Friday, December 31, 2010

Rowing :: Gingerbread Baby

Gingerbread Baby

Really we "rowed" this book the week before the week before Christmas (the 13th-17th). It was my way of easing into Christmas break. It is a fun book which we've owned for a couple of years and enjoy getting out every Christmas/Winter time.

Jan Brett is an awesome storyteller and illustrator, we were introduced to her books when #1 was in kindergarten and have tried putting together a collection since then. This is a great re-telling of the classic "can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man" story.

I commented one of the first times we ever read this book about how much I love that blue bowl on the cover and am so sad over it's fate...this comment is brought up EVERY time we read the book now. 

Seatwork ::

I printed a bunch of the stuff homeschool creations put together and spread it out over the week. Sequencing, patterns, letter practice, coloring, narration. There was SO much in that pack!

This was a gingerbread baby puzzle...roll the dice to see which piece you get.

Making it for everyone ::

#2 did our Gingerbread Baby seatwork with us unless it was just too easy. He also did addition practice and free reading.

#1's focus for the week was review of our grammar so far this year and review/practice multiplication. She sat with us to read Gingerbread Baby each day but didn't do any of the extra activities.

Each day #1 found and listed parts of speech from the book: adjectives, adverbs, prepositions...

Didn't relate but fit with our history ::

Completely unrelated to Gingerbread Baby was our read aloud this week, Percy Jackson and the Olympians : The Lightening Thief. We'd worked on Greek Mythology through the fall and I thought this would be a fun way to end that unit.

Links ::
Gingerbread Baby pack

Thursday, December 30, 2010

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

After a long week, a sick Mr. Wiedz, delightful family time, lots of traveling...this was the calmest and simplest Santa visit ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 10 ways of Christmas

I was thinking I'd love to post about my crafting, gifting, making, decorating, traveling, etc of Christmas but figured I'd also get bored of individual posts so here is most everything in list form.

1. Gift baskets - I've made goodie baskets for neighbors, friends, and service people many of the past few years (there have been years it just didn't happen). This year I had baking day for banana bread and cookies and candy day for carmel corn and seafoam. Baking day was way easier. Candy day ended up having to be a few days spread apart. The baskets got done and delivered without much stress.

I made the exact number of cookies I needed for the baskets. #1 and I used the laundry room table to get them decorated so we could spread out more. Later, the dog at all but 6 cookies! Back to baking...

After the dog-eating-the-cookies, I didn't have anymore green food coloring so went with stars.
2. The making - I kept my making list pretty small this year since I didn't give myself much time to get anything done. Mr. Wiedz and I decided to make no-sew fleece blankets for each child so that was a project we spread over a few evenings and was actually nice since we were doing it together.

Santa also brought this handmade dress for Kit's stocking. Every doll needs a Christmas dress, yes! #1 says Santa's elves did a real good job making it!

I'd thought maybe I'd knit #1 and #2 a hat and Mr. Wiedz's step-dad a neck warmer. I got #1's hat done but the yarn I'd purchased for #2's disappeared, I took that as a sign to let that project go. And my heart just wasn't in the neck warmer so it was also abandoned.

My first cabled garment and I love it. So does #1...she's barley taken it off. It is supposed to be "slouchy", I'm not sure where she saw slouchy hat fashion but she is all over it! Grammie gave her 3 more skeins of yarn for me to make more...

3. Daddy/Sissy Christmas Outfit Date - Every year for many years now, Mr. Wiedz has taken #1 on a date to pick out her Christmas outfit. This year they spent a couple hours at the mall and came away with a fabulous outfit!

4. The Travels of Mary and Joseph - For many years I was a Creative Memories consultant. A dear friend, AJ (who is still a CM consultant - need scrapbook supplies or inspiration check out her website, shared two of their family traditions, an ABC's of Advent scrapbook and traveling Mary and Joseph. I never did put together a scrapbook like hers but once #1 was old enough Mary and Joseph have started traveling through the house on their way to Bethlehem (the manger). This year was the most fun we've had so far. #3 would start each day by looking for them. I tried convincing him that Mary was really tired from the baby Jesus in her tummy and that they needed to spend another night in the same location - no go...

They're journey was long and perilous...

But they made it...thank you Mary for your willingness to be the vessel for our Lord.

5. Christmas Jammies - We've always given the kids pjs on Christmas Eve and last year I made them all for the first time. This year I gave it another go (there were some rise issues and general fitting issues last year since I didn't use a pattern at all). I used really soft Christmas flannel and had a pattern that #1 used at Girl Scouts this year. I modified it for the other kids, though not enough and EVERYONES pants were about 5-7 inches too long...but the inseam was good and the waists all fit :)!

The cuffs are another really cute flannel that said Naughty or Nice...I thought of #4 when I saw that fabric and just had to get some to add to the pants. Everyone got a simple t-shirt to finish off the pjs...later I realized I put #2's shirt on #3 and #3's shirt on #2 (too small), we fixed it but #3 wasn't happy about not having a green shirt. I realized once I was sewing #3's that they were not going to be big enough around so I added a strip of the cuff fabric...gave me some more width to work with and is pretty cute (helps figure out whose is whose too).

