25 Days of Christmas Activities

Monday, November 30, 2015

Every year I come up with a list of activities to do with the boys leading up to Christmas.  We usually don't get to every one on the list, but we have a lot of fun crossing off the activities we do complete. Here is our list for December 2015. HERE is our list from 2013.

Right Click on the photos for the link.

1. Advent:  We will be doing this Lego Advent & Advent chain to countdown the days to Christmas.

Such a fun way to keep your kids excited, and NOT have to answer the "how many days until Christmas" question                        LEGO Advent Calendar Countdown to Christmas Idea

2. I can't wait to hang these cute Stars around the house.

DIY Glitter Stars - An Easy Christmas Craft

3. Write letter to Santa
4. I think the boys are going to get a kick out of turning themselves into an elf!

5. Snowman Mugs & Popcorn cups
What to do for chritsmas !!! this would be great to snack on while watching CHristmas shows with the kids:               Personalized Snowman Mugs

6. Decorate Gingerbread House
7. Paper Snowflakes
How to Cut and Fold Awesome Paper Snowflakes
8. Handprint Santa Ornament

Salt Dough Hand Print Santa Ornament

9. Read Christmas Books- These our on our Holiday Reading List
Image result for the last holiday Concert  Image result for when Santa fell to Earth     Image result for The Father CHristmas Letters
10. Co-op Christmas Party
11. Christmas Movie Marathon
12. Co-op Christmas Program
13. Stick Ornament
Stow & Tell U twigs after

14. Make Puppy Chow
Puppy Chow Chex Mix
15. Christmas Piano Recital
16. Cardboard Reindeer
christmas crafts for kids

17. Reindeer Craft
toilet roll reindeer:

18. Pine tree Craft

19. Polar Express Night
polar express night

20. Go Ice Skating & pick out gifts for brothers
21. Bake Christmas Cookies
22. Grinch Night
Don't Be A Grinch!  Super fun ideas for a family night that will make your heart grow two sizes bigger!  Perfect for Christmas time.  |  My Name Is Snickerdoodle

23. Christmas I Spy
Free printable Christmas I Spy Game - a search and find game for the holidays!

24. Read The Night Before Christmas & Put out Reindeer Food
Magic Reindeer Food Poem & Free Printable.  Also includes the Reindeer Food recipe.

25. Brunch & Christmas Movies

What are your favorite Holiday activities and traditions?

Happy Holidays!

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A Lesson on Thanksgiving: We are all the same inside

Sunday, November 22, 2015

National Mosque- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Here are a few snippets about Thanksgiving from our week:

I read the story, "Thanksgiving Day" by Dorothy Canfield Fisher to the boys today having no idea what it was actually about. I had to stop mid-sentence to catch my breath and gain my composure before I could continue reading. This story is so relevant to the current situation going on in the world today.

After reading this story, the boys and I had an amazing discussion about acceptance and understanding and not being judgmental. We talked about our friends that have different beliefs and our friends from different countries and talked about how they are normal, kind, and wonderful people who have added a whole new perspective to our lives. And we talked about how all Americans, at one point in their history, were in similar situations to the girl in the story.

It starts with us. Teaching our children to not be scared of someone because they have a different belief or look differently than us. If you are scared of something, do some research, meet people who believe differently than you, visit different places of worship and teach your children love and acceptance.

Me: "What if I told you that you could not be friends with someone because their color of skin or religion is different than ours. What if I told you to stay away from them because they are "scary"? Lincoln: "That's silly. They are just people and we are all the same inside. My best friends look different than me and we are friends. We are all the same inside . " Lessons from my 8 year old. If he has it figured out, why can't adults understand this too? It's so simple.

Greyson: "Couldn't we have a rule where people didn't know your religion and had to get to know you first? Then we decide if we like the person for who they are instead of what they believe." Lesson from my 10 year old. If it is that simple to them, why can't it be that simple for adults?

My hope is that we really remember what Thanksgiving is really about. Immigrants & refugees coming to a land that was thought to be "the land of the free." Let's teach love, compassion, understanding and acceptance.  
Buddha-Pattaya, Thailand

Here is "Thanksgiving Day".

