Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27 - December 3, 2011

This is our last "full" week since Advent has begun.  After this week, we'll just be doing math and religion until the Epiphany.

What we're working on this week:

  • Religion - Who Am I? Preschool Book B: Advent 1 - Preparing Our Hearts and Homes
  • Math - Saxon Math K: Lesson 36 - Ordering the numbers 0-10, identifying a missing number
  • Language Arts - Go for the Code: Letter c
  • Art - Draw Write Now Book 1: The Gingerbread Man
  • Music - We continue listening to our classical music station on Pandora while we do our schoolwork.
  • Good Books - Seasonal stories


Saturday, November 26, 2011


Advent begins tomorrow!  For the first time, I feel pretty prepared for everything.  We'll see how long that lasts.  Something always seems to pop up that I completely forgot about.  Such is life.

First, I got the vast majority of my Christmas shopping done yesterday.  It was all from the comfort of our home, online.  There was no way I was venturing out into the Black Friday madness.  Other than a few stocking stuffers, the gifts for our Angel Tree kid, and our Christmas cards, everything is ordered, paid for, and on its way.  We'll pick our Angel Tree kid off the tree at church tomorrow and I'll buy our Christmas cards sometime this week.  I won't mail them out until the 3rd week of Advent.  It seems appropriate to wait until Gaudete Sunday to spread some joy around.

Having all of this done before Advent begins means we can focus on the season itself over the next four weeks.  I set up our Advent table today.

It looks a little bare, but it will do.  Next year, maybe I'll do a big Advent calendar.  If I start working on it next month, I might have it done on time.

On the left is our Jesse Tree.  I bought a lighted willow branch (from Amazon, of course) that runs off three AA batteries and just stuck it in an old flower vase filled with purple tissue paper.  The branches were slightly smaller than I expected and the ornaments were a tad bit larger, so it may wind up looking ridiculous.  We're going with it.

For the ornaments, I downloaded the annual Advent guide from Faith Magazine, published by the Diocese of Erie.  The small ornaments are a 7-page PDF and I sent that to our local UPS store to be printed in color on card stock.  I also printed out their Advent reflections from home.  It's a really nice guide to the Jesse tree with an explanation of each night's ornament and the corresponding Bible reading.  I used some colored glitter glue to add a little accent to each ornament and I'll just cut one out each day, punch a hole in the top and string it with ribbon.  The reflections and first ornament are sitting on the table, ready to go.

We have our Advent calendar hanging on the wall.  There is no candy in it.  We have way too much from Halloween already.  In fact, some of that Halloween candy will probably migrate to the kids' Christmas stockings.  Don't tell them.

And, finally, we have our Advent... plaque?  I'm not sure what to call it exactly.  It's not a wreath.  Matt and I bought it when Henry was a baby from the gift store at the cathedral in St. Augustine.  The candles are in place and we still have the little pamphlet from the same gift store that has the weekly ceremony for each Sunday lighting.

Elsewhere, we have our Nativity scene stable set out with only a lonely cow inside.  A shepherd is tending his little flock close by on the table.  Tomorrow, we'll set Mary and Joseph and their donkey on our little altar in the kitchen.  They'll begin their month-long journey to the stable from there.  Each night, we'll move them a little closer until they arrive on Christmas Eve.  The Wise Men stay in the box until Christmas Day when they begin their journey, arriving on the Epiphany.  (They travel a lot faster because none of them are pregnant.)

Today, Henry and I are going to make a construction paper Advent wreath and candles to hang on the board in the schoolroom.  Our other plans for Advent?
  • December 6, 2011 - Feast of St. Nicholas: The night before, the kids will write their letters to the Christ Child and put them in their shoes at the foot of their beds.  St. Nicholas will take their letters and leave a few gold coins in their shoes to let them know he came.  
  • December 8, 2011 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • December 13, 2011 - Feast of St. Lucy: We're going to attempt this Croatian custom of planting Christmas wheat this day.  Wheat we have in plenty; we'll see if it grows in time for Christmas!
  • December 17 - 24, 2011 - The O Antiphons: Each evening, we'll recite one of the O Antiphons, the seven Messianic titles of Christ.
  • December 24, 2011 - Christmas Eve: This is when we'll go get our Christmas tree, decorate it and the house, and get ready to welcome in the Christmas season!
I think that just about covers it.  Of course, there will be plenty of cookie making and gingerbread house decorating and all of that fun stuff, too.  We're so excited to get started!

