Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who Believes in Santa Claus?

Well, not Zachary.

I always wondered what we'd tell our kids about Santa Claus. I think I remember discussing it with my hubby once or twice. I don't remember what our conclusion was. On one hand, telling your kids that Santa Claus brings them presents is a fun and innocent tradition that as far as I know, has never scarred anyone for life or led anyone to mistrust their parents' every word. I was a Santa believer as a small child, and it is a fun part of Christmas. On the other hand, it's just a story. It's not really true. So if I tell Zachary that Santa Claus is real, I am 'technically' lying to him.

Anyhow, through last year, when Z turned 3, we just kind of ignored the whole 'Santa' part of Christmas. We read about Jesus' birth and the Grinch and Rudolph and introduced the Santas we saw on TV & at the store as, "Oh, yep, that's Santa" without elaborate descriptions of his Christmas-Eve-chimney-naughty-or-nice-list-keeping ways. It was just as if we were saying, "Oh, yep, that's Spongebob (or some other cartoon character he would recognize)." No further explanation needed.

Now, somewhere in the last year, Z has heard stories of Santa and his gift giving habits, and in the process, has decided on his own that Santa is just a story. Just a man dressed up in a red suit that people like to pretend about at Christmastime. And I think that's fine. I'm definitely not going to try to convince him otherwise, especially since what he believes is actually the truth. I also think the idea of Santa being real makes him a little nervous, because he always seems to be reassured when I tell him that he's right, that Santa is just a story.

I have been trying to help him understand, though, that lots of children DO believe in Santa. I'm trying to keep him from going to Sunday School or MOPS and telling all of his 3 and 4 year old friends that Santa isn't real. He says, "Yeah, okay. Some people believe Santa is real. But not me. And not Natalie either." Like she has a clue. :)

So, if your child is Z's friend and he/she comes home and tells you that someone told him Santa is just a man in a suit, and you have to deal with the fallout, I'm so sorry.

So, what do your kids think about Santa? Do you tell your kids he's real, at least while they're young? I'd love to hear how other moms have dealt with the Santa Claus 'issue'!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Preschool - Letter J!

We studied the letter J this week! We had a busy week with MOPS & other things going on, but we managed to squeeze in quite a bit of school! :) We did Circle Time and Bible time each day - here's Nattie about to check out the circle time board. For our Bible time this week, we studied lying, and Zachary did a good job with our verse. Our Bible story was about Ananias & Sapphira lying about the money they gave, and I think it made an impact on Z. :) Our song was called Do Not Lie from this cd.

The kids enjoyed playing with some magnetic games on Monday, to start out the week. Z is playing with magnetic dress-up Joey from Melissa & Doug, and Natalie is playing with a magnetic shapes book.

On Wednesday, we started our school week with a J/j sorting game.

Z did a good job with it, and Natalie wanted to help too. :)

Not sure exactly what Natalie's doing, but Z's doing a blend ladder. :)

He did this Mayflower/pilgrims counting game (yes, he is sitting on the table, why do you ask?) :) This is from Musings of Me (an awesome site for adorable early learning printables).

Zachary and Natalie colored with markers on these little jigsaw puzzles (these are from Joann's, they are meant to be cards & come with envelopes that they fit in). :)

Then we took apart our puzzles and glued the pieces on a Jigsaw puzzle J. :)

Here's Zachary's:

And Natalie's:

We played with Rocket Numbers (you put the missing number where it belongs) - these are also from Musings of Me - from her Space Unit.

We played a matching game with Z's beginning sounds consonant cards: (these were part of our weekly curriculum last year)

while Davey watched from his new Bumbo seat. :)

Whoa, Mom, that's enough with the camera! :) This was just one of those moments where my heart was full and I was so thankful for all of my children and I could just feel it, it was perfect, all of us together at the table, the older 2 working, and the baby watching happily, and it was just wonderful. A great homeschooling moment. :)

Zachary colored a letter J page.

Then we did this craft - a leaf rubbing tree. Leaf rubbing is harder for three year old boys than it would appear. Anyhow, we persevered and Z rubbed some leaves. :) And also a little pinecone and some pine needles (which did not work at all, but he wanted to try). :)

Then I cut out the leaf rubbings, and we taped them onto a paper towel tube. Cute! :)

Also can be used as a megaphone. :)

We did a pilgrim hat size sort (also from Musings of Me), which Z did very well at. Later in the week, I did this activity with Natalie and we discussed the meanings of big & small/little, which one is bigger, which one is smaller, and she basically didn't seem to get much of it at all. However, she did enjoy holding the little hats up to our heads & pretending we were wearing them. :)

We finished up our schoolwork this week with a snacktime activity, using Cheerios with our Add It game (found here.) First, you put the correct number of Cheerios in the green & yellow boxes to correspond with the numbers on the left.

Then you use your super cool scoop to scoooop all the Cheerios together down into the blue box.

Then you count the Cheerios & find the right number to complete your math fact! I think this is a great & fun way to teach the concept of addition! :) Z had fun with it! :)

It snowed again this week, and we got to play outside, complete with snowpants this time. Natalie still did not have any boots, but she had a pretty good time anyway. :) (I would like to add that I finally got on the ball & bought boots for her this weekend). :)

And of course Zachary had a great time, too. :)

Well, we're taking the week 'off' for Thanksgiving - Joel's grandma is visiting, so I have some special Thanksgiving activities we may do, but if we don't, we'll save them for next year. :) See you in two weeks! :) Check out what everyone else is doing over at Preschool Corner & Tot School! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Preschool - Letter I!

