Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring Dance Recitals

Yesterday Lily and Charlotte got to preform in their Spring recitals.  We have really enjoyed this last year at Canyon Dance Academy.  

Charlotte has watched Lily go to dance classes for a couple of years now and she has really enjoyed it being her turn.
Lily's class did tap as well as ballet in class.  During the Winter recital they did a tap performance so for Spring it was ballet again.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14th- Christmas Puzzle

 Today was rough at our home.  Gideon woke up rather sick at 3:00 this morning and would only be calm if I held him.  I didn't get him to sleep again until 6:00 and by then the girls were awake.  I went back to bed a for a little while, but Gideon didn't sleep for too long and Charlotte woke up sick as well.  So we stayed home today and took is very easy.  I had planned a much more crafty/involved activity for today but no one was up to it so we traded activities with another day.

Today's scripture came from Mark 2:1-12 where Christ cured the man of palsy.  After reading the passage I asked Lily if she knew what that story was about and she said it was Jesus healing a sick person.  She really loves her scripture stories and remembers them well.

For our activity today we did a Christmas puzzle.  I purchased this one last year so we had it on hand and the girls really enjoyed working on it.
 Charlotte started out really struggling, but she caught on quickly.
Gideon had no interest in participating.  He just wanted to cuddle with me which tells me that he is not feeling well at all.  This boy never stops moving so when he does there has to be something wrong.
 While Gideon rested the girls kept working on finished their 100 piece puzzle.
 I love these girls!  The puzzle says 6+ but my 3 year-old and 5 year-old mastered it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13th- Nutcracker Night

Our advent activity today started out with a scripture from Luke 17:11-19, the story of the ten lepers.  We have had a lot of conversations lately about gratitude so this was a great chance to reinforce why it is important to express when we are thankful and someone helps us.

For our activity today we had our Nutcracker party.  My girls love Elle Bella Ballerina and The Nutcracker is their favorite.  We read the story first and then turned on the ballet.
 While we watched the ballet I had some coloring sheets for the kids, including some paper dolls.
 They were very excited about the paper dolls!  At least the girls were.
Gideon colored and watched for a minute...
 and then busied himself with other things, including flipping through more of our Christmas books.
 Lily was very excited about her paper dolls.
 And Charlotte mostly enjoyed making a huge mess while cutting them out all by herself.
It was great fun though.  The girls played with their paper dolls, reenacting the ballet several times throughout the day. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12th- Jingle Bell Streamers.

I am thankful for the Pinterest because I don't have to come up with these activities all on my own.  Today we made jingle bell streamers.  My kids love to dance, or in Gideon's case run, and making noise is a favorite pastime so we combined both passions in this activity.  We threaded pony beads and bells on pipe cleaners.
 Gideon even helped!   Look at those fine motor skills!
 I love when a fun activity also helps with their development.  These fine motor activities will make writing so much easier for them.
Once we had the beads and bells on them we attached the ends to make rings and then added some long ribbons.  The girls danced and sang with theirs for a while.  
Gideon on the other hand just chucked it around the room.
video

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7th- Homemade Candy Canes

Sundays can either be hectic or relaxing around our house.  We started out running late this morning, but we decided to just embrace it and not rush which actually made for a pleasant morning.  After church and naps it was time for our advent activity of the day.

We started out with Tyson reading our scripture passage to the kids.  Today's scripture came from Matthew 5:1-16, the Sermon on the Mount.

For our activity we did our first bit of candy making for the month, homemade candy canes.  It seems like a scary job, even for me who grew up in a home where we always made candy for Christmas.  But they really aren't that complicated, but they do take some logistical planning (ie: read the instructions fully before starting, set everything out, and have an extra set of adult hands there to help) but they really are doable and a lot of fun for the kids.  The recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Of course we started by mom boiling sugar.  Nothing too exciting, just staring at a candy thermometer, but it is important.
 Also the entire process that comes afterwards, like coloring the candy, stretching it like taffy, making the log, that is also a grown-up (or older child) job.  While I worked on that part at the counter the kids coated the kitchen table with powdered sugar to prepare it for shaping the candy canes.
 We brought them over segments that had been cut and they shaped them into the traditional canes as well as other shapes.  Charlotte was very focused on her work, even her face was coated in powdered sugar.
 It might seem like the little ones don't get to do much since almost all of the work is adult prep, but they really do enjoy shaping the candy and making their own treats.
 They were really proud of what they helped to make.
 Gideon wanted to climb all over the table to we made him the official taste-tester instead which kept us all happy.