A new girl came into the Winthrop Avenue public school about the beginning of November, and this is how she looked to the other boys and girls in the seventh grade.
She couldn’t understand English although she could read it enough to get her lessons. (This was a small public school in a small inland American town where they seldom saw any foreigners, and people who couldn’t speak English seemed outlandish.) She wore the queerest-looking clothes you ever saw and clumping shoes and great thick woolen stockings. (All the children in that town, as in most American towns, dressed exactly like everybody else, because their mothers mostly bought their clothes at Benning and Davis’ department store on Main Street.)
Her hair wasn’t bobbed and curled, neither a long nor short bob; it looked as though her folks hadn’t ever had enough sense to bob it. It was done up in two funny looking pigtails. She had a queer expression on her face, like nothing anybody had ever seen—kind of a smile and yet kind of offish. She couldn’t see the point of wise-cracks, but she laughed over things that weren’t funny a bit, like the way a cheerleader waves his arms.
She got her lessons terribly well (the others thought somebody at home must help her more than the teachers like), and she was the dumbest thing about games—didn’t even know how to play duck on a rock or run sheep run. And, queerest of all, she wore aprons! Can you beat it!
That’s how she looked to the school. This is how the school looked to her. They had come a long way, she and her grandfather, from the town in Austria where he had a shop in which he repaired watches and clocks and sold trinkets the peasant boys bought for their sweethearts.
Men in uniforms and big boots had come suddenly one day—it was in vacation, and Magda was there—and had smashed in the windows of the shop and the showcase with the pretty things in it and had thrown all the furniture from their home back of the shop out into the street and made a bonfire of it.
Magda had been hiding in a corner and saw this; and now, after she had gone to sleep, she sometimes saw it again and woke up with a scream, but Grandfather always came quickly to say smilingly, “All right, Magda child. We’re safe in America with Uncle Harry. Go to sleep again.”
He had said she must not tell anybody about that day. “We can do something better in the New World than sow more hate,” he said seriously. She was to forget about it if she could, and about the long journey afterward, when they were so frightened and had so little to eat; and, worst of all, when the man in the uniform in New York thought for a minute that something was wrong with their precious papers and they might have to go back.
She tried not to think of it, but it was in the back of her mind as she went to school every day, like the black cloth the jewelers put down on their counters to make their pretty gold and silver things shine more. The American school (really a rather ugly old brick building) was for Magda made of gold and silver, shining bright against what she tried to forget.
How kind the teachers were! Why, they smiled at the children. And how free and safe the children acted! Magda simply loved the sound of their chatter on the playground, loud and gay and not afraid even when the teacher stepped out for something. She did wish she could understand what they were saying.
She had studied English in her Austrian school, but this swift, birdlike twittering didn’t sound a bit like the printed words on the page. Still, as the days went by she began to catch a word here and there, short ones like “down” and “run” and “back.” And she soon found what hurrah! means, for the Winthrop Avenue school made a specialty of mass cheering, and every grade had a cheerleader, even the first graders.
Madga thought nearly everything in America was as odd and funny as it was nice. But the cheerleaders were the funniest, with their bendings to one side and the other and then jumping up straight in the air till both feet were off the ground. But she loved to yell, “Hurrah!” too, although she couldn’t understand what they were cheering about.
It seemed to her that the English language was like a thick, heavy curtain hanging down between her and her new schoolmates. At first she couldn’t see a thing through it. But little by little it began to have thinner spots in it. She could catch a glimpse here and there of what they were saying when they sometimes stood in a group, looking at her and talking among themselves. How splendid it would be, she thought, to have the curtain down altogether so she could really understand what they were saying!
This is what they were saying—at least the six or seven girls who tagged after Betty Woodworth. Most of the seventh graders were too busy studying and racing around at recess time to pay much attention to the queer new girl. But some did. They used to say, “My goodness, look at that dress! It looks like her grandmother’s—if she’s got one.”
“Of all the dumb clucks. She doesn’t know enough to play squat tag. My goodness, the first graders can play tag.
“My father told my mother this morning that he didn’t know why our country should take in all the disagreeable folks that other countries can’t stand any more.”
“She’s Jewish. She must be. Everybody that comes from Europe now is Jewish. We don’t want our town all filled up with Jews!”
“My uncle Peter saw where it said in the paper we ought to keep them out. We haven’t got enough for ourselves as it is.”
Magda could just catch a word or two, “country” and “enough” and “uncle.” But it wouldn’t be long now, she thought happily, till she could understand everything they said and really belong to seventh grade.
About two weeks after Magda came to school Thanksgiving Day was due. She had never heard of Thanksgiving Day, but since the story was all written out in her history book she soon found out what it meant. She thought it was perfectly lovely!
