Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Fun School

I have been motivated by all the Christmas ideas for curriculum, crafting and fun that I’ve seen online this year that I have tried to put many of them into the schedule! Here is a rundown of some of the photographed fun we’ve had the last two weeks:


We made the Christmas Tree Sun Catcher from Itsy Bitsy Learners. I loved the simplicity of no glue! Contact paper, sequins, and tissue paper circles instead! They look great on the window—just didn’t get that picture taken yet.

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The girls enjoyed playing the “S is for Santa” game with a Portuguese version of M&M’s and dice. I like to use pages like these for their Do-A-Dot Paints too. There are tons of great Christmas learning printables at Making Learning Fun.


I read somewhere about a Christmas ornament count (let me know if it was you!), but we didn’t have Christmas stickers. So I decided to cut out a tree and have the girls add ornaments with their Do-A-Dot Paints. I encouraged them to make each ornament distinct so they could count them later. Next we graphed how many of each color. The next day they practiced writing their numbers next to each row.


Please don’t miss all the great Christmas curriculum at 1+1+1=1! She has lessons plans--a great compilation of ideas from many great blogs and sites I frequent. Here my 4.5 year old has written the first letters of these names (after tracing the letters on the back side). She was doing great until she got to S for Star!


Putting the alphabet ornaments in order has been great practice for her too. I am reluctant to print and laminate a new “theme” of alphabet every week normally, so this was nice to have a theme we can use for 4 weeks! There’s much more in 1+1+1=1’s Christmas Tot Pack and Nativity Preschool Pack—you have to see!


We came up with a fun new way to practice our sight words (those we’re learning with 1+1+1=1 RRSP curriculum).  With us doing Christmas fun this month, we’re including Christmas songs in our start time every day. The girls have been holding the various sight words (on a popsicle stick) that may be in the song. When we get to that word, the girls hold up that sight word. They LOVE it and laugh a lot, and I think they are learning the words the best this way!

I’ll be checking out Homeschool Creation’s Gingerbread Baby unit and Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Christmas unit next, along with other creative and resourceful moms atabc buttonOur Worldwide Classroom



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Painting Party

Our oldest turned 6 in early November. She had agreed that she didn’t need to have a character themed party. So we looked at a few birthday idea sites online and were both struck with the fun and creativity of a pottery painting party at the Polka Dot Birthday blog. Then we found a personalized downloadable painting party invite from Whirlibird for $10 (more than the store bought kind in America but less than the time I would have to put into making my own).
We don’t have those come-paint-your-own-pottery stores like they do in America and the UK. Thus began the search for what we could paint. We ended up buying some tiny canvases and easels from CASA (here in Portugal) and some cardboard frames from IKEA . I also had the kids paint their own paper sacks with foam stampers as their treat bags.
My daughter was also pleased with the idea of having paint balloons to throw darts at. This was an acceptable alternative for her instead of us making a piƱata as we had for her sister in the spring. My husband and a family friend graciously filled balloons with a mix of paint and fabric fix fluid using a syringe!
We added the fabric fix because the balloons were attached to a board covered in a cheap tablecloth I bought from the dollar store. We thought we might come near using a splatter paint tablecloth more than a splatter paint board. I didn’t want the paint to wash out the first time I washed the tablecloth. Therefore we also had to keep paint off of the kids! They wore their kindergarten smocks we call “bibes” here. (All of us adults are the ones with permanent spots on our clothes!)
I decided upon a rainbow cake after seeing one at Fowl Single File and a artist’s palette of cupcakes after seeing the idea on etsy (but I cannot find it now—sorry!). I almost waited too late to get an inside pic of the cake—one of the last pieces!
The before shot of the cake…and yes those are real sparklers. You can buy them in the grocery store here in the party section. It’s the thing to do here.
The last time my mom sent some smocks they came with these mats that were supposed to protect the floor. One made a great tablecloth!
Two other foods I’ve wanted to make overseas and hadn’t yet were caramel apples and popcorn balls. They seemed like good fall food for this party. All the Americans enjoyed them (in comparison to the other nationalities who think our sweets are much too sweet).
My sweet friend Cristi helped me set everything up, even dividing up our version of M&M’s here into colors for the table.
I have to say this is one of the most peace-filled parties we’ve had overseas—could be our kids’ ages, keeping the kids busy, the America and Portuguese helpers, getting more done in advance, just making less, or many prayers. So thankful for how it turned out!  {And if you want to see the kids in action…}

Post Addendum: Several readers have asked to see what the tablecloth looked like after all the paint. Here are a couple shots: One full shot and one of the tablecloth in action at our tie-dye party!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Need some ideas?

Being that I like to share ideas with others, I couldn’t NOT tell you about this amazing Christmas crafting e-zine (is that a word?) called Inspired Ideas by Amy Powers. Full of decorating and gift ideas from people like Mary Engelbreit, Jenny B Harris {love her embroidery designs} and others I don’t know as well but am enamored by their creativity. Even if you don’t like to make things the settings for the pictures are inspiring themselves!

Wish I could show you a couple of these but you’ll just have to go see things like:

  • An advent calendar made from a 24 count muffin tin pan
  • Glittery village houses made from cereal boxes
  • Holly berry garland that kids can make from felt
  • Burlap and lace door vase
  • A yo-yo Christmas tree!

Many have templates and downloadable freebies too!

On one of the ads I read what might be my new favorite motto:

This is not a mess. This is potential.

Thank you Jerusalem Greer!

I’ll have to let you know if I get around to making any of these beautiful things. Love to know if you do to!


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