6. Santa - We do Santa. The fun of Christmas...the magic...the letters...the excitement...we leave seafoam for Santa

And he comes...

He even leaves a thank you card (for the seafoam) and a Santa statue.

7. Christmas Morning - Last year we moved to our rental in Eugene. This home is JUST where the Lord picked for us to live. But it is a much smaller house than our previous one. Every year for as long as I can remember Mr. Wiedz and I travel to his family's for Christmas Eve. A wonderful time of visiting, eating and celebrating. At the end of the party we drove home, put kids to bed with promises that Santa only comes when they're asleep and woke up Christmas morning in our own beds. The past couple of years Mr. Wiedz's parents have joined us in the trek home after the party and gotten woken by excited grandchildren for Christmas morning while my parents come sometime in the later morning to spend the rest of the day. Last year my mom suggested that our home here was a tad too small for everyone to fit...and invited everyone to her house. I didn't think Mr. WiedzGrammie and Grampie D.

Presents, sticky buns, and a beautiful time shared by grandparents, parents and children.

8. Christmas Afternoon and Dinner - Another wonderful aspect of being at my parent's for Christmas is that it truly feels like being on vacation. We had a really relaxing day.

Some naps

Some knitting (me) and crocheting (grammie n).

Some reading

And some new games to play

Christmas dinner was easy, put together throughout the day

9. The Sickies - A couple of days before Christmas #2 started feeling "weird". I gave him Tylenol and let him rest, as we were eating dinner and a friend from work walked in the door he let loose into the "puke bowl" I'd JUST sat in his lap. He was fine until the next morning when he let loose again. After another day on the couch he was up and fine that evening. #5 and #4 weren't feeling great the day before Christmas Eve but were doing better by the time they went to bed.

Mr. Wiedz started feeling achy. He woke up Christmas Eve not so sure about going to all the festivities of the day. I talked him into wouldn't be the same...everything was already set in motion. We drove up to Portland. Once we got to mom's his Tylenol had worn off so he decided to lay down for a bit until it was time to leave. But he only got sicker. #4's fever was back too.

I went to the family party without Mr. Wiedz or #4. While I was there Mr. Wiedz's fever got to 102.7. He was miserable.

He did wake up for Christmas morning and enjoyed the time with the children but had a nap when the morning activities were wrapped up.

He started feeling better, we drove home. He went into the doctor on Sunday to discover strep throat. I took #4 in Sunday too. #1 got her antibiotics yesterday evening and #2 went to urgent care tonight.

10. One last stop from Santa - When we got home we discovered Santa had also visited our house! Leaving a couple of presents for each kid. They were so excited! We had such a quiet and snuggled time being together. Opening presents slowly and enjoying each one and each other.

After our present time we had birthday cake for Jesus then went to bed.

What a season. What a celebration. What a time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I have all the time in the world...right?

Pajamas to make...

Blankets for each...

Gift baskets for the mailman, neighbor and garbage man...

Chex Mix...

How many days until Christmas?


I'm trying to balance that pile up there with the waiting...

Waiting for my Savior.

Anticipation of His coming.

Welcoming His light.

Being a willing, though weak, vessel.

Slowing down.

Taking a deep breath.

Being joyful in these moments.



Wishing you peace, anticipation, joy, and balance this week.

P.S. I do have a post in me somewhere about what we've been doing for school during our Christmas break (remember how we don't do lazy, relaxing, do-nothing too well) though I'm not sure I'll be able to post it this week. I'm always bummed when my favorite bloggers take breaks (what am I supposed to read if they're not there!!!!) but I think the kids need me to be joyfully WITH them instead of in front of the glowing screen...not to mention that pile up there - sneaking off to the sewing room whenever I can.

Friday, December 17, 2010

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

despite our best efforts, he found the tree.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

History is Alive :: African Feast

We've moved to Ancient Africa in our history work...

I'll admit that I start to look twice at the "plans" I made last summer. They sure do seem like a lot of work and mess now that I'm on this side. Sure, making 5 instruments each for an ancient African band sounded like a good idea in August. Now...not so much.

But I did go ahead with plans for our Ancient African feast. Knowing full well every mouthful would be a bit of a battle.

Our African feast included fried plantains and chicken with figs. I was right about the battle. If you don't know our family personally you don't know that the Wiedz household is the pickiest you'll ever meet!

We started with a pretty hard line about finishing the meal. I then covertly communicated to Mr. Wiedz across the table that my hope was for the meal to be fun and lighthearted. I didn't really want everyone to sulk through forcing themselves because they'd be in trouble. So we readjusted our expectations. Everyone tried a bite of a fig (pretty good actually) and one plantain (some of the really little guys got away with a bite as mama thought they were pretty gross) and chicken until we were full (the chicken was really pretty normal).

There are a few more recipes in our history activity book that I intend on making...broadening our horizons and all.

Rowing Week 4 : Ask Mr. Bear

Ask Mr. Bear

I wasn't too sure about this book. Coming right after Play with Me, which is also filled with animals I was little "done" with animal books. Having WAY too ambitious of plans for any of the other books I have from the library to "row" I went ahead. To say that we just did a little here and there would be an understatement. We did a little...

