Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fall Thankfuls

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, Advent begins on Sunday, and I just wanted to share some fall thankfuls. Enjoy.

Our early fall get-a-way feels so long ago, but it was so needed and I am thankful we were able to do it and visit with family at the same time.

I am thankful for new and eager readers...

And for finding a few Catholic AND homeschooling families in my area (we're talking within a 30 mile radius). Here the kids are celebrating a special Mass at a local shrine by the Bishop and we also did something for the Nativity of Mary.

I am soooo thankful for new furniture! This is the new hanging spot in the house...

Especially with cozy, warm fires...

Our fall days have been gorgeous - warm and sunny overall. Until a few days ago, we only had a few nights around freezing. The 21st brought spitting snow, but the temps went quickly back into the 50s. What a gorgeous fall!


And sunrises...

I have a hard time spending time outside with the fall air and leaves burning around me, but what I could do, I did. We visited the zoo with cousins and finally were able to see the new aquarium. 

Filled with touchy-feely pools. Even Miss Z tried to touch a stingray.

We had a beautiful Halloween night as well. The rain held off until trick-or-treat was ending, and the kids had so much fun dressing up.

I am thankful for the gorgeous view out my back window, even with the ton of leaves that fall and a tree or two that needed cut down.

Catching leaves...

Watching the tree guys working...

Staying inside, close to me. So, so cute...

I am thankful for this crazy crew. Some days seem impossible, but others... a word, an action, a smile reminds me of how blessed I am.

I am thankful for finding handwritten notes here and there.

And for warm coffee in a cute mug...

I am thankful for dance. All the kids are in it this year, and are loving it. The countdown to Friday night dance begins Saturday morning. :) The three oldest are in tap together, Miss L also takes a ballet class, and Miss Z is enjoying a preschool class.

My husband and boys also do karate, which has been great for all them, but especially my husband. I am thankful he takes care of himself and pushes my boys to work hard.

(This was at my husband's testing for red belt. Mr. A is testing next week for his first stripe with green belt.)

Oh my goodness... I am thankful for this adorable, talkative, and social child. She is going to push me out of my introvert, stay-home preference. More nights than not, this is what greets me when I go to bed. It scares me a little actually!

I am thankful for kids who entertain themselves. We went for a family fun day (Lego Creativity Tour) and they have just as much fun riding up and down the escalator. And on getting off the highway to find a parking garage, we passed under the highway. The boys were in awe at the environment. We live in rural Ohio. Enough said, right?

I am thankful for art and creativity. We had fun with two paintings this fall: a scarecrow and a turkey. Most of my kids like to create, doodle, and paint. They love when I join them.

It's good for me too. Doodling and creating are very relaxing for me. And sometimes I come up with something useful, like my Advent Countdown for kids.

I am quite thankful for food. My kids eat, eat, eat. I have one kind-of picky eater, but nothing like I hear some parents complain about. My kids put away second, third, and sometimes fourth helpings. I am thankful I know how to cook from scratch - since I need to for our diet restrictions but also to help reduce the ever increasing cost of food.

But I do splurge now and again.

Like these French Fried Onions to make green bean casserole. :) And since I know how to make scratch cream of mushroom of soup - for gluten and dairy free - we can have it as a special treat this holiday. I can't even remember the last time I had it. 2008 holidays maybe???

I am thankful my parents were able to visit for a week. We really miss having them close by.

I am thankful for living grandparents still...

And for a crazy cat who is such a family cat. He loves tulle...

And being near us all. He is so spoiled...

I am thankful for all our thankfuls. I used chalk on the walls (my kids loved me breaking the rules). The girls helped paint sheets of paper and trace on leaf shapes which I cut out. We have added some thankfuls on the leaves, and I will add a few into our Thanksgiving photo scrapbook album I started last year. It really is the little things, isn't it?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Advent Calendar Countdown

Can you believe it's the middle of November? Advent is weeks away. I am not ready!

I wanted something that was easy for kids to take ownership of, and did not rely necessarily on mom's help. So I made this simple calendar for my older kids as well as to share with my CCD kids. Perhaps you'd like to use it in your own home. 

You can download it here for free. Or maybe you have a little artist at home? Use this blank template to create a unique, individual Advent countdown.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Miss Z's Letter "E"

And onwards with letter E!

Day 1: Trace letter with finger, building using Handwriting without Tears wooden pieces, glue on similar shapes cut out of construction paper.

Day 2: Letter collage using stickers of objects that start with the letter E (we have a huge box of stickers - use what you have).

Day 3: Letter hunting and matching feeding Mama Elephant "E" and Baby Elephant "e." (Here's my document.) 

Day 4: Letter art! E is for "E"aster "E"gg. Miss Z drew designs on her egg and then painted with watercolors over it. Once dry, I cut it out and put it on construction paper.


To round Miss Z's "school" we worked out of the Who am I? Image of God series (workbook A). I do use the teacher's manual with this (for once!). With each new letter, she colors and makes an ABC saint toilet paper person. 

She also used her binder of protector sheet worksheets. I made up new sheets for the month using letters E thru H. I also have her play on

Soon... letter F!

(See the preschool page for more ABC fun.)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Miss Z's Letter "D"

Miss Z finished letter F this past week, and I find this is the perfect mix of spending "school time" with my little one and minimum of prep for me. By taking a bit of time each month to gather together four weeks of letters and keeping to a similar notebook format, it is a simple thing to get going with Miss Z each morning.

Now, if only my blogging was more up-to-date!

Day 1: I drew the letter on the page. Miss Z traced it with her finger and wrote over it with a pen (her choice).

Day 2: Letter collage using stickers of objects that start with the letter D (we have a huge box of stickers - use what you have). Miss Z loves this activity.

Day 3: Letter hunting and matching using this printable. I felt a lack of creativity for this letter, so I she simply picked the "Dd"s among the other letters.

Day 4: Letter art! D is for "d"ino. I like to give Miss Z a few ideas for the letter, and this is what she picked. One day she painted on a paper plate. The next, I helped her cut out dino shapes which we glued on together and then she felt the need to add to her dino with marker.


To round Miss Z's "school" we worked out of the Who am I? Image of God series (workbook A). I do use the teacher's manual with this (for once!). With each new letter, she colors and makes an ABC saint toilet paper person. The letter D saint was St. Denis. She did not like him missing his head so she drew one on for him.

She also used her binder of protector sheet worksheets. A recent favorite are these letter mazes. I also have her play on

I will try hard to finish up blogging letters E and F since this week we move on to letter G.

(See the preschool page for more ABC fun.)