count.  We had to have really seen & visited the place.  The ornaments on our tree are such reminders of the amazing trips we've taken & the fun things we have seen & are such fun to talk about as we decorate our tree.
Lastly, we have special deployment ornaments for the Christmases that Soldier Man has been unable to be home with us.  During his first deployment, a friend sent me an ornament over the holiday season that read"Half of my heart is in Iraq" with the year & his name on it.  I loved it & preceded to order 2 more during his next 2 tours at the holiday time.  Those ornaments serve as a reminder of his service, our sacrifice, & the blessing of having him with us still.  I am very proud of those ornaments.
So, we took our walk down memory lane & loved it.  The crazies ask lots of questions too about the ornaments so it was fun to explain things to them too.

D sniffing out trees at the tree farm

K picking out her tree

All loaded up!  We looked like the Griswald's coming home!

Soldier Man unloading our tree

 The men working the saw to fit it in the stand

K wanted a try

Hanging our ornaments on the tree

The 3 deployment ornaments

Some of our picture ornaments

 And some of our travel ones... San Fran trip in '09

Hawaii in '06 & New Mexico in '12 on our way to CA

 France in '11 during our European Vacation

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Turkey Complete

We got all of our feathers back from our family on the East Coast & put our Thankful Turkey together today!  Deacon was most excited when we would receive a feather in the mail as Thanksgiving approached.  
We read each feather by name as well as what they were thankful for before taping the feather to the turkey & wall.  It was a great way to go through each member of our family & remember them with the crazies since we were not with them for the day.
Here is a picture of our complete turkey -- we will certainly be doing this again for the years we don't make it home!  Plus, we have some very talented artists among us... who knew?!?

Friday, November 16, 2012

I is for Indians... & alot of Thanksgiving stuff

With Thanksgiving fast approaching & the letter "I" in our forecast, I couldn't help but do an "I is for Indian" theme here for our learning time.  The crazies have had lots of Thanksgiving-themed crafts during our learning time & have loved it.  I'm still happy we have a week to fit more in!!  Deacon has practiced writing letters A-I & does really well.  We also spent some extra time practicing writing our numbers 1-7 more & he is getting better.  I've "promoted" him from tracing & writing his name daily to just writing it daily -- now I need to teach him how NOT to take up a whole piece of paper with it : )  I found some great Thanksgiving themed math practice sheets on education.com & even introduced him to Suduko which he enjoyed.  He also got some more practice at coloring by number as well as connecting the dots.  Here are some of the many pics of our festive & fun learning & craft times!

Deacon's name writing practice, on a whole piece of paper

Our Indian headpieces... K really got into it & Deacon loved coloring his

My Little Tribe

 K working on color pairing   & the Suduko puzzle I found online

D coloring by number

Making turkeys to practice our shapes

 Connecting the dots

K really enjoyed a dice game -- she rolls it & has to find 4 items of the number rolled

We discussed the Mayflower & Pilgrims & made a ship with our handprints

 K putting her hand down & D got creative with drying his paint

 The finished product

Our Thankful Turkeys we made with some pinecones Meme & Papa sent