We Are So Blessed!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Nutcracker!

For our third School Field Trip this year- YAY- we went to The Ballet to see "The Nutcracker!"
It is truly a beautiful show!
If you fall into the, "I've heard of it, but I've never actually seen it"... category- you really need to experience this amazing Christmastime story told through dance! Each song you're sure to recognize.
The kids loved it, and since they've both been attending dance school for 19 months straight, they really appreciated the dancers and the choreography. The narrator makes it very easy for children to follow the storyline and understand what is happening.
Of course we were not allowed to take videos inside, so we don't have any video clips to share.
As we exited the theater, the foyer was filled with Nutcracker merchandise. We got a few souvenirs and headed out to eat.... at where else? Taco Bell! Yep that's how we roll! Theater, culture and Taco Bell go together like white on...  um, I don't know but our picky-eater kids were happy- and that's fine by us!  

For those of you Nutcracker fans who feel "it's just not Christmas until you see a live performance every year"- wait until you see the gorgeous piece we found at the event...
They had tons of magnificent nutcrackers in every color, shape and size (and the crowds were clamoring over them)- but we were drawn to this! I should really upload a better picture. It plays music while the figures dance under a fiber-optic starry sky- it perfectly captures the essence of The Nutcracker! We couldn't stop looking at it!
Just thought I'd share for any Nutcracker fans, since I found it online too!
The "Musical Nutcracker Suite by Kurt Adler." It isn't a tree ornament, it's about 8" for a table/shelf.

Every time I look at it, I will remember Sariah's eyes so big and her little hands clapping so hard after each dance- her face was precious! When the show began she whispered excitedly, "LOOK mommy, they are doing BALLET!" and she stared at the ladies feet, smiling the whole time!

We also found a beautiful book for the kids. We already had the "Advent Nutcracker book set," but it is not good for when you want to read the whole story in one reading (since it is separated into 24 mini books) it's meant for you to read part of the story each night (counting down to Christmas). That's great if you want to do it that way, but if not, it's frustrating having to search for the next mini book, when you are in the middle of the story! The mini books are also too small to appreciate the illustrations, so we were super happy to find this! Its perfect, we can't wait to read it with them!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Our 2014 Halloween Display!!

The kids are super excited this year about our Halloween display! They're so funny, they act like they're in Disneyland in our front yard! They have been telling people about the "Big Cat" and "Banjo Skeletons," "Smoke Machine" and the "Witch Book" and I can tell for people that haven't been over to see it- they have no idea what the kids are talking about. They give me a confused look :)

The kids had a great idea, "We should take a video and share it with everyone!"
I did NOT do the best job with the video, and some of the special effects, just will not show up on video - but at least we have a video that the kids can share and even enjoy themselves when the display is taken down (especially while they countdown until next year). The kids will love to hear what you think of everything when you see it!

This year, I had so much going on so I decided to ask my hubs if he could set up the decorations. He was nervous to do it without any input from me- haha, but I assured him I would love whatever he did! Can you believe he did this all by himself?? I was so impressed! He arranged everything better than I could have thought of!! He's so hired right?!?!

Below is VIDEO of the outside...

Do you want to see the inside too?

Funny story about this skeleton:
The skeleton in this picture is 5 feet tall (life size) and fully posable-- so the kids and I thought it was SO funny to drive around with him in the car. We sat him in the front seat (seat belted in) like a regular passenger- and other drivers would FREAK and do double takes all the time! The kids found that so hilarious, and so did I! When we would walk towards our car in parking lots, (with skeleton still sitting shotgun waiting in the car for us)- we got to laugh at people's reactions as they walked by the car- people were so surprised to see a skeleton looking at them, HAHA!

We received lots of funny comments like "that's a great carpool buddy" haha!!
Since he is really pose-able and holds his pose- we were able to do all sorts of funny things with him, put him in funny places and positions and even dressed him up in clothes and accessories!
He was another new addition this year and we love him!

Below is a VIDEO of some of our favorite indoor animated decor ...

We had a fun idea for the Family Room and fireplace mantle, but we didn't finish it- so I won't post pics until next year when that's all done!

Note: For some reason the blog layout is cutting off the right side of the videos ( a lot of it)- so you might want to watch them on YouTube for the full screen shot.

I will share pics of our Halloween costumes and from the Disneyland Halloween party soon!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Field Trip!!! Pilgrim Thanksgiving Adventure!!

Well, I cannot even believe how long it has been since I have posted! We have been so busy with so many fun adventures, and we would love to share some of the highlights!! Since I have no idea where to even start catching it all up, I'll just jump right into something current and go back and forth, ha!

So I created a "Thanksgiving Unit Study" that we have been working on in our homeschool. Our unit study consists of several books, videos, worksheets, crafts, projects, and experiments- all centered around learning about what Thanksgiving is all about, why we celebrate it, and learning about the history of the Pilgrims and The First Thanksgiving- so fun! What better way to bring it all home than a Field Trip right?? Woot! Let's go!!

We went on a Pilgrim Thanksgiving Adventure! What a wonderful family day full of fun, education, history and adventure!
We got to pretend to go back in time and experience what life was like back in 1620 (and pretend we were pilgrims) following our super friendly tour guides wearing Pilgrim attire!

The kids got to go on the "Mayflower" and learn about what it was like being at sea for such a long period of time.

After that, the kids got to sign the ship's "Guest Book" using a quill pen and ink just like the old days!

Sariah just needed a little boost to reach :)

After that they got to go on a "Turkey Shoot" where they got to shoot real BB Guns at "turkey targets!" If they hit their targets they were rewarded with Candy Corn- sweet! Hehe!

