Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Silly Children

It's truly a joy to have children. Sometimes I say that sarcastically, but most of the time, I mean it with all my heart. Never moreso than when they are being the silly kids that they are. 

 Emma thought the measuring bowls made a good hat.
 Gabe needed something from the play kitchen. The cabinet door in the front works just fine, but sometimes the easy way isn't the fun way.
 This is how Irene was "reading" her book the other day. she gets a kick out of looking through the holes in the blanket.
Ezra was outside playing by himself and found some fun ways to pass the time. He pulled that basketball around on the hand truck for a good 20 minutes. 

Sometimes it's really hard to catch them candidly because they tend to play to the camera, so when I do manage to get a picture, I'm usually not disappointed with the results. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

FIAR: The Clown of God

This month we got back to doing Five In A Row, which we hadn't done in a long time. We chose to do The Clown of God, which is about a juggler who, at the end of his life, gives his greatest performance for God. (As an aside, the difference between Rebecca and I is illustrated very well with this book. SPOILER ALERT! He dies at the end. Rebecca struggles not to cry whenever she reads it to the kids. I, however, struggle not to laugh because the illustration is so melodramatic. I think I've seen too many Monty Python sketches.)

For those who have never done FIAR, you read the book each day for 5 days and do a different activity related to some aspect of the book. For example, for Geography, they had to find Italy on a map, and color an Italian flag and learned some Italian words. 
Giovanni was an orphan and later in life, he meets some monks, so we learned about what those two things mean. Giovanni was encouraged that he gives glory to God through his juggling, so we made a short list of things we do to give glory to God.
We learned about juggling and attempted (rather poorly) to juggle ourselves.

 The kids also looked at stained glass, since the ending takes place in a church.
  they made "stained glass" cookies and painted their own "stained glass" to hang in their windows.

 We got some 8"x10" acrylic sheets, traced a simple pattern we searched out on Google in puffy fabric paint and used acrylic paint to fill in the spaces. 

This is a wonderful book and the kids would beg to have it read every day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Kids' Art

The last few art lessons in Artistic Pursuits have recalled one of the artists we've studied as part of the Renaissance, Michelangelo and touched on Rafael, who was one we hadn't studied.

For Michelangelo, the kids did more frescoes 

and then tried their hand at apple carving.
They carved the apples about 8 weeks ago and we left them on the windowsill to dry. 

After 8 weeks, they're quite wrinkly and kinda cute. 
Next we looked a Rafael and his use of colors. They did one project where they layered the paints to create a scene. Each layer had to dry before the next was put on to prevent blending.

Then they did one where they had to blend primary colors to make the colors they wanted to use. we combined this with a project for our FIAR book, Clown of God. They all started with just red, blue and yellow and then made the purples and greens they wanted to paint their "stained glass" with. 

 The boys worked together and created "Blue Star"

 Olivia called her "The Rose of Light" because the red center looks like a rose when the light shines through it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Emma's 3!

Our sweet Emma is now 3! In the last year, she's grown so much, but stayed very loving and cuddly. She's talking more now using full sentences, but she's still a pretty quiet girl. Sometimes she surprises me with the things she has to say. She has gotten much braver and is more willing to try new things. She can be very cautious, but other times she's gung ho about climbing, running and wrestling right along with the other kids. She loves to go outside and play with the older kids; climbing on the outdoor chairs, throwing balls, trying to pet the chickens (though they do scare her sometimes, still), riding scooters and bicycles, and making up stories and games. She hates the thought of being left behind and will freak out of she thinks someone's going somewhere without her. One big challenge we have with her is that she tends to revert back to the moaning and whining instead of using her words to communicate what she wants. We're hoping that reminding her to use her words will prevent that, but so far it's looking like 3 might be more trying than 2 was for us. 
 Mama got her a very cute outfit for this chilly winter birthday.
 As a gift, we took her to a free, introductory class at the little gym (hey, free is still a gift!) and she absolutely loved it! She jumped right in to explore. She let the teacher do things with her, like jumps, tumbles, bear-crawling on the bars, hanging and swinging on a bar, throwing ball through a hoop and ringing bells. She participated very well in the interactive songs where she had to stomp her feet, clap her hands, do a wheelbarrow and turn in circles. We're really thinking hard about signing her up for a class this spring. We think she'd really benefit physically from the activity.
 When she got home she found a "Winter Wonderland" in the dining room. The other kids and I decorated while she was out at class with Mama. 

 Olivia made her a crown and we dubbed her the "Birthday Queen"

The other kids made her this beautiful banner.
God luck trying to find winter themed balloons after the new year... apparently that's when winter ends, too. She was still very excited about her Olaf balloon, tho. :)

 We drew a winter scene on the windows and Olivia made the beautiful snowflakes.

 The inspiration for the winter theme actually came from these cupcakes from A Sweet Success Bakery (via Harris Teeter) that Emma went crazy over. She saw them, pointed, and screamed "SNOWMAN!" and "PENGUIN!", so we decided that would be a fun January birthday theme.
The Queen got first pick of cupcakes...
 and was not pleased with the wait. "Just one picture, baby!"
 Once the candles were lit, we got a smile.
She blew out 2 on her first try. She got the third candle on the second try. That other thing on the plate is an Ice Cream Snowball with silver and pearl sprinkles.
 The cupcakes were very good, but none of them could finish them. Irene certainly gave it a good try.
Yes, honey, even Birthday Queens have to use the potty. I tried to engage her in conversation to pass her time there and get her to tell me about her class at the Little Gym. She told me a couple of things and then denied some other things that Rebecca said she did. I asked, "Are you telling me tales?" and she pointed to her bottom and replied, "I don't have any tails, Daddy." She cracks me up. Happy Birthday, Little Love.