Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crafting Amidst Chaos

We returned from our vacation three days ago. Our house is a disaster. Just imagine many piles of laundry waiting to be either washed, dried, folded, or put away. My wonderful husband has a couple of days of vacation left and is doing his best to finish up some last minute Christmas shopping for me, get the tree up, and decorate the outside of the house. He's doing those things because they need to be done, but also because he knows that I really wanted to be able to do some special Advent activities with the children this week and carry on (as much as is possible) with the 3R's since we didn't do a lot of that while traveling. Thank you, Honey! 
So far, so good. He's making much progress, and we've had two wonderful afternoons of reading Christmas books and crafting ornaments. (And we even had time to bake some cookies together yesterday to take to our new next door neighbors. This was Sweet Pea's first time baking with us. She was a pro with the hand-held mixer!)

Yesterday we began our "Around the Manger" unit by reading Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. This is a very sweet rendition of the Nativity story - I'd like to purchase this one for our library. We continued with The Friendly Beasts illustrated by Sarah Chamberlain. I searched everywhere for the Tomie de Paola version and couldn't find it, but I've been pleasantly surprised with the illustrations in our version. We've also enjoyed listening to this carol on A Classical Kids Christmas. We talked about how special all of God's creation is to Him and read Psalm 148 which talks about all creatures (including the animals) praising their Creator. After lunch and putting Sweet Pea down for her nap, we  read This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten. We really enjoyed the repetitive rhymes and beautiful illustrations in this book. I ordered it even though I had not heard of it because I was looking for a book about the stable for our unit. I am so pleased that I found it.

After our reading we began our first ornament. (If you read my original post about this Christmas unit, I was undecided about the ornaments for Days 1 and 2. Here's what I finally came up with.) We used mini-popsicle sticks to make Baby Jesus in the manger. We glued 3 sticks together to form the outline of the manger, glued on the yellow card stock for a backing, and then glued on Baby Jesus. His body is 1 stick wrapped in white felt and secured with glue (Note: I learned the hard way that felt does not adhere well with glue. Next time I'll use some type of thin cotton fabric.) His head is just light brown construction paper on which the children drew a face. Then we glued on some raffia for the hay. I think these turned out pretty cute!

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