Learning how to line up the sights! 
I love this picture!
Yay, they both hit the targets!

The kids also enjoyed learning how to "Tool Leather" too! They made leather necklace medallions that they tooled/embossed themselves, and got to keep them!
First, they soaked the smooth side of the leather in water for 10 seconds.
Then they embossed  using tools!
What a great souvenir that they can be proud of! Maletch embossed an acorn design on his leather, and Sariah embossed a flower design on hers.

To top it all off, we got to take a ride on "The Thanksgiving Train" for more education and to take turns sharing what we are thankful for! That train ride was surprisingly long, very beautiful and relaxing!
We rode in open coaches/ miner's train car style on the narrow gauge rails with the wind in our hair! 

All Aboard!!
You know this was a HUGE treat for my 2 train enthusiasts!
At the end of our adventure, we got to enjoy a picnic in the beautiful wooded mountainous surroundings, and as we were preparing to leave we were served popcorn, just as the Pilgrims had enjoyed with the Indians at The First Thanksgiving!

 Walking to our picnic!
Our little Pilgrims feasted on Cheetos and juice pouches just like the real Pilgrims did in 1620 :) 
Okay, maybe the original Pilgrims didn't, but we can't really know for sure, right? Hehe! Hey, don't judge!
This is definitely one of the many benefits of homeschooling- having the freedom to plan fun educational outings like this! This is certainly not a field trip any public schooled children would be allowed to go on because: there was discussion about our almighty God, our government (past and present in an honest way), and of course the kids got to shoot guns- "oh no"- LOL!!
John and I really appreciated the good old fashioned fun and it was such a pleasure being among so many like-minded families! We had lots of fun while making many new friends- doesn't get better than that!

We hope you all have a fun, safe, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

If anyone is interested in using our Thanksgiving Unit Study, I would be happy to share what we did in detail in a separate post- just let me know! I created several unit studies this year, which I will be sharing about and giving peeks into- in more upcoming posts! We love Unit Studies- so fun and always so memorable! It always surprises me how much the kids retain from our Unit Studies, from lots of fun facts -to- oftentimes a much deeper understanding of so many questions of the world!

I am sure Maletch and Sariah will be happy to share what they have learned about The First Thanksgiving with you! Even at ages 3 and 6, they understand quite a bit! They can tell you that the Pilgrims (really called Separatists) were trying to get away from the bad King, and what the bad King was doing! The kids also understand a lot of people died in the voyage, due to the conditions. They both told me that the Indians were heroes for helping the Pilgrims learn how to plant good crops! During our studies, we even learned some of the "planting secrets" such as fertilizing using a dead fish for every planted seed! In our house, we choose to give thanks to God everyday, so Thanksgiving is no different in that respect. But they understand that we celebrate Thanksgiving thanks to President George Washington's proclamation for a day of prayer and thankfulness, family togetherness and also to honor those that came before us! This was the perfect way to wrap up our unit study! If you should get the chance to go during this time of year, I highly recommend it- definitely worth the trip!

I have some great videos from our adventure too, I will upload soon!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

No More Easter Bunny?

As Easter approached and excitement grew, it all started when my analytical son began asking many questions about the Easter Bunny...
His line of thinking and line of questions, led him to finally asking, "So mommy, is the Easter bunny a person wearing a bunny costume, or is he a real bunny? It couldn't be a real bunny, right? How big is he?"
Well, my heart just couldn't allow me to "lie" to him, especially not with his specific questions, so I cracked. My heart was so scared to tell him because I didn't want him to feel betrayed or lied to about the past stories he had heard. I began with, "I almost hate to tell you this, but I think it is time I told you the truth about the Eater Bunny. Do you want me to tell you the truth?"
His eyes got so big, he lit up so bright and said, "Yeah!"
After giving him the whole story, he actually thought it was so cool (that surprised me). I asked him to keep it a secret for a while so that Sariah could still be excited about the bunny. A few short minutes later, I heard him telling her, "The Easter bunny is really mommy and daddy!"
I came in, "Why did you tell her?"
Maletch: "Because mommy, I want her to love you guys!"
Me: "What??"
Maletch: "She should know you and daddy are the Easter bunnies- that is so cool that you do that!"
Hehe, he couldn't believe that we prepare the Easter baskets without getting "credit" for it-- so he wanted to make sure we got credit- so CUTE!!

Fast forward to not-even-a-month later, and his 4th tooth fell out. So then we had excitement brewing about another visit from the Tooth Fairy! Well he came to me with many more questions about that! He asked, "So is the Tooth Fairy super tiny? or is she the size of a grown up?" and more..
I decided to come clean again! He thought that was cool too!

Then, I realized the only thing he still believed in was Santa, and that I should probably take the opportunity to set the record straight there too- so we wouldn't have any more secrets. He actually had a hard time believing that Santa wasn't real. He basically tried to convince me that I must be mistaken. I asked why he still thought Santa was real. He explained that he had seen movies (he clarified: real movies that weren't cartoons) that had Santa in them. So he had "seen Santa." He also thought he understood Santa's "backstory" (and was telling me about it) and everything, from the films. So it took a little more talking than the others, but he finally came around.

I also took the opportunity to explain that all of the other stories about the past were real, and everything we've talked about God and Jesus were all real and true. We had no more silly tales to tell, and we had no more secrets!
Although I haven't had a talk with Sariah, I suspect she has an inclination (or better). But for now, I will pretend that she still believes!
I was surprised that without any clues from other kids that Maletch had so many questions on his own. How did my baby boy grow up so fast?