But the boys didn't really seem to notice. I was even thinking about doing another week just to get in a few more ideas that I'd had but when I took the book out on Friday I sensed a little "ugh" from #3 so we'll move on.

This is a sweet book though about a boy wanting to get his mother a birthday present. He asks his farm animal friends for help, each offer him a suggestion then go with him in the search when what they offer isn't right.

Physical :

I tried to get each of the boys to get down and act out each of the action verbs used when Danny and the animals go on their search. My boys were not interested in skipping, running, or galloping across the room.

Lapbook/Scrapbook Activity :

I printed each of the animal's coloring sheet/handwriting practice sheets from first-school and made a packet of each page in order the animals are in the book. (Animals I couldn't find handwriting tracers for I made my own)

I also printed a lapbook activity from homeschool share that matched the animal with their gift but that one held no interested and was bagged.

Science/Home Studies :

When making my menu for the week I was trying to figure out snacks for all the littles (seriously, they are eating me out of house and home...I think they spend much of their day telling me how hungry they are and I spend much of my day in the kitchen making them food - sigh, it's getting old). I thought some homemade bread would be a nice treat. And what would be better than homemade butter to top that bread? Oh...wait...the cow offers milk and cream...we could make the book first...we have cream...thank you Mrs. shake!

This was probably the highlight of my week. I bought baby food in jars (instead of the handy plastic containers) and handed out heavy cream poured into four jars (I used a smallish spaghetti sauce jar that was set to go to recycling). I turned on Elizabeth Mitchell on and we danced and shook and danced and peeked in our jars and danced. We had a blast...and we made butter! Delicious on our homemade bread!

"Rowing" Ask Mr. Bear was really good. I'm glad we did it. Though I could see how it would be even better in the spring when you could go to a farm and possibly see a lamb being born or something. I also meant to make the boys some pillow forms to stuff, the goose suggests feathers for a pillow and while I wasn't going to do feathers, a pillow could have been good. Ah, well. Another week done anyway.

Links :
Homeschool Share - Ask Mr. Bear lapbook
Making butter - this link was helpful via angrychicken and googling homemade butter in baby food jars resulted in a lot of links, I used tips from this one.

I'm thinking next week we'll take a break from true "rowing" but I think some of the ideas from homeschool creation's gingerbread baby's pack look good and I'm thinking that I may be able to concentrate with the big kids with some of the things we've been struggling with (can anyone say factor trees, prime numbers, multiplication and prepositions) by working them into a book or two. Concentrating on what we're struggling with but in a fun way we're not used to.

Friday, December 10, 2010

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The story of a quilt

This quilt has a story. One I must tell from the beginning. Probably my mom and the recipients mom will be the only ones who stick with me to the end to hear the whole thing.

What feels like another lifetime ago Mr. Wiedz 1) gave me the birthday present that keeps giving - $5 Quilt Club at Grandma's Attic (in Dallas) and 2) started working in Argentina (this post is an interesting story of what traveling was like, and this one is amazing for it's honesty and for me at least the wow-factor of knowing that was the WEEK he ended up being done working there and coming home -- amazing). These two things didn't happen at the same time...actually about a year apart. For by 31st birthday things were, let's say, tight financially. I came up with the perfect gift Mr. Wiedz could give me. The $5 Quilt Club. The beauty of this gift is on both sides. One, it only cost $5...right up our price range. And two, it provided me with nearly 2 hours a month by myself going to quilt class. It was the gift that gave all year long. And I loved going. So much that I repaid my dues to do another year. That brings us to August/September 2008 - and Argentina! My once-a-month getaway didn't really work out when Mr. Wiedz wasn't home enough to relieve me of my duties. That year I only made it to 4 classes, so only got 4 quilt squares done.

But they were really great ones! I loved the colorway I picked that year. I tucked them away for a special project.

Fast forward to fall 2009.

Around the time that Mr. Wiedz and I found out we were expecting #5, one of my closest friends, Another Stacy, found out she was expecting her #2. When I thought about the quilt I'd like to make for her I thought of these quilt squares sitting in my unfinished projects tub. When she found out she was expecting a girl (while we were again expecting a boy) I knew this was where these quilt squares would be perfect.

The babies were born in March. #5 got his quilt just in the nick of time...Little Tam, not so much.

Early this summer I found my way to an unfriendly quilt store, 4 kids walking in to a quilt store may cause the elder woman behind the counter to cringe but I'd have loved some grace and help and a smile. Regardless, I found some fabric for sash, boarders, backing and binding. Getting the top done was quick.

Getting the quilting done took all summer. Quilt, hoop, thread and thimble went nearly everywhere I did this summer.

Interestingly, this was on the road to Pacific City, Oregon. Another Stacy's in-laws live there and Another Stacy and family were visiting the same weekend we were there.

Cutting, making and binding the quilt was probably the longest process...yikes, the quilt sat in my quilting room for months!

Finally making the labeling patch was complete and appliqued to the back of the quilt.

Boxed up and sent to my dear friend and her littlest treasure.