She read the story of the Pilgrim Fathers and their long, hard trip across the ocean (she knew something about that trip), and their terrible first winter, and the kind Indian whose language they couldn’t understand, who taught them how to cultivate the fields, and then—oh, it was poetry, just poetry, the setting aside of a day forever and forever, every year, to be thankful that they could stay in America!
How could people (as some of the people who wrote the German textbooks did) say that Americans didn’t care about anything but making money? Why, here, more than three hundred years after that day, this whole school and every other school, everywhere all over the country, were turning themselves upside down to celebrate with joy their great-grandfathers’ having been brave enough to come to America and to stay here, even though it was hard, instead of staying in Europe, where they had been so badly treated. (Magda knew something about that, too.)
Everybody in school was to do something for the celebration. The first graders had funny little Indian clothes, and they were going to pretend to show the second graders (in Puritan costumes) how to plant corn. Magda thought they were delightful, those darling little things, being taught already to be thankful that they could go on living in America.
Some grades had songs; others were going to act in short plays. The children in Magda’s own seventh grade, that she loved so, were going to speak pieces and sing. She had an idea all her own, and because she couldn’t be sure of saying the right words in English she wrote a note to the teacher about it.
She would like to write a thankful prayer (she could read English pretty well now) and learn it by heart and say it, as her part of the celebration. The teacher, who was terrifically busy with a bunch of boys who were to build a small “pretend” log cabin on stage, nodded that it would be all right. So Magda went happily to write it and learn it by heart.
“Kind of nervy, if you ask me, of that little Jew girl to horn in on our celebration,” said Betty.
“Who asked her to come to America, anyhow?” said another.
“I thought Thanksgiving was for Americans!” said another.
Magda, listening hard, caught the word “Americans,” and her face lighted up. It wouldn’t be long now, she thought, before she could understand them.
No, no, they weren’t specially bad children, no more than you or I—they had heard older people talking like that—and they gabbled along, thoughtlessly, the way we are all apt to repeat what we hear, without considering whether it is right or not.
On Thanksgiving Day a lot of those grownups whose talk Betty and her gang had been repeating had come, as they always did, to the “exercises.” They sat in rows in the assembly room, listening to the singing and acting of the children and saying, “the first graders are too darling,” and “how time flies,” and “can you believe it that Betty is up to my shoulder now? Seems like last week she was in the kindergarten.”
The tall principal stood at one side of the platform and read off the different numbers from a list. By and by he said, “We shall now hear a prayer written by Magda Bensheim and spoken by her. Madga has been in this country only five weeks and in our school only three.”
Magda came out to the middle of the platform, a bright, striped apron over her thick woolen dress, her braids tied with red ribbons. Her heart was beating fast. Her face was shining and solemn.
She put her hands together and lifted them up over her head and said to God, “Oh, thank you, thank you, dear God, for letting me come to America and nowhere else, when Grandfather and I were driven from our home. I learn out of my history book that Americans all came to this country just how Grandfather and I come, because Europe treat them wrong and bad. Every year they gather like this—to remember their brave grandfathers who come here so long ago and stay on, although they had such hard times.
“American hearts are so faithful and true that they forget never how they were all refugees, too, and must thankful be that from refugees they come to be American citizens. So thanks to you, dear, dear God, for letting Grandfather and me come to live in a country where they have this beautiful once-a-year Thanksgiving, for having come afraid from Europe to be here free and safe. I, too, feel the same beautiful thank-you-God that all Americans say here today.”
Magda did not know what is usually said in English at the end of a prayer so did not say anything when she finished, just walked away back where the other girls of her class were. But the principal said it for her—after he had given his nose a good blow and wiped his eyes. He looked out over the people in the audience and said in a loud, strong voice, “Amen! I say Amen, and so does everybody here, I know.”
And then—it was sort of queer to applaud a prayer—they all began to clap their hands loudly.
Back in the seventh-grade room the teacher was saying, “Well, children, that’s all. See you next Monday. Don’t eat too much turkey.” But Betty jumped up and said, “Wait a minute, Miss Turner. Wait a minute, kids. I want to lead a cheer. All ready?
“Three cheers for Magda!
“Hip! Hip!” She leaned ’way over to one side and touched the floor, and they all shouted, “Hurrah!”
She bent back to the other side. “Hurrah!” they shouted.
She jumped straight up till both feet were off the ground and clapped her hands over her head, and “Hurrah!” they all shouted.
The wonderful moment had come. The curtain that had shut Magda off from her schoolmates had gone. “Oh! Ach!” she cried, her eyes wide. “Why, I understand every word. Yes, now I can understand American!”
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Week in Review: October 25-31, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