Candy Canes
Found at whirlybirdblog.com

3 c. sugar
3/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. peppermint flavoring (or any other flavor that you choose)
food coloring
powdered sugar
vegetable oil

You will also need a candy thermometer, latex gloves, non-stick spray, and fitted knit gloves.

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees before you start.  This is in case the candy hardens on you while you are still working it.  You can always set it on a pan in the oven for a few minutes to make it pliable again.

Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tarted in a sauce pan and mix until sugar is mostly dissolved.

Cook on medium-high heat until it reached 280 degrees, or soft-crack.  Do not stir.

Pour globs of mixture onto oiled sheet pans, one for each color that you plan to use (I used three, one each for white, red, and green).  I also like to put some Pam spray on the pans.  I find that it is better for non-stick than plain oil.  Pour 1/2 tsp. of flavoring on each glob as well as food coloring for the mom-white pieces.

Put on your knit gloves and then put your latex gloves over the top of them.  You need to work the candy with your hands and it will be too hot unless you have the knit gloves on under the latex.  Once on I also spray my latex gloves with Pam spray so that they don't get sticky.

With an oiled Teflon or silicon spatula, gently lift the edges of the candy, folding it over itself a few times. Scrape it off the pan, and start working it with your hands. Like taffy, you stretch and pull and form it into ropes. The more you work it the lighter the color becomes, so if you are making white, you will have to work a little longer on the uncolored portion until it turns from yellow to white. However, if you are working on a colored section, don't pull it too much or the color will fade.

After you have formed 8" ropes of each desired color, it is time to form a log. Set the main color (in our case white, the largest section) on an oiled surface. Press the remaining colors onto each side of the log. When you press and rub the ropes with your hands, they should melt into one smooth log.

Working on one end, gently pull the candy outward, twisting to form the striped candy cane pattern. This part is a little tricky and takes a bit of hand strength.  That little log will make a lot of candy canes as you stretch, much more than you anticipate.

When you have pulled a section of your desired thickness, cut the rope and shape into a cane. Set aside on a surface dusted with powdered sugar to keep the canes from sticking. Repeat this process until you run out of candy.

Allow the candy to set overnight to cure completely.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6th- Donate Toys

*This was grumpy day number two for me so again, sorry for the lack of photos.

Today's scripture came from Luke: 5:1-11 and Luke 6:12-16.  In these passages Jesus tells his future apostles where to cast their nets for fish and then calls them to follow Him and become fishers of men.  It is a great reminder for me to leave the cares of the world behind me and follow that which matters most.

For our activity today the children were asked to go through their toys and pick some out that they would like to donate.  We talked about how we have been blessed with much and others are not as fortunate.  I asked if they could pick out some good toys to give to other children who don't have as many toys as they do.  At first the girls were not too keen on the idea of getting rid of toys, then the idea grew on them and they came back to me with some of their really nice toys.  Charlotte had some second thoughts about a doll that she had picked out, I let her trade it for something else and she was pleased.

Lily was telling Tyson all about the experience and it was nice to hear her explain to him why we were donating their toys.  These ideas might actually be sticking in their young little minds!

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5th- Ward Christmas Party

Some days start out really well and others start out with you hating everyone on the planet for no particular reason.  Yup, that was how my day was.  I just wanted to hide in my bedroom, in the quiet, away from everyone.  I needed a break, badly, and unfortunately that was just not going to happen at all.  So I scaled back, simplified where I could, and we survived.  So I apologize for the lack of photos and details in this post.

Our scripture for the day came from Matthew 3:13-17, which is the story of Jesus Christ's baptism by John the Baptist.  Lily gets really excited anytime we talk about baptism and she loves to tell me all about it.

Our activity for the day was to go to our ward (church) Christmas party.  We were asked to bring a side dish and since Lily is the pickiest eater on the planet and I know that she would eat nothing there I had her pick the side dish that we would bring.  She wanted to make a fruit salad.  She made a list of the things that we would need and then we headed out to the store to pick them up.
The grocery carts with 3 seats are a life saver!
We came back home, made our salad, and went to the party.  Unfortunately I had a meeting set for 7:00 pm and Gideon was being awful (meaning he was acting like an 18 month old boy that is being forced to sit at a table for 45 minutes straight) so we had to leave early.  I'm sure that the rest of it went well, but is was not a fun experience for a mom there with three little kids to manage all by herself.  It might have been that I was already super grumpy walking in though...