I've shared/linked up this post on RLS's Preparing for Baby Jesus Advent Link Up.  You can check out what other families are doing for Advent by clicking on the button here:

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Dinner is eaten, kitchen is clean, kids are in bed... Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20 - 26, 2011

What we're working on this week:

  • Religion - Who Am I? Preschool Book B: Thanksgiving
  • Math - Saxon Math K: Lessons 33, 34, and 35 - Ordering the numbers 0-10, counting backward from 10; Assessment #2: Identifying and naming shapes; Identifying ordinal position to fourth
  • Language Arts - Get Set for the Code: Complete letter d; Go for the Code: Begin letter c
  • Art - Draw Write Now Book 1: Three Bears
  • Science - Science is Simple: Bird shapes and colors
  • Music - We continue listening to our classical music station on Pandora while we do our schoolwork.
  • Good Books - The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh: Section 2, Chapter 9


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting Ready for Advent

While our Advent break doesn't begin until the end of the month, Advent itself is only a week away!  Last year, we embarked on the annual last-minute scramble to find purple and pink candles for our Advent display.  This year, I'm working smarter (being lazy) and ordering them online.

Advent Calendar - Mary with Baby JesusI'm also finally getting an Advent calendar for the kids.  One year, I would love to create a beautiful, reusable Advent calendar, but it's not going to be this one.  Instead, I found this pretty one on Amazon and it's already on its way to our home.

Other plans for Advent?

Our Who Am I? workbook has worksheets for each Sunday of Advent that Henry will work on.  We're also going to make a construction paper Advent wreath to put on our classroom bulletin board.

Still mulling over a Jesse Tree.  I've found some nice PDFs of the different ornaments, but I'd need to have them printed and then mount them to something sturdy myself.  We'll see.  I may have to save that for next year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Week in Review: Henry Reads, Three Little Pigs and I'm Really Trying Not to Throw Up

Ugh.  I am hanging on by my fingernails this week.  While I have blessedly avoided actually throwing up, I'm pretty much in a constant state of queasiness.  Add in the typical first-trimester fatigue and you can imagine what things are looking like around here.  Suffice to say, we've had quite a few pajama days and more than a few frozen pizzas for dinner.

12 more days until Advent break, 12 more days until Advent break, 12 more days until Advent break...

I'm looking forward to the break; can you tell?

So, this week did go well.  Henry made a big leap forward yesterday and has started to truly sound out words.  Or, as he put it, "I'm READING, Mommy!!!  I'm READING!!!"  On a whim, I brought up a blank Word document and began typing in simple words like rat, cat, bat, hat, etc.  He was able to sound them all out and read them all.  He is very, very proud of himself and, of course, we are too!  It's really an amazing thing to see that little light bulb go off in their heads.

My only question now is whether I should bother putting him through level 2 of the Hooked on Phonics pre-K program.  I don't think he really needs half a year of looking at capital letters again.  I think I will skip him to level 1 of the kindergarten program once we come back from our Advent and Christmas break and see how he does.  I will keep going with Explode the Code so he can work on his penmanship and increase his letter/sound recognition, though.

Math is still great.  Henry really enjoys the Saxon lessons and I'm really glad it's Angelicum's chosen program.

Art for today was the Three Little Pigs.  He was a little disappointed by the lack of the wolf, but he got over it.

Oliver's therapy appointments went well this week.  The therapist said he used the words up, in, open, and out appropriately during the sessions.  At home, he's been a bit more quiet as far as formed words go, although he did repeat close one time for me.  At this point, the therapist is very comfortable with saying it's most likely a processing/developmental issue and not a motor/apraxia type thing.  He is making progress so we will continue with the therapy, but it could be a long haul or it could be a sudden leap for him to really talk.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Jane is walking for real!  She still crawls when she wants to move quickly, but she can take a good amount of steps forward, some backward, and can scoot sideways and turn when she's feeling particularly motivated.  She's also got some molars coming in, poor baby.  I feel bad for infant/toddlers.  It's always something for those little guys.

Mystery Baby 5, as stated above, is doing its best to eliminate my appetite, but everything else seems to be going fine.  Since Matt is military, I got to go to the base hospital to do the mandatory new baby orientation.  I confess I rolled my eyes at the idea.  Here I was hoping that they were going to tell me about the completely new and exciting method of being pregnant and giving birth, but apparently it's the same as 14 months ago (and millennia ago, also).  At least I got all my paperwork filled out and all of my labs done.