This week was all things Halloween.  I love Halloween.  I'm not really sure why, but ever since having kids I love all things to do with this holiday.  We go a little over the top here because Halloween is not celebrated in Thailand, but this year I think we might have changed that.  At least in our neighborhood!  I also heard from all three of my boys that this Halloween was the best Halloween yet.  I'm not quite sure how I am going to top that !

Halloween Week At School

I promise, we did actually learn this week, but I didn't take any pictures of our regular work.  We had school for a half week due to me getting sick.  I never get sick, but this time took me out.  And of course I had a ton planned and could not really be bothered with getting sick.  Even two weeks later, I still don't have my full voice back.  I lost my voice for 5 days without any sound at all!!

The boys are trying to make homemade apple cider.  It was interesting.  I wouldn't say it tasted like cider, but it did taste like a Fall drink.

 Halloween Bookmarks

 Making Halloween "cootie catchers".

 Halloween Bingo with candy corn that was brought to us.

Halloween Word Search
 We love the Cranberry books!

 Britton read this book.
 Frankenstein Cupcakes for a snack.

 Halloween oobleck with spiders and eyes

 Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Halloween Puppy Chow

100 Book Challenge # 55

We added The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson to our list because another one of her books is on our list and we thought this would be fun to read at Halloween.  The boys liked it, but I am not so sure that this book needed to be added to a list of 100 books you must read.  It was a fun Halloween themed book though. 
                                          Image result for best halloween ever
Halloween Sleepover

The boys had a friend spend the night and we had a whole Halloween themed sleepover: crafts, decorating cupcakes & scary movies.

 Spider Web craft

Halloween Co-op

At our co-op this week we had a Halloween party.  All the kids dressed up and we had lots of yummy treats!

Pumpkin Carving....or Watermelon Carving

Orange pumpkins cost almost 3000 Baht or $100 USD and Thai pumpkins are hard to carve, so we did the next best thing, carved watermelons.  The boys loved it and it will be a tradition that we continue for a long time!

     Halloween Movie Night

Once a month we invite kids over for a movie night.  This month we did all Halloween themed movies.  We ended up having around 15 kids and lots of Halloween themed treats!


 Halloween Breakfast & Lunch  
 Menu: Banana ghosts, orange smoothies & Halloween donuts

Menu: Mummy apple, Pumpkin shaped grilled cheese, dirt pudding, spider cupcake

Halloween Party

This year we had a Halloween party on our street.  We invited all the staff at my husband's school and two other schools also were invited.  We asked our neighbors to pass out candy and asked that all the guests bring a dish to share and candy to pass out.  We had no idea how many would come, but we estimated that over 200 people ended up coming!! It was such a fun night and actually felt a little like traditional Halloween back home except that we were all wearing flip flops.  It went so smooth and hopefully we can pull it off again next year.  

2 zombies & Robin

So, that was our Halloween Week.  It was a lot of fun, even though I was sick.  Now to take a couple deep breaths and get ready for Thanksgiving!!
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Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrap-up:
Weekly Wrap-Up
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