Friday, 27 November 2009

Last autumn pictures ... 27th November 2009

The stunning colours of autumn can't help but make me awed of my maker.  I think this will probably be our last autumn art activity, but I was so inspired by a couple of blogs I came across recently that I was determined to squeeze this in!
This blog post has the instructions on how to make crayon cakes - which I did - which make it much easier for small fingers to draw or rub with wax crayons because they have a lot more to hold on to. 
This blog post motivated me to create a large leaf rubbing picture activity for a group of children who we meet up with every Tuesday afternoon.
This is how it went for us:

If I do this again (which I probably will next autumn) then I'll experiment with other types of paint - the water and food colouring was very wet and this isn't great weather for drying soggy paper!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Preparing for Advent 17th November 2009

Last year I prepared for Advent at the very last minute, so I am trying to get organised very slightly earlier this year!  In the spirit of encouraging and inspiring others, here are three of the resources we are going to use:

1     This is the advent ring we made last year:

2    I have ordered this book from the library and am hoping it will get here in time!  I'm planning that we will use a branch for a Jesse Tree and I will let the girls design their own Jesse Tree pictures/symbols.  There are lots of websites with free resources available for this activity - I just put 'jesse tree' into a search engine and found plenty with varying degrees of help.

3     This advent calendar and activity book which we used last year and will re-use this year are made by The Good Book Company, but I notice they do two other Advent Calendar Packs.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Nature Study Friday and it's raining cats and dogs! 13th November 2009

I'm no Charlotte mason expert, but I'm pretty sure that she encourages children to go out in all weathers, but it is just TOO wet and windy here in Kent today, so our nature walk had to be adapted ...

Sometimes it is only after the event that I realise God has been helping me in small ways and I think yesterday was one of those times.  We made a rare trip to the shops as I wanted to get an alphabet frieze for dd2 (didn't find one, so will make one instead) but ended up unexpectedly buying oil pastels and pastel paper instead - to be fair, I've seen quite a few oil pastel posts on other blogs and thought I might be able to get my not-very-artistic-head around it, so it must have been lurking at the back of my mind somewhere.  Last night I 'youtubed' my way through various demonstrations for beginners, including this one, and this one and then had a go myself:

So today, with no possibility of a nature walk we set about trying oil pastels using conkers from our nature basket and a brilliant fresh leaf dd2 had found on the pavement yesterday at the shops and brought home with us.  Here's how the girls got on:

The whole thing was a lot easier than I had expected and I'm looking forward to doing it again. 

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Delivery 12th November 2009

Having finished putting together our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and wrapping the boxes as per the instructions we set off today to deliver them to our nearest collection point.  I was really thrilled to discover that for us our nearest collection point is the national distribution centre in Ashford, Kent.  We were made really welcome and shown where the checking happens and the enormous warehouse which has just a few shoeboxes at the moment but which will no doubt soon be filling up.  The lady who showed us around had been to Belarus last year to help with building work and had seen the circumstances in which some of the children live who will be receiving shoeboxes this year.  The shoebox they receive this year will be their only Christmas present.  From the little I have seen of Operation Christmas Child it seems to be really well organised and it is very humbling to have an insight into it and to see how the people involved are living out Christ's love and taking it to the lives of so many children and families in this amazing way. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Learning to sacrifice ... 3rd November 2009

A few weeks ago one of the families in our homeschooling group brought along a DVD from Operation Christmas Child / Samaritan's Purse which we all watched. You can watch a shorter version of that DVD here. Since then the girls have been very keen to make shoeboxes full of small gifts for this cause and although I was very pleased for them to take part I've been racking my brains as to how to make it more than just a shopping trip with them picking out goodies and dh footing the bill!
Last night while dh gave them their bath I did an emergency tidy and clearout in their bedroom. This must have inspired me because today I suddenly realised that they could 'earn' the money to pay for the gifts for the shoeboxes by picking out soft toys to send to the charity shop. I made them each a very improptu chart so they could see how they were progressing. They could earn a maximum of £5 each:
We got all the soft toys out and spread them out over the beds and floor and then it was up to them to find toys they were ready to let go of - different sized toys were awarded different multiples of 10 pence until finally the £5 goals were met. This is what we managed to get rid of:
Yes, that's a whole black bin bag FULL!
They both found the last few toys quite a struggle but with the thought that there were children who had never ever had a present they knew that it was a sacrifice they could make.
We're off to start buying the gifts tomorrow!