We studied the letter I this week! This was kind of a crazy week for us - Daddy was gone to a conference from Monday morning to Thursday evening, and I was NOT looking forward to being home with the kids all that long without him - so I scheduled something for us to get out & do every single day - crazy, right? Well, yes, it was. :) The result was that we had 'regular school time' Monday and Friday, did a couple crafts on Wednesday afternoon, and finished up our last schoolwork on Saturday evening. :) But we got it all in! :) Plus we baked & frosted cookies with friends, played at a nearby McDonalds Playland for 4 hours, had an appt. in town one morning and visited a friend's new baby on the way home, and the kids spent Tuesday morning with an awesome friend who played on the playground & did crafts with them. :) And Mommy had some alone time while Davey napped. :)

Anyhow, I didn't do a great job of taking pictures this week, unfortunately. We did do circle time, but I forgot a picture of that, and our Bible time board, too. Our verse was "Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him work." And our song was Do Not Steal, from this cd. The kids really enjoyed the song, as usual. :) Our Bible story was about the sin of Achan in Joshua 7, called Because Achan Stole, in the Egermeier's Bible Story Book. I also didn't take pictures of most of our regular worksheets (handwriting, beginning sounds, etc.) but we did all those things, too. :)

We made Ice cream I's this week, too. Natalie's is on the right on the piece of paper. :) Just construction paper & cotton balls. :)

We dot painted.

We painted with ice cubes. I made these with food coloring and water, and froze them with popsicle sticks in it. This was one of the crafts we did on Wednesday afternoon.

I wanted to do it outside because I knew it would be messy and food coloring stains, but it was getting cold...and by the end it was getting dark - at 5 pm! I forgot about the time change affecting that! Anyhow, this was like the FAIL craft for the week. It just didn't work - the ice cubes were, um, frozen. Of course. And they wouldn't paint. We even waited ten minutes for them to melt, but they didn't.

Finally I went and got some water which I poured over the ice cubes and then they worked a little bit. :) So we painted on coffee filters. :)

Here's the finished product:

We cut them out in heart shapes & put them up with a sign telling Daddy how much we love him when he came home. :)

We also made this Welcome Home sign for Daddy. :) I let the kids color on these with markers, but then you couldn't really see the words, so I wished I would've used crayons.

Zachary played with bottle cap words - I made these a long time ago for Z, and he did a very good job of matching the letters with the words.

We got a package from Grandma & Grandpa this week - which had some Melissa & Doug wipe-off crayons and math fact mats in it! Z used the crayons to color on a M&D fire truck coloring wipe off mat that Grandma & Grandpa brought him a few weeks ago when they visited. :)

We talked about igloos this week, and we made igloos with half a paper cup, frosting glue, and mini marshmallows for ice blocks. :) Natalie just ate the marshmallows.

Zachary used a spatula to spread frosting on his cup...

then used his marshmallows to make an igloo! :) (idea here)

And then he ate it. He wanted to eat it all (lol!) but he just couldn't. He saved some of it for supper but still didn't finish it. :)

They both ate all of their frosting. After this craft, we went outside and ran around! :)

Here is a picture of the kids watching something on PBS kids. Z goes through cycles with his favorite shows - he loves Sesame Street consistently, and watches that almost every day. I love it because it's an hour long so if I need to go back to bed due to a rough night with Davey or take my shower & do devotions, it gives me more uninterrupted time. :) He was on a Dinosaur Train kick for a while, but now his favorites are Berenstain Bears (which is actually on Sprout, I think), Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That (much more educational than I thought it would be & very fun), and Super Why (very educational about reading & letters & very cute). I also think that Dinosaur Train is very cute, though they do talk about millions of years more than I'd like, and WordWorld is SUCH a cute show & a cute concept, I try to talk him into watching that some too. :) Natalie loves Bob the Builder and Elmo- she brings me the remote & says "Show. Bob." or "Show. Melmo." :) We've been watching Angelina Ballerina a little bit lately, too. :)

In other news, it snowed this week! Like, more than just on the trees. :) It actually stuck, and we went out to play in it - we threw snowballs and rode on our little sled. We made a tiny snowman but Natalie didn't understand what we were doing and kicked it over - which of course Z thought was hilarious and so we made & kicked over several more snowmen. :) Here's cute Z in his jacket & boots. :)

Nat has a jacket but no boots yet, poor thing, so she's just wearing shoes and her little ankles got cold! :( She also did not enjoy the sled but did enjoy kicking the snowman & throwing snowballs. :)

And here's Davey doing his newest favorite thing - sitting in his new Bumbo seat! I have always wanted one of these & then I mentioned to one of my awesome friends that I would love to have one, and she found one on a garage sale site and went and picked it up for me! :) Davey will let me make lunch while he watches from his seat and it is SOOOO helpful! Nat likes to play in it, too. :) Here he's watching Z color on his fire truck mat. I love how his darling little hands are folded! :)

To see what more organized people are doing for school this week, head on over to Preschool Corner and Tot School! :)