10 weeks down, 32 more to go!*

* Yes, I said 32.  Henry was born at 40 weeks, Oliver was induced at 37, and Jane was 40 weeks + 3 days.  I'm just going to tell myself that I'm going to go to 42 weeks so I don't get despondent at the end.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13 - 19, 2011

What we're working on this week:

  • Religion - Who Am I? Preschool Book B: No lesson this week
  • Math - Saxon Math K: Lessons 30, 31, and 32 - Identifying triangles and squares; Naming a shape piece using three attributes (shape, color, and size); Ordering the numbers 1-10, identifying a missing number
  • Language Arts - Hooked on Phonics: letter Z, letters V, W, X, Y, Z review, "The Cereal Box" story and Unit 3 review; Get Set for the Code: Complete letter h, begin letter d
  • Art - Draw Write Now Book 1: Three Little Pigs
  • Science - Science is Simple: Bird food
  • Music - We continue listening to our classical music station on Pandora while we do our schoolwork.
  • Good Books - The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh: Section 2, Chapter 8


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week in Review: First Math Test and The Little Red Hen

It was a busy, busy week.  We went on a mini-vacation to Orlando halfway through, so school got front-loaded and back-loaded and jammed into any available time for completion.  But it was completed!

Henry passed his first math assessment with flying colors.  Considering that it pretty much consisted of counting to eight, we didn't go all out on the celebration or anything like that.  Regardless, I was happy to see that he is at least where he should be in his lessons.

Art for the week was the Little Red Hen.

Oliver's speech therapist was on vacation this week, too.  No therapy and also no new words.  In fact, he was pretty quiet this week.  He really enjoyed our trip and was amazed by the different parks, though.

Jane is Jane: feisty and prone to temper tantrums.  And my goodness, she is already tormenting her brothers.  I think it's a good thing that she will not be the baby of the family.  We're really starting to work on teaching her to play nicely with others.

She needs all the help she can get!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6 - 12, 2011

What we're working on this week:

  • Religion - Who Am I? Preschool Book B: God Cares for Us and All He Has Made
  • Math - Saxon Math K: Lessons 27, 28, and 29 -Assessment #1 (counting objects; matching sets of objects using one-to-one correspondence), identifying ordinal position to fourth, and covering designs using pattern blocks
  • Language Arts - Hooked on Phonics: letters X and Y; Get Set for the Code: letter h
  • Art - Draw Write Now Book 1: Little Red Hen
  • Science - Science is Simple: Exploring winter birds.
  • Music - We continue listening to our classical music station on Pandora while we do our schoolwork.
  • Good Books - The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh: Section 2, Chapter 7

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween, All Saints, All Souls, Rabbit... and Baby Number 5!

Quite the week in our little household, I will say.

First, we got ready for Halloween.  Henry used's pumpkin maker to design our pumpkin this year and I did my best to faithfully render his choice.

I'm pretty sure this is almost identical to the one he chose last year.  Maybe the nose is different.  For whatever reason, he thinks these eyes and mouth are the spookiest.

Halloween itself was very exciting.  Matt took Henry and Oliver trick'or'treating with some friends in the neighborhood while Jane and I passed out candy to the crowds.  And there were some serious crowds!  We had huge groups of kids come all at once with big gaps in between.  It was kind of strange, but efficient.  We ran out of candy after only two hours, but Henry and Oliver came back with a wagon-load of their own.

Oliver was Superman, Henry was a skeleton, and Jane had on a tutu.  We had some fairy wings for her, but she opted not to wear them.

Our All Saints' Day pretzels came out great.  I used this Good Eats recipe, but divided the dough into 16 pieces and formed figure 8s.  These were seriously the best soft pretzels ever.  I can tell I'll be making these again.

On All Souls' Day, we remembered our family members who have passed away: my parents, my husband's mother, and our first little boy, Evan, who died when he was eight months old, just four months before Henry was born.

We looked at their pictures, said prayers for them, and talked about our lesson from last week, After Death there is Life.

We also said prayers for all our other family members and friends who have passed away, as well as the poor souls who have no one to pray for them.

Things Oliver said this week: fly, brothers, good job, Halloween, and up!

Henry's art lesson for this week was a rabbit.  The humor of this is significant because...

We are expecting our fifth child!  It's funny to think about it, but I've been pregnant for at least part of every year since 2006.  I'm due mid-June, so it was a bit of a relief to realize that we'll have this school year wrapped up by the first week of June.

If everything goes well, we'll have a couple of months to settle our newest member in before beginning kindergarten in the fall.  And, this time around, we've decided to not find out the baby's sex until it's born.  At this point, we have plenty of stuff for either a boy or a girl, so I think it will be fun to wait for the surprise.