Thursday, November 29, 2012

God Bless the Gargoyles

Yesterday was our third Book Club meeting for the year and we met at Anna's house for a reading of this great book, God Bless the Gargoyles by Dav Pilkey.
Here is the crew, ready to read!
 Our reader for this meeting was actually Lucy, who did a great job!
After we finished the book, we ate a snack at the table, decorated with gargoyles!  
We had angel food cake ...
 ... and these cute little angels, each made with a mini pretzel, a Bugle (these were caramel-flavored), an oyster cracker, a cheerio for the halo, and a small amount of icing to hold it all together!  (They turned out so cute, Anna!)
 Then it was time for our craft, this "stained glass" church building with gargoyle silhouettes perched on top!  
Here is a close-up of Anna's.
 First, we glued bits of colored tissue paper onto a white cut-out of our church building.
 Here is Maggie, with all of her tissue paper bits, glued on.
Then, we glued our white buildings onto these large pieces of blue paper, glued a black paper "frame" of our buildings over our tissued side (Thanks, Anna, for all that cutting you did!), and decorated these little black paper gargoyles for placing on our buildings.  (This one is Lucy's.)
 Here is Mags'!
 Then, Maggie insisted on adding "stars" with the cool metallic crayons Anna had!
 Great job, Leah!  :)
 Cool, Lucy!  :)
 Olivia's!  :)
 After we were finished with our meeting, Anna sent each child home with a small loaf of angel food cake for later!  Cute!
 Happy crafting!

This and That

So, it's been a while since I made a post about things we've been covering in our curriculum.  The main reason I'm so behind on this type of post is because Al's father passed away, and the last few months leading up to his death, we have been back and forth to his home five hours away, caring for him and making arrangements.  It hasn't been easy, but we are ready to get on with things, one of the first being this post.  

We had been learning about space among other things, particularly, the planets, along with our math, reading, letter work, and recognizing similarities and differences in people around the world.  To start, we did some reading on the planets ...

I know I have posted about this book at least 3 or 4 times before, but I just love this The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That series!  They are GREAT!  This one, There's No Place Like Space! All About Our Solar System by Tish Rabe is no exception!  I pull it out often for everything space-related.  Since we have been learning about planets, I will share an excerpt from the book with you about Saturn:
"Saturn has rings,
It's so light -- who would think?
It could float in an ocean
and not even sink!"
We also read this great book by Gail Gibbons (I love her books!): The Planets.  Just like the book above, I would recommend anything by Gail Gibbons!
After a few other reads, we set to work to make a model of the planets, in line from the sun (represented by a flashlight to show which planets get the most light and heat from the sun's rays).  For the same, you will need crayons, scissors, a hole punch, string or ribbon, a flashlight, and a template of the planets like the one we used here.
First, we colored our planets according to the colors we read are seen on each.
 Once our planets were colored, we then cut them out, and using our hole punch, made a hole in the center of each for our ribbon.
 Once strung (in order from the sun), we tied our ribbon onto the backs of two chairs and put some distance between each, like they would have in space.  (If you want to be more technical with this project, you can make a scale for the distance of each planet from the sun and set them more appropriately.)  
 Then, we turned out the lights and shined our flashlight onto the planets from the sun (our solar system's source of light).  
 We then answered some questions, like why we thought Neptune might be colder than Mars.  
Once that was done, we set to work to share our learning.  I thought it would be a neat idea to make postcards of each planet to send to our family and friends, with the picture of each planet on one side, and a description of that planet on the other.  Here is Maggie, working on one of her "Planet Postcards."
 We wrote to Grandma about Mercury!
 Here, Mags is adding some star stickers to the space around Mercury.
 Her Mercury postcard!
 We went on to make one for each planet!  Here, you see Uranus, Venus, Mars, and Mercury!  (Will you be one of the lucky ones to get a postcard from Mags?)  :)
In our Geography studies, we will very soon be learning about different cultures, so to preface that, we did a quick, general study to recognize how people are alike and different around the world.  We read Children Around the World by Donata Montanari ...
... This Is My House by Arthur Dorros and... 
... The Berenstain Bears' New Neighbors by Stan & Jan Berenstain.
We then read this great poem by Shel Silverstein out of his Where the Sidewalk Ends
"No Difference"

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light.

Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light.

Red, black or orange, 
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.

So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!

After our reading, we did an activity to demonstrate peace and diversity using a white egg and a brown egg.  We simply observed the different colors on the outside ...
... then cracked them open to observe what colors we saw on the inside!  We look the same on the inside!  :)
We have also begun discussing the importance of giving during the holiday season, and have joined our church in putting together gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse.  
You can learn more about the same at  This program "brings joy and hope to needy children around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God's love."  Here is Maggie, in our classroom, helping me sort through the goodies to make boxes for two girls and one boy.  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  (Matthew 19:14)
 All done!  Great job, Mags!  It feels so good to give!  :)
And, lastly, I wanted to share a few pictures from today's Brush Busters Canvas Painting event we had at our Home Scholars (homeschool co-op) meeting.  Here, Mags is goofing around with her buddy, Olivia!
 Getting started ...
 Painting away!
Everyone's artwork!  Can you spot Maggie's?
 Maggie's Masterpiece!  :)
See you again soon!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Horn of Plenty

Tonight, I am responsible for making the snack for Maggie's American Heritage Girls troop meeting, and with it being the week of Thanksgiving, I (of course!) had to come up with something thematic!  (Are you at all surprised?!)  From a post on Pinterest, I had come across this cute idea for mini cornucopias made out of sugar cones, and filled with candy, and was directed to for the instructions.  I thought it would be perfect for tonight! However, I found some (what I thought to be) easier instructions on Pinterest than the site offers, so I decided to show you how to make these cute snacks, a bit quicker, here.

For the same, you will need sugar cones, warm water, a microwave, a straw, assorted candies for your "bounty," saran wrap, scissors, and curling ribbon.
 First, fill a glass with your warm water and place the tip of your cone into the water for 20 seconds, as shown.  After 20 seconds, stick your cone in the microwave for 20 more seconds on high.
 Once the cone has been microwaved, immediately take it out and bend the softened tip around a clean straw, like you see below, for an additional 20-30 seconds.  
Place your cone (which now should resemble a cornucopia) onto a plate to dry and harden.
 Working away to make enough for all the girls ...
 Next, gather together an assortment of small candy.  Here, you can see Dove chocolates, M&Ms, candy corn, and candy pumpkins (bought on clearance after Halloween!).  Ideally, I would have rather bought Reese's Pieces for the Fall colors instead of M&Ms, but because many children have peanut allergies nowadays, I decided M&Ms were a safer bet.  Also, instead of mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I grabbed the caramel Dove chocolates, wrapped in gold foil.  (If I felt like getting supremely picky, which is very much like me, I would have picked out the blue M&Ms, but what can I say?  It's been a long day.)
 I filled each cone, covered the top with a small piece of my saran wrap, and secured it with a piece of curling ribbon, curled at the ends.  I think they turned out really cute, and Maggie is excited to show them off, so I guess I didn't do too bad!  
 Cornucopias galore!
I will update this post later and post a picture of the girls, at the meeting, cracking into their cornucopias!  Thanks for checking in with us and Happy [early] Thanksgiving!  :)