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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rustic Twig Frame Collage (aka the perfect gift for my husband)

You know how you try so hard to think of the perfect gift for your loved one and the joy in knowing you got it spot on? My kids and I made just the right thing for my husband. It left him speechless and teary-eyed - a true sign that his gift will be treasured for many years to come.

We made him a frame out of twigs surrounding a collage of photos that capture some of our favorite moments of 2013. If you don’t have a printer at home that can print out several pictures at once, try ordering prints from places like Shutterfly.  They have various photo gifts that are fun for the house.
It was easy to make:

Gather sticks (especially fun on a winter's
night hike with head lamps)

Arrange favorite photos on a canvas board.
(We got ours at a local arts consignment store and
trimmed it to fit our photo.) I found it easiest to
print the photos on regular printer paper and then
affixed the photos with a water/glue mix using a paintbrush.

Frame it with larger twigs using a hot glue gun.

Frame the individual photos with smaller twigs. This is a
great way for younger children to help. It has a puzzle
element to it as they try to fit the twigs just right.
If you have empty spaces, you can add your own special touch.
And there you have it, a wonderful memory of the year gone by:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

A couple of days ago I turned the figures from our crèche outward so I could look at them and little Shane turned them back around and said, "No mama, they aren't looking at us, they are looking at Baby Jesus." - So simple, yet profound.

May your Christmas time be one of joyful reflection.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Easy Ornaments

My youngest son has really enjoyed decorating the house this year.  For the past week, every day he pleads, " Can I please put up more decorations?"  Our house can only handle so much and much to his frustration, our tree is already packed full of ornaments, so yesterday, instead of hanging more ornaments, I set him to making them.

They are so easy! All you need is plastic ornaments from a craft store and items from your home.  These also make sweet gifts for children to make.  Here is what we came up with:

Ours include: sea glass, flat glass marbles, sparkly yarn, a family photo, quilling paper with the names of Jesus written on them, wool felt and buttons.  Here are more ideas: legos, dried flower petals, beads, tiny animal figurines, tiny pine cones, gold painted twigs, clay stars, paper cranes, acorns, confetti, and feathers.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Secret Lessons of Tradition and Creative Learning on Friday #25

A few evenings ago, we decorated our Christmas tree.  It is one of my favorite traditions to be involved in during the holiday season.  As we hung ornaments, my mother and I told my two young sons where the ornament was made, whether it was a gift or one we purchased, and if there was a story behind the ornament, it was told with care to details and brought the moment to life. 

Amidst this fun time, these ornaments became bearers of secret lessons. As each special ornament was hung, the boys learned wonderful lessons of connection to times and people past, lessons of culture, and lessons of love. 

So many of our family traditions have at their heart the secret lessons of family heritage, spirituality, and cultural history.  I wonder what lessons your little ones absorb this time of year.

I invite your to share with us at the Creative Learning on Friday linky party.

Creative Learning on Friday

Friday, December 13, 2013

Creative Learning on Friday #24

Welcome back to another Creative Learning on Friday linky party.  Last week, we had some great posts including one on Snowflake Science and another on Teaching Your Kids to Cook.

Join in the fun and tell us how you are inspiring your children through interesting and fun ways to learn.

Creative Learning on Friday

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Catching Snowflakes Revisited

Last winter, I wrote a post about catching snowflakes and when the latest snowstorm came through this morning, I couldn't resist catching them again.  The results were beautiful.

Want to catch snowflakes? Pick a dark fabric, we use navy blue cotton, and a piece of cardboard to set the cloth on so it will stay flat.  Five minutes before you go out, set the cloth outside so it can reach the outdoor temperature, otherwise the flakes will melt when they hit the cloth.

Once you are ready to go out let you little ones hold the cloth on the cardboard letting snow fall on the cloth.  After 30 seconds, go under shelter and look up close.  Among the clumps of flakes, you should see some individual snow crystals

Have fun!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Creative Learning #23

Here we are, already in December and the 23rd edition of Creative Learning.  I am hoping to see some great learning ideas with the holidays coming up. I have been perusing Pinterest and look forward to sharing some of my finds with you. 

In the meantime, I wish you all a good weekend and one of creative learning.

Creative Learning on Friday

Using modeling beeswax in homeschool lessons

I often write about how we use the Charlotte Mason method in our homeschool and implement Waldorf techniques.  Today we had a great time reading Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President- which fits into the Mason method because it is a delightful, true, living book.  After reading the book, the boys made their own beeswax prairie dogs. Modeling beeswax is used in Waldorf education to replace play dough or clay and is well worth the investment because it can be used over and over again, is not messy and it has such vibrant colors and a soothing scent. We use Stockmar Modeling Beeswax from A Toy Garden.  It really is soothing to work with, beginning as a hard stiff medium and softens by the warmth of your hands. (For young children, soaking it in warm water can help soften it to the point that the child can mold it.)

They aren't great works of art, but, my goodness, the boys are so proud of their little ground hogs!

Monday, December 2, 2013

In My Footsteps

thought I would share a few photos of my day at work.



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