Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Family Night

We do Christmas a little bit differently in my family.  We are Catholic, and celebrate Advent for the four weeks prior to Christmas, then celebrate Christmas from Christmas Eve to Epiphany, the traditional 12 days of Christmas.  Advent is a time of waiting, a season similar to Lent in which we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus.  We used our family night this week to introduce M to the concept of Christmas, and what we are waiting to celebrate.

First off we made our own Advent wreath.
I also showed her our family Advent wreath, and taught her that we light one candle each week and that this weeks candle symbolizes hope.
We read a couple of nativity stories that we had checked out from the library.
Christmas in the StableCock-A-Doodle Christmas!

We watched The King is Born, a great little video from a series that I had watched as a kid.  M loved it, and it was a perfect way to bring the nativity story to life for her.

After that we watched "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" on TV before we got the kids ready for bed.  Hey, we're only human!  It's hard not to get caught up in the fun parts of the "traditional" Christmas season!

Tomorrow I'll post pictures of our Advent calendars, Jesse Tree, and Manger Padding; some other fun ways that we are helping M be involved in the process of preparing for Jesus.

Library Corner - Stories for Older Children (4 and up)

This is not our regularly scheduled Library Corner, but I have a list of books I'd like to share.  A couple of weeks ago I went through the online catalog and put about 30 Christmas books on hold for us.  I picked them up last night, and after glancing through them, these are the ones I'll be returning today.  I've read them all, and they are great, they are just a little too advanced or long to hold M & R's attentions.  I would say these would probably be great for about 4 and up.
Auntie Claus and the Key to ChristmasAuntie Claus and the Key to Christmas by Elise Primavera - What a fun book!  Christopher Kringle, who lives with his parents, older sister and aunt in a posh New York suite, decides that he doesn't believe in Santa!  What a surprise when he is let in on a little family secret that will forever change his attitude about Christmas!

Christmas Day in the MorningChristmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck - This book made me cry!  A wonderful story about a teenager, who realizing that his father loves him, wakes up early to milk the cows on Christmas morning so that his father won't have to.  I'm looking forward to checking out this book again once the kids are a bit older. 

Christmas City: A Look Again BookChristmas City by Michael Garland - A fun look-and-find and puzzle book.  The storyline is fairly simple, but the puzzles were a little outside M's understanding, and we have plenty of Christmas books, so I thought I'd return it so that an older child could get more use out of it.

Christmas Stories for the Very Young by Edited by Sally Grindley - A compilation of six short Christmas stories.  The stories range in topics from a story about the sheep that were left behind all by themselves when the shepherds went to visit Baby Jesus to a story about a little girl whose only wish is to have snow for Christmas.  They were really cute, I just knew that they were a little bit long and little bit sparse in pictures for M's taste.

Farolitos of Christmas, TheFarolitos of Christmas by Rudolfo Anaya - This book tells the story about how luminarias, a New Mexican Christmas tradition, were invented.  Might not be a particularly relevant book to many of you, but for those of us born and raised in the traditions and customs of New Mexico, it is nice to have a children's book that reflects the unique aspects of our culture.

The Santero's Miracle: A Bilingual Story (Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. Commended (Awards)) (English and Spanish Edition)The Santero's Miracle by Rudolfo Anaya - Another great New Mexican book by this wonderful author.  (Check out his adult books as well, they are wonderful New Mexican classics).  It is so nice to be able to read about Santos, bizcochitos, and the beautiful culture of Northern New Mexico in a children's book.

The Magic MagueyThe Magic Maguey by Tony Johnston - A Mexican Christmas story about a plant called a Maguey that provides so many needs for the entire village.  When someone talks about cutting it down to build a house, a little boy finds a way to save it.  It was a cute story, but not really one that M would be able to identify with.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week in a Glance - M is 32 Months Old, R is 12 Months Old

This will be a pretty laid back post since it was a pretty laid back week.  My hubby, who is a school teacher, had Wednesday through Friday off, so we spent quite a bit of family time together this week.  M worked on all the activities from her Thanksgiving Preschool pack, but I didn't get that many pictures.  The great thing about this week is that she got to work on them with her daddy.  We also had a super relaxing Thanksgiving with my dad and sisters (and their families), but again, no pictures.  Also a highlight of this week was R turning 1!  He is officially a tot!

M practicing cutting with her awesome new scissors

Thanksgiving Preschool Pack Activities

 Painting with Indian Corn
 The birthday boy!
 Making cookies with mama and daddy

Next week we'll be focusing on Advent activities!

We'll be linking up to Preschool Corner as well as Tot School.  Visit their websites to find some more great learning activities!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Preschool Skills Pack

We are finally back from our break!  We've got a lot of fun activities going on this week so stay tuned for more!  Enjoy!

Included in this pack are:
Turkey Number Sequencing
Thanksgiving Patterns
Turkey Clothespin Matching
Turkey Roll and Stamp
Cornucopia Uppercase/Lowercase Letter Match
Thanksgiving Counting
Cornucopia Size Order
Turkey Board Game
Thanksgiving Word Cards
Thanksgiving Cutting Practice
Turkey Writing Practice
Thanksgiving Preschool Skills Pack

Library Corner

Every other week we go to the library and fill our big library bag with as many books as can fit. There's no rhyme or reason to what books we pick, we just make sure to grab some that look relatively age appropriate. Enjoy our reviews of our favorites from each trip!

Gomer and Little GomerGomer and Little Gomer by Ronni Ann A. Herman - This was a cute little book about a dog and his lovey.  Unfortunately, it made me regress back to 3rd grade each time I read one of the main character's name "Chi-chi" the Chihuahua.  Yeah, that means something completely different to me! :)

Jump!Jump! by Scott Fischer - This was one of M's favorite books, mostly because she got to Jump!

Mommy's Best KissesMommy's Best Kisses by Margaret Anastas - What a sweet book!  This is full of various mommy animals kissing their babies.  M has been in a funny stage lately where she asks for all sorts of kisses before going to bed (forehead kisses, nose kisses, etc), so we both related with this one.

Little GorillaLittle Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein - This follows a newborn little gorilla and all the forest animals who love him.  The illustrations are really neat and the storyline is simple and fun.

PreviouslyPreviously by Allan Ahlberg - A really fun book that tells some common fairytales in backwards order.  I learned quite a bit from this book!  Who knew that Jack from "Jack and the Beanstalk" is Jill's brother from "Jack and Jill"?  We'll definitely be checking to see if this author has any more books at our library!

Maybe A Bear Ate It!Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris - What happens when a little kittie can't find his book before bed?  Tantrums and searching!  We can definitely relate to this since if M doesn't have her specific sippy cup or book or stuffed animal, all heck breaks loose!

Some other library books we enjoyed this week:

This post is being linked up to What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and Kid Konnection at Booking Mama